8 Myths About Non-Drinkers (And Why They’re Wrong)

8 Myths About Non-Drinkers (And Why They’re Wrong)

“So … how do you have fun then?”
“You must get really bored.”
“Is it because you’re religious?”
“I bet you miss drinking loads and loads.”
“Are you actually allowed to go to bars?”

Since I quit drinking, I’ve been asked all the questions above. Several times.

(I was particularly baffled by the last one – just who is it that’s going to stop me from entering a bar? The sober police…?) There are so many myths and stereotypes about what it’s like to be a non-drinker. It’s kind of crazy.

The problem is that these ideas are repeated so often, they become ingrained in our culture and accepted as facts. But you can’t let this nonsense hold you back from a hangover-free lifestyle!
.

Here are 8 myths about non-drinkers that are absolutely not true:

 

Myth 1: We really, really miss alcohol

Next month I’ll be four years alcohol-free and I never miss it. Seriously. I’m not ‘battling the demon drink’ or ‘taking it one day at a time’ or moping around feeling as if I’m missing out. I have no more desire to drink than I do to smoke cigarettes, take heroin or stick a fork in my eye.

And I know lots of other non-drinkers who feel exactly the same way. Once you cut through the social conditioning and educate yourself about alcohol, you start to see booze for what it is – a brain bending substance that delivers an artificial high, followed by a giant, soul-sucking low.

 

Myth 2: We all go to meetings

Not everyone attends 12 step meetings. (I don’t.) They work for some people, but for others, they’re not a good fit. You don’t have to go to meetings and you don’t have to label yourself. You can simply decide to stop drinking. Some people do it on their own, while others use books, counsellors or seek out help online.

 

Myth 3: We miss our old life

No way. When I look back on my drinking days, what stands out is how boring, dull and repetitive they were. One of the reasons I stopped drinking was because I had this nagging feeling I’d lived the same year twice; I’d made the same mistakes and repeated the same frustrations and struggles. I felt stuck. So I certainly don’t look back on that time and think ‘those were the days!’

 

Myth 4: We must’ve hit rock bottom

Some people do have a dramatic rock bottom – a wake up call they can’t ignore. But, just as many don’t. Most non-drinkers quietly decide to stop because they don’t like the way alcohol is making them feel. They suspect they’d be better off without booze, so they decide to change. That’s it.

 

Myth 5: We judge people who do drink

Most sober people are pretty open minded – we have no problem with other people drinking. If you can have one or two and feel great about that, then go for it. We don’t care. We’ll only judge you if you make our sobriety a big deal!

 

Myth 6: Our lives are really dull

It’d be pretty sad if our lives were boring, just because we’d stopped drinking. There’s this idea out there that life without alcohol is ‘less’ somehow; less fun, less intense, less everything. In fact, the opposite is true. Alcohol-free living gives you the time, energy and headspace to craft a life you genuinely love. One that’s so good, you don’t need to numb yourself at the end of every day.

 

Myth 7: We’re not interested in parties or going out

We still like dancing. We still like good music. We still like the company of other humans. So yes, we still have social lives! There’s nothing quite like having an amazing night out, and knowing it was all genuine, because your feelings weren’t chemically altered in any way.

 

Myth 8: We’ll make do with any old alcohol-free drink 

We still have taste buds. We love the ritual of having a nice drink to unwind – something that feels special. Personally, I want sophisticated flavours presented in a pretty, grown up glass, preferably by a bartender who knows a thing or two about mocktails. No one should have to make do with plain old tap water, ever.

 

Let me know…

What’s been your experience of these myths? Whether you’ve stopped drinking – or you’re still working on it – I’m sure you’ve come up against one or two of these already. And do let me know if I’ve missed any off the list!

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29 Comments

  1. Try these: you’re repressed; you’re afraid of your feelings; you’re a control freak; you don’t know how to relax,chill, you’re a killjoy; you just wanrt to make us ( drinkers) feel guilty; you’re stuck up/snobbish; you’re obsessed with this healthy eating; you’re very weak willed, anyone can have a few, enjoy themsleves then put the cork in the bottle…wha’s wrong with you?

