This is how life can change when you stop drinking

This is how life can change when you stop drinking

When I stopped drinking two and a half years ago, I had no idea about how much my whole life would change. How much I would change. I thought that, more or less, life would go on as it always had, just with a different drink in hand. Oh, how wrong I was… 

New hobbies

At the beginning of my alcohol-free life, everything kind of stayed the same but I realised that some things I thought I’d miss a lot, I actually didn’t miss at all. 

I found out that I’m a lot more introverted than I thought I was and that I really value spending time by myself. I stopped going to social appointments in which drinking was the main factor and I started to do both new things and old things that I’d stopped doing during my drinking career. I started to play Padel Tennis more, enjoyed going shopping again, visited the cinema, made alcohol-free cocktails at home, read, pottered around the house, went out for coffee, watched Netflix, chilled at home and immersed myself in the world of sobriety. 


During this transition, a really tough thing happened – I lost the closeness of some of my really good friends. Drinking is a big factor in some of my friends’ lives, as in, they really like it. When I stopped drinking, it felt a bit uncomfortable and different in a way that I find really hard to describe. 

While they were totally fine about me not drinking (and some of them even seemed impressed), their lives and favourite pastimes stayed the same. I kind of missed having occasions to truly connect and found it hard to get them to meet up with me solo so we just stopped relating to each other as much. I guess when someone’s life changes this much it’s almost inevitable that certain friendships change, no matter how much love there still might be. 

To be able to stay true to me and my new way of life, I had to take a step back from some of these relationships. Which was very painful and kind of felt like a break-up but I guess friendships go through different phases. 

I personally found a lot of strength to stay sober, and happily so, from connecting with like-minded people. Since there weren’t many of those around in my social circle I dived into my laptop and found amazing online sober communities like this one. 

Mindset & growth

My third and final big change after I stopped drinking is the way I feel within. That is, more grounded, calm and understanding. I’m definitely more spiritually orientated, I’m really getting into meditation, guided breathing and yoga. 

When you stop drinking, you have to be 100% you, which is quite unsettling and since the crutch of alcohol is gone, the more uncomfortable social situations I get myself into (and through!) the more I grow into the real me, and it´s starting to feel ok. More than ok. How amazing would it be if we all could be 100% us, at any time, and just accepted that?

Tips for a life after drinking: 

  1. Don’t be scared of change. Your life will inevitably change and although it can feel daunting at the beginning, it will all fall into place. Maybe your hobbies will look different and some of your friendships will have shifted, but that’s all ok. People are meant to change and evolve in life.
  2. Find your people. A lot of the work to become and stay sober comes from within but in my experience, the true joy and fun in sobriety is found when you connect. Connect with people that are on the same path or have already been on it for a while. Is there anything better than reading stories and experiences that you can thoroughly relate to? Connection makes you feel like you belong again, even in this alco-centred world.
  3. Stay true to yourself. There will be so many difficult moments in which you need to make decisions. In those moments, always choose you. Do what makes you feel good and what keeps your sobriety safe. Because in the long run, sobriety is what makes us happy and keeps us evolving into our true selves.

Written by Isabel Van Zuilen

Isabel (Izzy) is an expat living in sunny Marbella with her little family. A happy non-drinker since May 2019, when she dived into the world of alcohol-free drinks and has made it her goal to try every non-alcoholic bubbly on the market! You can find her sparkly journey on Instagram at @sobertopia.

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