5 Annoying Things That Happen When You Quit Drinking

5 Annoying Things That Happen When You Quit Drinking

Deciding to quit drinking is one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself.

Initially, my plan was just to take a break for 100 days, but five and a half years later I’ve never looked back!

I decided to stick with sobriety because I felt so much happier and healthier without alcohol in my life.

Whilst sobriety has turned out to be (surprisingly) awesome, I can’t pretend it’s all been sunshine and rainbows.

There have been some challenging (and downright annoying!) things happen along the way. Today I want to explain how I’ve dealt with this stuff in case it helps you too:

 

1. Some of your friendships may change

Most drinkers surround themselves with other drinkers. Your decision to quit might make your old drinking buddies feel uncomfortable or self conscious about their habits.

How I deal with this:

I’ve realised that a true friend should want to spend time with you no matter what’s in your glass. If your relationship weakens when you stop drinking, it isn’t your sobriety that’s to blame – your AF lifestyle is simply shining a light on the weaknesses already there.

You do need to give people a chance to adapt and adjust, but if someone can’t get their head around you not drinking, don’t stress about it. Some relationships change over time. You will meet new friends – and the great thing is that in sobriety, they’ll get to know the real you.

 

2. People will say stupid things about you not drinking

I met a friend of a friend recently who noticed I don’t drink. “Why’s that then?” he asked. “It sounds really boring!”

How I deal with this:

It amazes me that people think it’s ok to say this stuff out loud! But other people’s reactions reveal everything about them and nothing about you. Personally, the way I respond depends on the mood I’m in – I wrote more about what you could say in this situation here.

The surprising benefit of dealing with this kind of crap is that a) it’s given me a slightly thicker skin and b) it’s made me far less judgemental of other people. Nowadays, I really think about how I treat other people who choose to live life differently to me.

 

3. Some people won’t want to date you

Just as some people will say stupid things about your sobriety, others might decide you’re not worth getting to know in the first place. Here’s an example of what I mean:

How I deal with this:

This kind of crappy text message might not feel like a gift, but it kind of is! This guy did me a massive favour by revealing his true colours so soon. 

There ARE lots of men who don’t care whether you drink or not (and I know this because I’ve dated them). If someone is weird about your sobriety, then the chances are they’re pretty judgemental and narrow-minded about a lot of other stuff too.

Sobriety doesn’t make it harder to connect with people, start relationships or go on dates. Honestly, all it does is help you weed out the weirdos a bit faster.

 

4. You might feel like an awkward teenager

After years of using alcohol to numb the edges of life and smooth over any awkwardness, sobriety can leave you feeling as if you’re walking around naked.

How I deal with this:

I think there’s something really amazing about just being yourself and not hiding behind a boozy comfort blanket. When you start showing up as you – and discover that people still like you! – it’s a massive confidence boost.

AF living forces you to go against the grain and be a bit different, and that sets you up for great things! I regularly hear from students of mine who’re doing really cool stuff in sobriety. I shared a few pictures here.

 

5. You wonder what you’re meant to drink

When I first quit drinking, I seemed to go to so many events where there were just two drink options: red or white. That was it!

How I deal with this:

I always remind myself that it is completely ridiculous for there not to be any AF options. What about people who’re driving or pregnant? Thinking about this helps keep things in perspective and stops me feeling like I’m being awkward when I ask for something else.

Where possible, be proactive and plan ahead. If you’re going to a party, take drinks with you that you know you like. If you’re heading out to a bar, see if you can find their drinks menu online so you know your options in advance.

 

Conclusion

I’m going to wrap this up by reminding you of something I wrote at the very start: stopping drinking is one of THE best things I’ve ever done.

Sobriety isn’t always easy but it IS always worth it.

In the grand scheme of things, the challenges outlined above are nothing compared to the horrors of drinking too much on a regular basis. And if you’re strong enough to deal with horrible hangovers, you can totally handle this stuff 🙂

 

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58 Comments

  1. I’m nearly six months AF and I can relate to so much of this! Especially the people saying stupid things!!! But to be honest I don’t really care. I know this decision was the best thing for me + it’s 100% my choice. A few thoughtless comments is a small price to pay for my hangover free mornings.

    Reply
    • Hangover-free mornings are the best 🙂 Congratulations on nearly hitting the six month mark Lisa – what a milestone!

      Reply
      • Sober since Mother’s Day weekend and I too, no longer count! It’s just a part of my lifestyle and I never want to go back to those horrible feelings! I have taken a new job as a traveling nurse, something I wouldn’t have had the gumption to do before. Happy AF

        Reply
        • Congratulations on your new job Holly, that’s exciting! It’s so cool that you had the confidence to go for it and get the job 🙂

          Reply
    • Hi Kate,

      Am on 100 + days and it is good.I have “forgotten” counting and just looking foward.Tell you what, your messages resonate!

