Ever notice not feeling your best after a few drinks? And the next day that nagging headache distracts you at work and from being present with kids? Or maybe you just straight up notice being grumpy the day after negatively impacting your mental health. If so, you might be starting to question the way alcohol affects you. Kudos to you – not an easy thing to do.
You may be like many who are starting to wonder about the positive impacts of stopping drinking (there was a 250% increase in google searches for “non-alcoholic” and “alcohol free” from 2021-2022). In fact, this movement is called becoming sober curious. As it sounds, being sober curious is a conscious choice to avoid alcohol for personal and/or overall well-being reasons. It calls into question the reasons fueling your desire to drink and how alcohol intake affects your life. In short, you get curious and mindful about your alcohol consumption.
This movement is not new. You might have heard of Sober October or Dry January or any other number of month-long sobriety challenges. The reality is that alcohol has been socialized as a part of our lives. Ads are everywhere. Drinking has a limitless presence in every show you stream.
The sober curious movement suggests there are plenty of other alternatives to experience the many ups, downs, and fun events without alcohol. Rather than thinking you are alone in your contemplation of alcohol use, the sober curious community aims to validate, affirm, and support decisions that might benefit your overall well-being.
Here are some of the basics of the sober curious lifestyle:
- Anyone can benefit: Whether you drink a 6 pack on Sundays watching a sporting event or have a glass or two of wine on occasion, sober curiosity can be explored, and benefited, by anyone.
- It is not set in stone: Making a choice to moderate or stop using alcohol is not a permanent change. Rather, use the time to evaluate your relationship with alcohol and the ways it might add or detract from your health.
- There are potential health benefits: The socialization of alcohol often makes us overlook the negative health implications. Moderating or abstaining from use, even for some time, has been shown to benefit our health including better sleep, less anxiety and depression among others.
Curious about becoming sober curious? Here are several tips to explore what works for you!
- Self-Reflection – Start by asking yourself why you drink. Is it out of habit, social pressure, or as a coping mechanism? Understanding your motivations can help in making more informed choices.
- Create a plan – Setting and having a plan is helpful in almost any domain of our life. The same is true for sober curiosity. Explore options that do not center alcohol and put them in your calendar to try out. Decide what sober curiosity looks like for you. It might mean taking a month off from drinking, reducing the number of days you drink, or cutting down on the amount you consume.
- Find a crew – Social support is key. This might even be the hardest part of this as your time with friends and family might always include alcohol. Maybe explore this as a fun challenge to loop your crew in. Or you might find another community through sober social events and activities. Here is one to get you started.
- You know yourself best – Remember, sober curiosity is not permanent and is a time to find what works best for you. Trust and lean into that intuition and make it a point to check in after a period of time to see what you like and do not like. From there you will be set up to make future decisions that support you.
Being sober curious is all about making conscious choices that prioritize your well-being. It’s a chance to redefine your relationship with alcohol in a way that feels right for you. Whether for a few days or a few months, a sober curious journey can promote mindful drinking and lead to lifestyle changes – but it is not for everyone. Did we pique your curiosity though?