Kate's Blog

Are You Celebrating Your Sober Wins Properly?

You receive nine positive comments about yourself (or your work) and one piece of negative feedback… and find yourself totally consumed by the “bad” one.

Can you relate? (I’m hoping it’s not just me!)

Well, guess what? The same thing can happen with alcohol-free living too.

We can have so many sober wins, so many things going well for us… yet all our brains want to focus on are the bits that are less good, or that feel hard.

Today’s video is all about combatting this so you can focus on the stuff that actually matters…


Key points

We’re naturally a bit negative

The brain is wired to scan for problems, so it can anticipate them and protect you. The downside of that is that you can take some time off drinking and not really appreciate the sober wins, because your focus is elsewhere. And then that thing – that challenge, or whatever it is – starts to become bigger and bigger in your mind.

This isn’t toxic positivity

This isn’t about pretending that there aren’t fears, doubts and worries. We don’t want to dismiss them. But we do want to tell both sides of the story. Most of us are experts in talking up alcohol and talking down sobriety. That’s the thing we’ve practised for years and years, so we’ve got really good at it. And it takes conscious effort to change that.

Ideas for flipping your focus:
  • Keep a list of things you love about alcohol-free living. Add something to this list every day
  • Download a sober app to track how long you’ve been sober for and how much money and time – and how many calories – you’ve saved
  • Take regular selfies to see how your appearance changes. The difference might surprise you!
  • Create a sobriety photo album on your phone to remind yourself of your sober wins – this is particularly useful if you’re a visual person
  • Start a list of things that would never have happened if you’d been drinking
Take some action now

What’s happened to you recently that simply wouldn’t have happened if you’d been drinking? Please let me know in the comments below… You can answer this whether you’re days or weeks into your journey. Don’t be afraid to get super specific with this. Life is all about the little things!

Looking to create a sober life you love? Click here to find out more about my Getting Unstuck 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. 


53 Responses

    1. I can relate to this! I do not miss ordering 3 of the same thing while drinking. I love having a clear head for a change.

  1. I quit my job to take care of my mental health. This would have been impossible in the past, first because I didn’t have the financial stability to do so, and second, because while drinking I was living in constant fear of not finding another job, of disappointing myself, or of just having so much free time to get bored or overthink or go back to drinking.

    (Cheers from Spain)

  2. Sober rewards have been greater than I thought. I’m now 71 and had come to believe that aches and pains, for the last decade, are part of aging. I haven’t had any alcohol since becoming sober one month! I stopped drinking before Christmas and brought Martinelli’s Sparkling Cider-Berry (also avail in apple and grape) to the party. Perfect for staying away from spirits. Now it’s too sweet, so I enjoy sipping soothing teas instead. I move with ease each day, think clearly, ruminate less on the past, and able to concentrate on projects. Since I’m from California and typically grabbed CA wine bottles, I quit buying unregulated “poison” wines and traded over to Italian and French imports. Too expensive and I realized I had just switched to a money pit so tried juices with added water just to “satisfy” the habit of lifting a wine glass to my lips. That was immature and I knew I was simply stalling. Thanks to hearing Kate’s members share their stories, I stopped and have no desire to return to drinking. My eyes are bright, my face no longer red, and my tummy has flattened (all within a month). 2023 will be a very good year. Thank you Kate for your videos and emails!

    1. Congratulations to you Nancy. It’s nice to be able to identify with someone “older” who has turned to sober life. I am 73 and sober 11 days. Feeling so much better, sleeping better, blood pressure down, weight loss already and less anxious. Keep up the good work!

        1. Thank you Kate for reminding me to keep the positives foremost in my mind and thoughts. I have so many benefits from AF living. I think I could even attribute it to getting married in June. It hadn’t occurred to me until this morning that getting engaged was an outcome of sober living. Amazing how our brain prioritizes the negative. Thank you Kate!

      1. As I was making dinner, I just left the kitchen and went over to my husband and gave him an affectionate kiss .
        Because I felt content.

  3. Hi.
    I bought a tiny 2023 diary that I could keep with me at all times to write down what I’ve called AF bonuses. I thought if I get tempted it might help to read through it. So far from needing it, I realised yesterday that I had passed the three week marker on Friday and hadn’t even noticed. (Yes – I made the decision to take a break on New year’s eve after watching your first masterclass. I decided “from tomorrow ” and then changed my mind and started straight away. I saw the new year in in my local pub without alcohol. First bonus was being able to drive a friend home instead of having to rearrange my home so that she could stay overnight. She was happy too. Some other bonuses: No hangover on New Year’s Day. My chronic indigestion has gone, my chronic cough has almost gone, I’ve lost the wish to smoke , my home is getting more organised, I don’t need to go shopping so often – and when I do I don’t have to hang about waiting for a member of staff to check my age… And that’s only some of them.

