How to make the transition to a sober curious lifestyle more seamless
If you’re considering adopting a sober curious lifestyle, O’Neill tells us there are ways to make the leap as natural and successful as possible.
1. Question your relationship with alcohol
“The first step of this journey is examining your personal relationship with alcohol. Think about the times, places and people you usually drink around and examine why you were drinking and how it benefited you. Think about what is important to you and what you value in life and how alcohol influences them.”
2. Focus on supportive friends
“Surround yourself with people who are respectful and supportive of your decision. If someone is constantly pressuring you to drink after you have declined and explained why, consider spending less time around them and more time with your friends who care about spending time with you and your wellness.”
3. Control the environment
“Going sober curious doesn’t mean you will never have a drink again, but avoiding a wine tasting event or outing at a bar on a day you plan to not drink is a good idea. Start inviting friends to hang out at places that are not focused on alcohol or going on by yourself to places like parks, coffee shops, museums or bookstores.”
4. Find new hobbies
“If some of your previous pastimes were focused on alcohol, it might be fun to find a new hobby. There are hundreds of different hobbies out there, but a good place to start could be finding a new sport, creating art, cooking, playing music or gaming.”
Going sober curious isn’t without its challenges
Especially if much of your social life largely revolves around alcohol, trying out a sober curious lifestyle can be a pretty major adjustment. You might find that you struggle to maintain friendships that previously centered alcohol or experience FOMO when you opt out of happy hours or late-night drinks. O’Neill notes, “There may be experiences of feeling pressure to drink in social situations that encourage consuming alcohol which can make one doubt decisions. The formula and timing and how one chooses to conduct a sober curious lifestyle is independent and without rules or expectations.”
She adds that, another challenge some folks might encounter upon trying out a drier lifestyle, is that if it’s difficult to stop or cut back on drinking, it may point to a deeper unlaying dependence or signs alcohol use disorder. “Most people will be able to naturally moderate their alcohol consumption when no problem exists,” she explains. “Time and experience will tell if persistent thoughts about drinking continue or if cravings occur. The whole point of taking a break may give someone an opportunity to seek help if treatment is needed.”
If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse, we encourage you to seek professional help. SAMHSA’s National Helpline (800-662-4357) is a confidential, free, 24/7/365 service providing support and referrals to treatment facilities and information groups.