15 Things You Only Know If You Don’t Drink

15 Things You Only Know If You Don’t Drink

Alcohol-free living is amazing. But being a sober girl doesn’t come without its own, unique set of challenges… as well as some pretty cool, unexpected benefits. Here are 15 things you only know if you quit drinking:


1. Free alcohol seems to be everywhere

When you quit, you suddenly notice how often you’re offered free booze: with your pedicure, at the hairdressers, in department stores, the farmers market, business conferences, the finishing line of charity fun runs…


2. Some people will just not get it

They’ll give you a look that combines confusion, horror and disappointment all in one go. And then – when they’ve finished pestering you to ‘just have one’ – they’ll tell you they know what you’re going through, because they once stopped for a week…


3. You become rich

Ok, so maybe not millionaire rich … but you will save waaaay more money than you think. Those £10 cocktails and expensive bottles of wine really add up.


4. You look great in Facebook photos

There’s never any need to delete embarrassing pictures the morning after. (Nor do you need to rely on them as clues for what you got up to the night before.)


5. It’s really hard to find birthday cards that don’t feature booze

Of all the challenges I anticipated dealing with in sobriety, finding a decent birthday card wasn’t one of them…


6. Presentation is everything

I don’t feel self-conscious about my sobriety, but I hate it when my alcohol-free drink is served in a kid’s glass. I may not drink wine anymore but I still like wine glasses! They look fancy and feel special. A plastic glass with a straw just isn’t the same.


7. It’s incredibly annoying when boring, drunk people tell you it’s not possible to have fun sober

Err … you can have crazy fun times without Jägerbombs.


8. It’s hard to wear high heels for long periods of time

Is this just me? Maybe alcohol numbed my feet so I didn’t notice the pain so much.


9. There’s only so much liquid you can drink

No matter how delicious your mocktail is, there’s a limit to how many you can drink in one sitting. After a few, you’re just full. You start to realise that drinking more than a few pints of anything is a lot. No wonder boozers need to pee all the time.


10. By midnight you’re ready to go home

Turns out it’s not just Cinderella who needs to be home before 12. After midnight, everything starts to feel like an endurance test. The good news is that being the first to leave isn’t really a problem; you rarely miss anything.


11. You never lose your phone / purse / keys

As a drinker, I was forever losing or breaking things. It’s nice to come home with all your possessions safely in your bag, and to own a phone that’s never had its screen shattered after being drunkenly dropped.


12. You realise weekends really are two days long

When you’ve been for a run, read the paper and had a green smoothie all before 10am on Sunday, you realise just how much time was lost to drinking.


13. Not drinking on a date will really freak some people out

I don’t know why. It’s almost like they can’t talk to a stranger without booze and so they don’t understand how you can.


14. You have to let some things go

When you order sober memoirs on Amazon and they arrive with vouchers for a wine delivery service, you need a good sense of humour. Inappropriate much?


15. You’re braver than you thought you were

If you think about it, stopping drinking is a pretty rebellious thing to do. It forces you to go against the norm. Being different is uncomfortable at first, but it doesn’t stay that way for long. Having the confidence to do your own thing is priceless.

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  1. Thank you for this blog. All of the things you mentioned are so true. My husband & I attended a party this past weekend & everyone was asking me what I was drinking. I responded sparkling water & lime & then they would ask if I was ok? It’s been 3 weeks sober for me and I feel great. I don’t want to drink. The hardest part is dealing with people who just don’t get it.

    • People are so strange sometimes, aren’t they? They will adjust – the fact that you’re not drinking will become old news soon enough. Congratulations on your 3 weeks!

  2. Some of those made me laugh because they are soooo true!! Thanks for your great blog. I love it when I see it in my email.

    • Thanks Fi! 🙂

  3. Thanks.. Im struggling I am just in the 1st 24 hour of sobriety. It helps to know Im not alone!

    • Keep going Jocelyn. You can do it 🙂

  4. So true!! Especially the greeting cards!!

  5. Best nice things rediscovered:
    I actually CARE about issues:
    Women’s rights march in Boston was something I would have just watched on the tube.
    I have more money!
    I’m not as afraid of feeling upset about something because it does pass
    Odd good things discovered:
    I really don’t relate to some of the people I’ve surrounded myself with in the bar world.
    My bad habit of becoming super involved with a boyfriend and forgetting myself has gone by the wayside.
    I like decorating my apartment ie. actually getting physically into projects and not procrastinating.
    So much more to discover!
    Can’t wait for spring!

