If you’ve been toying with the idea of going alcohol-free for a while, you’ve probably already thought about the benefits of quitting drinking.
There are the obvious things, such as waking up hangover free (that never gets old!) saving money and making the most of your free time.
Then there’s the fact that you’ll probably look better, gain energy and you might even lose a pound or two.
But to be honest, those well-known side effects are just the beginning.
The benefits of quitting drinking go much deeper than that…
1. You’ll care less about what other people think
When drinking is the norm, sobriety requires you to go against the grain and stand out from the crowd. This can feel awkward and uncomfortable at first, especially for those of us who’ve spent a long time trying to ‘fit in’.
However, once you’ve done one brave and hard thing, it’s much easier to do more. Before you know it, you’re making decisions based on what feels right for you, rather than what you think you ‘should’ do.
2. Being sober will make you feel strong and proud
Before I quit, I thought sobriety would make me feel boring, weird or like some kind of failure. This is not the case. Doing the thing you thought you couldn’t do (which so many others can’t even contemplate) is a real boost to your confidence.
3. Your sense of what’s possible changes
When you’re drinking, it’s easy to just accept the status quo or fall into a pattern of saying “No, I couldn’t do that.” Sobriety changes that perspective, forcing you to reassess what’s possible and figure out what you really want.
I have a secret Facebook group for women who’ve graduated from my stop drinking course, so I get to see what they’re doing with their alcohol-free lifestyle. It’s brilliant to hear about all the amazing things they get up to, because their beliefs about what they can achieve have been altered.
4. You can show up for the people you care about
When you’re alcohol free, you can ferry the kids around without feeling annoyed that it’s interrupting your drinking time. You don’t need to rush through their bedtime routine so you can get back to your drink. You don’t have to cancel your weekend plans because you feel ill.
It’s so much easier to do the things that matter – and follow through on your good intentions – when you’re not feeling hungover or preoccupied by booze.
5. You can figure out what really makes you happy
Society has conditioned us to believe that drinking brings joy, and therefore sobriety will make us miserable. Yet when we step back and think about this, we can see it’s nonsense. If alcohol truly made us happy, you’d never meet a miserable drinker (and you probably wouldn’t be reading this!)
One of the benefits of quitting drinking is that you get to work out what truly brings you joy as an adult (if you’ve been drinking for a long time, you might not know). You also get the opportunity to work on the underlying issues that drove you to drink in the first place.
6. You’ll get clearer about who you want in your life
Sobriety is a great filter. When you remove this distracting, mind-altering substance from your life, it becomes a lot easier to see what is and isn’t working. Without alcohol papering over the cracks, some relationships won’t seem quite so solid, whilst others will feel much stronger than you anticipated. Either way, the blinkers are off and that is a good thing.
7. You find out who you really are
If you’ve spent decades thinking “Oh, I need a few drinks before I can do that” then the chances are you have a lot to learn about yourself. It is fascinating to get sober and discover that you’re not quite as shy as you thought and you can network without alcohol.
If you’ve spent years (or even decades) relying on alcohol to get you through awkward situations, you won’t know what you’re truly capable of yet. I bet you surprise yourself.
8. You have more options
When you’re sober, you can drive yourself home from a night out. You can pick a restaurant based on the food, rather than the wine menu. You can give your partner your full attention, rather than keeping one eye on the bottle. And you can stay out late and still get stuff done the next day, because you’re not hungover.
When we talk about sobriety, we tend to focus solely on the thing that’s being taken away, rather than the benefits of quitting drinking. Yet by removing alcohol from the picture, what we’re really doing is creating space for lots more options, choices and benefits.
9. You’re fully present
I think it’s interesting that alcohol adverts often promote booze as a way to connect. In my experience, drinking tends to make us less connected. You might be physically present but mentally, it can be a whole different story.
When alcohol steals our focus, we miss the subtler stuff – the special moments that make life what it is. We get short changed on memories. It doesn’t matter how many photos you take on a special occasion, nothing is going to be as good as being able to remember it yourself.
10. You’re free to live your best life
As a sobriety coach, the big thing I’ve noticed is that many women drinkers simply aren’t living their lives the way they want to. They’ve lost confidence in themselves. They don’t have the energy to do the things they used to love. They can’t focus on their goals, hopes or dreams because booze keeps holding them back.
Cutting out alcohol is about so much more than just not drinking. It’s about removing a roadblock to happiness and giving yourself the chance to live life fully. And trust me, there is so much life available on the other side of alcohol.
If you’d like some help to stop drinking and create an alcohol-free life you love, click here for details of my online course.
This is all SO true. I am getting close to 19 months now alcohol free and life is great. Sure it still has its ups and downs, but my gosh is it more manageable and it’s life-not the end of the world.
