Book Review, 0420 RIBJ, RIBJ, 68 RI Bar J., No. 5, Pg. 33

AuthorJenna Giguere, Esq. Deputy Chief of Legal Services Department of Business Regulation
PositionVol. 68 5 Pg. 33

BOOK REVIEW Sober Curious by Ruby Warrington

Vol. 68 No. 5 Pg. 33

Rhode Island Bar Journal

April, 2020

March, 2020

Jenna Giguere, Esq. Deputy Chief of Legal Services Department of Business Regulation

The National Task Force on Lawyer Well Being identified alarming rates of 21-36% of lawyers qualifying as "problem drinkers."[1] However, for many lawyers who do not consider themselves to be "addicts," the increasing attention to this topic in continuing legal education may not seem that personally relatable. A fresh perspective is presented by the "Sober Curious" lifestyle movement and its bedrock book of the same name by Ruby Warrington, catching the attention of national news outlets like the New York Times, Washington Post, CNBC, NPR, and Good Morning America. Media coverage indicates that the "sober curious" lifestyle has resonated particularly with millennials, with the emergence of dry bars, craft non-alcohol beer, expensive "mocktails" and hashtags like #SoberLife catering to this generation as part of its broader wellness movement. A critical disclaimer is that Sober Curious (written by a lifestyle writer without mental health training) is NOT a substitute for those that require professional substance abuse treatment. But for others, the "sober curious" lifestyle movement is an interesting take on a real problem in our legal profession that is worth thinking about.

Sober Curious takes a positive and flexible tone in encouraging readers to ask themselves the question "would my life be better without alcohol?" Being "sober curious" starts with a no-pressure experiment to see how you feel physically, mentally, and socially when you take a break from alcohol. It does not require subscribing to a belief that all alcohol is all bad in all circumstances, nor does it require the participant give themselves or their past drinking patterns any particular negative label. It does not require making a long-term commitment to never drink again. But at the same time, it offers a way to realize the benefits of not drinking like many aspects of physical and mental health, increased productivity and balance, and saving money, just to name a few.

The book aims to help the reader face their "FOMA" (Fear of Missing Alcohol) and successfully master "Sober Firsts" (the first time through any particular activity without alcohol), catchy terms used throughout Warrington's book. Warrington talks about the intense sense of fulfillment that...

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