When you are thinking about being sober curious, it may not first come to mind how that looks in a social situation with friends. It can be easy to replace alcohol at night with a cup of tea or juice, but what does it look like when you are meeting up with friends or a new date at a concert?
When you look at how you want your life to look, what first comes to mind?
Learning sober curious techniques can help you figure out how to have fun while also learning how to quit drinking. Many people have a belief system centered around what it means to be sober. The fear that you may not be as fun, or as charismatic, or perhaps the fear that the social pressure around you may feel too much without alcohol.
That belief system is ingrained in our culture, and it takes a few steps outside of it to see what life can look like with a sober mindset. Having a clearer mind paves the way for stronger friendships, more in-depth conversations with those you care about, and ultimately, it gives you the freedom to be you in any social situation.
What does it take to quit drinking?
Many people who suffer from alcohol use disorder have trouble finding a path away from drinking. At times it is the social group around them or the
feeling like there is not another path available for them to take the necessary steps towards a sober life.
The first thing for anyone who is trying to figure out how to get sober is to reach out for help. Reaching out for help can look different from person to person and it greatly depends on the level of help needed in order to overcome addiction.
For some, reaching out to a sober friend and finding a support group can help begin the process towards sobriety. For others, a more intensive treatment through inpatient or outpatient care is needed in order to medically monitor the withdrawal process. It is not just the therapy involved either, it is about what a person is able to build after they have decided to live a sober life.
Quit Drinking With Intention
It sounds simple, but many people experience relapse because they have forgotten why they stopped drinking when they are in the moment of temptation. Being sober curious does not mean you have to give up drinking altogether, it is about learning how to quit drinking with an intention behind your actions.
Are you looking to feel healthier? Do you want to be more present when you are with friends? Perhaps you want deeper conversations with those you care about to develop a stronger bond of friendship? Or maybe you want to quit drinking for your family or your kids so you can be more involved at home?
Whatever your intention is, get clear about it to help you say no when temptation comes. The firmer you can place your feet on the ground, the more you can find your own path to quitting drinking completely.
Hold Yourself Accountable
Holding yourself accountable in being sober curious does not always mean entirely avoiding the issue or temptation. It can often take the form of simply saying no. When asked if you want a drink, you always have the option to say no and substitute it with something else. There are plenty of mocktails to enjoy that look and taste similar, all without alcohol.
Learning how to get sober can also mean embracing a new lifestyle that is more aligned with how you want to show up in the world.
Luckily today, there are plenty of ways to enjoy sober living by keeping an eye out for social contexts that encourage a different way to have fun.
Choose a Supportive Community
In a qualitative study with patients diagnosed with severe alcohol use disorder, researchers found that when patients were able to pick what type of social environments they wanted to be a part of, they were able to show stronger recovery results after inpatient or outpatient addiction care.
As many studies have shown before this one, social support and the ability to choose the communities you are a part of are one step in learning how to maintain a sober lifestyle. It may mean letting go of co-dependent relationships or friend groups that tempt you back into drinking heavily.
By seeing how those negative aspects of groups you have been a part of affect your ability to live sober curious, you can discover new avenues to find a supportive sober community. Whether that is joining a sober app, or a local community group, or being admitted into inpatient care, there are always ways to find the support you need.
Find Sober Events
There are many events out there that do not involve the temptation of alcohol at every corner. Many music venues offer inclusive events that replace alcohol with other types of fun mocktails or juice blends. Even local interactive quiz nights or karaoke events often have an element of the sober movement embedded into the social activity.
Loosid gives free boozeless guides for you to find local sober events near you that you can check out. Guides include alcohol-free friendly restaurants, concerts, festivals, and local community events. You can also talk to other sober curious friends about creating an entertaining event without alcohol involved for your group of friends.
Chances are, you will find other friends around you that are also curious about hanging out without alcohol as the center of the event. There are plenty of other ways to have an enjoyable time with friends. It just takes a little curiosity outside the cultural norm of drinking to create meaningful occasions.
Experience Living In a Different Way
If it is an embedded routine to have a glass of wine at night, or immediately grab a beer in social gatherings, it can be hard to see a different way to experience daily life. Yet, that is what being sober curious is. It is about being curious about how life can look without drinking at every possible corner of the day.
Sober living is about learning to embrace what comes with quitting drinking. In an essay by Caitlan Morton, she recalls the feeling of living life outside of alcohol after the first year of sobriety.
Caitlan found that she was suddenly more curious and more content with the little moments of life that felt like she was experiencing them for the first time. She was not bleary-eyed full of hazy stories, she was actually able to sober travel and experience a deeper connection to herself and those she met along the way.
The key in her story was that she tried to quit drinking to see what would happen to her sense of belonging, and she loved what was on the other side of it. When it comes to quitting drinking completely, it is about trying to find new ways of living that do not rely on the presence of alcohol.
Be Mindful of Withdrawal Symptoms
Before you set a destination to a new place to sober travel, be mindful of withdrawal symptoms. If you have been a heavy drinker or are used to drinking in social situations, you may experience physical and emotional symptoms connected to alcohol.
Withdrawal symptoms should be medically monitored to ensure your body can safely transition away from alcohol addiction. Withdrawal symptoms can include increased anxiety, headaches, insomnia, sweating, nausea, vomiting, fevers, and confusion. If you are experiencing early signs of withdrawal, consult a doctor immediately for help.
If you are uncertain about how your body will react without alcohol, consult a medical professional to discuss what options are available to you. Individualized care helps ensure that you are on the right path in helping your body adapt to sobriety.
Embrace Sober Living
From the first steps into the experience of sober events to a fresh conversation with a new friend, there is a whole world of connection outside of depending on alcohol. It may seem challenging at first to adapt, but quitting drinking completely takes little steps every day that help you create positive patterns in your life.
Those little steps of embracing the hard parts and the great aspects of living without alcohol can help you pave your own path to how you want to live. Sober curious is not about giving up fun or sacrificing your charisma in a social situation. It is about living in a way that you choose. When you can do that, you have the ability to be present in the moments of life that you want to be a part of.
Whenever you are curious to explore, you always have a supportive community behind you that is ready to uplift sober curiosity into a lifestyle that works for you.
Each step you take towards healthier living is one step closer to living up to your original intention behind why you want to quit drinking completely.
Embrace your own sober curiosity and find your path to how life can look without alcohol.