  4. I attended a 10.00 a.m. Nutrition seminar at my local gym last Saturday morning. In the past, before I stopped drinking, I would usually still be in bed with a hangover at 10a.m. Thank you Kate for all your help and encouragement along the way to sobriety.

  5. Today is six weeks since I had my last alcoholic drink – yay!
    One of the best results for me is not having to look at my mobile phone in the morning and see who I rang whilst being drunk (and thinking that I sounded absolutely normal) and wondering what on earth I said or who I had invited for lunch/dinner.
    Its such a relief to realise that I actally hadn’t rang anyone, or, if I had, I could remember the whole of the conversation.

    1. Congratulations! Isn’t that the best feeling knowing you didn’t do or say anything embarrassing? Not worrying about what texts or calls you might have made is such a relief. We don’t realise how much stress that adds to our minds until we stop, right? Keep going Rosemary 🙂

  6. Loving this course..im so engaged and enjoying it..im loving being sober..im so calm and feel as if im coming out of the darkness into sunshine its getting sunnier and sunnier..I am simply enjoying my life,my job,my family, im actually enjoying being me..I wouldnt be feeling all of this if i was drinking…all i felt was low,ashamed,guilty,and anxious…and looked awful..

  7. I am now 6 months sober due to Kates amazing blogs and messages. It’s the best thing I have ever done! It’s been hard but I am now able to stay awake and watch full series with my husband without falling asleep, I can now wake up feeling like I don’t have to worry what I said the night before and feel refreshed and have a great weekend without feeling sluggish and my anxiety has reduced incredibly! I would be lying if I said my weekends aren’t sometimes tough after a week of work but I continue to focus on the positive impact sobriety has already given me and will continue to give me! Thankyou Kate! I could not be more grateful and look forward to your emails and blogs regularly to keep me on track and focussed.

    1. I’m so happy to hear you’ve been inspired to upgrade your life in this way – it is the gift to yourself that keeps on giving! Keep going Jo 🙂

  8. I am getting on with so many things since becoming sober. I am much more pro-active (My actual word for this is ‘Brave’)and am tackling things I would in the past have never got round to doing . I am much more organised with day to day tasks – clothes and equipment are organised, work is properly prepared and therefore much less stressful. I get on and do my admin tasks rather than let them pile up.
    My BIG change recently is to have a physio assessment and start learning Pilates. It is just the latest improvement in a long list of little changes and additions to what I do on a daily basis. I have been sober for 7 months and I feel better and better all the time

    1. Absolutely true Frances, we waste so much time whilst drinking and recovering from drinking that just taking away that one thing improves so many other areas of our lives. Tiny changes, remarkable results…

  9. Hi Kate! Thanks for this great reminder to celebrate the sober wins
    I’m almost 3 years sober (and still loving it!)
    I have a gratitude list that I go through everyday and listening to your video today, I realised that ‘living an alcohol free life’ isn’t on it! I’ll be changing that this morning…
    I still have a warm glow in my heart on the nights when I’m getting ready for bed and know I’m sober and will wake up clear and rested. My bedroom has become my sanctuary, a place of peace.
    Thanks for this wonderful reminder.

    1. So good to hear that sober life is still bringing you joy Monica – keep celebrating those sober wins with a warm glow in your heart ❤️

  10. I’m sleeping better. I’m doing yoga and hiking. I’m feeling more myself, no need to hide the amount I’m drinking, what I said or did, etc. I’m allowing myself to feel my feelings. Today, I’m weary, and I’m okay with that. I won’t be super productive every day. There’s an ebb and flow to life that’s okay. I’m so grateful for the course.

    1. I couldn’t agree more, life is a 50/50 balance and it’s OK to allow life to ebb and flow – keep up the good work!

  11. I stood up in front of 60 people to present a case study. It was totally out of my comfort zone and I’ve never done any public speaking before.
    Sober since July 2020. Feel my self confidence has grown so much

    1. Brave and confident – that’s fabulous. Sobriety shows us what hidden strengths we have. Celebrate that sober win and be proud of yourself Ruth 🙂

  12. I made it to an early morning PT session at the gym. Actually walked there and saw a beautiful sunrise. Glorious start to the day.

    1. That’s beautiful and what a gift to your mind, body and soul ❤️ I wish you many more glorious starts like this.

  13. Tonight I was able to drop everything and go to rescue a friend who’s car had broken down. No way could I have been this helpful when drinking. Ended up helping 2 people out because my friend was on his way to collect his girlfriend!

    1. To be present and available to a friend in need is priceless – drinking stole that from us. Sobriety benefits the user but also those around us in so many ways – win, win!

  14. I didn’t beat myself about a (simple) mistake I made at work. Instead, I just got right to it (and I fixed it–and bonus-even got good feedback!). This time, I didn’t have the usual demeaning chatter in my head– And later when I looked in the mirror my eyes looked brighter, I looked more happy and peaceful–a little confident even. (alcohol free in 2023!!!). Thank you forever Kate. You made alcohol-free living seem fun– and it truly is!!! (I can’t believe I wrote that!!). I absolutely wouldn’t be this far without you. Your emphasis on the mind-set has been life-changing. I am so glad I am trying this life-upgrade!! Your tools are so effective. I could go on and on, but I haven’t felt this good since I can’t remember. Thank you.