    • Love this list! It all sounds great – and there’s so much more to come, I’m sure 🙂

  6. Particularly fond of Number 11

    • HAHAH Amen sister!

  7. Everyone keeps asking me 1. if I am pregnant… little do they know we are about to start IVF in a few months. 2. How long? Just this month right? People just cannot wrap their head around someone choosing not to drink.

    • Argh those kind of questions are so tedious and boring. I’m sure they’ll grow tired soon enough though. And I hope the IVF goes well 🙂

  8. I have been sober now 105 days and I feel great! Thanks for the articles..

    • Wow, 105 days! Congratulations Jenny!!

  9. Fantastic post thanks!
    Made me laugh out loud

  10. Received my 90 day coin today from my AA group. I’m very proud and feel very strong.

    • Congrats!!! I’m working on my 60 days in AA now!!

  11. I have been sober for 43 days now!!! Your blog has been a great reinforcement for me, thank you Kate!! I have definitely experienced a couple of these already. I went to a Paint Nite at my local bar and was so proud of myself for not drinking, even when the instructor continually encouraged us to order drinks so our paintings would be better! I avoided a few parties over the holidays, I just wasn’t ready to put myself in difficult situations yet. There are a couple parties coming up and I am planning not to drink and prepare myself for the questions ahead of time.

    • Only 8 days for me but I feel amazing already! Wished I’d done it ages ago!

    • Congratulations Megan, 43 days is great! 🙂

  12. Loved this every one of the 15 comments and they are so very true. I just looked for a birthday card for my best friend who stopped drinking 10 years ago with AA. I had a very difficult time trying too find a card that that didn’t involve alcohol

  13. I love your list, all true! One thing I’ve noticed: some people look at you pityingly when you mention you don’t drink or assume you had a reallllly big problem with booze, which might have been true or not, but you know that the way better life is the one not spent wasted or creating more wasted days by being hungover. Thanks Kate!

  14. So many of these to relate to! Specifically weekends actually being two days long! Who would have thought! I actually have time to get things done, I make it to church and am not hung over, and on Fridays I am not rushing out of work to meet up for drinks. Weekends are now my favorite! What a great topic! Thanks Kate!

  15. Day 9 and counting. Feels good. I’m not a falling down drunk kind of woman but I got tired of being angry so much and then the next not remembering why. Not sure if I’ll stop forever but I at the very least wanted a break. Taking it one day a a time!

  16. Ooo my, am I glad I got to this website. This is my second alcohol free day. I’ve tried in the past, several times. But it always lasted a day. I don’t know what is different this time, but I feel so motivated to never drink again. For al the reasons stated on your website. I haven’t even told my family. They won’t believe me. They will only say – agh, again. But this time I am going to do it. I WILL do it. Thank you so much for this site. I really feel motivated:)

    • Go for it Annie!

    • I feel like our families may be pretty similar!

      • Hi Karley,
        I think the comments one gets from everyone is the worst. But I will just put a smile on my face and carry on. At least my husband is very supportive. At it helps to know other people are struggling with the same. But my brothers…… o my:). Fridays and Saturdays we braai. That’s what we do every weekend. And then everyone relax with a drink.
        Good luck to you!!!

  17. Hi Kate,. I’m so glad to have found your blog. I have managed to stop drinking for eleven days. Today is the first day I have felt it quite a struggle. Any advice for getting throw the lows for myself and anyone else who could be feeling the same. P.s not going to drink though but feeling at a loose end. Kind regards.

    • Hi Lorna, congratulations on your 11 days! Have you downloaded my free wine o’clock guide yet? Make sure you do that. And have a look at some of my most popular posts – there’s lots of hints and tips in the archives. If you need some more intensive help in future, you might like to consider joining my next course (more details under the work with me tab, above)
      Good luck!

  18. These 15 tips were really helpful to start my morning with a laugh and smile.
    Im 136 days sober. And your blogs and everything you say helps get me another day Sober.

    Sobriety Saved My Life

  19. Ha, these are great. Sense of humor is an useful tool.

  20. Day one, of many day ones, fingers crossed I can do it this time

  21. Hi, I love this article, so many heads hit! I have been sober for 5 weeks now, and even I have noticed how much money I have left over at the end of the month!

    A couple of months ago I was grasping onto my pennies, but today I splashed the cash, treated myself to some new clothes, refreshed the wardrobe of my “hangover” attire! I feel amazing.

  22. Classic! And yes I ordered a book a couple years ago from Amazon called “High Sobriety” and couldn’t believe it came with wine vouchers. I thought it must have been a bad joke 🙂


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