Today I wanted to share an extra large dose of motivation and inspiration…
…Something to get you fired up for the New Year (or help power you through the next week, if you’re aiming for an alcohol-free Christmas!)
As a sobriety coach, I’m in touch with a lot of people who’re living incredible lives after ditching alcohol. When you let go of something that’s been holding you back, all kinds of wonderful things tend to happen!
So, a few days ago I asked some of my Getting Unstuck students to answer a simple question:
Is there something you’ve experienced recently that would never have happened, if you’d still been drinking?
Here are their answers 🙂
“I applied for, got and started my DREAM job. I wake up each morning well rested, rock the early morning barre class and I’m at the office by 8am ready to take on the day — clearheaded, calm and guilt free! Flashback to a year ago and I was slogging through the day at a job that had truly become a dead end — showing up at 10ish, riddled with stress and anxiety, and wondering how all of the well-adjusted people pulled it off.”
“I celebrated my 70th birthday two days ago by holding a champagne afternoon tea for my female relatives and friends while enjoying AF drinks myself. I treasure the note in my daughter’s card: ‘We are VERY proud of your enormous accomplishment this year! Vive le mocktail!!'”
“My son trusted me to look after his children for two nights.”
“I went on holiday with my parents and son to the Isle of Wight. It rained the entire holiday, every day. Instead of numbing the misery in the evening with my mum (who also didn’t drink) we played lots of games and each morning I did a 30 minute run in the rain!! I have NOT run my entire life!! Also… I bought an electric drum kit!! I used to play when I was younger and feel that I’ve taken a little something back for myself. So although I still work full time and take my son to all his sporting commitments, I now jump on my drum kit too. Before, I would have got in from work, necked several glasses and by 8pm I’d be ready to head to bed.”
“I bought a new horse and am out there ‘doing it’ rather than moping around in a stable talking about doing it, dreaming about doing it or avoiding doing it!!!!”
“If I were still drinking, I wouldn’t be enjoying the relationships I do now. Being able to approach being a girlfriend, sister and daughter with a clear head has been a source of great pride and joy.”
“I’ve loved seeing the look of pride in my daughter’s eyes every time she sees me return from an event or social occasion totally alcohol free.”
“If I was still drinking, I wouldn’t be planning my backpacking trip on the Pacific Crest Trail!”
“Since quitting alcohol, I got engaged to the love of my life, got a puppy and graduated my masters program with a 4.0!”
“My husband and I are separating, but we’re now friends, rather than the enemies we were about to become. Although we will not be married in the future, I now have a lifelong friend which was the core of us, so I’m eternally grateful that was saved.”
“I’ve gained self respect. That’s the best thing, no more head games.”
“I’ve sat back down at my piano and improved myself tremendously… my two young boys have seen me practice and move up a grade quicker than expected (I’m SOO proud of that). I bought myself a flute for my 50th birthday this Christmas, (partly so that when I’m 60 I can say I’ve been playing it for 10 years!) I’m teaching myself to play… it’s an utter joy. I’ve also put my foot down about Christmas and the in-laws… it’s my 50th on Christmas Eve and we’re going away skiing. I’m NOT spending my birthday preparing vegetables for anyone!! 😉 Gosh – this list is endless… I was so scared of long, dull & lonely evenings and now I don’t seem to have anywhere near enough time to do all the things I want to do… I’m so busy doing them!
“If I’d still been drinking, I would not have trusted myself to have my one year old granddaughter stay overnight. This is something I’ve really enjoyed doing.”
“Without sobriety, I could not have maintained an A in my nursing program for 4 consecutive quarters! I’ve gone from a life of scrabbling to keep it together, to a life that feels richer, slower and more fulfilled.”
“I used to think some people were kind of out of my league socially… if they were too together and polished. Not anymore. Sobriety – plus all the support I’ve received here – has made me so much more confident.”
“I have a better relationship with my husband, more patience with the kids and I feel like a better mother. Plus, I’m in a better financial position because I got a new job – and I’ve saved so much money by not buying wine, haha!”
“I always thought I suffered with bad nerves, because I used to wake up feeling nervy like I had done something terrible. Those feelings have gone now and it feels absolutely wonderful.”
