I hope you’re having a good sober October!
I’m thrilled to be back after taking a few weeks off to launch another live session of my Getting Unstuck course. (Missed it? You can catch the next class in January)
The Sober School has grown a lot over the past year, as has the entire alcohol-free, online sober movement. The idea of taking some time off from drinking is becoming more and more normal, which is great news for all of us! Anything that makes our alcohol-obsessed world a little less boozy has got to be a good thing.
If you’re working on a sober October right now, today’s blog post will really help you to stay motivated.
I wanted to set the record straight on a few common beliefs about booze that I hear ALL the time. The last thing you need are myths and misguided philosophies getting in the way of your alcohol-free lifestyle!
Here are 6 common myths about alcohol:
“A bit of booze is good for you.”
The Committee on Carcinogenicity (an independent body that advises the government whether substances are likely to cause cancer) says drinking ANY level of alcohol increases the risk of a range of cancers. You can read their report here.
As for that old idea that red wine is good for the heart? It’s an outdated myth. England’s Chief Medical officer calls it an ‘old wives tale’ for good reason. This 2014 study found that drinking alcohol provides no heart benefit at all, and recent government guidance stated “there is no justification for drinking for health reasons.”
“Alcohol helps me deal with stress.”
A glass of wine won’t stop the kids fighting or make your boss nicer or fix your relationship. Alcohol does not have the power to solve the things that make you stressed. What alcohol can do is increase anxiety whilst hangovers lower your resilience to stress. So it’s a double whammy – you lose out twice.
It’s socially acceptable to say that you drink because you’re stressed, but what most people are really doing is drinking to numb out. And if you’ve ever been hysterically happy or extremely sad whilst drunk, you’ve got to wonder – does alcohol really do that good a job of numbing your emotions? (Surely, if it was an effective numbing agent, you wouldn’t be able to feel any emotion?)
“Booze before bed makes you sleep better.”
Drinking might help you crash out by making you drowsy, but it also stops you from having the deep, restorative sleep you need in order to feel truly rested. That’s why you often wake up at 4am, exhausted but somehow unable to sleep.
Some people struggle with their sleep when they first stop drinking and it sucks, I know. But please be patient – the solution isn’t to go back to drinking! Alcohol really screws up your sleep cycle and your body is just taking a bit longer to adjust. Hang on in there – in the long term, an alcohol-free lifestyle is one of the best things you can do to improve the quality of your sleep.
“Alcohol makes you happier.”
Maybe you think you’re the life and soul of the party after your third gin and tonic. Perhaps you’re convinced that the drunk you is a happier, more upbeat version of your regular self. The idea that we transform into different people when we’re under the influence is a popular one. Turns out, though, ‘drunk you’ might not be as much of a thing as you think.
A new study from the University of Missouri has found that other people can’t see that much of a difference in our personalities when we’re drunk, compared to when we’re sober. This is a good reminder that so much of alcohol’s power lies in what we believe it does. And so often, what we believe to be true becomes true.
“My drinking doesn’t affect anyone else.”
New research shows that children are far more aware of their parents alcohol consumption than we might like to think. The Institute of Alcohol Studies says even moderate parental drinking can upset children and cause them anxiety.
This report backs up a lot of the anecdotal feedback I’ve had from the mums on my stop drinking course. Even very young children, who don’t really ‘get’ what wine is, seem quick to pick up on the change in your energy levels (and your willingness to read a bedtime story).
“If you’re careful, you can outsmart a hangover.”
As we head towards the end of the year – and into party season – be prepared to see a lot of articles about hangover cures. You know the ones I mean – they promise that you’ll be able to party till dawn AND look flawless in the office. All you need to do is guzzle green juice, use expensive foundation and meditate in a special way…
It’s total nonsense of course. These articles are selling a lifestyle that doesn’t really exist; you cannot consume glass after glass of toxic poison and not feel it the next day! NHS advice says, “The best way to avoid a hangover is not to drink.”
