02 Jan Sober Curious in 2020, New Year Resolutions.
In this article for Parade Magazine, picked up by Yahoo and endorsed by the Cleveland Clinic, Dr. Paul Hokemeyer, founder of Drayson Mews discusses the popular construct of sober curious.
What does the term “sober curious” mean?
Family and addictions therapist Dr. Paul Hokemeyer, PhD, author of Fragile Power, explains that, unlike a person who depends on sobriety for their emotional or physical health, “sober curious” describes a person’s relationship to sobriety that is consensual. “Those in the first group need to abstain from drinking alcohol to regain their health. Those in the second group abstain from drinking to enhance it,” he says. In other words, for all intents and purposes they can drink, “but they’ve looked at the evidence as it relates to alcohol consumption and made a pragmatic decision that the costs of drinking outweigh any benefits they get from their alcohol consumption.”
Gardner adds that there is less of an all-or-nothing approach associated with sober curiosity. “Being sober curious is really about experimenting with sobriety or taking intentional breaks from alcohol for the health benefits. Sometimes, it may lead one to pursue a more lasting, long-term sobriety, and other times it’s just a pattern of intermittent breaks,” he says.
However, he does note that sometimes there is a “blurry line” between people who identify as sober and those who are sober curious. “My experience is that people experimenting with sobriety are generally experiencing some problems with drinking, and many—if they were to see a professional—might have a mild or moderate alcohol use disorder,” he notes. “And some may have a severe substance use disorder that is illuminated by the difficulty of sustaining their experiments with sobriety for the intended time.”
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