When people find out that I no longer drink, they often expect to hear some crazy tale of drama and debauchery.
But if you’ve followed my blog for a while, you’ll know I was never a rock bottom boozer.
Even at the height of my drinking career, I was firmly in the ‘grey zone’.
Yes, alcohol was causing me problems and making me unhappy… but I was also doing a pretty good job of making sure everything looked fine on the outside.
I worked out. I ran. I watched my weight. Most people would’ve described me as ‘health conscious’.
And that’s the inspiration behind today’s blog.
Here’s what happens when you’re a health nut by day – and a boozer by night:
You’re really open minded about everything… except sobriety
Hula hooping classes? Hot yoga? Soul cycle? The maple syrup diet? Sure thing. When it came to most health and fitness crazes, I’d give anything a go. But sobriety? That thing where you learn to relax naturally, without inhaling a glass of wine first? That was a bit too weird.
Selective calorie counting
Throughout the day I’d try to keep track of how much I’d eaten, in a bid to shift a few stubborn pounds. But as soon as I started drinking, all that went out the window. Calculating liquid calories was too complicated (and depressing) so I’d pretend they didn’t exist. Sadly, my waistline did notice…
Selective fact finding
As a drinker, I could’ve told you all about the merits of quitting gluten and the risks of not getting enough exercise. But booze? Hmmm. That was a bit of a vague area in my mind, because frankly, I didn’t want to know. The information I did retain was remarkably one sided, which brings me on to my next point…
Drinking for the ‘health benefits’
If you told me you eat chocolate for the milk content, I would’ve rolled my eyes. And yet I was perfectly happy convincing myself that I was drinking red wine for the ‘health benefits’. A little bit is good for you, right? (It isn’t actually. That myth has been busted.)
Chemicals? What chemicals?
By day, I’d scrutinise food labels so I could be sure of what was in the products I bought. No e-numbers, weird ingredients or nasty chemicals for me, thank you very much! But when it came to wine, I liked to think it was just mashed up grapes. Read this if you’re in the dark too.
Spending a fortune on beauty products
I was always trying to work out why my skin was going haywire. Was it my cleanser? My moisturiser? Maybe I just hadn’t found the right brand for my skin? Well as it turns out, the right beauty ‘brand’ for me (and many others) is alcohol free. I wrote more about that here.
Drugs: just say no?
Antibiotics? Painkillers? I’d only take them if I really had to. I’ve never liked popping pills for any old reason – it just feels wrong. And yet I’d happily self medicate with alcohol, ignoring the fact that it was, ahem, also a drug… one that kills and harms a lot of people.
If you recognise yourself in this blog, then I’m guessing that you, like me, really value your health. If you’re investing a lot of time and energy into living a healthy lifestyle, it’s worth taking a proper look at how drinking is affecting that. Is alcohol is supporting or sabotaging your goals?
If you need any support to stop drinking, click here for details of my online course.
Thank you so much for these weekly emails, they’re just what I need to help me stay motivated to not drink. It’s day 17 for me and going strong. Watched two Ted talks yesterday and the women’s stories were really inspiring. Sobriety is not for the faint hearted but it’s worth it.
Hi Kate – I agree wholeheartedly with Mary. I am on Day 18 and look forward to your emails. This week’s blog was particularly relevant. I was just like you – checking what I eat etc. – but ignoring my wine consumption (why don’t these pants fit??). I live in an area known for growing wine, and I was quite shocked to see how much they spray the vines. Anyway, keep those emails coming!
