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How to live a substance-free, high vibe life!

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I have been a ‘sober shaker’, as I like to call it, for coming up to 6 years now. Sobriety is an odd thing (I think, anyway…) because on the face of it, it appears to just be about not drinking. Yet I’ve personally found this to be the first and most superficial layer. There is SO much more to not drinking than simply not drinking, if that makes sense.

Sobriety is a life choice that is by no means a necessity for everyone. But I can’t help but feel that in a culture whose attitude is so often ‘play now, pay later’, it’s important that each of us chooses to show up for ourselves now so that we can grow and fully become who we are capable of being. I can safely say from personal experience, that my own path of inner healing has been greatly accelerated by my choice to live consciously (and by that, I mean choosing not to sooth myself or escape via alcohol or other mind-altering substances). My belief is that sustainable inner change cannot be achieved by temporary external methods. They might provide a short-term fix, but they do not heal or cure.

If you’re looking to explore a bit of ‘conscious living’ yourself, I’ve jotted down a few thoughts to keep you motivated and inspired along the way.


It’s easy to have a lack mentality when you’re giving something up. Oprah Winfrey once wisely said that ‘what you focus on expands’. So how about honing in on all that you’re hoping to gain from not drinking?

The benefits of sobriety, in my experience, are plentiful; no hangovers (or remorse at embarrassing out-of-control antics), deeper sleep, less anxiety, improved mental clarity, more authentic connection with others, an ability to really feel things (and the emotional resilience that comes with that), heightened productivity, brighter eyes and skin, more money in the bank account… the list goes on!

Have a think about the benefits you hope an alcohol-free period or lifestyle might bring – and make that your fuel and focus.


No matter how little (or how much) alcohol you consume, the bottom line is that it has a mind-altering effect. It enables us to feel and behave in ways we don’t believe we can – or are not brave enough to explore – when in our right minds. The more we choose to buy into this, the more we reinforce it for ourselves.

Subconsciously, most of us attribute certain ‘super-powers’ to drinking. Whether we believe it makes us braver, wittier and more interesting or that we simply cannot relax without it. Once you identify the super-power role that alcohol and substance has been playing in your life, you can begin to challenge and dismantle your reliance on it. Over time, most people discover that everything they relied on alcohol for is totally accessible to them in sobriety.

Yes, it takes a bit of work – but nothing worth having comes easy, right? Growth takes time. Like training muscles in the gym, initial discomfort might be necessary in order to yield the desired results. But it’s 100% possible! What super-powers have you attributed to alcohol, and are you willing to move beyond your dependance on it?


When we were children, we could shake off our angst by throwing a tantrum. As adults, that’s (unfortunately) no longer an acceptable way to deal with pent up emotions. In sobriety, you will still experience a whole plethora of feelings, stress included. Not drinking does not make people exempt from hard times. And without the quick-fix anaesthetisation of booze, it’s important to find other ways to work through your emotions.

Resentments are one of the main threats to emotional wellbeing; they leave us feeling heavy and off-balance. An effective way to support yourself in sobriety is to deal with your niggles head on. Why? Because when you work through them, you feel mentally clearer and no longer need to numb out from the things that tick you off. It’s our individual responsibility to make healthy choices and set boundaries with others, to ensure bitterness and resentment don’t rear their ugly heads too regularly.

Two of my favourite ways of releasing pent up emotion and letting niggles go, are exercising and spending time in nature (ideally combined). Nature has an incredible way of right-sizing woes and putting them into perspective. And if it doesn’t manage to do that, at the very least, it pumps some much-needed fresh air into our foggy minds.

Aside from a glass of wine, what helps YOU to de-stress? Whatever it is; do it more. And regularly.


Looking for further sobriety inspo? Follow my posts on Instagram for more guidance. If you’re looking for an inspiring read, I highly recommend the recently released and utterly brilliant book The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober by Catherine Gray. Get involved with a FUN non-drinking community, why not give a Club Soda event a whirl?

Joanne Bradford is a certified healing practitioner and life-consultant, and is also co-author of ‘The Inner Fix’, published by Hodder & Stoughton in 2016. Joanne is founder of Motherheart, dedicated to creating the space for you to clear out emotional blockages and discordant energies, so you can plug into your inner guidance and live a meaningful life that makes a difference to your world. 

Discover Joanne’s brilliant sessions here:


Joanne is Life + Me’s Emotional Healing Expert. If you have a question for Joanne for our Q+As, or if you have a suggested topic you would like her to cover, email [email protected]



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