What if being sober sucks?

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    You go through all that quitting and getting sober. And it ain’t all that??!!

    As we are looking for ways to become sober and we mingle with people who are going through their sober journey, there is always talk about how awesome it is to be teetotal and live in sobriety. The community is a bustling one with lots of lovely stories of how great it is to be sober and finally ditch the booze.

    There is so much discussion the benefits of not drinking and the amazing impact it will have on our lives. And this is true, it is amazing!

    BUT. A topic that is not often mentioned is the potential downsides of quitting drinking alcohol. A change in your social circle, daily activities and a different mindset to learn all about. New? Different? Erm…hang on. OK, I want to stop drinking…but…my life…… …….but what if being sober sucks?

    What if after committing to a life of being alcohol-free, and it sucked???

    This is a question that definitely ran through my head in the early days of sobriety. We are all probably conscious that making the choice to become alcohol-free may leave behind some aspects of your life behind that you may really miss.  Those late nights with your friends and family? Or being seen as the ‘boring one’ when you opt for a fruit juice instead of a beer. How will I deal with the normal situations that life throws at me?

    The concept that ‘being sober sucks‘, is a NORMAL process along the road to recovery.

    Finding ways to relax after a hard days work WITHOUT reaching for the bottle?  What type of void are we creating by leaving behind something that has been a long-standing part of our lives . 

    What if we manage to retrain our brains and realise that alcohol is not that thing that we often oh-so romanticise about.  What if at the end of it all we ‘realise’ that actually being sober sucks? 

    Feeling that being sober sucks is a common experience on the journey of sobriety

    When we are going through recovery, the question of if being sober sucks is quite a common thought, and it is quite a dangerous thought. 

    And these thoughts can quickly become something that we start to believe – and we act on these thoughts and decide that ‘yes being sober sucks’, and we end up getting hold of booze. 

    And even more quickly, once again alcohol ends up getting a hold on you.  Before you realise it, you have that feeling of being back to square one, wondering what you ever saw in drinking, yet here you are back to drinking. 

    A lifestyle that you have worked so hard to get rid of previously – all from that initial thought of being sober sucks.

    When these feelings do return (and they often do – be it the first week, the first month or even years down the line.  But the difference is now that you KNOW that you have the mental and physcail strength to challenge the thought that being sober is not fun.  You have the emotional and practical tools in your toolbag to work out why these feelings are there, and how to combat and overcome them so you can continue on your beautiful life of sobriety – and rid that ‘sober sucks’ feeling from your mind.

    Here are some ways that you can combat the feeling that sober sucks!

    It is common to experience these feelings

    There are people all over the world going through recovery, and at some point, most will have these ‘sober sucks’ moments. Remember that you have made life-changing differences during your journey of sobriety, and it takes time to adapt.

    • Rather than curling up in a ball or feeling that you might be letting yourself or others down, remain active within the recovery process regardless of how far along your own journey you are. 

    Maybe utilise some of the online support groups available or talk to family and friends who know you and your journey.

    • Recognise your key signatures.
      As you are thinking about what is so bad about being sober, or more to the point, what would be so good about being drunk, have a think about what train of thought led you to this point. 

    Has something happened in your life to lead you to think about reaching for the bottle?  What is it so bad about being sober that makes you think it sucks? 

    Maybe it is not the need for drinking that is making you feel like this.  Are you feeling down or concerned about a totally different issue that is going on in your life?

    Grab a pen and paper and write down the reasons for you wanting to have a drink.  Then read back those words and see if they are real.  Challenge yourself on your own thoughts.

    Step back and look at what else you can do to help yourself right now. 

    Self-care

    Run a warm bath, cook yourself a meal.  If you are tired, take some time out to rest, or even do the opposite and wake yourself up with some light exercise. 
    Knowing that you will have more time on your hands (the time you would have spent drinking!), gives you the upper hand. Prepare for this. Make plans, even if they are alone, plan your time out and find things instead of drinking.

    Don’t be afraid to ask for help. 


    It is very common to consider relapsing when going through recovery, and help is something that should be utilised at these times.  You may have already found what works for you.   Quit lit books might have got you through times before, so pick one up and take time out to read a little bit. Social media can be a great support system and there are always people out there to offer words of encouragement.

    Know that you are not alone

    Quitting drinking- the exact same process that you are going through, people all over the world are currently going through, or have been before. Our lives are very individual, but the same feelings and symptoms that you are experiencing – well, there are others out there.

    Do not sit it out alone. Even if you have decided to quit drinking ‘on your own‘, with the explosion of technology the support around us has never been so great. There are options for groups, meetings and virtual support if you prefer. Online groups are an amazing resource, with groups to suit everyone’s personality.

    Give yourself time

    Please remember that you have already achieved great things in your life for you and those surrounding you.  By choosing to be sober, you have given so much, changed so many aspects of your life. 

    If you are contemplating that being sober sucks, try and focus on the reasons that you became sober in the first place.  Focus on the positive things that being sober brings with it.

    When you use and abuse any substances, it takes time for your body and mind to heal.  If anyone tells you that it is an easy process – it is not.  It is absolutely achieaveble as you have already proven to yourself – but remember that the thoughts of relapse do and will happen.  It is how you deal with these thoughts that make the difference to your life.  As you are faced with these challenges, you become stronger each time you overcome these thoughts. 

    Remember and use your tools that you have already used to win over these feelings.

    ebook guide

    FInd Your Own Alcohol Off Switch

    Make that change.  Work out whatever it is that hits your switch, and gets you on the road to sobritety.

    This could be a book, a group, a meeting, a whole new approach to life.  Finding 'your' reason to quit alcohol is personal, on every level.

    Learning to change your relationship with alcohol, your views, your beliefs.

    Read our guide on how you can begin the journey to find your own 'Alcohol Off Switch'.

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