The Science of Sober Curiosity: Understanding the Benefits and Drawbacks

You must have heard about the trending “sober curiosity” or “elective sobriety” movement, i.e., a brand-new drinking craze. This choice is frequently made for lifestyle and medical reasons. It involves individuals to understand the entire science behind the phenomenon instead of following it blatantly. Increasing numbers of Brits are giving up their bottles and rethinking their alcohol use. This is leading to a higher increase in the sober curious movement in today’s culture. In particular, when trying to compare 2020 to 2021, global Google searches for “sober curious” surged by 39% YOY, and by an astounding 371% when compared to 2017 to 2021.

Therefore, while giving up alcohol completely may seem difficult for certain people owing to addictions or peer pressure from those around, experts have highlighted the advantages of doing so, including a startling amount of health advantages! Note that sober curiosity need not be a permanent or full-time commitment. Let’s dive into the topic in detail. 

Sober Curiosity: What Is It Actually? 

The Science of Sober Curiosity: Understanding the Benefits and Drawbacks

Let’s begin with some questions. Do you like the notion of a clean night out? Are you enticed by your favorite beverage’s alcohol-free variant? Do the advantages of sobriety interest you, but you’re reluctant to become wholly sober? If your answer to any of these questions is a YES, sober curiosity might be for you.

Instead of just following the prevalent drinking culture, those who are soberly interested give their choice of consuming alcohol more thought and tackle their drinking habits with greater mindfulness. For instance, sober curious people are more likely to assess their drinking patterns before consuming alcohol at an event than they are to succumb to societal/peer pressure or irrational urges.

Since many individuals participate in awareness months like “Sober October” and “Dry January” each year, sober curiosity has been in existence for a while. Awareness months are an outstanding approach for curious people to try out a sober lifestyle. This is because sober curious society embraces those who are fascinated by sobriety but aren’t intending or feeling ready to entirely abstain from drinking.

Basics of Sober Curiosity

Sober Curiosity can be defined as choosing to question, or be inquisitive about every inclination, invitation, and desire to drink, instead of blindly following the prevalent drinking culture. 

Being sober and inquisitive does not imply that you will permanently stop drinking. A means to investigate your connection with alcohol, sober curiosity is not a contest, diet, religion, or cult. It may seem like a huge commitment, but it’s a lot more adaptable than you can anticipate. Some individuals prefer to never drink again, whereas others decide to only have one drink occasionally.

What Does Not Define As Sober Curiousness? 

The Science of Sober Curiosity: Understanding the Benefits and Drawbacks

Contrary to popular belief, individuals who like to moderate their drinking are not alcoholics. The goal of sober curiosity is not to consume less alcohol, but rather to understand more about the subject.

As you experiment with different techniques for avoiding intoxication, keep in mind that enjoying a cocktail or glass of wine once in a while is perfectly acceptable. The key is to do this in proportion and to understand when enough has been reached so that it doesn’t get to be a problem for you.

Benefits Of Sober Curiosity 

Below are some of the most well-known and popular benefits of sober curiosity. 

1. Improved sleep patterns

The Science of Sober Curiosity: Understanding the Benefits and Drawbacks

Alcohol is frequently used as a sedative to help people fall asleep. However, excessive drinking can have detrimental effects on the quality and consistency of your sleep owing to headaches, fatigue, and an intensified tendency to urinate.

You’ll frequently discover that your sleep will be more uninterrupted and of higher quality when you stop drinking alcohol entirely or significantly lower your consumption. This will result in gaining more energy to devote to other pursuits rather than waking up the next morning feeling sleepy from a night of excessive drinking.

2. Reduced Blood Pressure 

Drinking excessively over an extended length of time can cause your blood pressure mark to escalate to unsafe levels. As a result, this may lead to more serious health issues. Reducing or quitting alcohol permanently will help you bring your blood pressure to a significantly healthier level. In addition, it may even minimize your risk of developing other conditions like stroke, cardiovascular disease, and chronic, and kidney disease that are generally tied to high blood pressure and liquor usage.

