I’m writing this from a little French café on the banks of the River Aisne.
I’m on holiday, the sun is shining… and I’m drinking my second café au lait.
Life feels GOOD.
It’s at times like this that I think, wow – alcohol free living is pretty flipping amazing. That thought is often followed by: why did no one tell me it was going to be like this?!
Back when I was drinking way too much (and feeling hungover all the time) sobriety sounded like a last resort. Something to be avoided at all costs. It seemed dull, bleak and oh so boring.
I know I’m not the only one who felt like that. Convincing yourself that sobriety is going to be dull is a very common sabotaging behaviour.
Here are some tips to help you get clear on this myth:
Being drunk isn’t the same as having fun
Remember, a boring party is always going to be a boring party. If you drink at a boring party, it just means you’re drunk at a boring party.
Yes, sometimes you will have rubbish nights out when you’re sober. But you also have rubbish nights out when you’re drinking! (We’ve all been to parties where it didn’t matter how much we drank, it wasn’t fun.)
Sobriety means you notice what’s happening around you and that’s a good thing.
Even bad experiences provide valuable information about your life. You shouldn’t need to numb yourself with alcohol in order to tolerate people you like or places you love. It’s much better to know and understand what the real you enjoys.
Focus on the story you’re telling yourself
Your mind is extremely powerful and often, what you believe to be true, will become true.
If you believe alcohol is key to happiness, then you will be miserable without it.
Just look at the way other people behave when they’re unexpectedly forced to be the designated driver; they believe the night is going to be boring before it even gets started. They believe they’re going to feel left out and so guess what? They do.
Think back to a recent good night out. What role did alcohol play in the success of the event, compared to: the people you were with, the conversations you had, the atmosphere, the mood you were in, your outfit, the location, the music, the food, what you’d done earlier in the day, and your general sense of well-being?
There are many, MANY things that determine how joyful a situation is. Yet for some reason, we live in a culture that tends to give alcohol the credit for everything positive! Make sure you don’t do the same.
Look to the comedians
You don’t need to drink in order to be funny or have a laugh. Just look at Jim Carrey, Russell Brand, Peter Kay, Lee Evans, Billy Connolly, Frankie Boyle… there are so many comedians out there who don’t drink or hardly drink.
I went to the Edinburgh Fringe (a comedy festival) a few weeks back and saw performers getting on stage as early as 11.30am. They weren’t drunk and neither were the crowd.
(I should add, I was sooo glad not to be hungover in Edinburgh – we packed 11 great shows into 3 days. I would never have seen that many if I was feeling less than 100%.)
Don’t let thoughts about being ‘a boring sober person’ creep in!
Yes, there will always be boozers who think you’re weird for not drinking and who take it upon themselves to give you a hard time about it.
(I don’t know why they think that’s ok – we no longer bully people into smoking, so why drinking?)
If someone is questioning your choice not to drink, you have to ask why they’re doing that. Why are they so bothered about you letting go of a habit that’s been getting you down and keeping you stuck in the same old routine?
Remember that life without alcohol is just… LIFE!
A while back I received an email from a reader suggesting I write a blog post about how to make friends sober. I mulled this over for a while, feeling unusually stuck for what to write.
Eventually I realised what the problem was: I didn’t have anything to say, because making friends when you’re sober is no different to making friends when you’re drinking.
Alcohol isn’t some magic thing that bonds people together or seals friendships. Bonding with people is about listening, sharing, caring and connecting. Those things have nothing to do with booze.
My point is that alcohol is NOT an essential part of life. And sobriety is not some parallel universe where all the rules are different and you have to do everything a completely different way.
Sobriety is just your regular life… minus the doses of liquid poison 🙂
So, if you stop drinking and things start feeling a bit boring, the question to ask is why. WHY are you bored? How can you change that? (Alcohol won’t fix anything – it just masks and hides.)
What can you do to build a life that’s so good, you don’t need to drink your way through it?
Kate-I love your blog. You are an inspiration. Thanks for the point about friends are friends are friends. Too often I am intimidated by sobriety thinking I can only associate with sober people. True friends accept us for who we are– drinking or not.
