Kate's Blog

Are You Taking Care Of Your Basic Human Needs?

When I coach women to quit drinking, the topics I love the most are mindset and thought work.

There’s so much deep stuff in there to explore.

But before we get to that, I always spend some time making sure they’re getting the basics right. We all have some basic human needs that must be met.

But you’d be surprised how many women aren’t doing this stuff at all!

Watch this week’s video to make sure you’re not skipping over this either…

Key points

Why the basics matter

Urges to drink will be stronger and more frequent when you aren’t taking care of yourself. When you fail to meet your basic human needs for sleep, nourishment, joy and comfort, you’ll experience more cravings. Turning to something outside yourself, like alcohol, then becomes a lot more appealing.


Do you frequently sacrifice your sleep? If you do, you will reduce your ability to handle stress and stay aligned with your sober goals. I know it’s annoying to hear someone say, ‘Just get more sleep!’ when you feel as if it’s out of your control. But it’s one of our basic human needs – so what could you do to get even 30 minutes’ extra sleep a night?


It’s no coincidence that you feel the strongest urges to drink around wine o’clock – a time of day when you’re often hungry and thirsty as well. Many women are in the habit of not snacking, because they don’t want to kill the booze buzz. So how about a little experiment? Have a glass of water and a snack at 4pm every day for a week and see if it makes a difference.

Joy and comfort

Perhaps you inject joy into a boring day by pouring a glass of wine? Or you knock back a beer for comfort after a bad one? Comfort and joy are two more of our basic human needs… so you want to look at how else you could meet them.

What works for you? Is it a walk, a bath, curling up with a book or calling a friend? A mistake a lot of people make is doing things they think they ‘should’ do, such as going to the gym. If a workout genuinely brings you joy at the end of the day, that’s fine… but if it doesn’t, it’s time to find something that does!

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. 


39 responses

  1. Isn’t it so true, not eating when your hungry at 4:00 in the afternoon cause you want wine and I didn’t want o add more calories . The wine calories took preference. CRAZY thinking.
    I do now however being completely aware of this , I do have a snack,and drink my favorite non alcoholic drink and crochet through that hr and after dinner. I try and get my work and chores done before that hr so I can just focus on relaxing through those hours. I Also am not as tired now that I’m not drinking but I make myself go to bed at 9:00. It’s quite time. No TV no noise and gives me time to say to myself.. you did it! And you can do it!
    Your knowledge about Alcohol is so incredibly helpful and spot on Kate. THANK YOU.

    1. Thank you Kate again. This time for the reminder about what is important. 2 months AF , and sleep is glorious. So love ritual of getting ready for bed anticipating restful night. Have followed your advice from start about eating right , and realise that snack at 4 ish makes all the difference. It keeps my mood on even keel, as well as being a treat.
      So far so good. Alcohol-free makes perfect sense.

      1. I’m so pleased to hear my advice is helping. Sometimes the simplest things give the best results. Nothing beats a good nights sleep, that’s for sure ❤️

    2. You’re doing all the right things Diane and keep giving yourself the self care and credit that you truly deserve 🙂

    1. Hunger and thirst are so easy to fix, but so often overlooked when we reach for the alcohol around that time – well done Heather, keep going!

  2. Not eating, definitely, not wanting to take the edge of the alcohol and living on crisps, definitely!! Week 1 alcohol free, hurrah! Big motivators for me are my sky high anxiety, I’ve always been an anxious person anyway but? immediate improvement. Secondly, the cost! Bottle of cheap wine, or two every night, I am now putting £40 in an envelope every Monday. Big incentive to stop!!

  3. Thanks Kate, makes me realise I don’t drink enough water. Plenty of tea!
    I will try a snack as well.
    Sleep a bit of an issue, not going to sleep but getting back to sleep when I wake up in the night. It’s improving slowly. At least I don’t feel guilt and disappointment in myself when I wake. Need to be patient and hopeful it will improve.
    Carefully considering what brings me comfort and joy. Many creative things going on. Taught myself basic crochet this weekend, something I have tried before but not achieved so chuffed.