    There was quite a lotm, actually.No going back

    many years sober, it’s only this last one that sometimes rankles, especially as it comes from relations who should know better .

    Reply
    • All complete nonsense! Some of that is very hard to hear, especially from people who should know better … and who should be supportive. It says a lot about them.

      Reply
  2. My own personal myth
    (that people around me who still drink assume) is that I’ve crossed some magic, stress-free threshold and everything is rosy.
    Or at least less complicated. I’m still stressed about life events I just chose to keep from numbing them.
    I’m still afraid and sad about certain things, I just chose to deal with them substance free.
    Instead of prolonging my problems by drowning them I have been able to accept my limitations.
    I had built a life around social drinking. Everything from jobs and relationships to where I chose to live. There’s no magic. It’s hard work . So far it’s been worth it.
    My cousin recently asked me to describe how it feels to be sober. I told him it’s like waking up from a long nap that I didn’t realize I was taking-
    Also it’s like a marathon in a way-in the first month you’re gung ho and running on will power (which likes to be exercised) then you plateau and have to keep your pace all the time thinking “man i want to sit on that bench..and that bench..and that one” as they go flying by-but you just keep pushing thru. Always remembering to breathe and ask God out loud to help you stay the course.
    It’s deep.

    Reply
    • You’re right – sobriety doesn’t magically fix everything, but it does make life an awful lot easier. It’s absolutely worth the hard work in the beginning! Keep going Judy 🙂

      Reply
    • Judy sums it up really well.Also, the part about missing drinking is so wrong.I see now drinking caused a lot of problems and a lot of regret and pain; the parts I remember anyway.Being sober for me has given me freedom to do things I really enjoy without waking up the next day and feeling sick. Mornings are wonderful!

      Reply
  3. I agree with all your myths…tomorrow (march 14) is 1 year with out alcohol…proud and have no issues abstaining and loving life. I choose to not be around negative people who have an issues with non drinkers…most I think are jealous and wish they could stop and now bow to social conditioning 🙂

    Reply
    • I agree – I think people say negative things for a reason, generally to make themselves feel better. Congratulations on your one year anniversary, I hope you’re doing something fun to celebrate! 🙂

      Reply
  4. Great post Kate. I’d like to think that not drinking will become more of an accepted norm as this younger generation is better at talking about their feelings, than earlier ones. That it’s not considered countercultural or even brave, that it’s what the average person trying to live a good life does. I don’t know if that sounds preachy. On myth #8 – one pet peeve I have in restaurants, I tend to order a cappuccino and then stick to water, and then I’m ignored by some servers, as it’s not adding to their bottom line. Looking forward to next week’s post. : )

    Reply
  5. Just joined the blog. Going through a split and been struggling and using alcohol as a prop. Hopefully will be able to revert to ‘sensible’ drinking, as in a couple of glasses of wine on a Friday or Saturday night. Not several glasses every night. Feeling quite positive so far and the comments/ideas are helping a lot.

    Reply
  6. All these comments help I’m just not strong enough at the moment after loosing my mum and dad. I literally need to quit I don’t even like the taste and get so mad with myself but feel stuck !! I want the guilt free mornings and the people asking what’s wrong with me for not drinking. Sorry get so mad with myself but well done to everyone strong enough to do it.

    Reply
  7. Why is it that the person who stops using the drug alcohol is made to feel the victim? If you tell someone you stopped smoking heroine they’d be happy for you!

    Reply
  8. It’s weird not seeing you with a glass of wine in your hand. But you enjoy it so much, can’t you just have one. How are you going to toast at your wedding. This while just be a phase, next time I see you you will be drinking. And my absolute favorite is being invited out constantly for drinks over and over again by the same person. The supportive comments are very few and fair between. But my reaction to the bad comments have gone from angry to sad. It is shocking the acceptance people need for their own alcohol consumption.

    Reply
    • I think you hit the nail on the head there – a lot of the time these comments come from people who aren’t feeling so good about their own drinking 🙂

      Reply
  9. Are you still off the alcohol?

