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How sober curiosity can turn into a lifestyle change

by Dana Knowles • Published on November 5, 2022


DENVER — Sydney Golden battled various unknown health issues for 20 years; everything from allergies, headaches, bloating, joint pain, fatigue, depression and anxiety. Visits to medical specialists didn’t give her any concrete answers and she was repeatedly told nothing was wrong with her.


“I would walk around as a healthy-looking person, but I felt horrible,” Golden said.

Even though Golden was never a heavy drinker, she decided to make a lifestyle change and stop consuming alcohol four years ago, and the results were surprising. Golden emphasizes that even when she would have only one or two drinks, her body always felt it the next day, but not anymore.


“When I don’t drink, there’s no brain fog, there’s no lethargy, there’s no fatigue. There’s a totally different feeling,” she added, saying that her mood immediately improved. “I have motivation, I have no aches, I have no pains in my body. I have no more bloating, no more stomach issues. It’s just better for me.”


Caitlin Opland is a licensed clinical social worker who works for Thriveworks, a mental health company. Opland says over the last few months, she has been working with more and more clients who are on a similar journey of wanting to cut out alcohol, not because of a problem, but because they want explore a different way of living.


“I’ve had many clients come to me and say, ‘I don’t think it’s a problem, but …,’” she explained, adding that she typically asks clients what’s influencing their curiosity about sobriety and the possibility of no longer drinking. “Many people hesitate because they don’t want to have to label themselves as an alcoholic, but they still want to make a lifestyle change.”


The "Sober Curious" movement has grown in recent years after author Ruby Warrington published the book called "Sober Curious" in late 2018. A CivicScience survey published last month, shows a greater percentage of people report they are curious about living a sober lifestyle, from 12% in 2020 to 19% this year.

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