Kate's Blog

You & Alcohol: What Has The Pandemic Taught You?

What has the pandemic taught us?

It’s been a whole year since ‘normal life’ changed and we were told to stay at home.
If your drinking has increased since then, you certainly aren’t alone. But what have you learned from the past 12 months?
That’s the question I asked some of the women I’ve been working with recently. 
This time last year they were drinking heavily… now they’re alcohol free.
If you’re trying to quit, I think you’ll find their reflections really helpful. 

What has the pandemic taught you?

Even if you’ve been drinking through it, you will have learned something from that. Did alcohol work for you, as a coping strategy? Do you want to learn how to cope with difficult emotions in another way? If you could wind the clock back 12 months, what would you do differently?
Whilst I hope we never go through another pandemic, the chances are that things like stress, uncertainty, isolation etc will reappear in your life from time to time. They may not be so intense or prolonged, but it pays to learn how to deal with them.

Takeaways from my students

In the video I share some posts from women who’ve been through my Getting Unstuck course at some point within the last year. Most of them are between 3-9 months alcohol free and were drinking when covid began.
Here’s what the pandemic taught them:
You can quit drinking during a crisis!
Lockdown made life tough, but the ‘upside’ was that it became obvious that alcohol wasn’t helping.
You’re stronger than you realise and can cope with more than you think.
Sitting with feelings, sober, is hard at first – but it is possible.
We’re not meant to do the hard things in life alone.
You have to focus on what you can control – e.g. your drinking, your attitude, how you choose to show up for yourself.
Alcohol makes anxiety worse.
We’re more adaptable than we give ourselves credit for.

Now it’s your turn…

What has the pandemic taught you? Do you know how you want to move forward? Perhaps you learned something about yourself that you would never have realised otherwise. I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.
If you’d like some help and support to quit drinking, click here for details of my online course.

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. 


35 Responses

  1. Great post, Kate. I think one of the things the pandemic has taught me is that I really, really like my quiet life. The idea of spending time drinking at home and being hungover at home seems like hell to me. Honestly, sobriety just gets better and better.

    1. Yes, Jane! I completely agree! Living a quiet sober life is like heaven to me. I have never been so content! Hugs to you, and huge thanks as always to wonderful Kate Bee!

    2. I quit drinking on Oct. 28th, 2020 and it has been really good, up until this past week! I was collecting unemployment from July to February and have been looking for a job and am having no luck. I have been in the health field for the past ten years as an assisted living manager and I do not want to do this anymore because of the stress level and I am so ready to do something different. The last few days have been extremely hard for me; definately been thinking of drinking even though I know it will not solve anything. Really feeling defeated and down.

    1. Hi.
      I was drinking far too much in the 1st lockdown.
      I was on furlough and not working at all.
      The sun was shining, so a good excuse to start drinking at lunchtime and continue into the night.
      This went on for months.
      I thought I can’t do this anymore, I was afraid I was going to die.
      I wanted to see my daughter eventually get married and have children. I knew I wouldn’t if I continued drinking.
      My last drink was on Xmas day
      I’m now 87 days sober.
      I feel wonderful.

  2. Hi Kate,
    While all of the comments you shared today were very inspiring, I just wrote down your comment that if I can find a new normal in something horrible, like a pandemic, then I can find a new normal in something amazing, like sobriety. I am posting this quote in my bathroom. It struck me like the saying “seeing the forest through the trees” sometimes strikes me, and it is pivotal for me to realize this. Thank you!

  3. I gave up drinking 6 months ago – I just stopped- and have found it a freeing experience. More free time, freedom to be myself, free from anxiety. Definately worth it. Still haven’t had the courage to tell others though when they talk about “sharing a bottle of wine when lockdown ends”!

    1. You can figure that out when the time comes. If you can figure out how to n to drink at home, you can do that with other people also 🙂

  4. The pandemic actually helped me taper off. Removing events and eating out from the alcohol equation made it easier to go longer periods without drinking. Those were the things I kept getting hung up on–feeling normal in places where you’re supposed to prove what a mature adult you are by tootling around with a drink in hand. Drinking home alone and then being sick all night and the next day seems to suck exponentially more when you don’t have those happy-happy social events as a mental counterpoint to say “See? Drinking is fun!”
    The pandemic taught me that my difficulty to totally stop drinking is a lot more peer pressure than I thought it was, mainly from women older than me who think you’re adulting wrong if you don’t drink at the thing. Without events, there’s just no good reason to do it.
    And it is ALWAYS the older women that hassle me about drinking. I guess “they’re sober curious” has been added to the list of idiotic reasons to hate millennials, right up there with buying avocados and letting our parents force us to go to college. The horror.

