Thinking on Drinking...(an exploration of Sober October)
By Jenn Worley, LPC
The pandemic has upended well established routines and set into motion the creation of new ones. For many, isolation, boredom, stress and frustration came on the scene late March and continue to have a spot at the emotional table today. Similar to others, I’ve been intentional about participating in activities that I hoped would insulate overall well-being during these months filled with the aforementioned isolation, boredom, stress and frustration. Therefore, while visiting a bookstore, a display struck a chord with me as it included titles on examining alcohol in today’s realities. Amongst the titles on overall well being practices were a few on being Sober Curious during Sober October.
According to alcohol sales data along with anecdotal conversations, internet memes about quarintinis and virtual happy hours etc, it's well publicized that the change in alcohol consumption has been normalized. It’s possible that individuals who previously enjoyed a glass of wine to mark relaxation time at the end of the day or a beer to enhance their weekend may be seeing different patterns emerge during the past seven months. This change in use provides a launching point for examining alcohol’s use entirely, including any increases that may have occurred in the recent past. Upon looking just a bit further into it with a cursory search on google, it became evident that Sober Curious was a concept that had amassed supporters and explorers prior to Covid 19.
Ruby Warrington (Author of:Sober Curious: The Blissful Sleep, Greater Focus, Limitless Presence, and Deep Connection Awaiting Us All on the Other Side of Alcohol) states the concept is about bringing a: “questioning mindset to every drinking situation, rather than go along with the dominant drinking culture”.
Now seven months into the pandemic there’s an opportunity of sorts. October offers an invitation to learn more about one’s relationship with alcohol. Sober October could involve: Thinking intentionally, talking with friends or trying out new routines when it comes to relaxing, stress management or celebrations. Essentially an open invitation to get “curious” about drinking if that subject is on autopilot.
Assessing one’s alcohol consumption activities and reviewing how those fit with one’s health or lifestyle person’s goals can be surprising, uncomfortable and exciting to name a few emotional responses. There are many resources on this subject matter including: Books, podcasts and articles on the complexities of the subject and intended for a variety of audiences. The content I’m currently reading speaks to individuals (primarily targeted at women) who self identify as social drinkers. Focusing on her own experiences within the general cultural context of alcohol consumption the author speaks to those who have a nagging sensation that life without it, or with more intentionality towards how one is consuming it, could be explored. My area of speciality is not AODA nor am I experienced in the addiction recovery field. As such, this blog post is a personal interest entry looking at possible tools to guide intentional, healthy and mindful choices. If you have an interest in this topic you can find extensive information online, in books, podcasts and from individuals and groups who are questioning and assessing the role of alcohol in their own personal lives. For additional support or in going deeper than questioning or curiousity one can reach out to clinicians or groups who specialize in AODA treatment locally or nationally.
Sober Curious: The Blissful Sleep, Greater Focus, Limitless Presence, and Deep Connection Awaiting Us All on the Other Side of Alcohol by Ruby Warrington
(For a more in depth look at the origin and intent of Sober October the Temper.com link is included and a portion from the blog states: “Sober October originally came to the U.S. from overseas. In 2010, the Australian non-profit Life Education created the fundraiser “Ocsober” and shortly after the U.K.-based charity Macmillan Cancer Support created the actual name “Sober October”, according to InStyle.”)
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[This article does not create a client-counselor relationship. This article is general counseling information and is not to be considered legal or medical advice. Please consult with your mental health professional before you rely on this information.]