Are You Sober Curious? Here Are 5 Ways to Cut Back on Alcohol

Published on November 1, 2021

Daisies floating in glasses of water - a good beverage choice for the sober curious

As the wellness boom continues, many people are looking into the benefits of a sober curious lifestyle. Although drinking is ubiquitous in our culture, there’s no doubt that alcohol comes with several harmful mental and physical health effects, not the least of which is a pretty gnarly hangover the next day.

What Does It Mean to Be Sober Curious?

Unlike cutting off alcohol cold turkey, being sober curious means exactly what it sounds like: you’re just beginning to dip your toe into the waters of a booze-free life. If you’ve ever given up alcohol for any significant period of time, you’ll know that sober living comes with its own perks including a boost in energy, sharper focus and better relationships.

However, going alcohol-free is definitely a personal choice, and you may ultimately decide that a glass of chilled chardonnay after a long workday is a staple you’re not willing to give up. Whatever your personal philosophy is when it comes to booze, there’s definitely something to be said for dabbling in the sober curious world.

5 Ways to Cut Back on Alcohol if You’re Sober Curious

If you do ultimately decide to cut back on alcohol consumption, here are five ways to get started on your path:

1. Go Alcohol Free on Weekdays

Tequila shots with lemon slices

Giving up alcohol on weekdays — while still letting yourself indulge a little on weekends — can be a great first foray into the sober life. Some people may find their Tuesday evening glass of wine turning into a bottle, and if this applies to you, going booze-free Monday through Friday could be a great option to start cutting back.    

2. Drink Mindfully

If you're sober curious, be mindful when you drink. Friends raise their glasses to "cheers."

You’ve heard of mindful eating (the practice of slowing down, being fully present and savoring each bite of your meal), so why not try applying the same concept to drinking alcohol? It can be easy to over-consume while you’re out having fun with friends or feeling stressed. But if you’re curious about the benefits of slowing your roll on the booze, you may want to try capping your drinks at one or two and try enjoying each sip and the sensual experience it creates. For example, if you’re drinking wine, you could pretend you’re at a wine tasting and take note of the sights, aromas and flavors associated with the experience.

3. Manage Your Stress

Person sitting in a cozy spot with a book and a cup of coffee.

Turning to alcohol as a solution to stress is a common yet ineffective tactic for many of us. If you’re hoping to cut back on the booze, try coping with stress in other ways like meditation, yoga or long walks. With all the money you’ll be saving by ditching the wine, you could even book a relaxing treat like a massage or reiki session.

4. Swap the Booze for Other Bevvies

Top-down view of a bubbly, clear beverage for a sober curious individual.

When cutting out any ingrained habit from our lives, it’s important to replace it with a healthier alternative. Dabbling with a sober curious lifestyle will open new doors to an array of fun and delicious beverages that won’t make you feel like you’re missing out during social events, and they can act as your emotional support drink if your hand feels empty without a glass of wine. Try experimenting with kombucha, flavored sparkling water, teas or fresh juices for a healthier alternative that won’t leave you feeling groggy the next day.

5. Explore New Activities

Person carrying folded laundry.

Often, giving up alcohol goes hand-in-hand with giving up certain activities, social settings or friend groups — and that’s okay! Cutting back on booze could give you a chance to form relationships with like-minded people and explore new hobbies that don’t necessarily need alcohol to feel fulfilling. While experimenting with a sober curious lifestyle, you may want to experiment in other areas of your life by asking a new friend to grab coffee, hosting an afternoon tea party or trying a new pastime like pottery making, rock climbing or knitting — a proven mood booster!

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The Author
Mackenzie Patterson is a Toronto-based writer and journalist. She enjoys long walks, iced coffee on tap, and discovering all the latest and greatest health and wellness trends.