  5. On the 25th of March 2020 NZ went into lockdown and i was sent home from work, that night i got horribly drunk.
    I decided in the morning that i cant do this for however long the pandemic was to last, and we didnt know then how long that might be.
    So i brought up all of Kates material from The Sober School, and believe me i had a lot!!!! I had tried many times to stay sober. I started by telling my self i would not drink for at least 30 days to start with. I substituted my drink at wine O’clock with Tonic water in a wine glass.
    And that is how I continued from Month to Month and i am still sober one year on and what a difference it has made for me, my mind is clearer and no more loosing a whole day because im hung over! My family are very proud of me.
    If I can do it so can you.
    Thanks Kate it was all your recordings and push that did it for me. Xx

      1. Hi all. I was drinking after work for many years but during the lockdown it went to a different level without the responsibility of having to be in work the following day. I find this quite scary and decided to use the opportunity of lockdown to go AF. I’m on day eight which is the longest I have ever gone without wine that I can remember (I’m 51!!!!so that’s a long time). Early days but I’m feeling really positive and when I do go back to work I’ll be a new and better person. X

    1. Do you still crave? I stopped for January then drank a bit for 2 weeks and then stopped for lent. Very proud of myself but bc I have an end date I will drink again. And knowing the end is near helps my cravings.
      I want to just moderate but if I am not successful I will have to just stop completely.
      If I say no more then how do I stave off the cravings?

      1. If you’re still toying with the idea of moderating, I would guess you haven’t done much mindset work yet? So not drinking is going to feel like a willpower battle at times! It would be a really shame to go back to drinking without experiencing sobriety properly, and the freedom that comes with learning how to overcome your cravings and manage your mind. I’d definitely recommend you work on your mindset and make sure you get to at least 100 days before making any decisions. If you need any help, my course covers this in detail: https://thesoberschool.com/course/

  6. Hi how are you doing today my name is Vivian Allen and I am so much more still in sobriety recovery. There is no way I can get high again . I love it have sobriety day. I told god I want to free from adoa for ever.

  7. During this pandemic I have had to learn patience, with myself, with my husband and with all the together time that can get tense and frustrating. I often sneeked into the kitchen and downed an alcoholic drink to get the burn and take the edge off . I have realized that it only helps for a minute, and the down side of alcohol is much worse than learning to discipline myself about controlling my automatic reaction to having a drink as a crutch. Thank you Kate for your constant words of wisdom.

  8. The pandemic has taught me that’s things can change so quickly !! I lost my dad in the February 2020 just before lockdown then Mum in the April . Dad was cancer and mum was covid . It’s been a lot !! But New Year’s Eve was my last drink like many other ladies I felt anxious an horrible . I’m 3 months nearly AF not easy and I still think about drinking even dreaming I’ve had a drink !!! But it’s the best decision I’ve ever made . I’m the best version of myself for my kids an that’s so important to me feel happier and learning to love myself again and I’ve taken up running life is much better all round .

    1. Dear Kate, I used to be as I called it ” a weekend alcoholic ” I never drink during the week as work and getting the kids off to school etc was #1. Beer was my go to on the weekends and a few other disgusting habits that went up my nose! Stay up night and not go to bed till either Saturday night or early Sunday morning.  
      You will be proud to know that I haven’t had a beer for a yearband the other disgusting thing. I try and have a cooler here and there and just can’t do it.  I don’t want to be hung over and I just don’t like anything pretty much with alcohol.  Have I been told that I am no fun anymore…absolutely.. do I care …absolutely not! This is me… love me or walk away that’s on you. And with all this Covid BS you would think I would have went back…but nope … what I am addicted to is my family and my job . Thats my drug and Alcohol of choice and I will never look back on the other again ! 
      No one knows not even my husband knows of your emails . I did this on my own…with you.  So for that I thank you . And I thank myself for signing up to receive them.  God bless and stay safe . 

    2. Sounds like a tough year for you Bonnie. Well done for realising that alcohol wasn’t helping with your grief.

  9. One of the comments above about actually finding it easier not drink during lockdown resonated with me. I have always been more of a social drinker but have taken this to extremes. So without those social events I don’t feel motivated to drink.
    What worries me is the upcoming pressure to drink as lockdown starts easing, as people want to ‘let of steam’. I have only stopped drinking as a result of an extended dry January so most of my friends don’t even know i’ve stopped. I was one of the bigger drinkers in the group so I think it will be a bit of a shock.
    I’ve found it difficult enough trying to make my housemates understand why I’ve chosen to stop, and they have only recently stopped trying to get me to have a drink. This is only going to worsen when bars/pubs start opening. It makes me anxious about whether I can be the only one not drinking at certain events. I still want to be social I am just worried about the perception of being boring/unrelatable which I know is nonsense!