Just curious … what are your thoughts on Fitwine?
I’m not familiar with FitVine wine as it’s not sold over here. I’m not sure what makes it ‘fit’ (fewer sulphites, possibly?) but if it contains alcohol it will still have the same cancer causing properties as other wines. It sounds like a bit of a marketing gimmick.
Glad to see you back .Still going well with not drinking .Feel great sleeping better less grumpy much happier….
Brilliant – well done Tracy! Sounds like alcohol free living suits you 🙂
The one that has really hit me since I stopped drinking at the beginning of September is that my 13 year old daughter has said she was worried about my drinking, and didn’t like it when her Dad and I used to sit in the conservatory late afternoon drinking. She also said I am much more fun, and we have a laugh together more. This was horrific to me as I never realised it affected her at all. She said she prefers hugs and kisses from me now because I don’t smell of wine. I even used to ask her to top up my wine. I feel utterly ashamed.
It’s tough to hear that kind of feedback, I know. But what a brilliant thing you’ve done by changing your behaviour now – that sets a great example for your daughter at an important time in her life. Congratulations on your sobriety Elaine!
I did your course inJuly and I rarely drink now. I am aiming for never. I am much happier without it. I am going to set a goal of 1 year All if these comments are helpful and reinforce everything I learnt. Loved the course
A year sounds good! Nice to hear from you Cathy 🙂
The one about it making me happier resonates the most with me. Sometimes it feels like everyone, myself included, likes the me 2-3 glasses in better. I know that over time though, that it’s not good for me. I’m 6 days in but haven’t faced many social events yet!
Congratulations on your 6 days Andrea – those first few days can be really tough, so well done. Keep going! 🙂
Me to Andrea: six days in but no socializing. Hoping my friends will support me; they are my friends after all, but still a bit nervous as to how it will all play out. Let’s Hang in there knowing we will all feel better booze free.
The one that spoke to me the most was that it relieves stress.I would come home from work, put my feet up & enjoy a glass or two of wine (many times even more).
My husband & I used the saying, “It’s five o’clock somewhere!” and laugh as we began our own happy hour. I’ve been totally sober now for six weeks. To say I don’t miss it would be a lie. I have been able to resist with the help of my husband & knowing that that lifestyle is not what I want any more. We have even had guests over where we serve them wine. I’m glad in my heart to have made the commitent & not allowing stress, or even having guests, be an excuse anymore.
Kaye I agree! My feeling that it relieves stress after work was so strong I couldn’t resist for years now. Deep down I know it isn’t true. I have just completed 2 weeks AF but my husband still drinks every day at HH. Doesn’t make me jealous or want to drink BUT makes me see how bad it is. I have a hard time not saying something to him like “why don’t you quit or cut back” I’m wondering if you felt that way or Did your husband quit with you? does he still drink? Thanks for listening!
Thanks Jackie. Yes, my husband does drink but not as much since I made my decision. He asked if I wanted him to stop drinking as well & my response was that this decision was mine, not his. I did ask him to not drink wine in front of me & he agreed. He travels for a living so can have wine elsewhere. :o)
‘Alcohol makes you more fun’ I used to think you had to drink to have a really fun night out, but now I know you don’t! I’m 100 days alcohol free today! I’ve had some brilliant nights out too (with proper belly laughs & sober dancing) I’ve realised your real friends won’t pressure you to drink, they’ll support & encourage you! I feel I’m a better mother to my daughters & feel really proud of my achievement. The question for me is, what next? Thank you Kate, glad your back blogging! I look forward to reading them.