      Reply
      • Thanks Petros. Congratulations on your 100 days! 🙂

        Reply
  2. Totally agree that some friendships will change if all you have in common in drinking! I feel as if I know who my real friends are now. The most important change for me is that I’m a lot closer with my family now AND I know I’m a better mum too.

    Reply
    • It sounds as if sobriety suits you Lyd – well done 🙂

      Reply
  3. Thank you for your email and I can relate to this…
    a little about myself I first got so drunk when I was 14 and I’m 44 now and still drinking!! I am have recently had a month off and now I’m on the path off drinking on special meals out with friends or my partner and not drinking on my own at home which would normally turn out to be a bottle off wine. I am in the place now where I have experienced being sober and loving it to now being able to say nope not drinking tonight and feeling fine but it’s been a mental battle at times because my favourite thing to do was have a vino whilst cooking… sorry big introduction :))
    Generally my friends are supportive and my partner loves me not drinking every night. It’s my parents that throw comments they think something is wrong with someone if they say no to having a glass of something they always remind me off the times I have been drunk in the past.. I get it though I k’ow Why they say these things…
    So that’s me… what an inspiration you are five years sober so cool…

    Reply
    • They’ll get used to you not drinking soon enough. Keep going – sobriety is far more fun than drinking and feeling miserable 🙂

      Reply
    • I think Kate mentioned a way to respond back to people that resonated with me. It was to say “wine (insert whatever) just doesn’t fit in to my lifestyle right now”. Also, a neighbour of mine recently told me that alcohol just doesn’t agree with her anymore. I thought what a brilliant way to respond because I didn’t even question her comment and now I would never even think to offer her wine first because I don’t want to be a detriment to her health. Hope this helps, Best of luck!
      Diane

      Reply
  4. Thank you for this, it’s good to re-read things now I’m over a year AF. Life is better, no question but I have realised that I am not very sociable for large groups and prefer one to ones more. I realise now that wanting to go to parties before was just so I could have a drink. Any suggestions ladies on how I can be a bit more sociable ? x

    Reply
    • Congratulations on your 1 year Rachel! There’s nothing wrong with deciding that parties aren’t really your thing – you can always go and stay for a short time, but give yourself permission to leave when you’re ready. A big part of sobriety is figuring out who you really are. It sounds as if the real you prefers spending time with smaller groups of good friends. That’s ok – it’s a good thing to know about yourself 🙂

      Reply
  5. I love that you say some people are not real friends if they don’t like you when you don’t drink – how true. I have quit drinking myself to sleep and it feels great. I drink only on the occassional dinner out

    Reply
  6. I’m reading this blog before I do today’s lesson. I love your blogs, enlightening & honest. I’m 3 weeks AF & loving it. My MIL commented this weekend that she was worried about my not drinking! She’s 83. She was worried I was ill. I explained the benefits I’m feeling & though she seemed to understand she finished the conversation by saying ‘but you will drink again?’ I replied who knows but right now I’m a happier, better version of me without alcohol so I’m going to keep going.

    Reply
    • People are funny sometimes. I don’t know how much your MIL drinks, but I wonder if she has positive memories of drinking with you – perhaps she’s worried you’ll lose that bond or shared activity? You’ll be able to show her, in time, that you’re still great company no matter what’s in your glass 🙂

      Reply
  7. Hi Kate, this piece is what I needed. I’ve been AF for almost a year and it is amazing to see how foolish people can be when you pass on drinks. You do find out who your true friends and family are.

    Giving up and the alcohol has been the best decision I’ve ever made. No regrets.

    Thank you and keep it up!

    Reply
    • When it comes to alcohol, people are so funny sometimes! It’s frustrating, but I’m pleased to hear AF life agrees with you Jen. Congratulations on your sobriety 🙂

      Reply
  8. Hi Kate. I was alcohol free for well over a year and have frustratingly fallen back in to an almost daily habit again. Your emails and audios remind me of how proud of myself I was for that year and a half of AF free living and the quality of life I was experiencing. Thank you for helping me remember that. I REALLY want an AF life again. I am grateful for the support you offer here.

