The Sober Curious Movement
From January 24th Revue Post
If I'm honest my sober curiosity started a few years ago, before I had even heard of the sober curious movement. And maybe you haven't even heard of it either, so let me explain.
The term sober curious is simply a very hipster (is that still a thing?) way of saying you are being more mindful of your drinking patterns and are seeking to have a healthier relationship with alcohol. Basically, the negative impacts alcohol has on our bodies & minds, is finally stating to become more widely acknowledged and people are starting to question why they continue to poison themselves.
This movement has to led to or was spawned from (there are conflicting reports on which came first... kind of chicken & egg reminiscent) trends such as Dry January and Sober October. But no matter which came first, it is certainly apparent that people are questioning their relationship with alcohol and are either cutting way back or quitting altogether.
Like I said, I started being sober curious a few years back because I had noticed that I was drinking more in the last 8 years than I had in the 10 years prior. Sheesh, way to date myself, eh?! I am by no means an alcoholic, but I felt I was, at times, drinking more than I should be. And there were a handful of occasions in which I drank way more than I should have, and that was scary to me. I had also started having many health issues, that the doctor could never explain, but once I started reading books on the subject and started researching the effects of alcohol, I realized it could have absolutely been caused by the booze.
I just want to point out here that in all my trips to the doctor, all the tests, all the scans, never once did he ask if I drank alcohol, and never once did he recommend that if I did that I cut back or stop. Never once! And I think the reason behind that is that alcohol is the one drug that the world fully embraces. It's the one drug that if you don't use it, people think you're weird or a recovery alcoholic. It's the one drug where its usage is largely encouraged, by pretty much everyone. It's everywhere, and it's just assumed that if you are an adult, you drink. It's largely part of our culture. And unless you've gone into the doctor with a stomach ulcer or the like, they may not put two and two together.
Anyway, I did my share of Dry Januaries and did my share of cutting back. But I still felt as if it was all too much. I still felt as if alcohol had a grip on me, in that I couldn't wait to have that first glass of wine of the weekend. Wine was part of who I was, and it was becoming increasingly difficult to separate it from me and my activities. Example: If I thought about a vacation in Europe, I thought about all the yummy wine I'd enjoy.
So when I started my Dry January this year, I also started reading a book called The Sober Diaries by Clare Pooley, and though my alcohol usage by no means ranked up there with hers, so much of what she said rang true for me. Her research was eye opening, and it gave me the push I needed to start my AF (alcohol free) journey.
I had already told my husband that I wanted to give up alcohol, for the most part, with perhaps the exception of special occasions & holidays, but this book gave me the inspiration to really make it happen. And though I gave myself permission to partake in alcohol on certain occasions, I'm beginning to feel as if that isn't even necessary for me anymore. Not to say I'll never have another glass of wine, but that if I don't, I'm absolutely ok with that.
So yeah, I'm on day 24 of my AF journey, and so far so good. I mean, I know I can do it, as I've gone much longer without alcohol before. In fact, last year's Dry January lasted until March. If I have a craving for a glass of wine, I'll pour myself a glass of de-alcoholized Chardonnay (yep, that's a real thing), but mostly I don't. The only time I worry that I'll really crave a glass of wine is family gatherings and other social settings where I would usually be partaking in a little something to help take the edge off having to be social. Because, I'm an introverted extrovert (if that makes sense) and in the past I've needed a little liquid courage to cope.
Anyway, within a week of going AF my chronic heartburn was gone, and miraculously I've not had any panic/anxiety attacks, which were happening way too frequently these last few years. My anxiety levels are levelling out, and though my sleep can still be restless, it is improving. I've dropped a few lbs, but nothing super impressive, yet. And I'm in general feeling better. So, if it only gets better from here (and the research says it will) then I'm sold! And honestly a bit sad that it took me this long to start my journey.
If you find yourself sober curious and don't know where to start, or you're afraid you'll be doing it alone, I have some resources for you! Firstly, feel free to message me and I'll lend you my limited (I'm still learning too) knowledge on the subject. But also check out the resources below, because going it alone can be scary, and it's nice to have people who understand what you're going through to help you through those first 90 days or so when your body is detoxing.
Books I've Read or Plan to Read on being Sober/AF/Sober Curious: Though quite honestly there are dozens on the subject, just go to Amazon and search Sober Curious!
1) How To Lead A Happier, Healthier, And Alcohol Free Life by Lucy Rocca
2) The Sober Diaries by Clare Pooley
3) The Sober Curious Reset by Ruby Warrington
4) The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober by Catherine Gray
5) Kick The Drink Easily by Jason Vale
Communities | Apps: Again, there are limitless resources from local groups to worldwide communities. Just Google it!
1) The Bee Sober Community (Also has a podcast!)
2) Soberistas (Just for the ladies!)
3) Living Sober
Podcasts: I'm sure there are so many more, but I'm just now delving into them.
Interesting enough, I've found a ton of resources from the UK and not so many from North America. Makes me wonder if the UK is embracing sobriety more than we are here in the Great White North? Or maybe I just haven't happened upon local resources yet. If you know of any here in Canada, more precisely in Ontario, let me know!
So yeah... if you are sober curious, I hope this post will help you begin your journey. If you weren't, but now you're curious about being sober curious, my job here is done.