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Exploring the trend of sober curious: The proven health benefits of taking a break from alcohol

By challenging individuals to question their relationship with alcohol and its consequences, these initiatives can be seen as harm-reduction programs for the general population. Picture: Anil Sharma/ Unsplash

By challenging individuals to question their relationship with alcohol and its consequences, these initiatives can be seen as harm-reduction programs for the general population. Picture: Anil Sharma/ Unsplash

Published Oct 3, 2023


Have you ever wondered what it would be like to take a break from alcohol? Perhaps you've heard of the rising trend of being "sober curious" or participating in initiatives like "Dry January".

If so, here are some compelling reasons to consider embarking on a journey of sobriety.

Taking a pause from alcohol has become more than just a fleeting fad. For those who enjoy social drinking, abstaining for a month or exploring a sober lifestyle is an opportunity to step back and reflect on the role that alcohol plays in their lives.

The sober-curious movement isn't solely about addiction; it's about examining the impact of social drinking and how it aligns with personal values and well-being.

Research published by the National Library of Medicine highlights the potential risks associated with alcohol consumption.

It indicates that excessive and frequent alcohol use is directly linked to increased mortality rates from various medical conditions, including liver diseases, cancer, stroke, heart disease, and more.

In fact, the World Health Organization's comparative risk assessment identified alcohol consumption as a significant contributor to the global burden of disease and injury.

In response to these findings, public health campaigns promoting temporary alcohol abstinence have gained momentum in recent years.

So, what can you do if you're considering a break from alcohol?

Here are some practical steps to guide you on your journey:

Make a plan

Instead of focusing on what you're giving up, shift your perspective to what you're moving toward. Set clear goals and intentions for your sober period. This could be taking up hiking or learning a new skill.

Identify triggers

Reflect on the people, places, and circumstances that make it easier for you to drink. Once you've identified these cues, brainstorm alternative activities or coping mechanisms to replace them.

Explore non-alcoholic options

Today, many establishments offer a variety of delicious non-alcoholic beverages. Take advantage of these "dry" drink options when socialising or attending events.

If, after your break, you choose to drink socially again, remember not to feel guilty. Acknowledge and celebrate the fact that you took a mindful break and move forward with a renewed plan for responsible drinking.

Participating in an OcSober campaign can be incredibly beneficial for your health. Here are some of the advantages:

Alcohol can have detrimental effects on various organs in your body, including the liver, heart, and pancreas. By abstaining from alcohol, you give your body a chance to heal and function optimally.

Heavy and prolonged alcohol consumption has been linked to an increased risk of various diseases, such as liver disease, cardiovascular problems, certain types of cancer, and pancreatitis.

Taking a break from alcohol can lower these risks and improve your overall health.

Alcoholic beverages are often high in calories and can contribute to weight gain. By abstaining from alcohol, you eliminate those extra empty calories and may find it easier to maintain a healthy weight or even lose some pounds.

Regular and excessive alcohol consumption can lead to addiction and dependence, making it difficult for individuals to control their drinking habits. This can have severe consequences on both physical and mental health.

The liver is responsible for metabolising alcohol, and excessive alcohol consumption can cause liver inflammation, scarring (cirrhosis), and even liver failure. This can have serious and potentially life-threatening consequences.

Alcohol can exacerbate existing mental health conditions or contribute to the development of new ones. It is known to increase the risk of depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders.