Are You Sober Curious? Here’s Why I Don’t Drink Alcohol
I get asked a LOT of questions about why I don’t drink alcohol, especially during the holiday season. The truth is, I’ve just never liked it and I haven’t had an alcoholic drink since I was 19.
I’ve always been passionate about sport and keeping fit and healthy. I played basketball competitively when I was younger, so the idea of waking up hungover or sick after a big night out just didn’t appeal to me. It made the decision really easy for me to avoid alcohol altogether.
If you’re sober curious and interested in creating healthier habits this year, here’s how I personally navigate my social life without drinking and the benefits of cutting out alcohol. And remember, you don't HAVE to drink if you don’t want to.
It’s okay to say no
I want to remind you that NOT drinking doesn’t make you “different” — it’s YOUR body and your choice, and you deserve to do what makes you feel your best.
I feel like I’m a role model for lots of women and young girls around the world, especially the amazing Sweat with Kayla Community. I’m proud I can spread this message across my platforms, and let you know you don’t NEED to feel pressured to drink alcohol if you don’t want to.
Please remember you are not the only one, so it doesn’t make you weird or “uncool” if you don’t enjoy drinking.
My personal journey towards an alcohol-free lifestyle
There was a short stage in my life when I would drink socially, usually when I was out with friends. It was when I was playing Divison 1 and 2 basketball at the end of high school until I began personal training.
When I drank, I would get a rash on my neck — it would appear almost instantly! — and the next day I would feel unwell. I found drinking impacted my performance during basketball training, and just made me slower in general — I didn’t want to get out of bed and fell behind with everything. I wasn’t being the best version of myself, and that’s something I knew I wanted to change.
Drinking alcohol might make you feel happier or more relaxed, but it can also affect how you think, feel and behave. I experienced this first-hand from the effects it was having on my own body. This is when I made the decision to never drink again.
I have always been an advocate for everything in moderation, the same goes for alcohol — and it’s up to you if you decide to drink. But I have found eating healthily and being regularly active have much greater health benefits.
If you’re sober curious and thinking about giving up drinking, here are some of the ways I’ve benefited from cutting alcohol out altogether:
You’re more productive in the morning
If you’ve ever suffered from a hangover, you probably struggled to wake up early and ended up wasting time the next day. When you cut down or stop drinking it’s likely you’ll find it easier to stick to your morning routine.
Between my role as Head Trainer at Sweat and looking after my daughter, Arna, my day begins as soon as I wake up and I need my mornings to be as productive as possible!
You’re more likely to get a better night’s rest
Alcohol can help some people fall asleep, but it can also disrupt your sleep patterns and stop you from sleeping deeply, especially if you’ve had too much to drink. Cutting back can help you feel more rested so that you have more energy for the activities you love!
Your skin might benefit
I ALWAYS get asked about my skincare routine, and while I keep it pretty simple, I truly believe that getting enough sleep, drinking plenty of water and maintaining a healthy and balanced diet helps it stay healthy and glowing.
It’s one less workout excuse
Drinking regularly can alter your usual behaviour and make it difficult to stick to your health and fitness goals. If you’ve ever experienced sudden fast-food cravings on your way home from a night out, you know what I’m talking about!
And because alcohol can affect everything from your eating habits to your sleep, you might find you have less energy to put into your workouts.
How I navigate social events and not drink alcohol
I’m not judging or criticising anyone who DOES drink alcohol. Everyone is different, and lots of my clients choose to drink and so do my family — we have big family events, especially Greek weddings where it’s not uncommon to do shots of Ouzo off the floor! I also can’t say no to a generous slice of Tiramisu, does that count?!
While drinking is not for me right now, I’m not ruling it out altogether in the future. I have found not drinking is beneficial for my life and my career, which is why I choose not to — and I want to show you that you don’t have to drink if it doesn’t feel right for you.
When it comes to the holiday season and big social events, if you are like me and don't always find it easy to stick around when the energy in the room begins to shift, here are a few things that might help:
Remind yourself WHY you made the choice to stop
I always remind myself that I made this decision for ME and me only. So, when it comes to drinking, anyone else’s opinion doesn’t actually matter.
Find someone you can count on
Just like I have a workout buddy, I try to make sure I have someone with me at social events who I can rely on and feel comfortable with.
Be accepting of others and their decisions
I don’t judge anyone who drinks, just like I’d hope they wouldn’t judge me for NOT drinking. I find it’s easier for me to be around the shift of energy in the room when I accept that in a lot of cases I might be the only one who is not drinking, and that’s okay!
With the growth of the sober curious movement, you might have seen a lot of 0% alcohol alternatives to popular drinks appearing at your local bar, pub or bottle shop.
While these ready-made options might help make the transition to going without alcohol easier, it’s also important to be mindful of any additives and high-sugar content. This is why I will usually ask the bartender to list the ingredients in a mocktail (my go-to mocktails are a Virgin Mojito or Virgin Pina Colada) or I opt for soda water with lime —it’s SO refreshing, especially during the warmer months!
There are also so many delicious fruit-infused water combinations you can try. Some of my favourites include watermelon and mint, strawberry basil and lemon and raspberry and lime! Yum!
Drinking alcohol is a personal choice
I am not here to tell you you should stop drinking, it’s just important to be aware of the risks involved if you DO choose to drink.
If you’ve been sober curious for a while, and reading this has helped you make the decision to cut out alcohol — good on you! Stay strong, remember why you decided to make this change and socialise with people who support you.
And for those who enjoy a drink every now and then, make sure you drink sensibly and remember, if you know someone who has decided NOT to drink, please don’t try to convince them otherwise.
It’s hard enough for people to make the decision and they definitely don’t need ANYONE to try and pressure them into drinking.
Like all things, there are times when not drinking is challenging, but once it becomes a habit, it WILL get easier. Just remember, you’ve got this!
* Disclaimer: This blog post is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. The above information should not be used to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease or medical condition. Please consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet, sleep methods, daily activity, or fitness routine. Sweat assumes no responsibility for any personal injury or damage sustained by any recommendations, opinions, or advice given in this article.