Are you sober curious?
Alcohol is a substance best used in moderation. But many have turned to alcohol during stressful times, such as the pandemic, to artificially enhance their relaxation. If you want to reduce or stop consuming alcohol, therapist Dede Norungolo, LPC, offered tips for navigating a “sober curious” lifestyle.
“The sober curious movement explores what it means to be more intentional about how, when and why you might use alcohol,” said Norungolo.
How can you live a “sober curious” lifestyle?
Norungolo said it’s important to consider the quantity and frequency of how much alcohol you consume, and then determine how much less frequently you want to drink. You can begin by tracking the quantity and frequency of your alcohol consumption, as well as the risk associated with it.
- Zero alcohol is the safest, especially for those who take certain prescription medications or have existing health conditions, such as addiction, alcoholism or liver disease. Women who are pregnant or are seeking to be pregnant also should not drink alcohol. Alcohol use is not recommended for those who want to drive, go boating, or operate big machinery.
- One or two alcoholic drinks a day has some risk for impairment. Alcohol can be highly addictive, and it impairs the brain, so there is always risk when you consume alcohol.
- Three or more alcoholic drinks a day can lead to higher rates of health problems and shorten your lifespan.
Norungolo recommended replacing alcohol consumption with other relaxation activities such as walking, hiking, writing, take pictures, coloring or painting.
“Find what works for you. A sober curious lifestyle can provide more improved physical and mental health and add years to your lifespan,” she said.
When should you consider quitting alcohol?
Sometimes it can be difficult to know if alcohol use is negatively affecting your life. Norungolo said to look for these signs.
- If alcohol has led you to call out sick to work on a regular basis.
- If you physically don’t recover well after drinking several alcoholic beverages.
- If alcohol is distracting you from your personal and professional goals and hindering you from making good choices.
If you need help with stopping alcohol, reach out to a medical professional or other supportive individuals or programs.
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