'I discovered I had ADHD.' 10 women on the most surprising thing about giving up alcohol.

It's almost July. Women everywhere are gearing themselves up to put down the drinks and try sobriety for 30 days. They are looking forward to the benefits they already know about – weight loss, glowing skin, and waking up on Saturday morning and jumping out of bed like they mean it.

But what they don't know about yet, are the surprising benefits of sobriety that not many women see coming – until they experience them for themselves.

Watch: Here are just some effects after one year without drinking alcohol. Post continues after video.

Video via Mamamia.

When I finally gave up drinking for good in 2019, the most surprising benefit for me was that my anxiety went away. Almost overnight. My anxiety was overwhelming in the final years of drinking and, when I stopped, I felt it loosen its grip and go away. As a grey area drinking coach, I see women go through transformations when they quit drinking and they are always surprised by the benefits they don’t see coming...

Here are the 10 most surprising benefits of sobriety, as told by some of the incredible women I have helped quit drinking: 

1. Time changes.

"When drinking, I spent so much time just sitting around drinking, thinking about what to drink, if I had enough to drink, and inevitably spending the entire next day in bed. Now my weekends seem to last forever!"


Time expands in a new way. When you stop spending your nights drinking on the couch and mornings in bed with a hangover, there's a lot more time in your day. More life can be enjoyed because suddenly the days feel a whole lot longer. This time shift allows you to savour experiences fully and connect deeply with others. Free from the constant internal chatter about alcohol, you discover that time is wide open, and bursting with potential.

2. You realise you can survive your emotions without drinking.

"The biggest surprise to me was surviving emotions I thought I couldn't get through without a drink."

The moment you realise you can weather the storm of difficult emotions without resorting to alcohol is a revelation that transforms your entire outlook on life. It's a powerful recognition that you possess an innate resilience, an inner strength capable of navigating the depths of emotional turbulence. Instead of numbing those painful feelings, you confront them head-on, embracing vulnerability as a catalyst for growth. You learn to lean on healthy coping mechanisms, such as self-care, mindfulness, and reaching out to supportive friends and family. As you go further down this path, you discover an empowering truth: you're not defined by your struggles, but by your ability to overcome them with unwavering clarity.

3. Peace comes when you take away shame.

"Alcohol kept me on a wheel of shame. Once I started speaking my truth sober, no one could silence me."


When you're sober, the weight of guilt and remorse dissipates, replaced by a newfound freedom and self-acceptance. Your mind clears, and a gentle calmness pervades your entire being. The layers of shame gradually peel away, revealing a core of compassion and love for yourself. The surprise women tell me is that they feel more love for themselves than ever before. Without alcohol-induced shame, you discover an inner peacefulness that allows you to cultivate meaningful connections, pursue your passions, and live a life defined by joy and fulfillment.

4. An end to people pleasing.

"Increased self-confidence and the ability to set and respect my personal boundaries have been huge for me. Being sober really helped me stop people pleasing all the time."

When we are sober, we don't feel as guilty, overwhelmed, or as crippled by self-doubt. We feel stronger, clearer and we start to understand our own worth. That means we start putting up with less crap! An end to people pleasing is a surprising benefit that comes when women realise they are worthy of strong boundaries. That they are not there to serve their family, friends, or co-workers. With sobriety, many women realise they come first. Sometimes for the first time in their lives.

5. You can have more fun NOT drinking.

"I thought socialising would be hard and awkward but it's anything but. I am more social and enjoy it so much more."

This is the most surprising benefit of all. For the women who can't imagine having fun or being fun socialising without alcohol, many are genuinely shocked when they discover socialising sober can be more fun. What they find is that laughter is deeper, connections are richer, and experiences are more vivid. Sobriety allows us to embrace life's joys with heightened clarity and authenticity. We can stay ourselves (all night long!) and engage in meaningful conversations, dance with abandon, and savour the richness of the experience without numbing our senses.


6. Sober sex feels better.

"When you get over the initial change, having sex sober feels more potent, more alive and better."

One of the most surprising benefits of sobriety is the heightened pleasure experienced during sex. The body's natural sensations become more acute, leading to a richer and more fulfilling sexual experience. Without the numbing effects of alcohol, many women report increased sensitivity, heightened arousal, and a deeper connection with their partner. Sobriety allows for greater presence, mindfulness, and emotional clarity, enhancing overall intimacy.

7. Hair and nails grow like never before.

"My hair grows so much more quickly now! And is easily 50 per cent thicker than it used to be."

They don't just grow strong and healthy; they grow FAST. With boosted circulation and enhanced nutrient absorption, many women report remarkable acceleration in the growth rate of their hair and nails. It's because alcohol depletes vital nutrients in the body, including B vitamins and minerals essential for healthy hair and nail growth. Alcohol also disrupts hormonal balance and impairs liver function, which can affect nutrient absorption and lead to brittle nails and thinning hair. Without booze, your hair and nails grow like they're meant to!


Listen to Fill My Cup, where host Allira Potter is joined by Sam Wilson, Founder of Sober Mates to share her sobriety story. Post continues after podcast.

8. The diagnoses of ADHD that's been masked by alcohol.

"I knew something was wrong, but it was only when I gave up drinking that my ADHD was successfully diagnosed. It was a relief to know."

Alcohol can often mimic or mask the symptoms of ADHD, making it challenging to distinguish between the two. By abstaining from alcohol and other substances, women can experience improved cognitive functioning, increased focus, and enhanced self-awareness. This newfound mental clarity allows for a more accurate evaluation of ADHD symptoms, leading to proper diagnosis and targeted treatment. Sobriety provides a clearer lens to understand and address ADHD, leading to better overall well-being and quality of life. 

9. Menopause symptoms disappear.

"No more violent mood swings, anxiety, or emotional outbursts. I feel like I'm calmer now through menopause than before."

Alcohol exacerbates menopause symptoms, including hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, and disrupted sleep patterns. By eliminating alcohol, women are often shocked their menopause symptoms suddenly ease up (sometimes completely!). Sobriety allows the body's natural hormonal balance to stabilize, resulting in a reduction in the intensity and frequency of menopause-related discomfort. Sobriety also supports overall physical and emotional wellbeing, providing a solid emotional foundation for navigating the transition into menopause with greater ease.


10. Making our kids beam with pride.

"I never thought the kids would pay so much attention to me quitting drinking, but they have, and they love it."

I've saved the best 'till last! One surprising benefit of sobriety is the way our children beam with pride. When parents embrace sobriety, it can have a profound impact on our kids. Witnessing their mum prioritize her health and wellbeing fills children with a sense of safety, joy, admiration, and pride. Children see firsthand the positive changes in their mum's behaviour, relationships, and overall happiness. This newfound pride can strengthen the parent-child bond, instil a sense of hope, and encourage healthier choices for the entire family. I'll never forget one woman in my 30-day alcohol free challenges reporting her child beaming with pride while letting a friend know "My mum doesn't drink."

After years of trying (and failing) to moderate my consumption, I made the decision to remove alcohol from my life altogether in April 2019. I've never looked back. In 2020, I re-trained as a Grey Area Drinking Coach and through my free Facebook community of sober curious women (join HERE) and through my quarterly alcohol free challenges; I have now helped thousands of women to change their relationship with alcohol too and experience all the benefits of breaking the grey area drinking cycle. 

To know more about Sarah, visit her website.

And if you want to read more from Sarah, check out her articles below:

Feature Image: Supplied.