What Does it Mean To Be Sober Curious?

What Does it Mean To Be Sober Curious?

So you’ve heard the term "sober curious" thrown around lately and you're wondering what the buzz is about. Well, inquisitive humans, let us explain…

Being sober curious means exactly what it sounds like - being curious about sobriety. It's like being that kid in the candy store, except instead of candy, it's alcohol that you're questioning. You start to wonder what life would be like without the constant haze of hangovers and embarrassing dance moves. You start to question if there's more to socialising than just nursing a drink in your hand. You start to ponder if there's a way to have fun without waking up the next morning with a pounding headache and a vague sense of regret. That, my friend, is what it means to be sober curious.

What Does Sober Curious Mean?

Being sober curious is about exploring your relationship with alcohol; it doesn't necessarily mean you're that you are giving it up totally. It’s questioning whether alcohol is serving you or holding you back. It's about reevaluating your drinking habits, and maybe even experimenting with periods of sobriety to see how it feels. It's like going on a little vacation from alcohol, to see if you miss it or if life is actually better without it.

Baggage at an airport with an aeroplane taking off in the background

Being sober curious is not about being judgmental or holier-than-thou towards those who choose to indulge in a cocktail or two. It's about finding your own path and making choices that align with your values and desires. It's about being open-minded and willing to explore new possibilities. It's a journey into the unknown, a quest for clarity, and the desire to experience life without relying on liquid courage. So if you're feeling called, dive into the sober curious world with an open mind and see what wonders await you. Who knows? Maybe you'll find that being sober curious is the best decision you ever make.

Sober Curious vs Sobriety

When it comes to comparing sober curiosity and sobriety, it's worth noting that they don't have to be mutually exclusive. Sobriety usually means completely avoiding alcohol, while being sober curious allows for a more flexible and adventuresome approach. Sober curiosity is all about questioning and examining your relationship with alcohol, whereas sobriety is a more definitive commitment to a life without it. Both paths have their own merits, and it's up to each person to decide which one fits their goals and values the best. In a world where "wine o'clock" and "happy hour" have become synonymous with self-care, being sober curious is like crashing the party with a mocktail in hand. It's about redefining what it means to have fun and challenging the belief that alcohol is the key ingredient to a good time.

Graphic of one line of arrows splitting into two lines of arrows with a question mark at the junction where the line splits

The History of Sober Curious

The history of sober curious can be traced back to the late 2010s when the term was first coined. Author, Ruby Warrington popularised the term through her book in 2019, titled "Sober Curious: The Blissful Sleep, Greater Focus, Limitless Presence, and Deep Connection Awaiting Us All on the Other Side of Alcohol." Since then, it has gained momentum, with more people embracing the idea of questioning their relationship with alcohol. Research has shown that Gen Z are drinking 20% less than Millenials and have a nuanced understanding of how drinking impacts their health and that of people around them. It has become a cultural shift, with sober curious events, online communities, and social media hashtags providing support and inspiration for those on this journey of self-discovery.

The Rise of the Sober Curious Movement

The rise of the sober curious movement can be attributed to a growing awareness of the negative effects of alcohol and a desire for a more mindful and intentional approach to life. As people become more health-conscious and prioritise self-care, they are seeking alternatives to the traditional drinking culture. It has been found that 86% of Gen Z feel mental health is just as an important consideration as their physical health when considering drinking, and 41% of Gen Z associate alcohol with anxiety. Therefore, the sober curious movement offers a space for individuals to discover new ways to find joy and fulfilment without relying on substances and/or impacting their physical and mental health. It is a movement that celebrates choice, empowerment, and personal growth.

The Benefits of Being Sober Curious

A group of friends outdoors laughing together

The benefits of being ‘sober curious’ are pretty awesome. Like, seriously. First off, it's a chance to really get to know yourself and your relationship with alcohol. You start asking questions about your drinking habits and BAM! You discover hidden gems about yourself and realise other things that may be holding you back from living your best life; it’s the ultimate kickstarter for self-awareness and growth. And that's not all!

Other sober curious benefits include:

  • Being fully present in social situations
  • Cultivating stronger, deeper relationships
  • Increased focus, better sleep & enhanced productivity
  • Experiencing genuine moments of joy and fulfilment
  • Becoming aware of personal boundaries
  • Amplifying self-love and self-care
  • Improving physical health and wellbeing
  • Experiencing better mental health
  • Experiencing revived and alive weekends

All in all, being sober curious allows you to take control of your happiness and live a life that aligns with your true values and aspirations; while leaning into natural, ecstatic highs, without alcohol holding you back.

