I love wine. All wine. Red, white, rose, I don’t discriminate. Actually, I love boozy cocktails, beer, I love it all. So why am I sober curious?
Sober curious is defined as “when someone chooses to be sober for the health benefits, both physical and mental, as opposed to someone who is sober because of an alcohol abuse problem”.
RELATED READING :: The Decision to Ditch Drinking: My Journey Towards a Sober Life
While I was pregnant in 2021, I heard a friend talking about a book called “Quit Like A Woman”. She described it as “once you know, you cannot un-know.” So obviously, I needed to know! The Author, Holly Whitaker tells of her alcoholism, hitting bottom, and how she found sobriety. While I absolutely empathize with her experiences, this story could not be further from my experiences. The book goes on to talk about the health consequences of alcohol and how it wreaks havoc on our bodies. We know this right? We know we are drinking poison. So why do we do it? Holly talks about how she went to extremes for her health: eating clean (vegan), hot yoga, juice cleanses, and even literally drinking charcoal, but continued to drink alcohol, all while still having health issues. It wasn’t until she ditched the alcohol that her health issues disappeared.
She also compares the BIG alcohol industry to the BIG tobacco industry, preying on consumers with false claims and advertising “healthy alcohol”, preying on moms and ingraining alcohol into the mom culture. In fact, my first born child actually wore a tiny hat that said “Poppin Bottles”. This type of influence over our culture hits a nerve for me. I’m uncomfortable with the idea that the alcohol industry has instilled their products into our culture…especially mom culture!
A nightly cocktail was the norm for me and my husband in the thick of the pandemic. My one cocktail didn’t seem like a lot, but I couldn’t NOT have this cocktail. I needed it. And in our pandemic world, I went so far as thinking that I deserved it. During this time, I noticed my skin looking dull and increased signs of aging. I tried a variety of anti-aging creams, vitamin c brighteners- you name it, I tried it. It wasn’t until I got pregnant in February of 2021 and stopped drinking did I notice a complete change in my skin. I quickly realized that topical skin products could not overcome what I was putting in my body.
As I learned more about this sober curious movement, it was exciting to hear about non-alcoholic producers making more than just sodas and juices. New brands introducing botanical non-alcoholic craft cocktails and non-alcoholic wines. Anyone else cringe when offered a Virgin Mary or a Virgin Daiquiri while pregnant? Gross! I wanted something delicious, refreshing, but also gives me the feeling of having a cocktail. The sober curious movement is not just about abstinence from alcohol, rather a health movement. People want to enjoy delicious flavors that you would normally find in alcoholic beverages, minus the health consequences (not to mention hangovers). Some of my favorite non-alcoholic drinks include Seedlip Cocktails and Athletic Brewing. And while I missed my Sonoma cabernets during my pregnancy, sampling these new options was fun and delicious!
There were also a lot of questions during this time: “Could I stay sober after I have this baby? Can I be sober in my hospitality/events industry, where my job is entertaining clients? How would that work? What would my friends think? What would we do together, if not drink?” I decided to remove the pressure. If not completely stop, can I only drink on the weekends? Or occasionally, for special events? Even a small change in my drinking habits would be a step forward…for my health and my body.
So here I am, 6 months postpartum drinking less. Not drinking every day, as we did in 2020, but thinking about each drink and contemplating if it is ‘worth it’. Enjoying a nightly chamomile tea, rather than a glass of wine. I am not perfect. There are days that call for a beer at 5:30pm. And I love to celebrate by popping a bottle of champagne with friends. And while I remain “sober curious”, you may or may not see me with a glass in hand….and I am okay with that (for now). That is the beauty of the sober curious movement and being open to the possibilities that lie ahead.