If you called your relationship with alcohol into question but feel unready to take the plunge into recovery, then the new sober curious movement might better fit your needs.
This personalized approach gives individuals a chance to moderate or limit their alcohol intake without full commitment to resources like group therapy or cold turkey quitting (which can cause more harm than good, anyway).
Why Try Sober Curious?
We all want to understand ourselves. But when dependency colors our thoughts and mood, a change can reveal more about our habits than any introspection could. Even a short trip into sobriety (or moderation) can tell you a lot about your lifestyle.
If you struggle to function every day without alcohol, or even with moderate alcohol intake, then you know that you developed a dependence and may need more involved treatment. Or you can reduce your consumption and find motivation in the many benefits of reduced alcohol consumption, including:
- Boosted immune system
- Fewer hangovers
- Higher-quality sleep
- Improved concentration
- Reduced anxiety and depression
Of course, nobody reacts to alcohol the same way. If the changes seem severe, you can choose sobriety and recovery with confidence that you made the right choice.
What Makes Sober Curious a Good First Step?
Many people flirt with sobriety before they decide to embrace it completely, often by experimenting with short periods of abstinence to assess any resulting behavioral changes. Minimal behavioral change could indicate that no drinking problem exists, or else the experiment shows proof of improvement through moderation or abstinence.
The sober curious movement combats the all-or-nothing thinking that’s pervasive in the recovery community, particularly in the clinical treatment industry. Rather than see relapse as a failure and descend into guilt and shame, patients can go through periods of temporary sobriety to maintain better control of their drinking. The idea is to see how your life improves when you reduce or eliminate alcohol consumption, potentially creating less and less desire to drink over time.
Intervals in a sober-curious approach give patients more realistic goals. Sobriety requires considerable lifestyle changes. An approach to sobriety that makes all those changes at once can’t sustain itself.
The sober curious movement helps patients by giving them a way to set goals. Moreover, there’s an argument to be made that attitudes toward relapse are more forgiving, mitigating the feelings of failure that often follow a relapse.
Just the First Step
Someone who’s uncertain about recovery can use sober curious as a testing ground for sobriety. Even patients in the initial stages of recovery can benefit from the movement as a first step although it can’t replace Alcoholics Anonymous, therapy, sober living, and other recovery programs.
While the sober curious movement is about shifting perspectives around sobriety, clinical treatment programs and recovery fellowships are built to serve alcohol dependency. They necessitate a more committed approach to sobriety than sober curiosity, particularly when it comes to external accountability. Sober curiosity merely requires introspection and self-awareness to work.
The sober curious movement still helps people on the road to recovery. But if you discover that you need more help than sober curiosity can give you, then it’s crucial to move on to more involved programs.
Sober Curious vs. Other Addiction Approaches
No matter what your journey to sobriety looks like, there are some universal truths to bear in mind as you begin your recovery.
First, a good support network goes a long way. Family and friends who understand you and your struggle can help you work through the hard times. If you have concerns about social connections that understand you, then recovery programs can help you build a new network.
The decision to become sober curious comes from within. Like any other addiction recovery program, nobody else can decide it’s time to recover. Moreover, you don’t actually have to hit rock bottom to begin your alcohol recovery.
The sober curious movement is a new example of a more proactive, pre-rock-bottom approach to sobriety.
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