“The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober”: Selected Quotes

The consumer reviews of Catherine Gray‘s The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober (2018) have shown that her book is highly relatable among avid “quit lit” readers. Thus, the publisher seems to get it right: “Whether you’re a hopelessly devoted drinker, merely sober-curious, or you’ve already ditched the drink, you will love this book.”

Below are selected quotes from The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober, many of which are Gray aptly quoting others.

As Annie Grace says, ‘We protect alcohol by blaming addiction on a person’s personality rather than on the addictive nature of alcohol…The concept of addictive personality lets us close our minds to the fact that alcohol is addictive, period. (Also see this Minding Therapy link.)

Nothing good ever happens in a blackout. I’ve never woken up and been like, “What is this Pilates mat doing out?” AMY SCHUMER

I didn’t have a drinking problem as such. I was great at drinking! It was the stopping. I had a stopping problem.

If I quit eating cake, would people make jokes about me ‘not being able to handle cake’? No. I don’t think so. If I quit imbibing cheese because I wanted to commit suicide after eating cheese, would people ask, ‘Can’t you just have a little bit of cheese? Just one piece of cheese?’ *Pleadingly offers up the cheese* HAVESOMECHEESE.

As much as we try to separate alcohol from other drugs by saying ‘alcohol and drugs’ (which makes no actual sense: it’s like saying ‘foxgloves and flowers’ or ‘BMWs and cars’), alcohol is a drug.

My top sober reads are: Unwasted: My Lush Sobriety by Sacha Z Scoblic, Blackout by Sarah Hepola, This Naked Mind: Control Alcohol by Annie Grace, Dry by Augusten Burroughs and Kick the Drink…Easily by Jason Vale. [See previous blog posts on Blackout and This Naked Mind.]

Everything is interconnected. Gratitude improves sleep. Sleep reduces pain. Reduced pain improves your mood. Improved mood reduces anxiety. It’s a daisy-chain of benefits.

The eternally epic Anne Lamott says, ‘There is almost nothing outside of you that will help in any kind of lasting way, unless you’re waiting for an organ. You can’t buy, achieve or date serenity and peace of mind. This is the most horrible truth, and I so resent it. But it’s an inside job.’ (Watch Anne’s TED talk on the 12 truths she’s learned, it’s glorious.)

Addiction is now often regarded as a spectrum. ‘It isn’t an issue of “sensible drinker” and “dependent drinker”,’ says Dr. Julia Lewis. ‘People often don’t realize that everyone has their own “tipping point” along that spectrum, whereby the dependence will suddenly start running away with them.’

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