Exploring Sobriety: The Rise of the Sober-Curious Movement
More than ever, people are turning towards a more sober-curious lifestyle. Whether it’s from learning about the impacts substances can have on your body, seeing firsthand the dangers of addiction, or simply disliking how substances can make you feel, people want to learn more about the sober-curious movement.
People all over participate in events like “dry January'' and “sober October,” where they say no to alcohol for the month to see how they are impacted by it. These alcohol-free events are becoming more prevalent and allow people to explore how alcohol affects them and what their habits with drinking are.
If you want to know what the changes to your health and well-being could be by eliminating alcohol, you first have to try to obtain sobriety. Learn more here about how the sober-curious movement gives people space to do this.
What Is Sober Curiosity?
Sober curiosity is exploring what the lack of alcohol consumption can do for you but not really committing to any lifestyle in particular. Sometimes the idea of quitting a substance cold turkey can be overwhelming. If you are someone who struggles with addiction, you know that quitting cold turkey is not usually the answer. It can be dangerous and harmful to your life.
Unlike people seeking sobriety due to their alcohol use disorder or substance use issues, people interested in sober curiosity can do it to cut back on drinking alcohol. The goal of sober curiosity is to become more aware of your drinking habits and how they impact your life.
All People Can Benefit
Alcohol use occurs on a spectrum. Not everyone who drinks will develop an alcohol addiction. This is the same for other substances as well. For some, recovery does not mean completely abstaining from a substance but instead getting to a place where using it is controlled.
The sober curious movement can be for people who want to eventually reach sobriety but also for people looking to cut back on their substance use. Alcohol is such a common thing in today’s society that many people can feel pressured to drink. This movement allows you to think deeply about why you drink, how it makes you feel, and how it affects your life.
It’s Not Always Permanent
Sober curiosity is non-commital, so you don’t have to feel guilty about not staying completely sober while practicing it. You’re allowed to try different moderations when it comes to drinking and change your consumption up during the process.
People may go without alcohol every other day, for the weekdays, for a month, or a year and see how it impacts their life. Some people may recognize that they don’t even really enjoy drinking and only like it in social settings. Some may realize they have a serious problem and might look into different treatment options to achieve abstinence.
How Did This Movement Start?
In many ways, our culture revolves around alcohol. Everyone wants to turn 21 and have their “first legal drink.” Teenagers attempt to steal alcohol from their parents to look cool when they show up to their high school parties. Young adults use it to lower their social anxiety and make themselves feel less awkward when dating and making new friends.
It is so deeply ingrained in our society that alcohol equals “being an adult” that we forget how alcohol affects us. Sober curiosity has come about as a response to understanding why substance use is so prevalent in our society.
Background of Sober Curiosity
Credit for the term “sober curious” goes to author Ruby Warrington. In 2018 she wrote a book called Sober Curious: The Blissful Sleep, Greater Focus, Limitless Presence, and Deep Connection Awaiting Us All on the Other Side of Alcohol. This book explores patterns that many can relate to and shares the benefits of becoming sober-curious:
Drinking socially, but not craving it every day
Drinking no more than others around you
Drinking that doesn’t seem to hurt you or others around you
When you feel that you are not doing any harm and are not the worst person in the room when it comes to alcohol, you can kind of slip by without considering the hidden harms of alcohol abuse. You haven’t even asked yourself, “Do I even like doing this?” yet.
Just because you aren’t dependent on your alcohol intake doesn’t mean you can’t get help. There are very toxic side effects that can result from drinking, so this movement aims to teach people about other ways to find what they’re seeking from alcohol.
What Does a Sober Curious Lifestyle Look Like?
A sober curious lifestyle might look like trying to find ways to have fun by replacing alcohol with an alternative. We get that half of being social when you’re out is sipping on a fun drink.
Why not just order a mocktail? Not only is it delicious, but it’s cheaper and still fun! There has been a rise in sober bars all across the country that offer non-alcoholic beverages so that people can still go out and have fun, but just without using a substance. You can find activities that don’t involve drinking with friends and on your own, so you don’t miss out on social aspects.
Many sober curious individuals practice mindfulness in their days. They try to unpack where their desire or reaction to drinking comes from so they can make more informed decisions later. Everyone has their own path when it comes to their consumption of substances, so becoming sober curious or practicing mindful drinking will look different for everyone.
Health Benefits of the Sober-Curious Movement
Alcohol is a powerful substance that can do a lot of damage to a person’s body over time. If you struggle with the amount of alcohol you consume, you likely experience bad hangovers, difficulty concentrating, and negative effects on your mental health.
There are benefits to the sober curious movement that even just lowering your levels of alcohol consumption could help. Alcohol can damage the liver and brain, increasing risks for certain cancers and potentially developing alcohol use disorder.
A study was done that showed a month without alcohol lowered blood pressure and risk for alcohol-related diseases. People that tried out one month of being without alcohol said that they experienced better sleep, more energy, and weight loss. People also had better communication with others and could manage their emotions better.
How Do I Start Being Sober Curious?
How does one start their sober-curios lifestyle? It all depends on what your goals are! Everyone has different concerns, thoughts, and opinions regarding their own alcohol consumption. You must figure out what you want from becoming sober-curious and how that might fit into your lifestyle.
1. Set Limits for Yourself
You may want to start by limiting yourself to a certain amount of drinks when you drink, or drinking on the weekends only, or avoiding alcohol when you are feeling sad. These might change as you continue the process and learn new things about yourself and your needs.
2. Find Someone To Partner With
Trying to become sober-curios on your own might be difficult for you. Maybe you have someone close to you who is also interested and wants to partner up and attempt it together. This can help with motivation and accountability, as you have someone undergoing the same process.
3. Get Creative!
You don’t have to abandon fun beverages. You can find various mocktails to try out when you feel like having a fancy drink. Ordering mocktails when out at a bar might seem like a mood killer, but the bartenders don’t mind and truly want to see you thrive and have the best time. Plus, you’ll end up saving lots of money!
4. Find New Hobbies
Use this time without alcohol to be more mindful and find out what you like to do with your time. Alcohol can help you to feel like yourself, but does that mean you actually know yourself? Find a new hobby to try out and learn more about what you want to spend your days doing.
Seek Community With Sober Sidekick
Entering a sober-curious phase of your life might be difficult, but with access to a community of other sober-curious and sober individuals, you can really feel the sense of togetherness.