Congratulations Kate – 100 days is fantastic! Sounds like alcohol free living really suits you. I think 200 days has a nice ring to it, so maybe that’s next… 🙂
I’ve just managed the most difficult thing yet re socialising – a weekend away with college friends. Sober for 8 weeks and before that for 8 weeks (a planned event) and next goal is Christmas. As you say, Kate, it is hard to give up forever so I am making it to Xmas. I say “I’m not drinking at the moment”. I tackled the weekend by bringing loads of alcohol-free beer (some quite good) from a link in an earlier blog by Kate, and offering it round – even playing a trick on one mate to see if they’d notice. Much easier than I’d expected – after the initial reactions, no one pushed me. Everyone was fine to talk to, even when quite pissed as they are my friends. And possibly first college friend weekend away ever with no hangover.
Brilliant – well done! Sounds like the weekend was a success! Just goes to show when you’re with the right people (such as true friends) you don’t need a mind-altering drug to have fun.
Alcohol makes you more fun….this one really resonates with me. I used to think that alcohol made me funnier, wittier & better to be around but since giving up the booze 140 days ago I have realised that I am funny & witty without alcohol & my responses are sharper. I did your free 1 week course Kate & it changed my life. My first goal was 100 days, my current goal is 200 & then the year. Thank you from one grateful follower. Xs
Congratulations Sheena! Here’s to many happy, healthy, alcohol-free days ahead 🙂
So I’m bummed that I didn’t get into the course but happy to see these blogs. I’ve been sober three months and close to four months soon. I related to ALL those misconceptions. But mainly I drank out of stress and anxiety. But now I know it only made it so much worse. I have two teenage children and I can’t buy back that time. All those years on and off the wagon. Well this time is different. Why …because now I don’t look at it as “poor me” I see what Kate is talking about. I feel it I love it!!! I LOVE SOBRIETY AND BEINGFREE FROM THOSE CHAINS
So bye bye POISON and hello HAPPINESS AND LOTS OF LATTES 🙂
Looking forward to still doing your next course in January because although I don’t miss it it’s still hard to explain at social events and would like the support of other strong sober women.
Being part of a motivated community, who are all focused on achieving the same thing, makes such a difference. I hope you can join us in January, but many congratulations on your sobriety so far. Alcohol-free living is the best! 🙂
Over 5 months now AF, and in most ways it is now second nature not to drink (I drink alcohol free beer and an AF champagne that is nice and not too sweet). Nobody in my life pressures me to drink which is great too. But I am finding that I need to find a way to relax – lots going on in my life at the moment (international move with kids, a renovation and setting up a business – yuck) and I feel like I need a way to zone out from it all where I would have used wine before. Any ideas?
It sounds to me like you need to make some more time for self-care – lots of women fall into the habit of not doing this in early sobriety. I wrote a blog post about this here.
Make some time today to draw up a list of things you love doing, things that genuinely relax you, and then commit to doing at least one. Schedule it in!
Thanks Kate I am on your course at present and loving it. For anyone contemplating it for January please do.I can’t believe its working and I look forward to my daily lesson. Thank you Kate for giving me this chance. Allie
Thanks Allie! I’m so pleased to hear this 🙂
13 months sober now and I just want to say thanks Kate!
On start of my journey I came across you’re blog and read every article and everything made sense.
Best thing is waking up every morning with no hangovers!
Getting out running,having proper conversations,healthy eating,drinking nice coffee,reading books,investing time in sobriety is magical.
Keep up the great work
Thank you again
Thanks David – and huge congratulations on your 13 months! I’m so pleased to hear that. This way of life clearly suits you! Well done 🙂
Hi Kate, Linda from the July course here. Before taking the course I really believed the stress myth and I couldn’t have been more wrong! Sobriety has been an enormous weight lifted off my shoulders, I actually feel lighter.
Lovely to hear from you Linda! I very much agree – sobriety makes you feel lighter somehow. I think it’s only when you stop drinking that you truly realise just how much stress alcohol was causing you.
I’ve been struggling to completely stop. Your blog is 100% bang on. I’ve recently read ‘this naked mind’ and that has changed everything. With that and your wisdom I’m sure I’ll get there. Alcohol is a hard monster to shake off. All the best. Sean