What Does Sober Mean? Everything You Need To Know

What Does Sober Mean

Sobriety is a complete transformation process that requires immense patience and determination. But ever wondered what sobriety means? It’s a path to happiness and a healthy lifestyle and a promise to keep yourself away from alcohol.

Around the world, alcohol has become an essential part of culture. A social gathering can get dull if they aren’t serving alcoholic beverages. Unfortunately, the use of other addictive substances has also become common. Most high school graduates and college students are found binge drinking and taking drugs, while adults mostly rely on alcohol to get rid of stress.

Drinking in moderation or twice a year is fine, but indulging in excessive drinking will cause a danger to your health. People who are becoming aware of the health hazards associated with alcohol intake are turning themselves toward sobriety.

But living a sober lifestyle isn’t a child’s play. It takes a lot of time and effort, but it’s definitely worth the shot. Sobriety refers to a life free of alcohol and other mind-altering substances that can adversely affect your body, or in the short-term, it’s when you are not temporarily drinking. 

Let’s dive in deep to understand what is the actual meaning of sober and what advantages you can enjoy as a sober person.

What is Sober?

You can search through all the world’s dictionaries, but eventually, they all have more or less the same meaning for the word sober. To put it in simple terms 

“Sober means not being under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or any other addictive substance that can cause harm to your health.” 

There are ways you can call yourself sober. One is when you are temporarily sober, while in another condition, you decide to say goodbye to alcohol for the rest of your life. Let’s explore these two a little.

Sober For the Time Being

Imagine partying at a bar with your friends. Of Course, you won’t be skipping a couple of beers or leaving the party without having a few shots. Well, guess what? You’re completely drunk in a few hours and ready for the next day’s hangovers.

The effects of alcohol start to wear off in 6 hours. However, it may vary from person to person, depending on age, gender, and height.

For a commercial pilot, a drug test is essential to ensure a safe flight, but that doesn’t mean these gentlemen cannot drink. There should be a gap of 8 hours between flying and drinking so that the effects of alcohol are gone for good.

So when you’re not drinking for a while, you can call yourself a sober person. In this case, you’re using the term sober for a short time, and you may not stay away from alcohol forever. Also, drinking in moderation is not closely related to being sober because even a light amount of alcohol will make its way to your bloodstream.

Saying No to Alcohol- A Step towards a Happy Life

What Does Sober Mean

Some people only think of quitting alcohol, while others develop the strength to actually do it. Now this is the tough part. If you’re an addict or suffer from an Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD), then quitting alcohol can be difficult. 

However, it’s not impossible. When you take a look at what damage alcohol has done to you, your mind gives you a more clear picture. You get more determined towards your end goal.

If you have finally chosen to live a life free of alcohol, then there are people and rehab centers that can help you in the journey. In the recovery phase, a person is supposed to abstain from taking drugs, alcoholic drinks, or other addictive substances at all costs. This means partying hard is not allowed.

The mental and emotional journey can really test your limits. You keep craving alcohol but manage to learn self-control. Once you have surpassed all the obstacles, you’re a new clean, and sober individual.

What is Dry Drunk?

It is always important to find out the situations that made you drink in the first place. People drink more often when they are stressed out. Dry drunk or white-knuckling refers to when you have let go of alcohol permanently but haven’t dealt with the problems that triggered your drinking habits.

In this situation, you are more likely to develop a new addiction or, in the worst cases, return to your previous state. Some symptoms of the dry drunk syndrome are self-obsession, mood swings, frustration, anger, giving up the thought of being sober and thinking about your past love for alcohol.

So, it’s highly recommended to address the issues that can cause a relapse. Otherwise, your recovery process would just be a temporary one. 

What Does it Feel Like to Be Sober?

Getting sober might be the biggest and most challenging decision of your life. If you’re planning to leave alcohol on your own, things can get rough for you. Since it is an emotional journey, a little help and guidance from family and friends or a healthcare specialist will make the trip easy for you.

During the first few weeks, you might experience depression, anxiety, and an urge to return to your old drinking habits. Other times you may think sobriety ain’t your thing. But remember, it all comes down to your willpower in the end, which will make you a clean and sober person.

In the initial stages, the chances of relapse are high.

Withdrawal symptoms might vanish after a few weeks, or they might continue for months. But don’t worry, it’s only a temporary feeling and will go away eventually.

Another factor that affects your recovery is the type of substance you are planning to quit. Alcoholics will recover faster than a druggie. Whatever the case, if you are persistent in your decision, then quitting alcohol or any other substance is an achievable task.