Absolutely. Your true friends like you for many different reasons, that have nothing to do with drinking! Sometimes, sobriety does shine a light on any not-so-great friendships (e.g people who are really just drinking buddies, and not true friends) but at the same time, you might find that other friendships (with people you’ve previously overlooked) grow stronger. Sobriety is a good filter like that.
Had sober Bank holiday weekend and have done so many things. Normally I would have been in bed all day and not done anything productive. So glad I’m changing my habits. Love the blog
Thanks Jess – sounds like a great weekend!
I always love your posts Kate! Great points. I’ve had better nights at a pub sober than drunk. I can actually participate in the conversation in the last part of the night; I’d often be too slurry to make sense. I feel like my friendships are more real, grounded in truth now. I have a way better relationship with my husband, and I do a way better job as a teacher. I have too many memories of selling myself short that I don’t want to do it again.
Bon voyage! x
Merci Jane! Totally agree with you about nights in the pub … when I was drinking nights like that often ended in arguments or me feeling bored. They’re much more fun now 🙂 Congratulations on your sobriety!
I have just started receiving your blog Kate and it really is an eye opener. I am trying to just have my wine moderately so during dinner hour and also might like to partake at social events too. I was alcohol free for almost two weeks and yes that clear-head thing came through and a bit more energy and better sleep. So I am continuing to cut back but I do enjoy my wine. Thank you for this blog. I will participate periodically.
Cutting back is a great place to start, but its rare for people to make that work consistently, long term. So don’t be afraid to make the leap into sobriety if moderation isn’t working! Most people find cutting alcohol out completely is a lot easier, but you must do all the mindset work. When you try and keep booze in your life, what you’re really telling yourself is that alcohol is important – too important to cut out. You’re putting alcohol up on a pedestal.
I’d love to see you stop drinking for at least six weeks (but ideally, two months) in order to test drive alcohol free living properly – you must put some time between you and your last drink and 2 weeks isn’t enough. You can always go back to drinking after that break, if you hate this amazing alcohol free lifestyle! 🙂 Do take a look at my course if you’d like some more support: https://thesoberschool.com/course/
I am a new member to Sober School and have drunk alcohol less & less for the past 3 years.
I loved your honest & up front advice to Marta re drinking in moderation, I did this to begin with working out at the beginning of a week what booze I would consume. Let me tell you from my own experience it was a tedious, time wasting & boring thing to do.
So eventually I stopped doing that & had a drink very rarely, just when I really felt like one. I still do that, however, after reading your reply to Marta I think I am now ready to give alcohol up completely.
I am placing an importance on alcohol that does not make any sense. So here goes I finally have got to the stage where I say no more booze! Whatever the occassion.
Thanks for your sound advice.
This is exactly what i needed to read. Those boring sober thoughts were creeping in. Then I figured. It’s the same people I was boozing with that are giving the looks, doing the pfffttt. Who needs it? I am much happier….sober. thanks Kate
Exactly – who needs it?! Well done Roisin, keep going 🙂
Roisin I itentify with your post I am almost 2 years sober during which time my social life has extinguished. I’ve let the boring thoughts take over & thoughts that friends don’t want someone who isn’t gonna match them round for round. It is lonely but I will have to find a way of getting a sober life because I love being sober too much to give in.
Thank you for this program — I am now just on my 2nd week of a 6-week sobriety. I already feel calmer and clear headed. Will keep you posted! Sandy, Northern Virginia, USA
Awesome. Keep going Sandy! 🙂
I feel like drinking is ruining me and my life. I seriously need to cut back. I sleep really badly and have a high powered job. I will beat this as it’s becoming boring drinking alone.
