Sober Curious Living

If you like waking up well rested and clear-minded and hangover free, and you do not like having to worry about getting a designated driver or an uber because you had a couple cocktails at a party, then perhaps you are part of the wellness minded, sober curious lifestyle trend.

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  • Specializes in Telehealth Nurse Manager, Health Content Writer. Has 40 years experience.

If you like waking up well-rested and clear-minded and hangover free, and you do not like having to worry about getting a designated driver or an uber because you had a couple of cocktails at a party, then perhaps you are part of the wellness-minded, sober curious lifestyle trend popular amongst millennials. This does not mean you never have an occasional cocktail; it means you decide when you will, and in the meantime, you want mocktail options.

The sober curious lifestyle boom has caused a decrease in alcoholic drink purchases; globally, 40% of consumers want healthier options, forcing those in alcohol-related sales industries to offer creative non-alcoholic options if they want to maintain their bottom line. With the market for non-alcoholic drink options doubling in 2022, brands like Heineken, Budweiser, and Guinness have joined O'Doul's by offering non-alcoholic options. Big business industry markets expect the non-alcohol spirits and beer industry to exceed $25 billion (about $77 per person in the US) by 2024.

Binging Versus Alcoholism

Current research indicates that nine out of ten who drink too much alcohol are not necessarily alcoholics or alcohol-dependent. Meeting binge-level drinking for females means drinking four or more drinks at a party, or five or more for males, which over the course of a six-hour event would be easy to do. Alcoholics intensely crave alcohol and consume it excessively unless in recovery. The dependence an alcoholic has on alcohol supersedes any problems the consumption causes them in their lives.

The sober curious worry not about becoming alcoholics but have an awareness of the interfering short-term effects of a hangover, skip the gym workout, forced to get up with their early-rising children when they would much prefer three or more hours of sleep. Additionally, the long-term effects that regular drinking can cause, such as liver disease, heart disease, and cancers cannot be dismissed. Moreover, many people make bad decisions when they consume excessive alcohol, including driving under the influence, and getting into verbal/physical altercations; clearly not worth it.

Sober Curious Culture

Author of Sober Curious: The Blissful Sleep, Greater Focus, Limitless Presence, and Deep Connection Awaiting Us All on the Other Side of Alcohol, Ruth Warrington notes: “[Being sober curious] means, literally, to choose to question, or get curious about, every impulse, invitation, and expectation to drink, versus mindlessly going along with the dominant drinking culture.” This creates an all-inclusive culture for people choosing one situation at a time, whether they will abstain or partake in alcohol consumption. Rather than worry about missing out on buzzed fun or what their friends think, the sober curious crowd demonstrates how sober fun is the healthier and wiser self-care option.

Research from the University of Hong Kong indicates abstinence from alcohol actually boosted mental health, especially in females. Alcohol makes depression and anxiety worse, so this makes perfect sense. Hence, people realize that numbing their feelings does not help their mental health; if anything, it makes it worse. Other benefits of sober curious living include better sleep, better cognitive function, weight loss, and higher energy levels.

Sober Curious Lifestyle Trends

The trend for a sober curious lifestyle has inspired the creation of an app called Loosid, giving both the sober curious and those in recovery a place to connect. The sober curious movement has led to the creation of sober bars and restaurants across the country. In fact, the demand for non-alcoholic mocktails, beer, and wine has led to the development of better non-alcohol ingredients. But don't expect to pay a lot less for mocktails than you would a traditional alcohol-laced cocktail, but at least you won't feel sick the next day. Now that's something to celebrate. Cheers!  