Excellent, many congratulations on your 17 days Mary! 🙂
i’m on day 106 and feel on top of the world i didn’t think i would last two days never mind sixteen weeks. i just a tax refund and normally i would skip to the local supermarket and stock up on some celebratory wine for myself but no it’s like my mind set has done a complete u turn and that part of me is gone. i have to say i found Kate sober school stories very helpful especially over the festive season when everyone was drinking. i love the new me and am so proud of myself
Thanks Kate your blog rings so true I have tried and failed but realise that is part of the giving alcohol up like you the waist has thickened and the wrinkles increased but I really notice my drink free days and my less bloated middle I just need these little things to outweigh the initial high of that first drink but I’m determined to get there and not knock myself down if I slip up but each day I become stronger and your emails help, thankyou
I Wouldn’t describe myself as a “health nut by day,” but was definitely a “boozer by night…” daily, in between lengthy sober periods to PROVE I didn’t have a problem. I have C-PTSD & realize now that I was self-medicating in order to numb out. Like you, I didn’t bottom out & held it together on the outside for the most part, but was dying inside. Now over 8 months sober, I do not want to go back but now my past pain, I tried for so long to stuff down, is beginning to surface & I have a bit of a mountain to climb. I’ve worked through many addictions including alcohol & am left with my first love: FOOD. That story’s for another day. I am alcohol free today. Thank you for your committment to helping others break free of the chains of alcohol abuse.
I hope you’re able to work through those past issues and get support to do so if you need it Lorraine. Congratulations on your 8 months – that’s brilliant to hear 🙂
Even tho I’m alcohol
Free long term now , I still need inspirational top ups and fresh insights – thank you, yours are amazing
I was beyond just a health nut by day, I was an in-home personal trainer and taught fitness classes 6 days a week in addition to giving advice NOT to drink to my clients.
I’m now AF for 4+ months sober and hoping I’ll never go back to the double life I was leading.
Funnily enough, I’ve worked with quite a few personal trainers and yoga teachers – so I know you’re not the only one who lived a ‘double life’ in that respect! Congratulations on your 4 months Beth – wishing you many more alcohol free days ahead 🙂
I once had friends over to my new apt. I had champagne, strawberries and snacks. My friend was ready to eat a berry when she asked if it was organic. Nope. She returned it to the bowl and then told me about the evil chemicals in convententional produce. We then proceeded to get daytime wasted. She loves an expensive face lotion that goop recommends and will tell me how free radicals will conquer enslaved radicals? I am not sure. What I am sure about is I have not had a drink in 30 days and I love how my skin looks.
This story made me laugh – talk about double standards! I’m glad you’re seeing the difference in 30 days Donna – well done!
This blog could have been written by me!! So accurate.
On Day 50 alcohol free! Down 10lbs – feeling so much better!
Can you tell me how you did it? It’s like stepping off a cliff for me. I’m the same. Healthy by day and wine by night. 10lbs is the number I’m ‘always’ going for.
Hi Laurie, if you need some help and support to stop drinking (and actually feel good about being alcohol free!) I’m happy to help. My six week course would be perfect for you – here are some details: https://thesoberschool.com/course
Excellent! It sounds as if alcohol free living suits you 🙂
This has been exactly me
I am a yoga and pilates instructor, and have worked in health and fitness for nearly 30 years. I am very particular about my diet, exercise and all other areas of my life – that is except when it comes to alcohol. I would finish teaching my classes in the evening and reach straight for the wine. It seems absolutely ludicrous I know. I have gone through all the excuses – how wine is good for you – how there can’t be any calories in it, it is a liquid etc etc. And I have beaten myself up about it so much. So I have decided to stop and take a break and see how I get on
Hi Debbie, I’m so pleased to hear you’re ready to take a break. Think of it as test driving sobriety – you’re committing to alcohol free living for a fixed period of time, giving it your all and seeing how you feel at the end. Who knows… you might just love it! If you need some support to make that break happen, here are some details of how I can help: https://thesoberschool.com/course
Thank you for this wonderful, spot on post.
Thanks Joan 🙂
This is spot on! Always working on a healthy lifestyle yet when it comes to wine all bets are off. Counting calories, working out, getting my servings of veg/fruit etc. It is absolutely crazy that alcohol and its effects both mentally and physically are not considered by me.
