Sober Curious? What does it mean?

It’s extraordinary to notice that “sober curious” is currently trending on social media. Progressively, Americans are resolving to drink less. A recent study by the Nielsen Group found that over 54% of Americans have determined they plan to reduce their use of alcohol. As impressive as that percentage is, Millennials responding to the same study tallied over 66 percent!

Being sober curious is part of a growing trend in which people are choosing to consume less alcohol in pursuit of better health, weight loss, and financial benefit. “Dry January” has been perhaps the foundation of this trend for the past thirteen years. Recent promotion around “Sober September” has gained momentum, as have other 30-day periods of abstinence with the simple goal of discovering what may be different in our lives afterwards.

The proliferation of “sober bars” in major metropolitan areas has gained momentum. Millennials are their target demographic. Opportunities for socializing, dancing, and meeting potential dating partners are now available with all the benefits of your favorite pub, but without the alcohol. “Mocktails” are the beverage of choice – elaborate and (often expensive) beverages that look like cocktails but contain absolutely no alcohol at all.

I’m hoping the sober curious trend is here to stay. In our culture, alcohol consumption is not only ingrained in our holidays and traditions, it’s expected in a plethora of social activities and venues. Many of us in recovery and otherwise marvel that we’re often asked to explain why we don’t drink.

Alcohol and caffeine are unique from all other substances. Not only are they socially sanctioned, they’re condoned. No one will ever ask why we refrain from smoking cigarettes or using other drugs, yet it’s still outside the norm to simply not drink. Alcohol is a drug. It’s a known depressant that contains high levels of toxins and sugar. The choice to use it sparingly or not at all is simply a healthy investment in self.