    1. Hi Rose,
      I totally get what you’re saying. I’m feeling very much the same. Whilst it’s been challenging to stop drinking during lockdown, it’s had its advantages, too. Because it’s much easier not to drink when you’re at home and don’t have to deal with the same level of peer pressure. Even still, I’ve had to contend with my husband, who is a happy drinker, with no intention of quitting. He’s found it very difficult to accept that I’ve chosen to give up alcohol, regardless of my valid reasons. He has, at least, stopped actively encouraging me to give in and have a drink, but he wouldn’t discourage me either. So, I live in fear of when the pubs reopen again and I’ll have to be out socialising with him, our friends, and with everyone else drinking all around me.

    2. Hi rose , I didn’t tell anyone I stopped drinking like you I was big drinker in the group I told my sister who I was most worried to tell she said I’m better without a drink an she totally understands . Before I told her she would say just have a drink when we go out an I would feel bad as I knew in my heart I didn’t want to drink anymore coming out had made me feel loads better and everyone knows what I’m doing that I don’t want to drink . We are not boring we will wake up an feel great . Remember this saying . Clear nights an beautiful mornings . Take care and good luck on your sober journey . Bonnie xx

  10. During last Summer, it seemed wonderful to be at home, lots of sunny days, my garden has never looked so good, rewarded myself with Reading in the garden with a glass of wine or vodka – ending with 3 or 4 glasses!! Then July back to work on part-time furlough 1 or 2 days a week, autumn came My Husband’s Lymphoma diagnosis and radiotherapy treatment. December my Company went into Lockdown week before everyone else due to outbreak at work! Dark days of winter, health and work worries, drinking 2-3 litres of vodka a week! Alcohol has just made may Depression and Anxieties worse, hasn’t helped with my weight either…. time to make a change ….

    1. Alcohol definitely makes anxiety and depression worse. And here’s the other thing Carol – booze didn’t make those summer days special either. They were special in their own right, because you were at home, relaxing.

      1. Hi Chris
        Yes i still crave, i look at it in the supermarket on the shelves and watch others just have one or two drinks, and look nice and relaxed ( but they can do it i cant)
        I have a nice cold bottle in the fridge in the garage which makes my tummy skip a beat when I see it, but i know if i started even one drink i would be back on it again so back to the tonic water again for me.
        I sometimes wonder if i have an addictive nature or not.
        I do love waking up and remembering what i did the night before, and when i remember, or worse still, im told all the stupid embarrassing things i did, i am so happy im sober.
        But yes I miss it i guess i always will.
        But its poison to me.
        Good luck
        Something i noticed is that if i go out i just seem to binge drink the tonic water too how do i explain that??

  11. This year has not only been pandemic for me but also my son’s last year of high school. I decided I didn’t want his memory of this year to be of me with a drink in my hand all evening and hungover every morning. My last drink was on the last day of summer vacay. Six months sober and incredibly grateful for the clarity it has brought. Thank you Kate for being with me every step of the way.

    1. That’s wonderful Dawn – many congratulations on your 6 months! What a great example you’re setting your son.

  12. Hi Kate.
    When the pandemic started we heard words like virus, illness, underlying illnesses, and death. As it went along mental health words like isolation, loneliness, anxiety, depression and coping came.
    All of the sudden the health of ones self to everyone around us was front and center. No escaping it. The pandemic forced me to finally face what I already knew—I was not physically or mentally well regardless of things. Losing the ability to be around others, and move about this life as we all did prior to this, was something I had taken for granted, along with my health. The pandemic empowered me to fight for myself and confirmed that I love the life I’ve created. All of it!, even the hard stuff! I just needed to love myself enough to ask for help, and begin to live in the fullest and healthiest way possible. Nearing 80 days sober and counting! —Thank You Kate!

  13. I am two years off alcohol and I am free. I am free to make my own choices in life ,I am free to be present in my life.
    I think we forget, at least I did that we have a choice right down to the smallest everyday tasks. Advice I’d give is, if your reading kate’s blog your now ready to be free. I did a 55day challenge armed myself with ice cold sparkling water and each day I wrote about how I felt and how my body was purging the toxins . Kate mentions the inner work that each of us have to do . I agree you must do the work . Eventually you won’t fall into the crack in the road you will walk around it . Keep going everyone . Thank you Kate .

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