Medically Reviewed By Benjamin Caleb Williams, RNA licensed behavioral health or medical professional on The Recovery Village Editorial Team has analyzed and confirmed every statistic, study and medical claim on this page. Beverage marketers in this space should consider taking a page out of the plant-based meat playbook, which saw success by leaning into socially native formats and boundary-pushing campaigns. “Sober curious offers a flexibility to acknowledge your use of alcohol might not be healthy without the rigidity of an all-or-nothing approach,” says Peimer. Experts are also quick to point out that what matters even more than what you’re drinking is how much you’re drinking. Plenty of options for alcohol-free socializing and dating exist, of course. Many Americans will ring in the new year without the intoxicated antics of Andy Cohen and Anderson Cooper, continuing the sober-curious movement into 2023.
That timing, combined with the impact of social media trends and challenges, caused the movement to gain a lot of traction. Finally, the sober curious movement has gained quite the following on social media. And as more people and influencers have embraced the movement—and been willing to speak out about their choices around drinking less, or not at all—the movement has spread to more people.
The potential health benefits
Individuals who are “sober curious” may notice that they’ve been drinking more than they’d like or that drinking no longer serves them and decide to question or change their drinking habits for health-focused reasons. Sober curiosity can mean questioning your relationship to alcohol , drinking less alcohol, or living alcohol-free altogether. According to the NPHIC, “Both generations have embraced sobriety over alcohol consumption. They have forced the alcohol industry to revamp how and what they market and sell. There’s been a significant shift in what bars serve, even establishing all dry venues.” Why the shift in focus away from drinking? Per a 2019 Google report, Gen Z in particular is wary of excessive consumption of alcohol because of the importance of image and control , prioritizing productivity and success and physical and mental health worries.
Wellness warriors – consumers who are prioritizing their wellness and well-being – are shifting the landscape. As seen with the rise of plant-based meats, the rise of no- and low- alcohol beverages may be taking a similar trajectory. It’s interesting to note that growth in the non-alcoholic spirits space outpaced the non-alcoholic beer, wine, and malt beverages segment.
Year-over-year the non-alcoholic spirits category ballooned 113.4%; on delivery app Drizly, category sales were even higher — where they spiked 290% in 2021. All across the country, individuals are opening sober bars, https://sober-house.org/ which are filled with mocktails and non-alcoholic drinks such as kombucha. Although 37% of drinking-age adults have tried non-alcoholic beer (such as Budweiser Zero or Guinness 0.0), just 13% say they like it.
After a conversation with Brett Phillips for another article, who talked about sober curious-ness, I got curious myself. The sober curious movement, so to speak, is when someone chooses to be sober for the health benefits, both physical and mental, as opposed to someone who is sober because of an alcohol abuse problem. In other words, people who are sober curious don’t consider themselves alcoholics, but still choose not to drink. One important thing to highlight is you don’t have to be a “heavy drinker” to reap the benefits of a sober curious lifestyle.
But while it’s important to be mindful in the moment, some are harder than others. And if there are moments you think it might be hard to say “no” to a drink—even if you want to? “Try making a plan ahead of time for not drinking at an event that you normally would,” says Watts. Mindfulness is the foundation of the sober curious movement. Plenty of people drink to make socializing easier, and it’s not always easy to turn down a drink in a crowd of others who are drinking.
Create a plan
Warrington suggests bringing a “questioning mindset to every drinking situation, rather than go along with the dominant drinking culture”. She wants to nudge people to critically evaluate the subconscious ways in which drinking is socially expected of us, regardless of whether our behavior seems overtly “problematic”. “Alcohol like red wine can raise your estrogen levels, which can cause inflammation and, in the long-term, possibly increase your cancer risk,” says Grace. “Alcohol in excessive amounts can also increase fungus called candida in your gut, which can cause bloating, digestive issues and depression.” Though the benefits can vary widely from person to person, taking a month-long break from alcohol can do your body good.
- It’s seen as an alternative to traditional sobriety in that participants are encouraged to experiment with how alcohol fits into their lives vs complete abstinence from alcohol.
- The analysts said nonalcoholic drinks wouldn’t replace booze but offer sober-curious people alternatives to club soda.
- Insider’s Anna Medaris recently reported on a study that found that even light drinking during pregnancy could weaken the fetal brain.
- Being sober-curious can be defined as rethinking and adjusting your relationship with alcohol, whether that’s reducing the amount of alcohol you drink to abstaining completely.
Sober curiosity empowers people to push back on this default mode of drinking and question the role alcohol plays in their lives. “I go to sober parties and parties where people are eco sober house review drinking. I just like being active and hanging out,” Jason, 24, told the BBC. “It’s been eye-opening for me to realize you can be young and sober and have very full friendships.”