    Reply
    • No problem Peggy and I’m glad this website resonates with you. There is a limit to the advice I can share in a quick weekly blog or audio – but if you’d like some more help to make sobriety stick this time, my online course would be a great fit for you. Here are some details about the next class: https://thesoberschool.com/course

      Reply
  9. Hi
    While I understand about the social aspects of not drinking and handling the sometimes awkwardness that comes up when friends and family ask why, but it’s not for them it’s for me. I stick by my decision for me not for anyone else, so they (whoever they are can take whatever position or attitude about my not drinking) can go to………… because it’s for me and only me. Only I remember to well the times I embarrassed my self in front people, had shame and guilt for drinking to much, said things I wish I could take back or/and was flat out for two days. Not a life I want to return to, so being sober is for me and me only. It makes me fell whole.
    Just a side note for some that are having trouble stopping is that each person that has a alcohol addiction is glucose deficient so to help with this eating lots of fruits and leafy greens helps restore the healthy glucose. I love dried dates and mangoes so I always have them on hand. This has really helped me.

    Reply
  10. Just getting started on an AF life, but I can relate to this! I have many fears of how my friends will react. I have an event coming up and I know I will be faced with some backlash, but ultimately I know those who support me are my true friends.

    Reply
    • Good luck with your event Lauren – I’m sure you will be fine. Make the decision before you go that you aren’t going to drink, no matter what anyone else says!

      Reply
  11. In these situations, I think that honesty is the best policy: I tell people that I have made a commitment to being whole and healthy in body and mind. So alcohol simply does not suit my new lifestyle, in the same way eating greasy takeaways, stuffing my face with chocolate and smoking doesn’t. When confronted with criticism you could always flip the question and ask drinkers why they choose to drink excessive amounts of a substance that causes irriversible liver damage…I wonder what the answer would be? But that would prove the importance of respecting people’s personal lifestyle choices…not just related to alcohol but also to being a vegetarian or giving up sugar for example.
    9 days sober and loving it! Already feel so much happier, stronger, more confident and a few pounds lighter!
    Well done to all my fellow companions on the journey of sobriety.

    Reply
    • Congratulations on your 9 days Nuvoletta! 🙂

      Reply
  12. I took the decision to be alcohol free back in June this year. I got to day 48 and then buckled on a weekend away with friends. I didn’t actually want the drink but I felt completely out of the group and ready for bed by 10pm so I poured a glass of wine followed by a few more. The next day I was so disappointed in myself as I had been feeling great. So I’m now here again trying to bin the booze. I eat well, I exercise and so want to change this drinking part of my life. On a day to day basis I’m fine but I have a weekend away planned this month (girls book club) and I’m worried the same will happen as before. I know there will be pressure for me to drink, I guess I will just have to dig deep!!

    Reply
  13. I am nine months AF and life is so good. In these nine months I have gotten: a fiance, amazing opportunities at work, better relationships overall with friends and family (the quality relationships will still be there while the other ones will go-and you’ll be glad for it), clear skin, a healthy body, peace of mind, and SO much more.

    What I’ve lost: hangovers, being a mess, bottoming out, and sinking further and further into despair. No thanks!

    I am very lucky that most people don’t make a big deal out of me not drinking. However, if people ask, I say I can’t drink due to medicine I take. This is true since I’m not supposed to mix my medicine with alcohol (although that never stopped me before). I’ve noticed that a lot of people who DO make a big deal out of sober people can be jealous of us. THEY rely so much on booze and we don’t and they can’t handle it. It’s all insecurity and I end up feeling a bit sorry for them.

    Sobriety isn’t all rainbows, but it’s SOOOO much better than drinking! 🙂

    Reply
    • Love, love, love this post! So inspiring. Sobriety really is so much better than drinking… and it clearly suits you down to the ground! 🙂

      Reply
  14. I’ve been drinking too much and too often. Taking a break.

    Reply
  15. I am almost a year without alcohol! I took Kate’s course last January and haven’t had a drink since beginning the course. It was the best thing I have ever done for me. I feel so much better and know it is right but do have to admit I have had to be mindful and work on things as I go down this path. I don’t worry so much about drinking again and try to be prepared with a plan. The holidays are coming and it will be my first holiday season in many, many years not drinking. I’m a bit stressed about that but know I need to do what is best for me so it will be fine! I don’t intend to go back, just forward and am grateful for finding Kate and the support on the facebook group.

