Once upon a time, booze seemed to be my answer to everything.
Need to unwind? Drink.
Need a confidence boost? Drink.
Need to feel happier? Drink!
I used to rely on alcohol for so much. It was a pick-me-up when I felt down and a reward at the end of a long day.
So when alcohol started causing me problems, I couldn’t get my head around the idea of quitting. I thought I’d miss out on too much.
Can you relate?
If you can, then keep reading – because there’s a mighty big secret you need to know about alcohol.
This socially acceptable, liquid poison never actually delivers on its promises. It never has the power to do what you think it does. Ever.
Here are 4 of alcohol’s empty promises… the things booze claims to provide, but sobriety delivers:
Booze is a depressant. It provides a brief, artificial high, followed by a long, crushing low: a hollow, empty feeling which makes you crave more of the drug in order to end the misery.
Whilst it sounds convenient to be able to open a bottle and suddenly feel better, we have to remember that ‘happy’ feeling is false.
It’s a drug-induced, short term, fake happiness – a couple of hours at best. And the price you pay for that experience is huge; we’re talking days of feeling low and awful.
If you want to feel genuinely happy on a regular basis, sobriety is definitely the way to go. I wrote more about how to be happy and sober here.
Alcohol has a numbing effect that makes it easy to ignore unpleasant feelings, like nerves or shyness. But whilst it can seem as if your cares fall away when you drink, it’s only a temporary effect.
If you’ve ever made a fool of yourself whilst drunk, you’ll know that actually, we need those inhibitions. And isn’t a shy, sober person far more interesting than someone who’s drunk and repetitive?
Sobriety forces you to be who you really are, rather than who you think you should be – and that does wonders for your confidence in the long run.
Comfort and reassurance
Drinking can feel safe and comforting, providing familiarity and escapism when things aren’t going well. But in reality, alcohol delivers the opposite of this.
When you’re drinking, you never quite know what’s going to happen, because you’re not fully in control of yourself. You’re far more likely to put yourself in danger or do something you later regret.
When you’re sober, you never wake up feeling shame and guilt as you wonder what you did last night. Instead, you’re fully in control – and that’s a sense of comfort and safety that’s hard to beat.
This is the big one. True relaxation is achieved by removing the source of discontent. Alcohol, by definition, just cannot do that. It doesn’t have those kind of superpowers.
All booze can do is numb your brain and your senses. That doesn’t relieve you of your stress – far from it! The stress is still there, only now you’re zombified and numb.
If anything, alcohol is a stress delayer. When you wake up at 3am – thirsty, hungover and unable to get back to sleep – that stress will still be right there, tapping you on the shoulder, needing to be dealt with.
Alcohol makes sooo many empty promises, but it’s up to us not to fall for these lies.
When you dig a little deeper, you can see that all booze provides is a temporary distraction – a brief diversion that can make problems worse. You deserve better than a fake, drug-induced illusion.
Sobriety on the other hand, quietly delivers EVERYTHING alcohol promises. Whatever it is you’re searching for at the bottom of a wine glass, you’re guaranteed to find it in an alcohol free lifestyle.
Yes I have fallen for this for years. After each debilitating hangover I would tell myself no more only to be tricked again by the voices in my head telling me that alcohol gave me all of the things mentioned above. Once again I am trying my hand at sobriety. Today marks day 23, but I’m starting to see alcohol for what it is – a drug that takes things away without adding anything at all. I see people around me still caught up in the myth that alcohol makes everything better and I see tired, worn out faces, people with less patience that are missing out on true connections with people and experiences. I hope this means that I am finally ready to give it up entirely myself because waking up hangover free is one of the most amazing feelings in the world.
Hangover free mornings really are the best. Many congratulations on your 23 days! Keep going – it keeps on getting better 🙂
I so agree with this. For me it was the stress relief I (thought) I was getting from alcohol that kept me stuck. I’ve been AF for 2 months now and my stress levels have never been lower. Go figure!
I’m not surprised to hear that. Alcohol had been proven to make stress worse – it makes us less resilient to it. I wrote a bit more about this here: https://thesoberschool.com/manage-stress-without-alcohol/
Congratulations on your 2 months Tia!
So very very true. My mantra is that sobriety delivers what alcohol promises
Exactly! That is so true.
