Ever wondered what being sober curious means? Here’s what it’s all about

This article originally appeared on alltheprettybirds.com

2020 has truly changed life as we know it: the world is in the throes of a pandemic, we’re trying to stay safe and navigate the new way we’re living. But despite this, it might be the best time to give up those vices and implement healthier habits. Whether you’ve thought about doing a Dry January or an Ocsober – sober curious movements are not new. 

According to this Forbes article, a survey outlined that more Americans are dealing with coronavirus-related stress and anxiety, and that some alcohol sales have seen an increase. 

What’s the deal with being sober curious?  

Although alcohol is often a socializing aspect, with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic – most of us are staying home sans social contact besides a video call or two. 

This Glamour UK article explains, “Mindful sobriety is a burgeoning health trend that sees health-conscious millennials combining the practise of mindfulness with sobriety to cut back on their booze.”

And while it’s easy to deem this a trend, the road to sobriety and dealing with addiction is a serious matter. It’s important to acknowledge that while some people are doing this for health benefits, others are doing to save their lives. 

As this Vox article shares, “The movement may be controversial, in that it differs from the most widely accepted model of sobriety. It also overlaps with the wellness industry that is a $4.2 trillion market worldwide.” 

In South Africa, my home country, the sale of alcohol has been banned twice during the ongoing lockdown. As a result, I ended up going sober by accident and I didn’t even realise how much I didn’t miss alcohol. 

I decided that this year would be the year I gave up drinking. 

The benefits of going sober 

If you’re also thinking about giving up alcohol, it’s good to know the potential benefits and how it can positively impact your quality of life. As this Addiction Center article explains, “Drinking profoundly alters an individual’s mood, behavior, and neuropsychological functioning. For many people, alcohol consumption is a means of relaxation.”

There are a few different drinks you can try to replace your beloved gin and tonic, whiskey or glass of wine. If you still need to feel relaxed and unwind from a long day, you can try CBD products as a substitute. 

Giving up drinking can lead to better sleep. Most alcohol is loaded with sugar and while people feel like a nightcap helps them doze off, that’s not the reality. This Huffpost article shares, “Alcohol makes it easier to fall asleep ― but it doesn’t guarantee a restful night.”

If you struggle with stomach irritation or ulcers, alcohol can exacerbate this and you may feel nauseous hours after you drink. As Roki shares, “ Many of us who drink frequently often suffer from various digestive issues, maybe it’s time to acknowledge alcohol’s role in our malaise.”

You may find that going sober alleviates this issue completely. I had a history of getting sick after drinking, regardless of whether it was one or multiple drinks and had regular bouts of nausea. As Refinery29 shares, “Regular heavy alcohol consumption can lead to inflammation or swelling of the stomach lining, which is something called gastritis.” 

Along with better sleep, a healthier gut and saving some money – alcohol can play a major role in fuelling anxiety or depression. As a result, I know many peers who gave up booze because it either interfered with their medication, added to their mental health struggles or prevented them from pursuing activities that made them feel better. 

Ultimately, doing a Dry January or Ocsober can help you examine your own drinking habits, whether it ranges from needing to cut down or you eliminate it all together. In the midst of a pandemic, no one has the definitive answers on how to live well, but small steps and better habits make all the difference.

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