I will endeavour to follow your blog Kate
Hi Christine, I’d recommend you take a complete break from drinking for a while – cutting back rarely works and I suspect you’ve tried that in the past (lots of us do… lots of times!) What if you cut out alcohol completely for six weeks or 2 months and then discovered that you were tons happier and healthier? I think you might just love alcohol free living 🙂 But, it’s really really hard to know what sobriety is all about if you’re just stopping for a few days here and there, so I want to encourage you to really go for this. If you’d like any more support from me, do take a look at my online coaching programme – it’ll really change the way you think about this! https://thesoberschool.com/course/
Love this blog Kate. I’ve just finished my first sober holiday. The only fizz I consumed was sparkling water! I’m very proud of myself.
You are so right on all counts (as always) If your friends are real friends alcohol is an unnecessary requirement. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve been out and can’t remember who I said what to and the embarrassment of people saying “but I already told you that”! My poor friends have had a lot to contend with. I am not a better person after a drink, I’m not funnier quite the contrary I’ve been told I’m bloody annoying!
The way I look at it is this; I’ve chosen sobriety. I am mad enough without a drink. If people are getting drunk around me they won’t know whether I’m drunk or not so there’s no pressure there.
For me it keeps coming back to the same question; what does alcohol actually add to my life? The truthful answer is absolutely nothing positive!
Loving sobriety. Empowered by Kate. Let’s to this shizzle!
That question – what does alcohol add to my life? – is a great one to ask. For so many people the truthful answer is nothing good. Congratulations on your first alcohol-free holiday – I’m sure you came home feeling fab and properly refreshed! 🙂
I’m still working on being completely AF, I have cut way back but one thing that helps me is “Nothing bad ever comes from not drinking.” Hope this helps!
Loved this post Kate! I took your course in April and have been going strong since then. Yes, I was a home hermit the first month or so and didn’t feel like socializing much, but after awhile the desire came back and I have been having some really fun times. I just leave when I want to and going to bed sober and waking up the next morning are wonderful!!! Being bored is being bored, it has nothing to do with alcohol! So, thank you for that message!
Fantastic – so pleased to hear this Karen! Going to bed sober after a great night out is always the best feeling ever! 🙂
Hi Kate, I have been sober for 10 years. This last ten years has been the best ever. I get to have a life again and the life I truly want. Before that my life was one big car crash. consequences, pain, hurt , ruined relationships, mistrust,fear, fear of the future,covering up, scrabbling to make up,lost time.
Now I have loads of fun going out, in fact better than ever!I have a new business that I am passionate about, very happy with my life, paying attention to family and friends and not worrying about how I am going to get my next drink. No withdrawals, life in glorious technicolor,laughter, zest for life, new and it just gets better and better.
Put it this way I didn’t have fun when I was drunk, friends didn’t want to have me around in the end. Life just shut down.
Lots of my friend don’t drink, just a choice thing and no one in fact cares that I don’t drink.Sobriety is becoming more popular.
Moderating drinking didn’t work for me and to be honest it wont for you if you have a problem, but I guess try it for a month and see, then you’ll know.
Thanks Kate. Great blog 🙂 x
I’ve just completed my 104th day alcohol free and have loved reading your blogs along the way. It’s been so great to realise that I’m not depriving myself or missing out on something great. I’m taking each day without alcohol one day at a time which is much easier than telling myself I’m giving up. Thanks for your website and blogs.
Wow, congratulations! 104 days is fantastic! 🙂
I stumbled on your blog by accident during a day after a night too big. I’ve tried moderation and dry months in the past but I’m sick of all the pressure and always thinking about my drinking and trying to control it. I’m on the wait list for your course in October but decided I couldn’t wait to make changes until then – so I’m on day 10. I’m nervous but positive. Thinking about a wedding, a hens, a big night out and a holiday coming up before the. And I know that some of my friends are going to have a hard time with my decision but I’m willing to give it my best and stay strong. I’m not scared I’ll be boring but I guess I’m nervous about the reaction of others. Thanks for your blog; these pages are a treasure for those like me who don’t identify with AA but still want the support of others.
Thanks for the lovely feedback! I’ve written about dealing with friends here: https://thesoberschool.com/youre-not-drinking/
Hope it helps – keep going!
