When I decided to stop drinking alcohol and declared myself as sober, I was told by a couple of people that the term “sober” did not suit me. I liked wine and hard liquor but on the surface it did not look like I had a problem. I did not drink every day but when I did, I could not stop at one or two drinks. The problems surrounding alcohol happened on the days I drank and the day that followed with a hangover. My off-switch is broken.
Identifying as sober gave me the space I needed to create boundaries for those around me and for myself. And let’s be honest, I had no idea what I was doing and was entering into a foreign realm. The only way I had seen addiction treated in my life was Alcoholics Anonymous portrayed on TV. From researching AA and talking with my therapist, I decided very early on that AA was not the route for me.
Fast forward a couple of years and I began to identify less with the word sober and more with being a non-drinker. The female-led sober community on social media is pretty powerful and full of amazing people and stories. I continue to use sober-related hashtags to connect with like-minded women for support.
Over these past five years, I’ve embraced being curious about what it means for me to live without drinking alcohol. I’ve explored different paths and ideas towards healing my relationship with alcohol. Healing is full of twists and turns and it has created multiple opportunities to learn more about myself.
I have recently gravitated towards the term “sober-curious.” It is focused on intention. Being sober-curious creates a space to look at our relationships with alcohol and to be more intentional about when and why alcohol is consumed. With mental wellness and physical health at the forefront, being sober-curious reduces the stigma of living an alcohol-free life.
For some people like me who have a broken off-switch, no alcohol is my best choice. This movement is changing the narrative about alcohol and addiction. Individuals choose to be sober-curious for as long as they want. Sometimes good intentions take a negative turn for a variety of reasons. Grace and curiosity helps turn it around. And with being sober-curious, that is OK!