What to know about rising Sober Curious movement

(NEW YORK) — A so-called Sober Curious movement that’s been gaining in popularity focuses on eliminating alcohol for health, sleep and wellness reasons, and its founder encourages people to participate by asking them to imagine “what it’s like to live hangover free.”

Ruby Warrington, author of the book Sober Curious: The Blissful Sleep, Greater Focus, Limitless Presence, and Deep Connection Awaiting Us All on the Other Side of Alcohol, told ABC News’ Good Morning America that she believes sobriety “can be a lifestyle choice for anybody.”

“We don’t have to drink. There’s nothing that says, as an adult being, you have to consume alcohol,” she added. “And yet, our society doesn’t really lead us to believe that. In fact, it’s very much the norm to drink.”

Her book encourages readers to be more mindful about consuming alcohol.

She also touched on the stigma of saying you’re “sober,” comparing it to “if you were telling them you weren’t eating gluten, or you were taking a break from dairy, they wouldn’t bat an eyelid.”

“But if you tell them you’re not drinking, it can bring up all these issues,” she said, adding that our “society is on alcohol as a social lubricant.”

Listen Bar in New York City is a pop-up watering hole that caters specifically to the growing Sober Curious movement. All of the drinks — from the creative cocktails to the shots — are non-alcoholic.

The bar aims to be a place where people looking for a night out can go without feeling the social pressure to drink.

A 2017 survey found that a third of people wanted to cut back on their alcohol consumption — some because of regret or embarrassment — and many others for health reasons.

There’s even a new app called “Sober Grind” which helps connect you with people who chose not to drink.

ABC News’ Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton, who did her own variant of Sober Curious when she gave up alcohol for a month for wellness reasons during her Dry January challenge, came up with five “yes” or “no” questions she encourages you to ask yourself about alcohol — especially keeping track of how many times you answer “yes.”

Question 1: Have you had times when you ended up drinking more, or longer, than you intended?

Question 2: Have you gotten into situations while or after drinking that increased your chances of getting hurt?

Question 3: Have you had to drink much more than you once did to get the effect you want?

Question 4: Have you continued to drink even though it was making you feel depressed or anxious?

Question 5: Do you spend a lot of time drinking, being sick or getting over other after-effects?

If you answered “yes” to one or two of those questions, it could be a reason for concern, depending on your particular symptoms and their severity.

The earlier questions tend to be early signs of potential trouble, whereas the latter questions indicate that you have moved further down a risky path.

The questions are based on symptoms for alcohol use disorder in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition. The DSM is the most commonly used system in the United States for diagnosing mental health disorders.

If you answered “yes” to some of the questions or are simply interested in the Sober Curious movement, Ashton shared some tips to help you stay on track.

First, keep a calendar so you can keep track of how many nights a week you drink. Second, recruit some friends and hold each other accountable to feel less pressure to consume alcohol. Finally, be curious.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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