Kate's Blog

Do I Need To Quit Drinking? 6 Surprising Signs

How do you know when it’s time to quit drinking or take a break from booze? 

I used to google this topic endlessly.
Because I wasn’t a rock bottom drinker, I was never sure if I was overreacting or not. 
But there are always clues that it’s time to stop.
Here are 6 surprising signs you probably haven’t considered yet… 

Key points

1. You’ve always got one eye on the booze

You know exactly how much is left in the bottle. You keep an eye on what everyone else is drinking and wonder if there’s enough left; you often feel anxious about getting to the shops in time so you can buy more.

2. You’re touchy about your drinking

Perhaps a friend makes an offhand, jokey comment about your love of wine and you replay the remark over and over in your head. What did they really mean by it? You worry about what other people think. 

3. You’re relieved when you can drink

You worry that you won’t be able to drink in the way you want, so it’s a relief when you can. You feel delighted when someone else volunteers to drive, or you get home early so you can have a few drinks alone.

4. You create a lot of rules around your drinking

Perhaps you make yourself wait until a certain time of day. Maybe you have rules about what you can drink or where. These rules can appear to work initially, but you’re soon back to square one.

5. There’s a lingering feeling of fear and unease

You have this sense that something bad is about to happen, you’re just not sure what. Perhaps you’ve already had a few close calls or put yourself in situations that could’ve ended with you hurting yourself or someone else. 

6. You’re here

If you’re asking yourself whether you need to quit drinking, then there’s a very good chance you do. If alcohol is making you unhappy, you have nothing to lose by experimenting with sobriety and taking a proper break from booze.

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. 


41 Responses

  1. Thanks Kate. This time last year I would have checked off all these signs… it describes my life back then exactly. Finally I decided enough was enough. I took your October class last year and am fasting approaching one year AF! Everything is better – I’m a better mum, wife, employee… I’m a better me.

    1. Congratulations Alexandra! I’m so pleased for you. Look how much has changed for you in the space of one year! It’s amazing 🙂

  2. I can relate to about 4 of the six signs. The one that is getting me back into it is the looking forward to a night with alcohol and me alone. The nasty friend that always makes me full of dread the next day.

  3. 1-3-5-6. I believe the end is near. I can see things changing. My thoughts and desires are diminishing. It’s been a long time coming. I appreciate everything you’ve brought to light. Thank you, Gayle

    1. Hi Kate, I resonate with all of these. The sad thing I’d that I have a great job, a loving partner and a great life. Alcohol is the only thing that is truly stopping me from appreciating all of it. I waste so much money on it, money that could go towards things that I truly deserve! Things that I always say ‘I can’t afford this, or that, it’s insane when you think about it

  4. Hi Kate, it’s the endless rule revision around drinking that resonates with me the most. I am 5 weeks Alcohol-Free but still not quite out of the grey zone.
    thanks for your help

    1. Congratulations on your 5 weeks Claire! I hope you can join us for the workshop… that will help cement your sobriety, I’m sure 🙂

    2. For many years I have known I am not a normal drinker. I have bought every book going, stayed off drink for months at a time, but found it difficult to relax; the FOMO striking after a while; the edge removing large gin (obviously descends into many more, blackout or big strop). My children now fear repetitions of New Years Eve. I hid little drinks behind things (definitely not normal behaviour!) for a secret end of the day tipple – I could go on. I would love to be free of the internal dialogue, the terrible anxiety when I wake up.
      I have watched many of your videos on Facebook and your words always apply to me. Thank you for all the advice you put our there xx

  5. Hi Kate, It’s disappointing that I recognised a few traits in myself. I currently buy wine round different shops to throw people off the scent of my drinking. Sometimes I’ll empty half my recycling bottles at the recycling centre so the bin isn’t overflowing or by wine by the box instead so that the evidence is easier to dispose of. I never really thought of myself as a sneaky drinker but recently I’ve tried to get my husband on board to having AF evenings 2-3 times a week. He works late so I have sometimes succumbed to a mini wine and hidden the evidence ‍♀️ I don’t hide how much I drink by joking about it and if I’m asked how much I just say too much to people I don’t trust and am honest with people close to me. But I know I need a break.

    1. It sounds like hard work, Angel – managing the different shops, going to the recycling centre, hiding the evidence. It grinds you down after a while. I hope you join us for the workshop (link is at the bottom of the blog) so we can start exploring some different options for you 🙂

      1. Thanks Kate! Yup already signed up. I work until 5pm though so I’ll be watching most of the content 2nd hand. It doesn’t grind me down, yet. I don’t think of it like that. Although I have sent hubby to the shop instead of going myself because I said it would be embarrassing!! I start every week not drinking, like today and tomorrow. Wednesday tends to be the day I wobble … looking forward to going longer periods without booze .

        1. Kate, you really hit the head on the alcohol subject whenever I hear what you have to say. To respond to your request to this pod, I felt all six symptoms you describe. Precisely why I have removed alcohol from my life. Not only for the reasons above, but my late-sixties body and mind cannot and will not tolerate me poisoning it anymore, which is a good thing, really. I still.love drinking wine, but the alcohol is not a part of me anymore. Looking for the market to develop a truly good AF wine, but till then, it doesn’t matter. No more alcohol going down my throat. Thanks for your pods; they are excellent!!

