Kate's Blog

Alcohol Is Stealing Genuine Joy From Your Life

It’s so sneaky the way it happens.

All you’re doing is looking forward to your next glass of wine.

Perhaps you’re half way through a bottle? Or staring into an empty glass and wondering whether to have another?

You’re distracted… so you don’t realise a robbery is taking place.

Alcohol is quietly stealing genuine joy from you… but you might not even notice you’ve been robbed until much later on.

I explain everything in this week’s video.

Key points

How the robbery works

When you become convinced that alcohol brings with it genuine joy, you develop tunnel vision. You become less interested in other activities, because your primary focus is your next glass and whether you’ll be able to have as much as you want to. Without even realising it, you push aside other opportunities for happiness.

The next day, you feel hungover and remorseful. When you’re beating yourself up and feeling ill, the chances of experiencing spontaneous, organic joy are severely diminished. By the end of the day, the lure of alcohol is even greater… and so the cycle continues.

You deserve genuine happiness

Can you see the trap here? When you turn to alcohol to feel good, you end up overlooking many of the other things in life that bring you genuine joy. You stop appreciating your restaurant meal or time with friends, because your primary concern is getting more wine.

Life needs to be about more than the liquid that is or isn’t in your glass. That cannot be the one thing you look forward to all day or the thing that your world revolves around. Because the more you do that, the smaller life gets.

When life is tough

I know there’ll be someone reading this who thinks: “But there genuinely is no joy in my life right now! If you had my life you’d want to drink through it too!” I understand that line of thinking, but the harsh reality is that drinking is keeping you stuck.

Whilst you’re drinking, the thoughts you’re having about your challenging situation will be very hard to change. You probably won’t feel like taking any positive action or trying to figure out how to handle your life in another way… and so the cycle continues.

Fed up with alcohol stealing joy from your life? For help and support to break out of the alcohol trap, click here to find out more about my online coaching programme.

Hi, I'm Kate

I founded The Sober School to show you there’s another way out of your shame that doesn’t involve AA or rehab. 


73 Responses

    1. She this resonates with me.
      I hung on and agreed with every word.
      So much so it left me emotional.
      I managed to stop drinking by myself for 2 1/2 and l was very proud of myself and life felt lighter and clearer, it was wonderful.
      Then l hit a blip over a few stresses at the same time and thought wine would be my answer just this one evening.
      Well that was a huge mistake.
      Since then l have lost my boyfriend and my best friend he won’t even talk ro me anymore.
      As of that day only 7 days ago l have stopped again but its harder as lm depressed and mad at myself.
      Thank you for this lm so glad l listened this morning it will give me strength and power for another alcohol free week.
      God bless you Kate B

        1. Omg hearing this was eye opening, I had to listen to it a second time as , this is exactly me! I decided a few hours ago to do something and really try and take control.

      1. Hi Abbie so sorry you are struggling. Have you considered speaking to your doctor? I am 64 and finally told mine. He referred me for counselling no outrage or judgement involved. I was so ashamed and scared to admit I needed help. On nhs took 4 months to come through but I am now on a reduction programme to give up and am feeling better already in week two. Should be AF by end of month then have an all inclusive holidsy for first time in years. Thanks to Kates blogs i am looking forwsrd to having an A F great time. Dont be scared to ask for help as I was. I wish I had been braver earlier. Its confidential and friendly. I feel relieved hope this might help you. Good luck x ps If I mess up on holiday as I fear i might l am planning to forgive myself and continue…

        1. P.S Annabelle,
          Forgot to tell you my good new my liver is functioning perfectly all my blood counts are good, after my 2nd gastrostomy my ulcer has now gone.
          What a difference 3 months has made.
          And for my health and happiness and for my daughter l will continue on this path.
          It’s so encouraging to have support and care around me.
          Oh and my lovely sweet partner is by my side.
          Best regards

    2. Really helpful to have these words and this guidance to re-evaluate what I’ve been doing each evening. Alcohol is definitely ‘the great remover’ of everything…(and you also don’t see the removal van coming, while you’re drinking). Thanks Kate, I needed your clarity of vision to help me remove my own wine-goggles

    3. I definitely identify with every word you’ve said in your video!
      Really feel that I should be stopping drinking as have had blood tests and my liver reading is high!
      Was 30 years sober, but relapsed in 2016 and finding it hard to abstain this time.
      Thanks so much for your past emails, which I’ve saved.

    4. I have some genuine reasons to feel joy and instead I feel guilty and ashamed I’m in this place of needing to quit drinking again. Just trying to hang on until it gets better.

