Sober Curious: From Curiosity to Permanent Sobriety

Updated on 07/03/23

Sober curious is a social movement based on author Ruby Warrington’s book, Sober Curious. Her book asks questions that pointedly consider the use of alcohol in any situation. How it works is to ask yourself this question: “Would I be happier, more productive, thinner, confident or act differently without alcohol?” Think about your answer. Did you wonder if you had an alcohol problem, try to quit or attend a 12-step meeting and find you couldn’t stop or identify with others in the discussion? If you said “yes,” then sober curiosity is a state of being you can approach with professionals trained in addiction therapy

Addiction? Yes, addiction. Your questions, including if you have a drinking problem, are a positive way to begin your addiction treatment journey to recovery. Give yourself credit for considering being sober curious. Giving up alcohol to see how you feel is a significant step to becoming healthy.

While you are engaging in your sober curious experiment, take time to discover your views on and relationship with alcohol. Your curiosity about being sober can lead to the revelation you should make sobriety a lifetime goal.

Before you begin to think this article isn’t for you, ask yourself how you use substances. Do you use them to relax, socialize or handle emotions? Where did your relationship with alcohol or drugs begin? 

Your Relationship with Alcohol

Alcohol use can begin at a young age. Your parents’ or relatives’ attitudes about alcohol use and letting a child have a sip can reflect how you think about alcohol. Parents can introduce you to alcohol — give you a sip of alcohol to taste what they are drinking. Some adults think allowing a child to experience the taste of their drink will satiate a child’s curiosity. Maybe a relative thought allowing you a drink wasn’t a big deal. Whatever the case was when you had your first drink, the attitudes of those who gave you your first taste can affect how you treat alcohol in the future.

Children learn by example. How did your family teach you about your cultural traditions? Did they talk about how or why alcohol is used or shunned? Maybe you incorporated their views and habits into your life. Perhaps you chose not to drink but found yourself drinking or increasing your intake of alcohol. 

Socialization and Alcohol

When you were a child or a teen, your friends influenced how you acted or reacted to situations. Parties were often a source of alcohol. The thought of not having a drink or explaining why you didn’t want to drink could seem overwhelming or exhausting. Instead of trying to stay sober, maybe you took a sip, then the sip became a glass or bottle. As time passed and you finished high school, entered the workforce or started college, your drinking habits may have changed to reflect the environment and social circle you were in. 

The normalization of alcohol can help you justify the amount you imbibe. Maybe you look around and think you’re OK because you don’t drink as much or as often as some of your friends. That’s one way to look at your drinking, but there’s another way to evaluate your alcohol intake.

Questions to Assess How You Feel When You Drink

When moving along with the idea of being “sober curious,” it’s good to continue to ask yourself questions about intake when you do drink and how you feel the next day after consuming alcohol. 

  • Your Intake
    • How much do you drink exactly? Also, how often do you drink? Maybe you don’t drink all week, but only on the weekends or you have one drink that can lead to four, five or more drinks. A good source of the definition of moderate, binge, heavy drinking or addiction to alcohol is on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Alcohol and Public Health page. Ask yourself where you fall in such categories – and be realistic.
    • Do you tend to drink when you’re feeling down or anxious? Your intake can also connect with your mental health. Often, those with depression or anxiety turn to alcohol to help them cope.
  • The Day After
    • Consider how you feel the day after you party or socialize with friends or family. Do you remember everything you said or did? How does your head, stomach or body feel? Are there feelings of shame and remorse? Maybe you have these feelings each time you drink or a majority of times. You can promise yourself you won’t drink that much the next time, but you know you will because you don’t have control over how much you will drink once you start. 

From Curious to Sober

Addiction or mental health treatment helps address depression, anxiety or alcohol addiction. If you are sober curious, you can find yourself questioning more than a few aspects of your life; that’s OK. Alcohol addiction treatment can answer your questions and place you on the path from curiosity to sobriety. 

Sober curious is a movement based on the questions many ask themselves about their alcohol intake. When you decide to try being sober curious, it means you choose to give up alcohol for an extended period. Sobriety is a lifestyle that can reward you with new possibilities. Before you try to stop drinking, consider taking the extra step and begin alcohol addiction treatment. Cliffside Malibu recognizes the sober curious movement but believes in the power of lifelong sobriety. For some, that’s doing the hard work in addiction treatment. At our luxurious, private center, you can dive into your questions about your alcohol intake, discuss the roots of your drinking or learn how your mental health can affect your drinking habits. You’re more than a patient to us; you are a person who chose to make Cliffside Malibu a part of your recovery family. Call (855) 403-5641 to schedule an appointment.