This story features a few personal, anecdotal experiences and should not substitute medical advice. If you're having health concerns of any kind, we urge you to speak to a healthcare professional.
When it comes to drinking, we may all mutually agree that hangovers suck, and if you're thinking about changing your alcohol habits, quitting drinking could be a great gift to yourself. The reality is: There are far more serious short and long-term effects of alcohol than a dreaded hangover. Many people assume the occasional beer or glass of wine doesn't pose much cause for concern. Yet, drinking any amount of alcohol can potentially lead to unwanted consequences.
I quit drinking before the New Year, mainly due to the debilitating hangovers one drink would bring me. Yes, one drink. I was also increasingly concerned with my dependance on alcohol for social situations, even though I was aware of alcohol's mental and physical effects on me.
While there's a long story behind my journey, I feel passionate about sharing that quitting has been the best decision I've made. However, it has come with some challenges. To help combat them, I delved into resources from books to podcasts to learn more about the science of alcohol and hear other people's stories for inspiration and support.
So far, educating myself on the effects of alcohol has been crucial to keeping consistent with my new non-drinking lifestyle. Dr. Brooke Scheller, DCN, CNS agrees that this is an important part of the journey. "When I shifted my focus to look at how alcohol was truly affecting my physical and emotional health, it made it easier to say no. I found that alcohol was causing my severe anxiety, affecting my digestive health, creating food sensitivities, and causing issues with my skin," Dr. Scheller says. "Once I removed alcohol, I was able to get a hold of my mental health and alleviate the other health symptoms I was experiencing."
Still, whether you identify as having an alcohol use disorder or just being sober, resources are vital in the path to sobriety. Ahead, I've listed some podcasts, books, and communities that may help you find continued inspiration, strength, and community.
Meet the Expert
- Dr. Brooke Scheller is a Doctor of Clinical Nutrition personalized nutrition expert. She specializes in functional nutrition to support gut health, mood and mental health, and alcohol use. Dr. Brooke has been featured in Medium, Mind Body Green, Shape, and other publications.
Join A Community
Dr. Scheller shares that finding community and accountability is essential for individuals considering quitting alcohol. "Finding other like-minded individuals who don't drink (or don't drink often) is key. For those of us who drink regularly, we find that we're often surrounded by other people who drink," she explains. "When we decide we want to make a change to our drinking habits, it's hard to stay on track when we're in the same environment." Joining an online community will connect you with like-minded people and offer consistent inspiration.
Communities to Join
- Sober Black Girls Club: A strong community full of resources and inspiration, Sober Black Girls Club offers support for Black girls, womxn, and femmes living or interested in living a sober life. The club offers online meetings, a mentorship program, awesome merch, a private Facebook Support Group, and more. Click here to join the club.
- Sobergirlsociety: Founded by Millie Gooch, the Sober Girl Society is far more than an Instagram page. It is a strong community of 163K+ sober and sober curious women, sharing insightful tips, exciting videos, and encouraging posts to guide you on your journey. Gooch also authored The Sober Girl Society Handbook, which was voted an Independent best self-care book for 2021. Click here to join the society.
- Retired Party Girl: Club RPG is a members-only community offering virtual meetings, community discussion boards, in-person events, and exclusive access to videos, talks, interviews, and discounts. Click to join here.
- Sober Conscious Collective (sococo): Created by Sarah Pretorius, this support group helps women share their relationship with alcohol, explore triggers and help unearth the "why" behind unhealthy drinking patterns through reflective writing and sharing ideas and concepts that have helped Sarah in her personal journey.
- Sober Sisters Society: Two sisters started this Instagram page and a podcast early in the pandemic to help connect women looking to explore going alcohol-free or staying that way. The podcast has been downloaded in 4,500 cities in nearly 90 countries—it's insightful and relatable. While they're not AA, they also host Zoom support group calls twice a week.
Apps to Download
- Reframe: Reframe is the #1 alcohol reduction app, designed for those who have a goal of cutting back or quitting drinking entirely. Using the power of behavioral psychology, Reframe guides users towards healthier habits by providing daily, evidence-based tasks, a comprehensive toolkit, a private community forum, and multiple trackers. Reframe uses science, not stigma, and meets you where you're at.
- Sober Space App: A great resource whether you're at home or traveling, this app is designed to help sober women build friendships and find sober-friendly activities and events. Founded by Hannah Dordick, she used her personal experience to create an innovative business assisting other women in building a new life around sobriety.
Self-Help Books That Are Worth The Buy
- The Dry Challenge: How to Lose the Booze for Dry January, Sober October, and Any Other Alcohol-Free Month: In this book, author and journalist Hilary Sheinbaum covers essential topics and provides informative tips to reap the incredible, life-changing benefits our bodies, minds, wallets, and souls undertake after successfully abstaining from alcohol for one month. Hilary's book is a must-read, from dating ideas to non-alcoholic beverage recipes.