Since going AF, I have: started a new job that I could not have done while drinking, bought a house with my fiancé, moved my mom into our house into an in law suite to have her be near to us and to help her with medical issues, be fully present for my mom with her medical issues, and I’m planning my wedding for next fall.
I am also realizing that I don’t have to be everything to anyone and while it’s important to stay kind and gracious, I have distanced myself from company that drains me or isn’t a positive influence. I know who my friends are, what and who matter, and what I am capable of. My emotions are more balanced and my self esteem is good. Something that never could have been if I had been drinking. I also look better physically.
Going AF was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made!
As almost 500 days sober, I can attest to all of those! What is interesting, though, is that if I had read that list when I was drinking and smoking pot, I wouldn’t have really “gotten” it. It’s like someone who has never breathed fresh air trying to imagine what it is like. That’s why someone who is considering that perhaps their life would be better without alcohol needs to just try it! It is really hard to understand all the benefits until you start that new life, and then…. OH MY GOODNESS, THEN you get it.
I agree – often the best thing is just to start and dive right in. Well done on your 500 days Naomi! 🙂
im only on day 2 of AF..i have abstained from alcohol before for 8 years so i no the benefits of sobriety☺..alcohol gives me a false sense of security and a hazy look on life,completely turns me into a different person,inhabitions go out of the window and that crazy invincible feeling kicks in..i hate that feeling as i end up in a whole load of trouble/out of character,i was drinking secretly for a year but that mask is peeling off and things always spiral,im stopping again before its too late,ive been to rock bottem and dont intend to go back,so day 2 today..goodbye to that horrible year of secrets and lies..hello my old self back
That’s amazing Lo – it sounds as if sobriety has been truly life changing for you! Congratulations 🙂
Being available attentive and energetic enough to show up for those we love, children, husband and grandchildren… it’s a small sacrifice for a great reward. Thank you for your inspiration!!
I have just started my getting sober journey and am one week into it. I am a bit nervous about it and hope I can do it. I love your blogs and they have helped me make the decision to try. I am 67 years old and it is time if I want to improve the rest of the life I have left.
Good for you Alison. I am 61 and feel that I need to make this happen for myself too. It’s more than time and I want to have the best life possible with the time I have left too.
Allison I am with you. Today is day 9 and I just turned 68. I do not want to miss the rest of the time I have left and the chance to see who I am with out alcohol. We can do this
Hi, I am 63 and have been drinking a bottle of wine and more a night for over 30 years. I desparately want to stop but I’m also terrified of failure. I have done 11 days AF twice this year but today is the day I attempt to do the 66 days to break the habit . It is such a powerful addition and we deny it most of the time as it’s easier than trying to deal with it. Good luck to us all X
I’m 62 and my life has started over! 82 days AF and it is absolutely worth it to try your hardest. I drank every day as well. Are you taking Kate’s course? I was in the July class and working with 100+ women every day made all the difference. I wake up every day feeling great and sleep peacefully through the night. best to you,
The medical profession telling you that Four ozs of wine is your limit is not for me. Better not to take that glass out of the cupboard at all.
But living alone you need something to sip other than more cups of tea and definitely not pop, while you navigate the TV channels looking for something to watch at night.
But I have noticed that the wine diminishes your functionality as we age . Though sober, You really have to carefully hold on as you descend the stairs and so on. Any thoughts on Wine and aging?
I have been sober for over 3 months now and I love it. No more hangovers, I joined the gym and am doing more things because I have energy and focus.
Congratulations on your 3 months! Those hangover free mornings always feel good, right?! 🙂
I have been reading your inspiring blogs for a couple of years now. I have now been alcohol free for 10 days and I feel great. Still a bit nervous about being around drinkers and being tempted but I am proud of myself so far and feel much better! Thank you Kate for inspiring me
I have not started yet. Tonight will be my first night.
Hang in there Mary Ann! This is an awesome move on your part! I’m day 75 after taking Kate’s course. You’ve got this…so worth it.
All the best to you,
Go for it Mary Ann, you won’t regret it. If you need any support in making sobriety stick, I’d be happy to help – I know how lonely it can be, trying to figure this all out by yourself! My next online course starts soon – it’s a step by step guide to stopping drinking and feeling good about it. Here are some more details: https://thesoberschool.com/course/
A HUGE yes to #8!!!
Me too Mary Ann!
Hi Mary, me too! I’ve been thinking about doing this for a long time. It’s time to get on and do it. I’m nervous about how to control my poor willpower at 6pm, my usual 1st wine pour. Let me know how you get on.
Me too! Good luck tonight Julia
Thanks! Let’s do this! Stay strong.
