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Summer is here and the Prosecco is flowing!

Prosecco...with its pop as you open the bottle and the emotions that are associated with a glass of fizz. It’s quickly become the go-to party drink. Who doesn’t love some crisp and fruity Italian bubbles at a fraction of the cost of champagne? It’s perfect served super-chilled at a grown-up barbecue and it does honestly make you feel like you are on holidays somewhere hot and sunny. But what does too much of a good thing look like?

Socially, drinking is one of main ways we enjoy being with friends and trying to cut back can often prove difficult and can meet with disapproval and sometimes suspicion from others. The trouble is it’s easy for those units to mount up during an evening and over time this can have a really detrimental effect on your health, mood, energy levels and weight (particularly as we get older). The recommended guidelines for alcohol are no more than 14 units a week, with at least 2 alcohol free days per week.

A typical bottle of wine will contain 10 units. It’s easy to get through a bottle with three generous glasses in a night! Let’s face it, whoever pours a small glass and when do you normally not finish the bottle when the girls get together? Often, more than one bottle is opened during an evening.

Do you ever wonder if you drink a little too much? Maybe it’s crossed your mind on occasion that you have a problem with alcohol (even if you’ve not spoken those words out loud)? Do you use alcohol like a social crutch to give you confidence at parties and events? Do you often wonder what life would be like without alcohol or even why on TV, films and even in real life the alcohol flows freely at practically every event? It’s like we should all be drinking, and without it, we must be having less fun. In fact, it appears to be more socially acceptable to drink than not to drink when socialising.

While you might be eating well, doing your yoga or Pilates, meditating, getting your 10,000 steps every single day, at the end of a long day, you get back from work, kick off your shoes and head for a glass of chilled Sauvignon Blanc. Soon, one glass is a second glass, which becomes the rest of the bottle and suddenly, all your hard work during the day has been undone. Does that sound familiar? It certainly does to me when I think of many social situations. When the laughter and fun is in, often the sense goes out the window.

If any of these questions above have crossed your mind, perhaps you are sober curious.

The sober curious movement is gathering pace and not drinking is really rather trendy. To be clear ‘sober curious’ is not the same as sobriety (being 100% sober). According to Ruby Warrington, author of the book Sober Curious, it’s not an on-off switch. You are not either a drinker or tee-total. It’s about bringing a “questioning mindset to every drinking situation, rather than going along with the dominant drinking culture”. Sober curious is a movement that welcomes you at any stage of your questioning the role alcohol plays in your life and what life would be like if you didn’t drink at each social event.

It may be that you have already dipped your toe into extended periods of sobriety – Dry January, Go Sober for October etc. Being sober curious the rest of the time is a natural extension. There are even sober bars popping up where you get to socialise over mocktails and kombucha rather than a G&T (great if you are the designated driver on a night out).

Author Ruby Warrington – the first to coin the phase – began thinking about her alcohol consumption in 2010 in terms of its impact on her health and wellbeing. She felt she couldn't talk to anyone else about it. After it, it wasn’t like she was drinking secretly or during the day. She was drinking in a very socially-acceptable way you might see openly portrayed on social media. Maybe a few glasses of wine on a few weeknights and a mini-binge at the weekend. Like many, she was simply doing it without question. So, do you feel like exploring this for yourself?

Ask yourself when you drink:

- Why am I drinking right now?

- Is it expected of me that I will have a drink right now? If so, how do I feel about that?

- What will this drink do for my health and wellbeing? (we all know the health implications of excess alcohol yet we still over indulge)

Don’t be afraid to say to friends that you’re taking some time off from drinking, that (on a night you would normally go to a bar), you’d like to do something different instead. This is really gaining popularity. Remember, you don’t have to justify yourself to anyone.

Being sober curious is not never, never drink. It’s simply being more mindful. That’s something we could probably all do with more of in every aspect of our lives. I am certainly not telling you not to drink alcohol but for me, it is something I have started to question as I get older and really enjoy my alcohol free periods. Alas, Summer is often a downfall for many of us when enjoying our glass of fizz..

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