Kate's Blog

Don’t Forget, Other People Hide Their Drinking Too

“Why can everyone else drink normally apart from me?”

When I was struggling with my drinking, I must have asked myself that question a hundred times. 

The shame of not being “normal” like “other people” kept me stuck, trying to cut down over and over. 

I wish I’d known back then that I wasn’t alone at all. Perhaps you need to know that too? So that’s what today’s video is all about.

Key points

I suspect you’re nothing like the clichéd stereotype of a problem drinker. You have a job, responsibilities and deadlines that you meet. Everyone you care for is well looked after. To the outside world you, your house, your life – it all looks pretty great.

When you’ve got a killer hangover on a Tuesday morning, after drinking too much at home the night before, you can’t tell anyone about it. No one likes to admit that Saturday was a write-off because they drank until they fell asleep and felt so ill afterwards.

Because we don’t talk about this kind of behind-closed-doors, secret drinking, your brain will pay close attention to other people’s drinking whenever you see it. Your brain is going to make up stories about other people and how normal they are – and you aren’t.

Christmas party season is a prime time for this to happen. It might seem as if you’re getting some insights into how other people use alcohol… but you really aren’t! You’re only seeing the tip of the iceberg.

I’ve worked with lots of women who can moderate in public if they know they’re going home to drink more later. Women who leave parties early to make sure they can stop by the shops on their way home. Other people would be stunned to know how much they drink. I’ve also had clients who rarely ever drink in public, but feel out of control at home, alone.

Right now, a big part of your shame about your drinking comes from thinking that you’re different to everyone else – that you’re broken or not normal. That shame will keep you stuck, trying the same thing over and over (i.e. trying to cut down instead of quit) and wondering why it doesn’t work.

What I’m trying to show you is that you have no idea how other people really drink. But I do. I’ve worked with so many smart, driven women who feel the same way as you. You’re having a very normal, understandable experience with an addictive drug that’s romanticised, glamorised and presented as the solution to all your problems.

Looking to create an alcohol-free life you love? Click here to learn 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. 


32 Responses

  1. Oh Kate – you have so summed me up. I am a completely secret drinker – I usually start in the middle of the afternoon and cook dinner in a.haze of alcohol but then drink nothing but soft drinks! Weird or what! My husband nor anyone else ever sees the daily empty wine bottle.

    1. Yesterday, I got so drunk at home that I fell into my bedside table bruised my leg badly and my face. I’m so scared that I won’t be able to be alcohol free but it’s what I really want, it’s destroyed my life for far too long

      1. Hi Jules, please look after yourself. Join me on the Masterclass as planned and I can help you see a way forward from this.

  2. I want you to know that I first discovered you after googling “am I an alcoholic” “do I drink too much”
    Etc etc back in feb 2021 – then I eventually picked up the courage to start your course and Monday 4th July 2021 was my first alcohol free day in (I actually don’t know how many years , a lot!!) and now I’m sitting here listening to you (I still like to hear you – you’re so gentle and understanding – I never felt like I was being judged) and I’ve never gone back – your programme really works (obviously you’ve got to want too) but you are brilliant – you probably won’t remember me as I could never face putting my camera on in the zoom meetings and only ever posted a comment once! I just wanted to say a huge thank you to you Kate , and also to let people know that the flavoured tonics are even better without the gin – and so cheap too!! It really is all about the glass , so if I’m out I order a flavour tonic in a gin glass with ice and a straw £2 max and I save on taxi fares too !! Along with all the other major benefits xx to those of you wondering if you can do this , you so can xx by the way , I was so ashamed I even used my name to register (and she doesn’t drink!!)

    1. This video is me. I would rather drink on my own than embarrass myself in front of my friends. Once I have one drink I am in a war in my head because I am trying to control my cravings to have another and another and another!

