Last updated August 28, 2023
The sober curious movement is all about exploring a more mindful approach to drinking. And who knows? You might just discover a newfound love for being more intentional around alcohol and all the amazing health benefits that come with it.
Let’s do a quick exercise. Close your eyes and imagine you’re on vacation. What do you see?
I would imagine you envision your toes wiggling in powdery white sand with magnificent blue water splashing around you. The sunshine no doubt warming your body. More than likely, you also have a G&T in hand.
But no shame. I’ve been on many vacations with alcohol as the prized companion, even so-called “wellness vacations.” One particular yoga retreat ended with a sangria night that turned into a pretty wild dance party.
And I know all too well that all-inclusive resort packages can easily turn into an all-day mimosa fiesta. Even spas will tote robes, slippers and—you guessed it—bubbly. Because what better accessory to have in a celebratory photo at the spa or on some far away tropical island? Clink, clink!
Benefits of a Sober Curious Lifestyle
The older I get and the more I consciously focus on my choices, the more I find myself swapping out my beloved Spritz for a La Croix. I appreciate myself and my wellness progress too much to derail my efforts. So I find myself abstaining more than ever. Sometimes months at a time.
I’m not sure exactly when I made the switch. Somewhere along the years, Dry January metamorphosed into a sober curious lifestyle out of necessity of trying to heal an auto-immune disease.
Entering into a sober curious lifestyle allows me to think clearer. It gives me more energy. Moreover, if I am experiencing a pesky flair, I know that my body can bounce back much quicker.
What if you ditched the alcohol for a month? Or become more intentional and err on the side of sober curiosity? Alternatively, what if you ended up ditching it all together? How would you feel and what are the health benefits?
Mindful Drinking Is on the Rise
It’s true. Dry January and the sober curious movement are the rage these days as more people embrace wellness and mindfulness. The sober curious movement is all about making choices that benefit your physical and mental health, reduce your environmental impact and save you money.
This can mean abstaining from alcohol or simply drinking less. While Dry January helps to raise awareness about the benefits of a no-alcohol lifestyle and to encourage people to reflect on their alcohol consumption, the sober curious movement actually encompasses a broader lifestyle choice.
I recently spoke with Alex McRobert, an amazingly humble and inspirational sober coach who leads sober yoga retreats. I asked her why she personally decided to become more intentional about her drinking habits.
Former Party Girl Turns Sober Girl
Alex admits she was a party girl ever since she was a teenager. At 23, she moved to Kuwait, which is a dry country. It was there that she became obsessed with learning how to make her own booze, networking with others who could get her booze, and blow-out weekends away in cities like Dubai, where alcohol is free-flowing and legal.
“I moved to Abu Dhabi when I was 25 because I thought the solution to my unhappiness was to move to a country where alcohol was legal. It was from there I slid down the drinking problems scale further and faster than I wanted to,” says Alex.
Everyone has a different version of what “rock bottom” looks like for them. And for Alex, it was the realization that alcohol was really getting in the way of who she wanted to be.
She goes on to explain that since going sober, her life has completely transformed.
“It was my dream ever since I could remember to have a career in yoga. Running retreats, traveling around the world—but I didn’t think it was possible. I didn’t believe I was good enough as a yoga teacher. I didn’t think anyone would want to come on a retreat with me,” she says.
Since becoming sober, Alex’s life has completely transformed. “I started to step into my worth and believe in myself. I was no longer just ‘talking the talk,’ I was ‘walking the walk.’ And people felt that around me.”
Within her first month sober, her yoga classes started to fully book, with a waitlist.
From there it’s been a constant upward trajectory she says. She built an app and platform, The Mindful Life Practice, and started running 30 Day Sober Girls Yoga Challenges online.
Ready to Join the Sober Curious Party?
Whatever your approach, the idea is to be more mindful and conscious of your alcohol consumption and its impact on your life and the world around you.
Are you ready to join the sober curious party?
Below, I examine the ways in which the sober curious movement is challenging traditional attitudes about alcohol and promoting a healthier, more mindful approach to consumption. Because, finally!
What Is the Sober Curious Movement?
The sober curious movement is a cultural shift that encourages people to question their relationship with alcohol and to explore alternatives to drinking. The idea is that we can live fulfilling, enjoyable lives without alcohol!
Many people who identify as sober are not necessarily in recovery from addiction (nor do we recommend this. They are simply interested in exploring the benefits of sober living and in finding new, healthy ways to cope with stress and to relax.
The movement is often associated with mindfulness and self-care, and encourages people to think more critically about the role of alcohol in their lives and to consider the potential benefits of cutting back on or eliminating alcohol altogether.
Speaking of—the health benefits of cutting back on drinking are plenty. These include weight loss, improved liver function, cardiovascular health, sleep quality, mental health and a stronger immune system… just to name a few.
Something this lifestyle has given me personally is a new sense of confidence. I don’t have to consume alcohol to have a good time and mold meaningful connections, even on special events or holidays. Plus I feel much more connected to my life.
Sober Curious Travel Experiences
As the sober curious movement continues to grow in popularity, more spas, resorts and retreats are emerging to cater to the needs and interests of those who are interested in sober wellness programs.
1. The Mindful Life Practice Retreats
Alex McRobert leads retreats primarily in Bali, Indonesia, but she does offer retreats elsewhere around the world including Todos Santos, Mexico.
Besides these retreats, Alex offers several free offerings on her platform for sober curious women, including the Sober Yoga Girl Podcast, the Sober Girls Yoga Facebook Group and a free Seven Day Sober Girls Yoga Challenge.
2. The Art of Living Retreat Center
The Art of Living Retreat Center is a sober property that offers a range of activities. Powerful practices include meditation retreats, Ayurveda wellness escapes, spa experiences and guest presenter workshops—all designed to promote happiness, health and peace.
Fivelements is all about peace, nature and wellness. To maintain this atmosphere, the eco-wellness retreat is a smoke-free and alcohol-free environment. This commitment to wellness and sustainability has earned Fivelements a total of 18 international awards in various categories, including hotel, wellness, spa, culinary and sustainable design.
In line with its wellness concept, Absolute Sanctuary has a no-alcohol policy on its premises. However, there are still plenty of amenities for you to enjoy. Wellness facilities include a library lounge, an infinity pool and sundeck, and yoga studio. In addition, the resort has a detox center with a colon hydrotherapy bed and a spa with a steam room, infrared sauna and outdoor massages.
A Sober Lifestyle Is Trending
These destinations provide a supportive environment for those interested in sober living, and offer a range of activities and experiences that allow guests to relax, unwind and connect with others in a sober setting.
Because, let’s be honest… connecting with others while sober can be even more enjoyable and meaningful. Saying adios to vacation drinking has been the hardest for me, but now it doesn’t have to be!
Note: This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional advice about alcohol consumption. If you are worried about your drinking, please contact your local AA support group.
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