“I published my first book in October! I had been trying to finish this for eight years. Being alcohol free unleashed my creative energy!”
“Today I made the first move to get together with my half sister. We haven’t spoken since September 2009! Whilst things will never be the same I’m hopeful for my dad’s sake we will be able to get to a civil relationship.”
“A three day tramp in the mountains, an overnight tramp with my daughter and partner… and my sister trusted me with my nephew overnight.”
“I’m a proud April 16 graduate of your course. I can’t point to one good thing – life is just better, period.”
“157 days AF today, and the most wonderful thing that has happened to me since I stopped drinking is that I’ve got my life back. For that I will be eternally grateful.”
I’d say the best thing about giving up booze is sleeping through the night. As a life long insomniac, this is like a miracle! And the other best thing is remembering everything I said and did the night before, and waking up at 8 am feeling great as opposed to a 3 am with a raging hangover from a blackout, and being filled with guilt and anxiety. The other best thing is the huge gains I’ve made in my career. And my fitness level. And I’m writing.
Couldn’t have put it better myself Paula, sleeping all night and I’m now actually eating properly, instead of drinking as soon as I walk in from work I now have dinner which I’ve not done for a long time tbh, as I’m usually to bloated up on larger and then not eat properly, also not missing feeling like crap all day at work and feel more patient and in control, so all good so far
How long did it take for you to get a decent nights sleep after you stopped drinking? If I don’t drink I have a really restless night, I hardly sleep and for the short time I do sleep, I have vivid dreams which leave me feeling exhausted.
It actually took me a long time…almost a year. But I could have sped things along if I knew then what I know now: I had severe anxiety and my nervous system was haywire, so I drank to calm down and ‘tune out’. Nervous systems become overactive for several reasons, but I resolved my underlying issues with psychotherapy. Not cheap but when I think of what I spent on booze, a good investment. I also found Yoga helpful because it combines deep breathing with conscious movement. Some people prefer other types of exercise, but as i high strung person Vinyasa Yoga works best for me. The loud music they play at gyms makes me frazzled. I also did/do meditation, which I am still not the greatest at.
Many people give up drinking and are sleepin’ like a baby in no time. But it depends how long/much you’ve been drinking. Insomnia sometimes happens in early sobriety for some people, as the brain may need time to get it’s act together. But I had extra baggage which was a component in my alcohol abuse.
If you are drinking to fall asleep,some relaxation techniques may be in order. Maybe Kate will do a blog on it, if she already hasn’t!
I need to feel this way
Wow u sound just like we’re I was hope I can get to ure level x
Omg that is me hope I can get to we’re you are now xx
Well said! All the things I want to be feeling…starting today.
What you note resonated with me. Note the time of writing this, I’ve just woken up at 8am fresh and well rested. This isn’t just an ordinary day either, my Hisband and I always come to Leeds for a weekend of shopping, go for a booze lunch/evening meal and stay in a hotel. I’ve been known to overindulgence on this visits and wake up sick and tired. This visit I didn’t drink (apart from Strawberry and Mint Lemonade and Virgin Pornstars – delicious! I even finished with a decaf coffee, I have never been capable of ordering one before.) I had the best time last night and cannot believe how proud I feel of myself this morning! Raring rather than dreading another day in the shops ♀️.
I’m with Cheryl . Let’s smash another myth – you know, the one about alcohol and the creative muse, unhappy tortured souls penning streams of consciousness ? I used to talk about writing a book . I used to even attempt it . In sobriety I’ve had more than 20 professionally published and write for a living . And some of them are even
Happy Books !
