One Shot of Sober Curious, Please.

The Beginnings

There is a new trend taking off and it will leave you in the dust if you do not catch on: The Sober Curious movement. In a nutshell, “sober curious” or “sober sometimes” means when an individual has consumed alcohol in the past and does not like the way it makes them feel, but that individual is not completely done consuming alcoholic drinks. Confusing right? Splitting up the two words might make more sense.

Sober- not drunk, or not affected by alcohol; abstaining from alcohol.

Curious- eager to learn or know; inquisitive; prying.

Combining both words, we get, someone who identifies as sober curious means they are interested in the idea of abstaining from alcohol or staying sober, sometimes. The sober curious movement creates a culture for people to feel comfortable in their sobriety. Often the first response to someone denying to drink is “what’s wrong with you”, “come on, just have one”, or “you’re boring”. These typical responses are negative and can be corrupting to an individual who is trying to recover from their alcohol dependence. Additionally, negative words towards turning down a drink can lead to irresponsibility when consuming alcoholic drinks, including binge drinking, underage drinking, and risky behavior while drinking.


Social Media Presence

People have practiced sober curiosity long before the term was coined. Remember the post you use to see on Facebook every start to a new year? After an extensive holiday season of eating good and drinking long, your social media friends might have gone to their news feeds to express their sober start to the New Year and challenge their friends to join in on the movement. This public health campaign is better known as “Dry January”.

When a research study conducted in 2016 followed participants of the “Dry January” sober movement, results showed 82% of the participants said they felt like they accomplished more, 62% had better sleep habits, and 49% of the participants stated they lost weight while staying sober. These social media sober challenges did not end at just January, the challenges continued into other months such as “Dry July” and “Sober September”.


In recent years, sober social groups and communities have begun to gain recognition. On Instagram, @ASoberGirlsGuide, @SoberGirlSociety, and @TherapyForWomen are just a few examples of unique accounts that are tailored towards living a sober lifestyle and encouraging sober curiosity. Sober Girl Society has over 40 thousand followers, all inspiring to live healthier lives. Not too long ago, the Sober Girl Society provided a post for her followers to discuss in the comments what being sober curious meant to them. Reading through the comments, I could tell that the discussion was meaningful and educating to the followers. Sober Girl Society is providing a safe space for individuals, specifically women, to ask question, seek help, and build a community that encourages sobriety and independence from alcohol.






Culturally Acceptable

Although practicing sober curious behavior is not recommended for people who are alcohol dependent, the sober curious movement has sparked ideas for alcohol dependent communities to join in on the culture. Non-alcoholic bars are popping up everywhere. Owner of the sober bar, Sans Bar in Austin, Texas, Chris Marshall has been sober for the past 12 years. He opened Sans Bar to provide a comfortable place where people can socialize, eat drink non-alcoholic drinks, and meet other sober friends. The feedback from Sans Bar has been so accepting that Chris has taken his sober bar on the road. Chris has opened other sober bars in Kansas City and Massachusetts, and has also hosted pop-up bars in popular cities such as New York and Washington D.C.  

Additionally, 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.”, is also the co-founder of a posh New York City venue called Club SÖDA NYC. Just like Warrington, Club SÖDA NYC is a sober curious social community offering a list of non-alcoholic drink options for consumption.

I believe the sober curious initiative will gain cultural acceptance the more people learn and understand the meaning behind the movement. Proof of the acceptance is in the abundance of social media pages and groups promoting the movement, as well as the communities providing sober atmospheres.  The interesting thing about being sober curious is that there is no right or wrong answer as to how much you identify with it. The way everyone expresses their sobriety is unique and personal to themselves. There also is no shame associated with the movement. People can drink, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic, without the having to answer questions, nor feel embarrassment.



#BoozyMomNation: The Culture Surrounding Moms and Their Drinking Habits

The term “mommy juice” may appear innocent and lighthearted, however, taking a further look into the expression, one can see it being quite problematic. “Mommy juice” refers to an alcoholic drink that a mother consumes to cope with her daily tasks of motherhood. We understand, being a mom is hard. Mothers have sacrificed so much for their children and are deserving of mental and physical breaks. But, when did the dependence of wine consumption become the standard idea of motherhood time outs?


Cultural norms and generational trends can contribute to the hype of the mommy juice movement. You can walk into almost any department store’s home decor section and find paraphernalia relating to this culture. I searched “mommy juice” on and approximately 140 related items came up for purchase. As for the e-commerce website,, approximately 700 items. This advertisement is just an example of how easy it is to find alcoholic beverages and glassware marketed directly to mothers. The Boozy Mom Nation is even easier to find on Facebook. With a simple query, I found groups named “Moms Gone Wine” “Moms Deserve to Wine” and “Mom Hard, Wine Harder”. The normalization of the mommy juice movement desensitizes the consequences of this harmful behavior and increases the potential for binge drinking and the effects it may have on both the mother and her child(ren).



Functioning Alcoholic

Women are often found drinking alcohol to celebrate happy events, decompress from a stressful day, or cope with sadness. Mommy juice consumption can consist of one maybe two, glasses of wine. To some, this may not seem harmful, but using alcohol as a coping device can lead to further consumption of stronger alcoholic drinks and binge drinking.

Here are a few harmful behavioral habits that can be a sign for alcohol use disorder (AUD).

Drinking to cope with pain or sadness– motherhood is tough, and adding other work and life stresses, doesn’t make it any easier. Women must find healthier coping mechanisms and outlets for their mommy “time-outs”.

Drinking more often- For women, binge drinking is defined as 4 or more drinks during a single occasion or more than 7 drinks in a week (National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism). When one mommy juice drink becomes two or three more, that harmful habit may be out of control. 

Drinking and driving (with and without passengers)- Although the legal blood alcohol content amount is 0.08 g/dl, drinking and driving is never the answer. Once drinking interferes with your ability to function during the day and take care of your child(ren), it’s a sign that your drinking habits have become a problem.  

If the negative consequences to an individual isn’t enough to take control of their drinking habits, then they should consider the effects it may have on their children. Children are often compared to a sponge; they absorb anything around them. A child may one day adopt the same behaviors they’ve seen their parents perform. If a child grows up in a household with a heavy drinking culture, that drinking behavior becomes normalized. Their coping mechanisms to stress and sadness becomes directly attached to alcohol. Furthermore, when alcohol gets in the way of normal parenting activities, the relationship between a mother and child cannot grow to its fullest potential in the most important times of child development. For example, after one too many glasses of wine, a mom may feel frustrated or not be as attentive to what their child is doing or needing at that moment.

Future of Mommy Juice

So, what should moms do instead of drinking their mommy juice? Let’s start by reducing the negative connotation around women seeking help and wanting to take breaks from motherhood. Let’s provide alternative outlets and support groups for mommy self-care time. Building connections and receiving support from others are important ways to ensure moms and their children can develop a safe and healthy relationship. We should also pay close attention to marketing tactics and be aware of the dangers unhealthy drinking habits have on people and their social networks.  




National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). NIAAA Council Approves Definition of Binge Drinking. NIAAA Newsletter, No. 3, Winter 2004. Available at: