Living Alcohol Free: What Does It Mean To Be Sober Curious?

two people happy at a lake


In a world where alcohol has become synonymous with socialising and unwinding, a new trend is emerging, first coined by author Ruby Warrington - the concept of being "sober curious." People are waking up to the impact of consuming alcohol, even in small amounts, and they are embracing a new movement - the sober curious movement. So what exactly does it mean to be sober curious?


The reasons to explore the sober movement are varied - Sue & Tom, parents to two young and extremely adventurous boys, want to be able to prioritise as much precious sleep as they can during their children’s younger years. Patrick is training for a marathon and he wants his body to feel in good shape. Marie suffers from an auto-immune disease and if she drinks alcohol it makes her symptoms worse. Alex & Ana are close to retirement and in the last few years have embraced several different wellbeing choices in an effort to live the healthiest life possible.

Steph, founder of the extremely popular Babes Without Beers social group shares :

“As someone who has struggled with my mental health over the years, I’ve always used alcohol as a social crutch and as a way to put those feelings aside. During covid, like so many others, I felt very depressed. Me and my housemates would drink a lot. I started to notice how terrible I would feel after a heavy weekend. Any pre-existing anxiety I had was so much worse come Monday. That’s when it became apparent that I needed to reconsider my relationship with alcohol.”

Like Steph, individuals are opting for alcohol-free or low-alcohol alternatives, seeking out mindful activities that don't involve drinking, and redefining what it means to have fun without relying on alcohol. Being sober-curious is about exploring a lifestyle that embraces sobriety or significantly reduces alcohol consumption. It's about questioning the societal norms around alcohol and choosing to prioritise health and well-being instead.


woman on a beach doing a handstand

By embracing a sober curious mindset, people are discovering the numerous benefits that come with reducing their alcohol intake. Holly Whitaker, author of the super popular quit-lit bestseller “Quit Like A Woman” says:

“When you take alcohol out of the picture, you get really clear about what things you actually enjoy, what people fill you up. You get more time, because you aren’t wasting it doing things you don’t want to do, and you get clear on what actually tickles your pickle, or which people you can laugh with without having to use drugs. In other words, you get choices back, and those choices are endless and wonderful.”

In addition, people who stop drinking typically experience improved mental clarity, better sleep patterns, increased energy levels, enhanced overall health, sustainable weight loss and stronger connections with others.


Choosing to be sober curious doesn't mean giving up on socialising or having a good time; it simply means making conscious choices that align with personal values and well-being. It's about finding joy in alternative activities such as hiking, yoga classes, art workshops, or engaging in deep conversations with friends.

hiking landscape

Finding joy in alternative activities is exactly what Babes Without Beers provides and is experiencing tremendous growth as non drinkers all over Ireland are coming together to meet up. Steph shares what inspired her to create Babes Without Beers:

“Sober curiosity can give you a chance to take a look at what a sober lifestyle is really like, and all the wonderful things that come with it: more money, more confidence, better physical and mental health, and more free weekends.The problem with making those changes for me personally was loneliness. After a while, you just want something more than joining your friends on nights out while sober. It felt isolating. That’s what pushed me to start Babes Without Beers. I saw the opportunity to meet people on the same wavelength. It was also an opportunity to help people who were in my position by creating a space for them to socialise without the pressure of drinking.”


Being sober curious is not about judgement or deprivation; it's about making conscious choices that align with personal values and aspirations. It's an invitation to explore new ways of celebrating life while prioritising self-care and holistic well-being. And there are a ton of new ways to celebrate life while not drinking! One publication which focuses on just that is Low No Drinker Magazine, the #1 magazine in the UK & Ireland for the sober curious and an excellent resource for brand reviews, interviews with people and places for the alcohol free, and news and insights from the low & no alcohol industry.

Denise Hamilton-Mace, founder & editor of Low No Drinker Magazine says:

"I started Low No Drinker Magazine earlier this year because I felt it was time there was a resource for people who choose to drink less for any reason for any length of time, that could sit in the mainstream along with all the other respected publications that we’ve come to know, love and trust. I wanted to show the world that you can have great, adult beverages and not have to miss out on the party."


The alcohol free industry has seen enormous growth over the past number of years - much more than its alcoholic counterpart with more than a third (37%) of Ireland’s consumers buying no/low alcohol drinks more frequently than they did a year ago. Tom from the Alcohol Free Co, one of the UK’s leading retailers of no and low alcohol drinks is experiencing rapid growth, and says that their customers are buying more varieties now too:

“Originally a lot of our product sales were beers and spirits, but in the last year or two consumer purchases have also included a lot more alcohol free wines as the quality has improved. Increasingly consumers are changing their habits towards non alcoholic options as an important part of their lifestyle.”

Enhancing choice is Drink Nolo’s main mission - to give people the freedom of choice when choosing what they would like to drink. We truly believe that everyone should have the opportunity to enjoy delicious beverages without compromising their personal preferences or health goals. This is why we will be launching our online beverage boutique in the Autumn, where you will be able to find a beautifully curated selection of the most delicious alcohol free drinks in Ireland.


 Group of diverse friends gathering clinking glasses together

The world of low and no alcohol drinks is flourishing and there is an incredible array of top quality drinks to explore. Some faves that Tom from the Alcohol Free Co recommends depending on the occasion are:

To celebrate, be festive and toast a special occasion, try French Bloom Le Rosé, an organic and elegant 0.0% French bubbly alcohol alternative to traditional French sparkling wines.

To relax in the remaining summer afternoon glow, try Wild Life Botanicals Wildlife Nude. An award-winning refreshing, dry and sophisticated ultra-low alcohol (0.5% ABV) sparkling wine with an uplifting elixir of vitamins, minerals and botanicals.

For a cozy winter drink as the evenings get shorter, try Caleno Dark & Spicy, an exotic blend of pineapple, coconut, ginger, vanilla, kola nut & lime.

So whether you're looking to improve your health or simply explore new ways of enjoying life without relying on alcohol, embracing the sober curious lifestyle can open doors to a world of possibilities. It's an empowering choice that allows you to take control of your own happiness and well-being while still fully participating in all that life has to offer.


Sober Curious, The Blissful Sleep, Greater Focus, Limitless Presence, and Deep Connection Awaiting Us All on the Other Side of Alcohol

Holly Whitaker, Quit Like A Woman, The Radical Choice to Not Drink in a Culture Obsessed with Alcohol

Babes Without Beers
Low No Drinker Magazine
The Alcohol Free Co
Wild Life Botanicals
French Bloom
Caleno Drinks

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