For adults across the U.S., drinking is often considered a normal part of life. From Happy Hours to office parties and family events, alcohol abounds. However, in recent years, the term ‘sober curious’ has trickled into the world of wellness. By definition, being sober curious means that you are interested in removing alcohol from your life. There are, of course, several variations of this–from abstaining completely, to just being more mindful about the amount of alcohol you choose to consume–the goal being for the individual to take greater agency over their own approach to drinking. 

To understand this trend, CivicScience asked more than 1,000 U.S adults of drinking age about their interest in sobriety. Grouped below by drinkers, the data reveal, 6% of respondents are very curious, while 18% are somewhat curious. Altogether, this means that almost a quarter of U.S. adults 21 and up have some interest in drinking less, or not at all.

The largest demographic of sober curious people includes individuals 21 to 34 years old. There are several reasons why this group of younger adults could be interested in going alcohol-free. Rising concerns over health, coupled with the explosion of the wellness world could be just some of the many factors. 

Alcohol: On the Rocks with Male Drinkers 

But here is something that may surprise you: men are more sober curious than women. 

It is interesting to consider what could be piquing mens’ interest at a higher rate than women. Especially given the fact that, historically, alcohol has been marketed to a more male audience, these figures reveal that drinking culture may be changing. 

Trading one habit for another

The sober curious are twice as likely to be cannabis users than their non-curious counterparts. This shows that the market for cannabis products is huge, as many would probably rather just imbibe than drink.

In fact, the sober curious are the most interested in consuming cannabis on a daily basis. 

Sobriety: A Way of Life 

It seems that sober curiosity is not just about making a choice to drink or not to drink, but rather to live an entirely different lifestyle. And while it can’t be said that drinking less means exercising more, or that exercising more leads to wanting to drink less, the two are clearly connected. 

There is also a subtle connection between those who are curious about a sober lifestyle and those who do yoga and/or pilates. Those who participate in these activities are also the most likely overall to consider themselves sober curious. 

These lifestyle choices may also be related to diet, as the largest group of sober curious respondents are also those who are mostly vegetarian or vegan, but who do occasionally eat meat. 

This suggests that those interested in a sober lifestyle are familiar and comfortable with making lifestyle choices that may go against prevailing social norms. 

Sober curiosity is a small but growing trend. Given the fact that curiosity is especially high among those who exercise, it is possible that renouncing alcohol could be one more hopeful step in the direction of finding greater happiness or reaching new levels of personal success. After all, those who are interested in renouncing alcohol are already on board with mindful movement like yoga, as well as a vegetarian diet. But it could come down to trading one thing for another in the advent of more widely-accepted cannabis culture.  This is a huge opportunity, and only time will tell how it will grow.