Love love love this post! The creative muse stereotype has always baffled me too … as a drinker I was least the productive person ever. Congratulations on your 20 books – that’s impressive 🙂
Kate I can’t thank you enough for these blogs! This one about what you have done sober that you wouldn’t have done drinking literally brings tears to my eyes of happiness for everyone and some sadness for myself that I didn’t get sober years ago..today is Day 65 with(at the very beginning) help from you and your blogs/posts that I found on FB and with the fellowship of AA..I can’t thank u enough..all your down to earth..real life/women stuff..I can’t explain it really helped..I’ve had all small stuff happen to me that wud never happen drinking..just enjoying life..being more happy energetic and less on edge/angry..if anyone new is reading this I thought I cud never do this but did it..I thought I’m all alone an single I’ll be bored and more lonely NOPE DRINKING ONLY MAKES IT WORSE..I can’t wait for even bigger things to happen and more miracles!! And they will!! Thank you thank you!! Let’s turn this alcohol-ridden world around!
I would be willing to bet that everything in my life is different due to choosing to live an alcohol free life! I actually told my hubby how much I was looking forward to this holiday season because I won’t be drinking! I look better, I’m thinner and I don’t have to worry about what I might do if I drank. I feel the best I’ve ever felt about myselfwell 57 isn’t a a bad age to figure it out! I’ve got so much life left to live. Thanks in part to the sober school program.
It’s incredible how much changes when you stop drinking, right?! Well done Julie and I hope you have an amazing holiday season! 🙂
Dear dear Kate, while taking the class, I feared an annual beach vacation
at the home of life long friends. Not only was is more fun than usual, but our host and hostess were totally onboard with my changes AND we found AF beer at their market in Mexico! I am a badass, and rocked my bikini. How I adore waking up eager to enjoy the new day.
You ARE a badass Maggie! That sounds like such a great holiday 🙂
I want to be after how do I start,
Hi Geraldine, I’d love to help you get started with this. I recommend taking a complete break from booze for at least six weeks. If you’d like some more support from me – and a step by step plan to follow – do check out my stop drinking course. The next one starts in January, perfect for the New Year! https://thesoberschool.com/course
Next Tuesday I will be a month alcohol free 🙂
Woo hoo! That’s brilliant Brodie, keep going! 🙂
Wow I also will be a month free next Tuesday!
I haven’t had a drink for three months and it feels great.
The problem is I’m lonely. Funny how all the friends who are normal drinkers don’t invite you to anything.
Sobriety is a great filter for life – sometimes it shines a spotlight on relationships and friendships that aren’t quite what we thought they were. Anyone who can’t be friends with you (or doesn’t want to hang out with you) just because you don’t drink, probably isn’t a true friend at all. Now sounds like a good time to let your friends know how you’re feeling – or look for some new ones.
I hear you on the loneliness..still plugging along..just me and my cat..all my friends are married with kids..not me..so it was very hard to quit drinking cuz I felt like I wud be more lonely and I still wanted to be “out there partying”..but this time around I’m not using that excuse to drink..I’m holding on for a better life and we will get it! Life certainly slows down a bit not drinkin but I like that..we will soon be less lonely!
The best thing about giving up alcohol has been feeling at peace with myself. I don’t wake up feeling guilty. I’ve started taking yoga again- it has been incredibly healing for both my body and my mind.
That sounds fantastic Melissa. Well done and Merry Christmas! 🙂
Hi Kate + all! Another great post, Kate, thanks! I can afford to go on two vacations a year now. I am more generous with charitable donations. I now use tools like meditation to calm myself down. I can make dark chocolate truffles. I have clearer boundaries with everyone in my life. I have a great relationship w my husband. Most of all, I feel pretty good about myself consistently, after oh so many years of beating myself up. Sobriety rocks!! Merry Christmas! xx
I love this list Jane! From charity donations to dark chocolate truffles… it sounds AWESOME! Merry Christmas x
Hi all, I loved reading your inspirational comments. I’m 55 years old and about to begin the journey to a better life AF. Funny how we can be so fully in charge until the 5pm craving sets on and you rush home for that first glass. Has anyone gone through this with no support from their partner/husband as I know mine won’t be helpful. My main motivation to do this is my 16 year old daughter, I don’t want her to think that daily excessive drinking is normal and I want to be able so say yes to whatever time she needs to be picked up from work or a friends house. I’m so glad to have found the Sober School.
Hi Petra, thanks for your comment. Stopping drinking with the support of a community of like minded people can really help you stay on track, especially if you’re not getting much support at home. I see you’re on the waitlist for my next stop drinking class (which has a big online community within it) so I’ll email you some more details about that nearer the time. We’ll have you beating wine o’clock in no time!