    2. It’s so lovely to hear you are going strong and enjoying alcohol-free living and all its’ benefits. No more shame now Charlotte, only pride in your achievement 🙂

    3. Completely get what you are saying – I changed to the Trip drinks about 200 days ago and now use them as my special drink and actually the family are pinching them ! Have a good Christmas x

  3. I find that I definitely now drink differently when in company. It depends on who I’m with. If they are close family not living with me’ I am careful not to appear to be drinking very much at all. Only my husband knows my reality behind closed doors. Only very close friends might occasionally get a glimpse of my reality. However, I am keen to stop drinking as I just want to enjoy life with everyone I spend time with without thinking about alcohol or craving it. I also want to get healthier. Thank you for your words. They do help and I am now on a reduction programme.

    1. Many women hide their drinking well, so may feel shame too when deceit is added into the mix. Stopping drinking doesn’t have to be tough. I can show you how to quit without feeling miserable. And yes, you can get sober without going to meetings, labelling yourself or being in permanent ‘recovery’. Have a listen to some of my previous students testimonies who were all in the same boat to start with: https://thesoberschool.com/success-stories/

  4. I drink because I don’t like myself. At 62 I am not financially successful. Most people my age are looking forward to retirement, traveling and are already enjoying their
    successes now. I feel like it’s too late for me. I don’t fit in anywhere. I drink alone and avoid social gatherings. I have 3 beautiful, successful daughters, who are saddened by my frugal life….

    1. Putting down the glass is just the first step of my programme. I also guide you on a path of self care, self respect, understanding the reasons why you drink and creating a life you don’t need to numb out from. Drinking regularly is an expensive habit, but investing in help to quit in the short term makes good financial sense. Join my January class and I’ll show you how: https://thesoberschool.com/course/

    2. Diane, I am 62. There are many things I don’t like about myself. I am not financially successful but I am looking forward to retirement. I drank alone, was rarely invited to social gatherings and have no children. With Kate’s help I have been without alcohol for over 980 days. No more pitiful nights passed out on the couch, no more debating which store to stop at every night to do the rotation. I have more days behind me than in front of me but at least I know that I’ll be my best for the ones remaining.
      It is better on this side of the pool.
      Why not give it a try at least for 90 days? You have nothing to lose.

  5. I am so so grateful to not be drinking at all, and feel wonderful, not to be sneaking around buying booze, hiding it drinking alone. It is so freeing . I feel so much better and healthier and stronger and I remember everything. It’s wonderful!

    1. Good for you Robin ❤️ Breaking free from the alcohol trap is empowering. The benefits keep on coming so enjoy an alcohol-free festive season by making crystal clear memories with your nearest and dearest!

  6. Kate, it’s like you are speaking just to me but I know we are all in this together. I joined your 2021 class and kept sober for quite a while. The Advent Series and your videos like this have been a lifesaver. Thank you so much. And this is so true. Am so grateful for your help for so many of us.

  7. Hi Kate
    I guess I didn’t really hide my drinking and thats why I always ended up binging and very badly I might add. I went cold turkey 48 days ago and it has been a struggle. I wish i can learn to limit myself but feel once a Binger always a binger.
    Thanks for the video

    1. Stopping drinking doesn’t have to be tough, it’s all about what you think you might be missing out on (spoiler alert, you’re missing nothing by the way!) Oh hang on, yes you’d be missing the hangovers, the headache, the lethargy, the upset stomach, the anxiety, regret, shame, missed conversations, a good nights’ sleep etc. If you’re feeling tempted to break your sober streak, pop in some headphones and listen to my pep talk, because 48 days is an awesome achievement and you don’t want to go back to day one again: https://thesoberschool.com/pep-talk

  8. I never used to hide my drinking, until this year when I started to feel ashamed of how much I was drinking in public (mostly family gatherings). I have tried to quit without success and have tried moderation with some success but I am ready to be done for real. I am looking forward to joining your next class!

