Kate's Blog

Why Can’t I Cut Down Or Control My Drinking?

Why can’t I cut down?

Why can’t I be like other people, who have a few drinks and then stop? What’s wrong with me?
My inability to control my drinking used to feel like such a personal failing – a weakness.
Nowadays, things are different. 
Not only am I eight years sober, but my views on all this have changed too. 
If you’ve been wondering why you can’t cut down, this video will help.

Key points:

Why can some people cut down?

We never know what happens behind closed doors – I did most of my drinking in secret. Many so-called ‘moderate drinkers’ aren’t actually in as much control as they think. However, their intake is restricted by their finances, work commitments or other responsibilities.
Some people don’t actually like the sensation of feeling drunk or out of control, so they don’t get a huge amount of pleasure from drinking. For others, alcohol just isn’t their thing – perhaps there’s something else they fall back on instead.

We’re conditioned to think we should be able to control alcohol

Alcohol is the most glamorised and romanticised drug on the planet and we’re told we should be able to use this addictive substance responsibly. We’re taught that it’s just a small section of the population who can’t do this, and that’s because there’s something wrong with them.
That’s total nonsense. It’s not the user that’s the problem – it’s the substance. With all other drugs, we seem to understand this. For example, we don’t shame smokers for becoming addicted to nicotine. We don’t tell them that they should be able to cut down or control themselves better!

What to do instead

Step off the hamster wheel of trying to come up with tricks to cut down that don’t work. Give your mind and body a break by experimenting with alcohol free living for a couple of months. You don’t need to make any long term decisions.
Give yourself the opportunity to experience sobriety properly so you can find out what it’s really like and get past the difficult early days and weeks (and on to the really good part). You might just discover it’s far more freeing and enjoyable than you ever thought possible. 
If you’d like some help and support to quit drinking or take a break from 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. 


47 Responses

      1. Hi iv just watched your message re stop drinking and I’m really taking what you say on board it’s just that every day when I’m at home alone i have an urge to cut out the evening and just watch tv cause the both take me away from anything really. I just have a problem with drinking on my own . I just want to have the nerve to not buy wine at tea time incase I can’t get through the evening without xx

        1. Hi Ann, thanks for sharing what’s happening for you at the moment. Drinking at home alone is very common. I can help you with this – have you looked at my online course? The next class starts in July and I think you’ll find it a great help. Here are some more details: https://thesoberschool.com/course/

          1. Hi Kate, I know your course doesn’t start until October, but I want to stop drinking now. Should I still do the course if I haven’t had a drink? What is the exact date and how much is it? I love watching your videos they are so uplifting, thank you x

        2. It is true freedom! I don’t even think of it as sobriety, I think of it as sparkle and brightness in my life- the energy and joy that comes from living without it! I speak as someone who has drunk a bottle of white wine each night for as long as I can remember. Now had two months without it. I’m never going back. Xxxxx

  1. Kudos to you and your Sober School. I have been alcohol free for 4 years, 1 month and 1 day! Everything you say resonates with me. I love your comparisons of society’s treatment of alcohol to other drugs. It is absolutely the truth. If not for the seriousness, it would almost be humorous. One statement you make often really hits home with me… one cannot expect to control the intake of a mind altering drug. The first time I heard you say that was the first time I though of alcohol as the problem and not my lack of ability to control the amount of intake. I listen to your videos and read all of your posts. The industry and society have done a fabulous job of glamorizing this drug. Thank you for exposing the myths!

    1. I’m so glad this resonated with you and helped you feel better about your own experience. Huge congratulations on your sobriety, 4 years is brilliant! 🙂

  2. You always seem to know when I need a pep talk. My goal is to stop completely, not just moderate and it be a addictive drug like smoking makes sense. I wouldn’t do drugs or smoke , so why do I drink

    1. I think you’ll be surprised how much easier it is to let go completely (for a set period of time – for a break) rather than keeping one foot in the door. Moderation is like going to a casino… you might get a few wins, but ultimately the house is going to come out on top, because it has to. It’s the same with alcohol.

    2. Thanks Kate, this does resonate with me. I have tried AF mon to thurs numerous times and it simply doesn’t work.
      I have passed the 6week mark sober and I am never drinking again.
      I do need these posts though so thank you.

  3. Spot on as always Kate, and so reassuring! My favorite line: “Becoming reliant on alcohol is a completely predictable side effect of using it”. It takes all the shame and embarrassment away from the issue! I am so happy to no longer be expending all the energy that attempting moderation took. Life is calmer, so much better this way!

