Kate's Blog

A Booze-Free Buzz: 4 Of The Best Natural Highs

I used to love the buzz I got from alcohol.

I was hooked on the sugary rush those first few drinks delivered; they seemed to give me a boost. They made me feel good… for a while.
When I was drinking, it was hard to imagine that anything else could do quite the same job. But that’s the thing about alcohol – it messes with your head.
When you get into the habit of drinking too much, it’s easy to forget that there are natural highs out there. Healthy highs that will give you the boost you crave, without making you feel like you’ve been run over by a bus afterwards.
When we take good care of our bodies – and we stop drinking a toxic, mind-altering poison – we can tap into the natural, internal, genuine highs that the world provides us.

Here are 4 ways to get a natural buzz:


Move your body

Have you heard of a runner’s high? When you exercise, your body releases endorphins. These feel-good chemicals are sometimes referred to as ‘natural morphine’ because they spark a positive, euphoric feeling. They help you hit the reset button naturally, instead of relying on wine.
The good news is that you don’t have to work out, or go on a tough run to boost endorphins – dancing, gardening or a brisk 30 minute walk all count too. It’s a win-win, because regular exercise doesn’t just make you feel good, it helps you look good and stay healthy too.
If you can find the time to drink (and recover from drinking) then you can find the time to exercise.

Listen to great music

When we listen to music we love, our brain releases dopamine – a feel good chemical that puts us in a great mood. That’s why listening to familiar songs can overwhelm us with positive feelings; we feel ‘high’ because our bodies are experiencing a physiological reaction to the music we love.
Start experimenting with different playlists – listen to music on your commute home and work out what makes you feel good at the end of a tough day. Think of it as trying to ‘reset’ before you walk through the door.
You could also drink some water or green juice, because feeling hungry, tired or sluggish will increase your cravings. Or listen to music whilst you exercise at the same time!

Get outside more

When I think back on some of the times I drank the most, they were also periods when I spent very little time in nature. I moved from an air-conditioned office, to my car, to home. I even exercised indoors. I was spending way too much time surrounded by concrete, computer screens and artificial light. No wonder I felt drained.
In sobriety, I’ve found nature to be one of the most reliable boosts there is. Spending time in forests, gardens or parks makes me feel better, mentally and physically. Just look at this picture! I took it during a walk this morning. Relaxing or what?

If you don’t live in the countryside, you can still seek out green spaces. One study found that taking a walk in a park helped to ease brain fatigue. So, yet another reason to take a proper break at lunchtime, or go for a walk at the end of the day.

Laugh more

Laughter releases feel-good endorphins into your system. It relieves tension, helps us bond with others and has a relaxing effect on the whole body. So try and spend more time with people who make you laugh, or watch a funny movie or read a silly book.
Comedy podcasts are my personal favourite – they’re a really good, end-of-the-day treat. They certainly make the daily commute more entertaining. And who doesn’t want to arrive home with a smile on their face?

The most important thing is to keep experimenting!

Here’s the biggest hurdle you’ll face with all of this: keeping your mind open to the idea that other stuff can give you a natural high. Alcohol creates artificial highs and crushing lows. When you’re locked in that boozy cycle, it’s easy to dismiss other ideas or write them off as things that ‘won’t work for me’. (I know this because I’ve done that.)
But when you really start looking, you’ll find there are lots and lots of ways to get a sober high at the end of the day. In this blog I’ve mentioned the four things that I do most often – but I haven’t even talked about aromatherapy, gratitude practice, meditation or massages. The list is endless!

I’d love to hear your ideas.

What works for you? What do you rely on to get a natural high or a boost at the end of the day? Please let me know in the comments 🙂
Have a great week!

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. 


13 Responses

  1. One way I get high now is actually to get “high” – as in altitude. I live in the Rockies and I find that when I get above about 10,000ft I get this unbelievable, natural, very intense high that lasts well into the next day. Any hiking works wonders but, for me, hiking between 10-13,000ft is really an amazing feeling. Thanks for your ideas Kate!
    Your website was one of the first resources I found when I started looking around online for help with sobriety. Today is day 404 for me! I never imagined I’d make it this far!

    1. That kind of hiking sounds amazing – I bet the views are wonderful. Congratulations on your 404 days Kim, that’s brilliant! 🙂

  2. I totally agree with what you’re saying about the initial high of alcohol seeming really appealing but then it quickly goes from good to bad. For me the bad is overwhelming fatigue, often times crankiness or short temper and it just isn’t worth it. I have been trying to replace happy hour with zumba or barre exercise classes and today my friend said she’s noticed a change for the better in my energy and what I exude. So i am just going to keep focused on that!

  3. I completely agree about exercising and being outdoors….preferably done together! I’ve always enjoyed these things, but in my new sober life they have taken on a new appeal.
    The other thing I’ve noticed that gets me “buzzed” is acting goofy. Dancing with my cat, tickling my husband, telling a dumb joke….it’s all good!

  4. Unfortunately for me, my drinking is also tied up in a dysfunctional reward system where in I get to drink after I’ve participated in healthy activities. Kind of like smokers who have learned to combine coffee with cigarettes, and can’t imagine having one without the other, I’ve actually tried everything on your list but now they all trigger my cravings. For example, I walk home (about 3 miles) from work everyday (even taking the long route through the park while listening to podcasts or music!)and by the time I get home, my cravings are at an all time high. I feel as though every new idea I’m given to replace alcohol with, I just combine them until every activity becomes a new Pavlovian experiment. How do I stop this??

  5. I went and saw Bush last night and did not drink!! The show was amazing ( that Gavin Rossdale is so handsome and so healthy and I bet he doesn’t drink much because how could he keep that energy and those looks at 51??) we got home late, and I had to take my son to school this morning and volunteer in his classroom and it was fine everything was great. I had a great time last night and had an easy morning this morning and none of my memories of the evening are obscured and I didn’t spend any extra money. I’m thinking about using the money I would’ve spent on expensive concert drinks and buying a nice healthy sushi lunch. After I go on a nice hike!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Most recent

Needing help main-min
The Shame Of Needing Help To Quit Drinking
“I should be able to quit drinking on my own. I’m ashamed of my drinking and ashamed that I can’t get my act together and stop this.” This email landed in my inbox over the weekend and reading it took me right back to my drinking days. Back then,...
Read More
holidays main-min
"I Need A Holiday To Recover From My Boozy Holiday!"
Picture the scene: you’re boarding the plane to fly home after a trip away somewhere sunny… You’re tanned, but you feel terrible. Days of back-to-back drinking have taken their toll… and you’re glad to be heading home to recover. If you’ve ever...
Read More
Anne Hathaway main (1)-min
Anne Hathaway’s Sobriety And “Having A Problem”
I love it when famous people talk about sobriety and why they choose to be alcohol free. (So many red-carpet celebs don’t drink alcohol nowadays, it’s incredible.) The actress Anne Hathaway has shared that she’s now five years sober. Her milestone...
Read More

Enter your name and email below to download your free Wine O’Clock Survival Guide

As well as the guide, we’ll also send you helpful and inspiring weekly emails with free resources, tips & advice, plus details of our awesome products and services. We’ll take care of your data in accordance with our privacy policy and you can unsubscribe at any time.