  1. The video on how alcohol steals the spot light on events is so true. That was me on every level. Thank you for the reminder as I continue AF (since 3/27/22). I just don’t want to do that any more!

      1. You have my attention.
        I’ve been drinking for so long it doesn’t seem possible to stop.
        Thanks for your work

        1. Oh linda I agree- It doesn’t seem possible as I have been drinking so long too.
          Its so true about just thinking of your next glass that you push aside other chances at happiness.

      2. I agree with everything you say here. You are describing my thought processes and behaviours that have governed my whole adult life so far.
        These short talks are very helpful and I am already looking forward to next Mondayforvthe next one.
        I am currently on Day 16 AF

    1. Yes, this resonates so much with me. Major family problems and the start of a new job has had me drawn to having a glass of wine, the another – as a comfort, a sticking plaster. But the problems don’t go away and the reality is that I’m looking for the escape hatch. I’ve stuck to no alcohol and I’m taking it a day at a time and I’ve even taken up tai chi.. something I never thought I would be brave enough to do. Thanks for all your encouragement.

  2. Hello Kate,
    Even though I missed the deadline for registration for getting unstuck, I decided to try to have an alcohol free summer anyway.
    That being said .. I am proudly 26 days with not a drop: Has it been easy .. hell no.. but when you speak of being robbed .. I get it .. I have done more outings with my spouse in the last 26 days than in the last 6 months..: I have been more productive at work.. I have walked my dogs more .. have taken care of personal financial matters that I have been sitting on my desk that .. oh right I need to do that. My life feels more organized and less chaotic and I feel I have way more time on my hands .. sometimes maybe to much so .. so I also fill it with baking and cooking. My goal is 50 days so more than half way there

    1. Congratulations on your 26 days, that’s amazing! Alcohol is such a time thief so it’s great to hear you are tackling some overdue jobs, plus making time for new hobbies and quality time with your spouse and dogs – bet they love the new you ❤️

  3. This talk really inspired me to do a Dry August! You’re so right Kate, alcohol gradually takes an insidious toll on so many aspects of life. I know my evening wine keeps me from living with more gusto , and engaging with the world. Personally the punishment from alcohol has become so much worse than any “benefits” it ever provided. I can never stop drinking casually, it has to be a well thought-out plan with me. Ie, basically be out of the house from 4 to 8 pm lol. We’ll guys, thanks for listening. I’ll keep you posted on my progress!

    1. I agree 100% Sophia. I had been contemplating a dry August and your comment was the additional push I needed! I’d love to get to a place where alcohol doesn’t occupy so much thought space. ‘Will I or won’t I?’ ‘How much?’ ‘Should I have a second (or 3rd) glass?’

  4. Sometimes when you speak it is as if you are a fly on the wall watching me.
    Your words are so true.
    I listen and have made some adjustments.
    I am eliminating one drink each day. That is what I did when quit smoking. Drop.one for a week, then 2 the next and continue. When the oavk was empty, that was my day to end it. Have not had a cigarette in 43 yrs.what are your thoughts on this method.
    PS, I did not gain wt after quitting.

    1. My approach is to educate women about what alcohol can and cannot do for us and to help them to stop drinking and feel great about it during the process. It’s difficult to do that when alcohol is still in your system as it alters mood and thoughts. Have a listen to another blog of mine on moderation: https://thesoberschool.com/control-drinking/

  5. I went on holiday after listening to you about going sober on holiday…I dramatically decreased my intake. I didn’t drink at the airport (usually I would have 3pints) never drank on the plane… again I’d have a drink every-time the trolley came round.
    Whilst on holiday none in the morning few in the afternoon but none at night… where as I’d drink all day when the bar opened at 10am.
    Next big challenge is going out with friends who say never trust anyone who doesn’t drink
    I’m proud of myself because I know I’m going to stop completely.
    When the urge comes I think of the next day and the resentment I feel towards myself. Also I did not gain any weight.. no puffy face.
    Just got to keep going day by day x

    1. I have noticed that my puffy face has disappeared too. I am loving everything about not drinking, but knowing that I am ‘glowing not showing’ is a real boost to my new sober life

  6. Hello Kate,
    I finally decided to listen to your blogs. The one today really hit home for me- drinking has been stealing my joy. I’m ready to get my joy back

  7. I am on day 215 alcohol free and it is getting easier as new neural pathways form. I stick to my routines of Pledging every morning, keeping connected to friends who have “my thing” and both receive and give support in this new adventure!

