What Is the Sober Movement?
The sober community has come a long way in recent years. There are many reasons for this. The rise of the opiate epidemic is a big one, but there is also so much more information out there these days regarding substance abuse.
When I was growing up, I had no idea of the dangers of certain drugs. There were afterschool specials and a few random TV ads about drugs being bad, but they never really told you why. “Just Say No” became a popular term back in the 80s, but what is the reason for just saying no?
I didn’t get it until I became a full-blown alcoholic and drug addict. I dabbled in a lot of different drugs and ended up wasting a lot of my life. I lost multiple jobs and could barely hold down a place to live.
When I entered Pathfinders for treatment, I didn’t know too much about the sober movement or the term ‘sober curious’. The definition of sober curious is a bit different from being actually sober.
Sober curious refers to the option you have to not drink or use drugs. When someone is sober curious, they are more interested in sobriety for health and wellness reasons. Anyone can be sober curious. You don’t necessarily have to have an addiction to be sober curious.
The origins of the term can be traced back to the author Ruby Warrington. Her book “Sober Curious” was published in 2018 and has become a must-read for those interested in the sober movement.
This book has been a big eye-opener for a lot of people, myself included. The sober lifestyle has historically been seen as made up of only former addicts. There are so many people out there who are not addicts that have just decided to not drink or do drugs.
When you meet someone who has never drunk alcohol or done drugs in their life, it’s rare. But these people are out there, and they have just as much wisdom as anybody else.
You don’t have to have a drug or alcohol history to have insight into the world of substance abuse. Obviously, recovering addicts may have more personal experience on the matter, but the information is out there if you choose to educate yourself.
It doesn’t take a drug addict to know that doing opiates can kill you. It doesn’t take you being an alcoholic to know that alcohol can seriously hurt your body and your mind.
Do I have to be an alcoholic to get sober? The answer is absolutely not. The sober movement is made up of all kinds of people. Perhaps you’ve had people in your life who are addicted, and it scared you enough to never want to try drugs or alcohol.
I have met many people in the sober community who were the children of alcoholics. They made the decision early on to never drink, knowing full well that it probably wouldn’t go so well. If you have a family history of substance abuse, chances are you won’t be one of those people who can just drink socially.
Changing The Sobriety Stigma
Another question sober curious people may ask themselves is why am I expected to drink to have a good time? There is so much peer pressure in our society and an emphasis on drinking to have fun.
Why is this the case? When you really try to wrap your head around this issue, it makes you question a lot of things. We’ve seen what drugs and alcohol can do to people, yet drugs and alcohol are so closely associated with having a good time.
Sober people are often looked at as boring and uninteresting. Since I got sober, I can’t count how many fun and interesting sober people I’ve met. This is one of the great tricks that society plays on us.
Just like there is a stigma with drug addicts, there is also a stigma around sober people. Some people think we are miserable because we can’t get high or drunk anymore.
There are people that are sometimes referred to as ‘dry drunks’. This is defined as a recovering alcoholic who still exhibits the behavior and attitude of an active alcoholic. You may meet these people, but in my experience, most of the people I’ve come across in the sober community are full of life and couldn’t be happier to not be addicted.
The trend vs. lifestyle of the sober movement is also something to consider. Sure, some people may consider themselves sober curious because they see it as the cool thing to do. Some people may be trying to impress others by bragging about their sobriety.
In my experience, no matter what community you are part of, there are going to be people who aren’t all in. Some people just want to feel like they are part of something bigger. Sometimes people just want to try it out and see for themselves.
No matter what, I treat everyone I meet in the sober community the same. If they no longer want sobriety, it isn’t my place to judge. If one of my peer’s relapses and doesn’t come back from it, it’s sad, but there isn’t a lot I can do for them personally other than offer my insight.
I look at achieving recovery from drinking as a way of life. This is who I am, and it plays a big role in every aspect of my life. When you become sober after being addicted, it’s something you need to put a lot of work into. It doesn’t come easy, but the rewards are very much worth it.
There is a lot to be said regarding social media and the sober movement. Social media is a huge part of our daily lives today, and a lot of influencers online have taken to the sober movement.
There are a lot of celebrities involved in the sober movement, which can be encouraging to younger people. I never want to be influenced in any way by something just because of what a celebrity says, but it really does have an impact on a lot of people.
All the great actors of the golden age of Hollywood were known for their drinking habits and exploits. These days, you will find just as many sober entertainers as you will ones that engage in substance abuse.
Forms of Treatment for Assistance In Sobriety
Your approach to sobriety very much determines how well you will do. If you are all in, and you truly want it for yourself, you have a great chance of succeeding. While you do have to do a lot of the work on your own, you are going to need help along the way.
I know that for me personally I really needed all the peer support that I’ve gotten over the years. It plays a big part in me staying on the sober path. I’ve met a lot of other problem drinkers like myself who made the decision to get sober before it was too later.
The definition of problem drinking is someone who abuses alcohol but is not yet chronically addicted. Luckily for me, I managed to get help before becoming physically addicted. Unfortunately, some people don’t seek help until they are late-term alcoholics.
There are a lot of different and unique ways to enjoy sobriety. I used to really enjoy cocktails, and luckily for me, there are a wide variety of non-alcoholic drinks that are commonly referred to as mocktails.
Mocktails and other sober movement drinks allow you to continue to have fun and indulge a little bit. When I first got sober, I switched to non-alcoholic beer. It was a great bridge drink for me. I always enjoyed beer and all the different varieties of beer. Being able to have my NA beer after I got sober was a good way for me to ease into my sobriety without completely dropping the drinks I used to enjoy.
The rise of the sober movement and sober curious people have been very fun for me to witness. The word is out on drugs and alcohol. They ruin lives, families, and careers. People don’t usually ruin their lives simply because they are sober.
With drugs and alcohol, no matter where you are in life, you are going to experience turmoil. Some addicts are violent and their behavior changes when they are under the influence. Some addicts are non-confrontational, and their addiction doesn’t affect their personality. Even though that is the case, they are still doing a great amount of damage to their bodies.
I was never a violent or angry drunk. I was what you’d call a happy drunk. I was nice to everyone, and I never engaged in any lewd or illegal behavior. Everything seemed fine until I realized the internal damage that it was doing.
The negative physical effects of substance abuse can really creep up on you. My uncle was a happy drunk too. Everything seemed fine with him until he died of a heart attack. The heart attack was brought on by his unhealthy lifestyle. Unfortunately for him, he didn’t get the chance to realize what he was doing to himself.
The alcohol was waging a silent war against him. Seeing that taught me a lot. The best lesson it taught me is that nobody ever died from achieving sobriety. That is a great thought that I continue to hold on to.