International Women’s Day is just around the corner – so I wanted to celebrate the achievements of inspiring women who don’t drink alcohol.
I’ve written before about sober celebrities, because it’s amazing just how many stars have quit booze.
But my blog today isn’t your typical run down of famous faces who don’t drink alcohol.
Instead, I’ve picked out 5 amazing, alcohol-free women who truly impress and inspire me:
“For me, vulnerability led to anxiety, which led to shame, which led to disconnection, which led to Bud Light.”
Brene Brown was an obscure academic – an associate professor of social work at the University of Houston – until her TED talk on vulnerability went viral.
Nowadays, she’s an Oprah approved author with a string of best-selling books. Millions of people have been changed by her research into courage, vulnerability, shame and empathy. If you’re a woman – and a drinker – then I strongly recommend you check out her books.
Brene Brown quit drinking and smoking 20 years ago and I’m sure if she hadn’t done so, her important research may never have come to light.
My favourite quote:
“I wasn’t raised with the skills and emotional practice needed to ‘lean into discomfort’, so over time I basically became a take-the-edge-off-aholic. But they don’t have meetings for that. After some brief experimenting, I learned that describing your addiction that way in a traditional twelve step meeting doesn’t always go over very well with the purists…”
“The last time I had a drink was January 18th 1994. I feel so lucky. Anyone who’s struggling with alcohol, I promise you it’s possible to live a wonderful life – an infinitely better life – without it.”
I discovered Marian Keyes’ novels sometime during the late 90s and instantly loved them. Her books are often dismissively referred to as ‘chick lit’, but they tackle some pretty dark subjects. If you haven’t read Rachel’s Holiday (about a cocaine and alcohol addict drying out) then you must.
The best-selling author has been open about her other struggles too, particularly her battle with depression, which hit her in 2009 and lasted for three years. She later wrote a memoir about how baking helped her through her illness.
My favourite quote:
“I was convinced that if I couldn’t drink, my life wasn’t worth living. I was wrong.”
“I stopped drinking more than 15 years ago. I realised that I just couldn’t do it all – travel and work and drink.”
Christine Lagarde is the managing director of the International Monetary Fund. She is the first woman to head the IMF and was ranked the 3rd most powerful woman in the world by Forbes magazine last year.
Poised, chic and straight talking, she’s criticised the male-dominated, testosterone-fuelled culture at global banks, claiming that “if it had been Lehman Sisters rather than Lehman Brothers, the world might well look a lot different today.”
As well as being teetotal, Lagarde is also a vegetarian – both are traits which are practically a sin in her home country, France!
My favourite quote:
“If you are a little bit overweight, that’s fine. If you have gray hair, so be it. If you have big feet, so be it—I’m a size 11. It’s about being reconciled with yourself and projecting yourself—to friends, at work—as you are.”
“I had to grieve not drinking. That was so sad. But I knew that alcohol was the gateway to drugs for me, and it would still be the gateway. It’s just not worth it.”
These days, the 50 year old is the poster girl for healthy living, but the TV presenter and fitness fanatic was addicted to drugs in her twenties, after a tough childhood with an alcoholic mother who abandoned her.
I think I fell in love with Davina McCall during her gruelling 500 mile Sport Relief triathlon a few years ago, when she showed incredible strength and resilience.
She’s refreshingly unapologetic about her commitment to fitness and wellbeing. And yet somehow, she makes you feel as if you can do it too.
“A problem doesn’t have to be the end of your life or make you a victim. I am who I am because of the mistakes I’ve made.”
“My life is so busy that if I do have a day off I don’t want to spend it vomiting.”
Sarah Millican was 29 and working in a job centre when her first marriage ended. She turned her divorce into stand up – and struck comedy gold.
What do I like about Sarah Millican? Well, she’s unashamedly herself: an exercise-shy, pen-collecting, cake-lover who doesn’t drink because “the after effects weren’t worth the fun times”.
Fed up with the state of women’s magazines, she launched her own one with “no photoshopping, no calorie counting, no cellulite circling.” After critics mocked her for wearing a flowery dress on the red carpet, she deliberately wore it again, to make the point that she should be judged on her comedy, not her clothes.
“When people asked why I wasn’t drinking, I used to say, ‘I’m on big tablets.’ Now, if they try to push me into having a drink, I just say, ‘I don’t respond to peer pressure.’ If I did, I’d have had sex a lot earlier than I did.”
