What Does Sober Really Mean?

From the Personal Perspective

What does sober really mean? It’s a simple, yet a so hard question to answer. Maybe each of us as an individual has a different, specific and unique interpretation of what does sober really mean.

For a person who has never tried alcohol, sober means the state of being present with his or hers full consciousness to every moment.

For every person who drinks every once in a while, but just to get a little tipsy, but never drunk, sober means the state in which they usually are, but occasionally relax and let reality slip away.

For a person who drinks a lot sober means a lot of things. For one of them it means boredom; for another one it is the peaceful state at home as neither their significant other, nor their children get sad or angry at them; for the third it represents drowning in their problems or anxieties; but for most of them it is the state where they face everyday life, together with the problems it brings – while the state opposite of sober, is their relief, their escape of everyday problems.

For an objective observer sober means a person who is able to walk by himself, get home by himself, and the ability to drive his/hers vehicle. On the other hand, the police officer denies this opinion if the breathalyzer shows more than the allowed limit of alcohol in the body.

Scientifically, What Does Sober Really Mean?

If we neglect the different perspectives, and turn to science in order to find an answer to what does sober really mean, we can discover that the term sober refers to sobriety which stands for the state of life balance, or the condition of not being under the effect of not only alcohol, but mood-altering drugs as well.

Linguistically speaking, if we look up “sober” in a dictionary, we will find out that the term has several meanings. Generally, sober is an adjective which has the opposite meaning of drunk and playful. Thus, it refers to two different states, expressing different qualities about the noun it modifies. A famous example portrays the two meaning of sober – At a funeral, a person has to be sober. This means that a person should not be neither drunk, nor playful – or in this sense, cheerful, at a funeral.

Additionally, here is a list of several definition and explanations of sober, other than its generic meaning. Apart from being an adjective, sober can also function as a verb.

  • Not affected by chemical substances, especially alcohol; adj.;
  • Dull, lacking color or brightness; adj.;
  • Dignified and somber in manner or character and committed to keeping promises; adj.;
  • Completely lacking in playfulness; adj.;
  • Become sober after excessive alcohol consumption; verb;
  • Cause to become sober, verb;
  • Become more realistic, verb.

What we can conclude from the fact that there are several definitions about what does sober really mean, is that for each individual sober has a different meaning. Even though our conscious mind recognizes the general meaning of being sober, each of us forms a different concept for understanding this state. Therefore, as long as we can’t really pin sober down, we shouldn’t be judgmental for the perspectives different from our own.