Kate's Blog

Breaking Up With Booze: Why I’m So Glad We’re Over

Some people say that quitting drinking feels a bit like breaking up with someone, and I think they’re right. 

I was in a serious, long term relationship with alcohol for years. 
Even when I knew things were over, there were still times when I doubted myself and wondered if I was doing the right thing.  
That’s why we had a trial separation at first (my idea). 
And whilst we were on a break… I met my true love: sobriety!
We’ve been together for almost 7 years now 😉
Breaking up with booze was absolutely the right thing for me to do – here’s why:

Alcohol made me believe that I wasn’t enough

I was a shy teenager and the first time I met booze at a party, I thought I’d found the solution to all my problems. Suddenly, I had so much confidence! From then on, I tried to make sure that alcohol was always by my side.
I was convinced that I wasn’t enough on my own. I wasn’t funny enough, or sociable enough or entertaining enough. The more I relied on alcohol to get me through certain situations, the less I believed in myself.

There were too many lies

“You’re such a great dancer,” alcohol would say.
“You know, there’s no harm in a few more glasses…”
“Telling people what you really think of them is a great idea!”
“Everyone else is drinking this much.”
“Of course you can pass out on the sofa and still feel fine tomorrow…”


We were always arguing

“That’s it!” I’d yell. “Do not come back here tonight!” I’d swear that we were breaking up. Done. Finished. Over. And yet by 5pm, I’d be wondering if I’d overreacted. Alcohol would creep back in, knowing full well that nothing had changed. 

Our relationship affected my health

Here’s what I discovered: booze really didn’t like healthy food. Or working out. Or getting 8 hours sleep. Alcohol loved waking up at 4am, so we could spend the early hours of the morning staring at the ceiling, feeling bad. 

Alcohol was all flash and no substance

Booze was charming when we first met – so sophisticated and exciting. I thought we looked great together and so did my friends. When everyone around you is dazzled by booze, it’s hard to see the toxic, cancer-causing drug hiding in plain sight.

My new relationship is so much better

You know when Superman is Clark Kent, with his nerdy glasses and slightly awkward manner? Well… sobriety is a bit like that.
It doesn’t look very remarkable on the outside, but there are amazing superpowers hidden underneath. 
Breaking up with alcohol is one of the best things I’ve ever done. I’m nearly 7 years down this road now and my only regret is not doing it sooner. 
AF living means I can consistently show up as the best and happiest version of me – no drama, anxiety or morning after regrets. What’s not to love about that?
❤️ If you’d like some help to break up with booze, 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. 


48 responses

  1. I can relate to this. Getting sober felt like parting ways with a dodgy ex, especially in the beginning. It felt kind of sad at the time. Not any more though! I’ll be one year AF in April, thanks to your course.

    1. I’m so pleased to hear that Kelly. Congratulations on your sobriety – I’m looking forward to seeing you reach that one year milestone! 🙂

  2. Sobriety is the best thing I have ever done. I am always present and so productive all of the time! I am killing it at work, my home is organized like I was putting it on the market for sale and I finally got pregnant after trying for a decade. Sobriety only brings one beautiful gift after another. Sober on sisters!

    1. Love, love, love this post Sarah! How wonderful that quitting drinking has brought all these positives into your life. Congratulations, it sounds like 2020 will be an exciting year 🙂

      1. Number 4: Affecting my health. This was my main reason for quitting 42 days ago, dry January and beyond and I think I’m powering through as I can’t ever feel that poorly again. I have just been accepted for a half marathon in 6 months so something to aim for!
        My first AF night out was this weekend at a local sports bar with disco and party food and I didn’t miss the booze. I emailed a photo of myself proudly drinking orange juice to my (non sober) sister in laws one of whom replied “more sugar in that though!!!”
        I’m sure it was a joke but is it only other sober people that get it and understand what we’re going through and how good it feels to be AF! I have therefore avoided confiding in my family for this reason, even though they’ve see me at my worst and carried me home on occasions they still say, Oh why don’t you just have the one?
        So thank you to those out there in cyberspace for your support and keeping me sane x

  3. I’m 43 days into another try at sobriety. I don’t know why but I feel like this time is different and I am determined to stay this way. This is the 3rd time after beating breast cancer in 2018. This time I’m keeping track and not giving in to the Friday habit/craving. I wish it was “as cool” to quit drinking as it is smoking.

  4. I quit drinking some 10+ years. Don’t miss it at all. I still watch my husband d drink everyday and see the effects it has on my life and his. Can’t control what he does. Looking after myself is #1.