Thank you Kate! I am so ready for this and life again. Reading all the comments is so encouraging. I look forward to hearing from you. Merry Xmas to all of you amazing ladies and I can’t wait to join the AF club.
Petra, I Am in your boat. Today is day 1 for me and I know my husband will not be on board. It makes it much harder, but not impossible. Let’s do it together
Hi Anna, thank you for the message. I was hoping someone would want to contact me. I can’t start today as I’m afraid that I will fail with Xmas drinks in the street, big family Xmas and catch ups between Xmas and new year etc etc. I have to let the silly season be over and start the new year like a new life which will go hand in hand with weight loss and feeling so much better. Good on you for making this decision. My partner is certainly not my friend anymore and (unfortunately) I have to be 100% ready to do this without his support. Every time I promised myself to slow down or try to stop drinking he would bring another carton of wine home. Be strong and please keep in touch.
Hi Petra…and all the other lovely people on here. I made it through day 1!!! I’m so proud and excited. I know it sounds insignificant but just saying no to that first glass of wine was incredibly tough. Now that I’m in day two I feel exhilarated. I really feel that first day is the toughest. I mean, if I could do it yesterday, why shouldn’t I be able to do it again today?
And to my surprise, my husband only had one beer last night. Maybe I was wrong and maybe there is the tiniest possibility he will take this journey with me . Good luck to all of you and Merry Christmas.
Hi Anna, only people who are in a similar situation can understand just how difficult it is to say no to that first glass and break the cycle. Congratulations!! I look forward to joining you on this life changing journey. ☺️
Hi Petra, I could have written this pretty much word for word. My husband is a great guy but doesn’t understand why just limiting myself to one glass of wine is such a hard thing to do. I’m on the list for Kate’s course so we can support each other!
Hi Molly, thanks for making contact. I’m overwhelmed that people care. You’re lucky that you’re partner is a great guy and yes, people don’t understand that the first glass can never just stay at that or often just the first bottle without cracking open the second. My partner basically just lives here and is too money hungry to leave us which creates a very toxic household and this is another thing I want to change in the new year. Not only does my 16 year old see me drink every day but also doesn’t experience what a loving caring relationship is. Can’t wait for the course. Merry Xmas Molly and let’s keep in touch please.
I am still drinking. I’m having a glass right now!!
I suffer with depression and anxiety and used alcohol as a coping strategy, I basically drank myself to sleep then woke up feeling more depressed and anxious than ever.
I don’t want to give alcohol up, but I want to be able to treat it as my friend and not my enemy. I’m hoping to give it up to altogether at some point, but now is not the right time for me x
Hi Leona, it sounds as if you’d really benefit from a break – I’m sure you’re aware of the link between alcohol and depression & anxiety? I know it feels as if alcohol is helping with those issues, but long term it’s definitely making both of them worse. If you want any help shifting your mindset around this (so you don’t feel as if you’re ‘giving up’ anything – because trust me, there’s nothing to ‘give up’!) do make sure you check out my next stop drinking class. It all kicks off again in January: https://thesoberschool.com/course
Hi Kate, would it be ok for me to ask if any of the ladies are in Brisbane? I don’t really have any friends and this would a great opportunity to build ongoing friendships as we can relate.
I’ve been right where you are, saying that I enjoy wine and like the taste but realistically that can’t happen. Well not for me or people I know that have tried. Alcohol is a depressant and once you have one you will want more. Maybe try your doctor for antidepressants. I am going through menopause and anxiety and I take Femular and anxiety relief, both from the chemist. My fear is that whilst I keep drinking my heart, liver and kidneys may suffer beyond repair. We can support each other. Merry Xmas. X
I could write an essay on the improvements in my life since I stopped drinking last January. Some easy obvious gains, I look better, I do yoga everyday, I eat better, I have more time, I’ve started knitting again. Some less physical ones, I am content, I’ve lost that dissatisfied restless feeling, a mixture of anxiety, boredom, fear and guilt I think. I am calmer, nothing is a calamity anymore, I’ve had some difficult times with some serious health and family problems, but I’ve had to sit with them and work out how to get through them. I don’t immediately look for a quick fix for problems, I am more able to wait with them and see if a way of resolving them shows itself, even if this takes some time. I am flawed, imperfect and impatient, but I am the best version of me that I have ever been without alcohol in my life. I feel immense gratitude.
