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What Does It Mean to Be Sober Curious?

Sober CuriousIf you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to live without alcohol, you’re sober curious. Whether you’re questioning why alcohol is everywhere and at every event, why people drink so much, or why so many people, perhaps even yourself, seem to have an all-or-nothing approach to drinking, sober curious is an approach that might work for you.

The basic premise is that you don’t have to quit alcohol to improve your approach to it. As someone who is sober curious, you question your approach to alcohol, you decide if you want to be sober in the moment or not, and you use judgement based on the situation rather than social pressure to make the decision for you, in that moment. You don’t have to quit alcohol to be sober curious. Instead, you have to approach your usage of alcohol mindfully.

If that sounds like something that might be interesting, keep reading.

Everyone Drinks, So I Should Too?

Today, an estimated 65% of the U.S. population over the age of 21 drinks. If you drop the age to 18, that drops to just 64%. Most people drink. And, if you raise it to people who sometimes drink socially, that number goes up to 85%. Often you show up at parties or social events and there’s nothing to do but drink. Sure, there are the occasional party games, but most rely on drunken camaraderie to even be fun. And, drinks for anyone not looking for alcohol can be as simplistic as an option of coke or diet coke. Everyone drinks, so you should too? Right? Questioning that premise is a large part of what being sober curious is about.

  • Do I want to drink right now?
  • Do I feel like having alcohol? Would I prefer a beverage without alcohol?
  • Do I have fun getting drunk? What if I just have one drink?
  • Are my friends fun when they are drunk? What if I’m sober at the same time?

Normally, people don’t ask any of these questions before drinking. They show up at an event, people are drinking, so they join in. But, you don’t have to. People might pressure you to drink if you’re not, but if they are, they’re not good friends.

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Taking a Break from Alcohol

a young man taking a break, floating in the oceanSober curious can also mean “trying out” sobriety, with the intention of it not being permanent. For example, many people use “Dry January” to experiment with sober curiosity. However, if you really want to try out being sober, you have to skip drinking for 3-6 months or even longer. Taking 6 months to a year to commit to not drinking will show you what you and your brain are like without alcohol. And, making the period that long will give you very good insight into how alcohol affects your judgement and whether or not you actually struggle with not drinking. If you don’t set a defined period and go for “I will stop drinking for a bit”, you’ll only get some of the insight.

  • Committing to staying sober for a period of 6-12 months means you’ll have to stay sober for that period and if you don’t, you’re likely struggling with alcohol use.
  • It takes 6+ months for most brains to recover from the effects of alcohol usage. This means you’ll be able to make the decision to continue staying sober or to start drinking again from a fresh slate of as recovered as you will be without spending 2 years sober.
  • Setting a defined period means you can check in with friends, you can join others in trying out sobriety, and you’ll have guidelines to your sobriety

Trying out being sober can be a great call if you find that you drink more or more often than you’d like. For example, if you drink every time you go out, drink to the point of blacking out, or frequently drink more than is recommended, trying out being sober may be a great call.

Intentionally Sober Outings

Sober curious is a concept that gives you the opportunity to experience events and meetups with a clear mind. For example, “Sober Curious” is a trend on Tinder because it allows people to experience a first date with a clear mind. Committing to not drinking for the first few days means you get to experience each other sober, to make sober judgement calls, and to experience each other without the euphoria caused by alcohol. That can be important for dating. But, it can also impact other types of social events. For example, you may want to intentionally decide to experience a work event with a clear mind. You may decide to do the same at a social event like a fundraiser or an auction or a wedding. Intentionally choosing to stay sober means you want to experience this event without alcohol, whether for the memories, the experience, or for your capability to contribute to that event.

Sober Curious is a term that comes from the 2018 book by Ruby Warrington, “Sober Curious: The Blissful Sleep, Greater Focus, Limitless Presence, and Deep Connection Awaiting Us All on the Other Side of Alcohol”. Her definition of sober curious was trying out sobriety with the intention of eventually being sober. That’s a very good approach. However, you don’t have to intend to or ever quit alcohol to be sober curious. You may simply want to know what it’s like, how it affects your life, how it changes your social outings, how it affects how you feel on the weekends, if it changes your sleep and your health, etc. Sober curious is about curiosity and wondering what being sober would be like.

And, once you’re curious, you should be able to try out being sober without pressure, without expectations, and while being able to set guidelines, goals, and expectations for yourself. And, even if you find out that life really is better sober, you don’t have to keep drinking completely. Cutting back to almost sobriety can be a great compromise. Drinking one or two drinks on the weekends is also a great approach. Plus, full sobriety can be as interesting as drinking – because there are plenty of interesting beverages you can try that don’t have alcohol.

If you’re sober curious, go ahead and try out what it’s like to not drink.

If you or your loved-one struggles from alcoholism or other substance abuse please contact us today and speak with one of our experienced and professional intake advisors about our detox, partial hospitalization, and residential treatment programs. 10 Acre Ranch also has specialty tracks like our pet friendly drug rehab and couples substance abuse treatment programs. We’re here to help you recover.