Why You Should Quit Before You Feel Ready

Why You Should Quit Before You Feel Ready

You’ve dabbled with alcohol-free living, on and off. You’ve read countless sober memoirs. You lurk on sober blogs. You are officially sober curious.

.
You spend a lot of time
 THINKING about quitting. You know you need to do something, and taking a break from booze seems like a good place to start. And yet… you can’t quite bring yourself to actually do it.

Next week, you promise. I’ll do it next week. I’ll be ready then.

You’ve already calculated how much money you’ll save when you quit.
You know you’ll sleep better.
You know you’ll feel better.
And you love the idea of waking up without a hangover.

But still. You’re just not quite ready yet … right?

Well actually, I’d suggest you are.

It’s very likely that right now, at this very second, you’re as ready as you’re ever going to be. Here’s why:

 

There’s never going to be a perfect time to do this. 

You will always have a work event, a birthday, a boozy BBQ or a holiday just around the corner. (And when all else fails, Friday night rolls around every 7 days and well, don’t you deserve a drink on a Friday?!) If you look hard enough, there will always be something.

Life doesn’t stop when you’re sober. (This is actually a really good thing. If alcohol-free living meant never going out, and never having fun, it’d be a pretty awful way of life!) There will always be a reason why now just ‘isn’t the right time’. And in a way, that takes the pressure off. If there’s never going to be a ‘perfect’ time to do this, why wait? Make this the right time by taking action.

 

Look at the flip side.

Whatever your reason for not quitting this week, the chances are it’s the very reason why you should stop right now.

For example: got a busy week coming up? Know that you’re going to be stressed out at work? That’s fine – all the more reason NOT to drink this week. Alcohol is such a time thief. Sobriety will make you more productive so you stop feeling so overwhelmed. Alcohol is scientifically proven to make you more anxious and less able to cope with stress, so why make a tough week harder than it needs to be?

Or perhaps you’ve got a holiday coming up? No problem. What a great opportunity to stop drinking, look after yourself and come back feeling genuinely refreshed. Why would you need to drink anyway? Holidays are lovely – they’re fun and relaxing, just as they are. Why would you need to throw a toxic poison into the mix? Alcohol-free trips abroad are the best – seriously, I’m excited for you!

 

You don’t need to be perfect.

A common reason for putting things off is a fear of trying and failing. And to be honest, that fear is well founded. If you’re anything like the rest of the planet, then you probably will screw up at some point. It’s almost inevitable, but it’s also ok. It’s called being human!

What’s better: not taking action for fear of making a mistake, or going for it and falling flat on your face? In what scenario do you think you might learn the most and make the most progress?

Success is built on failure. The only enemy you need to defeat right now is not getting started. As Theodore Roosevelt said, “In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.”

 

You become ‘ready’ by taking action.

One of the biggest myths about sobriety is that one day, out of the blue, you’ll just know that it’s time to quit. In my experience, it’s rarely as clear cut as that.

When I stopped drinking, it was because I felt fed up. I was tired. I’d been wondering what a proper break from booze would be like. So I challenged myself to stop for 100 days, so I could test drive alcohol-free living properly. I told myself that if I hated it, I could always go back to drinking, but I had to do 100 days first.

That was four years ago 🙂

I became ‘ready’ to stop after I quit. After I started taking action. I see exactly the same thing happen with the women I coach. It’s rare for anyone to start off feeling 100% sure they want to stop. But most people are curious about alcohol-free living, and it’s that curiosity you need to pay attention to.

If you’re regularly drinking more than you intend to, and it’s making you miserable, don’t you owe it to yourself to see what a proper break feels like? You don’t need to label yourself, go to meetings or take any online tests. You don’t need to have it all figured out, you just need to begin.

That’s the secret to success – starting before you’re ready.

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43 Comments

  1. This comes at a perfect time for me and is so helpful. Thank you Kate, you just wrote exactly what I needed to hear to finally, after months of misery, take action.

