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  • Writer's pictureGregory Andrews

Why I'm sober cool not awkward

Updated: May 4, 2023

Alcohol is probably the only drug in Australia where awkwardness comes from not using it rather than using it in social settings. That’s despite it being a Group One carcinogen and the cause of almost 100,000 deaths per year in Australia. Our nation drinks over 100 million glasses of alcohol annually. Drinking is deeply ingrained in our culture. Being a non-drinker is an outlier.

But people are quitting booze. People who don’t consider themselves to be alcoholics are increasingly giving up grog. They’re more aware and educated about alcohol and it’s harm. That’s what happened to me. While never a big drinker, I decided to get off the booze bus before it crashed. I stopped drinking because I wanted to live a more positive life. I wanted to be more healthy, present and authentic. Alcohol takes these things away. I wanted to keep my blood sugar, blood pressure, cholesterol, weight and anxiety levels down. Alcohol increases all of these. I didn't realise alcohol was giving me anxiety. The science backs this up. While providing us with a shot of temporary happiness, it causes anxiety and depression in the long-run. I feel like a new person after stopping drinking.

Has anybody noticed how many non-alcoholic wines and beers are now available at Woolworths and Coles? I think the COVID pandemic has been a factor driving the ‘sober curious’ movement. During the lockdowns, many of us increased our drinking. Alcohol consumption in Australia saw its largest increase in 50 years. Alcohol-related deaths rose during the pandemic by more than one-quarter. Perhaps coming out of the lockdowns, people became more aware of its impacts.

Sobriety can imply being boring and serious, abstaining from pleasure. In addition to meaning not drunk, it also means serious, sensible and solemn. But ditching alcohol hasn't make me boring. It's made me healthier, happier and more alive. I am more alert, have more energy and confidence. Ditching alcohol has improved my mental health. Giving up alcohol is liberating. I had a great time at my friend's three-day 60th birthday party in BrisVegas last week.

Alcohol is a false friend. It takes away much more than it gives. While I make no judgement about other people drinking, I know it's not for me. Understanding the science reaffirms this. Alcohol is a toxin, it causes cancer and it messes with our brain chemistry and mental health. The Huberman Lab podcast What alcohol does to your body, brain and health is definitely worth a listen to understand alcohol and its impacts.

Ditching alcohol is not missing out on something, it's gaining. There are so many benefits and literally no negatives that I can think of. That’s why choosing not to drink is cool. It's not awkward, it's revolutionary because it’s going against the grain.

The Sober Awkward podcast is a good place to explore for anyone who's sober curious.

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