  8. Kate, I find your pep talks extremely helpful. In March of 2021, I chose sobriety due to a health issue. My husband chose the same path in order to shore me up in my resolve. It has been beneficial to both of us. Since our break from alcohol we’ve made it through many occasions without a glass of wine in our hands. I even toasted robustly, with a disposable cup of tea in hand, at our son’s wedding. A few months later I did the same at another son’s wedding. I was bursting with joy at each occasion without the fake joy that booze offers. With that said, I do admit that I continue to struggle with the desire to enjoy a drink now and then over dinner with loved ones. Lately I’ve been in an unhappy slump that has me thinking that a drink would ease the emotional pain. I will continue to gain support and direction from your helpful pep talks.

  9. What you’ve said is so very true Kate, my world is so small because of wine. I’m always thinking about it, like you say its what I look forward to all day!
    I want to stop but it scares me. I listen to your messages and I am encouraged so wanted to say thankyou for sending them, hopefully I will make drastic changes with your help!

    1. I think it’s normal to be scared if you are considering making changes. But this is why I recommend test driving sobriety by taking a decent break and educating yourself in a supported environment to see if sobriety suits. You can always go back to drinking afterwards, armed with knowledge to make that decision. I teach this method and much more in my “Getting Unstuck” course online, here are the details: https://thesoberschool.com/course/

  10. This is a positive approach . I am going to try to reflect on this each afternoon when I feel like pouring a glass of wine.
    I am ready for a change. I know it won’t come unless I change my approach to drinking.

  11. Hi .. I just wanted to say following the 4 Masterclass videos sent in June .. I’ve made it to my 6th week free of alcohol and this video is a timely reminder of what I’ve noticed in that intervening time .. i have seen it as an awakening and have not counted days down but this video has helped to cement what I’ve genuinely noticed along the way. I’m reviewing the 6 weeks at the weekend and at this point want to do another 6 week pause

    1. Congratulations Andie and I love the idea that it’s an ‘awakening’. Another six weeks is a great second goal to aim for – keep going!

  12. Hi Kate your talks make so much sense and it’s as if you are talking directly to me. I must say I do feel a little like you’ve shaken my brain around a little with this topic as I know I very much live to drink that next glass of wine but have never thought that there is so much more out there that I am missing.

    1. I am talking to every woman who is curious about sobriety. I passionately believe in helping others to experience the joy and freedom it brings, because we all deserve that, right?

  13. Hi Kate, I’ve had another miserable Monday – feeling tired, anxious and full of disappointment in myself. I started reading and watching your content just last week and it’s knocked me for 6. My entire adult life I have been drinking seriously every single day. I don’t know any other way to be but I have always known it’s not sustainable. I’ve tried all sorts to cut back… it’s groundhog day every time. So I read your content and watched your videos and had a very successful night out on Saturday when I genuinely thought I’d made progress – a few drinks with friends and NO Hangover on a Sunday … a very rare occurrence for me! But last night I “treated” myself to a few glasses of wine and before I knew it a whole bottle was gone… this happens all the time. I hate myself right now for being so weak but get strength knowing I’m not alone and it’s not just me… your pep talk message was a good send. I don’t know how things will pan out but I’m hopeful to join your next course in October, until then I’m going to try to cut back but like you say.. those first few days are horrible. There’s always a reason to have a drink, I want to change my mindset, finally I think I’ve found a way to do it and will continue to listen and watch your content til then. Thank you Kate, thank you.

    1. Michelle, please don’t hate yourself or think you are weak. We don’t blame the smoker when they become addicted to nicotine, instead blame the drug alcohol (or ethanol to give it its’ proper name) for being addictive. Take a look at an earlier blog I wrote about “playing the movie to the end” which is a useful tool if you’re tempted to treat yourself with alcohol again: https://thesoberschool.com/playing-the-movie-to-the-end/

      1. Hi Kate thank you for taking the time to reply, it means a lot! That “playing the movie til the end” is my real life story.. at the moment. I am hopeful there are better days ahead for me in my AF future.

  14. After I had been alcohol free for 16 months, my husband of 30 years passed away suddenly in April 2021. I immediately turned back to wine to help me deal with the grief and pain. It has now been almost 16 months to the day since my husband died and I can say with complete assurance that wine or alcohol have not helped me one bit! In fact I believe it is only caused a delay in my healing. Today I will begin a fast from alcohol for the next 55 days. So much of what you talk about in your blogs and your peptalk resonates so strongly with me. Thank you so much for caring and for sharing your experiences, your thoughts and your encouragement with us. I’m so excited to experience real joy and excitement for life again as I do it Alcohol free, not experiencing those awful feelings of regret, guilt and hangover. Thank you Kate!

