In a world where we’re quick to judge and put ourselves into categories, a new alcohol-related trend is taking hold which defies this tradition; The Sober Curious Movement.
Founder of Club Soda NYC and author of the book “Sober Curious”, Ruby Warrington, left he full time editor role at the UK Sunday Times Style Magazine partly due to the anxiety that came with her title and the pressure to drink. We chat to her about her story, her relationship with alcohol and her plans for the future…
Tell me a little about yourself
I’m a British writer and author based in Brooklyn, NY.
What led you to think differently about drinking? What’s your story?
The full story is in my new book, Sober Curious. But ultimately, in my middle 30s I realised that alcohol was causing me more pain that it was bringing me pleasure. I’ve spent the past eight years undoing the conditioning (that booze is how we experience fun, excitement, connection, etc., and that not drinking makes a person ‘boring’, for example) that made it difficult for me to want to hear, acknowledge, and trust that this was actually the case—a process that has led to a radical reevaluation of my relationship to alcohol, and a very different perspective on the role it plays in our society.
How would you describe ‘sober curious’?
Being Sober Curious means to literally question every impulse, invitation, and expectation, to drink, versus blindly going along with the dominant drinking culture. These questions may be along the lines of: “how does alcohol really make me feel? Why do I think I ‘need’ alcohol? Why is there sometimes so much pressure to drink? Are the hangovers really worth it for the highs?” But they will also be very individual to you.
How would you describe your relationship with alcohol now?
I am very respectful of alcohol, which is a highly potent psychoactive substance, the imbibing of which produces some extremely painful side-effects, and I now view it with a similar level of caution as I would heroin or cocaine (since it is also one of the 5 most addictive substances on the planet, along with these two, barbiturates, and nicotine). I’m also not “anti” alcohol, but having answered all my Sober Curious questions, I neither desire to drink nor do ever feel I “need” a drink.
What have you learnt about yourself since your relationship changed with alcohol?
I’ve accepted what I’ve always known about myself, but which I felt would make me less “popular” or “cool”—that I’m a pretty serious, intense, and sensitive human being, who prefers connecting with others 1-2-1, and who needs regular early nights and plenty of alone time to feel sane! I’ve realized I used alcohol to override most of these traits, and to play up my more lighthearted and extroverted qualities in an attempt to “fit in,” while avoiding looking at the more painful parts my personal history.
Who are your biggest inspirations?
My husband, my closest family members and collaborators, and anybody brave enough to go against the grain and do things their own way.
Favourite book at the moment?
I just started The Wife by Meg Wolitzer and it’s brilliant. Good fiction is one of my favorite ways to switch off and relax.
Favourite place/bar/restaurant that offers alcohol free drinks?