    Reply
    • Go for it Virginie – you won’t regret it! 🙂

      Reply
  2. I recently stopped for 1 month, went back and had a bad experience last night. Ready today to begin again. I’m better sober. Wish me good things. Thanks for your articles 🙂

    Reply
    • Good luck Jodi – sounds as if you’ve learnt a lot from that slip up. Keep going! I’d love to see you aim for 100 days if it feels good for you 🙂

      Reply
  3. Today is Day 1!
    Feeling hopeful but scared. Thank you Kate for creating this safe place for us. See you all on the other side…

    Reply
    • Good luck Shanti – you’ve got this 🙂

      Reply
  4. Thank you so much for this! I try to stop but always end up using alcohol to “cope” instead of dealing with things. I keep praying this time it will finally work!

    Reply
    • I need prayers I dont know how to stop i just cant stop at one bottle of wine i drink until im ready to pass out tired of waking up feeling guilty and ashamed of myself hope i can do this

      Reply
      • Hi Janet, it sounds as if you could do with some support. If you’d like to join my next course, we can help you make some big changes. Make sure you get on the waitlist here: http://thesoberschool.com/course/

        Reply
  5. Today is day four and I was starting to think that maybe Memorial Day Weekend wasn’t the best place/time to start. This blog post could not have come at a better time! Thank you Kate – Cheers to a hangover free start at work after a long weekend.

    Reply
    • Congratulations on your 4 days – you’ll feel so good going back to work without a hangover tomorrow!

      Reply
  6. Stopped two weeks ago. Kind of afraid. Wine is so romantic, so sophisticated and makes me feel wonderful for an hour or so. But in the morning guilt,shame and regret.

    Reply
    • I feel the same way about wine. I have put it on such a pedistall. I’m only day 9 and have never stopped for more than 5 weeks other than when I was pregnant. This time though I feel different. I feel like this time it’s for good. I’m taking naltrexone to help me with the cravings and it’s really working and I’ve been to a couple of AA meetings. Keep up the great work. It’s always so good to know you’re not alone.

      Reply
    • I feel the same way pray for me and i will for you

      Reply
  7. Thank you Kate! Your blogged hit home! I aiming for 100 days without Alcohol. Thank you for inspiring us to keep going!

    Reply
    • Go for it Lori – 100 days is a great target 🙂

      Reply
  8. Hi Kate, you are soooo correct. There isn’t an exactly perfect mind blowing day to plan to quit. I took your advice a bit belatedly and started the April course “before I was ready”. Here I am at day 56 AF. !

    Reply
    • Woo hoo! I’m so pleased to hear this Cheryl – fantastic news. And what a great reminder of what can happen when you start before you’re ready! 🙂

      Reply
  9. Thank you so much for this! I try to stop but always end up using alcohol to “cope” instead of dealing with things. I keep praying this time it will finally work!

    Reply
  10. Today is day 1 again ! I so tired of being so tired ! My husband is clearly upset with me and I don’t blame him . Why do i go seven days to throw it all away.

    Reply
  11. I did the April course as well and I went on a holiday that was actually one of my best ones AF, I felt amazing and very fresh. Now I’m AF for over 8 weeks.
    Thanks so much Kate, I wouldn’t have made it without you.

    Reply
    • That’s brilliant Indi, well done and congratulations! I’m delighted you had such a great trip – alcohol free holidays are pretty amazing, right? 🙂

      Reply
  12. I recently had 4 1/2 months soberiety under my belt. Felt so great and lost 10kgs but then something happened and through me off track and I relapsed. I have periods of sobriety since and then throw it away. I very much like your 100 days. I have done just over 100 days before and I know I can do it again. I have hopefully learned from the last relapse and with cope better next time. On day two and ever onward.

    Reply
  13. I’m going to try the 100 days from today. Got all sorts coming up but I need to do this, I feel so tired all the time.