I’m glad this resonated with you Trisha – I hope it inspires you to make some changes and bring these areas of your life into alignment.
Can’t Wait until your new classes start. you have such a flair for getting a life or death message across in such a ligth hearted way. Totally enjoyable. I saw myself there and had to really chuckle out load. You make getting sober fun. Patti
Sobriety can definitely be fun! Thanks Patti – look forward to having you in the next class 🙂
I identified with everything you said in this blog. I used to run a few years ago, mainly (ashamedly) so I burnt off the calories to have my alcohol fix. Since I stopped running due to a back issue in 2015 I have slowly regained 13 kilos of ugly fat thanks to my now ex buddy ETOH.
I am now 8 days free and have just signed up for a 7 week challenge at a local gym where I’ve signed a contract to eat, healthily, exercise regularly and no alcohol. That should do it.
Thank you for being such a motivational and inspiring woman.
Congratulations on your 8 days Linda – you’re off to a great start. Keep going, it’s worth it 🙂
Yaaas! This was so me. I was always lamenting: I work out like a maniac bit I never lose any weight *sigh*!
Not sure how much weight I have lost. It’s been about 2 months and I’ve had a few “you have lost so much weight!” Comments.
Thank you Kate for speaking the truth.
I bet you’ve lost more than you think! 🙂
This resonates so much. I am searching for all the answers. I’ve stopped gluten and dairy, cut back on coffee and sugar…and am still feeling rubbishy. I know cutting back booze is what I need to do. But I am struggling to get to the ‘wanting to do’ part when all my friends and I drink wine. It’s hoe we socialise. One is a wine maker. And my husband will be upset if I go sober as he’s in the same boat and won’t be supportive…so It will effect my relationships as well. It seems like douch more than doing it for health with it will have an impact on my relationships as well. How to navigate this?
Hi Kate, it’s hard to answer this question properly in a few lines here – we’d really need to take a deep look at the role you feel alcohol plays in your relationships and why you feel it’s so important. That would be a good area for you to explore, as there’s bound to be some myths and romanticisation creeping in there. I’m happy to work with you on this – you can find out more about my coaching programme here: https://thesoberschool.com/course/
Hi Kate, I am on day 31 and wonder why I didn’t face doing this sooner, tho some days can be hard. I too, was one of those ladies who told myself there was no calories in wine, I didn’t eat a lot, ate sensibly so where did the 2 stone weight increase come from. In this short time I am sleeping better and seem to be more motivated in getting exercise. I have found everything you have had to say inspirational and know that I am not the only out there. Thanks !
Thank you so much for this post – it EXACTLY describes me. Health conscious, organic food, exercise, label reading, no sugar…. except for the total denial about the wine I was drinking every night. Then complaining I don’t have enough energy for exercise, not sleeping well, the searching for the, seemingly hidden, meaning for that – could it be the bottle plus of wine a night?
The timing of this couldn’t be better – I’m nearly two months sober now but starting to get the panics – is this it? The truth is, alcohol gives me nothing. I need to remember that.
Absolutely – you’re missing out nothing! Well done on your two months, please keep going. You won’t regret it 🙂
Yeah! That’s fantastic Alyson. It sounds as if alcohol free living well and truly suits you 🙂
Hi Kate, wow never thought about what goes into wine! Thanks so much for the article, it has actually turned me off wine which I had always thought of as well sort of pure. 10 days sober for me and yes very particular about what I eat but can never keep that weight off. Maybe it is the copious amounts of alcohol I used to drink.
You’re off to a great start Karen! Congratulations on your 10 days 🙂
So if I could only drink wine, I’d be way ahead of the game. Tonight I cut my 4 gimlets per night down to one and a glass of red with our roast Chicken, sweet potato, and asparagus dinner. I hope I can sleep tonight. I’m 63 and don’t know how you girls do it. I also workout 4 days a week. But I know I’ve got to do more. This is so hard!
