There are so many myths about non-drinkers and what it’s like to be sober.
It leads to questions like this:
“So… how do you have fun then?
“Don’t you get bored?”
“Is it because you’re religious?”
“I bet you still miss drinking.”
“Do you go to bars anymore?”
Since I stopped drinking, I’ve been asked ALL of these questions. Several times!
The problem is that these assumptions get repeated so often, they become ingrained in our culture and accepted as facts.
Today I want to dispel a few of the most common, crazy myths about non-drinkers.
Don’t let this nonsense hold you back from a hangover-free lifestyle!
Myth 1: We constantly pine for alcohol
I’ve been sober for more than 6 years and I never, ever miss it. Seriously. I’m not ‘battling the demon drink’ or ‘taking it one day at a time’. I’m not moping around, feeling as if my life lacks that special something.
I have no more desire to drink than I do to smoke cigarettes, take heroin or stick a fork in my eye. And I know lots of other non-drinkers who feel exactly the same way.
Once you cut through the social conditioning and educate yourself about booze, you start to see alcohol for what it really is – a beautifully packaged, brain-bending substance that delivers an artificial high, followed by a giant, soul-sucking low.
Myth 2: We all go to meetings
AA just doesn’t work for everyone. One of the reasons I created The Sober School (and my stop drinking course, Getting Unstuck) is because I wanted people to have more options. There is no ‘right’ way of quitting drinking – one pathway to recovery is never going to suit everyone.
You don’t have to go to meetings and you don’t have to label yourself. You can simply decide to stop drinking. Some people do it on their own, while others use books, counsellors or seek out help online.
Myth 3: We miss our old life
One of the reasons I stopped drinking was because I had a nagging feeling that I’d lived the same year twice; I was making the exact same mistakes and repeating the same frustrations and struggles.
When I look back on my drinking days, I don’t miss them at all. What stands out is how boring, dull and repetitive they were – nothing like my life is now. The sober version of me gets up to much more exciting things!
Myth 4: We must’ve hit rock bottom
Some people do have a dramatic rock bottom – a wake up call they can’t ignore. However, just as many don’t. Most non drinkers have just quietly decided to quit because they didn’t like the way alcohol was making them feel.
If you suspect that you might be better off without booze (and it’s ok if you’re not sure) then that is reason enough to take a break for a while. I wrote more about the myth of rock bottom right here.
Myth 5: We judge people who do drink
One thing I’ve noticed is that most non-drinkers are pretty open minded – after all, we’ve been there and done it ourselves. Personally, I have no problem with other people drinking. If alcohol is working for you, then great.
The only time I have an issue with other drinkers is if they make my sobriety an issue. The contents of my glass are not their business. So if they turn it into a big deal, it tends to reveal a lot about them and their relationship with alcohol.
Myth 6: Our lives are really dull now
One of the biggest myths about non-drinkers is that our lives become boring, because we’re no longer using a drug like alcohol. There’s an assumption that life without booze is ‘less’ somehow; less fun, less intense, less everything.
In fact, the opposite is true. The only thing ‘missing’ in my sober life are the killer hangovers, and I’m fine with that. Alcohol-free living gives you the time, energy and headspace to craft a life you genuinely love. One that’s so good, you don’t need to numb yourself from it.
Myth 7: We’re not interested in parties / clubs / bars
You can be sober and still like dancing, good music and the company of other humans. And if that happens to be in a bar or at a party, then so be it! Being sober does not mean living like a loser and never going out or having fun.
It is incredibly satisfying to have an amazing night out and know that a) you’ve created some great memories that you’ll remember clearly and b) the way you’re feeling is all genuine, because your feelings haven’t been chemically altered in any way.
Myth 8: We’re happy to make do with any old drink
I might not drink alcohol anymore, but I still have taste buds! I love the ritual of having a nice drink to unwind with at the end of the day – something that looks and feels feels special.
Fortunately, the alcohol-free drinks market is booming right now. High-end bars are serving delicious, alcohol-free drinks that are made with as much care and attention as the cocktails. Even my local pub has acquired an impressive range of ‘grown up’ soft drinks. Times are changing!
100% yes yes yes! So grateful I know all these things now.
Kate, you inspired me to start this journey of sobriety. With books and knowledge,I’m 3 weeks AF, despite a terminally ill sibling and alcoholic husband testing my resolve along the way but I know I have changed for the better. Thank you! x
Well done Karen. It takes guts to quit drinking at any time, never mind when you have so much else to contend with as well. I hope that having a clear, hangover-free head is some help during the challenging times ahead. Keep going – rooting for you!
Absolutely – so good to see these myths for what they really are!
“Once you cut through the social conditioning and educate yourself about booze, you start to see alcohol for what it really is – a beautifully packaged, brain-bending substance that delivers an artificial high, followed by a giant, soul-sucking low.” YESSSSS!
Thanks Nat! 🙂
I have been asked those questions as well. I am some of those things, but none of them matter to my sobriety. I did not go to one AA meeting. I just quit one day (thanks to finding you and your blogs). I have been sober for 18 months and counting! It is a much better life.