    Reply
  14. This couldn’t have come a better time. I had the 1st August marked down as the day to actually, finally, STOP – before that date there are concerts, a stag do and wedding… I’d like to make that stop date today. Why not? Like you say, there will always be something…it’s changing that mindset that tricks me into believing a cold beer would make this experience even better… any tips on a sober stag do would be most welcome!!

    Reply
  15. Keep getting to about day 4 and then I just lose it. Feel so cranky and irritable that I crack and get a bottle of wine. Then I do this for a couple of days until my sleep pattern is so bad I can’t bear it and need a sober night…

    Reply
    • Hi Jo, I’d love to help you get past 4 days! If you’d like some support from me, take a look at my online coaching programme: http://thesoberschool.com/course/

      Reply
  16. I have gone AF for weeks at a time over the pasts two years but after this weekend, I am going to make a promise for myself and my family to make it to 100 days!

    Reply
  17. This post is good timing for me…I keep saying I’ll quit tomorrow or next week. Then wonder about the holiday or long weekend or social events. I get to about 3-4 days then give in.

    Reply
  18. Also said to myself I need to make a proper informed decision about stopping but in order to do that I have to see how sober living is so I’m on day 98 and I can’t explain how much better I feel and it almost feels like I am starting to love the new way of sober living I can’t imagine going back now even though it’s still early days I’ve tried stopping 100 times but there is something just different about this time round.

    Reply
  19. Great reminder, and ready to aim for 100 days. I recently have gone three weeks without, or 7-10 days at a time, I’d like to get a much longer stretch in. I do enjoy being sober-clear headed, good sleep, productive. So many good things. 100 is the goal even to get to a solid 30 (it’s been a while) is the first milestone I look forward to.

    Reply
  20. I’ve read this article and the comments every day since it posted. I keep waiting for the exact word at the exact moment that will make this miraculously easy. The thing is, not drinking isn’t that hard it’s just staying with it and not drinking three or four days later. Anyway, tomorrow is June 1 so it seems like another fresh start day. This weekend I’m going to take the time and sit down and make that list but this article talks about because I think having that list and actually reading it and thinking about it will be a wonderful motivator. It’s so easy to lie to myself when I keep all my thoughts in my head. Once again, very inspiring post. I thank you all.

    Reply
    • I can totally relate with what you are going through. I just went three days & drank again last night–SO frustrating! My problem is I use it to “cope” with stresses & hurts & I have both right now. I’m so glad I found this blog & have others that I can relate too. Best wishes to you on your journey!

      Reply
  21. I’m doing a similar thing – going a few days wine free, feeling great, sleeping better. I’m not even craving, but somehow I find myself buying a bottle or 2 of wine. Sometimes I decide to do it when someone talks about drinking under a particular pleasant circumstance. Sometimes there really is no reason I can point to. I have proven to myself so many times that it’s only rarely I stop after one or two. So today was Day 1 again.

    I love this blog.

    Reply
  22. Hello.
    I have been following the Blogs here and each time I read it and the comments I am struck by the courage, vulnerability,kindness and support you all share with one another. I want and need to be a part of this community as I too want and need to have an AF life. But I am afraid that I won’t be as brave so I have sat here quietly, wanting to reach out but too scared. Scared to make a commitment that I won’t be able to keep. Afraid of letting all of you, lovely strangers and myself down…unwilling to even try. That is not who I want to be. I am brave for everyone else in my life and it is time I am brave for ME. So… (deep breath) today is the day I join all of you courageous warriors…today is MY day ONE.

