What is Sober Curious: Hear from those Pioneering the Way for Change.

One of the top priorities for Sober Life Rocks is our Big Tent philosophy; that there is room for all, regardless of what is in our cups.  And a large percentage of our members consider themselves “Sober Curious”.

What does Sober Curious mean anyway? In recent episodes of the­ Morning Smiles podcast, featuring Jonathan Bonanno, Katherine Eitel Be­lt, and Allison Lacoursiere, we get an insider view to three people’s journeys and choices as they navigate through their sobe­r curious journey.. 

This rece­nt global trend promotes a lifestyle­ where people­ consciously elect to reduce­ or completely exclude­ alcohol from their lives. This choice isn’t ne­cessarily rooted in struggling with addiction, rather it’s a proactive­, health-driven decision aime­d at fostering authenticity in social engage­ments.

Sober Curious: 45% of those surveyed are interested in going to a sober bar. Just ask Sans Bar owner, Chris Marshall. 

(based on 1000 adults over the age of 21 who participated, NCSolutions Consumer Sentiment Survey, January 2023)

Jonathan Bonanno’s journey from contemplating a career in plastic surgery to becoming an advocate for mental health and workplace well-being underscores a significant theme within the sober curious movement: the quest for authenticity and genuine connection. His personal choice to lead a “soberish” lifestyle, motivated by the adverse effects of alcohol on his health, resonates with the movement’s core tenet: the freedom to choose what’s best for one’s well-being. His advocacy for creating work environments that prioritize mental health and offer alternatives to traditional alcohol-centric networking events mirrors the broader cultural shift towards inclusivity and wellness.

People should have the freedom to be themselves, and not feel pressured into conforming to a drinking culture.” – Jonathan Bonanno

Katherine Eitel Belt’s conversation with Margy Schaller brings to light the burgeoning availability and popularity of sophisticated, non-alcoholic alternatives. Katherine’s insights into the importance of feeling connected and included, particularly in environments traditionally dominated by alcohol, highlight a critical aspect of the sober curious movement: the normalization of sobriety in social and professional settings. Her role as a “sober wingman” exemplifies the supportive community that the movement fosters, advocating for a shift in how society perceives and engages with non-alcoholic beverages.

“I remember Paul Homoly telling me, I rarely go to dinner, but I never drink before I’m going to speak the next day because I want to be 110%” – Katherine Eitel Belt 

Allison Lacoursiere’s candid recounting of her personal struggles and the transformative power of mindfulness and yoga presents a compelling case for the psychological and health benefits of reducing or abstaining from alcohol. The sober curious movement, as Allison’s story illustrates, is about much more than just the physical health benefits of less alcohol consumption; it’s about confronting and overcoming the internal narratives that drive our behaviors. This movement encourages individuals to examine their relationship with alcohol and make conscious choices that align with their personal values and health goals.

Sober Curious: “Every single dental conference I have ever been to, I’ve had at least one glass of wine every night. And I was like, maybe I should just try not to. And it was a fantastic experience. I woke up every morning, did yoga, felt great. I just was able to have more clear conversations with people.” – Allison Lacoursiere 

Sober Curious: The collective stories of Jonathan, Katherine, and Allison, highlight the multifaceted nature of the sober curious movement. 

From creating alcohol-free spaces that encourage authentic connections to advocating for the availability of non-alcoholic alternatives in social settings, the movement, and Sober Life Rocks, is about redefining the social fabric of our communities. It’s a testament to the growing desire for lifestyle choices that prioritize health, wellness, and genuine relationships over societal expectations.

How did the Sober Curious movement start? 

The Sober Curious movement, coined and popularized by Ruby Warrington, author and founder of Club Söda NYC, represents a growing trend of individuals reevaluating their relationship with alcohol. This movement diverges from traditional notions of sobriety, which are often linked to alcoholism or alcohol use disorder, by promoting a lifestyle where individuals consciously choose to drink less or abstain altogether for health-focused reasons. 

Warrington’s initiative aims to challenge the pervasive drinking culture and the stereotypes associated with not drinking, emphasizing the idea that one can lead a social and fulfilling life without alcohol. The movement is marked by its inclusivity, allowing individuals to define their sober curiosity in ways that resonate with their personal health and wellness goals.

In today’s society, the Sober Curious movement is gaining momentum, supported by a demographic shift towards healthier lifestyles, particularly among younger generations like millennials and Gen Z, who are more conscious of alcohol’s negative effects on health and wellbeing. 

This shift is evidenced by the increasing prevalence of sober bars, alcohol-free social events, and a broader range of sophisticated non-alcoholic beverages, from mocktails to non-alcoholic beers. Establishments and event organizers are beginning to recognize and cater to the demand for alcohol-free environments, facilitating spaces where individuals can enjoy social interaction and community without the pressures and dangers associated with drinking. The movement not only highlights the health benefits of reduced alcohol consumption, including better sleep, focus, and decreased risk of chronic diseases but also fosters a culture where choosing not to drink is both respected and celebrated.

Sober Curious: What comes next? 

As more people choose not to drink and prioritize their health, the sober curious movement is poised to pioneer significant changes in how we socialize, network, and celebrate. Sober Life Rocks is at the forefront of this movement at business events by advocating for a world where events don’t revolve around the bar cart but instead focus on creating meaningful connections and inclusive environments. Through the insights of thought leaders like Jonathan, Katherine, and Allison, the Morning Smiles podcast illuminates the path toward a more inclusive, health-conscious, and connected society—a society where the choice to not drink is not only accepted but celebrated. 

It’s not about telling you not to have a drink, it’s about offering better choices for those that want something other than soda and water and building events that aren’t centered around the bar cart and happy hour. 

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