Thanks Helen, what a lovely post – and what a massive change you’ve gone through! Merry Christmas 🙂
Going into my 7th week of no alcohol. I sleep much better, and have so much more energy and stamina that i need as a working mother for 2 boys. I need every ounce of energy to achieve my dreams. I have a chance, a real chance everyday to raise my kids with kindness and patience, do my job with real pride, give my body a dose of 30 min of exercize to reward it for carrying me around all day. I choose to operate on a higher level of awareness, with a clearer mind and a stronger body. I choose to be kind to myselfmerry christmas and happy new year to all. Wishing you all the strength to carry you through everyday alcoholfree this holiday season. Treat yourself everyday to a clear mind and a strong body
Congratulations on your 7 weeks Mini – and merry Christmas!
My family and I sold our house in Atlanta, Georgia, and moved to Hawaii. One of my children is homeschooling, the other is in a Hawaiian charter school, and my daughter and I joined a hula halau (a traditional hula company). Also since quitting, I’ve trained for a 5k and lost 10 pounds. Alcohol free, I’ve gone on my first cruise, got through last Christmas and all major holidays, survived the death of a pet, and oh yeah, moved to Hawaii. 😉
Wow! Impressive stuff JM, well done! 🙂
I’m only a week sober(hopefully for good this time!) But when I am sober I take a lot more pride in my home and myself. I have the time to decorate, do home improvements and go shopping for things other than the essentials
Brilliant, keep going Laura! Merry Christmas 🙂
I’m three weeks AF and I can’t wait to spend Christmas sober with my family. They’ll be drinking a bit but I don’t want to at all.
I’m really excited about the year ahead and what positive changes I can make in my life and in my body and mind.
I hear you! Me too! Can’t wait to have a sober Christmas!! Amen! Merry Christmas to all!!
I turn 50 in a couple of weeks and have been drinking throughout a very tough few years. I have made the decision to stop on the first of Jan. It’s going to be hard but I need to take control of my life rather than the booze taking control of me.
I have tried in he past but failed as alcohol has numbed the pain I have endured during an abusive relationship, subsequent divorce and a relocation.
I am enrolling in a local yoga class and intend to pay regular visits to my local sports centre to return to swimming, a sport I really enjoy. I’m hoping that filling the time with positive activities will distract me from the usual wine o’clock yearning.
How do you all maintain the impetus to not drink ?
Hi Gail, I am with you, Jan 1, no more excuses no matter how valid. We have to look after ourselves and living AF is winning! This blog will see us through and is, as Anna put it, like a secret club where no one judged and we all understand and support each other.
Thankyou Petra. Your words are very encouraging. I’m now psyching myself up for what is going to be a really positive step. I will be calmer, less anxious and more focussed and I’m sooo looking forward to having a clear head . I think I have used my past as justification for my drinking but having just bought my own home I’m determined to ditch the past and look towards the future. It’s going to be hard but I’m hoping that with guidance and support from all of the wonderful people on this site, success is on the horizon. X
Kate,I love your blog. It is my only means of support as I am too embarrassed to let anyone close to me really know what’s going on in my head. I’ve stopped drinking several times and then started drinking again for some stupid reasons. Last nite my husband came home with my favorite wine after I had announced to him the nite before that I quit drinking. I had two glasses of wine. It didn’t taste good and i wondered why I was drinking it the entire time. I woke up with a headache this morning, feeling so frustrated and angry at myself. So I sat here in the dark and read a ton of your blogs and comments…I am doing this. I am not looking back. And I will use your blog as my strength. Thank you for all of the amazing posts!!!!!!! I feel like all of us are friends in a secret club and I know I can do this with all of you. Day 1…
Hi Anna, I can so relate to you. I am a mum of 3 adult children, a teenager and have 5 grandsons. We are supposed to be the rock, have it all together. Instead we are so embarrassed. I don’t even know how I got to this stage. I never ever drink during the day it’s only when that 4 o’clock onwards craving hits. This blog is what I needed to get me through. We all understand each other and you gave it the perfect name “the secret club”. My partner has been away all week but no doubt will come home with not just a bottle but a carton of wine. I have tried many times to cut back but I feel that this time I can definitely see it through. Stay strong. X
Well I made another genius decision last nite. I convinced myself that drinking vodka and soda would somehow be better than drinking wine. I blacked out…think I made some plans with people I don’t care for but I’m not sure because I can’t really remember. I didn’t want to type this. I wanted to lie. But I refuse to lie to the secret club. even if I lie to everyone else. I really need to change. Not tomorrow or next week, but right now. My Christmas gift to my self and my family is going to be my sobriety.
