The Quick Scoop: The sober curious movement is a growing group of individuals who drink rarely, or not at all, and who broadcast abstinence with pride. What is different about the sober curious movement is that people don’t have to swear off alcohol altogether, if that is right for them, and many sober curious individuals don’t have a diagnosed substance abuse problem. Nori Muro is a Cincinnatian who had her last drink on Christmas Eve 2017. She's started a sober curious meet-up group for women in the Greater Cincinnati area.
Explaining The Sober Curious Movement
Nori Muro is part of the evolving sober curious movement, a growing group of individuals who drink rarely, or not at all, and who broadcast abstinence with pride. Some sober curious individuals are sober because they struggled with alcohol abuse or dependence, and others are sober because they don’t like the way alcohol makes them feel. They may drink once in a while, but not regularly, and they’ve usually done some deep soul searching in regard to their relationship with booze, and potentially other substances.
As Ruby Warrington who wrote the book Sober Curious puts it,
“As we change our diet, work out regularly and adopt other wellness practices, it becomes harder to reconcile the way alcohol really makes us feel. I think a lot of people are beginning to ask if a few hours of ‘pressing pause’ on stress, anxiety, or loneliness is worth the inevitable payoff the morning after.”
What is different about the sober curious movement is that people don’t have to swear off alcohol altogether, if that is right for them, and many sober curious individuals don’t have a diagnosed substance abuse problem. It’s a very intuitive and nonjudgmental movement where people make choices based off of how they feel, rather than putting themselves in a restrictive box.
Sober curious individuals may ask questions like—Am I drinking because I want to or because I feel I need to in order to cope or release stress? Do I drink more than I want to when I drink? Do I reach for an evening glass of wine habitually on autopilot? Bringing curiosity, or in mindfulness terms, a beginner's mind, to our relationship with alcohol can help us better understand our motives for drinking. With this awareness, we can make shifts if desired. And for some that may mean abstinence.
It wasn’t until Nori Muro decided to quit alcohol altogether that she really explored her relationship with the substance. She found that for her it was all or nothing, there was no gray area drinking in the middle. It was Christmas Eve 2017 when Nori had her last drink after her 8-year-old daughter begged her to stop. She now is waiting for the day when her daughter is old enough to truly understand how “she saved her mom’s life.”
I chatted with Nori a few Friday’s ago over the phone. What I thought might be a 15-minute call easily stretched into 45-minutes and I could have stayed on the line much longer had my schedule allowed. Nori is engaging, interesting, raw and honest, and she wants to help change the world.
Nori told me, “It’s what it sounds like. Sober curious people are curious about sobriety. They want to know what this lifestyle looks like. They’re sick of waking up hungover or being less productive because of a night out.” There are countless personal and professional benefits to abstaining from alcohol, but it’s not always an easy transition.
While it seems like the tides are changing, it is still very much the societal norm for people to socially drink. The majority of social events include alcohol, from networking events to a mom's night out to extended family dinners. So, for Nori, it was really scary becoming sober. As she put it, “My social life as I knew it was gone. When you get sober you have to find new ways of doing everything that you did.” As Nori began to transform her life she decided to create her own tribe of women, sober and sober curious women, who wanted to bond over coffee, tea, and long walks instead of a glass of wine.
Roasted Not Toasted
Nori started the group, “Roasted Not Toasted,” about a year ago. The intention is to bond with other likeminded women and to show those considering sobriety that just because you don’t drink anymore doesn’t mean the fun goes away. Nori is helping women in Greater Cincinnati redefine fun without a drink in hand.
The group now has over fifty members and meets weekly at Coffee Emporium downtown on Sunday at 9:15 AM. The group will also occasionally do breakfast or dinner, and has a Facebook Group where members post helpful resources, seek support, and share potential meet-up opportunities.
What to Expect
This group might be good for you if you’re exploring your relationship with alcohol, you’re sober curious, you're in recovery, or if you abstain. The ground rules are honesty and non-judgment.
Nori recognizes she is not a therapist nor a coach and this group is simply a place for women to share what is or isn’t working for them. Expect coffee, conversation, podcast recommendations, book exchanges, discussions about life goals and plans, and intentional connection. All are welcome, and if you’re interested shoot Nori a message or pop-in for a Sunday coffee to give it a try.
We recognize for some becoming sober isn’t as simple as making a choice. Alcoholism is a complex disease and there is help. If you or a loved one is suffering please reach out to one of Cincinnati's addiction centers.