Alcohol consumption is on the rise, with some statistics showing that excessive drinking has risen by 21% since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Even if you don’t struggle with alcoholism, drinking beyond moderated amounts can result in serious consequences.
The ‘sober curious’ movement refers to how people examine their relationship with alcohol. Subsequently, being curious about why you drink and how you drink may help you be more intentional with your choices.
What Does It Mean to Be ‘Sober Curious?’
Ruby Warrington, a pioneer in radical sobriety, used the term ‘sober curious’ in her 2018 book. Her book discusses the many myths associated with drinking, and it has since inspired people to explore what alcohol means to them and how it has impacted their lives.
Embracing sober curiosity doesn’t always entail quitting drinking. However, it does require being mindful and aware of how you consume alcohol. In many cases, sober curious people significantly cut back or stop drinking altogether.
While some people may criticize this movement as a fad, it’s not. People have always challenged their motives behind compulsive or concerning habits. We’ve all heard of popular activities like ‘Sober January’ or ‘No Drinking November.’ We now simply have a definitive name labeling how people might perceive their drinking.
What Are the Benefits of Being ‘Sober Curious?’
Even if you don’t think you have a serious drinking problem, exploring your relationship with alcohol can help you live a more meaningful, healthier life. And if you do have concerns about drinking, engaging in sober curiosity may be the first step towards changing your behavior.
Alcohol use often exists on a wide spectrum. Not everyone who drinks has a significant problem. Subsequently, recovery doesn’t always mean full abstinence. Life often exists in a complex gray area, and it’s important to consider alcohol’s role in your life.
Being sober curious usually means taking a break from alcohol. This break isn’t numerically defined- it’s your choice to decide what seems best to you. During that break, you simply observe how you feel. You notice what feels different or uncomfortable. At the same time, you also notice what feels better or healthier.
Many people find that they have been using alcohol as a crutch. They become more aware of how alcohol “fills” different voids, and they start discovering new ways to take care of themselves.
What if You Have a Serious Alcohol Use Disorder?
Cutting or quitting drinking altogether can yield numerous benefits for your physical and emotional well-being. But if you struggle with a severe addiction, going at this alone may be dangerous.
It is possible to experience intense side effects when detoxing from alcohol. In serious cases, withdrawal can result in death. If you’re concerned about this possibility, it’s important to reach out for professional medical support.
Likewise, quitting on your own may not be possible (and chances are, you’ve probably tried!). This is because recovery is challenging, and doing the work represents an ongoing, proactive process. If you can’t stop drinking on your own, it’s also worth seeking help.