It doesn’t have to be hard Jennifer! See how you go with cutting down… remember that for most people cutting down is a lot harder than the freedom of not drinking completely. So keep an open mind with that. If you need some support to stop properly (and feel good about that) definitely check out my online course. Here are the details: https://thesoberschool.com/course/
So true! I focus on eating organic food where possible – no nasty processed food or sugar for me thank you very much. I exercise 4 or 5 times a week and pay for a health coach. I have even done an elimination diet where I had to cut out red meat, alcohol, sugar, fruit, nightshades, caffeine, dairy, grains and household toxins. Guess what – it looks like it was alcohol that was causing my tiredness, crappy skin, weight gain, grumpiness, headaches….the list could go on & on!
So many thanks to Kate for her wonderful 6 week course!
Thanks Charlie. It’s lovely to see you doing so well! ❤️
Spot on, Kate! I figured as long as I was “so healthy” elsewhere, I could justify excess in this one area. My weight is perfect, workouts regimented, diet balanced, labels read, advice followed.
Great article!! Thank you!!!
I’m pleased this resonated with you Juli 🙂
This was SO me!! I´m vegan and a health nut but I was drinking and I knew deep down it wasn´t good. Then I finally took your course in March 2017 and I´ve been sober since. I loved how you busted all the myths! It all made so much sense, so thank you!!
Wow Karen – nearly 2 years for you! I’m really happy to see you doing so well – it sounds as if alcohol free living is much more aligned with the values that matter to you ❤️
This is me to a T. Sadly, I can’t yet convince myself to go totally AF. I know I need to but mentally I’m not there yet. Thank you for continuing to share your emails and sharing your message!
No problem Heather. I’d recommend journalling how you’re feeling right now – it can really help with your mindset and it’s always good to have a record of how alcohol really makes you feel.
This is so me! I was even a Health Coach for a time. I’m only 9 days off the booze and although I feel and sleep much better I’m not seeing a whole lot of change in my weight? Did you have this problem? I am not replacing the alcohol calories with other calories as I eat a Whole Food Plant Based No Oil diet. I estimated I was taking in an extra 4,000-5,000 kcals/week with my daily drinking. Yet, I’ve removed those kcals and I’ve actually gained 1/2 lb? I’m thinking maybe my body needs more time to recognize what is going on. Thoughts or ideas would be appreciated!
This has happened to me too when I’ve done my dry spells and I think it’s probably down to being dehydrated when you’re drinking so the minute you stop, your body holds on to water for a while. If you keep going however you will see it slowly start to come off. With my previous experiences it tends to start coming off around week 6.
I stopped drinking 7 weeks ago. I always blamed my extra weight on the alcohol. I have lost 10lbs but I honestly thought I would lose weight super easily without the alcohol. Frustrating for sure – but I know that long term I am going to be healthier.
This is so true.
In particular I was always really careful about my sugar intake as a drinker, which was crazy really because wine has loads of sugar, and yet conveniently I always managed to ignore that fact when I was drinking wine!
Now as a sober person I genuinely look after my health
Wow this is the first blog and post that I’ve found since I decided to quit alcohol that totally describes me! No one would ever know from looking at the outside ‘healthy’ me that my insides are probably completely the opposite due to my wine/Prosecco intake. I am always careful about what I eat/drink (non alcohol wise/put on my skin/exercise, all the while turning a complete a blind eye to what I’m doing to myself when I’m drinking alcohol.
I was even having the same conversation with my husband a few months ago when we talking about health and I even said, ‘but I’m really healthy’. And he quite rightly said, ‘but what about what you drink?’ I was annoyed and it kind of stumped me I had to say! I’m only 12 days in which isn’t unique as I’ve often done Dry January, Sober October as well as other self imposed drinking bans, but this is the first time where I’ve seriously thought about never drinking again. I would secretly like to never drink again but I don’t want to put it out there publicly quite yet, possibly because I’m worried about the reactions from my drinking friends and family….any advice on this front would be very gratefully received.