What Does Sober Curious Mean?


The sober curious movement is gaining widespread attention. An increasing number of individuals who are tired of hangovers or worried about how alcohol influences their mood are choosing to explore what life is like without alcohol. This blog from Wellbridge Addiction Treatment Center explains what you need to know about the sober curious movement.

How long has the sober curious movement been around?

The concept of sober curiosity has been around for a while. Sober October and Dry January have been popular ways for people to evaluate their alcohol use and explore a sober lifestyle. Ruby Warrington coined the term ‘sober curious’ in 2018. Author of “Sober Curious: The Blissful Sleep, Greater Focus, Limitless Presence, and Deep Connection Awaiting Us All on the Other Side of Alcohol,” Warrington discusses society’s increasing reliance on alcohol. She also describes her journey of asking questions about her own alcohol use and her decision to lead a sober lifestyle.

What exactly is the sober curious movement?

Individuals typically enter the sober curious movement by asking themselves what their lives would look like without alcohol. There are any number of reasons someone might question their drinking habits, including:

  • Concerns over how alcohol might be impacting quality of life. For example, too many hangovers or too much money spent on alcohol.
  • Worries about the health problems that are associated with frequent alcohol consumption like high blood pressure, heart and liver disease, sleep disorders, and more.
  • Uneasiness over how alcohol might be impacting mood, behavior, or relationships.

Alcohol has been an accepted part of our culture for centuries and used to ease stress, celebrate special occasions, and as a way to spend time with friends. The sober curious movement invites people to examine their drinking habits, while searching for alternate ways of reducing stress, celebrating with family, and connecting with friends that don’t involve alcohol.

Determining whether the sober curious is right for you is a personal decision that should be based on your goals for physical, mental, and emotional health. If you aren’t sure whether the sober curious movement is right for you, you can try a sobriety challenge like Sober October or Dry January. Instead of a month – you can try two weeks, or simply cut down on the amount or frequency of alcohol you drink. There are no hard and fast rules.

Is there a difference between sober curious and sobriety?

Sobriety is a lifestyle choice resulting from alcohol dependence and addiction, while sober curiosity is an exploration of how, when, and if you should drink. After participating in a sober challenge like Dry January or Sober October, some individuals may decide to fully abstain from drinking. Others might choose to reduce how much or how frequently they drink.

For individuals with an alcohol use disorder, being partially sober is not an option. Addictions are complex and typically require intensive treatment delivered by a licensed mental health professional. Those who begin a sober challenge and find it difficult to abstain from drinking should seek assistance from a therapist who specializes in treating addictions.

Learn more

If you are questioning your relationship with alcohol, there are numerous resources available to help you, including Wellbridge Addiction Treatment Center. Our patient-centered approach using scientifically-validated treatment methods puts Wellbridge at the forefront of addiction treatment and recovery. Learn more here.