#StopSoberShaming blog posts

“As lockdown ends, we’re launching a campaign to stop sober shaming. Read on to find out more about what sober shaming is, why it matters, and how you can help to end it.

Sober shaming is making someone feel uncomfortable for not drinking. When we sober shame, we make others feel like their decision not to drink is wrong, boring, or even offensive. Not drinking alcohol – whether for an evening, a month or long-term – should be a decision we can all make freely, that others respect. When we sober shame, we make that decision much harder, and contribute a culture where drinking is the default, not a choice.

People may not know they’re sober shaming, and many of those who sober shame don’t do so on purpose. Often it’s unintentional and meant as a joke, but can still be very harmful – especially in combination with all the other messages we receive that drinking is ‘normal’ and not drinking is not.”

Find more from Alcohol Change UK (UK, June 2021)

#StopSoberShaming blog posts

From every day drinker and ‘sober shamer’ to CEO of an alcohol charity – read Richard’s story.

2017. I’ve just received a phone call with the news I’ve been waiting for: I’ve been appointed CEO of the charity that will become Alcohol Change UK.

I tell my family, delighted. But my 11-year-old younger daughter looks incredulous. “Do they know about you?!” An embarrassed silence falls for a moment, until my wonderful partner says, “Your dad’s drinking is fine.”

But it wasn’t fine. I was drinking every day and had done for years. My entire identity was wrapped up in being a drinker of real ale, although I destroyed bottles of wine too. I would always be the first to suggest a trip to the pub for work drinks, and the last to leave. When the free wine flowed at events I’d be one of those people (and there are many of us!) always keeping an eye on how many people were drinking red and white so I could choose the colour where I’d get the most.

Read further from Alcohol Change UK Blog

After I stopped drinking in August of 2008, I was advised to stick with the ‘winners,’ aka, other sober people. Folks who understood the challenge of being the only one in the room not drinking.

So, I did.

These new sober friends of mine and I had daily coffees together. We sat ten to a booth in greasy diners for lunch. And later on, when we got braver, we met for early dinners in restaurants, self-consciously checking our watches while we ordered our club sodas and Diet Cokes. By eight o’clock, we’d all have scampered back to our respective homes, handily avoiding the second-seating crowd, the partiers, the ones who would be ordering bottles of red and shots of tequila.

After about a year of declining clubbing invites from my former drinking buddies, my best friend invited me to her birthday dinner. This would have been doable; after all, she was my best friend, except for this ‘dinner’ was to take place at Tao. Tao is a happening spot with a massive wine list, a bar that takes up a whole city block, and there’s dancing – in other words, Tao is a nightclub. I didn’t know if I should risk that kind of social pressure. I hadn’t smelled scotch on anyone’s breath or caught a whiff of freshly poured wine in over a year.

Read further from Alcohol Change UK Blog

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