- Euphoric: Ditch Alcohol and Gain a Happier, More Confident You: Written by Certified Alcohol-Free Life Coach Karolina Rzadkowolska, this book is a top resource for women who have decided to quit drinking alcohol. Think of it like a program that makes the benefits of "Dry January" last all year. Euphoric is an eight-week easy-to-customize plan for anyone who wants to transform their relationship with alcohol and experience the life-changing benefits that happen when you take a break from booze to focus on the health of your mind, body and soul.
Quit Lit Genre Books That Will Open Your Eyes
- Quit Like a Woman: The Radical Choice Not to Drink in a Culture Obsessed with Alcohol: You will never look at drinking the same way after reading Quit Like a Woman, the #1 Bestseller in Alcoholism Recovery. The book examines alcohol culture and provides a helpful guide to cutting out alcohol to live a happy and healthier life. The author, Holly Whitaker, is also the founder and CEO of Tempest, a virtual individualized recovery program that offers education, community, and support services.
- This Naked Mind: Control Alcohol, Find Freedom, Discover Happiness & Change Your Life: A mix of science and storytelling, this book will give you freedom from alcohol by stating the truth. Bestselling author Annie Grace does a fantastic job of going through the psychological and neurological aspects of alcohol use and spotlights the big alcohol and cultural elements that exacerbate alcohol dependence. The audio version is excellent too. Grace also hosts a podcast, This Naked Mind, where she invites guests to explore the role of alcohol in our lives and culture.
- The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober: You will love this book written by Catherine Gray which, delves into what happens after you quit drinking and shines a light on alcohol culture. Gray also examines the science behind what alcohol does to our brains and bodies through research and discussions with experts.
Podcasts to Listen To
- A Sober Girls Guide: Hosted by Jessica Jeboult, A Sober Girls Guide podcast delivers accessible tools for modern-day sobriety. Jebout is hilarious, warm, friendly, and relaxed, so it feels like you’re listening to a friend. With candid conversations about navigating relationships to the unexpected joys of sober sex or the importance of reestablishing your nutrition habits, Jeboult speaks with individuals who come with passion and inspiring stories. The best part is Jebout’s natural charm and ability to make the listener feel excited about the path to sobriety.
- SOBERFUL: An outstanding resource for those who want to quit drinking and stay off alcohol, Veronica Valli is a co-host with Russell Brand’s recovery Coach, Chip Somers, on this podcast which covers expert advice and insights from people who have built a soberful life. Valli is a trained psychotherapist and sobriety expert and provides valuable information in her upcoming book SOBERFUL (January 2022/Sounds True), which you can pre-order here.
- Sober Curious: Ruby Warrington, the author of Sober Curious - the book that launched a global movement to reevaluate alcohol - hosts this insightful podcast. Experts join to tell their stories and share solid tips with topics ranging from finding sober friends to the astrology of connection.
Work With an Expert
- Dr. Brooke Scheller, DCN, CNS (@drbrookescheller): As an expert in the human body, Dr. Brooke Scheller helps people connect to how alcohol is affecting them so they can take the initiative on their health. A Doctor of Nutrition by trade, Dr. Scheller, uses nutrition to help aid in creating a new relationship with alcohol. She works individually with those looking to create a new relationship with alcohol through nutrition and group programs with other like-minded individuals on her online membership-only platform, Nutrition Connection.
- Amanda Kuda, Holistic Life Coach, and Alcohol-Free Lifestyle Expert: Amanda aims to change the conversation around women and giving up alcohol from a non-recovery perspective. Amanda’s goal is to share the health benefits of quitting alcohol, strategies to move forward with the lifestyle change, and determine if you need to consult with a professional.
The Bottom Line
It is vital for people on the path to sobriety to connect to their purpose and goals because the journey is challenging. Remember: if you're not there yet or have relapsed, be compassionate with yourself. Becoming sober does not happen with a snap of a finger. While this guide did not delve into the explicit challenges I—or others face, the piece's purpose is to showcase various resources available to find community and connection, many of which I've found incredibly helpful.
I have found that connecting with like-minded people can be achieved through listening to podcasts, reading books on the topic, and speaking with a therapist. Ultimately, these resources serve as a big reminder that I am not alone. Further, the information and insight I gain from these resources serve as a profound reminder that I am doing something positive for myself.
Therapy has helped me develop new thinking patterns. Through online networks, the community I've found has been essential for enjoying sobriety and connecting with individuals who understand what I'm experiencing. Come to think of it, these resources have helped me thrive in my new non-drinking world, and I couldn't be more excited to see how they help others.
If you or a loved one are struggling with substance use or addiction, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357 for information on support and treatment facilities in your area. If you're also interested in determining whether your alcohol consumption is unhealthy or concerning visit www.auditscreen.org.
Administration (US) SA and MHS, General (US) O of the S. The Neurobiology of Substance Use, Misuse, and Addiction. US Department of Health and Human Services; 2016.
Patel AK, Balasanova AA. Treatment of alcohol use disorder. JAMA. 2021;325(6):596.