Kate, i have said it before and i will say it again ..you are an inspiration..your no nonsense veiw point is spot on ..as if you see thingss through my eyes ..but that is because you have been there… I am 18 days sober so far…some days have been tough and i have felt like a petulent child not getting their own way ..but it passes…However i wondered how you handle the sabotures..suprisingly mine have been a close friend and family..coming round with and drinking wine in front of me …or drinking at a meal and telling me how nice it is! Is this just something i have to become resiliant to ? Well done to all on your individual journeys..reading your comments makes me feel less of an outcast x
Hi Michelle, I’ve written before about dealing with other people here:https://thesoberschool.com/youre-not-drinking/
The most important thing for you is to get clear on the myths and illusions about alcohol. Once you can see through that stuff, it won’t be a big deal if other people are drinking (most of my friends drink and it doesn’t bother me, because I can see alcohol for what it really is.) If you’d like some help from me to make this less of a willpower game (willpower will only get you so far) then do take a look at my online course: https://thesoberschool.com/course/
Love your blog Kate, ive always wanted to stop drinking but have found this very difficult as I have lots of friends and my husband drinks, I only ever drank at weekends but recently it’s been too much ! Thus bank holiday I have not drunk and done so much and feel loads better, I’m a nutrition adviser and am so healthy food wise and exercise and then I ruin it all with hangovers and hangover food and feel rubbish for 4 days so I have decided to set myself a challenge not to drink for a few months to see what I can achieve physically and mentally and how I truly feel, i can’t cope wasting anymore days at 45years tired and then eating rubbish
Excellent! One day I will be too! Inspirational!
Thanks for your blogs. Today is day 30AF and I feel so empowered. I was afraid of being boring and that I would not want to go out with my husband to all of our favorite “drinking” places. I have found just the opposite. There is nothing like going to hear your favorite local band and actually remembering the fun that you had the next day! When I am out, I watch others drink and fall apart during the course of the night and use that as immediate reminders as to why I am making this decision. Thanks again and keep up the good work!
After 8 months of prep I’ve got my date for my detox – week beginning 11th September. After a lifetime of heavy drinking I want to be sober and confident for my 50th birthday in November. I’ve been down this road before, but this time I am not feeling “oh, poor me” I am enthusiastic about a sober life at last. Your blogs do make a difference. Thankyou.
Hi Kate, I have been reading your blog for months , knowing I need to sort myself out but unwilling to take the first step. Like you I am on holiday but unlike you it has not been a sober one. This evening I have drunk best part of a bottle of wine and another in the fridge for when we get back from our evening meal ( during which I know I will drink lots more!) . I have done this as my ‘ last hurrah’ before I stop tomorrow because I do not want to be this bloated, overweight version of myself anymore. I don’t want my son to think this is normal ( as I did with my parents) BUT despite knowing what I am doing is stupid and unnecessary – I will still finish my wine – it is like a self destruct ! Tomorrow we head home ( we have had a great time ) and I am going to give your two months sober my all , I have to admit though, I am scared 🙁 . For me- posting this and re reading your blogs is my first ( and private) step . You have already helped so thank you x
Good Morning..i hope you don’t mind me messaging you, it’s just your comment really resonated with me…because i was literally you 4 weeks ago..tettering on the very first steps of AF living after a unhealthy habit of more than 10 years… I was wondering how you got on ? I am almost 4 weeks into my journey and have set myself 100 day goal..and honestly as time passes i really don’t think i will drink again…it isn’t just the sobriety but i have lost the self loathing and guilt that used to eat me up…i really hope you managd your first step …if not please keep trying ..it is so worth it..just 1 day at a time and before you know it you’ll have a week under your belt ..good luck my lovely xx
Thank you for your comment . Back from holiday and today is day 1 ( always start on a Monday;)) I still drank yesterday as it was to be my last day- silly isn’t it? Your comments have really helped as feeling a bit wobbly – but it will be good to wake up without a hangover . Good luck to you- 4 weeks is fab xxx
Kate, I cannot believe the amazing knowledge feedback you can provide week after week and on topics that actually relate and are so powerful and useful! I am so happy to be back on this blog and grateful for you and everyone on it!
