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Sober Curious

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Why Moms Are Ditching Happy Hour and Exploring Going ‘Sober Curious’

One fad of modern motherhood is the social acceptability of alcohol use, which is represented by ideas like “Mommy’s wine time.” Wine at playdates has become so commonplace that it has given birth to a new trend for moms: sober curious.

Sober curious appeals to more than just moms, and you may also hear it referred to as “soberish” or “mindful drinking.” So what is sober curious and why are moms, in particular, taking up this trend?

Sober curious does not necessarily mean total abstinence, which is an important distinction, but it usually leads to actions that decrease drinking or impose sobriety for a period of time.

Reasons Moms Cite for Going Sober

Many moms who first decide to explore going sober have decided that their relationship with alcohol needs some good old-fashioned introspection.

Writing for Oprah Daily, Anna Davies points to a doctor of clinical nutrition, Brooke Scheller, who began addressing her alcohol use after “feeling like her own drinking had put her on a well-being roller coaster.”

A recent study of middle-aged women found that reasons for being sober curious can vary by income level. More affluent women in the study stated that they wanted to reduce their alcohol consumption for increased self-regulation, whereas middle-class women felt that reducing alcohol use was part of being respectable.

And, of course, there’s the pandemic, which saw a dramatic increase in heavy drinking. One study found that as many as 17% of the adults surveyed said that they had heavy drinking habits.

As moms were often on the frontlines of helping their kids get through online school and other major adjustments, some have come out of the pandemic with a desire to decrease their alcohol consumption.

Benefits of Even Temporary Sobriety

Being sober curious can lead to healthy decisions about your relationship with alcohol. Many people are encouraged to take on 30-day challenges such as Sober October.

If you drink even just one alcoholic beverage per day, stopping drinking can have immediate health benefits, including lower blood pressure, triglyceride levels, and risk of heart failure.

And that’s just the benefits for your heart. Your liver, which works to rid the body of toxins, including alcohol, can also begin to heal if you’re a heavy drinker, or a woman who drinks more than eight drinks a week. Losing weight and improving relationships are just a couple other well-known effects.

Sober challenges have added benefits if you do them with friends. You may end the challenge with both a desire to lead a more sober life and a built-in support group as well.

Consider Cutting Out Binge Drinking Too

Being sober curious may help you determine if you have an addiction to alcohol, but it doesn’t necessarily address all alcohol-related health concerns. Binge drinking even occasionally, for example, is a serious concern.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) describes binge drinking for women as having “four or more drinks on an occasion.” The CDC also says, “Most people who binge drink are not dependent on alcohol. However, binge drinking is harmful on its own.”

Adopting a sober curious mentality can make you feel good about analyzing your alcohol habits, but it may not address dangerous binge drinking, giving yourself a false sense of security about your relationship with alcohol.

Getting on the Path to Greater Health

Find some moms who are interested in taking a look at their relationship with alcohol and turn mommy’s wine time into healthier forms of self-care. You might make scrapbooks together or have a dance party.

Being sober curious is a great place to begin examining why you drink alcohol. If you discover you are facing alcohol abuse, it’s never too late to seek treatment.


Alkermes — New Survey Provides Insights Into Drinking Behaviors During the Pandemic

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) — Binge Drinking

Institute of Alcohol Studies — “The best me probably would be better without alcohol”: What women told us about the sober curious movement

International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health — Sober Curiosity: A Qualitative Study Exploring Women’s Preparedness to Reduce Alcohol by Social Class

News24 — More moms are going sober, and here’s why…

Oprah Daily — Is Soberish Living Hiding a Bad Habit?

WebMD – What Happens to Your Body When You Stop Drinking Alcohol?

Wired — The End of Alcohol

Author Bio

Chris Raley is a writer with Ark Behavioral Health, a provider of evidence-based, holistic substance abuse care with treatment centers in Massachusetts and Ohio.

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