The Truth About Going Sober in Your 20s – Layla’s Naked Life

Going sober in your 20s might seem drastic but for Layla, it felt natural. The natural way to finally begin enjoying and living the life she had always desired. Today she shares her inspirational story that shows that life without alcohol can be so much more than we ever imagine.

going sober in your 20s layla's naked life - blond woman smiling

Sneaking Drinks

Growing up, my parents weren’t particularly big drinkers. They were, however, strict on rules. As a teenager, there was no chance of me getting permission to go to an underage party. The only solution? I would sneak out, sipping on my bright pink vodka mixers. I loved the buzz I would get as booze entered my system. The adrenaline from sneaking out mixed with the alcohol seemed like the perfect concoction. I felt invincible, confident, and larger than life. I remember thinking how lucky adults were to have access to this stuff whenever they wanted. How lucky they were to be able to drink whenever they wanted. I couldn’t wait to grow up and be able to do the same. I couldn’t wait to be able to drink alcohol when and wherever I wanted.

Drinking in my 20s

As I reached my early 20s, alcohol had become a normal fixture in my life. I was working in the hospitality industry and found myself constantly surrounded by booze. I would drink before, during, and after shifts. When the adrenaline was still pumping after a particularly late weekend shift, I would continue drinking and partying until the early hours of the morning. Rinse and repeat.

I never really questioned this behaviour or asked myself if I had a problem. In my eyes everything was fine. I was still studying at university and managing to get to the gym regularly. I had a good routine and despite the frequent blackouts and tragic hangovers, I didn’t feel as though my drinking was out of control. Everyone around me was drinking just as much as I was, so how bad could it be?

Where the problems started

The problems between booze and me started during the pandemic in 2020. Stuck in my small apartment, alone, during several lockdowns – I turned to alcohol for comfort. What started as a nice glass of wine with dinner, turned into a bottle a night. This was the first time I had taken to drinking alone, not in a social setting. At the time, I wasn’t concerned about this behaviour, but I can see now that it became my undoing. Drinking so much wine made me believe I’d developed a high tolerance.

I believed I needed to consume a lot more now to feel the effects. After one particular after-work-drinks with wine, I ended up in the hospital. I’d been found by police on the side of a road, in the middle of the night, alone. While I had blacked out many times while drinking, I’d never lost my memory of the entire night. Yet still to this day, I have no memory at all of the night I ended up in the hospital.

All the attempts at going sober in my 20s

I attempted many challenges – 30 days no alcohol, no drinking on weekdays, etc. and no matter how hard I tried, I could never commit. The first time I tried Dry July, I was drinking mimosas at breakfast on day three.

It wasn’t until 2021 when I tried the 75 Hard Challenge (75 days no alcohol), that I really started to enjoy the benefits and lifestyle that came with not drinking. I decided from then on to try only drinking in moderation. I would go to a house party and tell people I was only having two drinks because I planned to drive myself home. Instead, I would end up wasted, sleeping on someone’s couch, and driving home hungover the morning after.

going sober in your 20s

After completing 75 Hard, I was only drinking when I felt obliged to or when it was offered to me. Even though I knew I didn’t really want to drink anymore, I didn’t know how to say ‘no.’ I began to resent alcohol and realised I couldn’t drink in moderation. My drinking was more of an ‘all or nothing’ approach.

The truth about going sober in your 20s

Instead, at only 23 years old, I decided to go teetotal. That was over 19 months ago and I haven’t looked back since.

Quitting alcohol at such a young age was really isolating in the beginning. While I’d still enjoy the occasional (sober) night out, my interests were shifting and I no longer found myself wanting to stay out until 6 am partying and surrounded by drunks. Instead, I turned to reading. This Naked Mind was one of the first ‘quit lit’ books I ever read and really helped me to feel a sense of belonging in my newfound sobriety. This book helped me to look at alcohol in a totally different light, and to see it for the monster it really is. After reading This Naked Mind, all of my cravings subsided and I felt more confident than ever in my decision to be sober. This book is a true game changer for anyone wanting to reevaluate their relationship with booze.

Start reading

Are you thinking about going sober in your 20s? (Or at whatever age you are?) Read the book that helped Layla maintain her freedom and find peace in her relationship with alcohol. Download the first chapter for free now!

What do you miss out on going sober in your 20s?

Your twenties are supposed to be the years to let your hair down, to have fun. So when I decided to go sober at 23 years of age, I was worried I’d miss out on a lot. How was I meant to ‘enjoy my youth’ if I couldn’t get drunk?

What I found was, despite my initial concerns, I couldn’t have been more wrong. Quitting alcohol has given me more time, more money, more confidence, and more mental clarity. It has improved my mental and physical health, my relationships, my finances, my time, and my overall quality of life.

Being sober in your twenties shouldn’t be seen as a sacrifice. By ‘giving up’ booze, you’re getting back your life. Your time. Your health. Getting back your money. Your relationships. Reclaiming memories. Your happiness.

Being sober in your twenties means never having to wake up and fear what happened the night before. It means never having to waste a day in bed, and feeling sorry for yourself. It means never having to regret something you said, did, or spent money on under the influence.

No regrets

I’ve now been sober for 19 months and can say with utmost confidence, it has been the best decision I’ve ever made.

I don’t regret the years I spent drinking. I learned a lot of hard lessons from alcohol and I know I wouldn’t be who I am today without those experiences. But if I could tell my old self one thing, it would be to stop waiting for the ‘big moment’ to stop drinking.

I always believed I needed to be a drunken addict or go through something extremely traumatic if I were to stop drinking alcohol. I didn’t understand I could stop drinking simply because I wanted to. In my community, it was unheard of – people never gave up alcohol because they didn’t like it. They gave up alcohol because they had a problem, an addiction.

What made me stop

going sober in your 20s

A lot of people ask me whether one moment, in particular, led me to never want to drink alcohol again. And while there have been many defining moments – blackouts, drunk arguments, waking up in the hospital; the truth is that there wasn’t one singular event that led to my decision to go sober. It was all of them, combined.

Every feeling of regret, shame, guilt, sadness, or anxiety the morning after. It was the countless journal entries reiterating to myself what I, deep down, already knew – alcohol was no longer serving me.

The cons were outweighing the pros. The hangovers, financial strain, tears, anxiety, nausea, memory loss… none of it was worth the temporary highs anymore. None of it was worth the quick buzz of dopamine.

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