Sober Curious? Why People Who Are Not Alcoholics Give Up Drinking

If you’re like me, you’re halfway through Dry January longing for February 1st. After two weeks without drinking (with a mistake here and there, if we’re being honest), I have to say that giving up alcohol was hard. The hardest parts were hanging out with friends and being around people who drink. But I can’t deny the benefits I felt. Not wasting my precious weekend days due to hangovers or dealing with the dreaded anxiety has been amazing.

This all got me thinking, what does it look like for people who don’t just have a dry January, but live a dry life. After a conversation with Brett Phillips for another article, who spoke of sober curiosity, I myself became curious. The curious sober movement, so to speak, is when someone chooses to be sober for the health benefits, both physical and mental, as opposed to someone who is sober due to a problem of alcohol abuse. In other words, sober and curious people do not consider themselves alcoholics, but still choose not to drink.

Hope Woodard is one of those people. The Brooklyn-based TikTok creator and social media strategist quit drinking three months ago after a fight with her roommate she realized it would never have happened if she hadn’t been drinking.

“Drinking causes so much chaos, in my opinion, and I think it’s so easy to laugh about,” she says. “I thought, ‘I’m tired of doing this as a light thing. “”

All the while, she’s been sharing her experience with her 100,000 followers, explaining that she doesn’t necessarily consider herself to be recovering. His drinking wasn’t “out of control all the time,” but the times when it got “out of control weren’t worth it.”

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“I was sick of wasting time being hungover,” she shares in a TikTok. “And I was definitely addicted to alcohol in social situations. Instead of dealing with my anxiety, I was just drinking my anxiety…and waking up the next day with more anxiety.

Hope is not alone in this case. More and more people are giving up alcohol, not because they identify as alcoholics, but because the benefits of living sober outweigh the harms. “During the pandemic, there has been a huge increase in the amount of people drinking,” Amanda E. White, licensed professional counselor and author of Don’t drink tonight, said. “I believe more people than ever are realizing that they might need to re-evaluate their relationship with alcohol.”

For anyone who is dating or socializing, giving up alcohol can seem nearly impossible. “Most of your social life revolves around fucking and quitting alcohol, it’s like you’re learning how to hang around people again because you Actually like them,” says Hope. “The chaos caused by alcohol, you don’t really have that as a distraction anymore. Any problem in your life, you are responsible for it.

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In the 90+ days Hope hasn’t had a drink, she’s noticed the sweets are much sweeter. “It’s like the saturation has increased by 20%,” she says. And life’s rich moments, as she calls them, are less common, but more enjoyable. “When you’re drunk, life seems so naturally rich. When you’re sober, you kind of have to work for those experiences, right? It’s like having a really good bowl of ice cream, making a euphoric run or go dancing. I find these experiences feel so real.

All of this isn’t to say that quitting drinking is something everyone should do, but it’s something most of us never even get to consider, Amanda says. “Society never really talks about it. Only alcoholics quit drinking. There are so many mental health benefits and physical benefits to taking a break. More importantly, it’s hard to know how much alcohol you use as a social lubricant or to manage stress without taking a break.

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