  5. I’m 200 days today! It’s a little over 6 months since my last drink. It’s taken me awhile but now I’m finally seeing some changes. I sleep 8 hours without waking up in the middle of the night. My grandson was just born and I look so happy in the pictures. When I get frustrated and alcohol whispers to me that just one won’t hurt, I have to remember these subtle improvements.

    1. Congratulations on your 200 days Lori! What great timing – now you get to enjoy being a clear headed, fully present, sober grandma 🙂

  6. These are great! I’ve thought of my relationship with alcohol in the same light, and quitting with breaking up. I haven’t yet thought of sobriety as my new relationship, and I really like that! Such a healthy relationship…I never want it to end. I celebrate 11 months with sobriety this Thursday!

    1. It is such a healthy relationship, that’s for sure. Congratulations on your 11 months Collette! You sound very happy 🙂

  7. What a beautiful piece, you have created an image that we can all imagine, that of love for someone/something that doesn’t actually bring you any joy, but somehow you keep going back for more, hoping it will work this time. I was in an abusive relationship and one day I woke up and thought, ‘no more’ and I didn’t cry, I had no regrets. The same with alcohol, it’s abused me and made my self-esteem plummet and once you give it up, you look better, everyone comments on how different you are, you attract different people in your life. It’a no-brainer really. I love too, how ‘wide awake’ and sparky I am at work and gain self-esteem through such a simple thing, (why did I think it was Ok to stay up drinking and go into work 50% of the total me, my brain deluged in a sea of wine and bad feelings) that ‘aargh’ feeling in the morning, much like I experienced after a night with my ex and all the arguments! Such a good analogy, with you Kate!

    1. I’m glad this comparison resonated with you Patricia – and it’s great to hear you’re choosing better, happier relationships in all areas of your life 🙂

  8. You’ve described it so well. I’m on day 40 and haven’t felt this good for years. I think I’m already on the waitlist to consider taking your course. Thanks for your positive message and encouragement.

  9. I tried for a short time to really cut down but it’s hard. I like wine esp on hot summer day drinking on my deck. I know I must try harder but my husband said I am making some changes like not asking him to buy me another bottle, not finishing all of the wine, going to bed earlier. He said I am starting to change my mindset towards alcohol and that it’s a start. Is it OK to just cut down. I dont want to stop totally but I am sick of being tired and hungover every 2nd day.

    1. Hi Raechar, cutting down rarely works out in the long term. Trying to control your intake of a drug that makes you lose control is always going to be tough. I’m wondering how long you’ve been trying to do that for already? How much time has been spent doing that? Now could be a good moment to review this and perhaps consider a different approach. I talk more about why moderation doesn’t work (and what to do instead) in this blog here: https://thesoberschool.com/control-drinking
      Hope that helps.

    2. Hi, raechar, I tried for a long time (YEARS!) to cut down, too. And I did pretty well, MOST of the time. I also enjoyed a nice fruity drink or glass of wine in the sun, but I have realized that it doesn’t matter what’s in my glass. REALLY!!!! When I got a little whiny and feeling sorry for myself recently about never having a rum punch on the beach again, I said to myself, “So, you’ll have a fruit juice spritzer!” I realized I can relax and enjoy the sun, beach, my deck, whatever JUST as much with a nonalcoholic drink. Seriously. It is true. Not only does it hydrate me, not dehydrate me, I’m not hungover. If I feel like going for a run or walk or drive or do anything afterward, I don’t have to worry about how the alcohol affects that. It is much easier now that I stopped drinking altogether than it ever was worrying about how to limit my drinking.

      1. I have notice that, too! It really doesn’t matter what’s in the glass, I get the same feeling. It’s just an old belief that wine should be nicer than a carefully mixed fruit drink. It’s even better than wine because you can have more of it (as much as you want!) without a second thought.

  10. Alcohol is an abusive partner. It seduces you and then punches you in the face. Rinse and repeat. Would you keep going back to a human who made you look terrible, feel terrible, loath yourself or freely give you cancer or worse? When I reframed alcohol as an abusive partner, it was easier for me to stop romanticizing booze and much easier to say goodbye forever. I would never let a human treat me that badly, would you?

  11. Really enjoyed reading your blog. I am at the cusp of knowing I drink far too much but as yet am just exploring whether I want (or think I can) give up alcohol???

