You don't owe anyone an explanation for why you don't drink - sobriety advocate

Drinking alcohol has become worryingly normalised in society, says sobriety advocate Janet Gourand.

Gourand is a recovering alcoholic and the founder of World Without Wine, a sobriety community which provides support and workshops.

She says that sobriety is an act of social rebellion.

Read: Sobriety advocate Janet Gourand pens moving letter on living without alcohol

Gourand laments the pressure and burden placed on sober people to justify why they do not want to drink alcohol, particularly at social events.

She recounts her own journey with sobriety and share advice for non-drinkers who battle with social scrutiny.

It was hugely difficult. I felt embarrassed and uncool for a long time.

Janet Gourand, sobriety advocate

I would make a great effort to look as if I was drinking and have a drink that looked alcoholic.

Janet Gourand, sobriety advocate

Gradually, I got my confidence back. Now, I have fun with it and people are quite intrigued by non-drinkers.

Janet Gourand, sobriety advocate

Sobriety gives people a serious edge in society today. People perform better and go on to be even more successful in their careers.

Janet Gourand, sobriety advocate

Also read: Functioning alcoholic turned sobriety advocate on the benefits of quitting booze

Gourand argues that some people who take issue with non-drinkers are often battling with their own alcoholism.

She says that many people have been forced to come up with creative reasons about why the don't drink.

If you're in a noisy bar, you don't feel like telling people your life story and it's none of their business anyway.

Janet Gourand, sobriety advocate

The easiest excuses that people use is to say you are on meds or on a health kick.

Janet Gourand, sobriety advocate

Listeners also phoned in to shared their personal experiences:

I've never been a drinker. I've become a very popular man. Being a non-drinker is the new sex symbol.

Seth, caller

I'm a non-drinker and I sometimes feel guilty as if I'm missing out on something... People get so nervous and uncomfortable about having a conversation with someone who doesn't drink.

Siphiwe, caller

For years I was a binge-drinker and it got out of hand. It is almost a year [that I have been sober]. It has been the greatest help.

Gustaf, caller

My friends ostracised me... I don't worry about having to crutch myself.

Gustaf, caller

The longer that you are sober, the less it becomes a problem. Today is 18 months that I've been sober and I turn 69 this month. I was drinking for 40 years. I've lost 22 kilograms since I stopped drinking.

Fred, caller

I'm 37 years old and I've never touched alcohol. I'm very proud of it.

Ncebakazi, caller

Take a listen:


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