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What is “Sober Curious” and Is It for You?

Cardinal Innovations Healthcare — April 10, 2020 — 3 min read

Why the New Generation is Quitting Alcohol

To be sober curious means to give up alcohol completely, with or without a substance use disorder. Many who choose this lifestyle do it for the health benefits.
 
Even though the name “sober curious” sounds new, the alcohol-free movement is not. Our society has gone through several sober living movements, including the Temperance movement of the early 1900s, which helped pass a constitutional amendment to make alcohol illegal. (The word “temperance” just means choosing to avoid drinking alcohol.)

6 Health Benefits When You Stop Drinking

While some might say that a glass of red wine with dinner is good for the heart (the reviews are mixed), the broader medical community agrees that all alcohol, in general, is bad for you. As a sober curious individual, avoiding alcohol will do you a lot of good.

Some advantages of not drinking include:

1. Lowered Cancer Risk
Researchers have been studying the link between heavy alcohol use and cancer. When alcohol’s main ingredient, ethanol, is broken down, it turns into a toxic chemical that can damage your DNA. Alcohol also decreases your ability to absorb good cancer-fighting vitamins like vitamin A and vitamin B-complex. So, avoiding alcohol can lower your risk of developing certain types of cancer.

2. Smaller Waistline
When you drink alcohol, you are drinking your calories without feeling fuller (check out this tool to see how many calories are in your rum and coke). Constant alcohol use can also lead to a condition called alcoholic fatty liver. This can slow your metabolism and make weight easier to gain and harder to lose. By avoiding alcohol altogether, you can also avoid that dreaded “beer belly.”

3. Better Sleep
While alcohol might make you sleepy, it can take a serious toll on the quality of your sleep. When you go to sleep, you are supposed to pass through four different stages that each help your body repair itself. Studies have shown that alcohol will make it harder for you to enter these important later stages of sleep.

4. Lowered Risk of Alcohol Use Disorder
When you don’t drink alcohol at all, you eliminate your risk of creating an alcohol dependency entirely.

5. Reduced Risk of Mental Illness
As mentioned in our blog about alcohol use disorder and mental illness, frequent use and misuse of alcohol puts you at a higher risk of developing a mental illness like depression. And, if you already have been diagnosed with a mental illness, avoiding alcohol will keep you from developing a dual diagnosis.

6. Less Bloating and Dehydration
Alcohol is inflammatory and dehydrating. It can lead to water retention, which causes your entire body and face to swell. It can also irritate your digestive system and cause your stomach to bloat with gas. By choosing non-alcoholic beverages over beer, wine, and liquor, you lower your chances of dehydration and a puffy post-night-out face.
 
While it’s not for everyone, there are no downsides to living a sober curious lifestyle. We would encourage everyone to try it for a month—see how it goes! Sober curious groups and dry social events are popping up all around North Carolina for those choosing a healthier way-of-life.

Resources for Those Who Suspect They or a Loved One Has Alcohol Use Disorder

 
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