    1. I am in the same boat… I totally understand the benefits of quitting yet booze has been with me since I was 15 and if I look at my social circle….. its all drinking but I do enjoy it humph,,,, I wish my husband would stop with me as I think it would be easier X

  12. Hi Kate! I took your class in October 2019. I love when these emails pop into my Monday inbox! Yesterday marked 6 months for me! I love my AF life! Thank you for the support and sober toolbox! Life is great!

    1. Awww, that’s fantastic, congratulations Barb! I’m so pleased to hear that life is great and you’re celebrating 6 months already! That seems to have gone fast. Well done ❤️

  13. Due to the persistence in your communications Kate (pep talk and work books and emails) – it took me a year to get it and finally I too have just broken up with what I called (my favorite thing in life) I am 42 days sober – I love it – I REALLY LOVE IT. Its an amazing journey and now I have all this lovely healthy free time. thank you …..

    1. That’s brilliant Beverley! Well done for sticking with this. Many congratulations on your 42 days – wishing you many more ahead! 🙂

  14. Hi Kate! I am currently taking the class. My brain actually feels smarter. I’ve been drinking for so many years. The best part of stopping? I feel more relaxed, more at ease. I’m reading all the comments and learning from them each day. I don’t always comment back, but i am reading and soaking it all in. Thank you Kate!

  15. Well I’m 38 days sober, I am really proud of myself and I thought it would be a lot harder, I am still waiting for the benefits of feeling better, better skin, losing a few pounds etc. I know my blood pressure has come down a bit as I monitor this due to being on medication for this, some nights I sleep well but some I don’t. I hope I can carry on with this beyond the six weeks but keep thinking I may be able to moderate now, so we’ll see.

  16. Kate, I love your blogs, they are so helpful and inspirational! I celebrated my 100 days sober on Sunday and I am so happy I am on this journey! Your blogs and instagram posts were my first introduction to taking a good long break from booze. I remember my day 1 like it was yesterday when I made a promise to myself to take the 100 day challenge. I am so thankful for the work you do, I read all your blogs and all the comments and learn new techniques all the time! I love the analogy of breaking up with booze and enjoying the my new relationship, sobriety! My life is so much better without alcohol, I have set my next goal of 200 days! Stay strong everyone, it is so worth it. ☀️

    1. Congratulations on your 100 days Cindy – that’s fantastic! Wishing you continued success and happiness as you work towards 200 🙂

  17. I’m desperate absolutely desperate, to be one of the people who say “no thanks, I don’t drink”.
    The relationship analogy is a perfect one, and unfortunately rings absolutely true about the person I’m married too also. I keep dropping of the wagon because I am afraid giving up one, and being sober in the tougher times, will make me ‘see the light’, and want to give up on the other one as well, which for many reasons I simply can’t do. So any advice from anyone of how to get out of this visions circle that I am in, would be most gracefully received.
    Every credit to all of the above people who are managing this one. I think you are all amazing people!!!

  18. As a female physician who treats mostly adults for ADHD, I am very intrigued by all of the comments here. I have never been a drinker (having an alchoholic uncle who always seemed to be sick, and who almost died twice with GI bleeds was enough to make me NEVER want to touch alcohol), but I know many people who are, and although I try to encourage them to stop drinking for the health benefits it can bring, I know that can be a hard task for people to consider. I often refer my women patients to Kate’s Sober School website, but I am not sure how many have actually taken my advice to this point. This blog about the relationship between a woman and alcohol is very good–and I have gained ideas about how to communicate better with my female patients regarding their alcohol use. One thing that continues to bother me, and for which I would welcome comments, is the great emphasis in our culture (at least here in America) of advertising alcohol and alcohol-related fundraisers, etc., to such a great degree that it makes me not even want to donate to certain charities anymore. Even restaurants will advertise their drinks and drink specials before they will list their foods!! I don’t even enjoy dining out anymore for that reason. As a small business owner, I “get” that this advertising and serving alcohol at fundraisers and restaurants is designed to bring in more money–but at what cost to those who may over-indulge and their families? Their employers? How do you ladies handle these cultural pressures? I want to learn more from your wisdom so that I can pass it along to the ones I know who especially feel pressured by our cultural “norms.” Thank you, Kate, for your insight and to all of you who are commenting. You are helping this physician who has been in practice for over 30 years to feel inspired by your accomplishments!!

    1. Thanks Deborah, I appreciate you sharing this information. It’s sad how intertwined alcohol is with all parts of life these days – including fundraising for charity. It’s really frustrating to see this and it sends out the wrong message completely.

    1. I work with a lot of women who’ve tried AA and found it not a good fit, so you’re definitely not alone – there is another way! I look forward to showing you how 🙂

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