What to know about the rising 'Sober Curious' movement

Dr. Jennifer Ashton discusses what to know about this new wellness trend geared towards those looking for a night out without the pressure of drinking alcohol.
5:51 | 04/19/19

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Transcript for What to know about the rising 'Sober Curious' movement
Linsey, thank you. We're going to turn now to the new sober curious movement growing in popularity. People are choosing to eliminate alcohol from their lives not because they're addicted but because they say they want to be healthier and reduce anxiety. Deborah Roberts has more on this. This is an idea that is gradually catching steam. Remember dry January? Well, this year I decided to give it a try, cutting out those cherished crisp glasses of wine just for a month to see how it felt. For the record, it wasn't bad. Who knew that sober is the new cool? Reporter: It's a night out at a New York bar. Drinks are flowing. I am double fisting. Reporter: But no one here is going to overdo it, that's because these cocktails, even the shots, have little to no alcohol. It's the sense of going out but without feeling terrible later. It's got strawberies and an edible flower. Reporter: Laura is the founder of listen bar, a popup catering to those looking for a night on the town without the booze. When you come in and you realize that literally everyone here is on the same page, you don't have to explain yourself. No one's going to think you're pregnant. Reporter: These nondrinkers have lots of company lately. Studies show that a third of people want to drink less because of embarrassment or regret, or others for health reasons. Author ruby wearington calls it sober curious in her new book. Sober, sobriety, makes a lot of people feel uncomfortable. I think in our society the word is so intertwined with ideas around alcoholism but actually sobriety can be a life-style choice for anybody. Reporter: She says limiting our drinking may be the latest frontier in healthy living. We're in this culture now where we're paying a lot more attention to our health, but yet people are still drinking. I think this is partly the reason more people are getting sober curious. People are changing their diet, realizing that, hey, it actually feels great to eat more vegetables. Who knew the doctors were right all these years. Then when I drink, oh, I feel like I'm undoing all of that. We've heard a lot about mindful eating. It might mean slowing down and really be careful about what you're putting into your body and why and I think it's about applying that same approach to alcohol. You set out to explore a question, is life better without alcohol? It's definitely different and it -- You didn't say better. It's helped me to embrace the ups and downs. I have more energy, I feel more focused. I have deeper connections in my relationships now. My sleep is better, my gut has healed and now I'm saying all of this, yeah, life is better without alcohol. So if you have a drink now and again or maybe you have a drink once a month, are you part of the sober curious crowd or not? Anybody who's questioning their drinking is sober curious in my book, yeah. A lot of folks are curious. This trend has really been taking hold. Alcohol sales are going down and the alcohol industry has noticed actually nonalcoholic beer sales are through the roof. Cecilia, I know you're a doubter, but there are some pluses. No age limit and of course since there's no alcohol you can drink on the street. Yeah, okay, okay. I'm going to listen. I'm going to hold out and make a decision after this is over. Dr. Jen Ashton joins us. These guys are saying we're going to give this up for at least a while, see if it works. We've seen these other studies that say some alcohol, including red wine, is good for you. You've tried dry January. Yes, I did my own experiment. What's the verdict? Let's talk about what the medical and scientific literature says. There exists what we call a j-shaped curve and it's not J for Jennifer which means I'm going to ask you to start pouring some wine. This I actually have experience in, yes. What that means is at moderate levels or at the low level of the J you can actually see some data that supports a reduction in stroke, a reduction in some kinds of heart disease, and then as you keep going, Cecilia -- Am I pouring like for myself or am I pouring what I would drink on television or pouring what I would drink at home? This is the point. As you get into the heavy range which for women is more than seven servings a week, for men more than 14, you actually see an increase in some types of heart disease, an increase in stroke, and an increase in some kinds of cancer. So again, think of that J for Jennifer j-shaped curve. You've got a quiz to help people decide if sober curious is for them. This is really important. This movement is not for people who need to abstain or be completely sober for a significant alcohol dependance problem. Here are the questions we go through with people. I want you to follow along at home and just yes or no to yourself. Have you had times where you ended up drinking more than you intended? Have you gotten into situations while or after drinking that increased your chances of getting hurt? Have you had to drink more than you once did to get the same have you continued to drink even though it's making you feel depressed or anxious? And do you spend a lot of time drinking, being sick or hungover or getting over the after-effects. If you answered yes to even one of those questions, that is a sign you may have a significant alcohol dependance or abuse problem. Sober curious is not for this population of people struggling with addiction. That's correct. For me, listen, I did this. I found it very, very interesting. If you're going to do it, track your alcohol intake on a it worked for me just like you balance your checkbook and I keep track of it. Ask your friends to do this experiment with you because again that social unit is important. And be curious. See how your sleeping, your mood is, your weight is, how your skin is. If it's better, maybe you need to cut down. But not this Outside right now we have a

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