Kate's Blog

How To Be Sober When Everyone Else You Know Drinks

“I bet they make a big deal out of me not drinking…”

“I feel as if I’m letting other people down… What if they think I’m boring?”

If any of these thoughts sound familiar, you’re not alone.

It can be tough to be the first person in your family or friendship group to decide that you’re ditching alcohol, especially when everyone else drinks.

Maybe you’ve taken time off from drinking in the past and the response was hardly enthusiastic.

Don’t worry – I’ve got three tips to help you handle it in today’s video…

Key points:

It’s frustrating when other people give you a hard time about quitting drinking. Maybe you’re the first person in your family or friendship group to ditch alcohol and other people don’t know what to make of it. Sometimes other people are actually worried about their own drinking, so seeing you change brings some stuff up for them. Other times, they think they’re being kind by telling you that you’re fine, you don’t need to change. The good news is: this kind of pushback is usually only temporary.

In the video, I share Sharon’s story to illustrate how things change over time. When Sharon first came to work with me, she was anxious for other people’s support and approval. But 12 months later, when she shared her one-year milestone on Facebook, she didn’t look for that. Instead, she shared how proud she was of herself, and the response was completely different! Own the decision and be as positive as you can from the outset.

It takes guts to be the first person you know to quit: the first person in your friendship group, your workplace, your community… Being the one who leads the way takes a little courage, particularly when everyone else still drinks. You might feel out of your comfort zone because of it. But once you’ve done something like that, it’s amazing what else seems possible. Who knows what else you might go on to change, question or challenge in your life!

I promise you, there is someone else in your world right now who’s quietly struggling with alcohol. Someone who isn’t on your radar, because… Guess what? They’re great at hiding their drinking too. They just need someone else to go first. Someone else to show them what’s possible. So many of my clients at The Sober School are referrals from past students – women who’ve started talking about their alcohol-free lifestyle upgrade and have inspired others to take the first step to follow the same path.

Need some help to create an alcohol-free life you love? Click here to learn more about my Getting Unstuck course.

Hi, I'm Kate

I founded The Sober School to show you there’s another way out of your shame that doesn’t involve AA or rehab. 


25 responses

  1. Hi Kate
    I’m now into my third wonderful year of sobriety !
    Everything you said in your blog today rang so many bells for me . It was very hard dealing with a lot of negativity from friends initially . However as time has gone on so many people have quietly asked ‘how did you do it ? ” , saying that they worry about their drinking but can’t face the thought of life without alcohol . I try to , gently point them in your direction. So , feedback is now so much more positive and supportive . There are so many people out there who feel stuck – keep up the good work !

    1. Great to hear you are going from strength to strength in your sobriety Lesley and thanks for the personal recommendations!

  2. I’m in exactly that situation now, just this weekend gone I had my birthday celebration in a tea room ( where I forgot you could take in alcohol). So many of my friends took bottles of Prosecco and I was a bit worried how I would cope but I was absolutely fine, I just had orange juice but drank it from a nice prosecco glass! None of my friends encouraged me to drink thank goodness and I just felt so happy to enjoy the occasion with a clear head!

    1. A birthday celebration in a proper tearoom sounds delightful and you get to wake up without a hangover too! 🙂

  3. Suddenly like a switch I seemed to grasp it. I am now 6 months without a drink, I don’t even think about it. My friends are very curious, think I am a bit insane but they are very supportive.
    I am so proud I have found this new life, it certainly is well worth it.
    Keep up the good work Kate.
    Amanda xx

  4. It does get better! Kate and the Sober School are right. Last year at this time, I was facing the big, bad booze fest of a work conference with about 8 weeks sobriety. I was terrified. I was journaling, talking to the Sober School, and suffering from so much anxiety. I made it, but several of my close friends did give me a hard time about being sober–“just one,” “are you sure,” “what’s wrong,” etc. This year, one year and several months later, I not only survived this very same conference, but I also hosted a party. People drank, but I did not, and no one bothered me about it. And as Kate said, some even mentioned their concern about their own drinking or tried to hide their own concerns about their drinking. I’m not sure I made any converts, but it was quite a different experience, a much more positive one for me. Alcohol free living is an upgrade!