How To Get Started with Sober Curiosity

To get started, get playful. Allow yourself to feel excited about all the new possibilities and experiences on your sober curious horizon. Stop focusing on what you will miss out on and think about what you will gain! New experiences, deeper connections and ecstatic, natural highs are yours for the taking with sober events and mocktail making.

Text Instagram post by @happiestsober: This weekend, let's remember to focus on the joy of missing out. There's no better feeling then knowing I'm missing out on blackouts, regrets, cringey oversharing, embarrassing moments, expensive bar tabs, drunk dials, hangxiety, forgotten memories and "what happened last night?" texts. I wouldn't trade my hangover-free mornings and sober peace of mind for anything.

@happiestsober via Instagram

1. Create a Plan

Make a plan that suits you. Perhaps that’s setting a timeframe for your sober curious holiday. Whether it’s days, weeks or months, do what works for you. Maybe you can allow yourself one drinking weekend per month for the next three months. You may want to pack your weekends with new, exciting adventures or plan to attend some sober events. Plus, consider - is it a solo adventure or is a friend coming along for the ride? It can be super helpful to have someone hold you accountable when you feel yourself losing motivation; ask a trusted friend to remind you why you have chosen to play your pawns in the sober curious game and to help you remember what you will gain!

2. Connect With Other Sober Curious

Use your sober curious exploration to discover gems about yourself, and find the diamonds in others. You have chosen to adventure into a world of less chaos and more connection, so let that connection find you. Share your sober experiences and stories and embrace connecting with other non-drinkers at all kinds of events - even if there’s a bar, a non-drinker is never far! When you live on your own terms, you attract others who are doing the same.

3. Try New Hobbies

Your life has just infinitely expanded, night and day. Not only will you remember the whole of your night out, but you will also have the whole of your next day; this practically DOUBLES the length of your weekend. Book a mixture of new day and night hobbies and enjoy your newfound time. Perhaps it’s sober clubbing, early morning sea swimming, wild campouts, Sunday spa days, horse riding, rowing, cooking lessons or yoga classes. If you really want to live it up, squeeze every last juicy drop out of your weekend and book a mini getaway at the end of the month with all the money you have saved from cutting down on alcohol!

4. Cut Down Rather Than Out

If you’re still feeling unsure or overwhelmed, there’s a solution. Remember, being sober curious doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to cut out alcohol completely. Perhaps, try not drinking every other weekend, or drinking one pint, instead of seven. Don’t beat yourself up if you fall off the bandwagon, pick yourself up, brush yourself off and be willing to try again. Certain people, places and environments can make you want to drink more than others, become aware of these on your sober curious journey and ask yourself ‘Are these people, places and situations serving me?’ Get curious about your relationship with alcohol and the relationships you have with other people, places and situations in your life.

Best Sober Curious Podcasts, Books & Resources

Whether you’re simply flirting with the idea or want to explore the sober curious world with wide eyes, there are plenty of resources available to support you on your journey. From books and podcasts to online communities and support groups, you can find a wealth of information and inspiration to help you navigate this path.

  • Reframe App - Reframe the way you think and drink through this neuroscience-based, sober curious app.
  • FREE 30-Day Alcohol-Free Experiment - This 30-day challenge focuses on knowledge, emotion and action and changes the way you feel about drinking.
  • Happiest Sober Podcast with Madeline Campbell - Real-life stories featuring the highs, lows, challenges and tools to embrace a sober lifestyle. Honest episodes that embrace topics such as ‘Spilling the Tea on Sober Dating’ and ‘A Sober Tool For You: The Reverse Why.’
  • The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober by Catherine Gray - A witty journey into an alternative reality, documenting sober weddings, sex, social events and breakups.
  • Sober Socials - News, events and online/in-person community support for the sober curious. Find the perfect sober social for you including Self-Love Raves, SoBar Socials & Sober SunGay Lunches.

The Sober Curious Journey - Concluding Thoughts

In summary, embracing a sober curious lifestyle can be a transformative journey filled with self-discovery and personal growth. As the sober movement continues to rise, you can jump on the inquisitive bandwagon and enjoy dipping your toes in a life of clarity, whilst not banning yourself from alcohol completely. Start your sober curious action plan today and get excited about new possibilities, deep and meaningful connections and joy-filled experiences. Remember, you are not alone in this journey, and there are communities and individuals ready to offer guidance and understanding every step of the way.

If you are looking for super tasty alcoholic alternatives on your sober curious journey, you can find your style and explore our beginner's guide to non-alcoholic beer. Or if you are looking for a natural high, try our enhanced, functional beers and our non-alcoholic spirit liveners to bring you to life when you hit the wall in your night.

So, what are you most excited to gain from your sober curious experience?! We would love to hear from you! Comment below or connect with us on Instagram @drydrinker

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