    Reply
    • Thanks for the lovely feedback Sharon! ♥️ You will be fine this holiday season – you’ll nail it 🙂

      Reply
  16. I’m not exactly sure what made me search sobriety on the internet on a monday morning 6 weeks ago but i clicked on The Sober School and the rest is history! I am very confident that i will not drink again.
    I started drinking when i was 15 and i am now 52. Thats a lot of hangovers , days of regret and anxiety and money. I’m just sorry it’s taken till now but anyway.. I visited a relative of mine ( a retired GP )in Canada who i had never met before, 16 years ago. I had just finished treatment for breast cancer and felt very lucky to be alive. At that time it wasn’t suggested that alcohol was linked to breast cancer but i did become aware not that long after. He told me i drank too much .Sadly i ignored him.
    What i have gained apart from a clear head is that i don’t now have the daily battle of whether I’m going to have a drink , how much I’m going to drink and whether other people think I drink too much.
    I have been out for meals , to the pub and been on holiday all without drinking alcohol.I never thought it was possible but i now know it absolutely is. Thank you

    Reply
    • That’s brilliant Claire, well done! Many congratulations on your sobriety 🙂

      Reply
  17. I am 9 days into being af after drinking on average 10 bottles of wine a week! I also work in a pub which makes it more difficult. I have had many comments from friends/ customers that they don’t believe I can do it or they think it’s s daft idea. I already feel so much better and am determined to continue. After all its my life and my health and I don’t care what anyone else thinks!

    Reply
    • You’ve got to do this for you Maxine – I hope you prove them all wrong! Keep going! 🙂

      Reply
  18. I have just completed stoptober, i had a drink last weekend to “celebrate” and I felt awful the next day! Had a horrific hangover!
    I’m definitely swaying over to becoming AF permanently! I would normally drink only on a weekend, but during October I have felt like a different person! Just being able to get up early on a weekend and do a gym session! It has totally changed my outlook on a weekend and I am so much more productive

    Reply
    • It sounds as if you’ve learnt a lot from this experience. Giving yourself the gift of a hangover isn’t a great way to celebrate anything 🙁 Onwards and upwards Jo – now you know just how good sobriety makes you feel compared to the alternative.

      Reply
  19. I’ve been thinking about giving up for a long time, I’m 43 with the three adult children and have always used wine as a way to de- stress. I seem to go in phases of not drinking everyday and then sometimes drinking a bottle every night. I feel like I want to give up now, but have lots of nights out and three weekends away booked this year and honestly don’t know if now is the “right time”. I do feel in the right place now but its only been literally a few days since I drank!

    I already feel better for it and although getting to sleep is harder, I sleep well now and wake up feeling 100% instead of 70%.

    Should I just bite the bullet and get on with it? My feeling is I’ve picked the worst time to start with regard to so many Xmas nights out with friends asking questions, but surely there will always be an excuse not to if I look for them.

    Thanks so much for the blog Kate, in a world where it seems everybody is always drinking it is a reassuring place to be.

    Reply
    • Hi Sarah . Think of it this way; Christmas and vacations will actually be more enjoyable without the booze. Imagine waking up on Boxing Day for example, feeling fresh and clear headed and happy with yourself. As for weekends away, and holidays you’ll get so much more out of them! I think Kate did a video on Paris which illustrates this.

      Reply
      • Thank you both Kate and Clair, it helps to read that. I think the idea of trying (again) and slipping up straight away seems worse than postponing starting if that makes sense.
        I’ve been trying to immerse myself in the positives of being booze free rather than my usual way of using will power like I’m trying to prove something.

        One of the positives so far is I am following WW diet plan and although restrictive it allows you to fill up on “free food” and use your points for alcohol (obviously this is not what they intend!) in just these first five days I’ve treated myself to lots of comfort food I wouldn’t normally have and have lost a pound. Shocking really that alcohol has so many calories and also that I manipulated my diet so I could drink still!

        Reply
  20. Kate, I took your class 19 months ago and it was the best thing I´ve done for myself. I came out of those 6 weeks with so much knowledge and self confidence! And you are right, it isn´t all just rainbows, all the above does happen (I love your insight on #2!)and it does get easier. I love that I´m so much more secure in being me. I´m so happy that I found your course.

    Reply
    • Thanks for the amazing feedback Karen – I’m delighted to see you doing so well and feeling so secure in your sober shoes! Many congratulations on your sobriety!

      Reply
  21. I am on day 22 alcohol free – in those 22 days I have attended my first concert sober – U2 were awesome and I never missed a minute of the concert queuing at the bar and saved enough cash for a souvenir tour t-shirt! I have also completed a week’s holiday in Spain visiting my parents – who drink daily- and only once did I think of having a glass of wine – then I realised I was thirsty!
    All of your five annoying things have happened! I am now a connoisseur of alcohol free beer (af wine is disgusting!).
    I am enjoying the clear head in the morning but have not really experienced a huge increase in energy – just seem to want to sleep all the time! Has anybody else experienced this? Also I’ve developed a really sweet tooth – is this usual?

