Kate's Blog

Not Drinking? Don’t Worry – You’ll Fit Right In

Before I quit drinking, one of my biggest concerns was the reaction I might get from other people.

I imagined walking into a bar, ordering a non-alcoholic drink, and the entire place going quiet as people turned in shock.

(I know – dramatic or what?!)

Fortunately, a lot has changed in the past nine-and-a-bit years since I quit.

If you’re worried about fitting in as a non-drinker, I’ve got some cool facts and a great mindset hack to share with you in today’s video.

Key points

Sobriety is becoming more mainstream

Times are changing – and there’s so much evidence to back this up. Here’s my random little list:

–  Almost a third of pub visits in the UK are now alcohol-free
– The number of alcohol-free restaurant visits is even higher (37%)
– Sales of low-alcohol and no-alcohol beers have almost doubled in the past five years
– Gordon’s has created an alcohol-free version of its pink gin after the success of its regular AF version
– Even fictional soap opera pubs have alcohol-free beer on tap!
– Earlier this year I shared this blog post about 64 famous women who don’t drink. I already have 20 new names to add to the list
– The singer Katy Perry recently launched a new range of non-alcoholic aperitifs
– The model Kate Moss was on Desert Island Discs a few weeks back casually talking about how happy she is to be three years sober

Watch your language

I know there will be someone reading this who thinks, “Yeah yeah – that’s all very nice, but in my world, it’s different. Everyone I know still drinks, that’s what we do together, and I won’t fit in if I do something else.”

If you ever find yourself making sweeping statements and using words like “everyone” then take note of that. It’s highly unlikely that everyone you know drinks, but the more you focus on that statement, the truer it will seem. 

Flip your filter

Start looking for evidence that people in your life are drinking less. When you do that, you’re more likely to notice what else is available in your local pub, or spot the friend who has quietly stuck to soft drinks all evening.

The most common piece of feedback I get from my Getting Unstuck clients is that they’re surprised to discover their friends don’t drink quite as much as they thought they did. Could it be the same for you?

Looking for help and support to create a sociable, alcohol-free life you love? Click here to find out more about my Getting Unstuck coaching programme.

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. 


26 Responses

  1. Hello, Kate,

    Hardly anyone whom I know (except for me) still drinks alcohol. In fact, when I host a dinner or lunch and ask if there is anything which people do not eat, i.e. red meat, etc., more often than not these days, I also receive a reply saying “I do not drink alcohol, either, but I will bring my own drinks.” Someone from my family sent me the following update: “It is now over 3 years they are both living sober and the changes have been very positive for their health, happiness, work, and social life. “

  2. I agree its so true I always end up drinking because I’m afraid of what people will think or afraid I won’t enjoy the night without it

    1. Strange isn’t it? And yet in other situations, we’re quite happy to have a preference and choose exactly what we want.

      1. Hi Kate thank you so much for your help I justxhad a break down the other day I can’t remember the last time I cried I’m staying positive .bless you

  3. What a brilliant point, Kate. Friends I used to go out drinking with now tell me they have quit, for various reasons – supporting a spouse, health reasons (lots of health reasons in fact! Chickens start to come home to roost in your 40s and 50s), even vanity/appearance – so we go for coffee or brunch instead, and laugh and connect just as much as we always used to.

  4. It’s been 2 weeks now since I’ve stopped drinking. After a health scare. I really want to do this xx

  5. Kate,
    Thank you for sharing this – it is such good news! I see it all around me – Alcohol Free living rocks!
    I went to a restaurant the other night and they had a whole list of alcohol free fancy drinks – it was wonderful. And, I am having fun at home trying new recipes for special AF drinks that I can share with friends.
    Since I have gone alcohol free, I have not had any push back for not drinking. I stay super positive about my new upgraded life without the booze and some people are genuinely interested in wanting to learn more. With programs like yours and the popularity of sober podcasts and instagram posts, it is easy to spread the information and feel part of a whole new movement that empowers people who don’t drink!

