The Unexpected Joy Of Being Sober Summary

1-Sentence-Summary: The Unexpected Joy Of Being Sober will help you have a happier and healthier life by persuasively revealing the many disadvantages of alcohol and the benefits of going without it permanently.

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The Unexpected Joy Of Being Sober Summary

There are two definitions of the word sober in the Oxford dictionary. One refers to the state of not being drunk. The other identifies sober as being serious and solemn. Unfortunately, too many people mix these definitions like a cocktail and consider sobriety to be boring. 

But what they don’t know is that ditching alcohol is one of the most freeing choices you can make. Rather than needing to get drunk to find pleasure, people who don’t drink know that life itself is incredibly intoxicating. All you have to do is give it a chance. 

These ideas and much more are what Catherine Gray explores in her book The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober: Discovering a Happy, Healthy, Wealthy Alcohol-Free Life. She helps you see why a life without alcohol is far better than you can imagine.

These are the 3 most eye-opening lessons I’ve discovered about getting drunk:

  1. Alcohol is the most harmful drug in the world and a class 1 carcinogen, which means it’s as cancer-causing as asbestos and cigarettes, even in “moderation.”
  2. Sobriety is like a muscle that will be weak at first, but you can strengthen it. 
  3. You will get smarter and have better sex if you give up booze.

Ready to learn something that will change your life for the better? Let’s get right to it!

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Lesson 1: No amount of alcohol consumption is safe, it increases your chances of cancer, is the most harmful drug in the world, and harms society.

Alcohol is bad for you, and we’ll get to that in a moment. But it also causes the most damage of any drug on the planet. A 2009 report from British scientists ranked the health dangers of different drugs on a scale of 0 to 100. Alcohol came in at the top with a score of 72! That’s greater than heroin at 55 and crack at 54. 

In the words of Professor David Nutt, organizer of the report:

“If you want to reduce the harm to society from drugs, alcohol is the drug to target at present.”

Only a few drinks are okay, right? Everything in moderation? Actually, according to the chief medical officer in the UK, “there is no level of regular drinking that can be considered completely safe.” And it gets worse. 

Each time you put alcohol into your body you are consuming neurotoxins that cause cancer. It’s even bad enough to be a first-class carcinogen. In other words, alcohol is just as cancer-causing as asbestos or cigarettes! Researchers from Boston University have found that only one 1.5 alcoholic units a day can put you at risk.

Oh, but what about the red wine studies, you say? They found it was healthy, right? Actually, resveratrol, the same substance for which they declared a glass of red wine is “good for you,” is found in much higher amounts in other foods, including dark chocolate. Not only that but the amount of it in red wine is tiny anyway! It’s just not worth the toxins.

Lesson 2: With exercise, your weak sobriety muscles can become strong.

We’ve only scraped the tip of the iceberg of the many reasons this book teaches that you shouldn’t drink alcohol. But just consider that giving it up means a healthier life. No more hangovers, facial bloating, bloodshot eyes, or nights you can’t remember what kind of trouble you got into.

Now that you see the greener side of sobriety you get the hard task of combating drinking culture. But don’t worry, just think of it like building a muscle. Don’t lift too much at first. Start small and work your way up. 

The hardest part might be social situations, many of which are in locations that serve alcohol. To beat this, try new places. You might go to a sober morning rave or invite your friends to an alcohol-free bar or restaurant. 

Eventually, you’re going to have to be at some event where there’s booze. To remain mentally strong and keep a healthy distance from this carcinogen, compare fantasy to reality. 

You fantasize about just one afternoon drink. But the reality is that it usually resulted in a long drinking session that affected you negatively clear into the next day. 

It’s also helpful to tell people ahead of time you won’t be drinking. And if people push you on it, you can tell that they either aren’t comfortable with their own drinking or they’re just a jerk that doesn’t deserve your time.

Lesson 3: Giving up booze will make you more intelligent and better at performing during sex and enjoying it.

The truth about your drinking that you probably don’t want to admit is that it stopped being enjoyable a while ago. But your brain doesn’t care, it’s built the habit already. Anytime you have a problem of any kind, your brain goes to alcohol as the solution. 

This is because when you drink you get a release of dopamine. And as getting drunk each week or day dulls your senses, it becomes the only thing that can get you a significant dopamine release. In other words, drinking rewires your brain, and not to your advantage. 

First, it tricks you into thinking you’ve solved your problem by drinking. But when the hangover wears off, your issues are still there, leading you to do it again. What’s worse, it makes you less intelligent. 

Drinkers in a 2013 study in the UK were found to have much less brain activity than non-drinkers. The good news was that abstinence reversed this process.

Dating and sex are two other realms that alcohol seems to go hand in hand with. But they’re both far better when we’re sober. Take sex for example. 

Without being intoxicated you can remember it better, or at all. You also get more pleasure out of it because your senses aren’t dulled by alcohol. And best of all, your performance improves because you can act with intention and even finesse.

The Unexpected Joy Of Being Sober Review

Wow, I had no idea that alcohol is so bad for you and that being sober is something to be extremely grateful for! I’ve never drunk but every story I hear about booze just makes me never want to. The Unexpected Joy Of Being Sober just reinforced my commitment to sobriety even more!

Who would I recommend The Unexpected Joy Of Being Sober summary to?

The 37-year-old whose father was a drunk that is starting to have problems with drinking also, the 22-year-old college student who is tired of dealing with hangovers every weekend, and anyone who wonders if there is more to enjoying life than just trying to take the edge off with a drink.

Last Updated on September 8, 2022

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Luke Rowley

With over 450 summaries that he contributed to Four Minute Books, first as a part-time writer, then as our full-time Managing Editor until late 2021, Luke is our second-most prolific writer. He's also a professional, licensed engineer, working in the solar industry. Next to his day job, he also runs Goal Engineering, a website dedicated to achieving your goals with a unique, 4-4-4 system. Luke is also a husband, father, 75 Hard finisher, and lover of the outdoors. He lives in Utah with his wife and 3 kids.