Changing your drinking: The A-Z of real-life success stories

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Real Mindful Drinking People

Last week we covered the big celebs, this week we’re talking about real-life people who have changed their relationship with alcohol and are helping to inspire like-minded people, including bloggers, authors, event organisers, and models.

If you’re in need of some inspiration, these incredible people will sort you out for the foreseeable future.

Check out last year’s list here.

Africa Brooke

Mindset coach and speaker, Africa, has been a guest on a couple of our Mindful Drinking Festival motivational panels after bumping into our co-founder Laura on the tube. She’s been alcohol-free since 2016 and has since built up a large, dedicated following via her wonderfully straight-talking Instagram page. Go and soak up some fierce feminist inspiration from her over on @africabrookes.

Bee, Kate

Founder of The Sober School, Kate gave up drinking in 2013 after regularly drinking more than she intended to. She now helps other women to stop drinking via her online coaching courses.

Catherine Salway 

Catherine co-founded the alcohol-free gastro-bars in Shoreditch and Notting Hill, Redemption Bar, with Andrea Waters back in 2013. Their aim was to create a space for people to enjoy deliciously healthy food and drink – challenging the societal norms of bad boozing and eating habits on a night out. And you can of course find all Redemption Bars on the Club Soda Guide.

Daniela Exley

Daniela is a nutritionist and founder of Beets Pulse & Thyme who used to party hard to self medicate and provide a sense of emotional support, but after finding that drinking had the opposite effect and caused more damage to her health and wellbeing, she gave up drinking to help beat her rheumatoid arthritis and improve her overall health. Watch her webinar with us here.

Emily Syphas

Emily created the alcohol-free events community Sober & Social to provide fun and interesting nights out for people who’ve chosen an alcohol-free life. She gave up drinking over a year ago after realising that her 18-year relationship with alcohol had never been a healthy one. Watch her webinar with us here.

Farrants, Kat

Movement for Modern Life, a UK online yoga site, founder Kat believes in replacing alcohol with positive behaviour changes and habits such as happy hour yoga. Watch her Mindful Drinking Festival motivational stage talk here.

Gooch, Millie 

Sober Girl Society founder Millie gave up drinking almost a year and a half ago when she grew tired of the hangovers, financial impact and the effect on her productivity. She set up SGS last year with the aim of providing an inspirational online community for women who don’t identify with the usual recovery models and terminology.

Holly Glenn Whitaker

Holly is a sobriety coach and teacher, writer, speaker, co-host/co-producer of the Home Podcast, Kundalini yoga and meditation instructor, and she’s the founder of Hip Sobriety. Holly’s been alcohol-free since 2012 after hitting what she describes as her rock bottom. After asking for help from her doctor she realised that the addiction and recovery space was missing something, instigating the birth of her own recovery process – known now as Hip Sobriety.

Izadi, Shahroo

Shahroo is a recovery therapist and the author of The Kindness Method, a book which guides people through exploring and changing unwanted habits. She’s a moderate drinker after researching the methods used to treat addiction and discovering that they could be applied to manage alcohol consumption as well as to abstain from alcohol altogether. Watch her on our ‘How to smash Dry January’ panel at the Mindful Drinking Festival in January here.

Joseph CallanderJoe was a craft beer blogger (see his US alcohol-free craft beers blog that he wrote for us here) turned paid beer publication journalist who created an interview series on his blog which led him to interview some of the biggest names in brewing. Joe’s job as a beer writer, coupled with his personal passion for the amazing flavors of craft beer, meant that he was almost constantly sampling the latest releases, leaving him feeling groggy and worn-down over time which eventually led to him taking a break from the scene. His discovery of non-alcoholic craft beer in 2018 led him to deploy a moderation mindset whilst getting back into the craft beer industry, in which he strongly advocates for non-alcoholic and low-alcohol craft beer.

Kate Baily & Mandy Manners 

Kate and Mandy are the wonderful women behind the sobriety-inspiration podcast and online programme Love Sober. Watch Kate’s webinar to learn their full story here.

Laurie McAllister

The lovely Laurie is the writer of the Girl & Tonic blog in which she shares her journey, thoughts, and experiences . She’s been alcohol-free for two and half years and has appeared on our motivational panels and blogs.

Megan Montague

Megan has been alcohol-free for over a year with the primary goal of reducing her stress, anxiety, and wellbeing. She started her blog Sober Story to inspire others in the same boat, which discusses parenting, mental health and what’s worked for her.

Nickel, Dawn

Dawn’s been on her personal recovery journey since 1987 and founded She Recovers in 2011. Watch her webinar with us here to find out more about her journey and support services.

