“Sober Curious”, or how to rethink our alcohol consumption

“Sober Curious”, or how to rethink our alcohol consumption

Do you know “Sober Curious”? This is a movement that encourages deeper reflection on our alcohol consumption without necessarily opting for total abstinence. This approach invites us to question our relationship with alcohol and its impacts on health.

After Dry January, or even Damp January, it’s the turn of “Sober Curious” to take over. This notion consists of adopting a more intuitive and more thoughtful consumption of alcohol. Unlike abstinence, it encourages a close examination of our drinking habits, without imposing the need to become sober. We can, for example, decide to drink, reasonably, for a special occasion or to taste a particular vintage. The idea is to make these moments rarer, but more precious.

The term “Sober Curious”, translated into French as “sober curiosity” or “soberly curious”, was popularized by Ruby Warrington through her book “Sober Curious: The blissful sleep, greater focus, limitless presence and deep connection awaiting us all on the other side of alcohol” published in 2018. Gayle Macdonald, sobriety coach and founder of Sober Bliss, contacted by Cosmopolitan UK, specifies that this approach is more flexible and offers a less abrupt transition to abstinence. She says: “It’s not about immediately giving up alcohol completely or forever, which can be quite scary or fraught with shame and guilt. It’s more about examining your relationship with alcohol and the role it plays in your life.

Drinking less alcohol, or even more at all, is a trend that has already been observable for several years among the population and particularly among the younger generations. According to a Gallup poll, published in August 2023, 62% of American adults aged 18 to 35 say they drink alcohol, compared to 72% twenty years ago. While several factors can explain this, the health benefits of abstinence are one of them.

According to the World Health Organization, “harmful use of alcohol” is responsible for 3 million deaths each year worldwide, or 5.3% of all deaths. Several studies show a correlation between alcohol consumption, even moderate, and cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, liver disease, and sometimes mental health problems. A 2023 study published in JAMA Network Open concludes that alcohol consumption, even in small or moderate quantities, is not associated with a lower risk of mortality, nor with the prevention of cardiovascular disease.

Quitting drinking would, on the contrary, lead to multiple daily benefits, such as improved sleep, concentration, memory and the immune system. This would allow you to regain a better energy level.

To adopt “Sober curious”, Gayle Macdonald advises: “The first step is to ask yourself important questions such as ‘do I really need this glass of wine or would it be better if I don’t drink tonight?’ “Asking deeper questions about what you really need at that moment or why you are drinking will help you uncover the reason for your drinking.” She also suggests finding a non-alcoholic drink that could serve as an alternative. “Replacing an alcoholic drink with a non-alcoholic drink makes things much easier“, she says. “And if you’re not having fun, go home!“.