    1. I look forward to guiding you to an alcohol-free lifestyle that you’ll absolutely love Tami! Sobriety delivers everything alcohol promised… and more 🙂

  9. Wow! I’ve been AF for over two years now and this has brought back some memories, which is a good thing at this time of year. I definitely preferred to drink at home where I could drink as much as I wanted without anyone knowing. What a sad way to live. So glad I’m free now! Thank you Kate x

    1. Congratulations Natasha, 2 years is brilliant! The freedom that comes with not drinking cannot be overstated in my opinion. I’m incredibly passionate about showing women how to achieve the joy and peace that comes from alcohol-free living, because it is TRUE freedom for the mind, body and soul. ❤️

  10. Oh my, this one really hit home for me. I’m the one that works hard at fooling everyone about how much I drink. If we go to a dinner party, I will booze it up BEFORE we go, in other words I already have a buzz on before we get there so I can be satisfied with just 2 glasses of wine in front of everyone. Then even after that I’ll go home and have a little more. And of course the next day I feel like crap, accomplish nothing, berate myself, promise myself that this is it. But by 6 pm feeling a bit better and give in once more. I know this cycle of drinking and I actually seriously faced it earlier this year and stopped for about 5 months. I felt so good, I looked so much better where people even commented that I did. I lost 26 pounds fitting into clothes I hadn’t worn in years, was walking about 2 miles a day, really spending time on creating nutritious meals and keeping my home organized. I can’t tell you exactly how it happened but I fell right back into the “I’ll just drink in moderation” trap and quickly found myself consuming daily large amounts again. Gained back 6 pounds, constantly hungover, quit walking and my home is a disaster. So, I am on day 2 of being AF right now. I just keep reminding myself of how good I felt, how much better I looked, and yes, how proud I felt. I never drank alcohol until I was in my mid forties, but now at 67 my body is screaming at me to stop.
    Thank you Kate, for all that you give, for motivating/showing someone like me that being AF is obtainable.

    Merry Christmas

    1. Hi Dee, keep going! The early days are some of the hardest, but if you stick with this you will get to the good bit again. It can be a lonely journey when you’re doing this on your own. If you need any more support, my online coaching programme would be a great fit for you. Here are some more details: https://thesoberschool.com/course/

  11. Hi Kate, sadly, I am still drinking a bottle of wine every night and sometimes 2. I hate myself for doing it, and in the morning l beat myself up and say I’m not having any tonight but after my 12 hour shifts at work or not I somehow manage to talk myself back into going to the shop for my bottle of wine. It’s a viscous mental circle that I want to be free from, but I say to myself, what will I do each night without my bottle of wine

  12. Even though you think you hide drinking well there is always someone who knows. I thought I hid it well but now I’m AF I realise people knew but just didn’t say anything.
    Only my children have confirmed this and we still haven’t had a discussion about it at length, they don’t know I’ve joined this site.
    I’m unsure whether I will talk to them about my sobriety because this is my journey as was alcohol my private he’ll.
    On a positive note I had my first full nights sleep alcohol free last night and I feel Great.
    Looking forward to waking up tomorrow without a hangover.

    1. Personal choice really and the quality is improving all the time as demand grows. I’d recommend trying a few to find the taste or sweetness that you prefer.

      I was very relieved to discover the world of alcohol-free cocktails and proper, grown-up soft drinks. They made all the difference to me, for a few reasons. Early on, I realised that one of the things I loved about drinking was the ritual of it. Choosing the bottle of wine, pulling out the cork, finding my favourite glass… it was all part of the build up. Fixing myself a drink used to feel like a reward – it marked the end of the working day and the start of my “me time”.

      One of the things I’ve learnt in sobriety is that I still need that sense of something special. There has to be a bit of luxury and a bit of fanciness. It needs to feel like a treat. Sobriety should not mean “making do” with kids’ drinks or tap water. What drinks do you like?

      1. I drink 2 gallons of herbal tea during the day.dont drink coffee. Drink sparkling water and some diet cokes, but have really cut down. Now down to 2 glasses of wine a night, hate beer or other liquors, although I tried alcohol free beer and it tasted good. I.like wine dry dry dry. And all the alcohol free taste like juice boxes.
        Still.trying have “the taste” without the other problems. Lost over 100.pounds years ago, which keeps me attentive to wine consumed, but I can easy be talked into a third glass.

        1. It can be hard to know what we truly want until we take action and start experimenting. It really comes down to how alcohol is making you feel. For some people that might be one glass a night or for others, it might be one bottle. That’s why I recommend taking a complete break from booze for six weeks, so you can test drive sobriety properly. (If you only ever quit for a few days at a time, you never get to the good bit of alcohol free living)!

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