I love reading your mail, I have not had a drink for 12 months, I would like to read information about how your personality changes. Am told am more out spoken, and less tolerant of others.
Congratulations on your 12 months Angela! Personality changes are different for everyone. In my experience (having coached almost 1500 women) some people become a little quieter and more introverted in sobriety as they embrace their true selves. Other people find being sober gives them a massive confidence boost, and suddenly they find themselves speaking up in situations where they would’ve normally stayed quiet. The great thing about sobriety is that you’re being the real you – and discovering who that person really is!
Yes, I must admit i have fallen for a drink after a hard day at work or feeling a bit off. It does usually involved reading a book and bit of texting too. But i have been on Go Sober for 22 days now feeling lots better, losing bit of weight and save lots of money. Walking more to work now as i have the energy to do so. I am hoping to keep it up and really cut down which is my aim who knows i may give up altogether in the end!
That’s great Sam, congratulations on your 22 days! 🙂
I so relate to all of those points. Especially the mood lifter. Having suffered with depression, alcohol could be relied upon to deliver a temporary release from the heavy weight I was carrying. It seemed counter intuitive to think it was making everything worse.
I think for me the hardest one to face is the stress relief- when everything feels crap then alcohol still screams at me that it’s provides a way out even though I know it’s not true. So difficult to resist and I still struggle in that way despite not having drunk for almost 300 days! I think I need reminding often that it doesn’t help in any way whatsoever!
Congratulations on your 300 days Emma. It sounds as if you know that drinking isn’t the answer to anything – it’s just easy to forget that sometimes, when the world around us is convinced that alcohol cures stress! Keep going, you’ve got this 🙂
Another myth: being drunk will make your friends more tolerable! Yes, I used to drink just so I could deal with all of my drunk friends. Turns out there wasn’t enough alcohol in the world to make my drunk friends more tolerable or interesting. I gave up drinking years ago… I gave up on some friends that needed letting go as well! I’ve NEVER been happier or healthier!
Yep! If you need to take a mind altering drug in order to tolerate certain people, then what’s the point in spending time with them in the first place? You’re not having fun! Sounds like you made the right move there Polly.
I have been saying I will stop for a while. I manage a week maybe two then go back even though it makes me feel ill.
I had been doing the same thing for at least 5 years. I think back now at all of the wasted days feeling hungover that I endured that were unnecessary. Please don’t make the same mistake I made and wait that long. I am finally seeing alcohol for what it is – poison! Sober living just makes life easier to manage and more enjoyable – give it a real shot :o)
Hi Emma, well done for trying to make this change. It sounds as if you’re trying to quit through sheer willpower alone? Is that right? That is really tough. If you’d like to try a different approach – so you can quit drinking and actually make it stick AND feel good about it – I’d love to show you how. Here’s some info about my online coaching programme: https://thesoberschool.com/course/
Scared… desperate to stop but petrified of the boredom, the realisation that my world is not rosie, the fear of never feeling it all go fuzzy for a while
I hear you I am the same
Drinking doesn’t change the fact that life isn’t rosy… it just masks those feelings for a while, until you wake up feeling worse than you did before. If you’re going through a tough time, that’s all the more reason not to drink – you don’t need anything else to deal with right now. And if you’re bored – that’s ok. That’s very important information about your life! It’s good to know that you’re bored – that’s how you change. We only get one life, so please, don’t settle for numbing out and living in a fog. You deserve better than that 🙂
Ally, I used to think the same which was why I always drank and always went back to drinking eve after stints off it. This time is about my 5th good go of stopping and each time you have time away from it and do the research, reading, courses, blogs, etc, your brain changes to start seeing alcohol for whatbit really is. Ethanol! Poison! This latest stint for me is the strongest I’ve ever felt. I went out dancing the other night to s fantastic band and had the best time ever. Normally I’d have gotten sloshed and made the night about drinking whereas this time I was truly appreciating the band, getting natural highs from dancing and not worrying about how I’d be ill and fatigued the next day. I promise that even though it’s so scary the thought of stopping, nothing compares to this amazing liberating feeling you get of being sober…and believe me I was that person who needed that “rosie” yummy feeling all the time! There are other ways to get that feeling. Kate’s course too was a great way to start my whole process off, as well as Allen Carr’s book and Annie Grace.