    1. Alcohol-free living really is a lifestyle upgrade and the rest of the world are slowly realising that too! It sounds like you are being a super, sober role model Tiffany, well done you ❤️

  6. It’s been just over 2 years AF for me and I’m always amazed at how many people Don’t drink, it really is becoming very except-able to not drink alcohol. I’m a Oct 2020 grad. Best thing I did was take the course. It put all of MY puzzle pieces together for me.

  7. I am a binge drinker and after a night out I wake up anxious/embarrassed about any stupid behaviour I may have done. I want to give up alcohol but it is so much part of our social life that I feel everyone will comment and make a big thing of it. I don’t drink regularly, but when I start I just don’t stop

  8. Yes it’s true. I’ve been wanting to quit drinking since 2014 honestly. It seemed harder before. Something has shifted. I quit mostly in 2020, I would have the rare drink. And now I quit entirely this year. It doesn’t seem as hard. I met up with a close friend and she told me without prompting she quit drinking. This is before I admitted I don’t either. She always used to have her one cocktail. Now who needs it? Maybe it will get to the point where we don’t even talk about it?

    1. I recently disclosed to some ‘friends’ that I was living sober for the past 7 years, that I’m a recovering alcoholic, and guess what I never heard from them again. I’m aware, that it is their issue and not mine, but rejection is rejection and it’s not ok to be on the receiving end or it. The stigma of alcoholism still very much exists.
      I hear people I talk to say, that they drink too much and quickly follow their statement up with, ‘But I’m not an alcoholic’ again people are terrified of being labelled ‘an alcoholic’. It’s so sad really, as I think more people who are experiencing alcohol abuse, would seek help earlier but are frightened of being labelled. I’m at ease with my sober life and who I am, and stopping drinking was the best action I have ever taken.

  9. Kate, this is so relevant to me. I live in a very social village and regularly invited out for drinks. Large gatherings don’t seem a problem but smaller gatherings seem to create a feeling of embarrassment if I ask for a non alcoholic drink and I find myself trying to justify why I am not drinking. I know I don’t owe anyone an explanation but feel I am being unsociable. As you say this is all in the head and I can my mindset.

    1. You absolutely don’t owe anyone an explanation, but I find a short, positive reply such as “I feel so much better without it” is often best and move the conversation on. We don’t judge people for being vegetarian or gluten free, so why should it be any different with alcohol?

  10. Hi Kate
    Currently I can go 3 to four days without drinking then I end up getting drunk I always hate myself the nxt day

  11. I’m day three AF. For the last 2 days my husband and I have gone to bars for lunch and both times I have ordered AF beer. I can only drink 1.5, they are so filling. And yes I did look around and notice plenty of people at the bar drinking soda, seltzer whatever. It is a great feeling to feel like I am not sticking out like a sore thumb.

      1. I’m so glad I found this website! Thank you Kate and everyone.. I’ve read/listened to every single thing. It’s my first night out tonight AF and thanks to everything I’ve listened to here my mindset is so different to other times. It’s only been since last Saturday night so not even a week but I just feel different this time without such restrictions. Wine has been wrecking my life in that grey zone for many years now, yes I did dry January but god did I make up for it in April/May/June/July/August. I’ve had half a bottle of wine in the fridge since last weekend (unheard of!) which I poured away yesterday.. I just don’t want to put it into me anymore. No more beating myself up every single morning is heaven and that last hangover.. no thank you! Keep blogging Kate it’s brilliant!! Thank you, Jem x

  12. I am now 5 weeks without alcohol, longest in 35 years (excluding pregnancy). I went out last night to a pub for the first time since stopping and not one person in the group asked why I was drinking alcohol free lager. It really empowered me and made me realise that I can do this again… and again, and again! Fingers crossed! Thanks for the videos Kate.

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