10 Myths about Sobriety – Busted. Sobriety, being sober or living alcohol free has, unfortunately, a lot of stigma still attached to it. It is often this fear of being labeled or stigmatized that keeps us stuck in the cycle of drinking we are so desperate to escape.
There are so many misconceptions and false ideas about sobriety that kept me stuck too. I just couldn’t see a life without alcohol. Until I tried it! In this blog I’d like to dispel some of the myths about sobriety and help you see that living a sober life is the best thing you will ever do, despite what you (or people around you) might think!
10 Myths about Sobriety
1. If you are sober, you are an alcoholic
The first of the 10 myths about sobriety that needs some serious busting! Yes, there are people who are physically dependent on alcohol, have a serious addiction and in these cases, quitting drinking can literally save a life. There are also people who identify with being an alcoholic which is key to their sobriety.
However, there are so many people who are simply unhappy with their relationship with alcohol, hate how it makes them feel and want something better. I don’t identify with being an alcoholic but I do admit that my drinking was taking over my life and something had to change.
The fear that people will think you are an alcoholic, or have a ‘problem’ is what sadly keeps many people trapped for years
The fear that people will think you are an alcoholic, or have a ‘problem’ is what sadly keeps many people trapped for years (myself included.) The thing is, you are allowed to live your life how you choose and choosing to live alcohol free is the most loving, kindest and healthiest thing you can do for yourself.
It doesn’t have to be awful to want better.
Furthermore, not drinking means that there is no problem. Alcohol is the problem, not the person. So, when you don’t drink, there simply is no problem.
2. It is Boring
This is probably one of the biggest of the 10 myths about sobriety and one of the main fears that people have when it comes to quitting drinking. Living a sober life is a boring life, right? Dull, grey, no fun, no parties. Wrong!
Yes, there will be situations that are just plain boring and alcohol has nothing to do with it and yes, there may be times when you are bored, again alcohol has nothing to do with it. Furthermore, sitting on the sofa drinking wine while you while away the hours has to be the most boring thing to do in the world, right?
I know I am not alone in this but since quitting drinking I have done so many things, met people, been to places, and had experiences that are just so not boring! It is assumed that when you quit drinking you just sit around not wanting to socialize or do anything and being scared to go out, which couldn’t be further from the truth. When you live an alcohol free life it is a fun, open, fresh, alive and abundant life. It’s strange that the idea that sobriety is boring comes from the people who drink, says it all really.
3. Sobriety is difficult
It can be difficult and challenging in the beginning, but only because you are doing something you’ve never done before which is always tricky at first. Take anything you’ve ever done that was new; learning to drive, Facebook lives! Making a soufflé, giving up sugar (you get the idea.)
When you start to change a habit of a lifetime, of course it will be challenging at first but like anything you really want to do, sticking with it, practicing, using the tools, guidance and support will help you through it. The more you practice and keep going, the easier it becomes.
4. You will always be thinking about drinking
Also not true! Yes, at first, alcohol and drinking might be on your mind a lot and, you might get regular visits from the wine witch! But, that is only because this is at the forefront of your mind. You are aware of what you are doing and the changes you are trying to make, so of course you will find yourself thinking about it more.
There are a few things you can do to help such as turning your thoughts into positive, grateful ones – reaffirm why you are doing this amazing thing and always see it in a positive light. This guided positive affirmations for sobriety meditation will help you think about sobriety in way that feels good for you.
Also, know that just like cravings and the feelings of difficulty these thoughts will get less too. I love the quote, “This too shall pass” because it will. The more you stick with it, be proud of this liberating choice and begin to do other more fun, interesting and lovely things with your time, the thinking about drinking will pass.
5. You will lose your friends
Now this myth does have a tiny bit of truth in it. But, it depends what you mean by ‘friends.’ If your friends are mainly drinking buddies, then yes it stands to reason that you won’t be hanging out much. After all, why would you want to waste your time with people who are just sitting around drinking (boring!)
But your real friends, the ones who matter to you will love you for you and not what is in your glass. I made a video about this in my Facebook group Blissfully Sober. The thing to remember is that when you finally break free from the chains of alcohol, your whole world opens up and you will meet new people, make new friends and deepen the bonds and connection of those around you, the ones that matter to you.
