The #SOBERCURIOUS Movement: Are You Ready to Give Drinking A Break?
The Sober Curious movement is one of the latest social media health trends – like Dry July and Sober October – and its accompanying hashtag #sobercurious is growing in popularity by the day. The cornerstone of the #sobercurious movement is the idea that exploring sobriety is not simply for those with a debilitating problem with alcohol. Instead, the movement encourages anyone and everyone to question their drinking habits – without necessarily going completely off the booze, and without necessarily having a life-threatening drinking problem to begin with.
What is the Sober Curious movement?
The term ‘Sober Curious’ was first coined by author Ruby Warrington in 2015. Warrington first blogged using the term, before releasing a book titled Sober Curious in 2018. Her definition of Sober Curious is as follows:
“My definition of what it means to be sober curious is to literally question every impulse, every invitation or every expectation to drink, whether it’s on your behalf or in the eyes of others, rather than just go along with the dominant drinking culture. And so, based on that description, I have been sober curious for about eight or nine years now – really just bringing this questioning mindset to all the different situations I’ve found myself expected to drink.”
As Warrington makes clear, the #sobercurious movement is not about giving up the booze, cold-turkey, for good. (Although it might mean just that, for many.) For this reason, it has the potential to help millions make a positive change in their lives without the ‘all or nothing’ approach that puts many people off becoming sober.
Curiosity versus complete sobriety
The idea of giving up alcohol completely is unthinkable for many of us, and Australia’s strong drinking culture contributes to this. Furthermore, those of us without a ‘drinking problem’ which has resulted in serious consequences to health or lifestyle are unlikely to consider our relationship with alcohol troubling enough to face sobriety. The #sobercurious movement offers a middle ground for those who’ve perhaps questioned their relationship with alcohol in the past, but aren’t sure that sobriety is for them.
Making the somewhat intimidating decision to ‘go sober’ is difficult for many reasons. For starters, much of our social and working lives revolve around drinking. From after-work drinks and work functions to the humble Sunday BBQ – drinking plays a key role in many of our group activities. The choice to abstain from alcohol is often met with snide comments like “Why? You’re not an alcoholic!” or the assumption that you must ‘have a problem’. Despite best intentions, friends and family can be one of the major reasons that a decision to re-examine our relationship with alcohol can be so difficult.
Being #sobercurious gives us an opportunity to question our drinking habits without making a life-long commitment to abstaining from alcohol.
Is #sobercurious for me?
Whether or not you consider yourself to have a problem with alcohol, the #sobercurious movement could help you to make a real positive change in your life. Giving up or reducing the amount of alcohol we consume can have a number of great benefits, including:
- Weight loss: Alcohol consumption is a leading contributor to obesity and the hidden sugars can derail your healthy eating efforts. (Read our article The Hidden Enemy of Your Health for more!)
- Overall health: Reducing or removing alcohol from your life can mean increased liver health, better skin, reduced blood sugar levels (and reduced risk of diabetes) and more.
- Better mental health: Alcohol is a depressant and can have negative effects on mental health such as enhancing the effects of anxiety and depression.
- Motivation: Not waking up hungover on the weekends means having greater motivation and being able to better enjoy the days by doing things that make us feel great (getting outside, going for a walk, hitting the gym, or going out for brunch with friends, etc.).
- Financial benefits: Alcohol often accounts for a significant portion of our spending. Cutting down on the booze is a great way to save money and put it to better use.
How to be #sobercurious
Luckily, the increasingly popular #sobercurious movement means there is plenty of support and advice out there on how to best tackle it. Here are some of the top tips we’ve picked up from the #sobercurious community online.
- Know how to talk about your choice
If you’re concerned about the reaction from loved ones and those at work, being prepared with some explanations can help. You might choose to say “I’m sober curious, which means I’m exploring what it feels like to drink less” or “I don’t like the way I feel the next day after drinking, so I’m giving it a miss every now and then”. Of course, you shouldn’t need to explain your choice to drink less (or not at all) but knowing how you’d like to explain your choice can make it that much easier to stick to.
- Know your alternatives
‘Going out for drinks’ is an Aussie pastime which is hard to avoid, and the non-alcoholic options can sometimes seem few and far between. Be prepared for social gatherings by having some go-to favourites which are likely to be available at most venues. For example, a soda with lime, a mocktail, or a non-alcoholic beer/wine.
- Set yourself a limit
If giving up the booze entirely doesn’t appeal to you, or seems to difficult, try setting yourself a limit before you head out. A great way to do this is to have the waiter or bartender fill your wine glass with water after you’ve had your one or two glasses of wine. This way, you’re still drinking from a wine glass (and less likely to experience raised eyebrows from your friends and family). You’d be surprised how quickly you forget you’re drinking water – and you’ll thank yourself the next day!
If reducing or removing alcohol from your life is something you’re curious about, getting some help from a counsellor or a life coach can be a great way to enhance your chances of success and realise the full potential that this decision could have for your life. Reach out today, to find out more about being #sobercurious and how it could change your life for the better.