O’Brien, Kate & Scott Pearson

Kate O’Brien and Scott Pearson are the wonderful co-founders behind the Sober Millennials meetups, creating fun socialising events for young people and helping to pave the way to normalise alcohol-free socialising and reducing the stigma for young people who’ve chosen to address their drinking behaviour.

Pitcher, Mark

Mark’s the founder of the Smash the podcast (watch our co-founder Laura’s episode here) and has cut down drinking since launching the project. “I need a lot of energy for what I do so, when I started Smash The Box 3 years ago, I decided to get really serious about my health. It was never really actually about alcohol or nutrition, it was about having more energy. I wanted lots of it and I wanted it NOW TODAY. My previous lifestyle of having a bottle of wine and a couple of beers in the fridge disappeared. Alcohol and coaching don’t match well together. Since I massively reduced my alcohol intake (I still have the odd drink occasionally), I have more energy, I get up earlier, I workout more, I am sharper and a better person. I am who I want to be all of the time.”

Queers Without Beers – Ed Martoni 

Ed is our most loyal attendee to our Queers Without Beers monthly meetup event. Cosplay enthusiast Ed has never drunk alcohol so our meetups provide him with a great space to socialise and meet like-minded people within the alcohol-free LGBTQ+ community. “I essentially made a conscious decision to remain alcohol-free during my Uni days, which is arguably one of the most difficult places to avoid it! I constantly had to justify why I didn’t drink and how I could still have fun without alcohol. I am lucky to have a lot of understanding friends around me that simply accept my choice; I don’t judge them for their drinking habits just as they let me enjoy judgment-free mocktails.”

Ricki Hall 

Ricki is a model and influencer who has been in recovery since 2015, recently working closely with our pals at Rok Soba to help inspire like-minded people who relate to his story, proving that being booze-free is anything but boring.

Stuart Elkington

Founder of Dry Drinker, Stuart gave up drinking years ago when he and his wife decided to start a family. Realising that being in good physical health would improve their chances of success, he stopped drinking and started up the renowned online alcohol-free delivery service when he realised there was a lack of readily-available alcohol-free beer choices. And don’t forget our discount code if you shop at Dry Drinker: you get 5% off with code CLUBSODAVIP at the checkout.

Tim Etherington Judge 

Tim started Healthy Hospo, a hospitality professional support platform, in 2016 after experiencing a breakdown caused in part by his lifestyle. After going public with his story he quickly realised how much his story resonated with others in the industry. The hospitality sector has among the highest rates of alcohol use of any industry, so educational support services such as Healthy Hospo are vital in encouraging and inspiring those in this sector to make healthier choices.

Usher, Tom 

Tom’s a freelance writer for Vice, The Guardian and the BBC who’s been alcohol-free since 14th August 2018, after writing this article about whether he could still have fun without boozing. He’s since spoken on our Mindful Drinking Festival motivational panel and has joined our co-founder Laura as a speaker at a variety of inspirational events.


Cheating? Yes. Worth it? Absolutely. Club Soda couldn’t pull off the number of events that we have and managing our online community without the help of our incredible volunteers. Some are alcohol-free, some are moderate drinkers, some aren’t quite there with any of it yet, but they all share our vision and passion for the mindful drinking movement.

Whittaker, Ronnie

Ronnie is the organiser of Sober Clubbing events in Glasgow, so if you’re based in Scotland and looking for a lively night out without alcohol then look no further (next event is coming up in July). Read this Drinks Business article about Ronnie and his predictions for Sober Clubbing.

X – (Straight Edge) Holly Hang

X is the symbol for straight edge, a movement from the hardcore punk scene whereby people don’t drink or do drugs. It’s an important movement to consider when thinking about people who don’t drink – it promotes individualism and is a lifestyle that’s fully embraced by those involved. Holly drank heavily as a coping mechanism throughout uni, realising in her third year that she was just exacerbating the issue and negatively impacting her wellbeing. She celebrates her 10-year straight-edge anniversary this year.


Yeah yeah, another cheat – but if you got this far through the list then you’re either already a mindful drinker that belongs on this list, or you’re thinking about it. Whatever type of mindful drinker you are, whether you’re seasoned in sobriety or starting out with moderation, you’re an inspiration.

Zoe Reed

Zoe gave up drinking for a month during Sober October last year and has significantly cut down on her alcohol consumption since. She created The No2Low as a result, which totally smashed its first event last week, for people who don’t always want to drink and to help prioritise the flavour and craftsmanship of producers in the no to low industry.


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