Being sober and mindful of our drinking habits have not always been popular. Alcohol is a huge part of our culture, and we often incorporate it into a wide range of occasions, from sporting events and weddings to casual gatherings with friends.
If you’ve been thinking about exploring life with less or no alcohol, then welcome to the sober curious movement. But what does being sober curious look like, and how can you practice being a mindful drinker? Read on as we dive into everything you need to know about being sober curious.
Exploring The Sober Curious Movement
For many of us, we were first introduced to heavy drinking during high school or college years. As we grow older, our connection with alcohol often remains shaped by those early drinking experiences.
In recent years, as people become more health conscious, there is an increasing number of individuals, particularly younger generations like Gen Z, expressing a desire to either quit drinking or cut down on their alcohol intake.
This trend has led to the sober curious movement, where attitudes towards alcohol are changing, and mindful drinking is encouraged.
What’s Sober Curious?
The name hints at what it is, and sober curious is about exploring the relationship you have with alcohol and trying life without alcohol, even if you are not ready to fully commit to it. Being sober curious encourages mindful drinking rather than abstinence, and it is a great first step if you have been thinking about cutting down on your drinking!
Health Benefits Of Being Sober Curious
Drinking alcohol regularly and for a long time can seriously affect your health, causing stuff like liver problems, heart disease, diabetes, and lead to depression and anxiety. But the good news is cutting back or quitting booze can help improve your health and lower the chances of getting these alcohol-related issues. You will experience better sleep quality, increased clarity and feel healthier and more in control!
The Difference Between Sober Curious and Sobriety
While both have the words sober in them, sobriety involves giving up alcohol completely while you can still drink occasionally when you’re sober curious.
Many people drink alcohol throughout their lives without ever pausing to evaluate why they even drink. The sober curious movement encourages you to think about your relationship with alcohol and how it makes you feel. Being sober curious makes you more mindful and intentional with alcohol and your drinking habits.
Being sober curious does not necessarily lead to sobriety, although some people may give up alcohol completely. When I became sober curious and started reducing my reliance on alcohol, I ended up swapping most of my alcohol for non-alcoholic drinks. I still drink alcohol, although it has become a rare occasion.
There is a caveat to being sober curious though. Sober curious and mindful drinking is not suitable if you or your family has a history of alcoholism. If you struggle with an addiction to alcohol, you’ll require more comprehensive support than simply altering the quantity or frequency of your drinking.
What Are the Rules of Being Sober Curious?
There aren’t any fixed rules around being sober curious because it is a personal journey and choice. Some people choose to reduce or eliminate alcohol for a week, some for a month, and some for a longer or shorter period.
You don’t even have to specify a particular time frame; you can simply commit to doing it “indefinitely.” The goal is to explore how a sober or moderate lifestyle could align with your life.
How To Practice Being Sober Curious
Set Your Intentions
The first thing you’ll want to do is start with knowing your current drinking habits and setting your intentions for being sober curious, like:
- How many times do you drink a day/week/month?
- Why do you drink? Is it because of the taste, a habit, or because others are drinking?
- Why are you trying to be sober curious?
- What do you hope to achieve by giving up or reducing alcohol?
Knowing your goals and intentions will help you stay committed whenever you feel like having an alcoholic drink.
Anticipate when you might need a drink
Next, you’ll want to stay one step ahead of yourself, and anticipate moments where you might crave a drink. Do you usually have a glass of wine before bed as a way to relax? Do you do weekend beers with friends? Knowing when you drink out of habit or crave alcohol will help you mentally prepare for thoughts of wanting a drink.
Prepare non-alcoholic drink alternatives
Besides mentally preparing yourself for wanting alcohol, you can also have drink alternatives ready. Non-alcoholic beers, wines, and spirits are great drink alternatives because they are similar to the originals but don’t have the booze.
Have a plan
Plan out how you intend on practising sober curiosity. Will you give up alcohol entirely for a period of time, or will you pick a certain day a week to go sober? Will you gradually reduce alcohol or give it up right from the start? You might want to also have a plan on how you plan to navigate situations where alcohol is present, and you might feel pressured to drink.
If you enjoy reading, sober curious books and Quit Lit can offer a glimpse into the potential of a life free from alcohol and provide strategies for sustaining it. From personal memoirs to scientific facts, our list of the best sober curious books can help you stay motivated and inspired.
How To Have Fun While Sober
Society has made us believe that we can’t have fun without alcohol, and that’s so far from the truth! There are many ways you can still have fun while being sober, and it just requires a mindset shift of what you would normally consider as “fun.”
Here are some things you can do to have fun while sober:
- Swap your alcoholic drinks for non-alcoholic drinks: Giving up alcohol does not mean you have to give up the taste of beer or wine. Non-alcoholic beers and wines have made significant advancements in taste and variety in recent years.
- Create your own alcohol-free party: Creating your own alcohol-free party is a fun way to involve your friends in the sober curious movement.
- Seek out alcohol-free events and spaces: The rise in the sober curious movement has also introduced more alcohol-free events. From music events to sober bars, there are plenty of fun things to do without the presence of alcohol.
As sober and sober curious people, we know it is not always easy to have fun when you are out with friends who are drinking. Everyone is tipsy or drunk, while you’re sober and looking at them having a blast.
That has been our experience with our friends, and we have found that it becomes easier if we pre-empt ourselves on what to expect on a night out and knowing in advance if the bars have non-alcoholic drink options.
Sober Curiosity Is More Than a Trend
Is being sober curious and the sober curious movement just another heath fad? I don’t think so, especially when we consider the increasing sales of non-alcoholic drinks and the shifting attitudes toward alcohol.
Each year, more people are taking part in Dry January or Sober October. Supermarkets, restaurants, and pubs now offer a wider selection of non-alcoholic beers and wines than ever before. Rather than being a trend, I think sober curiosity is only in its early stages.