I met Julia Smith online when she joined my closed Facebook group for Sober mums who are fed up with the wine culture surrounding mums. An ex-Head of Digital for Mirror Newspapers, Julia now runs her own PR consultancy business and has written about sobriety for numerous publications in the advertising industry, where drinking alcohol at events is the norm.
A self confessed ‘out and proud sober woman’ Julia writes about the joys of being sober and the benefits of partying without alcohol.
A huge thank you to Julia for sharing her story, I hope it will help you; whether you’re sober curious or sober yourself. Knowledge of the effects of alcohol on the mind, body and spirit is more available now than ever. If you want to know more, start with William Porter Alcohol Explained, it’s an eye opener!
The joys of being sober far outweigh the short term discomfort of feeling different in a culture that celebrates (or commiserates) every life event with booze.
Julia Smith is the Founder of Digital Trading Consultancy Ltd which specialises in digital communications, PR, event management, digital strategy, corporate voiceovers, sales training and marketing; expert knowledge in brand safety, fraud prevention, ethical trading, programmatic trading, and ad trading.
She started her career in digital advertising at Dennis Publishing 24 years ago and has been at the heart of the changing digital media landscape ever since. Julia has held major commercial roles both agency and media side including Associated Newspapers, The Mirror Group Newspapers, Dennis Publishing, Harvest Digital, IAB, Nexus Business Media and UPC Media.
Having decided to become a non-drinker at the start of March, Julia has written a number of articles on the sober revolution within the advertising industry and is an active member of FFS (Fish Followers Society), Sober Mums Club and Club Soda.
Over to Julia….
MY SOBER JOURNEY
This week I hit 5 months as a non-drinker, and I wanted to share my experience of living a sober life because none of my fears about living alcohol free came true. Not a single one.
When I was a drinker, I wanted to be a louder, funnier, skinnier version of myself. Instead, I ended up being a tired, flat and bloated person. I realised that I was enduring life rather than enjoying it.
I have bad days, but I face them head on because being sober means I can be thoughtful and optimistic about making a bad situation better. Over the last 5 months, there have been moments when I have felt a craving, but I have read enough quit lit to know to ride out the feeling. Think of it like a sports massage. At first it is mildly uncomfortable, and your body is tense but after an hour, you leave feeling relaxed, energised and pain free.
That is how I now feel daily. I know that alcohol is nothing more than a quick fix with an instant high but a lifelong low. When you are sober, the highs are higher, and the lows really don’t ever feel as low.
One of my recommendations would be to embrace and own your sobriety. I work in the advertising industry, so I am surrounded by alcohol all the time and I needed to feel happy in any situation where the wine was freely flowing from day 1. I went to an Allen Carr seminar which teaches the Easyway method to stop drinking and leaves you having JOMO (joy of missing out) and not FOMO! I love socialising and believe that if the people, atmosphere, venue, entertainment and conversation are all good, then it makes no difference what liquid I happen to have in my glass. A boring evening will still be boring with a glass of wine. You just won’t remember it! What I have learnt is that when I’m tired; I sleep. If I feel overwhelmed with work; I take time out. If I have had enough of socialising for one day; I go home and chill.
Wine was woven into nearly every aspect of my life: long day? Wine. Bad day? Wine. Something to celebrate? Wine. Play date with kids and mums? Wine. Cinema? Wine. Wine tasting? Well, wine of course!
Now I am 5 months wine free, I realise that wine had the opposite effect to what I was trying to achieve. Every time I was stressed, tired, made a poor decision, missed a deadline and embarrassed myself, were all when I was drinking wine. So, I have been there and got the T-shirt. I have lived a life as a drinker and now I have lived as a non-drinker and I absolutely choose the latter.
JOY OF PARTYING SOBER
I am truly living my best life and here are just some of the many, many benefits of partying sober:
- I sleep better – if less, as 5.30am seems to be my natural wake up time!
- I jump out of bed in the morning.
- I look after myself properly… And I take my makeup off morning and night.
- I go to Industry and social events sober; socialise and get home without panicking about last trains and getting home safely.
- I go anywhere at any time with a newfound confidence and energy.
- I am 100% present for my children and a much more willing and able taxi driver.
- I set a good example for my kids and talk to them honestly about alcohol and the effects of it.
- I am looking forward to going on holiday sober and confidently know I will love it.
- I am SO much more confident in every situation without the crutch of alcohol.
- I have saved £1800 since I became a non-drinker!!
- I have worked harder and smarter and grown my business with 3 additional clients since I stopped drinking wine.
- I have lost ten pounds and my metabolic age is 30 – so says the machine.
- I have improved my fitness and I go to the gym or exercise 3 times a week.
- I read more and listen to more audible books.
- I am so much calmer and more chilled.
- I have started training for an extra qualification – CIPR Specialist Diploma in Digital Communications and will use my newfound time not drinking to study.
- I have become more productive and don’t have a single messy drawer left!
- I am planning on setting up P.S – a group for the digital advertising industry with the motto let your post-script be party sober. Whatever has gone before is in the past. P. S now it’s time to live in the now and party sober.
- I still go out and enjoy a great night with my friends.
- I like spending time in my own company.
- I look in the mirror and like the person staring back at me.
- I thought I’d miss drinking. I don’t. At all. There is not ONE single negative about becoming a non-drinker.
- I finally like myself.
- I am a sober mum and proud.
- I am the person I was always meant to be.
- I’m a better Mum, partner, daughter, sister, friend and colleague.
To all those starting out on their AF journey; keep going and try to focus on every little win and all the positives which will include pride, self-respect, empathy, happiness, energy and above all else, freedom.
SHARE YOUR SOBER STORY
Thanks to Julia for sharing her story. If you’re sober and have a story to tell, get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Connect with Julia on LinkedIn
Are you a sober mum and want to give and receive support with like-minded women? Join Sober Mum Club Facebook group. For inspiring quotes, conversation starters, helpful articles and more. Sober Mums Club, for mums who don’t drink alcohol AND love life.
We’re not recovery experts, please seek help from your GP or Club Soda for more robust recovery support.