    Reply
    • Yep, that’s all very normal – tiredness and a sweet tooth are common side effects in early sobriety. They will pass. Congratulations on your 22 days and for going to the concert sober… live music is amazing when you’re clear headed and 100% present, rather than queuing at the bar!

      Reply
  22. I’ve just done my tenth sober month. I was on 3 bottles of wine a night every night, my liver was fatty and enlarged and polycystic. On 2nd Jan this year I’d had enough and just stopped. At first the plan was to complete dry January but I just kept going. There have been challenges, the greatest being the free bar at my nieces wedding and the awkwardness of toasting her and her groom with orange juice and fending off the countless ‘are you pregnant?’ questions. I knew I’d broken through recently when a very stressful situation had me wanting to reach for the bottle. I reasoned with myself though and realised my situation would still be stressful the next day plus I’d have a hangover to boot. I had a frothy coffee and a piece of cake instead. I was so incredibly proud of myself

    Reply
    • Cake and coffee win every time! Congratulations Sara, this is brilliant 🙂

      Reply
  23. I can relate to so many of these post . I have tried quitting and after a month I start drinking again
    I have repeated this cycle many times. I smiled when you said if we can deal with a horrible hangover we can deal with sobriety.
    That really gave me encouragement.
    I hate the person I become when I drink. I rage and get very depressed.
    I look forward to your class in January.
    I am 5days sober and planning to keep going .
    I didn’t start drinking until I was in my late 40’s and now I am in my 60’s . I need to put this behind me

    Reply
    • 5 days sober is a great start Kattie! Keep going – I look forward to working with you in January 🙂

      Reply
  24. Hiya Kate! Oh yeah, can relate to losing ‘friends’. Actually am so relieved not to see those people, they did not have my back. And yes, have felt like the awkward teenager. I am giving myself permission to leave parties early now. Another ‘annoying’ thing is that you have more rigid boundaries of what you’ll accept and what you won’t. Thanks for you post. x

    Reply
    • Totally agree about the boundaries! Re the parties: I have this theory that nothing good ever happens after midnight… and thinking about that always makes it easier to go home early if I’m not in the mood! 🙂

      Reply
  25. I’m doing dry November! It’s definately getting easier each day. We went to a dinner party on Saturday night and because I offered to drive I didn’t need to explain myself. I really want to do this! To be honest I don’t feel any different, just more tired – is this normal?

    Reply
    • Hi Sarah , I started on 2nd Nov and am also finding myself more tired than usual – although struggling to get to sleep so easily. Keep it up , we can do this!

      Reply
    • I also am in my first month alcohol free and experiencing the tiredness – have been told this will pass so am enjoying earlier nights with mugs of hot chocolate and a good book – that I usually fall asleep reading after one or two pages. Be kind to yourself and well done!

      Reply
  26. I’m on day 4 of being AF. I’m 42 and the only time in my life I’ve not drank at weekends was when I was pregnant with my son and daughter. I associate the weekend with alcohol. I’ve been in and off the we diet and was fed up losing weight, only to pile it all back on again at the weekend through drinking wine and snacking. I feel like I’ve been in a vicious cycle. Waking on Saturday and Sunday feeling groggy and not having the energy to get out the things done I want to do. The guilt of drinking to excess really effects me. I’m feeling optimistic but slightly nervous that I’ll crumple tomorrow… what strategies can I put in place? I don’t want to fail! We’re going to our neighbours on Saturday night for dinner and they are big drinkers and know me as a lady that loves her wine! What do I say?
    X

    Reply
  27. Hi Fiona, i too am in the early days of being af and was drinking every day. Leading to an average of 10 bottles of wine a week. I also work in a pub at weekends which makes it hard. I survived my first weekend last week by drinking my favourite soft drink from a wine glass which seemed to help me. Maybe worth a try for you? Hope it helps and good luck!! I’m on day 12 and feel fantastic x

    Reply
    • Hi Maxine, thanks for that and well done to you – it must be hard working in a pub too! I really am determined to prove to myself that I can get through a weekend without wine! Day 12 is a great achievement, do you feel like you have more energy? I am convinced that if I can continue I can lose the extra stone that I am carrying – convinced it is a stone’s worth of wine!! Fiona xx

      Reply
  28. Hey Kate! What a service you are doing for the world! I am coming up on my one year mark and still do not regret the choice of AF! I have made the choice to remember the night, not stumble around and be stupid. I now have more of the self esteem I have always craved in my life. Thanks to you and the education you provided about alcohol, I am having a much more peaceful home life too.
    I thank you from the bottom of my heart! Jean

    Reply

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