What Does Sober Mean To You?

I think it’s time for a rebrand

What’s the first thing you think of when you hear the word ‘sober’?

Okay, those of you who are embracing sobriety probably have a very different response to those who like a drink now and again.

Let’s see what the dictionary has to say:


“not affected by alcohol, not drunk”


“serious, sensible, and solemn”

And here’s where the problem lies.

The two become seamlessly connected, their meanings intertwined. Sober people become tainted with this veneer of being serious, sensible, and solemn — a veneer that’s smothered over us by society’s preconceptions.

Who wants to celebrate a special occasion by being serious, sensible and solemn?


Am I overthinking this?


You might be thinking “What’s in a name? A rose by any other would still smell as sweet?” Yeah yeah, I hear you Juliet, but in this case, I think a rebrand or a new word is well overdue. Because language matters.

We need to shake off the serious, sensible, and solemn cloak that’s shrouded around ‘sobriety’.

Because for me, it’s the opposite of all that.

I’ve never felt more awake. More alive. More aware. And more totally present.

Solemn was the sensation of waking up after a blackout not knowing where I’d been the night before.

Serious was seeing the look on my little girl’s face the one night I got drunk in front of her and her Daddy had to put me to bed.

Sensible was what I pretended to be all day whilst waiting for 5 pm so I could have a glass of wine to take the edge off the day.

Sensible was the facade of a deal I made with myself — the weekly negotiations of “don’t drink on a school night so you can have a few glasses on a weekend”… or “drink a glass of water with each alcoholic drink”… or “no more than 3 drinks tonight” (conveniently forgetting that by drink 3, I’d already lost count and would wake up the next day convinced that I’d only had 3 drinks — whilst consuming another 6 in the wastelands of a blackout).

So, I don’t have the answer to this rebranding but I’d love to hear ideas.

I’m hoping it’s already happening and we’re in the midst of a rebrand as I write. With more and more people embracing sobriety and being proud to call themselves sober, maybe it’s already happening. Maybe the definition is already being rewritten.

I hope so.

What do you think?

Scroll to Top