          1. I’m glad they resonate with you Jill! And well done for removing alcohol from you life. A fabulous step 🙂

  6. Dear Kate, I haven’t joined your class but have read your blogs for so long that I feel like I really know you I went alone ( but with you by my side) & haven’t had a drink for well over a year ; well actually that’s not quite true – I had a teeny tiny wine for my birthday in July ! There’s booze in the house – my husband drinks every day – I can honestly say that other people that drink don’t bother me at all , I just think what a waste of money! I absolutely love the power of being in control. Thank you from the bottom of my heart ❣ To everyone out there that wants to give up booze – take that first step – and believe in yourself!

    1. Thanks Kate
      Hat off to everyone on here.
      I’ve been in the grey zone for longer than I care to remember. Probably since my teens and I’m 53. Coming from a family of heavy drinkers, it’s second nature. Now I find myself feeing pressured to drink with friends and needing a valid excuse not to. Being kind to myself has never occurred to me and I fear being questioned, especially having grown up with the idea to never trust someone who doesn’t drink. I can see how damaging that is after listening to you.
      I drink every day and half the time only have one. The other days it’s more but either way, the guilt is overwhelming. I can relate to nearly all of the six points above.
      I very strongly associate drinking with cooking, getting ready to go out, or having visitors. Breaking these apart has always felt impossible and despite thinking ‘no I won’t’, I just go for it. It’s insane but breaking the cycle and facing what’s behind it or failing again feels very scary.

  7. The strange bit about listening to you speak about all the signs is, I truly believed it was just me who felt that way. Its liberating to realise I’m not alone. I’m not behaving strangely. Other people do this too!
    I always know how much wine is in the bottle and make sure I get my ‘fair’ share. I ask my partner to go to the shop to buy more wine as I’m embarrassed! To name just 2 behaviours.
    I’m signed up to the workshop and looking forward to learning how to be rid of this mind altering, highly addictive, poison once and for all.

  8. I started with faith-based recovery. That ran its course, I don’t drink. I am not endlessly sick, no one is. Thinking clearly is important. Seeing correctly opens things up. Of course, behavior is also key. Not drinking has nothing to do with scarcity or lack. There is no shame, unless, of course, you “believe”you are “endlessly sick” – which is just ignorance.

  9. Thank you so much for this. Unfortunately I can relate to all of these. I’m determined to be alcohol free. On my own I’m 8 days in without any alcohol and feeling better everyday. Cannot wait to complete your course.

  10. Love watching your videos. I’m a regular, bottle a day (sometimes 1-1/2 or 2 bottles) wine drinker. I decided to stop, for the umpteenth time, this cycle of destruction. I can’t decide if I should quit alcohol completely, or just make the rule (haha that’s one of the 6 signs) that I can’t drink alone at home anymore. Anyway, I’ll continue to watch your very encouraging videos. And who knows, perhaps I’ll try your course. I’m on Day 3 of sobriety. Once I get 2 weeks under my belt, I’ll consider your course. Thanks again for your help.

  11. Yes- this describes my experience pretty much exactly. I’ve been aware of it for quite a long time now and have tried in the past to curb it but now I am really ready to make a change. I have decided to listen or read one or two of your posts each day to help remind me of my why and I am feeling pretty strong right now. Going to take it one day at a time so I don’t get ahead of myself. Thank you Kate for these resources – they really help me to keep my purpose forefront in my head and heart.

  12. Hi Kate and everyone, I definitely resonated with five of these six. Made me chuckle at some but also realize the seriousness of my addiction as I listened to you talk. I am grateful for you and for all of the women who have shared their experiences with you so you could pass them on to us. Thank you all.

  13. Hi, I can relate to 5/6.
    I know I have to change.
    It feels reassuring not to be on my own.
    I have signed up for course in April.

    1. Thank you yes I can relate to give and I am really excited to a new life sober. Looking forward to the course in April every day is a bonus.

  14. I am on day 3 of being alcohol free….i could have ticked all 6 prior to this 3 day alcohol fast which is changing my life

  15. I’ve lost my family through drinking. Constantly blacking out and texting or phoning them, and I don’t recall doing it. I’ve tried taking my own life twice because I’m so ashamed of my addiction to wine. I haven’t told my doctor about how much I drink but I’m on yet another warning at work because I’m not doing my job properly. Alcohol has destroyed my life, my mental health and my self esteem. I wish I had never started drinking.

    1. Hi Patricia, I am so sorry to hear what you are going through. The support we can provide will help you tackle your emotional and psychological addiction, but it’s not a substitute for medical advice or support. I would recommend you speak to your doctor in the first instance, they will be able to support and direct you confidentially.

  16. I was fully prepared to start my AF journey on Monday, no alcohol in the house. Then my friend left me a big case of beer when she dropped the dog back, my journey didn’t start Monday now I’m stuck again and don’t know what to do.

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