    1. You’re very welcome, it’s my mission to help women break free of the alcohol trap and embrace the potential that is in all of us. Stopping drinking doesn’t have to be tough, it can be fun and empowering and I’m honoured to be a guide for thousands of women like yourself. Here’s the link to join: https://thesoberschool.com/course/

  15. Reading and remembering, feeling of pride, signing up for yoga retreat. Simple things but they may me happier.

  16. I’m 28 days sober, I’m starting to get myself into a routine..
    I’ve cleaned out my freezers and kitchen cupboards, cleaned out and organised my wardrobe. I’ve been putting these jobs off for ages, I even threw out loads of stuff that I was keeping hold of, just incase I might need it one day, lol.
    I cant believe it’s been nearly a month….

  17. My sober win is that although life is really tough at the moment. Family illness, lots of travelling with work, financial concerns. I questioned whether I could, should continue, everything was spiralling in my head to the negative. But I thought of the future what would things look like in three months, it’s possible that will look totally different. So it is tough now but can change in the future if I have to. So my win is my thinking style has tilted to the positive. Thank you the 2023 course is a life saver.

  18. Paula G from 2020 here! Still sober after three years and have been looking back at my class notes because my SIS is in your class now and so proud of her! I, too am about to embark on a new journey and that is a 200 hour Certified yoga teacher training. Never would have happened while drinking that is for sure! It will challenge me physically and mentally and I can’t wait! It’s expensive too but that ok because after 3 years My AF account has lots of cash in it! The sober wins are the best!!!

    1. Wow, 3 years Paula – congratulations! Wishing you all the best for the yoga training 🙂 Sobriety gives us the courage and ability to try new things that we’d never dream of before and the money of course!

  19. Even though I had not properly trained, due to my drinking, I was able to complete running a half marathon 14 days sober!! I’m looking forward to running again, and feeling great every day. During my run I kept telling myself, you can do this because you haven’t had a drink in 14 days, and it really encouraged me.

    1. And just think what you could achieve in a month or 3 months? Keep going Deb, feeling great is just the beginning…

  20. I have been without the wine for 9 weeks now, but only because my daughter took away my debit cards and I wrote my car off after having had too much to drink…. I don’t think I would have done this if my means had not been taken away and I’m sorry to say that I still really want a drink, but it is out of the question. I know how much I had to lose – my daughters and grandchildren, so shouldn’t I be more positive?


    1. At The Sober School I help women to stop drinking and feel great about it. Putting down the glass is just the beginning, but working on your mindset and beliefs about what alcohol can and cannot do for you is the mastery of sobriety. On my Getting Unstuck course, I coach women who want to take a break from booze, but hate the idea of missing out or feeling deprived. I can show you how to have fun, relax and be confident without a glass of wine in your hand, because stopping drinking doesn’t have to be tough. Here’s the information you need to join: https://thesoberschool.com/course/

  21. Something I didn’t mention is that I didn’t have difficulty sleeping, on the contrary, got to sleep quickly after drinking, and never had a hangover, but I guess that’s because I was so used to the drink….

  22. Before I stopped drinking a month ago (this is the longest I’ve ever been without) I was drinking in the day or sometimes in the morning just to function from a horrific hangover. I had sleep deprivation, night terrors and panick attacks, was like living in a horror movie.
    I now am waking at 7 and going for runs. Sleeping well and have hardly any anxiety. skins cleared up and I have a sense of humour again.
    It’s a seriously massive turn around. Im desperate not to go back to the horror movie life again

  23. Day 25 for me & I’ve noticed my heart rate has dropped in last month from 79 – 69. I’ve also lost weight & feeling much more energetic & calmer

    1. It just goes to show what a ‘whole body’ benefit is achieved by ditching the booze for a period of time. Well done Jane, some impressive statistics! Check out some other inspiring success stories on my website, these ladies have all been through my ‘stop drinking’ course and loving the lifestyle upgrade too: https://thesoberschool.com/success-stories/

  24. I am over 30 days sober and you have helped me to get there and beyond!! My sleep has been fantastic which helps me physically and mentally- every day! I have not once berated myself- I would do this daily, multiple times a day, when I was drinking simply because I felt so awful the next day and would question why I continued this defeating habit/behavior. Even “just to three” drinks a night (but typically 5 nights a week), and my life was so negatively impacted. Also, I definitely look better- don’t have that tired, haggard look which was almost always. Most of all, I don’t feel alone in my journey which was how I felt most of the time- this is thanks to you and your blog and videos.

  25. I am two year sober, I read your blog regularly for inspiration! The last month has brought a lot of stress and I never would have been able to navigate it so gracefully and in a way I am proud of if I had been drinking!

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