What is the "Sober Curious" Movement?

I’ve been hearing the term “Sober Curious” for a while now. What does it mean and how did this movement get started?

Ruby Warrington wrote the book “Sober Curious: The Blissful Sleep, Greater Focus, Limitless Presence, and Deep Connection Awaiting Us All on the Other side of Alcohol” which is what the Sober Curious movement is based on.

It seems that the “Sober Curious” movement is trying to challenge our societies current state in which alcohol is woven into every aspect of life. In our society it’s nearly impossible to attend any event where alcohol is not served. Since Warrington’s book came out, the movement has spurred the start up of sober bars and hangouts in major cities. As a substance abuse counselor, I am hopeful that this movement will make it easier for people with substance abuse problems to come forward and get help.

However, an article from the Guardian talks about how this movement could actually minimize the seriousness of substance abuse and addiction, and the fact that addiction is a chronic medical condition that requires treatment. Treatment for substance abuse and addiction is a lot more than just choosing to be “sober curious”. For many with addiction, getting treatment is a life or death situation and requires interventions such as medical detox, residential treatment, outpatient treatment, sober living, etc.

As with any new movement or trend, there are things we can gain, but also things we need to be cautious about. The Sober Curious movement can help our society see that living sober can be rewarding, satisfying, and enjoyable, and it may prevent underage drinkers from choosing to drink at all. The movement can also help those in the beginning stages of substance abuse feel more comfortable choosing sobriety or getting help due to sobriety becoming more accepted in our society. However, we have to be careful not to minimize the seriousness of addiction and that for some, intensive treatment will be needed for them to achieve and maintain sobriety.

If you are concerned about your own substance use but are not sure if you can stop on your own, it’s a good idea to get an assessment from a Licensed Addictions Specialist.