The Sober Curious Movement

Alcohol is a deeply ingrained part of our culture that most people have been trained not to think much about unless they’ve hit a horror story rock bottom. The sober curious movement is a lifestyle that explores sobriety without the all-or-nothing commitment; you don’t have to be an alcoholic to be sober. The foundation of this lifestyle is a shift from mindlessly participating in drinking culture to a willingness to question your use of alcohol and the invitations and expectations to drink in your daily life.

Let’s dive into some of the guiding principles of this movement.

1. Triggers for Curiosity

Unlike the more dramatic rock bottom stories you’ll hear at an AA meeting, the triggers for exploring a sober curious lifestyle are more proactive and often rooted in health and wellness goals, from losing weight and improving sleep to managing mental health and overall well-being. Unlike traditional sobriety, the sober curious culture encourages a sober lifestyle but welcomes individuals who aren’t willing, ready, or planning to give up alcohol altogether.

2. Gain & Loss

Being sober curious is really about what you have to gain from abstinence vs. what you’re giving up, so it’s helpful to get clear on your goals and introduce a gratitude practice to keep what you’re gaining front and center. The sober curious lifestyle sits alongside other practices that support mindfulness, such as meditation, yoga, and journaling.

3. Consider it a Vacation

Being sober curious is temporary. You can experiment with sobriety by setting a time frame, which is how this movement started with “Dry January.” Some sober curious people will set aside recurring periods so that these breaks from alcohol are a part of their ongoing lifestyle.

4. Socialize Sober

One of the hardest parts for most people is navigating their social life without alcohol. You’ll be set up for success if you can seek out and plan some social time not centered around alcohol – for example, swapping happy hour for a hike with a friend or changing the venue for dinner with friends from a bar to the beach. Thankfully, there are more non-alcoholic beers, spirits, and mocktails than ever, making it fun to make it fun to try out new drinks and local spots without alcohol involved. Better Rhodes is an amazing resource for discovering NA beverages. Other favorites are Athletic Brewing, SPLASH Mixers paired with Seltzer, Seedlip Garden Spirits, and Noughty Dealcoholized Sparkling Rosé.

While almost anyone can benefit from a sober curious lifestyle, it is important to note that for heavy drinkers’ alcohol withdrawal can be fatal. Whenever you make significant lifestyle shifts, it’s always best to consult with your doctor so that you can do so safely. Curious to learn more?

Check out these books: Sober Curious, Mindful Drinking, Quit Like a Woman, The Sober Curious Reset, and Not Drinking Tonight.

Disclaimer: This is not medical advice, nor is the information in this article intended to treat, diagnose, prevent, or cure diseases. We recommend consulting your doctor before starting or changing any dietary, supplement, or health-related programs.

About the Author

Brooks Betts
Brooks Betts is a Connecticut-based lifestyle writer and mom to three children. Brooks spent 10 plus years creating content at leading magazine brands, including Real Simple, Food & Wine, and Travel and Leisure, as well as for women’s lifestyle brands Jane Iredale, PAIGE Denim, and Moroccanoil. Brooks writes for companies and personalities across various topics, including wellness, spirituality, beauty, and skincare. Brooks is also a certified Reiki practitioner, breathwork and meditation guide, and energy work enthusiast. When she’s not working, you can likely find Brooks enjoying the beach, meditating, playing tennis, or daydreaming at her favorite coffee shop.

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