    Reply
  10. I have not had alcohol for nearly 2 years and I still find it hard to respond to all those bizarre comments. But none has gobsmacked me more than the other day when I told my mother that I have just been diagnosed with genetic coeliac disease, she said “see, you never had any of those sorts of problems when you were having a glass of wine or two”

    Reply
  11. Hey, what about a blog of recipes for good mocktails? I’d love to read that!

    I’m considering quitting for awhile after binge drinking – by myself – all weekend and still feeling crappy on Tuesday! This is not a good way to live. But I’m nervous because my friends and family are all big drinkers. I’m not sure how this is going to work, but I’m looking forward to losing weight and saving money (and remembering my evenings).

    Any tips on yummy, booze free drinks would be appreciated!

    Reply
    • Pineapple soda with lots of fresh lime-delish and tastes like sweet tarts ☺️

      Reply
      • I have Soda water with a splash of pineapple and lime, that way I cut out a lot of the sugar.

        Reply
  12. I have given myself a 2 glass limit for each outing this year in an effort to have the first hangover free year since I was 15!! Saying that out loud sounds like a shocking state of affairs, but it’s accepted as the norm amongst my friends.
    Anyway, so far so good. The one thing I am still looking for is something healthy that relieves stress the way alcohol seems to do. Any thoughts?
    Thanks

    Reply
  13. Hi guys, I have been trying to go alcohol free for years now and never managed it. I don’t rely on alcohol, just when I do go out I am always the one that can’t stop, does really silly and embarrassing things and then goes into blackout. I wake in the morning and lie in bed having no idea how I got home, did I come home alone, have I upset anyone, what was I doing? I have to rely on other people telling me how my night unfolded. For days after I recoil in horror. Then by the following Friday I feel fine, promise myself i’ll just have a few and then the same thing happens again.
    After a disastrous Friday night this week and me now feeling absolutely mortified I know it is time for me to stop before something really bad happens to me.
    A life without alcohol terrifies me. The main one being social situations. How do I tell people I no longer drink? How do I deal with their reaction? How do I deal with people when they are telling me I will be fine having a few?
    I’ve been thinking of all kinds of excuses I could use, like I’m on antibiotics and can’t drink – anything bit tell the truth!
    I’m going away on a hen do in July – now that will be hard! Heeellllppppp!!!!!

    Reply
    • Hi Sarah, make sure you check out my free video workshop, if you haven’t done so already – it’ll really help you with a lot of these issues: the sober school.com/videos

      Reply
      • Thanks Kate, I will have a look now xx

        Reply
        • Hi Sarah! I am just quitting too if you need a sober buddy!

          Reply
          • I am quitting from today!
            Ican’t regulate my drinking.
            So will try cold turkey.
            Have done two weeks. Need to stop completely this time.
            Fingers crossed!

    • Just getting it off my chest!!!! ———Jane, You said what I hope to be in the future for our culture –that alcohol will not be so accepted as it is now. It’s funny that wine does not have a good taste to me like it use to. I don’t have a problem with drinking but my husband does so I choose not to drink also. I hope and pray he can keep off the alcohol. He has a problem “knowing ” when to stop–there fore I get neurotic being afraid of “if” and when. He has “friends” who are your basic fun guys who get better as they drink. —They are really good friends, but they are all going to Ireland for 2 weeks—-Yikes!! I pray a lot and I know God helps me endure my husbands moods—up and down. Basically I am better with him then without, but the mood swings drive me crazy. He loves me and is crazy about me—really—never mean or abusive–43 years–Would be nice if he did not drink!!!

      Reply
  14. So many myths! There are so many lies out there, it’s shocking.

    Reply
    • Keep going Elizabeth!

      Reply
  15. Love your blog, Kate. My husband of 43 yrs has a problem with alcohol and doesn’t know when to stop and has had 2 medical catastrophes that took a while to heal from. It scares me. He has quit drinking for 6 weeks now. He has friends that “kid” him about not drinking. How does alcohol get approval as a stress reliever–it’s a drug!!

    Reply

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