How true is all of that! I have been sober since January 2018 course so approaching 21 months now. The best thing I ever did…..i the used the principles of alcohol giving me nothing and applied them to cigarettes in August 2018 and I am so fit and healthy that I am now currently training for a 10k run…..I wouldn’t have run for the bus before. I practice mindfulness and gratitude journalling. My marriage is even stronger than it was before. I am no longer a people pleaser and have changed every relationship I have for the better and most importantly I’ve changed how I feel about me, and I love me more. Thanks again Kate xxx
Everything said is true … I have taken a break since 3 July this year. I must say I am surprised it wasn’t as difficult as I thought initially ( although was tough) but did get easier. I just take one day at a time. I haven’t done a specific time commitment… I just find it too overwhelming to do that. I can only not drink one day commitment at a time.
I also stay off social media … I surprisingly don’t care what others are up to. It’s how I live that’s getting my attention.
It’s great to hear from you Zoe and see how well you’re doing. Many congratulations on your sobriety, and well done for quitting smoking too! Good luck with your 10K 🙂
Gosh – ditto all these comments. And so true Naomi!!
17 months for me after Kate’s course. Stick with it Mary Ann as you WILL get there if you follow the course just day to day.
I have found having the extra time was a big big (pleasant) surprise and the “brain space” freed up from constantly calculating and worrying about units consumed. I’m also still horrified by just how expensive alcohol is when you go out.
Great to hear from you Jenny. Congratulations on your 17 months! I’m so pleased for you 🙂
Thank you so much! You really are a great help xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Thanks Susan – keep going!
I gave up 6 weeks ago. Dreaded celebrating my 30th birthday AF. But have just done so and felt a breeze. Had a whole weekend of celebrations and hangover free which meant could do so much more. Loved it and feel great
Fantastic. Funnily enough, I quit just before my 30th birthday too, so I think it’s a very good time to do it, in my opinion! Glad to hear you had a great time 🙂
Going on 6 weeks sober! I was worried what some people would think when they saw I had gone AF, but people are happy for me! Of course, I feel a little sheepish because I’ve done this 2 other times, but so what? If at first you don’t succeed, try again! I don’t owe anyone an explanation why I’m doing this if I don’t feel like giving one. I hope the 3rd time is a charm for me. Kate, I look forward to joining your class on 9-30-19!
Well done on your six weeks Barb! I look forward to working with you 🙂
I am on day 8 and feeling great I made it through the weekend!!!!I even had the usually happy hour friends come and I was fine. Didn’t have them stay as long as normal but it was one of my biggest fears. Now they can do what they do and I am happy with my choice. #7 is the one that resonates with me. Already I am changing into the more vibrant personality that I used to be long ago. I can’t imagine what time will bring.
I too am looking forward to the class on the 30th. Thank you Kate and to all the women that contribute to my sobriety with every share!
I look forward to having you in the class Barbara and helping sobriety really stick for you. Well done on your 8 days so far, you’re off to a great start. Keep going! 🙂
I’ve been 77 days alcohol free now and I really feel great. I’ve lost weight, no hangovers, more energy and I notice how silly people make themselves look when they are drunk. Its definitely been a positive choice for me.
It sounds as if alcohol free living really suits you! Many congratulations on your 77 days 🙂
I am on day 8 and wake up feeling wonderful. We went to an engagement party and I was a little concerned about how I was going to not drink. Reading through the comments from other ladies, and asking myself how do I feel? helps a lot.
Well done – keep going Michele! 🙂
Thank you so much this blog is the best thing that happened to me
No problem Elsabe. If you need any more support, please do check out my online course – it’s a step by step guide to going alcohol free and feeling really good about it 🙂 Here are some more details: https://thesoberschool.com/course/
Today is my day 1. I have survived my witching hour by reading your posts, willing me to not give in and reminding myself of the reasons for quitting or taking a break…. haven’t quite figured that out yet! It’s also motivating to read the comments. I almost gave in at dinner time but imagined going to bed with a clear head.
Well done for staying on track! If you need some more support to stop drinking (because willpower will only get you so far) I’d be happy to help. My online course teaches you how to quit drinking without feeling as if you’re deprived or missing out on something. Here are some details about the next class: https://thesoberschool.com/course/
Thanks Kate. I sure will need support. I have already put my name down. 🙂
I am all signed in for the class on Monday, but, when I woke up this morning, I decided that I want to start being AF today. I feel confident that, when wine o’clock arrives today, I will re-read your blog, re-read the many comments, and make a healthy decision. I’m treating myself to a long hike today, starting a new book recommended by a dear friend, and looking forward to remembering both of those things when I wake up tomorrow.
Brilliant, if you want to start today then go for it Kristen. Enjoy your hangover free weekend and I look forward to us working together in the class beginning on Monday!
After a year of following Kate’s blogs, I have finally joined the course starting on Monday. I have been drinking over a bottle of wine every night for nearly 30 years and am desparately to change my life. Also terrified!!
I’m looking forward to having you on the course Gail! Welcome 🙂
The second blog I have read and will continue to read on. So much is resonating. Thank you.