“Being drunk isn’t the same as having fun” I love that! So so true!
Hi Kate – Your blog found me at exactly the right time. Last night I managed my first night without alcohol in months. I’m loving the positivity for living AF and your comments and those of your readers have inspired me to leave alcohol behind. I recognise this is not going to be an easy journey but feel I have found kindred spirits here who will nurture me on my journey. I’ve signed up and hope to get a place on your October course. Wish me luck and thanks again for your inspiration. X
Thanks Kat, I look forward to working with you. Here’s to your amazing, alcohol-free journey – you’ll love it, I’m sure 🙂
I love this! I used to be so sure that life without booze would be a miserable, tedious, drab existence, but now at nearly 3 years sober, I look back and see just how boring and miserable my life was as a drunk, and marvel at the stories I used to tell myself! I might not be as wild and reckless as I used to be, but that isn’t a bad thing, my wild recklessness got me into trouble on more than one occasion…I might screw up now, but at least I can own it completely (and remember it!)
I woke up yesterday with yet another horrendous hangover. I found you by chance on my Facebook page as I was scrolling through making sure nobody had posted any embarrassing photos of me from the night before. I decided yesterday to stop drinking and I love all of your literature it has really helped me. It’s a brilliant and practical no nonsense approach. I’ve gave my email address ready for your next course in October but I stopped drinking yesterday and don’t want to wait till October to stop.what can I do to help myself along till your course starts in October?
Thanks in advance
Your a star
I’m grateful to have found your Fb page just last night. As a young adult I ate my feelings and when my Dad got cancer and passed away 5 months later, I started drinking more. I drank to “check out” and numb my grief. What I really did was create a wall between me and my spouse and quit feeling the “really hard feelings” by drinking. I got to a point where I just didn’t like how I felt the evening of and the next day, even after just 2 glasses of wine. I haven’t had anything to drink for a week and I haven’t felt this good body, mind and spirit ever. My depression is gone and my anxiety is so much better. My neighborhood is very social and most people drink so I’m navigating a new way forward and have total support, thank God. I appreciate this Blog, the Fb posts and everyone’s stories! Thank you! 🙂
Tomorrow will be my first day sober for at least a year I have just about lost everything. Will definitely be following whatever info you post
Hi Lynn, I post a weekly blog here with free tips every Monday. If you’d like some help and support from me to change your drinking, I’d be happy to support you inside my coaching programme. There are more details here: https://thesoberschool.com/course/
Hi im on day 3 af ive not drank for a week before and thats it.ive decided im giving up alcohol for good.i was drinking to bottles of wine a night after the school run to relax while doing the dinnner etc im a very anxious person so would drink to block it out only made it worse tbe next day.i have a wonderful partner 4 beautiful boys its time to live again im positive but nervous also a little excited of my new life a sober me
Just an interesting side effect to my sobriety. I have been AF for 120 days.
I don’t think I was a heavy drinker. A bottle of wine during the week .But in the right company and good wine I hated stopping.This happened usually around birthdays and Xmas .I suffered badly with the hangover.
I have noticed that I have had to face up to a lot of demons in my head since I stopped.Alcohol was obviously self medicating for me.Took the edge off all the bad things I’ve been through in the last 15 years.Four months of sobriety and I am still having the odd anxiety attack but I’m sticking with it .I am healing in so many ways .Thank you .
Kate, you are brilliant!!! Reading through this helps me realize why I idealize and cling to alcohol even when it ruins my life. I thought it is what makes life magical. But it has caused tremendous misery for me. I think I couldn’t imagine Paris without wine. But then I remember I went to Paris when I was 19 and didn’t drink at all, and it was absolutely magical, romantic, and interesting. Plus, I didn’t have any hangovers, encounters with strange men, drunken fights or lapses in memory. Now I feel like I need wine to help me write emails or do the dishes. But those tasks are still boring, regardless of how drunk I am. Thank you for helping me remember that wine is not what makes life interesting or magical or even bearable– there are so many more worthwhile things!!