    1. Improved sleep will come, be patient. No need to feel guilty, you’re doing the work and getting the results. Finding a creative outlet is a joy and crochet is absorbing too.

  4. Hi, I’m trying ‘slowly, slowly wins the race’ and since New Year I confess to having a drink when I go out but not in between or during the week so I’m quite proud of that. I often offer to drive so that it doesn’t make me look like a party pooper. Not being a fan of drinking water or soft drinks I’ve discovered alcohol free lager and also kombucha, both of which seem to satisfy the tastebuds. Getting to sleep is quite difficult but not waking up at 3am with a dry mouth is a bonus. My husband doesn’t drink so I have only myself to blame for my habit. This is a step forward to a new life. Thank you. X

    1. There are so many more alcohol-free options these days, the market is booming right now because of increased demand, so enjoy experimenting. If you need any support to trial a six week break from booze, my online coaching programme would be a great fit for you. Here are some more details: https://thesoberschool.com/course/

  5. These are great reminders. It’s amazing what food and water will do. Sometimes I’ll be feeling very stressed, low, whatever, and I take a drink of water, a full glass, or I eat a piece of fruit, and I suddenly feel better. Still working on the getting more options for comfort and joy, but I do walk my dog twice a day, and that brings me both.

  6. O my goodness Kate, this is sooo true! If we have all of these things in our lives sorted and loved ourselves more I am positive I wouldn’t need alcohol in my life. It’s just that vicious circle, I’m stressed so I have no joy and comfort, so I drink alcohol which leads to more stress, lack of sleep and the circle continues. We have to learn to nourish, love and support ourselves each day and tell ourselves that we matter, with a positive mindset then alcohol won’t be the crutch I need, as I won’t need a crutch? I’m hoping so anyway.

    1. You’ve hit the nail on the head! “Alcohol won’t be the crutch I need, as I won’t need a crutch”. As women we tend to talk ourselves down so much, so it’s time to flip the script and treat ourselves better. This is exactly the thought work that I teach in my Getting Unstuck stop drinking course and I’d love to help you step out of that vicious circle: https://thesoberschool.com/course/

  7. Absolutely love your videos and everything is spot on. I’m 2 weeks sober and back into fitness. Joined a gym and love walking. I’ve been eating healthy and love spending time with friends for a coffee. My anxiety and low mood has gone. I’m so grateful for being sober. Thank you your videos give me a boost and a reminder that alcohol is not what it’s cracked up to be.

  8. Hi I definitely feel better not driving king. But have to be honest I have had a drink occasionally, which is far better than I was doing and decreasing that even. Can go two weeks and not drink at all. So I feel like I am making progress.
    I haven’t slept well in many many years. I do enjoy going to the gym and haven’t been doing that much but got back to going again makes me feel better. I am also dieting with all this but a small snack later in the day is helpful.

    Thank you for the support without judgement

    1. No judgement here, just support 🙂 Next time an urge to drink comes, have a listen to my free pep talk https://thesoberschool.com/pep-talk and extend that sober streak a little further than two weeks. Before you know it, you’ll be at a month sober and your health and sleep will be getting better and better and so the sober momentum builds…

  9. Hi Kate just wanted to say thanks, today I’m one month AF and counting – your videos are so motivating and help me see what I can gain from AF living. Already I have much more energy and enthusiasm for work and react way more calmly under pressure. I’ve not been AF for this long in my adult life and feel like I’m reconnecting with some of the joy I felt in my childhood and teens. So thanks again!

  10. HI Kate,
    I am a graduate of the April 2022 course. I quit before the course started last year and I will be alcohol free one year tomorrow! I am so happy and proud, I never, ever thought I could do it. You are right when you say it is a lifestyle upgrade. But I have to say the work is never done. Life is hard right now and as much as I don’t want a drink of wine I have to admit that it has crossed my mind a time or two. Sleep is good and so is the nourishment part. It’s the joy and comfort that I need to address in my life. Very good reminder, thanks.

