You might be hearing the phrase “sober curious” a lot lately. The concept of mindful drinking has been growing in popularity over recent years and is one of the newest health trends focused on cutting back on alcohol consumption. With binge drinking and alcohol dependency rates steadily climbing, it’s no wonder that some people want to try cutting out alcohol for a while to see how it feels to wake up without a hangover on the weekends.
JAMA Psychiatry reported that the number of American adults who binge drink at least once weekly is more than 30 million! In response to this alarming statistic, month-long events like Dry January and Sober October have gone up in popularity. There’s been an uptick in booze-free nightclubs (like the cutely-named Club Soda in New York City), meditation classes with a focus on mindful drinking, sober parties, and an increase in the variety of “mocktails” offered art bars and restaurants across the country.
Aaron White is a senior scientific advisor at the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, and he explained the benefits of a sober month to Mel Magazine. “[T]aking a break from alcohol gives a person the chance to evaluate their relationship with it and cultivate alternatives for relaxing, socializing and whatever other reasons they have for drinking,” he said.
“Some people might discover that their nightly drink was irritating their stomach, disrupting their sleep or affecting their food choices,” White added. Cutting out alcohol and its empty calories for just a month can lead to significant weight loss as well as a more moderate level of drinking in the months following the break. Many people also report increased energy, improved moods, and clearer skin. Sober months also help to save a significant amount of money – drinking is expensive!
If you’re thinking about taking up a sober month, there are some things you can do to make it easier. Having substitute indulgences for yourself on hand, like a favorite dessert at the end of the week; planning social activities that don’t involve drinking; and finding a non-alcoholic beverage you really enjoy can all help make those 30 days fly by.
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