There’s an amazing and surprising new trend amongst young people and really, people of all ages that is totally unexpected and is spreading like wildfire. Individuals who have been in recovery for many years may be surprised to learn more and more people now consider sobriety to be the cool thing to do. The sober curious movement is something that is taking the world by storm, and it isn’t showing any sign of slowing down.
People who identify as “sober curious” are not necessarily people in recovery themselves, nor are they people who have chosen to give up all drinking forever. This new label is a good one for people who either don’t drink simply because it doesn’t interest them, or drink alcohol so rarely that it almost isn’t even worth mentioning.
It seems that fewer and fewer people are drinking alcohol these days, and most alcohol buying and consumption trends seem to be sloping downward. People of all ages are drinking less beer for one thing, although it does seem that more cocktails and wine are being consumed. Young people, though – America’s future – appear to be drinking less alcohol overall across the board.
It seems like the sober curious movement is here to stay. But what is it, exactly, and how did it begin? How does one start? Where will it go from here?
What Does Sober Curious Mean?
The idea of being sober curious is not new, but it’s getting publicity for the first time. Author Ruby Warrington published a book about it last year. Aptly titled Sober Curious: The Blissful Sleep, Greater Focus, Limitless Presence, and Deep Connection Awaiting Us All on the Other Side of Alcohol, it defines, considers, and studies this concept. Warrington suddenly realized that she was drinking more frequently than she would like, and saw that much of the reason for this was due to work culture and social culture in general.
She came to the realization that she needed to cut back, but also began to understand that she didn’t actually even like drinking alcohol that much. The book examines drinking culture in the United States and whether its time to put it to bed. Warrington soon realized that she felt much better in the morning after an evening without alcohol consumption, and encouraged others to follow her lead. Many did, and do.
Being sober curious means that an individual recognizes that they don’t feel all that great when they drink alcohol, and that they feel better when they don’t. Maybe the person is not ready to quit drinking altogether, but wants to cut back and see how their life changes as a result. Perhaps he or she realizes that eating right, exercising, meditating, and sleeping well are important, but also realizes that consuming alcohol can negate so much of the benefits we’ve sought and gained from all of that.
After much thought and consideration, he or she sees that it is time for a change. The sober curious individual may not have a drinking problem; he or she may not be an alcoholic or alcohol dependent – but the person may just no longer enjoy it, may have a desire to overcome societal pressure, and may have a desire for improved overall health by removing alcohol from the equation.
Why is the Sober Curious Movement So Popular?
Individuals in recovery have known for years that human bodies function better when they are alcohol-free. It seems that more and more people are realizing this fact to be evident and true. The reasons for this are numerous. First of all, today there is much more research on the negative effects of alcohol than there was in the past. Alcohol consumption can cause heart problems, liver problems, pancreatic issues, immune system dysfunction, and nervous system problems, and some studies have even demonstrated a link between drinking and several types of cancer. Since people are paying more attention to their overall wellness and health today than ever before, the cards are stacked against alcohol.
People today are now seeing that they can get a better night’s sleep if they don’t drink the night before. They can feel better, get more done, and have more energy to face the demands of everyday life. All of these things lead to more and more people deciding to avoid alcohol, or at least to indulge less frequently.
Furthermore, the idea of being alcohol-free is becoming more accepted. Many social media influencers tout their sobriety or abstinence and the people they influence want to emulate them. Not long ago, it was expected that everyone would drink a company party or lunch meeting; today, that is less often the case. If people pass on a drink, it is no longer the social stigma it once was. Instead, it is more often respected and even celebrated.
How Does One Begin?
If you have friends who drink who want to cut back without quitting entirely, there are a number of suggestions you can offer them. First and foremost, the person should really take time to consider whether or not he or she wants to drink before ordering that first drink at a bar or restaurant, or pouring one at home or at a party. The person should ask himself or herself whether they actually want to drink, or if they are just drinking because it is expected, because of stress, or because everyone else is doing it.
As anyone in recovery will tell you, the best way to avoid drinking is to avoid places where drinking is happening. If someone is in the early stages of being sober curious, he or she may want to avoid bars and other places they visit frequently when they do plan to drink.
If someone is going to a bar or even for social reasons but doesn’t really want to drink, he or she should be encouraged to drink a glass of water first while getting settled in the space. After that, it will be easier to decide if the next drink should be alcoholic or non-alcoholic. Another alternative is to order mocktails instead of cocktails; a good bar with an experienced bartender should be able to whip up something tasty and alcohol-free on the spot without much struggle.
Try It, You’ll Like It
It seems that many people today are discovering the wonders of life without alcohol and it will be interesting to watch this trend grow and spread. Even if people do not give up alcohol completely, but choose to partake on occasion, they will be able to enjoy the majority of the benefits. Sober curious is here to stay, and it will surely improve the lives of all who give it a shot!
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