Have you ever wondered what your life would be like without that glass of wine with dinner? For most people, alcohol is a part of our everyday lives. We drink to celebrate, to mourn, and even to manage stress.
However, there’s recently been a movement away from alcohol consumption.
If you’ve ever wondered what your life would be like without the nasty hangover, bad moods, and costly night outs, you should check out the sober curious movement.
The sober curious movement is all about embracing sobriety and reflecting on our relationship with alcohol. Today, we’ll cover:
- The history of the sober curious movement
- What sober curiosity involves
- The benefits of staying sober
- Some tips for becoming sober curious.
Let’s get started.
An Overview of The Sober Curious Movement
The phrase ‘sober curious’ was coined by Ruby Warrington, who wrote the 2018 book, Sober Curious: The Blissful Sleep, Greater Focus, Limitless Presence, and Deep Connection Awaiting Us All on the Other Side of Alcohol.
The book examines life without alcohol and is aimed at validating people who want to switch to a sober lifestyle.
However, Warrington only popularized the trend. Abstaining from alcohol isn’t a new thing; in fact, you might have even heard of months like Dry January or Sober September.
These months have been around for years, encouraging us to take a step back from alcohol. Sober curiosity embraces those sentiments outside of dedicated months.
What Does It Mean To Be Sober Curious?
The basic premise of sober curiosity is to reexamine our relationship with alcohol. People involved in the movement usually do it for personal or wellness reasons.
Being sober curious doesn’t necessarily mean avoiding alcohol completely.
Some people choose to participate for weeks or months at a time, and may still drink on occasion (like at special events). This is what separates sober curiosity from sobriety.
Rather than giving up alcohol for addiction or harm-related reasons like Alcohol Use Disorder, sober curiosity is about embracing mindful drinking. It involves reflecting on the reasons why we drink in the first place.
The Benefits of Embracing Sober Curiosity
No matter how you look at it, alcohol is a powerful substance with harmful side effects. You might be familiar with the draining hangovers and pounding headaches, but there are plenty of long-term side effects too.
Avoiding alcohol generally has a good effect on your health. Here are some specific benefits of abstaining from alcohol:
Enhanced physical and mental well-being
There are lots of long and short-term side effects associated with alcohol.
Drinking can lead to higher blood pressure, liver problems, brain damage, heart issues, diabetes, and even cancer. In the short term, it can cause injuries and accidents.
Avoiding alcohol means you reduce the risk of these side effects and improve your mental health.
A British study from 2016 even found that taking a break from alcohol encourages healthier drinking habits.
Rather than rushing back to drinking, the participants got back into it slowly, meaning better drinking habits and health outcomes.
Improved sleep quality and energy levels
There is plenty of evidence that suggests alcohol affects your sleep cycle. Alcohol abuse is even associated with chronic sleep disturbance.
So by not drinking, you’ll be improving your sleep cycle as well as your overall quality of sleep.
This means you’ll have more energy the day after a social event, so you can make the most of your day!
Increased focus and productivity
If you’ve had to work the day after drinking, you might feel like you’re running at half capacity.
Alcohol use can clog up your brain and make it harder to think or remember things. This might impact your motor skills and even your perception of distance.
By avoiding alcohol, you’ll be able to be in a more focused state of mind. This means you’ll be more productive at work and able to focus on your daily life.
Strengthened relationships and emotional clarity
Finally, by being sober curious, you might improve your social life. Having a few drinks here and there is alright – but when you’re drinking heavily every weekend or even drinking alone, you risk falling into a path of addiction.
Being sober curious is about having a healthier relationship with alcohol. When you take a break from alcohol, you’ll be able to keep up with your friendships and social life better.
How to Get Sober Curious
Intrigued? Here are some tips to start your sober curiosity journey:
Educate yourself about the effects of alcohol
Start with some research on mindful drinking, and the ways that alcohol affects our bodies. This is a great place to start a sober curious journey.
Doing research might mean a few different things for you. For example, you may be more interested in looking up studies and articles on the effects of alcohol.
Or, perhaps you want to talk to other people about alcohol dependence. Just remember: there’s no right way to go about it!
Set specific sobriety goals
Once you’ve done the research, it’s time to look inward.
What do you want to get out of your period of sobriety? It’s all about the goals you set for yourself.
Are you looking to go cold turkey for three months, or will you just try it out for two weeks?
Find alternative social activities
Now that you’re having a break from alcohol, it’s time to find some fun things to do outside of drinking. There are plenty of ways you can enjoy life without alcohol.
You could try picking up new sports and hobbies, or even joining a social club.
There are also ways you can enjoy activities like music gigs or parties without drinking.
Get support from friends or support groups
Setting up a support network is a great way to stay sober curious.
You could join a pre-existing group (or even make your own) if you have mutual friends who are also looking to embrace sobriety. There are lots of clubs out there that do weekly or monthly events.
Practice mindfulness and self-reflection
Now that you’re on your journey, it’s time to reflect on the reasons why you drank alcohol in the first place. Was it to fit in, or to have fun?
Examine how you feel about it now, and your new relationship with alcohol. You could start practicing mindfulness, meditating, eating healthy, or even working out.
Replace alcohol with non-alcoholic beverages
Don’t worry – there are plenty of yummy nonalcoholic drink options out there!
Most bars will offer mocktails, or even ‘virgin’ cocktails for you to enjoy. There are also lots of 0% alcohol alternatives; ask your bartender, or look for them on the menu!
This is a good time to explore things you wouldn’t normally drink. Find your new go-to mocktail, or just stick to fizzy drinks!
Track your progress and celebrate milestones
Make sure you stay committed by celebrating your milestones. This could be as simple as using a diary or a calendar, or you could even download apps that track your progress.
Remember to share your progress with your friends and support network. Congratulating each other is a simple way to keep on top of your sober goals.
The Bottom Line
Being sober curious is all about changing our relationship with alcohol. Whether you’re looking to abstain for a few weeks or even a couple of months, the sober curious movement is welcome for all.