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:

CapeTalk welcomes all comments that are constructive, contribute to discussions in a meaningful manner and take stories forward.

However, we will NOT condone the following:

  • Racism (including offensive comments based on ethnicity and nationality)
  • Sexism
  • Homophobia
  • Religious intolerance
  • Cyber bullying
  • Hate speech
  • Derogatory language
  • Comments inciting violence.

We ask that your comments remain relevant to the articles they appear on and do not include general banter or conversation as this dilutes the effectiveness of the comments section.

We strive to make the CapeTalk community a safe and welcoming space for all.

CapeTalk reserves the right to: 1) remove any comments that do not follow the above guidelines; and, 2) ban users who repeatedly infringe the rules.

Should you find any comments upsetting or offensive you can also flag them and we will assess it against our guidelines.

CapeTalk is constantly reviewing its comments policy in order to create an environment conducive to constructive conversations.

Read More
Yho! Callers share their nightmare cinema and theatre-going stories

Yho! Callers share their nightmare cinema and theatre-going stories

Listeners phoned in to share some of their unpleasant encounters while out to a enjoy a film or play.

JSE-listed 'Cloud Atlas' helps investors navigate African markets

JSE-listed 'Cloud Atlas' helps investors navigate African markets

Cloud Atlas is a young investment firm that's devoted to boosting investment and growth in African financial markets.

Why does alcohol keep us up at night and does sweat differ in the body?

Why does alcohol keep us up at night and does sweat differ in the body?

The Naked Scientist answers these questions and more with Eusebius McKaiser...

Sobriety advocate Janet Gourand pens moving letter on living without alcohol

Sobriety advocate Janet Gourand pens moving letter on living without alcohol

Sobriety advocate Janet Gourand wrote a touching goodbye letter to alcohol and shared it on air, along with advice on staying dry.

Functioning alcoholic turned sobriety advocate on the benefits of quitting booze

Functioning alcoholic turned sobriety advocate on the benefits of quitting booze

After being diagnosed with breast cancer, sobriety advocate Janet Gourand quit alcohol and has never looked back.

Find out how and why you should cut out booze for Dry January

Find out how and why you should cut out booze for Dry January

Many people decide to give their liver a break after festive season revelry and World Without Wine teaches you how to do it.

Popular articles
LISTEN: Gerrie Nel on why he's persuing prosecution against Duduzane Zuma

LISTEN: Gerrie Nel on why he's persuing prosecution against Duduzane Zuma

AfriForum will prosecute Duduzane Zuma after NPA declined to do so in 2015 following a 2014 accident where a woman died.

How we invented the modern concept of sleep

How we invented the modern concept of sleep

Dr Bodhisattva Kar reveals how industrial capitalism influenced the world's current sleep patterns.

Hassen Adams (he brought Burger King and Dunkin’ Donuts to SA) talks money

Hassen Adams (he brought Burger King and Dunkin’ Donuts to SA) talks money

The Money Show’s Bruce Whitfield interviews Adams about his attitude to money (hopes and fears, successes and failures, etc.).

Kloof Street residents living in fear as crime multiplies

Kloof Street residents living in fear as crime multiplies

A Cape Town man was stabbed to death on Saturday while trying to assist two women who were being mugged on Kloof street.

‘I started my thriving business with R5000 (and made a profit in the 1st month)’

‘I started my thriving business with R5000 (and made a profit in the 1st month)’

After 3 years there are 3 Nic Harry stores (incl online) that sell 100 000 pairs of socks in over 20 countries around the world.