Amongst other things, by getting sober, you reclaim your self-confidence.

So many people tell me that the biggest surprise about being sober is how much they enjoy socialising. Many people imagine that when they stop drinking, their social life will crumble – that that is simply the price they have to pay for not drinking. And, this is maybe true at first; people have to learn new habits and behaviours and have to practise navigating each new situation sober.

But then there comes a point (and this point is different for everyone) when people realise that their self-confidence is coming back and they’re enjoying socialising with other people in a way that they couldn’t have possibly imagined when they first considered getting sober. It gets to that point in your sober life where you are just being you – the real, authentic version of you – no matter where you are or who you’re with. Whether you’re at home, having a coffee with a friend, at a work meeting with colleagues or in a pub beer garden surrounded by people drinking, you’re able to simply be yourself, naturally, easily and confidently.

Alcohol actually destroys self-confidence. It might temporarily feel like it gives you an instant boost, but it’s doing more damage to your self-confidence the longer you and alcohol hold hands.

This was true for me: I couldn’t imagine socialising and enjoying it without a drink in my hand, down my throat and flowing through my veins. I thought I’d be a social wreck and would just have to avoid parties and big social events. I have been just as surprised as other people to find that the opposite is true. I really look forward to social events and find myself laughing, relaxing and unwinding with ease. I even find myself behaving as if I’m a bit drunk sometimes – not intentionally, just because I’m caught up in the moment and in the atmosphere and have really let go.

A couple of days ago, my partner and I were sitting in a beer garden on a Summer’s evening with some people we’d just met and got on really well with. Everyone was drinking, loosening up and getting merry. I was drinking lime and soda (the pub didn’t have a great choice of non-alcoholic drinks – they hadn’t even heard of non-alcoholic lagers!) and soon we were all giggling and laughing so much that we couldn’t stop. I was having a great time and one of our new- found friends commented (through her laughter tears) that I hadn’t even been drinking so what would I be like if I was on the booze. I replied that she really didn’t want to know and we laughed even more. Although I wouldn’t describe myself as the joker of the pack – I’m not the life and soul normally – but just being able to be me and be confident with it is enough to relax and have a laugh.

When your self-respect has a chance to recover and grow, it enables your self-confidence to rise too and this is what enables you to loosen up and party along with everyone else. It allows you to be you with nothing getting in the way and staying true to your values and what matters to you.

Have you stopped drinking long enough to give your self-confidence a chance to return?

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