How to Embrace a Sober-Curious Mindset
Take a month to rē•spin your life without alcohol.
In recent years, we’ve heard the phrases “Dry January,” “Dry July,” and “Sober October” pop up as part of an individual’s decision to abstain from alcohol for an entire month voluntarily.
For some, it serves as a physical rē-set after a period of overindulgence, such as the holidays. For others, being sober-curious is a chance to open their minds to a routine without the presence of alcohol. But, whatever one’s reasons for adhering to a set time frame with no alcohol, it also creates an opportunity to question the role alcohol plays in our lives and how it makes us feel.
Why embrace a sober month?
Long before social-media-friendly terms were coined for it, people practiced sober months as a means of a personal rē-set. “Through an abundance of access to information from leaders in the space, we are starting to recognize that alcohol doesn’t necessarily do much good for our bodies and minds,” Olivia Noceda, whose eponymous podcast focuses on wellness, tells rē•spin.
As we’ve eased out of the thick of the pandemic, many of us have had to come to terms with the potentially unhealthy relationship we formed with alcohol during the lockdown. However, among millennials and Gen Z, there has also been a widespread acceptance of sober-curious life. Now, there’s an acknowledgment that drinking alcohol isn’t the pinnacle of “cool” or a requirement for social acceptance. “The physical, mental and emotional benefits can be felt by anyone who participates [in a sober month], and when you hear others talking about the enhancement of their lives, it’s hard not to follow suit,” says Noceda.
Meet the new mocktails
For years, the only non-alcoholic option at most social gatherings or restaurants might have been water, a club soda with lime, or a fountain soda. These often create an “othering” experience for people who abstain from alcohol. But in the last few years, mocktails have undergone a sophisticated makeover, and are now on par with their alcohol-driven counterparts. They are giving the sober-curious more flavorful and complex beverage options than ever before.
“It feels important for me to provide options for people who cannot or choose not to drink because we all deserve to feel included in a culture that feels reliant on alcohol consumption,” says Noceda, who offers mocktail recipes on her site. “I was bullied by other kids in middle school, which drove my desire to dedicate my life to making people feel included.”
Entering your sober-curious era
Removing alcohol from your life, even if you’re not a heavy drinker, to begin with, can come across as daunting. Noceda suggests starting by focusing on your personal decision to choose a sober month. Then, think about the benefits you’ll experience physically, mentally, and emotionally.
In the short term, decreasing the amount we drink can help us feel better each morning, reduce tiredness and fatigue, boost our energy, feel rē-freshed, and save money. In the long term, this continued practice can help lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, reduce our risk of diseases, including cancer, hypertension, liver disease, and stroke, improve our sleep quality and memory, and boost our mood.
“By removing alcohol from our lives, even for a short time, we are able to make room for the small habits in our everyday routines that may be hard to achieve otherwise,” Noceda says.” Unlearn the idea that you need alcohol to have a good time. Surround yourself with people who support you.”
Below you will find one of Noceda’s recipes for a simple Mandarin Glow Spritz mocktail. Timed to mandarin season, which typically runs from November through April, its immune-boosting ingredients will have you feeling good and glowing.
- Four mandarin oranges
- One knob of ginger
- Seven sprigs of thyme
- 1-ounce maple syrup
- 2 ounces of lime juice
- Non-alcoholic liquor (recipe uses an orange sec)
- 1/8 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
- Sparkling water
Method of Preparation:
- Make your ice cubes the night before. Place one mandarin slice, 1/8 sprig of thyme, and a slice of mandarin peel into your trays and fill them with water.
- The next day, muddle ginger and more thyme in maple syrup.
- Add lime juice, mandarin juice, and non-alcoholic liquor if using.
- Add cinnamon and turmeric.
- Add regular ice and shake.
- Place mandarin ice cubes into your glass and fill it halfway with your mocktail.
- Top off with sparkling water.