3. Decreased anxiety and sadness levels

The Science of Sober Curiosity: Understanding the Benefits and Drawbacks

Alcohol is a fairly deceptive depressant. Although it may make you feel happy or energetic when you drink it, alcohol generally has a negative effect on your mental health. After sipping the liquor, you may have depressive and anxious feelings that are regularly alluded to as “beer fear” or “hang-xiety”. This is because consuming alcohol, especially heavy consumption, interferes with neurochemicals that are associated with promoting a healthy mental health.

Nevertheless, you can boost your mental health by learning to be sober curious. When you decide not to drink, alcohol concentrations won’t interfere with the chemical balance in your brain any longer. Exercise and other relaxation techniques like yoga or meditation are fantastic alternatives to alcohol if your dependence on it stems from poor mental health.

4. Possible weight loss

The number of calories found in alcohol is just one of the major problems associated with it. Because wine and beer are especially calorie-dense beverages, drinking them excessively increases your risk of weight gain. You might start losing weight if you cut back on your alcohol consumption or quit entirely. Eventually, it will inevitably have a positive impact on your health by lowering your blood pressure and other health issues.

5. Healthier Skin

The Science of Sober Curiosity: Understanding the Benefits and Drawbacks

The appearance of your skin is one of the modest advantages of cutting back on alcohol. When consumed in excess, alcohol can result in dry, scaly skin. This is because it accelerates the process of dehydration in your body. Additionally, drinking sugary beverages like cocktails might cause outbreaks since they raise hormone levels. On their sober inquisitive journey, individuals can discover that when they stop drinking alcohol, their blemishes or dry skin patches begin to disappear.

6. You start feeling better

Drinking too much interferes with the body’s normal functions. This can leave you feeling drowsy, lethargic, and generally ill and clumsy, the next morning. You might discover that you have better stamina to do activities you would not ordinarily do when you decide not to drink, whether it is on occasionally/permanently. Examples include being much more active or spending extra time outside of the house.

You are bound to feel a lot better after a good night’s sleep and waking up without a hangover. So, if you notice yourself yearning for an alcoholic beverage while you are sober, consider choosing a soda pop or non-alcoholic alternative.

Drawbacks of Sober Curiosity 

There are some drawbacks to this movement too. Here are a few! 

  • Once you resume drinking, any weight you’ve lost can come back.
  • If your social interaction is centered around drinking, the initial week might feel a little strange (although, that might be a great wake-up call).
  • Alcohol use disorder patients should not participate in sober curiosity. When they actually need to focus on long-term recovery, some people who struggle with alcoholism can believe that a month of abstinence will be enough to heal them.

How To Maintain Sober Curiosity? 

The Science of Sober Curiosity: Understanding the Benefits and Drawbacks

Consider about these things if you’re thinking of leading a sober inquisitive lifestyle:

  • Examine how you feel about drinking: Think about your relationship with alcohol, how it has evolved over time, and where it is now. Examine your life now to see how drinking affects other aspects of it.
  • Organize your surroundings: Try to steer clear of environments that call for booze at first, such as bars and parties. Try engaging in activities that generally don’t center around or involve drinking.
  • Be active: Exercise encourages the release of endorphins. Endorphins are the body’s feel-good hormones that can support you during your first days without alcohol. Your mood and anxiety will improve when you exercise. Eventually, it will help you feel less hungry too! 
  • Look for a new hobby: You will be shocked at how frequently you visit places solely for drinks. Instead, to cut this habit, find a new interest that does not include drinking. Perhaps, you can try engaging in a new sport, dance classes, language studies, or a new trade.
  • Avoid mates who are drinkers: Try to limit or stop interacting with acquaintances who have trouble managing their own drinking patterns for a period. These people could put potential temptation on you to drink. Moreover, they may not even appreciate your choice to cut back or refrain from drinking.

The Bottom Line 

Sober curiosity, whether it be short-term or not, can nonetheless encourage mindful drinking practices and long-term lifestyle change. But not everyone responds well to the sober curious movement. Nevertheless, it is perfectly acceptable to want additional assistance when trying to change drinking patterns. In most cases, speaking out to a specialist or connecting with a health expert to diagnose and treat your alcohol addiction may be a wise course of action, provided that despite your best efforts, you are finding it challenging to abstain from drinking alcohol.

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