Ever since I stopped drinking, I’ve been fascinated by the number of celebrities who are quietly sober.
I’m not talking about people who are famous for stints in and out of rehab, or stars who’ve fought well-publicised battles with booze.
Personally, I’ve always been much more interested in celebrities who realised alcohol wasn’t doing them any favours – and so quietly decided to stop. Just like that.
In this crazy, boozy world – where alcohol is so mainstream, so normalised and still so cool – it can seem as if everyone drinks.
But the reality is that some of life’s most successful people have got to where they are because they don’t waste their time, money and health on alcohol.
If there’s only one message you take from this week’s blog, make sure it’s this: going alcohol-free doesn’t make you weird. It makes you wise! And you’re in very, very good company…
“What made me stop? I realised it was not going to end well. I got into the acting programme, it was very challenging, I was hungover and I wasn’t doing so well in my classes. I thought, ‘Do you know what? It’s going to be one or the other. I can’t really have both.’”
“I was so concerned with how I was coming across, how I would survive the day. I always felt like an outsider. I realized I wasn’t going to live up to my potential, and that scared the hell out of me.”
“I found myself drinking two bottles of wine on the couch and I said, ‘Jada, I think we’ve got a problem here.’ I really had to get in contact with the pain, whatever that is, and then I had to get some other tools in how to deal with the pain. From that day on, I went cold turkey.”
“I got to a point in my late thirties where I was a bit overweight, I didn’t have a lot of self-esteem, I was unfit, and I thought, ‘This isn’t a way forward for me.’ I realised what made me happy, and taking drinking out of the equation helped with that.”
“I was living in constant fear of who I’d meet, what I might have said to them, what I might have done with them, so I’d stay in my apartment for days and drink alone. I was a recluse at 20. It was pathetic — it wasn’t me. I’m a fun, polite person and it turned me into a rude bore.”
“My life is so busy that if I do have a day off I don’t want to spend it vomiting.”
“I am very serious about no drugs, no alcohol. Life is too beautiful.”
“I don’t drink or smoke or have caffeine. That really wrecks your skin as you get older.”
“I bought myself an extra ten years as a DJ by quitting drinking. I would have either been burnt-out or dead by now.”
“One or two drinks was never enough for me. I was a foot-on-the-floor-all-the-way drinker, so it had to go. I don’t miss it. Now it’s as if I never had a drink in my life. At one point, I could never have conceived going out and not drinking but, as time goes on, you lose the urge and the insecurity that often makes people drink in the first place.”
“For about ten years, I’ve been pretty much not drinking. I went through a normal kind of late teens, early 20s drinking, but it was a choice I made, because I didn’t think it was very good for my life.”
“I wasn’t someone who could smoke or drink in moderation, and I recognised that those things would kill me. I started visualising the doctor telling me that I had cancer from smoking or that I was extremely ill because of how much I’d been drinking. What kind of regret would I have if I had to tell my children or my wife that I was dying because of something I could have done something about? I didn’t want to be that kind of man.”
Now I’d love to hear from you…
Let me know the sober stars you admire and why. Who have I missed off the list?
Colin Farrell- one of many proving the Irish may love pub culture but we don’t need alcohol
Oh yes – I love Colin Farrell!
I just want to thank Kate. I am still struggling can go for weeks and feel amazing
Sleep well, no shacking, eyes clear. Then I blow it usually a 3 day binge then horrible hangover & every time swear it will ne the last
I was going to say J-Lo! Her skin and body always inspired me to cut out alcohol… now if only I could give up caffeine. Baby steps! I am also having a problem substituting my evening wine with a lot of sweets. I am sober 48 days now and need to get off that habit.. does anyone have any tips/tricks?
I always think J-Lo looks so good! Congratulations on your 48 days! I wrote a blog post about sugar that you might find helpful: https://thesoberschool.com/sugar-rush/
In reply to Laura- well done on your 48 days sober! I’ve got to say that I have your exact problem! And for me coming off the sugar is even harder than quitting the alcohol. I’ve been struggling to do it for the 2 years I’ve been sober. At the moment I’ve got to fifteen days with the help of a certain celebrity hypnotist’s book and cd. It’s all about visualising your happy, healthy future without sugar and it has really helped me a lot so far. It is quite time consuming but I am feeling much happier about life in general and strong enough to resist those sweet snacks, so it’s worth putting the time in. I highly recommend it -and also Dr Robert Lustig’s book -Fat Chance, which is a real eye opener about the sugar industry, and what sugar does to your body. I think I will go and read Kate’s sugar blog now too. Love this blog Kate thank you, it’s really inspiring.
Do you exercise? If you do make it at the first drink time. If you have kids take them with you. Walk, swim, dog walks. Put the kids on scooters, prams. Whatever stage they are up to. No kids? Find a Pilates or gym program that you love. You have to LOVE it or you won’t go back.
I was so encouraged by these comments from celebrities! They are funny, smart, beautiful, talented, and perfectly in touch with who they really are. That’s just what we’re all “in it” for, right?
Laura, I’m right there with you. I think your baby steps mentality is perfect for now!
Love this post! Thank you!
Thank you for sharing. Having the right sober role models is what finally got me sober. It wasn’t until I had a couple of really cool girls that I looked up to and admired as my sober role models that I realized I could still be fun, hip, cool, and stylish without drinking. Now, I think my sobriety has allowed me to be more fun, hip, cool, and stylish than I ever was while I was drinking!