When you’re sober, you’ll notice drastic changes within yourself and your lifestyle. Suddenly, you become a more emotionally stable person. Your confidence level increases, and a positive feeling emerges. No more depressive episodes. A sober person feels more concentrated and makes focused decisions. Life becomes easy and healthy. 

Can You Actually Live a Sober Life?

What Does Sober Mean

Saying “No” to alcohol is not an easy task. You think you can’t party without alcohol, but that’s not true. Stick to your sobriety decision, and you can find several ways to entertain yourself without drinking a few shots.

People who have been living a sober life can easily share all the benefits it brings to their health and their professional life. But the question is: Are you ready to go against a cultural norm that has been there for ages? If you have the strength to make the right decision for yourself, then alcohol will be a thing of the past for you.

If a person is diagnosed with a severe health problem, then they have no option but to quit alcohol. Addiction counselors can help a person let go of his substance use addiction with proper guidance.

You can indeed live a sober life once you figure out that enjoying your drink and not craving for another, then another one is also actually a possibility. 

Still confused??

Keep reading the article to know some of the important benefits of being sober, shared by some of the most amazing sober people out there. This section of the article will help you make a better future choice for yourself.

Importance of Being Sober

Aah! So, you’ve finally made the big decision or are planning to take one but are feeling totally confused about whether your decision is worth it or not. Don’t worry! This post got you covered. After interviewing several folks, it was easy to find similarities among them in terms of the benefits they are enjoying after completely abstaining from alcohol. Take a look.

Mental Health- No More Thinking or Acting Crazy

Excessive drinking can adversely affect the brain in the long run. It can reduce the size of the neurons. As a result, you may face problems like blurred vision, difficulty in understanding, cognitive decline, depression, anxiety, impaired judgment, or even dementia.

Some of the effects go away when you turn sober for a few days, while other severe effects may require medical help.

Now if you have opted to live a sober life, then everything changes. In the first few weeks, you will feel that all your attempts are useless, and it will appear impossible to control your cravings.

After a few months, your anxiety gets lower, and you become a more controlled person. After 1 year of hard work, your patience starts to pay off. You will transform into a new person. 

You’ll be able to focus more clearly and think creatively after the brain fog disappears. Overall all your brain functions are back in place. 

A Road to a Better Physical Health

Everyone knows that the last step of addiction is death. There are so many cases of near-to-death experiences reported by addicted individuals. However, realizing the damage substance abuse is causing and then working towards getting rid of that addiction will lead to a healthier lifestyle.

Some of the serious health issues alcoholics face are heart disease, increased chances of cancer, liver damage, high blood pressure, and a weak immune system. 

As an alcoholic, your body becomes more sensitive and prone to all diseases. At the same time, a sober person can enjoy all the health benefits. If you are still having a hard time figuring out whether or not to become a clean/sober person, picture the life you wanna have. Does it revolve around alcohol, or it shows an image of a healthier person enjoying precious moments with his/her loved ones?  

All your future goals are dependent on that one important decision. When you talk about physical health, occasional drinking or turning sober for life is a great option.

Improved Financial Stability

Ever count the amount of money you spent on alcohol? Or how many drinks do you end up buying for your friends? The answer is pretty simple. You come out of the bar with an empty pocket. But what if you were sober? Honestly, you’ll be saving more money when you are not mindlessly spending on alcohol and drugs.

With inflation at its peak, it is better to save some money where you can. Avoid boozy nights and drunk weekends. 

The good news is most Americans are cutting on alcohol this year, starting with a dry January. Mostly the younger generation is more concerned about their health and fears that they don’t get addicted to harmful substances. Imagine a person spending $30 on alcoholic beverages per day for 5 days of the week means a total of $7800 a year. Now you can do the math! If you turn sober, you’ll be saving a big amount of money to spend elsewhere.

A Step Towards Building Better Relationships

With a clear mind, you can communicate with your close ones in a better way. The damage your impaired judgments must have caused, and the barriers your aggressive, irritated behavior has created will begin to sort out once you get sober. 

You might give up in the beginning, but your close bonds will make you super strong to achieve an impossible goal. On the brighter side, you might turn out to be a perfect partner for your special one. You will be able to give respect to your family and eventually build a trustworthy image of yourself in their eyes. 

Self-Esteem is High

The happiness you achieve after recovery is unmeasurable. It’s like a whole new world for you. Your lifestyle will change for good, your close ones will acknowledge you for your efforts, and you will know from the inside that you did a good job. The sense of accomplishment makes you a more confident individual.

