What Does It Mean To Be Sober Curious And Should You Try It?
By Lucy Cocoran - whimn.com.au
As the health-risks associated with alcohol increase, sober curious is the latest movement gaining traction.
During the Christmas break I nursed some pretty brutal hangovers. I’m no stranger to the hellish moment you wake up at midday, only to discover an assortment of questionable photos, regretful texts and miscellaneous bruises. Sure, my ego may have copped a bashing, but did any of this put me off drinking for good? Absolutely not. That being said, it definitely made me question my relationship with grog.
Now I know everyone is all about repenting for their summer sins by taking part in Dry January, but that’s never been my bag. In fact, the minute I know I’m not allowed to have something, it’s all I can think about - be this boys or booze.
While I’m not prepared to take the plunge and swear off the juice for a whole month, I did stumble across the ‘sober curious’ movement. This has been gaining serious traction over the past few months and encompasses a broad spectrum of people; from those who are ready to hang up their hats and dry out entirely to people keen to just cut back a little more.
At its core, being sober curious is all about (as the name suggests) getting curious. Instead of just mindlessly following the status quo, it encourages you to question your choices and expectations to drink. It’s inclusive in nature as it means something different to everyone. Whether you’re looking to dip a toe in the pool of sobriety or more serious about giving it up altogether, you have the option to choose.
It makes sense, given the world is making big moves toward sustainability and cleaner living. We want non-toxic beauty products, ethically made clothes, hormone-free meat and dairy-free milks. A life without alcohol almost seems like a natural progression, given it's in direct conflict with the wellness revolution.
So why are people inclined to hit the brakes on drinking? We spoke to integrative medicine practitioner and herbalist Madeline Calfas from The Wellness Group to get the inside scoop on all things boozey. As expected, she confirmed that the benefits of alcohol abstinence are extensive. From glowing skin and better sleep to increased energy and weight loss, scrapping the sauce can have a host of benefits.
“Alcohol metabolism produces acetaldehyde, which is toxic to body tissue. The effect on the skin is dehydrated, prematurely ageing skin which is more prone to acne and breakouts. Alcohol also creates inflammation, which releases histamine and causes the blood vessels (capillaries) in the face to dilate and allow more blood to the skin, causing facial flushing,” Madeline explains.
Those looking for a #hotgirlsummer will be disappointed to hear that alcohol is also the mortal enemy of weight loss.
“Alcohol slows your metabolism, and affects your body's ability to control how fast you can digest food. Add a sluggish metabolism to the hundreds (if not thousands) of calories that you are literally drinking, and it's no wonder that people who drink more tend to put on weight. A standard gin and tonic contains approximately 170 calories, so having a few of those each night can really add to the waistline,” Madeline explains. Yikes!
In other news that will shock absolutely nobody, the negative effects of binge drinking are as long as they come. Madeline rounds off a terrifying list of issues, including liver damage, poor immune system, increased risk of depression, type 2 diabetes and hormonal problems.
When it comes to explaining the growing push towards sobriety, Madeline had some thoughts.
“From Dry July to Sober October, there has been a large push over the last couple of years that sees people wanting to take greater control and be more preventative when it comes to their health. There’s a greater desire for people wanting their bodies to function at 'optimal' instead of 'normal.' We want to live better, feel better, live longer. People are starting to realise that they can be just as social over a smoothie bowl as they can over a margarita, and feel amazing in the process.” she says.
If you’re feeling inspired (or extremely concerned) and keen to try out a few non-alcoholic spirits, there's a growing industry out there and the bottles are so chic you could give them a second life as a vase. When it comes to booze-free beverages, Seedlip reigns supreme. I’d recommend the nogroni or the Grove 42 if you’re into citrus blends. If you’re a diehard G&T drinker then Ceder’s is the way to go, while Lyre’s does everything from absinthe to the Italian spritz - same taste, no spirit!
Honestly, it doesn’t hurt to be a little more mindful in every aspect of our lives. And while I won’t be making any New Year's resolutions in 2020, the sober curious movement has certainly piqued my interest. Maybe starting next weekend I’ll hold the booze in my vodka lime soda. I say next weekend because I’ll be heading to the Hunter Valley this weekend, and those wineries are calling to me. Hey! I told you that the sober curious community is all encompassing.