References/Resources

"Sober curious" Americans are reshaping nightlife: "I actually have more fun without alcohol": CBS News

Most People Who Drink Excessively Are Not Alcohol Dependent: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

LOOSID

Giving up alcohol may significantly boost mental health: Medical News Today

Non-alcoholic beverage trends in the US: Nielsen Consumer LLC

Welcome To The Rise Of A 'Sober Curious' Lifestyle: SCL Health

What Does It Mean to Be Sober Curious?: verywell mind

Sober curious? How to hit pause on drinking alcohol: Wellframe

Lori Brabant, MSN, RN, Telehealth Nurse Manager, Health Content Writer

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Kyrshamarks, BSN, RN

4 Articles; 626 Posts

Sober Curious?  millennials did not start this trend.  Responsible adults have been doing it for generations.  It's called being responsible and knowing when to drink or not to drink.  I can go to a bar and not drink alcohol.  I can just as easily drink water or soda or even club soda.

klone, MSN, RN

14,486 Posts

Specializes in OB-Gyn/Primary Care/Ambulatory Leadership. Has 17 years experience.

I take great issue to the use of "alcoholism" and "alcoholic" in this article. The accepted medical term is "alcohol use disorder" and encompasses a spectrum, of which "binge" drinking is a part (thus, there is no need to differentiate between "binge drinking" vs. "alcoholism" because both of them, as defined in this article, fall on the spectrum of disordered drinking and should be examined). 

If anyone here is someone who wishes to re-examine their relationship with alcohol (whether that is a desire to stop drinking entirely, or cut down/moderate, or wishes they could be a social drinker like a "normal" person), feel free to reach out to me via PM. I have a tool that is literally life-changing, and unfortunately, most of the general public or medical establishment is unaware of it and how successful it is. It is called the Sinclair Method. To get an idea of what it's about, I encourage you to watch the Claudia Christian TED Talk (available on YouTube) or read this article:

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2015/04/the-irrationality-of-alcoholics-anonymous/386255/

Tweety, BSN, RN

32,734 Posts

Specializes in Med-Surg, Trauma, Ortho, Neuro, Cardiac. Has 31 years experience.

I've haven't drank much my entire adult life.  I love not not drinking, being clear headed, never having to worry about getting arrested for drunk driving or paying for an Uber home from a party and never having a hangover.   I don't give it much thought so I can't say I'm "sober curious".  I just don't drink. 

 

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NRSKarenRN, BSN, RN

11 Articles; 17,702 Posts

Specializes in Vents, Telemetry, Home Care, Home infusion. Has 46 years experience.
Tweety said:

I've haven't drank much my entire adult life.  I love not not drinking, being clear headed, never having to worry about getting arrested for drunk driving or paying for an Uber home from a party and never having a hangover.   I don't give it much thought so I can't say I'm "sober curious".  I just don't drink.

Ditto..... use my saved monies for needlepoint canvas. Most of family is that way as ice tea or root beer is required beverage at family parties. My millennial son did attend bartender school..uses skills at his friends parties and is designated driver home.

JKL33

6,528 Posts

Tweety said:

I've haven't drank much my entire adult life.  I love not not drinking, being clear headed, never having to worry about getting arrested for drunk driving or paying for an Uber home from a party and never having a hangover.   I don't give it much thought so I can't say I'm "sober curious".  I just don't drink. 

 

Ditto. I don't not drink, I just couldn't care less about it and could live the rest of my life without having an alcoholic drink.

I think the idea of people feeling free/empowered to say no thanks for whatever their own personal reasons may be is a positive thing.

toomuchbaloney

10,246 Posts

Specializes in NICU, PICU, Transport, L&D, Hospice. Has 44 years experience.

I drank too much for a spell.  Now I don't drink at all.  I like this version of me better than the drinking version. 

HiddenAngels

864 Posts

Has 9 years experience.

I never paid it much mind "drinking" until I became a nurse and saw the bad effects of drinking and that it really is a disease.  I do drink sometimes not for any particular reason.  Mostly in summers at the beach or bday dinners with my friends.  I also buy wine for my friends bdays, I don't know if that's good or bad, they've never said anything about it.   The one thing I do know is that the people with "alcohol use disorder" probably never thought they were having a problem hence the reason I never give too much for drinking or drugs. 

 There are so many addictions out here, and so easy to get for free, I don't take anything for granted.  I find it better to just smile politely and say no thanks I'm good.  They won't care.