While abstaining from alcohol altogether does not appear to have grown, data does suggest that people who drink alcohol are generally drinking less of it. For many of us, alcohol is a major part of our social lives. But for some, the idea of limiting alcohol content and reframing the stigma around not drinking is appealing. This trend, which has become increasingly popular, is called “sober curiosity.”
Recent research suggests imbibing has few health benefits.
Create a planOpting out of drinking will likely involve making changes in how you spend your time. For example, if after-work drinks are a regular occurrence, you will need to plan in advance how you choose to navigate the situation in order to stay committed to your decision. However, data show that Gen Z adults (21-24) are the most likely to say they are drinking more now than they were last year. This could be related to campus life for some and the novelty of being old enough to legally drink. Young Millennials (25-34), on the other hand, are the most likely to say they are drinking less now and are the least likely to drink daily. That suggests that being ‘sober-curious’ for many Millennials means reducing or limiting alcohol, rather than removing it completely.
If getting drinks with friends or dates has traditionally occupied a lot of your time, you’ll need to determine how to navigate these situations. The way you structure your sober curious journey matters less than what you get out of it. The sober curious movement, however, suggests there’s plenty of room for alternative approaches. Bella Hadid, too, has spoken on numerous occasions about taking a break from drinking starting in mid-2021. The supermodel recently said she drinks sometimes but cut out hard liquor. An analysis of nearly 400,000 people’s health data linked light alcohol consumption with an increased risk of heart problems like hypertension and coronary artery disease.
The “sober curious” or “zero proof” movement involves bringing mindfulness to one’s drinking habits and intentionally opting out of alcohol consumption at times, without abstaining from drinking altogether. The intention is to encourage exploration of your relationship with drinking in addition to experiencing the myriad of health benefits—both physical and mental—that come as a result of reducing alcohol consumption. This new movement has given people the permission to question their relationship with alcohol. Sober curiosity, on the other hand, involves a choice to drink less or limit altogether for physical or mental benefits. It’s important to emphasize that leading a sober curious lifestyle is voluntary and not the result of a diagnosed condition.
In addition, since alcohol can greatly affect mood, as well as symptoms of anxiety and depression (hanxiety is no joke!), you may also experience boosted mood and self-esteem. Ina Garten breaking out the extra-large martini glasses broke the internet and virtual happy hours–however short-lived–seemed like the only way to socialize. With more time than ever spent at home, we also had the space to reflect on our habits, and question why we were so quick to pour a glass of wine when we needed to relax.
A Beginner’s Guide to the ‘Sober Curious’ Movement
While there are now plenty of challenges like Dry January, including Sober October and Dry July, this movement has opened many people’s eyes to the lasting effects of alcohol on the body. Abstaining from drinking may be trendy for some, but for the one in eight Americans who have alcoholism, it can mean life or death. Reducing the amount of alcohol you drink can also improve focus and memory, sleep, energy and weight management. You may also notice healthier skin and improved mental health, including a feeling of overall wellbeing, relief from depression and anxiety, and increased confidence. Benson started her own sober curious journey during the pandemic. Being sober curious can lead to an “increased awareness” of drinking patterns and how alcohol makes you feel, she said.
A recent CivicScience survey shows that the percentage of U.S. adults (21+) who abstain from drinking alcohol altogether has not grown since 2020. In fact, we see that slightly fewer people say they don’t drink any alcohol today compared to mid-2020. However, a greater percentage of people report they are curious about living a sober lifestyle that removes alcohol completely. The ‘sober-curious’ have grown from 12% in 2020 to 19% today. Riding the heels of Oktoberfest celebrations, “Sober October” has been trending across social media and the internet recently, challenging people to give up drinking alcohol for the month ahead of the holiday season.
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Sophie, 33, who prefers to withhold her last name for privacy as a member of Alcoholics Anonymous, is one of several people behind sobriety Instagram meme account @fucking_sober, known for its dark humor centered on alcohol abuse recovery. The sober events Club Söda NYC hosts, such as a “Kundalini Disco” or panel discussion on “psychedelics and sobriety”, are also firmly aligned with new age and wellness trends. Most trends turn over quickly, but drinking – from mimosas at brunch to post-work beers – has always been portrayed as the ultimate way to have a good time . Sober curiosity is a movement where people experiment with sobriety for health reasons. Stepping back from regular drinking might also involve making different choices about how you spend your time.
According to Sarah O’Brien, an Addiction Specialist with Ark Behavioral Health, sober curiosity is a judgment-free practice that allows room for growth and failure, with an emphasis on alcohol moderation. While the sober curious movement tends to involve people without an actual addiction to alcohol, there are people who desire a sober lifestyle but find that they are having difficulty with quitting alcohol use. This can indicate thatalcohol addictionmay be present, and these people may require professional help to safely stop using alcohol.