    1. Hi Mary, your comment has really inspired me – well done to you. I’m really wanting to have a break from alcohol, at least a month off to see and feel the benefits. I always worry about having social events, like family coming over for supper or going to family BBQ’s etc, but hopefully once I’m past the full month without it, those sort of scenarios might seem easier!

      1. Thank you Sally,
        I’m glad I have inspired you! You can do it. Just make a promise to yourself and stick to it. The tools that Kate gave us are helpful and I always remind myself of all the terrible things that alcohol was doing to my mind, body, and spirit

  11. Thanks for these wonderful pointers, Kate! I love how you refer to sobriety as a “life upgrade”. It is SO TRUE! I participated in the April 2020 class and went 100 days without drinking. Then I tried to moderate and it didn’t work very well. I’ve now been sober for 458 days and loving it! Naps, snacks, novels, and sober friendships have made my journey possible thus far. Peanut M&M’s are the snack of champions! And I’ve still lost weight! Thanks for all that you do, Katie!

  12. Kate, alcohol didn’t become a problem for me until late 40’s early 50’s. It was absolutely a time in my life where I felt isolated without Comfort or much Joy and had a young child and wasn’t getting good sleep. Yes, an older mom i was and was far away from family and loved ones. Reflecting and identifying the fact that my basic needs were not being met has really helped me to understand how I grew so alcohol dependent. I have been alcohol free for over 60 days thanks to your help and my sleep is much better and I have been working on adding joy and comfort to my life as I head towards retirement and no longer want to be alcohol dependent. Thank you again for another wonderful insight and way of framing my experience and helping me continue on the path of alcohol free living.

  13. I’m not sure I know how to move forward. I sleep and eat. I walk my dogs most days but I am stuck holding a saving business from covid which is very stressful. I have 2 teens and do very little for me there is always something to do and I hate getting behind. Anything fun I organised so it goes smoothly which then puts more stress and pressure on me so stuck in a rut. I’m not a huge drinker but it’s my escape and it’s moved up to 3-4 nights a week, which I don’t want but feels the only time I’m relaxing

    1. We shouldn’t have to do the hard things in life alone and taking a break from booze can provide some breathing space to analyse what else in our lives may need attention. I’d love to show you another way, so please take a look at my upcoming ‘Getting Unstuck’ course: https://thesoberschool.com/course/

  14. Thank you finding you is finding me and I am so grateful, it’s only the start but I feel so incredible already. Looking forward with energy xx

  15. I smiled when you mentioned sleep and getting joy from the thought of a restful nights sleep. I did just that last Friday for the first Friday for as long as I can remember. Everyone in the office thought I was mad when I expressed my joy at knowing I wasn’t going to drink that night and that I would have a lovely lie not hangover induced the next morning. It made such a difference to the rest of my weekend.

  16. Thank you very much for your video, I think what you said makes sense. I stopped drinking for 3 weeks, but I’ve had real problems with my sleep, I thought it would be so much better after quitting. The other night I was so desperate to get to sleep, I remembered I had some red wine that I used for cooking and was going to drink it just so I could get some sleep. It’s made me realise how import sleep is especially when your not getting enough.

    1. Sleep patterns can take some time to get back to normal when they have been disturbed by alcohol for a long time so be patient with your body. Be reassured, it does settle down into a natural rhythm, but try having a good bedtime routine to wind down. Avoid caffeine or a heavy meal too late in the evening and reduce screen time in the last couple of hours before sleeping and this will help 🙂

  17. Enjoyed review on maintaining basic human needs for sobriety. Correct nutrition is a difficult one for me. But, I’m getting there. Staying sober!


  18. Thank you Kate, it makes so much sense. I have been struggling for years. I let myself down again last night. This morning I have tipped away the rest of the bottle. I can’t do this to myself any more.
    I have signed up for your course & can’t wait to get started.
    I know this is the key to a better life. Emma

  19. I need to stop! I am scared I won’t get through today, let alone in the future. Your talk on meeting my needs “today” may be what gets me through today. Thank you

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