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Is "Sober Curious" Becoming More Popular?

Published December 26, 2019 By Addiction Helpline America

When we say things are popular, we mean that they are trending and what people are finding them cool to have, see, or do. These range from fashion trends to celebrity trends to behavior trends—among them is sober curious. Drinking has always been portrayed as the ultimate way to have fun. Conversely, abstaining, or not drinking, is seen as a tacit indication that you struggle with alcoholism, which is stigmatized, or that you are a virtue-signaling person who does not know how to have a good time.

However, recently, a shift has taken place—having it all, without alcohol. People who drink less or do not drink at all are no longer stigmatized. They can freely broadcast their abstinence with pride, even on social media. Nowadays, the sight of someone sipping an alcohol-free beverage or deliberately hanging out in a non-alcohol environment can simply mean that he or she does not see alcohol as all there is to enjoying life. Chances are, the person could be considered sober curious.

What Does It Mean to Be Sober Curious?

During recent years, wellness has become popular, with sobriety being like a cherry on top of the sundae. People have come to realize that they can eat healthy, meditate, workout, and pursue other activities that pertain to self-care—but none of it matters if they spend their days filling their bodies with drugs or alcohol.

A night of heavy drinking is likely to leave your head throbbing with regrets for several days. Throughout that time, you are less likely to attend to your wellness or be productive in any way. Of course, that is not how most people prefer to live; almost everyone would rather be energized, happy, and rational. Achieving that is possible—if you stay alcohol-free. More and more people are recognizing that alcohol keeps them from living the way they want to. Therefore, out goes alcohol. Others sense that their drinking is becoming hurtful and unhealthy due to hangovers and other concerns about the consequences of such behavior. This presents a clear choice: stop drinking and enjoy healthy changes or continue drinking and suffer from deteriorating health.

People in the unofficial sober-curious cohort don’t necessarily consider themselves non-drinkers. More accurately, they are making a choice not to drink, maybe for some time, to experience how life minus alcohol feel. A dry or sober month can lead to a permanent decision to remain sober and live an alcohol-free life, while some people pick up their drinking habits right where they left off and other folks drink more modestly from then on.

Research has shown that people who stayed alcohol-free for a "Dry January" reduced their drinking during the next six months. The sober-curious approach is more than just stopping because you must—the approach also means being curious about what would happen if you gave up this common vice.

It is important to note the profound distinction between alcoholism and heavy drinking. For those with compulsive drinking patterns, being sober curious may not work. Instead, they need to accept that even a little bit of alcohol is too much and that it can lead to loss of control and other consequences.

Understanding the effects of alcohol on health, emotions, and culture can help people refine their choices. Such people might include those who have accepted that any amount of alcohol is too much, those who want to socialize without booze, or those who want to have a "Sober January." A culture of wellness is overall positive. It can help people live happy and productive lives with or without alcohol.

The Sober-Curious Movement

The sober-curious movement is meant to challenge the message that has been portrayed and believed for decades: that alcohol is the way to celebrate life events, relax after work, or deal with emotional pain. The movement disputes the idea that drinking is cool and necessary. It scraps the notion that drinking makes you happier and more popular. It is against the conviction that adults need alcohol to spice up their good times. It is a relatively new movement, but not a small one. A Nielson study showed that almost 50% of U.S. adults are trying to limit their consumption of alcohol; 66% of millennials reported the same. According to 50% of survey respondents, the primary motivator is health.

Dr. John Leary, a doctor of chiropractic, choked up as he explained his new business at the preview event for Remedy Place. He said that he had helped many people regain function in their lives and that he opened Remedy Place to proactively take care of their bodies so that they do not end up with functional limitations. According to Dr. Leary, taking care of your body includes good nutrition, a blend of physical activities, and a good social life. This is where the sober-socializing part comes in.

Some people who decide to kick alcohol experience dwindling social lives as a result. They see their friends less often or attend fewer events because even if they can rock out during a night with no alcohol, it is not fun to be the only sober person around. Dr. Leary experienced this situation firsthand, which drove him to develop Remedy Place. He wanted to create a space that would allow those who do not drink to have the same opportunities as those who do. Other proponents of the sober-curious movement include

  • Dr. Warrington, author of Sober Curious;
  • Laura McKowen, a blogger who shares her experiences about recovering from alcoholism;
  • Sophie, who is behind the Instagram sobriety-meme account known for its dark humor concerning alcohol; and
  • Dr. Carrie Wilkens, cofounder of the Center for Motivation and Change in New York.
  • The sober-curious movement is not an alternative for seeking medical help. Instead, members promote critical thinking among casual drinkers, urging them to consider or dismantle the calcified habits that make them reach for a drink any time they find an opportunity.

    No More Need to Explain Why You Do Not Drink

    Many people can relate to the ordeal of facing judgmental questions about why they do not drink. When someone orders a fruit juice or soda at a bar or social club, puzzled looks and inquiries tend to follow. Interrogations often include challenges such as, "What do you mean you don’t drink?" "Are you on antibiotics?" "Are you pregnant?" "So you want to be healthier?" and many more.

    Because of the sober-curious movement and its proponents, perceptions about sobriety have been evolving. Sober social scenes are increasingly common, and "mocktails" with as much creative variation as cocktails are readily available. At social-wellness clubs or sober bars, there is no need for explanation. You will be among likeminded people who do not find it strange that you do not drink. These environments are safe places to socialize among happily sober people.

    The benefits of mindful drinking are numerous. Among them are losing weight; having flawless skin; saving money; being strong and energetic; delivering on work and other responsibilities; and, best of all, reclaiming your time. Although drinking may feel fun, you are not fully there to enjoy the moment, because being drunk steals your sanity, too.

    So if you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol reach out and call Addiction Helpline America today at (844) 561-0606. Every call is 100% confidential and open 24/7 to help anyone that has any questions or concerns.

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