Shouting ‘I’m A Soberista!’ from the Rooftops

Sobriety was once a dirty word to me. Boring do-gooders avoided alcohol. Cool people drank, and drank a lot.

This was probably the biggest challenge for me in terms of deciding to stop drinking. I could not conceive of losing my ‘edge’ and metamorphosing into a quiet dullard who couldn’t let her hair down. I know I’m not alone in thinking these thoughts, and I often read about other people’s experiences with friends and family who are sceptical at best, or scathing and down right rude at worst, with regards to that person’s new non-boozy status.

Magic water, magic nature, beautiful blue effect

What is it about alcohol that prompts people to share their opinion on whether or not we should be partaking in this national pastime? If I sat down for dinner with people I wasn’t overly familiar with and announced that I was a vegetarian, I would more than likely receive a lesser inquisition than if I declared my AF lifestyle and opted for a mineral water amongst the truckload of wine being delivered by the attentive waiter. But why do other people care so much about our drinking habits? Could it be that they don’t wish to draw attention to their own alcohol consumption? Generally, I’ve found that the people who have the least to say about me being a non-drinker are the ones who barely drink themselves, the ones who most definitely have not got any issues with alcohol.

Anyway, the point of the above observations is that society frequently has a tendency to be more accepting of heavy drinkers than those of us who opt for an AF life, and this can be a major obstacle in quitting. Peer pressure and the desire to fit in can contribute massively to ‘wobbles’ and, ultimately, to caving in and having a drink. In order to stay true to the path of sobriety, therefore, it is vital that we believe in the alcohol-free way. And I mean, really believe in it – to find it an aspirational way of life, fall in love with it, want it more than anything, and be proud to tell anyone who listens, “No thanks, I do not drink”.

I did not feel this way about not drinking until at least eighteen months into my sobriety. I was ashamed of my problem, angry because I ‘wasn’t allowed to drink’, lonely and full of regret. But eventually, something clicked inside me and all the monumental benefits of being a non-drinker dawned on me. What the hell was I being so negative about? Where is the need to feel demeaned by a choice that will provide me (and my family and friends too) with a far happier and healthier life? Why be secretive about declining to consume an addictive substance that consistently made me fat and act foolishly, which caused me to hurt both myself and those I love, which damaged my mental and physical health and routinely put the brakes on all my hopes and dreams for future happiness?

When you think about it, becoming AF is a lifestyle choice that we should be shouting from the rooftops! These days I am supremely proud of being a non-drinker, to the point of being a bit smug. I like the fact that I am in good shape, that I am the best person I can be in all areas of my life (well, maybe there’s a little room for improvement here and there, but things are eminently better than in boozy days gone by!). I am not apologetic in the slightest about my choice to not drink alcohol, and when people ask me why I am on the mineral water I just tell them the truth: For me, one glass always led to another, and another, and the fall-out from drinking was too much. I’m so much happier being a Soberista.


12 thoughts on “Shouting ‘I’m A Soberista!’ from the Rooftops

  1. I find as well that some people are great with the AF and others (who I thought would be more supportive) just aren’t. It makes no difference to anyone else. My husband is great in the main, but even he struggles sometimes, and remembers fun times in the past. Clearly forgetting about the nightmare ones. All I can say is that I am happy and will never put that rubbish in my body again

  2. Charlotte Cramer says:

    Well Said!!!! That is exactly how I feel!! Alcohol has always been my struggle. Having one and then another, and another and another…… it has made me fat….. I am 3 days sober and am trying to get healthy. Your words have inspired me. Thank you!!!!! And Good Luck To you!!! Charlotte Cramer 😉

  3. I agree completely.
    That shift happened for me much earlier. My improved mental health (reduced anxiety and depression) were so dramatic that I could not ever imagine risking the return to darkness for a drink.

    Life has so many possibilities. It’s sad that we have been conditioned to believe alcohol is opening them, when it is really limiting us immensely.

  4. Wow…I’m not where you are yet but I see it on the horizon. I really want to own this like you said…And after reading your blog…the folly of feeling like I have something to hide because I’m not drinking is just crazy! If I had just quit smoking, or cocaine…no one would say “how come you’re not_________” (fill in blank with bad addictive habit). But somehow alcohol has a protected status where it is seen as crazy not to drink…which can be really hard on those of us that are having a hard time making the change in the first place…Props to you for sharing your experience and owning it like you do… it really is inspiring.

  5. Jen says:

    Thank you so much for this. Peer pressure is my biggest obstacle definitely. When people question why I’m not drinking, I almost feel like I am letting them down. I’m so glad to see my exact feelings in your words. You have just explained it so perfectly. Thank you! Jen

  6. Thanks Lucy, great sense as always, I completely agree about shouting about being AF from the rooftops and will always tell people why I don’t drink if asked ( and quite often when not!) Trying to get the concept of an positive choice not to drink and enjoying a much better quality of life without it across to people is hard, but I find it gets easier and love it when occasionally friends and family say something along the lines of, “it doesn’t seem to bother you” ( not drinking) because it gives me a chance to tell them how much more I’m enjoying life now.

  7. What a wonderful post, thank you!! I have been slowly revealing my sobriety to people I trust and usually only when it comes up. I mostly try to pass if I can. My fear of judgement for having this “problem” is huge. I am worried about judgement, especially from people who don’t understand. I look forward to feeling the confidence you clearly have in this great post!

  8. Laura Rogers says:

    Fabulous post. I’ve had people who I thought were close friends be THE most unsupportive – and actually putting pressure on me to drink or point me out in the crowd as being ‘boring’ when sober. It’s been hard. The idea to normalize our choice makes it so much more achievable. Thank you!!

  9. Wendy says:

    Thanks for great post Lucy that totally expressed how I feel. I’m six months sober and facing my first ‘night out’ with old friends who aren’t aware of my new drinking status: I was always the first to the bar so there will be no escaping the inevitable ‘Why are you on Pop?’ Question but after reading your blog I’ve reminded myself! Thank you

  10. THANK YOU for your post. INspiring, and sets a new mental framework. I only drank 1-2 times per week….but always looked forward to the “escape”….and the desire to drink became so all pervasive. I decided to quit it altogether, and look for healthier ways to have fun. Alcohol free leaves no regrets. I like the person I am – not needing to rely on a substance to have fun, or relate with others without fear. Alcohol free is empowering. I find your “support” and validation of this way of life, tremendously affirming and strengthening. Thank you so much for your post!

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