    1. It sounds like alcohol free living suits you Catherine! Congratulations on making this change 🙂

  4. I am beyond grateful that you still reach out and still are so supportive. It has made a difference in the direction I want to go. I’ll be listening…

  5. This so resonated with me. I so often go without drinking anything for a couple of weeks, and then I tell myself, I’ve got this. I can just have a glass of Scotch or two, and that will be all. It might work the first night or two, but then something happens. It doesn’t even have to be a big happening, and the first thing I know, I have drunk a whole bottle of wine. Thank you for your kind, nonjudgmental approach to helping us.

    1. No problem Letitia. There’s clearly something that keeps pulling you back to drinking – there’s something that you believe you’re missing out on, or can only get in alcohol? That’s something to really work through and unpick. If you need any help doing that, I can support you via my online coaching programme. Here are some details about the next class, starting in July: https://thesoberschool.com/course/

  6. Kate, merci again. I’m one of your grads. Soooo true about tobacco being like booze. Took me many attempts to become tobacco free. 30 years ago I finally got professional help and found a class for smoking cessation. The classes worked.! Like your class worked for me. For me, it comes down to:” no such thing as one cigarette or one drink”. And how I love my freedom…and the pride of caring for my health.

  7. Hi Katie
    I found your sober school last night while internet searching again for assistance in quiting and making the decision to quit alcohol again. I think I have landed at the right place. Thank you.

  8. 43 years ago I smoked at least a package of cigarettes a day. Though very difficult I managed to beat it and quit. Haven’t looked back.. I now drink almost a bottle of wine daily and can’t seem to find the resolve to pass on it for even one night! Is there such a thing as an addictive personality? I hate being labeled an alcoholic, we don’t label smokers smokeaholics. I plan to take your course, either this round or next.. I know there will never be the “right” time, just gotta decide.

    1. Hi M, I don’t think there is such a thing as an addictive personality (that line of thinking comes from the AA / broken person / must have something wrong with them approach). We all have coping mechanisms that we turn to during difficult times, and some of those coping mechanisms are healthy, some less so. Also, some of us are better at sitting with our feelings than others – some of us weren’t taught how to do that as children. But that’s something that can be learned and changed. We cover all this inside the course.

  9. Having given up smoking, I feel the freedom in not having to smoke when I awake up or after a meal, so I get the feeling of freedom. I’m 32 days sober & my son is really proud of me as I’ve agreed to no home drinking. I was going to have some wine at a mini degustation, but have since changed my mind and will make June also alcohol free. However, in July Im going to the ballet and am thinking maybe a glass of bubbly

    1. Congratulations on your 32 days. My advice would be to journal very carefully on whether you want to give up your alcohol free lifestyle for a glass of alcohol in July. What would it add to the ballet? The ballet is already fun and enjoyable, right? I’m not sure what drinking would add to that? I suspect you’ve also drunk before at the ballet… so you know how that goes. Why not give yourself the opportunity to experience something else 🙂

  10. Hi Kate well bank holiday plus sunshine equals bbq and booze for many people. I was doing so well. My hubby drinks a lot and almost encourages me to do the same.
    Since listening to you l notice my mindset is changing l am getting stronger…. enough to say “no thank you” if l lived alone l know for sure l wouldn’t drink at all. I will definitely be listening. I know l need to be stronger it is time. Thank you

    1. Hi Pam, thanks for sharing what’s going on for you. It’s hard to do this alone – especially when you live with someone who isn’t very supportive. If you’re looking for help to stay on track I wanted to make sure you knew about my online coaching programme? The next class starts in July and we’ll have a group of ladies all taking it at the same time (many of them will be in a similar situation to you). Here’s some more details: https://thesoberschool.com/course/

      1. Hi Kate love reading all of the success stories from such beautiful strong ladies. I have applied for the next coaching programme and look forward to your reminder soon.

        1. Fantastic, I look forward to working with you Pam! I will be in touch about the July class at the end of this month 🙂

  11. That was a really inspiring post Kate im doing well, 10 weeks AF tomorrow and I find your posts really helpful. Thank you so much

  12. Great blog today Kate, thank you. One year free after taking your course, you’re such an fresh voice amongst the alcohol soaked messages we receive.

  13. I live alone I always find a reason to drink , a birthday not necessarily mine or its Friday night the weekends here or feeling anxious or upset I reach out for the alcohol. During lockdown I drank all the time the saying was you come out of lockdown either a hunk a chunk or a drunk I was a chunk and a drunk. It then hit me I was never going to enjoy the rest of my life if i didnt stop drinking and using this poison as an excuse to feel better it wasnt making me better it was making me bitter. I made a decision to try alcohol free days and that is where I’m at now. I dont know how long this will last but my mindset at the moment is I definitely want to stop drinking and look forward to a sober happier life.

