For the last few months, I have been considering becoming teetotal. But it’s only in the last few weeks I have made a concerted effort not to drink (not always succeeding!) and become truly ‘sober curious’. Up until then, I thought being sober curious, was as it sounded, being curious about becoming sober.
Unlike becoming sober as a result of a dependence on, or addiction to alcohol, sober curiosity is actually having the option to change your drinking habits for health-focused reasons (mental and/or physical). The sober curious movement encourages you to look at the often-unhealthy habits that are associated with alcohol. To have curiosity about the reasons behind your desire to drink and how alcohol affects your life.
Alcohol is obviously not a dangerous problem for me, I do not need to become ‘sober’. However, the more I cut back the more I notice just how much it affects my mental health and my sleep especially. If you want/need to make a serious lifestyle change – the sober curious movement recognises that. It also helps to break the stigmas that have long been associated with sobriety.
What I have noticed is the longer I go without, the less I enjoy the few times I do partake. I’m also very all or nothing, not good at the in-between. So sober curious gives me the option to cut out alcohol for as long as I desire, without the guilt if I do partake occasionally, or after lengthy abstinence.
Sobriety is interesting to look at. Whilst trying to quickly process in my head (not my forte!) then I can’t really see any real disadvantages as such:
- Save money – It definitely saves money, not only from no longer buying the alcohol but also from those purchases made online after one too many. We all do it, right?!
- Physical health – Cutting out alcohol has a positive effect on not only your liver but other organs too. You may also lose weight, especially around the belly/tummy area. It also contributes to a much better night’s sleep.
- Mental health – We know that alcohol is a depressant. So while it might initially make you feel good, it doesn’t last. I definitely find I can control my symptoms and mood much better without a drink. I’m also much more motivated too.
- Memory – Alcohol affects memory and the ability to remember things. I have enough problems with my memory as it is!
- Hangover – No more hangovers! Admittedly I didn’t really get many anymore, but even the dull, tired feeling the next day. I certainly won’t miss that.
- Driving – No more taxis! No having to go and pick the car up the next morning. It also means if one of the boys needs picking up late then I can go get them (maybe that’s a disadvantage?)
- Taste – I always enjoy the taste of what I drink, and thought that was what I would miss. But actually, the non-alcoholic versions now are so good that I can’t argue taste anymore. I’ve also noticed the longer you go without, the more you notice you don’t miss.
After that, I was a bit stumped really. Would love to know if you can think of any actual disadvantages?!
Verywell Mind notes: ‘As plant-based diets, yoga, and mindfulness rise in popularity, so will sober curiosity. Often referred to as “generation sober,” the millennial generation has embraced the sober curious culture and has actually made sobriety more culturally acceptable.’
Points to note
- Alcohol overuse is linked to mental health problems, liver disease, seven forms of cancer, and more.
- 24% of adults in England and Scotland regularly drink over the recommended guidelines.
- Alcohol misuse is the biggest risk factor for death, ill-health, and disability among 15-49 year-olds in the UK.
For me, the older get, the more I want to live my best life. There are so many things going on for me right now and I know that alcohol is not helping. So surely it makes complete sense to not drink. I do find it funny that it still carries such a stigma in our generation. That not drinking is frowned upon and questioned as strange. I think I was probably exactly the same up until recently.
I guess if I’m honest, I worry I won’t be as likeable without a drink, I won’t be as much fun. But maybe it’s more about learning who I really am and being happy and comfortable with that. If others don’t like it, then that’s their issue. So let’s see how this goes, I’m excited (and a little scared) for the change.
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