Sober curious and mindful drinking


You may have heard about ‘mindful drinking’ and ‘sober curious’ lifestyles. This global movement is being led by health-conscious younger adults and is now embraced by all ages. But what exactly does this mean and how can we practice this new mindset? 

What is mindful drinking?

Mindful drinking is an attitude and mindset. Drinking mindfully is actively asking yourself questions about why you drink, without judgement. Before drinking at an event, you can pause and ask yourself, ‘do I actually want this drink’ or ‘will drinking this lead to negative outcomes.’  

When you drink mindfully, you become more aware of how alcohol affects your mind and body. For many, this creates a healthier relationship with alcohol that is grounded in the present. This can help you to drink less and keep within the HSE low-risk weekly guidelines. 

What does it mean to be sober curious?

Being sober curious means a bit more questioning of when, how much and why we drink. And a lot less of simply ‘going along’ with the dominant drinking culture that exists across social situations, often subconsciously or because we feel that it is socially expected of us. 

Adopting a sober curious mindset often pairs naturally with mindful drinking. It is a proactive approach to monitoring and adapting your relationship with alcohol. 

How to practice these lifestyles

    • Recognise triggers for unhealthy habits

An awkward social situation? A difficult day at a work? An event where you don’t know anyone? If your immediate response is to have a drink, acknowledge this and try replacing it with a healthier option. Why not try some no and low choices, or stick with soft drinks and water? 

    • Remember that the choice to drink – or not drink – is yours alone

Everyone has a different motivation for drinking alcohol and the same is true for not drinking. Many of us will be familiar with having to give multiple reasons (or being forced to make up excuses) for not drinking on a night out or an event. Be empowered that this a decision only you can make for yourself, and others should accept that. The more choices that you make about your habits will empower you for the future. 

    • Reframe your perception

Being sober-curious does not mean you have to stop drinking entirely. For some, making a drastic change is intimidating. Instead, you can think of cutting out alcohol as a final destination. The journey of sober curiosity and mindful drinking is arguably the most important – why do you drink? Do you want to drink? Do you feel pressured to drink? Learning about your behaviours and making informed personal choices to better your health is the true aim of this movement.  

In September, the Drinkaware team were delighted to welcome members of the public to our webinar on Mindful Drinking & Mental Health. Click here to find some of the insights discussed on the day!