Absolutely. There’s not much about drinking that’s sexy, really. Not when you think about all the hangovers etc!
I love the phrase “quietly not drinking.” That’s me. 11 months next week. I’m an introvert and don’t like to blast everyone with the changes in my life, even the important ones. I just celebrated my first sober birthday in YEARS and didn’t even notice it until this morning. The only time I woke up without a hangover after my birthday was when I was pregnant. Still had to drink that half glass of wine then!
Congratulations on your 11 months! That’s brilliant 🙂
Very inspiring, Kate — as always. I myself have been trying to ‘stay on the wagon’ and it’s been challenging. This post is wonderfully encouraging — thank you.
Thanks Edana – keep going! You will crack this 🙂
Thanks for your blog….I don’t read as regularly as I thought I’d need to- but reassuringly an email pops up in my inbox and I remember! Another is Boy George, clean and dry for 11 years….me 15 months…it gets easier EVERY day x
The delectable Tom Hardy has been clean and sober since 2003 xxx
Ooooh. How did I not know this… !
Anthony Hopkins. Had an epiphany one day and turned it around.
I’ve been quite partial to Rob Lowe’s story. And clearly not drinking has treated him well, he looks amazing.
Yes … he does look good!
I want to be in the same room with all these people! These quotes are so cool, makes me feel very comforted!
Thanks for this article Kate. For a lot of years as I have battled with my addiction I always used to look upto the wrong celebrities. The party people. So cool to drink, party etc. So wrong lol You realise that that celebrity lifestyle they portray is not as fun and cool as it looks in the tabloid pictures. There are now different celebs i look upto for a variety of different positive reasons. X
The gorgeous Jamie Lee Curtis! Thank you for this blog!
This is a great blog . I like the quietly part as well. 41/2 months now and I don’t need to make a big deal about it . My sister is also on this sober journey and she has been wonderful to relate too. Thank you everyone I enjoy you comments . And they help!
Hi Kate. Donald Trump has never had a drop pass his lips. He watched his brother die from alcohol abuse and as a result decided he would never drink. Also there is Kim Kardashian, John Travolta, Ben Affleck, Kim Cattrall and Natalie Portman. So empowering to find we are seriously not alone in our sobriety.
I’ve been sober now for 1 month &2 weeks and feel so much better for not drinking…
This idea is such a cool perspective. Kate I liked the fact that you said straight from the beginning…These are not the celebrities that we have seen go through battles! I think it’s awesome that some of their reasons for cutting alcohol out of their lives are similar to mine. 🙂
On another note, Last week I took a day off work. It was beautiful and I had an amazing day. I thought I have been doing really well, I think I want a beer today. I went out with a friend and the first beer already made me feel off. I then wanted a beer I usually drank instead of one I wanted for the flavor. I didn’t get through the second beer. I also went to a party after in which everyone was drinking and had not inclination to drink the rest of the night. I know for some this is failure as I drank after 7 weeks of not, but never in my life have I been able to start drinking and choose when I stop 🙂 I was actually proud. However maybe not too proud as I am surrendering this story to you all now! I guess my point is, this journey is different for all of us, but I so much appreciate that we have this blog in common to express ourselves when necessary and stay motivated!
Progress is Progress
Billy Conolly is another who gave up. Just proves you don’t need alcohol to be funny …. I gave up over 8years ago and still make people laugh and know what I have said and done the next morning 🙂 !!!
I have only just come across you Kate and the sober school. Am desperate to stop drinking and reading your blog and tweets, and all the comments is helping me this morning. Looking forward to the start of the next course.
Been dealing with this struggle to quit or not for a few years. Tired of the routine and just feeling horrible the next day. Like Mr Butler I just can’t have just one. I’m going with blogs like this, the book Sober is the New Black I just finished, and friend support I can succeed. We will see.
I just discovered this lovely site. I’m new in my journey to quit. I have loved reading your posts and the comments that follow. Looking forward to the course and to the kinship of others. Laura, 56, USA
Al Pacino – “I was a drinker, for sure, my career was exploding in the Seventies and, I’m sorry, but I don’t remember much of the Seventies. “Now when I come to think about it, I don’t remember much of the Eighties either. Not had a drink in 30 years. Decided to give this stuff up. It saved my life”
Yes! I have been sober some months on and off, and something that motivates me is celebrities that I admire and that do SO much with their creativity – James Franco is my favorite, and Lana Del Rey!
PS. That Trump is sober is weird, since all he says seems like drunk-talk. joking. but just had to say it.
I am on day 1 and this post really helped me feel less alone. Thank you.
I stopped drinking on Jan. 8 2018 – 26 days. I am 58 and I am aware of liver disease in my family – but I abused alcohol. This holiday season I realized I no longer had any control over the amount of whiskey I consumed. I imagined my retirement/golden years very sick or dead instead of traveling the world, hiking and diving with my wonderful husband. We have saved all our lives and continuing to drink would be the most selfish thing I could do to him and me…. I have stopped drinking.
Just like you say Kate – easier to quit than moderate.
Love this article and blog! I’m very inspired by Britney Spears. She got her life back on track and is sober and living her best life if you look at her instagram—tons of posts about exercise, health and happiness, and family life with her boys!