Beyond Dry January: What It Means To Be Sober Curious
Do you ever wonder what life would be like without alcohol? You might be tired of using it to overcome social anxiety. Or questioning why it’s present at every single event. You’re not alone in wondering if giving up drinking might have a positive impact on you.
The “sober curious” movement has gained popularity. It tends to mean that you’ve chosen to be more mindful about the decision to drink. Or that you are actively choosing to avoid drinking for personal or health reasons.
In a culture that promotes drinking, it can be a slippery slope into bad habits. Though not everyone struggles with alcohol, it can still cause some problems. You don’t necessarily have to be at rock bottom to make a serious health and lifestyle change.
Sober curiosity isn’t brand new. Sober challenges like Dry January and Sober October have encouraged people to examine or abstain from alcohol use. The term “sober curious” was coined by author Ruby Warrington. In her writings, she outlines some patterns and behaviors that might sound familiar. You drink socially but don’t depend on alcohol. Your drinking doesn’t turn harmful or dangerous. Maybe you’ve never even experienced a real low, but you still have doubts.
Maybe you realize you just don’t really like drinking! This curiosity isn’t uncommon. The movement helps validate your questions and concerns around alcohol use. Try to connect with similar people who may take a more mindful approach to drinking.
Alcohol is considered legal and mostly safe, but it comes with warnings. Drinking frequently or in excess can have health effects like:
- Feeling unwell
- Trouble sleeping
- Difficulty concentrating
- Feelings of anxiety and depression
- Increased risk for liver disease, cancer and alcohol use disorder
One month without drinking may help lower blood pressure and the risk for alcohol-related diseases.
Alcohol use isn’t black and white. It’s important to understand your specific relationship with it. Short-term or long-term, sober curiosity can help promote healthy lifestyle changes with more mindful drinking habits.
Your mental and physical health is important. You can get ongoing support for depression, substance use disorder, grief and more through behavioral health services.