Are you ‘sober curious’?

04/30/2022
Cathy Brownfield

The Golden Years. These are supposed to be full of wonder, adventure, less stress than during the child-rearing years. These are supposed to be the years of doing all of the things you couldn’t do when you were raising children: had a job, obligations and responsibilities. (Frankly, I think the best years of our lives are when our children are growing up under our roof, safely tucked in at night after the door is locked.)

You know, alcohol can become problematic for anyone who drinks, any age. It can lead to serious health consequences … dehydration, poor sleep, weight gain … an increased risk of cancers like throat, esophagus, stomach and colon, according to Cleveland Clinic.

Among social drinkers, the Clinic advises, one in 10 will develop alcoholism. The risk jumps higher for those who have a parent or grandparent with alcoholism, five in 10. Alcohol is caustic (“corrodes organic tissue”), damaging the DNA and then not allowing the body to fix the damages.

“How the body handles alcohol can change with age,” advises the National Institute on Aging. Drinking habits may be the same, but the body changes. An older drinker may not feel any different, may not realize they are affected by the alcohol. If no one knows about alcohol use, conditions can be misdiagnosed. The balance problem could be related to alcohol use.

Alcohol use could worsen health conditions like osteoporosis, diabetes, memory loss and others. Alcohol use can spoof Alzheimer’s symptoms like forgetfulness.

“Sober curious” is a term that has been around for a little while. It is gaining a following among people of all ages who are becoming more aware of what they are putting into their bodies.

Healthline.com offers “A Beginner’s Guide to the ‘Sober Curious’ Movement,” citing Rosamund Dean’s book, Mindful Drinking: How to Break Up with Alcohol.

“Sober curious simply means you’ve chosen to avoid alcohol for personal or wellness reasons. It involves curiosity about the reasons fueling your desire to drink, and the way alcohol affects your life.”

Another author, Ruth Warrington, wrote Sober Curious: The Blissful Sleep, Greater Focus, Limitless Presence, and Deep Connection Waiting Us All on the Other Side of Alcohol. Warrington coined the term ‘sober curious.’

In the March 2022 AARP Bulletin, writer Bill Steig shared his family’s pandemic adventure with alcohol.

“Of those ages 50 to 80 who do drink,” he writes, “23 percent downed three or more drinks in a typical session. That’s unhealthy for anyone. But it’s especially unhealthy for people our age because we can’t process alcohol – or deal with its effects.”

The sober curious are thinking about their good health and well-being. They don’t necessarily have an alcohol problem. They care about their well being and participate in sobriety challenges, maybe officially like the Dry January and Sober October sobriety challenges. Or they just decide they will abstain for a period of time, or for the rest of their lives.

When do you feel better, after drinking or before? Are you listening to your body?

Addiction has no address, but Family Recovery Center does. For more information about the education, prevention and treatment programs for substance abuse and related behavioral issues, contact the agency at 964 N. Market St., Lisbon; phone, 330-424-1468; or email, info@familyrecovery.org. Visit the website at familyrecovery.org. FRC is funded in part by United Way of Northern Columbiana County.

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