More Energy and Time

With alcohol being long gone from your life, you will have more energy and time to invest in better places. Your body will feel active and healthy again. You’ll be spending more time with your family and friends and get actively involved in social activities rather than drinking till you pass out.

Eating Habits Change 

Excessive drinking suppresses your appetite. When you turn sober, your eating habits change, and you begin to look for healthier options. That way, your mind and body will start functioning properly and you will no longer remain a dull person chugging down his booze all day.

Is It Hard to Date a Sober Person?

Relationships are always two-way communication. Dating a sober guy or a person in recovery rather than a person who enjoys getting drunk is a bit complex. But there is absolutely nothing wrong with it. 

Start by eliminating all the communication barriers. Share your honest opinion and thoughts. Understand that your partner is a sober guy/girl and wants to stay that way forever. Don’t act all weird if your partner doesn’t drink. It’s his/her decision, and you should respect that.

There may also be occasions where you have to skip a glass of wine on your dinner date, but it’s all worth it in the end. A little change in lifestyle and a bit of compromise can make your relationship stronger.

But that surely doesn’t mean you can never enjoy your drink. Drinking occasionally while your partner chooses to refrain from alcohol can also work. It’s all about respecting each other’s opinions. 

What Is The Difference Between Sober and Not-Drinking?

Not drinking is a general term used when you opt to leave alcohol for a certain time while being sober depicts a broader long-term commitment towards life.

Even after recovery, a sober person is surrounded by former temptations. They have to struggle hard to maintain their sobriety. As a result, they learn to develop an optimistic view of life, become capable of handling tough situations and begin to practice healthy habits. 

A non-drinking person is not like a binge drinker, but he/she is someone who enjoys drinking on occasion. These people know their limits and avoid getting drunk. A non-drinking person is not attracted to alcohol and may not crave to grab the next one.

If you’re an “I don’t drink” kind of guy, yet you use other addictive items like Cocaine or Marijuana, then you don’t fall under the category of sober. Being sober/clean means keeping yourself away from getting intoxicated for the rest of your life.

Sobriety 101: Tips on How to Stay Sober

Getting sober is difficult, but maintaining your sobriety is an ongoing struggle. Most people experience a relapse, but their determination and discipline help eliminate negative thoughts. When you see alcohol and feel like you should grab one, just remind yourself how hard you have worked to achieve your biggest goal. The following tips can help you stay sober. 

  • Develop healthy eating habits. Avoid staying hungry for a long time.
  • Stay hydrated.
  • Develop a supportive network.
  • Stay away from drunk gatherings.
  • Recognize what is the cause of your intense alcohol craving. Is it stress or peer pressure? Avoid getting yourself in a similar situation that made you an alcoholic in the first place.
  • Develop the habit of saying NO to alcohol.
  • Be proud of yourself.
  • Find other ways to entertain yourself.
  • Use green tea or other healthy beverages to fulfill your craving.
  • Find a new hobby or participate in different activities.
  • Stay persistent in your decision.


Being sober means keeping yourself at a distance from alcoholic drinks. The journey can get you both mentally and emotionally stressed out, but the hope of becoming a better person keeps you going. Sobriety is a big decision to make. But the benefits are enormous. Short-term sobriety won’t do you any good, whereas excessive alcohol can negatively affect your mind and body.  

If you are planning to get sober for life, you should seek help from a professional. Avoid doing it on your own, or at least inform your family and friends so that they can help you in the right way. It is a big milestone that requires all your strength and patience. Avoid getting binge drunk or a drug addict. Your sobriety will make you a more happy and stable person.


Can you be sober and still drink?

It takes around 6-24 hours for the effects of alcohol to leave your system for good. So, yes, you can call yourself sober when your blood alcohol volume (BAC) level is 0.0%. But that’s only till the next time you plan out a late-night party.

What is the difference between Sober and Clean?

If you quit drugs or other substances but continue to drink alcohol in moderation, you are called clean but not sober.  

What is the difference between sober and not drinking? 

A sober person is not supposed to drink throughout his entire lifetime, whereas a non-drinking person may sometimes opt to drink occasionally or practice sobriety for the time being.

Does sober mean no alcohol?

Sobriety requires complete abstinence from alcohol, harmful addictive drugs, and other substances. No more drinks or drugs!

Can you drink again after taking a break?

Usually, when you notice your alcohol intake is getting out of hand, you decide to take a break and return to your usual habit the next month. Learn to drink mindfully without overdoing it. As for sobriety, it’s a long process where you make a decision never to drink again in your life.

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