    Reply
  23. I really needed to read this.
    Last weekend it was my birthday. I went out for a late lunch in my favourite bar/ restaurant- plan was to have 1 beer and 1 glass of wine.
    Sadly, it did not work like that- I ended up visiting a few bars and drinking a mix of gin/ vodka/ beer/ wine and cocktails.
    When I arrived home I drank more- had some absolut pear vodka with blackcurrant cordial (nice!)
    I live by myself so there was no one there to judge me.
    Woke up in the small hours with the most horrific hangover and sticky blackcurrant cordial spilt all over my beautiful kitchen/ floors and hallway.
    Spent the day hating myself/ unable to sleep my hangover off due to retching and just felt very very very sorry for myself.
    Had a ton of paperwork to do at home, however, due to my hangover I could not do it. (more about my work situation later).
    Finally managed to get out of bed at 6pm and get ready to go to my parents house (my mum was making me a birthday dinner and had my gift ready for me).
    Felt so guilty getting ready as I was running very late and knew that I would not be able to enjoy the meal that my mum had made an effort to prepare.
    Come that evening my stomach was stating to really really ache- this happens me when I have had a lot to drink the night before- this week it lasted until Friday, although I am not sure if it is just down to alcohol or stress as well.

    Prior to this week I had been on study leave for 5 weeks (I am on a course for work which will get me a promotion).During this study leave I was expected to submit 4 assignments and sit 3 exams.

    However, due to feeling low, tired, not being able to structure my day, not being able to concentrate and too fond of a wee drink ( 3 glasses of wine) after a day of trying to study) I didn’t do well.

    I feel so angry and disappointed in myself. I feel that I have let down my boss who put in a good word for me to get on this course- I will have to face the embarrassment of repeating the exams and maybe the year.

    Reply
  24. I’m a firm believer in “ask and you shall receive”. I’ve asked the universe for many things and as of late I am at the receiving end of quite amazing things…to say the least. My drinking, well I’ve very open about it to friends and co-workers, but as youve mentioned it is a social norm and it is jokingly dismissed with comments like “who corks an open bottle” or “its all good, it’s nice to chill out”…today I made a new acquaintance and we were speaking of our life changes over the past while. Ending long term marriages, new relationships, the power self discovery. I just point blank told her now I have to work on my drinking…this something I’ve been saying more often over the last year. Because it is truly interfering with my power…and within HOURS here I am commenting on your blog! There are truly no accidents and I am excited to go through this process. Thanks for showing up !!!

    Reply
  25. Kate, I just signed up for your sober school waiting list and I am shaking inside and out. I’m terrified to stop….but I’m terrified not to stop. I’m almost 44 and have been drinking (a lot) daily for almost 13 years. I’m in the medical field and have seen 1st hand the terrible outcomes that alcoholism has on the body. I dont want to go through a sickness/death like that. I’ve tried every moderation attempt imagineable and nothing has worked. It has to be time. Now.

    Reply
    • This sounds like the perfect time to take a proper break from alcohol and see how you feel after putting some space between you and your last drink. Go for it Tina – I look forward to having you in the course 🙂

      Reply
      • Thank you Kate! I’m looking forward to it, too. I’m tired of this way of life!

        Reply
    • Welcome Tina. It’s ok that you feel as you do! We have all felt like this. Take a deep breath, forgive yourself for yesterday and focus on treating yourself with love and compassion starting now. You are so much more than alcohol and you deserve the chance to see that. Commit to taking a break and you will be amazed at how wonderful you are without it! Give yourself the chance to fall in love with who you really are. You can do it.

      Reply
  26. Thank you for your lovely comment, Carmel. I really needed to hear that today. I’ve been reading sober blogs for over a year but have never joined in until now…even though I KNEW I needed supposrt from somewhere. I’ve hidden my problem so well that I’ve felt I had nowhere to turn b/c noone knows. I think this will help me tremendously….to not feel so alone in all of this.

    Reply
    • You are NOT alone Tina. I’m glad you are reaching out. You should be very proud that you are doing this for yourself. We all need help and support. That’s what life is about! Let’s lean on one another. Now smile and know you are taking charge of your life. One step at a time! 🙂

      Reply

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