April 17, 2023 5 min read

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    Tale as old as time: The concept of “Dry January” predictably rolls around every new year, (not to mention Sober October) along with promises to eat better and hit the gym more often. But in recent years, more and more people have become what’s known as “sober curious,” reexamining their relationship with alcohol and either avoiding or eliminating it from their lives altogether.

    What does it mean to be sober curious and what are its benefits to your health? Should we all quit the booze cold turkey, or is there a middle ground that can also bring about a positive change?

    Sober Curious 101

    The sober curious movement is a trend toward reducing or eliminating alcohol consumption in order to promote better health and overall wellness. It is perhaps as much about mindfulness as it is about substance elimination or reduction. It has become increasingly popular as people look to improve their relationships, mental health, and productivity, particularly as they continue to navigate the “new normal” post-pandemic. 

    It’s common for people to kick off every new year in “reset” mode, taking a month-long break (or more) from drinking after what is typically an intoxicatingly indulgent holiday season. Feeling pressured, or simply succumbing, to drink and keep the pace at happy hours, work gatherings, and other social events can lead to a cycle of anxiety and regret that only builds with each new hangover.

    As we reexamine the role that alcohol plays in our lives - and how normalized certain unhealthy habits and behaviors have become - new possibilities and alternatives emerge. It’s not solely about abstaining from alcohol altogether, but rather making more conscious and intentional choices around drinking. 

    This might involve seeking out alcohol-free social events, minimizing the frequency and amount of alcohol consumption, or giving up alcohol completely. The emergence of low- or no-ABV beverages, such as Sober Spirits, Stryyk, and Everleaf, has made it even easier to commit to this paradigm shift. 

    From celebrity endorsements to social media trends, being sober curious has become a mainstream and sustainable choice for many people seeking a healthier, more mindful lifestyle. 

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    The Power of Social Media

    One of the driving factors in the rise of the #SoberCurious movement is social media, particularly TikTok. With its short-form video format, it’s become the go-to platform for people to share their personal journeys of sobriety and inspire others to do the same. In fact, “sober curious” videos on TikTok have currently amassed nearly 500 million views.

    This trend impacts people of all demographics and generations, but it dovetails nicely with the fact that Gen Z is decidedly pro-sobriety. According to reports, the combination of “outside pressures” and “information overload” has led the latest wave of young adults to turn away from alcohol. 

    The popularity of TikTok creators such as Mark Manson, the Stop Drinking Coach, and Kathryn Sauser has helped promote the message of a sober lifestyle and garnered an ever-growing following of individuals choosing to limit or eliminate alcohol from their lives, whatever the motivation. 

    By showcasing the positive mental, physical, and emotional benefits of sobriety, these creators break down the stigma around sobriety and alcoholism, encouraging open and honest conversations, and providing a safe space for people to share their own struggles with alcohol. 

    While TikTok is certainly not a replacement for dialogue with a licensed counselor or healthcare professional, it’s established a safe space for people to learn more, ask questions, and make informed decisions about their health.

    Wellness Strategies for Sobriety

    Limiting alcohol consumption can lead to significant physical and mental health benefits. Recent studies have shown that even moderate alcohol consumption can negatively impact health, increasing the risk of heart disease, liver damage, and certain types of cancer. This is a far cry from the then-supported research that indicated a glass of wine a day was good for the heart. Additionally, alcohol can exacerbate mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. 

    In contrast, those who reduce or eliminate alcohol tend to note an overall higher quality of physical health, such as better sleep, increased energy, and improved digestion. Cutting out the empty calories from booze can lead to weight loss and lower blood pressure. Sober people tend to experience a boost in mental health, such as reduced anxiety and depression symptoms, increased overall happiness and life satisfaction, and improved relationships with loved ones.

    Sober people tend to experience a boost in mental health

    When you look at the facts, it’s hard not to argue for sobriety (or at least a more mindful approach to drinking alcohol). With so much beyond our control in this day and age, taking charge over what we put into our bodies restores a sensation of power and agency. Even if the motivation starts off as self-serving, the results - both immediate and long-term - of cutting down on drinking tend to convince even the toughest of critics.

    The sober curious movement isn’t just about abstaining from alcohol, but also about fostering a culture of mindfulness and intentionality. Many sober curious individuals replace alcohol with healthier habits, such as exercise, reading, or creative pursuits. They use their newfound time, energy, and resources to pursue passions and focus on personal growth. 

    Once a person stops numbing themselves with alcohol, issues and struggles that had once been avoided might float to the surface. Leaning into a support network that includes family, friends, and a therapist is an essential piece to the sober curious puzzle. 

    Supplements & Sobriety

    Nutritional supplements can play an important role in supporting a person’s transition toward sobriety. In addition to maintaining a healthy, balanced diet and leading a non-sedentary life with plenty of physical activity, incorporating these supplements can boost certain key organ functions and overall well-being:

    Milk Thistle

    • Milk Thistle: Helps support proper liver function. Milk thistle contains a compound called silymarin, which is believed to help protect the liver from damage caused by alcohol and other toxins. 
    • Magnesium: This essential mineral supports a healthy mood and better sleep, which is essential as the body withdraws from alcohol use. Magnesium can also support liver function. 
    • Vitamin C: This powerful antioxidant helps with increased energy and overall health. Vitamin C also fights free radicals, boosts the immune system, and counteracts fatigue. 
    • Omega-3 Fatty Acids: These essential fatty acids play a key role in brain and cognitive function, immune function, and overall health. Omega-3s sources high in DHA and EPA also support cardiovascular health. 
    • Glutathione: Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant produced by the liver. It combats free radicals, supports liver health, and boosts immune function.

    By incorporating smart supplement choices into a sobriety plan, people can boost their overall health and wellness while supporting their sobriety and reducing alcohol-related damage. As always, it’s best to consult with a certified healthcare provider before starting any new regimen.

    Conclusion

    The sober curious movement is about limiting or eliminating alcohol from the picture while embracing a more mindful and intentional lifestyle. Realizing the negative consequences just aren’t worth it anymore, people are taking a deeper look at their habits, reevaluating their relationship to alcohol and drinking, and making lasting changes to support their long-term health. 

    With a significant presence on social media, particularly on TikTok, sober curious creators and influencers changing the conversation about alcohol abuse and sobriety and encouraging deeper dialogue about the issue. By removing the stigma and encouraging greater self-awareness, this wave has brought about immense benefits to people of all ages and backgrounds.

    Limiting alcohol can bring about numerous physical and mental health benefits. Whether people are craving better sleep, increased energy, reduced anxiety, or simply want to avoid the dreaded next-day “hangxiety,” there are plenty of reasons to explore the sober curious movement. Making healthy choices that can be sustained in the long-term, rather than jumping on the biohacking bandwagon, will help establish habits that serve us in our overall journey to wellness.



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