Hi Anna, I’m so glad you are so honest and share the rawest of raw. I’ve done the exact same thing. Hate the black outs and pretending I remember as well as trying to piece together what happens after checking messages and Facebook. One step back but so many forwards.
Thank you, Petra. Such kind words
Here goes, today I’ve woken up with yet another terrible hangover. Im 44yrs old and believe I am only fun and entertaining when drunk..truth is I look a mess and make a fool of myself. I don’t drink regularly but I drink socially and each time I drink far too much, because I don’t drink often I tell myself I don’t have a drink problem. The truth is I do, I have no off button, my teenage son had to help carry me upstairs that is mortifying. I have signed up for dry January and posted this on fb and the comments were embarrassing people laughing and joking at my expense not one person offered support or believed in me. I don’t believe in me either and although I really want to be alcohol free Im scared I will fail, Im scared people will think Im an alcoholic..Im scared…
I’m in the same boat! Not drinking often but when I do it’s like having no off switch! Ignore the comments! You are doing this for you and family (people you care about). That’s what I have finally come to realise and it’s only that which will make you push past the negativity! Think how amazing you’ll feel going on a night out and going home feeling fine 🙂 my biggest challenge is comments from others but ignore them it’ll be totally worth it!! Xx
Kate, thank you for the video blogs. So motivational and extremely helpful. I am on day 3 in the middle of the holidays!!! Unbelievable. Went out last night for a celebratory dinner at one of my favorite hang outs…had sparkling water and thoroughly enjoyed and “remember” the evening. Thank you is all I can say. You have no idea how much you have encouraged me as well as all the others commenting on here. It really will be a Happy New Year!
I’m embarking on a dry Jan and beyond! I have come to realise that I need to do it and finally want to do it!
My trouble is “friends” saying I’m boring and constantly questioning me when I don’t drink. My partner hates me drinking and I’ve realised that I hate me too when I drink.
How do you get past the negative comments?!
Laura, maybe you need to stay away from those friends for a while until you get your footing under you. If your partner wants you to change, then turn to that person for your support. Let them know what you are doing and why it is important for you to have the support. Maybe you will find as your sober days increase, those “friends” really don’t have anything in common with you, except for drinking. You can do this!
Laura, any friend who says you are boring when you are not drinking is NOT a friend. Maybe they are jealous that you are making a fabulous decision and they wish they could do the same but are not ready. In any case, I’d rather be boring than sloppy, clumsy, annoying and sick.
People drink to chase a feeling they are missing and to numb themselves. Be proud that you no longer feel the need to do that.
So drink a cup of tea, read a good book, slip into bed feeling relaxed and peaceful and sleep deeply. Wake up and feel refreshed and energized.
That’s not boring…that’s perfect.
Well, it’s Thursday 4th January 2018 and today is my Day 1 for 100 days + at least.
I am tired of drinking everyday and then having a restless nights sleep and waking up feeling tired and wondering how I am going to get through the day.
I would really welcome some advice of how to get through Day 1 AF and then how to maintain it.
Hi Jacqueline, I’m happy to help you with this – have you seen that registration for my online course is open? That’s the best way for me to work with you. You can join here: https://thesoberschool.com/getting-unstuck/