Catherine Gray’s The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober is a look into life after drinking.

Sharing her own personal story of problematic drinking alongside insights from professionals, this book takes a look at what a sober life means and looks like.

Conversely, this book also looks closely at the appeal of drinking, why people maintain a drinking habit, and what it offers them.

As a result, this book is an eye-opener with something for everyone!

Whether you want to examine your relationship with alcohol, are a casual or heavy drinker, or just want an insightful and entertaining read, The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober promises to be well worth your time.

About The Author

The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober was a direct result of the author’s own experiences.

Catherine Gray had a successful career as a journalist and editor at Cosmopolitan magazine, but at some point, she came to realize her drinking was out of control.

Having been drinking since the age of 12, Catherine used alcohol to make herself more socially confident and as a crutch after a major breakup in her 30s.

After losing control of her drinking, she eventually decided enough was enough, examined the role of alcohol in her life, and embraced sobriety.


Catherine Gray’s story forms the backbone of the many insights in this book, though she also enlists a fair share of help from neuroscientists and psychologists to delve into the reasons why people drink.

Along the way, we’re met with witty and engaging insights with a humorous twist and an articulate conversation surrounding the benefits of sobriety over drinking.

Ultimately, the Unexpected Joy of Being Sober analyzes the process of reaching sobriety and the change that takes place alongside this.

This is a gripping, heart-breaking, and witty book into uncharted territory that you’re unlikely to forget.

Who should read The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober?

The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober has a large audience reach.

Whether you’re currently dealing with alcohol addiction, are well on the path to a sober life, or are wondering about your relationship with alcohol, this book will likely resonate with you as well as offer practical advice.

Alternatively, you may just be curious about sobriety. You may not necessarily have difficulties with the role of alcohol in your life but want to know what complete sobriety has to offer.

Lastly, if you have friends or family who have dealt with alcohol addiction or are still struggling, this will likely be an illuminating read.

Key Takeaways and Lessons From The Book

While entertaining the whole way through, The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober also offers plenty of sound nuggets of wisdom and self-help advice. In this section, we’ll delve into the key takeaways of the book:

Sobriety is not about deprivation

A common thought or fear when entering into sobriety is that life is suddenly going to become boring and full of deprivation.

No more alcohol may look like no more fun, no more socializing, and no more enjoying life!

As this book points out, this couldn’t be further from the truth.

In fact, by giving up your addiction to drinking, you’re bringing in a life of liberation. Using alcohol to fulfill your emotional needs is true deprivation, and there are plenty of other ways you can enjoy your life and have fun without needing alcohol.

The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober reminds you that you are the one in control of your life.

Sobriety offers a multitude of benefits

One of the other main points The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober makes is that there are so many benefits to be found in a sober lifestyle.

First and foremost, alcohol is a poison, and removing it from your body will drastically improve your health.

Discontinuing drinking will also improve your skin and your sleep, which will in turn help your mood and energy levels.

Removing alcohol will reap benefits for your nutritional intake and for your mental and emotional state.

These are all inarguable facts that The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober doesn’t shy away from stating.

Sobriety is a journey, not a destination

The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober also makes a gentle reminder that sobriety is a continuous journey that you live every day, not a one-stop destination that you suddenly attain.

Becoming sober is a process that evolves over time, and requires continuous commitment and choice.

Sobriety doesn’t mean being alone

Choosing sobriety also doesn’t mean that you are suddenly alone on your own path!

While it might feel lonely at times, The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober highlights that this doesn’t need to be the case.

Choosing sobriety is actually a great opportunity to build up your social support network and to repair damaged friendships.

Sobriety is a choice, not a punishment

Lastly, the book reminds you that sobriety is a personal choice that you need to be willing to make to improve your life.

If you perceive sobriety as a form of punishment, you will not be successful. You need to want it for it to happen and for your relationship with alcohol to improve.

Favorite Quotes From The Book

To give you a taste and get you excited to read this book, let’s take a look at just some of the best quotes in the book:

“Drinking steals happiness from tomorrow”

“When people become addicted to alcohol, it’s seen as their failure. They didn’t pass the ‘moderate use of an addictive drug’ challenge. They failed at drinking! Society expects us to regularly use an addictive drug, without becoming addicted to it. Alcohol is the only drug where, the second you stop taking it, you’re seen as being too weak to handle it. It’s truly bizarre.”

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

“One of my sober friends once said, ‘Feelings are like children. You don’t want them driving the car, but you shouldn’t stuff them in the boot either.’ Let them chit-chatter away in the back, and get on with your life. Amazing, right?”


All in all, Catherine Gray’s The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober is an engaging read that offers genuine, practical advice.

This book is for anyone curious about sobriety and what it entails!

It offers insights into why individuals drink, what happens when you stop, and the indisputable benefits of a sober life.

The book is filled with plenty of interesting and oftentimes entertaining personal insights from the author along the way, as well as excerpts from relevant health professionals.

Additionally, this book really takes a look at alcohol intake in our culture and how it impacts our health.

If you’re looking for a read that steers clear of being preachy or cliched in relation to alcohol addiction, then The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober won’t disappoint.



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