What a list of incredible women!! Two I had heard of but most I hadn’t. I love it! I didn’t know the IMF lady is a non-drinker now or a vegetarian. I’m considering giving up meat now that I’ve stopped boozing. Anyway thank you for sharing this! So inspiring! I love reading about Women who are leading the way in the area of living an alcohol free life!! You are on my list of inspirational women by the way! 🙂
Great list of women. Almost as impressive as our group in the sober school❤️
So true. They’re nearly as impressive as our Getting Unstuck gang 🙂
Love It!! We still be there too.
Absolutely! Anyone who stops drinking absolutely rocks ❤️
The sobriety movement is here to stay … and there are many ways to receive inspiration and support on your journey.
Its important to stand up and be proud of living a life of honesty and health .
Bravo to these amazing women !’
Congratulations to you on the Sober School
Thanks Beth. I agree – sobriety is definitely something to be proud of 🙂
Love this list – what awesome women! I want to add Anne Hatheway to the list. She recently announced shes stopped drinking in order to be a better mom. I thought that was pretty cool (and brave)
That’s a great shout. I know she got some criticism for those comments, but I think it’s great that she’s talking about this.
Such inspiring women, and so are you Kate x
Ah, thanks Carla! ❤️
Kate Moss! She stopped drinking last year and it made me stop and think. She was such a party girl, so if she can do it, anyone can!
Yes! I forgot about Kate Moss. Didn’t she used to be nicknamed The Tank, she drank so much on nights out?!
That list is really inspiring. They’re not celebrity-beautiful (as in movie star perfect beautiful) they are real women who made room for their true expression of themselves by removing an obstacle – alcohol. And they did it! And…they are truly beautiful, inside and out.
Absolutely. They’re amazing 🙂
Thank you this blog. What resonated with me was their unapologetic approach to their beliefs. I love Brene and her great work on shame and the courage it takes to be vulnerable. I agree exactly with the Lehman Sisters quote. It is so true and love Sarah’s moxie for giving to the Red Carpet critics. It reminded me of the Teddy Roosevelt quote on how easy it is to be the critic when not in the game giving it your all. Thank you, Kate
I love that ‘man in the arena’ quote from Roosevelt. These women are definitely ‘in the arena’!
Fantastic list! I love to read about successful sober women. My favourite on the list is Davina McCall, I love her as she always seems like the girl next door… and she’s the same age as me
Davina is awesome. I aspire to have that kind of bikini body!
Me too Kate!
“Wine is a mocker, beer is a brawler, and whoever staggers because of them is not wise.” Proverbs 20:1
Love this quote so much I’ve written it down! 🙂
Am glad for you Sarah.Writing it down is good with pen and paper as well as in our heart.Proverbs are essential given that it was King Solomon’s writing and he experienced all the “good” things a human desires.
“Who has anguish? Who has sorrow? Who is always fighting? Who is always complaining? Who has unnecessary bruises? Who has bloodshot eyes? It is the one who spends long hours in the taverns, trying out new drinks.Don’t gaze at the wine, seeing how red it is, how it sparkles in the cup, how smoothly it goes down.For in the end it bites like a poisonous snake; it stings like a viper.I will see hallucinations, and I will say crazy things.I will stagger like a sailor tossed at sea, clinging to a swaying mast.And I will say, “They hit me, but i didn’t feel it.I didn’t even know when they beat me up.When will i wake up so i can look for another drink?”
Proverbs 23: 29 to 35
So exciting to hear of more women in recovery! It took me on my 50th birthday, to really thinking about quitting. If it wasnt for my son, I dont know where I’d be. It will be 8 yrs sober in June and so proud of myself for the first time.
My favorite quote is
“A Champion is someone who gets up when he cant” Jack Demsey.
We All Rock in Our Sobriety✌
Thank you for the list of inspiring women who hold there own in this stressful world. I will be 2 years sober on Mother’s day and have never felt better. I too, didn’t know how to handle stress and lonliness and wine became my friend after the children were asleep. I’d battle through the next day with coffee, running and work, but always felt so so and oh so guilty. Thank you for all you do and for continuing to reach out to us.
Kate, I believe you are very successful. Necessity is the mother of invention”, as the saying goes. You have created a wonderful and successful business out of helping women who are ‘stuck’. Thank you for this innovation. If I ever drink again, ‘it’s on me’, NOBODY ELSE!
I am 6 months sober today. Some would say I’m a baby at being alcohol free. But, I’ve been trying for 40 years to come to terms with life without alcohol. The last six months of my life have been beautiful. I turn a healthy 75 in July. Better late, than never !