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The Single Man’s Guide To Sober Living

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Obi Unaka, BSC (HONS) MCMI, is the Treatment Director of Charterhouse Clinic Flore, a fully residential, luxurious drug and alcohol addiction treatment centre set in the heart of the British countryside. Read full bio.

Last Updated: Feb 23, 2024
4 min read
How to Stop Drinking Alcohol

There are plenty of good reasons to stop drinking alcohol.

Aside from the well-documented damage that alcohol does to your health, professional life, love life and finances, there’s a growing number of young people in the UK who simply have better things to do with their time.

Findings published in 2016 by the Office for National Statistics found that up to one in four British adults didn’t drink at all.

Our own alcohol awareness survey for Charterhouse Clinic Flore, which we ran in 2018, found rates of sobriety have continued to climb even higher.

But for those that do indulge, drinking can be a devilishly hard habit to break. Rates of alcoholism are three times higher among men than women and many men who do drink too much find it difficult to admit they have a problem.

Even those who know they have a problem struggle to cut back.

With that in mind, we’ve put together a guide to staying sober as a single guy without compromising on being a gentleman.

Think Carefully about Your Social Circle

Hazy view of a drinking area with people sitting on barrels and drinking alcohol

You’ll never change your life until you change the things you do every day.

This extends to the places you go and, just as importantly, the people you see.

For a recovering alcoholic, it’s best to play it safe.

Don’t just avoid bars and pubs — avoid anywhere that sells any kind of alcoholic drink at all. Stick to places that you’ve scouted out and know to be safe — parks, cafes, international stores that don’t stock alcohol, gyms, and cinemas are great shouts.

Evaluate your friendships too. Tell your friends why you’re giving up alcohol and what they can do to support you. If a “friend” tries to change your mind, it might be worth considering how much of a true friend they really are.

Do Coffee Dates Instead of Drinking Dates

Couple on a coffee date

Think dating is impossible without drinking? Think again.

What you think of as “liquid courage” is actually often one drink too many. Slurred speech and poor memory are not attractive qualities (except, perhaps, to other drunk people).

Better yet, it’s easier to tell whether a romance has potential without the fog of alcohol hanging over everything.

The whole “I’m not sure if she actually likes me…” schtick is often quite clear if you haven’t sozzled your brain with four pints before meeting her.

When sober, you can quickly assess the chemistry and move on if it’s lacking. Nobody likes a time-waster.

Take girls out for coffee instead of wine. If she’s a good match for you, the relationship will move forward regardless of whether you’re drinking beer or espresso.

Oh, and not drinking gives you additional advantages over most men: you’ll be in better shape, you won’t be cranky in the morning, you’ll always be able to drive her home and you’ll have a decent wad of disposable income that you didn’t have before.

What Should You Do if Someone Asks Why You’re Not Drinking?

Man in suit and tie pointing at camera with sun glare in background

Frankly, it’s no-one else’s damn business if you decide not to drink.

Your reasons for not drinking are no-one else’s business either. It’s rude to ask people why they choose not to drink—but, unfortunately, lots of people do it anyway.

It’s best to have an answer prepared for these moments.

In most cases, honesty is the best policy. If you openly tell people that you don’t drink any more because you’re a recovering alcoholic and alcohol nearly killed you, people will either quickly shut up and/or respect your decision.

If you’re worried about potential backlash for admitting to being an alcoholic, it’s best to opt for a ‘white lie’.

Driving is a great excuse. Volunteer to be the designated driver and people will thank you for not drinking.

Or simply say that you are on some medication which you cannot mix with alcohol—nobody will question it.

The fact is, there’s not as much social pressure to drink as we like to tell ourselves. Nobody worth talking to cares if your vodka lemonade is actually a sparkling water.

And let’s not forget, drunk people don’t tend to have the best powers of observation or memory either!

Help is Only a Phone Call Away

If you think you might be misusing alcohol, and you’re based in the UK, you can call the anonymous Charterhouse Clinic Flore helpline for free, 24/7. Their number is 01327 340990.

Alternatively, search online for alcohol support services close to you.

Heads up: This is a guest post by Obi. The views expressed in this article are his own & The Adult Man takes no legal responsibility for any consequence regarding the information in this post.