I’m so pleased to hear this! Congratulations on your 18 months Renee – that is fantastic!
I am also 6 years, 9 months and 21 days without a drink. I can remember someone asking me what have I gained? My answer was Saturday and Sunday mornings. I do not miss drinking one bit, and after the first 3 weeks, the habit was broken and i have never craved a drink again. I now enjoy lending my support and advice through a Facebook group and I hope that they find my story inspirational.
Hangover-free weekends never get old! Thanks for this inspiring post Amanda 🙂
Really good post!
Thanks Lesley 🙂
I’m only a week and a half in but it’s the first time I’ve ever seriously decided to stop drinking alcohol (and the longest I’ve not imbibed in 40 years). Although a newbie I can reply a hearty YES to all eight mythbusters you’ve listed.
Congratulations on your sobriety Rebecca – wishing you many more alcohol-free days ahead! 🙂
Hi Kate! Myth Number 6 really resonates. It’s so interesting how unboring sobriety is – so interesting to learn about how other people stay sober, how to navigate life on its own terms, see the world more clearly, learn new ways of seeing + managing life, becoming connected to other sober people. Best decision ever, almost 4 1/2 years sober. Always love reading your posts. x
Four and half years! That’s amazing Jane. It’s clear AF living has brought a lot of good into your life 🙂
I am almost 4 months AF. I graduated from the Getting Unstuck July 2019 class. I have more fun everywhere I go now, even though the first weekends were hard to deal with. I do not miss drinking at all. I absolutely love my new life, I lost 15 pounds, I have so much energy, I go to the gym now.
People use to ask me questions about why I won’t drink anymore, but since most of my friends already know I quite drinking, they don’t ask anymore. Taking The Getting Unstuck Course was the best decision ever.
Thanks so much Kate.
So good to hear from you Elvira! You are flying along and sound very contented with life. I’m so pleased for you! ❤️
Thank you Kate ❤️
Thank you so much, as always, for these awesome reminders, Kate! Another question: Should we feel obligated to tell people that we don’t drink when we are about to go on a trip that would usually entail drinking together? I just feel like I shouldn’t have to make it some big deal, but on the other hand, I have a feeling it would be on me for not saying anything. Thoughts? Thank you!
You’re never obligated to tell anyone anything – you don’t owe them an explanation or a warning. However, it might be helpful to let people know in advance, because that saves you from dealing with it on the spur of the moment. Plus, if you’ve told people in advance that you’re not drinking, you’re more likely to make it happen. So it’s really a case of what feels best to you and what approach will make life easiest.
Thank you so much for your thoughtful and very helpful response, Kate! You have been such an inspiration for me. This is the fourth stint of sobriety but it’s THE ONE. I really am staying as invested as possible to this PROCESS, not just wanting to feel immediate relief after long-lasting alcohol-induced depression. But now I know this is a careful dance until it just gets easier and easier over time. It’s the pressures that get me every time, which is the unfortunate part. I just want to belong, like we all do. But it used to be too much for me. This time, it’s FOR ME. And me only. Well, and my children 🙂 THANK YOU FOR EVERYTHING!
Thanks to you I am now approaching 900 days AF , my husband also now doesn’t drink and hasn’t for a year and a half. We can honestly say it’s our norm and we don’t miss it or think about it any more 🙂 all those sticky questions you get just roll off our backs and they soon get fed up of asking and accept you as non drinkers .
Big thanks to you
Wow, congratulations on your 900 days Claire! I’m pleased AF life is treating you well!
Hi Kate, I’m an April 2019 graduate and agree wholeheartedly with all of the above. I too love the ritual of having a nice drink to unwind with at the weekend – something for that aaahh moment when you sit down to relax – but now, thanks to you Kate, it is a “gin free tonic” with all the dressings or an AF beer. Loving this AF life. It’s a new start and a new beginning. For anyone thinking of doing Kate’s course, please give yourself this opportunity. It was my birthday present to myself and it is the best present I have ever had. Am now loving life and living in the present!
Lillian, thank you for writing this – what an inspiring post! It’s great to hear that things are going so well for you! I can hear how happy you are ❤️
Still working on it
Hi Suzi, if you need some help to make sobriety stick, I’d be happy to show you how (I know how hard it is, trying to do this alone!) The best way for us to work together would be via my stop drinking course, Getting Unstuck. Here are some more details: https://thesoberschool.com/course/
January ‘18 graduate. Sometimes I like coming up with thought provoking answers: “ why don’t you drink anymore?” “ I am saving money- I’ve saved over $10,000 so far. “ That gets their attention:) All the struggle fades away, and one day you are simply a non-drinker. I actually love saying to people who offer a drink “ I don’t drink alcohol any more.” Period.
Wow, $10,000 is a very nice amount to save! Great answers 🙂
Wow! One of the greatest I read on the subject so far! Thanks for that. “Educate yourself” is the key for me too. I think it is the way to go to have a plan that sticks, and that does not translate into a daily battle. Serenity is so good 🙂