Sober Curiosity & Creativity

Sobriety

How A Sober Curious Lifestyle Improves Your Creativity

In March of 2020 I presented a talk at a conference hosted by the American Institute for Graphic Design called Wellness By Design in Orlando, Florida. Leading up to the conference, I spent quite a bit of time researching sobriety and doing self reflection on my own sober curious journey. Below is a recap of the talk along with some sober curious resources for those interested in living with less booze!

First off, you’re probably wondering what it means to be “sober curious?” Here’s how I define it:

A mindful approach to consuming alcohol to support an individual’s wellness goals.

Health Benefits To Sobriety

Before I get into the creative benefits to sobriety, I want to explain some of the incredible health benefits.

  1. Weight Stabilizes – Did you know that alcohol causes your appetite to rise? For more information about this, check out a documentary on Netflix called, The Truth About Alcohol. They do a really interesting experiment that proves this research.
  2. Crave Less Sugar – You will crave less sugar. I know, this sounds too good to be true, but here’s some of the science behind sugar, booze, and your body. Alcohol causes a yo-yo effect on your blood sugars. Moderate amounts of alcohol cause blood sugar to rise. Once your body processes the alcohol, your blood sugar drops dramatically. Which is why you might eat a bit more dessert with that second glass of wine or crave a sugary breakfast after a night out.
  3. Glowing Skin – If you saw Jennifer Lopez perform at the 2020 Super Bowl, then you know how incredible she looks – and she’s 50! Do you want to know a secret to her beauty regime? Sobriety! Here’s some truth about what alcohol actually does to your skin. “Alcohol dehydrates the entire body, and that includes your skin. It makes you age faster by causing wrinkles, loss of collagen, and elasticity.” International Council on Active Aging
  4. Blissful Sleep – Have you ever had a drink to help you fall asleep? Yeah, me too – except I would always wake up so tired! According to the National Sleep Foundation, “Alcohol helps induce sleep. However, it seriously disrupts your rest by reducing rapid eye movement (REM) sleep.”
  5. Save All The Money – Have you ever thought about how much happy hour cocktails and cheap bottles of wine add up? Here’s an interesting info from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Americans spend about 2 percent of their gross annual income on alcohol.” That’s about a $1,000 a year. I mean, I’d much rather put my money towards personal development than booze!

Alcohol Companies Specifically Target Women

Now more than ever alcohol companies are targeting women. I mean how many time have you heard this in the past five years: Rose All Day. Or have you strolled through the booze aisle at Target lately? It’s covered with canned sparkling wine decorated with beautiful pastels. It even makes me want to drink!

But it’s hard because self care in our culture looks a lot like this.

It’s been a really long day, how about a glass of wine. Or, I’m feeling some emotional or physical discomfort right now, how about a cocktail or two? Or, my old personal favorite, I just wanna let loose and celebrate the weekend. 

If you’re drinking for any of those reasons, you are robbing yourself of true emotional healing. 

Here’s the cold, hard, truth.

According to the American Addiction Centers Survey, “Alcohol is the third most additive substance after cocaine.” Meaning – you’re just as likely to become addicted to alcohol in the same way the a regular smoker becomes addicted to nicotine.

In case you forgot – Alcohol is a form of ethanol.

We know that booze can cause us to become violently ill, so why are we consuming something our bodies literally want to purge.

Emotional Benefits To Sobriety

Here are some of the emotional benefits to sobriety I’ve experienced as well as so many others:

  1. Self Love 
  2. Stress Management 
  3. Stronger Relationships 
  4. Better Mood
  5. Self Belief

I could talk for hours on how sobriety impacted each one, but I’ll save those details for another post!

Sobriety & Creativity

How does a sober curious life increase your creativity?

So here’s the truth. There really isn’t a ton of research out there on how sobriety directly correlates with enhance creativity.

Write drunk, edit sober. This is the common refrain for the creative. It’s time to debunk this myth. 

When you get a little buzzed, here’s what happens in the brain: alcohol impairs the prefrontal cortex, the judgement center. The prefrontal cortex is the part of the brain that reminds you when to say yes or no.

If past traumas and limiting beliefs aren’t addressed, this part of the brain will sometime sabotage our creative thoughts. While sober, it might say things like, “How could you ever dream of a career like that? You aren’t pretty enough to go out with him. No one will care about this post.” When you drink, the prefrontal cortex looses its’ power. Trust me, I used to love getting buzzed and no longer hearing that judgmental voice.

In the long term though, all drinking does is delay true healing. If you make yourself available to all your emotions (both good and bad), you really see what negative beliefs systems need addressed. Once I worked through my limiting beliefs, my creativity resurfaced. By the way, if you’re human, you’ve experienced some form or another of trauma. 

Here’s what else I know about sobriety:

Once you experience the physical and emotional benefits to sobriety, you will receive renewed creativity.

What a Sober Curious Life Doesn’t Mean

  1. It doesn’t mean you can’t go out on the weekends.
  2. It doesn’t mean you’ll lose all your friends.
  3. It doesn’t mean you can’t go networking at happy hour.

You can do all these things while sipping a mocktail!

All you have to do is ask the bartender to make you a fierce mocktail and no one will ever know the difference! Seriously, I stayed out till 1AM recently at an awards ceremony after party and only drank mocktails while networking the night away.

If you’re ordering your mocktail around friends and they ask why you aren’t drinking, I use this moment to share about my sober curious lifestyle. I keep it short and sweet while saying something like, “yeah, I only drink on the rarest occasions now. Crazy thing is, I’ve found so much more time in my schedule!” Ordering a mocktail is also a great opportunity to set an example and show that you can still have all the fun without the buzzing hangover.

3 Month Sobriety Challenge

So maybe you completed a month of sobriety during Dry January?Congratulations! Now I challenge you to take on a full three months of sobriety. I truly believe that after three months you’ll experience both the physical and emotional benefits and step into your creative potential.

I mean, what do you have to lose?

Maybe you’ll notice that you finally start to sleep better, or crave less sugar, or have a ton more money in the bank?

There is so much potential in a life free of alcohol.

Sober Curious Resources

Here are some sober curious resources to get you pumped about evenings without a glass of wine. 

Books

  1. Sober Curious by Ruby Warrington | Purchase your copy here!
  2. The Year of Less by Cait Flanders | Purchase your copy here!
  3. The Alcohol Experiment by Annie Grace | Purchase your copy here!

Podcasts 

  1. This Naked Mind by Annie Grace | Listen Here
  2. The Sober Creative by Katie Burk | Listen Here
  3. Sober Curious by Ruby Warrington | Listen Here
  4. Alcohol Free Life by Jenny Lee Grace | Listen Here

Documentaries 

  1. The Truth About Alcohol | Available on Netflix
  2. A Royal Hangover | Available on to rent on Amazon Prime

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