Thank you Kirsty. Sonce writing on here I have had a real mind shift and actually left my partner of 9 years yesterday so think it’s a whole new world from today.. might as well get rid of everything bad x
In the last 22 days I have drunk on two evenings and am feeling much better (I used to drink every night). However I have eaten my own body weight in sweets and biscuits – any tips for dealing with the sugar loss from giving up wine?
Make sure you’re eating proper meals with plenty of green leafy veg and protein. Fuel your body properly at meal times and try not to worry about the rest. The sugar cravings are a temporary phase and they will settle down with time, when you get longer stints of sobriety under your belt. Stay focused on mastering this one thing for now – it’s too soon to be focused on anything else. Keep going!
Fruit and yogurt and granola are a good substitute for the sugar craving
14 weeks AF –
It’s lovely to be hangover free!
I am getting to like myself more,
More relaxed and happy!
That’s brilliant Pam, congratulations!
I found you last night, while having spent another weekend drinking to much. Not silly on the floor stuff, but enough on Friday, Saturday and Sunday to blow my units out the water and some! A beautiful autumn weekend, and my big plans of jogging, gardening and DIY all lost in the haze of the booze the night before. I’m a professional working women, great job, lovely home, and at the age of 48, I realised why do I keep on doing this to myself? No more. I found you, I have read your blogs…I’m going to do this. Day one! :0))) Thank you.
Go for it Gill, you won’t regret it! 🙂
Your post hit me. I have great ideas of what I’d like to do. But if I drink too much Friday? I do what I have to then it’s. Couch and TV and probably more wine . I live alone so . Wine is my company
I struggle every day! It’s just the stress of the day my kids, I know the alcohol effects my mood and stress level if I could just keep the glass down! I think my family will live a calmer life
The struggle is real
Hi Julie, I wrote a post about coping with stress sober – you can check it out here: https://thesoberschool.com/manage-stress-without-alcohol/
I have been to one AA meeting. Went with a friend. Not for me, I,m not ready to say/commit to saying I,m an alcoholic. I do like a drink, most nights..I have actually done ..sober for October..last year , which didn’t actually bother me. It’s a habit for me.
I am struggling with this presently. I go one week without drinking and then fall off the wagon. When I fall off, I don’t stop. Today is day 1 for me and I’m hoping to get through. It’s so hard. I don’t want to feel this way anymore.
same , once i start drinking i can’t stop . It makes me so poorly , but i get frightened because its my go to to stop anxiety and panic ….. it’s crazy , the thing that makes me feel better is essentially killing me …. and i have seen it up close and personal with my Grandpa dying of alcoholism .. i NEED to stop for good
I quit drinking for 3 months, then started up again. The worst part is that I’m still making people around me think I’m not drinking, while doing it in secret. Now I feel like a failure and I’m a liar. I’m trying to quit again. I felt so much better!
Day 58. I agree completely with this. I feel freed from the slavery of alcohol. I have huge amounts of energy, less stress, and am always present for my life. I have lost 15lbs. I eat and live healthier. I have taken up going to the gym 4 or 5 times a week recently. I have followed your blogs for years and its helped me in my sobriety:)
Well done, can I please ask how you lost 15lbs?I seem to have swapped an alcohol habit for chicolate and biscuits which apparently is normal because of the serotonin and dopamine levels in the brain alter when we give up alcohol. I walk,bike,swim and do yoga yet I’m maintaining weight,not losing.
I have UC and Gastritis so I had to change my eating habits – no sugar, gluten, dairy. I am eating really healthy. I am following the Autoimmune Protocol to see if I can heal my gut and intestines.
Thanks,I don’t want to be ill so I wish you all the best and I’ll keep persevering.
What can I do when my partner and peer group all drink too much as well. I plan beautiful af evenings and my spouse sits at the table with our friends and drinks all dsys eventually I join them,so I fail again
Hi Gloria, this is where you have to decide to take 100% responsibility for yourself. No one can force you to drink. Whilst it’s always great to have other other people’s support, if that’s not available then sometimes you need to decide you’re going to do this for you, because it’s the best decision for YOU. I’d also strongly recommend you get some accountability and support from people who support your goals. My group coaching programme would be a great place to get that – here’s some more details: https://thesoberschool.com/course
I accidently quit my job when I was blacked out and mad at my boss/dad now my family is disappointed in me and I’m trying to stay sober so I can find a new job before I get evicted. This is so hard.