Yes, you might have to have difficult conversations, you might have to create new boundaries and ask for respect, help and support which can be difficult at first for your friends. But if they really love you and you them, this new chapter in your life will enhance your relationships in a true, meaningful way.
6. You can’t go out
Hmm, a while back someone said it to me, ‘it must be so hard not being able to go out now you don’t drink!” Ahem, who said anything about not being able to go out!? Firstly, my drinking was mainly done at home and secondly, people go out for all sorts of reasons, not just to drink!
If you hear comments like this then always remember this is a reflection of the person saying it to you, not you, so take no notice. ‘Going out’ in this sense refers to parties, events, pubs restaurants etc but again, you get to decide, you get to choose! If you want to go out and party like you used to and not drink, then go for it.
Alcohol does not make for a party or event – you do. You can do all the things you used to do and more if you want, and going out without alcohol means you will have a much better time.
7. Won’t be able to have fun
It depends what you mean by fun! When we drink, we associate alcohol with fun but really it is a false fun. We might (or might not) be doing something enjoyable and we create the connection in our minds between this fun activity and drinking. That is why we sometimes worry that all the fun will go when the alcohol does. Not true!
This exercise, which we do in my Virtual Sober Retreat, will help you to remember what fun is and what it means to you to have fun. Write down a list of all the things you like doing, I mean everything what makes you happy, what brings you joy? It can be anything from windsurfing, knitting, walking, dancing and cleaning to singing, crafting, running (whatever floats your boat) and then try to do one of those fun things a day. Now, who says you can’t have fun when you don’t drink?
It is about intention and awareness. If you tell yourself you won’t have fun, then you probably won’t. But, make an effort, be intentional and see what unfolds.
8. Won’t be able to switch off
A big concern is not being able to switch off your thoughts when you are alcohol free. It is true that alcohol numbs everything and people often drink to escape and switch off. While drinking brings instant gratification in this sense, you absolutely can relax, switch off and calm your mind without alcohol.
The thing to remember is that while it won’t happen in such an instantaneous way, the tips below, if practiced and used constantly will allow you proper deep rest, relaxation and silencing of thoughts with far longer lasting effects (and none of the negative effects associated with alcohol)
Meditation, even just 10 minutes a day will help train your brain to detach
Journalling – getting your thoughts out of your head an onto paper will help clear your mind
Yoga Nidra – the deepest relaxation and brain calming technique I know
Walking in nature – focus your attention on what is around you, notice everything and you will escape the clutter of your mind
Doing a mindful activity you love – When you get into the flow and get so lost in an activity, you can’t help but escape and switch off from the every day.
9. You will have FOMO
FOMO or Fear of Missing Out is one of the myths about sobriety that I’d like to dispel right now. While I was thinking about quitting drinking, I had this fear that giving up alcohol was like giving up on the fun and I had a fear that I would miss out on everything! But really what it comes down to is understanding what fun actually means to you (as in the point above)
I had this fear that giving up alcohol was like giving up on the fun and I had a fear that I would miss out on everything!
Also, it might help to switch things up and focus on JOMO (The Joy of Missing Out.) What bad things will you be missing out on when you no longer drink? Make a list of all the things like hangovers, wasted time, feelings of anxiety and whatever else you can think of, to change your mindset from missing out to gaining. Because when you don’t drink you really do gain so much more.
10. You won’t be the same
The last one on the 10 myths about sobriety is actually not a myth, but it is a truth. However, when considering changing our relationship with alcohol, we take this last point as a negative, when really it is the most liberating and empowering part of sobriety.
In my coaching we spend a lot of time at the beginning thinking about why we are doing this, what we want, how we want to feel and our deepest dreams and desires that we will be able to achieve with an alcohol free life. It is such a powerful exercise to do. And helps us to make the positive changes in order to get us to where we truly want to be, which of course means changing.
“If you want something you’ve never had, you have to do something you’ve never done”
Yes, it is true that you won’t be the same person anymore, the one who drinks, but why would you want to? You will still be you, deep down. But you will be the best version of yourself when you are no longer controlled by your drinking. You will have the freedom, the choice, the clarity and energy to be the person you want to and do the things you’ve always wanted to do.
And that is a beautiful thing.
Tell me in the comments, which of the 10 myths about sobriety is holding you back from starting your journey?