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7 Ways Sobriety Sets You Free!

By Janet Gourand August 04, 2023 Lifestyle

In my eighth year of sobriety, I’ve gained enough perspective to see how alcohol had kept me trapped… and to realise that now I am free!

Free at last!

Here are 7 ways sobriety will set you free too.

Freedom from Cognitive Dissonance

For many years, I’d had a nagging voice in my head which said things like, “You’re drinking too much,” “You have to cut down,” etc. etc.

The problem was that it was competing with another voice which said, “But how will I socialise, how will I relax and deal with stress without wine?”

It was pretty noisy in my head, so I took to drinking (more) wine to drown out the voices.

Only when I discovered and overturned the limiting beliefs I had around alcohol did I change my thinking about drinking and find peace.

Only when I realised alcohol added nothing (but trouble) to my life did I find freedom.

Freedom from Guilt

No more waking up in the morning wondering what on earth happened last night and why my husband/best friend/son isn’t speaking to me today.

No more losing stuff – jackets, phones… and memory.

No more feeling guilty because, unlike so many people I knew, I was incapable of having “just one.”

No more feeling guilty because I’d gone over the top, again.

Freedom from Failure

I was stuck in the “moderation trap” for a decade. Trying (and failing) to cut down over and over again — and feeling like a failure every time I crashed.

Once I accepted that I could never drink again everything changed.

Yes, it took six months of hard work to make the change – but then I was done, then I was finally free.

Freedom from Anxiety and Depression

I used to drink to cope with “social anxiety.” If I felt a bit down, I would have a glass of bubbly to “perk me up.”

Now I understand that alcohol is a depressant and that:

Six months into sobriety I realised that the knot of anxiety that had resided in my stomach for years had simply melted away.

That felt a lot like freedom.

Freedom from Dieting

I spent my 20s on a diet of “white wine and cigarettes” in a permanent quest to get thinner. As I got older and (slightly) more sensible, I began to eat more, eat organic, drink green juices, exercise, and do yoga but my daily wine habit persisted.

Unsurprisingly, I never got thinner so concluded I had a “slow metabolism.”

Then I ditched the booze.

Six months into sobriety those extra pounds that I’d spent decades trying to shift, simply melted away.

These days I eat what I want and never gain weight.

All I needed to do was ditch the drink and my metabolism began to work properly – who knew?

Freedom to Enjoy Restaurants

During a meal out, I would always engage the waiter in a debate about which wine to order and then keep my eye on him.

After all, he was the most interesting person in the room, he was the source of more wine.

I would also keep an eye on the glasses of the other people at the table so as to see whether they were drinking more than me (unlikely) or were still on their first glass (incredible)!

More importantly, were they getting through our wine supply and when could we order more?

These days, I can actually relax and enjoy the conversation.

That feels like freedom.

Freedom to Find Meaning and Purpose

A lot of us drinkers are hedonists. We get addicted to the buzz and convince ourselves that we are “very social” when in fact we just want to create and attend more events so we can drink!

I felt a bit lost in early sobriety; so much time on my hands and no idea what to do with it. It was a void and felt a lot like depression.

After a couple of months, it passed, and my energy and creativity returned. Then I created and never looked back.

Sobriety gives us the time and mental space to discover more meaning and purpose in our lives.

Are you ready to take the first step on the road to Freedom? Sixty and me readers can get a 20% discount on Annual Tribe Sober Membership by using the coupon “sixty” when they sign up.

Tribe Sober also has a weekly podcast on Apple & Spotify.

Let’s Have a Conversation:

Do you drink a glass or two of wine most days? Do you ever wonder what your life would be like without alcohol in it? Do you worry about the effect drinking has on your health as you get older? Did you know that alcohol is linked to 7 types of cancer? Are you sober curious and looking to connect with others on the same path? Do you feel you are living your best life? Do you simply want to be healthier… and happier?

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I saved this article because it resonated at the pit of my stomach. I knew for decades I was drinking too much wine. I hit a tipping point in mid-August. I vowed it was time and followed Annie Grace’s 30 Alcohol Experiment. Now on Day 50 AF and feel fabulous. Thank you for sharing this article and your program.

Jane Parkhurst

Thank you for this great article!
I saw myself in this article so many times, you could have taken the contents out of my journals! I am in my 9th year of sobriety, although I rarely think about the time qualifier.
My life has changed in so many ways over the past 9 years, I cannot even count the ways
I have quite literally found who I am. Not as a mother, wife (divorced), or professional, but who my authentic self is. And, I have discovered that “I LIKE ME”.
I did not like the external person I was when I was drinking, and desperately wanted to change, but I was terrified. What if no one liked the real me? What if I didn’t measure up? What if I wasn’t smart enough, funny enough or whatever when I was sober? You get the picture. What I found was, yes, I lost some friends (more like acquaintances) along the way (I no longer paid for their drinks), but the new friends I have made over the years are truly gold. This taking control of my life and becoming the person I always wanted to be was well worth the risk. I am now ready to face any challenges and grow.

janet gourand

thanks for your kind reply my Sober Sister!

yes sobriety allows us to recovery and reconnect to our true selves…

to spend more time doing what we really want to do rather than “fitting in” with others and as you say our drinking buddies drift away but get replaced by authentic friendships


I experienced every one of those things as a 35-year drinker, and when I went to total sobriety 15 years ago. Trying to moderate for 10 years previous was an excruciating failure. If I had one drink, I needed 9 more. No off switch. I was so ready to lose all the guilt and shame and complicated alcohol “deals” with myself that I had my last drink at a Thanksgiving dinner and walked away from it. I attended 6 Smart Recovery group meetings, but that was it. Very little struggle. The one downside is that I do have to just experience difficult feelings without a buffer, but with time, I’ve learned to deal with that in a rational, productive way. My life is so different and better.


Congratulations, you have done really well and should be proud of yourself.

I have cut my own habit down to Friday or Saturday only and don’t permit wine during the week (I haven’t touched spirits for about 30 years).

I recently read a self help book on giving up, but it felt like being lectured to and I never made it to the end. The weather is very hot and humid in my part of Europe at the moment and I have holiday coming up in a few weeks. Once that’s out of the way I plan to join a new gym that has opened close to my apartment as I feel this will renew my motivation for health and fitness, as part of this I’d like to give up drinking completely. I know I can do it as I gave up smoking 10 years ago and have never missed it.

janet gourand

Hi Linda
well done on cutting down the wine habit to two days a week – it’s actually quite hard work “controlling” our consumption like this – far easier to quit completely so congrats on your decision
in September we are running an alcohol free challenge – sign up now and start any day in September – 66 days of online, audio and community support – 66 days because that’s how long it takes to build a new habit so it’s a great way to kickstart your alcohol free lifestyle!
More info and sign up page is here.

janet gourand

Hi Jill – well done on your 15 alcohol free years!
Once we’ve crossed the line into dependence we no longer have an off switch and that’s why trying (and failing) to moderate is so depressing and exhausting
I also spent a decade in that place before I decided to redirect all that effort into quitting completely and then building an alcohol free life that I loved
Once we’ve made up our mind to quit we discover that it’s easier than trying to moderate and we find pace
With the feelings we have to learn to “get comfortable with being uncomfortable” but that’s where our personal growth and emotional maturity come from..


Well done Jill. Thanks for the Inspirational read. I too am feeling the benefits day 64 and its only getting better

The Author

Janet Gourand is a writer, a podcaster and a recovery coach. She quit drinking in 2015 at the age of 63. She founded Tribe Sober which enables people to change their relationship with alcohol. Tribe Sober is an international community which offers a membership program.

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