  14. Hi Kate,
    It’s funny that this is the first video that I’ve watched, because I have set myself goals, but also came in with the mentality that I can just have some bubbly at the ballet. I have been sober at the ballet before and you’re right alcohol doesn’t enhance ballet at all, it wonderful by itself. I’m going to aim for another full month alcohol free & maybe even a third. I don’t want to get a head of myself, but so want to keep the momentum up!

  15. Hi Kate the way you explain things os brilliant and so true!! I hope in the future we’re giving our children the same talk about alcohol as we’re told to give them about drugs, maybe you’ll be attending schools to give talks? I wish I’d been given this information before I’d started drinking I remember the first time I heard alcohol was addictive and a drug ethanol it was a shock I know it might seem obvious but it wasn’t at all to me. I love your blogs they keep me strong even now at neatly a year sober and knowing I feel so much better some that little niggle of ah it’s holiday time sure everyone else is, it takes a long time to undue all the years of conditioning x

    1. Congratulations on your sobriety! I hope you have something special planned to celebrate your upcoming milestone 🙂

  16. I have just started my journey & can 100% relate to everything that you have said. I once was a smoker & I beat that addiction over 28 years ago! I am like you said in your video a person who would drink to excess behind closed doors. I never got any joy in drinking and really don’t know why I did drink to excess. My husband was going to leave if I didn’t get help as he didn’t want to be the one to find me dead. After listening to you’re blogs for the first time I can relate to every word that you say, thank you for your guidance & you’re blogs.

  17. Hi Kate I have been “almost” AF for 2 years. Up until now, I have allowed myself one drink per month, on special occasions. I keep a journal and here is my most recent entry….
    “I need to rethink my “once a month drink” and ask myself if it’s really worth it. Is it good enough? Sometimes I really enjoy the taste but not always. I always have the same reaction – I wake up flushed in the middle of the night, headache, anxious. In addition, it takes several days to recover. Is it good enough? I don’t think so. It’s time to accept that I am just one of those people who can’t tolerate alcohol. …………
    So, your post about moderation really resonated with me. I want to go the next step to total AF living and would appreciate your thoughts.

    1. Hi Ruth, if you want to take the next step and stop completely, I think that would be a great idea – it sounds as if it would be a lifestyle upgrade for you. If you need any help to feel good about doing that, my online course will help. The next class starts in July: https://thesoberschool.com/course/

  18. Thanks for this, Kate. It does resonate. I have ADHD and BPD (borderline personality disorder) and have had many sober months, 3-months or even longer. I have felt that elation and freedom you describe, “knowing” that I won’t drink again … yet I always creep back to drinking and am in a real rut now. In my case there IS something wrong with me, and I feel it’s keeping me stuck. Still hoping for a miracle but with ever decreasing self-belief.

  19. Hi Kate, I really want to cut alcohol out completely but am frightened to do this & I am not sure why I guess I’m using alcohol as a coping mechanism I have signed up for your course in January but any tips you could give me beforehand would be greatly appreciated

  20. Thanks Kate just what I needed. I have had a blip and tried to moderate but actually made it worse!
    Back on track again..I hate that feeling that happens when you think you can just have one drink to boost you to finish your jobs! You know exactly what happens next..and your idea of making everywhere nice for when hubby comes home has gone to the floor.I

  21. This blog entry is spot on. I need to change my mindset — I’m constantly saying I can do better/be better and moderate. And then I can’t, and I end up hating myself. Thank you for really pointing out that alcohol is a drug, a mind-altering drug. And.. I wouldn’t do other drugs, so why drink this one? Looking forward to your class in Jan 2023.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Most recent

Needing help main-min
The Shame Of Needing Help To Quit Drinking
“I should be able to quit drinking on my own. I’m ashamed of my drinking and ashamed that I can’t get my act together and stop this.” This email landed in my inbox over the weekend and reading it took me right back to my drinking days. Back then,...
Read More
holidays main-min
"I Need A Holiday To Recover From My Boozy Holiday!"
Picture the scene: you’re boarding the plane to fly home after a trip away somewhere sunny… You’re tanned, but you feel terrible. Days of back-to-back drinking have taken their toll… and you’re glad to be heading home to recover. If you’ve ever...
Read More
Anne Hathaway main (1)-min
Anne Hathaway’s Sobriety And “Having A Problem”
I love it when famous people talk about sobriety and why they choose to be alcohol free. (So many red-carpet celebs don’t drink alcohol nowadays, it’s incredible.) The actress Anne Hathaway has shared that she’s now five years sober. Her milestone...
Read More

Enter your name and email below to download your free Wine O’Clock Survival Guide

As well as the guide, we’ll also send you helpful and inspiring weekly emails with free resources, tips & advice, plus details of our awesome products and services. We’ll take care of your data in accordance with our privacy policy and you can unsubscribe at any time.