    1. You’ve made incredible progress Ann and I’m sure the ripple effect of your sobriety is seen and felt by more people than you know. ❤️

  5. Hi Kate,
    I recently celebrated 4 years Alcohol Free!! I was in the January 2020 class. I wanted to write to you and thank you for your course and the new life it gave me. I still watch your videos and love your wisdom and positivity.
    For many years I knew I had an alcohol problem and couldn’t work out how to cope with it.
    Your course set me free. Forever grateful

    1. Four years, wow! Congratulations Nikki, sobriety is the gift that keeps on giving and you are living proof of that. 🙂

  6. I have been keeping track of how many weeks it’s been since my last drink Now I can honestly say it’s been six weeks free of any alcohol. I do still have the desire but have found other drinks in place of. Still working on living free of alcohol and proud of myself each day free.

  7. Thanks for another great video Kate. This one really resonated with me. I’m now 100 days alcohol free and feeling so much happier and healthier. All of my family and friends drink and I’m the first to give it up. I didn’t drink a lot so most of my family and friends don’t/didnt really understand why I decided to stop and found it difficult to get their head around. They expected me to make a exceptions for things like birthdays, Christmas etc but as you have said before, I found setting rules like that completely exhausting and I just found it easier to decide not to drink at all. As I mentioned above it has now been 100 days and the questions about why I gave up have gotten fewer and I’ve had several of my circle tell me that they also think they should do something about their drinking. I tell them that it’s one of the best things I’ve ever done ! Thank you Kate for your continued support and wisdom!

  8. I have just passed the 2 year anniversary of sobriety! I never thought at that time that it was possible but I did it! I am a graduate of your April 2022 course. I would really recommend it to anyone struggling to break free from drinking. Yes, there have been struggles along the way but handling them sober has been so much better! There have been people that have actually encouraged me to drink again but I have removed myself from those situations and found new friendships. Life is truly an upgrade now and I will never look back because I know that one glass, even one sip of wine will drag me right back to day one. Never want to be there again! Thank you Kate!!

    1. Fabulous Mary, 2 years sober! When we take alcohol out of the picture, our true desires become clearer. ❤️

  9. I started my alcohol free journey with my newly married husband last October. Admittedly, there have been some lapses for various reasons. With the addictive desire for alcohol it can be challenging. I’ve learned to be up front with our friends and close family that I have stopped drinking. Funny thing is, my closest friend is on the same path!
    Most everyone is supportive with my decision. Those that aren’t, well, I’m learning it’s ok for us to go and follow different paths in life.

    1. Keep going Tamara, the future is much happier and healthier without an underwhelming drug like alcohol blurring the experience. 🙂

      1. Thank you Kate. I have just passed the 60 day mark and find your blogs and non-judgemental pep talks really helpful. Still taking it one day (or Friday!) at a time, but feeling energetic, positive and optimistic about living life differently.

  10. Hi Kate thank you for your tips and your support,This Friday I’ll be 1 month Sober doing OK just hope the longer I go the better it will be

    1. Fantastic Pam, one month is awesome! No one ever regrets waking up hangover free, so keep going. Sobriety isn’t a sacrifice, it’s a lifestyle upgrade. 🙂

  11. Hi Kate, I’m so excited to have found this website, The Sober School. Last night was not a good night. I had a stupid argument with my daughter and when I woke up this morning, I felt embarrassed and ashamed of myself. I’m drinking way too much I’m overweight, my memory sucks, my body is inflamed, I’m mad at myself, etc… You’ve heard it all thousands of times. I have tried to quit many times and I’m very good at convincing myself at the end of the day that I owe it to myself after a tough day. I love that you offer the chance to email you. Writing my feelings and thoughts I think will help me a lot. I’m not a talker but love to write. I love having the opportunity to have someone to talk to that doesn’t know me. It makes it easier to share. I think The Sober School is just what I need!

  12. I’ve been on and off with AF living for several years now and decided that this last time will be the one that sticks. Certain things still trigger me, such as the thought of vacationing, etc., but I’ve been working on how I will handle that when the time comes. Just this morning my sister made a remark about how she wants to vacation in Italy with me and how can we do that if I’m not drinking? I told her that I’d be fine drinking sparkling water and not to worry about what’s in my glass. I also made it plain that I had worked very hard to get myself where I am and had no desire to fall from my perch of sobriety back down into the mosh pit of drinking. She acknowledged that but it bothered me that she still equates alcohol as a prerequisite for having a good time. My sister knows that her drinking isn’t doing her any favors so I’m sure that my abstaining might make her uncomfortable about her own consumption, but that’s something she has to work out for herself.

    1. Hi Catherine, ‘you do you’ as they say, we can’t control what others think and do. You are making the right choices for you and you will have many wonderful AF vacations I have no doubt.

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