    1. I’m so sorry for your loss. It’s true that alcohol numbs the pain for a while, but we have to feel to heal as they say.

  15. I’ve been reading your advice and I’m really struggling. I’ve not had a drink for 3 weeks now (the longest I’ve ever gone in 30 years probably) and I’m miserable. I can’t find joy in anything. Everything seems so much worse without the filter of alcohol. I’m completely joyless and I’ve realised I find everyone in my life (including my children) deeply annoying and I don’t enjoy any company or conversation. My husband has asked me to start drinking again and the children have said I’m angry and stressed all the time.

    1. First of all, well done on your 3 weeks, congratulate yourself for that 🙂 Our thoughts are very powerful and your body is withdrawing from the alcohol and creating cravings, so this is where the mindset work comes in that I coach women about on my ‘quit drinking’ course. Stopping drinking doesn’t have to be tough, but it takes some work in the beginning. I can show you how to quit without feeling miserable, details of my course are here: https://thesoberschool.com/course/

      1. Thanks for replying. Surprisingly I’m not actually craving or missing alcohol and I’ve not found it hard at all. I’m just missing being happy. I’ve realised that drinking is covering up for how crappy my life is. I suspect if I continue down the no drinking route my marriage may be over. The question I need to answer is do I start drinking again to paper the cracks or do I ruin my children’s lives and selfishly try to make myself happier?
        I’ll check out the October course. Thanks again.

  16. Yes I do believe that drinking does have you missing out on a lot of things. I recall drinking at a restaurant and trying to plan out my path to the restroom. Breathing in deep before I stood up to collect my balance.
    Still sober 🙂

  17. So true thats me on a daily basis. I start each day with a positive attitude but by evening it has all gone and it only takes one drink for me to keep going. Thank you for my your talk. Today will be my first day of no alcohol.

  18. Thanks Kate for exposing the ‘happiness’ myth about alcohol. I was 4 weeks sober before my son’s wedding then decided to drink. It was a mistake. When I reflect on the most joyous moments of a glorious wedding week in Ireland; they were ALL when sober. Whilst I was able to moderate; drink sapped my energy. I need the courage to keep sober and August is the start!

  19. I am just over a week sober and all what you said made total sense… The silly shock to me which you touched upon is how you get trapped and the leak from your life of joy but equally your thought process and managing life’s difficult twists and turns with a clear mind which makes all seem so much easy as you can navigate clearly and with confidence. Love this Kate thank you for your insights, care and support to us beating the alcohol hold xxxx

  20. This is brilliant and you are more impassioned than usual in this video which really drives the point home. Every single word of this is true. I’m sending this to some people I know that are struggling. Thanks, Kate XO

  21. Kate, once again you have hit the nail! You have helped me so much because you encourage me to think more deeply into my actions. That is drinking wine. I appreciate all your words and the fact that you are willing to share them with me and the rest of us! ♥️

  22. This video is so accurate. I too had tunnel vision about alcohol creating happiness around my life. All alcohol was doing was causing me misery, time lost with loved ones, and hangovers that affected my next day in a somber way. So I drank daily to cure the feelings of yesterday but the feelings of yesterday were present today and the next day like an evil loop sucking me lower and lower into the vortex or hell. You have many powerful videos Kate. The massage in this video is probably the best one I’ve seen yet! So spot on!

  23. Hi Kate. Thanks for your supportive article. 12 years ago I stopped smoking after attending a one day Alan Carr course. I literally left my last packet of cigarettes at the venue and have never craved or wanted a cigarette since. The course dealt with stopping in the same way, i.e. by setting out what you are missing in life rather than what you gain from the ‘addiction’. I am now at the point where I feel I need to adopt the same approach to alcohol because I have come to rely on it to relax and it’s a habit to drink every day. The problem I have though is that I don’t want complete sobriety because, unlike cigarettes, sensible and limited amounts of alcohol are not life threatening and can be pleasurable. The reason I don’t start on any kind of programme to curtail drinking is because I don’t want to stop completely, I just want to control it. What advice or help is out there for this situation?

    1. I would suggest taking a decent break from booze with support, whilst educating yourself about what alcohol can and cannot do for you. At the end of that break, you are armed with good information to decide your next step. This is similar to the Allen Carr approach and the premise of my online ‘getting unstuck’ course which allows you to break free from the alcohol trap and see things with a new perspective and a clear head. It’s hard to do this reflective work with alcohol still in the picture. Here are the details of my course if you’d like to reserve a seat on the next one: https://thesoberschool.com/course/

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