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The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober

Discovering a Happy, Healthy, Wealthy, Alcohol-Free Life

By Catherine Gray
15-minute read
Audio available
The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober by Catherine Gray

In The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober, Catherine Gray persuasively argues that sober living offers a far more intoxicating high than the short-lived pleasures of drinking. Pushing back against socially and culturally ingrained stereotypes that equate sobriety with joylessness, Gray demonstrates that going sober creates opportunities for health, wealth, and, above all, fun!

  • Recovering alcoholics looking for frank and compassionate advice
  • Sober-curious folk who need a nudge to give alcohol the boot
  • Anyone who’s ever done dry January and wondered why they just don’t keep going

Catherine Gray is an accomplished author and journalist, whose features have appeared in magazines from Stylist to Grazia. She’s also a recovering alcoholic, whose frank debut, The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober, was a Sunday Times bestseller. Gray has followed up her debut success with The Unexpected Joy of Being Single and The Unexpected Joy of the Ordinary.

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The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober

Discovering a Happy, Healthy, Wealthy, Alcohol-Free Life

By Catherine Gray
  • Read in 15 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 9 key ideas
Upgrade to Premium Read or listen now
The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober by Catherine Gray
Synopsis

In The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober, Catherine Gray persuasively argues that sober living offers a far more intoxicating high than the short-lived pleasures of drinking. Pushing back against socially and culturally ingrained stereotypes that equate sobriety with joylessness, Gray demonstrates that going sober creates opportunities for health, wealth, and, above all, fun!

Key idea 1 of 9

Sobriety is a fresh start – albeit one that brings challenges.

In 1914, Thomas Edison – inventor of the light bulb and motion film, among other things – suffered a serious setback. His studio burned to the ground. All of his work was destroyed.

If you’re a serious drinker, you’ll know that alcohol can flame through your life, too, burning some parts of it beyond recognition. 

But don’t get defeated and reach for another drink. Channel Edison, who reportedly surveyed his damaged studio, then said, “Thank goodness all our mistakes were burned up. Now we can start fresh.”

The key message here is: Sobriety is a fresh start – albeit one that brings challenges.

If you’re ready to break up with bad drinking habits, you should know that the road to sobriety isn’t an easy one. And the first few steps you take down the road are often the most difficult. So you need to prepare yourself for the challenges of sobriety. 

Here are a few tips that might come in handy – just remember that getting sober is different for everyone, and your mileage may vary.

If you’re a physically-dependent alcoholic – that’s a drinker who experiences physical withdrawal symptoms when they don’t drink – then quitting will be tough on your body at first. You may experience problems sleeping, nausea, headaches, burning skin, and other nasty symptoms. It can be a good idea to talk to your GP before you quit. But don’t worry: the first few days of sobriety are not your new normal. This period lasts approximately ten days. When the clouds of withdrawal fade, you’ll see the world afresh from your new, sober perspective. 

Whether you were a moderate or a chronic drinker, buckle up for a ride on the hormone roller coaster. Alcohol dulls experience and numbs emotion. Particularly in your first few weeks of sobriety, you should be prepared to experience higher highs and lower lows than you did in your drinking days. Once your mood settles, though, you’ll learn the joy of experiencing the world filter-free.

Sharing your sobriety-mission with others is a great way to keep yourself accountable. Why? It all comes down to the psychological phenomenon known as the Hawthorne Effect – essentially, people perform better when they know they’re being observed. You’re less likely to relapse with others cheering you on.

Finally, stay alive to the surprising bonuses of being sober. Say goodbye to lost phones and wallets, empty bank accounts, and regrettable late-night kebabs. Say hello to productive Sunday mornings, boundless energy, and a new zest for life!

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