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SaveHealth & Wellness A Beginner’s Guide to Sober Curiosity

A Beginner’s Guide to Sober Curiosity

Have you heard about the sober curious movement? If so, you’re probably curious about it! Here’s a guide to show you what it means and how to take part!

A Beginner’s Guide to Sober Curiosity

Have you heard about the sober curious movement? If so, you’re probably curious about what sober curiosity is all about — and we’ve got the scoop! In a nutshell, it’s a new health trend that focuses on avoiding alcohol for physical and mental health reasons — but it goes a lot deeper than that. We’re going to explore what sober curiosity means, and why it’s getting so much attention.

The basics: What does it mean to be sober curious?

As mentioned, sober curiosity means abstaining from alcohol to lead a physically and mentally healthier lifestyle. It’s not to be confused with quitting alcohol to remedy a substance abuse problem. A person who is “sober curious” doesn’t have a substance abuse problem, but they do enjoy drinks on occasion — and they’re curious how their lives might improve if they cut out those occasional drinks.

With that, sober curious people may not intend to cut out drinking from their lives entirely — just limit the amount of alcohol they drink. It all depends on the person. Some might cut alcohol completely, some might save it for special occasions, and others might cut down from a weekly drink to a monthly drink. You do you — that’s what it’s all about!

How did sober curiosity get started?

This is actually a trend that has been around for a while, even if it has evolved somewhat over the past few years. Most of us are no stranger to dry month challenges — like Sober October or Dry January, where people vow to give up drinking for the month.

Sober curiosity comes from events like that. For some people, drinking is a socially accepted way to deal with life’s problems. Feeling stressed out? Hit up the bar. Going through a breakup? Go out for a night on the town. For these people, sober curiosity might be about cutting back and saving drinks for happy occasions. In other words, they're not drinking to feel better — only to feel even better.

Even though most people don’t consider themselves to be alcoholics because they don’t find themselves craving or relying on alcohol, many may still take a look around at all the social events and other reasons to drink — and realize that maybe it’s time to curtail it some.

The sober curious are the ones who are taking a step back from drinking while socializing, celebrating, or relaxing — and instead of doing Dry January, they’re finding new approaches to help them cut back.

And what’s in a name? The “sober curious” term actually comes from the sober curious book: Sober Curious: The Blissful Sleep, Greater Focus, Limitless Presence, and Deep Connection Awaiting Us All on the Other Side of Alcohol by Ruby Warrington. In her book, she talks about social drinking — and how to cut down on alcohol consumption to reap various health benefits.

So what are the benefits of being sober curious?

Drinking is viewed by many as a harmless activity so long as it doesn’t become an addiction — but that’s kind of a misnomer. Alcohol can negatively impact both your physical and mental well-being, even without substance abuse problems.

At the minimum, you’ll enjoy not having to recover from hangovers (ugh, who needs them?), but some of the other benefits include:

  • Improved sleep quality
  • Improved concentration
  • Better immunity against illnesses
  • Less risk of anxiety or depression.

And that’s not to mention the fact that heavy drinking can lead to addiction, serious mood and behavior changes, liver disease, and cancer.

Tips to get started if you’re feeling sober curious

Ready to try out sober curiosity? Remember, the focus isn’t necessarily on eliminating alcohol entirely, but rather, on changing your relationship with it so that you drink less overall. Here are some ideas to help you get started:

  • Make a game plan. Figure out how much you drink now—and how much of that you’d like to cut.
  • Change up your social circle. In many groups, choosing not to drink at every social function makes you the outlier—and you could experience peer pressure because of it. Find a crowd of alcohol-free people so that you don’t feel excluded.
  • Try new hobbies. Some hobbies feature drinking as part of the tradition—like enjoying a six-pack while watching a football game. If you find it difficult to separate the drinking from the activity, take up new activities that don’t have drinking associated with them.
  • Cut back rather than quit entirely. Out at the bar with friends? If you’d normally have three drinks on bar night, make it a goal to only have one instead.

Drinking is a major part of our culture—so much so that as of this 2019 study, 85.6% of people aged 18 and over reported trying it at least once, while 54.9% of people reported drinking within the last month. That can make it challenging to cut back—but if it feels like the right choice for you, then try it! You’ll enjoy quite a few health benefits (plus you’ll save money on fewer drinks!).

Speaking of saving, make sure to save on the things you’ll need to give sober curiosity a try!

If you’re thinking of checking out some new hobbies or taking up a new activity as part of your alcohol moderation plan, be sure to check your weekly Save mailer for coupons and deals on the supplies you’ll need!