I have a few friends in my life who treat alcohol as an important part of a social outing. To them, without alcohol, a social gathering is incomplete – no matter the company, place, or anything else. Ever since I was a child, my parents have taught me to treat alcohol with respect. Where my friends need to hide their drinking habits from their parents, I don’t feel the need to. Alcohol has always been treated with decorum. But that is not to say that I haven’t thought about the role alcohol plays in my life.
Many aspects of our culture include alcohol – social gatherings, date nights, and even corporate events – so it’s not always possible to avoid consuming the beverage. However, in recent years, a cultural shift has been seen, challenging the traditional norms around alcohol consumption. And between all this, the term “sober curious” has come up.
Sober curious is a term that has gained traction as people have increasingly started to question their relationship with alcohol and explore a more mindful approach to drinking. This trend is also known as the “sober curious movement” and astutely reflects the desire for a healthier and intentional lifestyle.
So, let’s glimpse into what is the sober curious trend or the movement, how it benefits us, and how you can live a sober curious lifestyle!
What Does ‘Sober Curious’ Mean?
The trend or term ‘sober curious’ was popularized by Ruby Warrington, a writer and wellness advocate. At its core, being sober curious means questioning your drinking habits. It involves exploring the role of alcohol in the social interactions you’re a part of, the role of alcohol in emotional coping mechanisms, and daily routines.
The sober curious lifestyle or movement doesn’t necessarily speak for complete abstinence from alcohol but rather encourages you to make more conscious and intentional choices about how you consume alcohol. It’s about questioning yourself why you drink, how you feel when you drink, and what happens when you stop drinking.
Being sober curious is about questioning whether the sober lifestyle is for you. In the years since the sober curious movement took off, many people have realized and let go of the unhealthy habits related to their alcohol consumption. This movement has also gained a lot of popularity alongside another movement – Dry January.
Benefits of Being ‘Sober Curious’
Not drinking or being mindful of how much and why you drink can have its benefits. Some of the benefits of being sober curious can include;
Better sleep quality
Increased energy levels
Lower levels of stress and social pressure
Improved mental clarity
Improved social interactions
It is believed that people with a healthier relationship with alcohol have a “take it or leave it” attitude. They are better able to enjoy, relax, and participate in events that do not depend on whether they drink or not. Being sober curious gives you a way to assess your relationship with alcohol consumption and seek help if you believe you need it. In the end, the ‘sober curious’ movement is about increasing your self-awareness and how you treat alcohol.
The Challenges of Being Sober Curious
While the benefits of being sober curious are quite fascinating, it’s also important to acknowledge that this self-questioning journey isn’t without challenges. Among those challenges, social pressures, FOMO (fear of missing out), and internalized beliefs about alcohol’s role in enjoyment can create significant barriers.
However, you can find that open communication, setting clear intentions, and building a supportive circle and network can help you overcome these challenges and continue with your ‘sober curious’ lifestyle.
The sober curious movement has a broader impact that goes beyond your well-being. As more and more people are embracing this mindset, it encourages a subtle cultural shift from alcohol-centric social interactions. This shift can challenge the norm of excessive drinking and contribute to reducing the stigma surrounding people who choose not to consume alcohol.
How to Keep Living the ‘Sober Curious’ Lifestyle?
Are you with me? Interested in living (or keep living) the sober curious lifestyle? Well then, here are some tips to help you live a sober curious lifestyle;
1. Question How You Drink
When you don’t drink alcohol with a positive intention, the negative effects may affect not only your body but also your relationships. In today’s social culture, alcohol is a given factor and even encouraged which can make one feel reliant on it. Being sober curious allows you to understand how alcohol affects you. So, try to question and think about how you drink and how alcohol affects your day-to-day life.
2. Control Your Environment
You can also try to stay away from social events that solely encourage alcohol consumption. If someone invites you to bars or such events, you can try to approach such events with a sober curious mindset or go to events where alcohol isn’t the primary focus.
3. Keep Your Body Moving
Physical movements and exercising can increase the production of endorphins or feel-good hormones in your body and can be a good replacement for the endorphin release that is usually caused by consuming alcohol. Exercise also boosts your mood and can be good for your overall health.
4. Find Healthier Distractions
You don’t always need alcohol to have fun. You can try to find other, healthier distractions or hobbies. Instead of consuming alcohol, try to play a sport, learn a new craft, join a language class, or try a new hobby. The idea is to socialize in places and events where you aren’t tempted to drink. You need to find hobbies or activities that you enjoy or give you a sense of meaning so that you don’t easily get tempted to drink.
5. Limit Social Interactions With Alcohol
To live or keep living a sober curious lifestyle, you can try to hang out with people who don’t consume alcohol regularly or people who don’t make you feel pressured to drink. You can try hanging out with friends and going to movies or engaging in activities where alcohol is not the focus or factor.
6. Build a Support Network
Try to be selective of people with whom you spend time when you’re living a ‘sober curious’ lifestyle. Create a support network of people whom you trust will support your decision to question your relationship with alcohol without judgment or people who won’t make you feel less for not drinking.
7. Try “Urge Surfing”
A technique or an approach you can try if you’re truly interested in living a sober curious life is to practice urge surfing. Urge surfing is a technique where you practice tolerating cravings. So, for example, when a craving hits you, pause to recognize the urge, and then let it pass. With time, you can learn to control your alcohol cravings with urge surfing too.
Just try to figure out what makes you crave alcohol in the first place. Once you know what drives you to drink, you can directly address the urge and regain control of your actions.
The ‘sober curious’ movement or trend is more than just a passing craze. This movement reflects a growing awareness of the importance of intentional alcohol drinking and intentional living. By adopting a sober curious lifestyle, you can experience enhanced self-awareness, better well-being, and healthier connections.
While there may come many challenges in your self-questioning journey, the sober curious benefits – on a personal and social level – can make your journey a rewarding one.
So, whether you’re interested in taking a short-term break from alcohol or a more permanent one, embracing your inner sober curiosity could be the key to a healthier relationship with alcohol and a better lifestyle.
I hope this blog helped you learn what it means to be ‘sober curious’ and how you can live a sober curious lifestyle. Let me know what you think about this article in the comments below.
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