One of the more unfortunate side effects of the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, US adults began drinking heavily more and more since the start of the coronavirus pandemic in early 2020.
So, it’s strange – refreshing, but strange – to see “sober curious” as one of 2022’s trending topics.
It’s not something to be confused with sober living, mind you, but whether as a response to COVID drinking or simply an interest in a different way of living, sober curious is an interesting trend that deserves greater attention.
What Is “Sober Curious”?
Sober curiousness isn’t especially new; viral trends like “Dry January” and “Sober October” have been around for a number of years. Inspiring people to consider a healthier lifestyle (or perhaps reconsider their own drinking habits), these trends help people explore different ways to approach having fun and interacting with others.
If there’s a founding document to the sober curious trend, it’s likely the 2018 book by Ruby Warrington, “Sober Curious: The Blissful Sleep, Greater Focus, Limitless Presence, and Deep Connection Awaiting Us All on the Other Side of Alcohol.”
Warrington, founder of New York City’s Club SÖDA events, encourages people to consider and question the impulses and pressures behind why people drink. Far from a temperance or “straight-edge” movement, sober curious welcomes everyone from the recovered to people who still drink but want to examine their own habits.
Sober curiousness seems to have gained real traction with Gen Z, too. Writing for style website i-D, writer Alice Crossley reported the TikTok hashtag #sober had 1.8 billion views in October 2021.
Like every trend, sober curious has celebrity advocates. In early 2022, model Bella Hadid told InStyle magazine that she stopped drinking because it was interfering with her work schedule. “I loved alcohol and it got to the point where even I started to, you know, cancel nights out that I felt like I wouldn’t be able to control myself,” she said in the interview.
Sober curious is different from other sober trends like the so-called “California Sober” lifestyle, in which people abstain from more harmful substances in favor of perceived healthier substances such as cannabis. Rather than finding substitute substances (try saying that three times fast), sober curious encourages people to explore a different way of life.
For many people, sober curious is dipping a toe into sober living.
Sober Curious & Sober Living: Similar Choices … But Different
For many of us in recovery, sobriety wasn’t a matter of dipping a toe into unfamiliar waters – it was literally a choice between life and death. Avoiding drugs and alcohol and maintaining recovery is something done after graduating from a drug rehab or addiction center, attending 12-step or other support group meetings, and making a daily effort to keep recovery going.
Put simply, sober living is a life choice as the result of substance use disorder – it wasn’t an option. With an alcohol use disorder, returning to drinking can mean:
- Serious health problems
- Problems with the law
- Financial problems
- Mental disorders such as depression and anxiety
- Dangerous, risky behaviors such as driving under the influence
- Experiencing alcohol withdrawal symptoms when drinking stops
Sober curious, meanwhile, is an option for those questioning what their life would be like with less alcohol – or total abstinence. It’s a useful subject to consider and doesn’t require hitting “rock bottom” when drinking is completely out of control. Fundamentally, sober curious is a form of reflecting on one’s relationship with alcohol before it gets to a crisis point.
Long-term alcohol use, particularly heavy drinking, can cause health problems, including:
- An increased risk of cancer, liver disease, and substance use disorder
- Relationship problems
- High blood pressure
- Poor sleep
There’s another fundamental difference between sober living and sober curious. Sober living is a way to really enhance one’s recovery, particularly during the outpatient care stages.
How Sober Living Homes Help Us Recover
Sooner or later, everyone in recovery begins to explore independent life. Once they’re ready to move past the structure of detox and inpatient addiction care, a person in recovery is faced with the prospect of returning to normal life.
This can be a stumbling block. Recovery makes us vulnerable and moving away from the structure of addiction care can be frightening. While outpatient recovery still has group therapy, group activities, and one-on-one sessions with counselors, it’s also a stage when people begin to return to the workplace or school.
That can mean temptations to start using again or even relapse. It’s especially true for those who return to living in a place where substance use is still continuing.
Sober living homes provide the perfect safety net for someone attending outpatient care – or recently graduating from an outpatient program. Drug-free environments, sober homes allow a safe space to practice living in the day-to-day world.
Sober roommates help us stay accountable to recovery – they’re new friends who understand exactly what living sober means. Also, sober home house managers offer friendly, understanding ears: they’re often graduates of programs themselves, and they have experience and tips to make recovery easier.
Finding a sober living house? That can be a challenge.
SoberLivingNearYou.com Is Your Source For Finding A Sober Home Near You
We know how challenging finding a place to live can be – especially if you’re in need of transitional housing like a sober home. That’s why we developed SoberLivingNearYou.com, the web’s largest directory of sober homes. With thousands of listings at your fingertips, finding a sober place to live has never been easier.
Start your search for a sober home today with SoberLivingNearYou.com!