The Sober-Curious Movement Is Still Going Strong — Here's What to Know Before Joining
Everyone has a different relationship with alcohol, but often we learn that it represents a celebration. In the US, a 21-year-old's first legal drink is an exciting rite of passage, often marking a full entrance into adulthood. People drink at parties, weddings, and other big events. We're taught to drink to our accomplishments and the things that make us happy — like promotions, a first house, or an engagement. But we're also taught to cope with the difficult parts of life in the same way. The message is pretty simple: if you're going through anything, good or bad, getting a drink is probably the right way to mark the occasion.
But increasingly, people are revisiting this cultural fascination — or dependency — on substances. Gallup has been tracking American alcohol consumption since 1939, and its recent data shows that 60 percent of Americans reported drinking alcohol, down from 65 percent in 2019.
Still, the choice not to drink carries a stigma. Often, skipping beer with family or skipping the wine on a date means you harsh another person's buzz, and it can be taken to mean you either don't know how to have fun or you struggle with addiction. But increasingly, people are pushing back against the pressure to drink and the stigma around abstaining.
The term "sober curious" has hundreds of thousands of views on TikTok, as people share how and why they've redefined their relationship with alcohol. POPSUGAR spoke with several experts within the sober-curious movement about what it means and how to explore your own sober curiosity.