I’m not ‘Sober Curious.’ I just don’t drink.

The Sober Curious Movement

Why do we have to, as a society, turn every nothing into a “thing.” (repeat that in my best whiny voice) This whole sober curious thing. Is it even a thing? Does it need to be a thing?

I’m annoyed at the term sober curious, for one.

Yes, sometimes I am easily annoyed.

Perhaps I shouldn’t be annoyed at two words. But when I’m constantly having to explain myself because of those two words, I get annoyed. And that’s ok. It’s ok to be annoyed at little things. And thankfully I have an outlet for a brain dump so I can get it out and move on.

But here’s the thing.

Seriously, WTF America? What is with this obsession we have to attaching labels to every little thing? Why are we incapable of just doing something without labeling it?

That’s what I feel the “sober curious movement” <insert very large eye roll here> is doing. Really grasping at straws to attach a name to it, a movement to it…when there doesn’t need to be one.

Not drinking before not drinking was cool.

I hate when I start to do something, and I’m really enjoying it. Then, all of a sudden, a bunch of other people are doing it…and then I’m stuck explaining why I do it.

That’s what my non-drinking journey has turned into.

If you read this blog, you’ll see that it’s been over 2 years since my friend Lindsay and I began not drinking. There was no movement. There was no being curious (and I’ll address the stupidity of that word in a minute).

We were just two moms who didn’t like who we were when we drank. So we stopped drinking. End of story.

Me and my friend Lindsay

And, we did this almost a full 18 months before the Sober Curious book came out. I say this not to brag, but to partly explain why the term bugs me.

Sober Curious is a dumb phrase.

I guess the term came from some book that came out. But I really dislike the phrase.

I mean, honestly, is there anyone who needs to be curious about being sober? If you honestly don’t know what sobriety is, you need a medical professional, not some kitschy social media movement.

Who are these people, who are curious about being sober? Who doesn’t know what it’s like to be sober? Are there really some people out there who are completely unable to predict what it will be like, to not drink? Or, is it a clever way to sell books and courses?

Look, if you are struggling with drinking…and you take comfort in being part of a group, good for you. I mean that. Go for it. If you need to identify with this movement to be successful, by all means do it. The alternative is death (ask me how I know!).

What does Sober Curious Mean?

Here’s one reason why I dislike the term. Look at the definition of curious.

definition of curious

Ok, the first part, I sort of get. You want to learn how to be sober. Makes sense. There were some habits I had to relearn.

But I don’t like the second part.

It reminds me of a phrase my brother often repeats to me: “Alcohol, the only drug you have to explain why you don’t use it.”

Not partaking in alcohol should not ever be identified as something strange and/or unusual.

Or peculiar, odd, bizarre or the other synonyms at the bottom.

Not drinking alcohol should be the norm. Not vice versa.

Another alcohol tic to explain.

I did a post a while back about the 7 surprising things that happened when I stopped drinking wine. In it, I described how I’d refuse an alcoholic drink, and then people would assume that I’m an alcoholic.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that. (Gen X Seinfeld reference)

But I’m not an alcoholic so I don’t feel it’s appropriate for me to identify as one.

But now, when I refuse a drink, I get the “Oh, are you doing that Sober Curious thing? Yeah, I heard about that.”

No Karen, I’m not doing the sober curious thing. I just don’t drink.

Anyway, listen…it’s the holiday season and the pressure is on more than ever to drink. You be you. Do what you need to do to be successful in life. If that means identifying with a movement, so be it.


But you know what? If you do drink alcohol, and you are offering alcohol drinks to others and they refuse, just let them be. Don’t ask any questions. It doesn’t matter if I am a recovering alcoholic or if I am trying the sober curious thing. Or maybe I’m just this evening’s designated driver.

The point is: I said no thank you.

Respect that.

That’s a movement I want to start this holiday season. Respect the NO. If a person tells you no thank you, respect it and move on. There is no need to ask more questions or try to coerce them into taking a drink.

Respect the No.

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