What Does Sober Curious Mean?

Sober curious is when someone who may have an alcohol addiction or is a heavy drinker thinks about what it would be like to give up drinking. It may involve mentally coming up with a plan to aid their recovery or simply thinking about how nice it would be to not spend all their free time drunk.

The phrase sober curious was coined by Ruby Warrington in her 2018 book ‘Sober Curious: The Blissful Sleep, Greater Focus, Limitless Presence, and Deep Connection Awaiting Us All on the Other Side of Alcohol’.

In this book, she discusses her journey towards dealing with her alcoholism and how a jumping-off point was realising that she was curious about what her life could be like if she didn’t drink.

Being sober and curious involves examining your relationship with alcohol and asking questions such as:

  • Why are you drinking?
  • Do you feel pressure to drink?
  • What will happen if you don’t drink?
  • Are you drinking to avoid feeling something?
  • Are you just drinking out of habit?
  • Are you safe while you drink?

These questions can help you to understand your relationship with alcohol and can often highlight problematic behaviours you may not have even been aware of.

It is important to embrace these questions and curiosity towards sobriety. It means that deep down, you know something isn’t right and your life could be better if you just gave up drinking.

Motivations for Going Sober

What actually starts the sober curiosity is different for each person. It is all about the personal motivation that helps you examine your life and habits to start making healthier choices.

These motivations can be:

  • A baby on the way
  • Health scare
  • Death of a loved one
  • New job
  • Risk of losing a job
  • Near miss with an accident
  • Seeing what addiction can do
  • New responsibilities
  • Financial hardships
  • Mental health struggles

Whatever your motivation is, it’s important that should you choose to seek help with your drinking, you keep it in mind. If it is a good enough motivation to get you to question what life would be like without drinking and you feel sober curious, it will be your light at the end of the tunnel of recovery.

Aiming to be healthier for yourself, your family, or your future are great motivators and things you should be proud of.

Motivation to become sober can also be due to more unusual reasons. Something as simple as societal changes towards drinking can change expectations regarding heavy drinking. Health trends that encourage you to cut out alcohol or the desire to rebel from the social norm of drinking.

Whatever your motivations are, it doesn’t matter – what matters is that you are motivated and sober curious.

Exploring Alcohol-Free Options

Nowadays, there are plenty of non-alcoholic options for you to still have a nice night out and experiment with going out sober. You can always ask for a mocktail, and you can still have a great night. Most brands of beer and cider also offer non-alcoholic versions.

Swapping out a few of your drinks with non-alcoholic versions can be a good way to start experimenting with sobriety. The important thing to remember is that you will need support from your friends and community. It can be isolating to decide to stop drinking, especially considering how ingrained alcohol is in socialising, but with the right support from friends and family, you can recover from alcohol abuse.

Saying you are the designated driver or that you need to get up early the next morning can all be great ways to dodge questions as to why you aren’t drinking if this is something that you would like to keep to yourself. While you need support, you also need to feel comfortable with telling people. This is your journey, and what others know is entirely up to you.

Benefits of a Sober Lifestyle

While it may seem hard to imagine, life without alcohol is so much better than you can possibly imagine. The reasons why can be broken down into physical changes and psychological changes. These changes all lead to a happier and healthier life.

So, to begin with, there are physical changes when you stop drinking alcohol.

You may find that if you cut back on your drinking, you will lose weight and notice a bit more of a healthy glow to your skin. You may notice that you feel healthier with more energy, better sleeping patterns, and the ability to exercise. You may also find that you have a better appetite and crave fresh food rather than takeaways and greasy or unhealthy meals.

When it comes to psychological changes from becoming sober, you need to understand that alcohol is a depressant. What that means is that it slows down your response times and can cause you to feel tired and sluggish with reduced cognitive function.

Without alcohol, you may notice that you have more motivation to do things. You are happier with more creative ideas and excitement about things that you are passionate about.

Long-term alcohol abuse can have a seriously negative impact on your mental health. Only when you have stopped drinking can you start to deal with the lingering effects of mental illness, such as anxiety or depression.

Alcohol is also a barrier between you and your connection with yourself and other people. Without that barrier, you have the potential to develop new and more meaningful interpersonal connections. You get a chance to know yourself all over again and learn what kind of person you want to be.

You will be able to learn about new passions and hobbies. Find that you are an interesting, complicated person that doesn’t need to use alcohol as a crutch to socialise.

If you want to try socialising in a safe environment free of all alcohol, then you may want to try and find a local meeting for Alcoholics Anonymous. You should be able to find a meeting through their website. Alternatively, if you are concerned that you have developed an addiction, it may be worth attending a private alcohol rehab.

It is important that you remember that you are not alone. There are people who want to help you and want to be part of your community while you go through this transitional period. It’s scary, but you are doing this for your health and for your future.


  • [1] find a local meeting for Alcoholics Anonymous - https://www.alcoholics-anonymous.org.uk/aa-meetings/find-a-meeting