Kate's Blog

Drinking Through A Crisis: Does It Really Help?

“It may take a village to raise a child but it’s going to take a vineyard to homeschool this kid!” 

I’ve seen so many posts like this on social media recently (and I bet you have too!)
We’re all looking for ways to cope right now, so it’s not surprising that many people are drinking more. We tend to turn to alcohol in a crisis.
But – and you knew there was a ‘but’ coming – when so many people are drinking more in order to deal with this crisis, it’s easy to overlook an obvious question:
Does alcohol really help us cope?

Key points:


If you’re drinking more right now, you’re not alone. 

In the UK, alcohol sales in supermarkets and corner shops were up by 22% in March. According to a study by Alcohol Change UK, one in five people say they’re drinking more during this global crisis. 
On social media, I’d guess that memes, jokes and posts about booze have increased by about 100%. Whatever the number, it feels like a big increase. And how it feels is important. It’s easy to think, “Well if everyone is drinking, it must be a good idea?”

What is coping, really?

Coping is about managing your emotions successfully – i.e. in a way that doesn’t add further stress to your life. Alcohol does not do that. 
Within a few hours, drinking will make you feel worse. A hangover makes everything from homeschooling to looking after your health much harder. 
Plus, the morning after hangxiety will make you even more stressed out, so you crave another drink even more. It’s a vicious cycle. 

Assessing alcohol properly

Many people fixate on how alcohol makes them feel during the first 30 – 60 mins. But this is like reviewing a movie based on the first scene alone. 
When judging alcohol as a coping mechanism, you’ve got to look at the whole picture. So that means accounting for how well you cope the next day, when you’re hungover after drinking. 
How is alcohol helping you cope when you wake up at 4am, unable to sleep? How is it helping you cope when you feel tired, irritable and anxious the next day?

Choose a different belief 

If you’ve read this far, then it’s highly likely that the “alcohol helps me cope” story isn’t working for you. The good news? You can choose a different story. 
I know you can do this because you’re a strong person. (It’s a total myth that drinkers are weak. You have to be strong in order to drink, deal with all the side effects and still keep the show on the road.)
What if you believed that being alcohol-free was essential for coping with this crisis? What if your story was, “this is a great time to be hangover-free.” Or “lockdown is an opportunity to quietly take a break from booze.”
What if you just experimented with that idea? 

More help and support

This blog has more tips on coping with stress, sober. This one is all about challenging your beliefs about booze. And here’s some more information about my online course, which will help you change your relationship with alcohol for good.


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. 


44 responses

  1. Thank you, this makes so much sense. I have been telling myself that I deserve a drink, that alcohol helps me cope with this chaos. It’s a pattern I’ve been in without even thinking about it. I am not drinking tonight.

    1. Lilian
      Me too. I am not drinking with you tonight and tomorrow we will both feel better for it.

      1. Thanks Kate, this message couldn’t have come at a better time! I have several special occasions coming up over the next couple of weeks (wedding anniversary and my
        Birthday), Saturday it will be 12 weeks since I last touched alcohol but with the way things are at the moment plus the above I have been toying with the idea of whether to ‘treat’ myself to a bottle of wine to celebrate however after listening to your message, it has given me the strength to make the decision that I am not going to give in as I know that once I have that first glass of wine, it’s a long slippery road! This will be the first birthday in as long as I can remember that I won’t be drinking or getting drunk but I’m feeling positive that I can still enjoy my day without the need for alcohol!

      2. I tell myself everynight i will not have a drink. An every night i find myself having one, maybe 3 or 4. Nonight i will not have a drink. Im rewriting my story. Xx

    2. This really makes so much sense especially the part about fixating on how you feel in the first 30-60 mins of drinking! After that I’m regretful and anxious and these feelings follow me into the next day. SO not worth it!!
      I’m not drinking tonight. However, i am feeling anxious and disengaged from the household. I think a good nights sleep and waking up having achieved my first night will give me a boost!

    3. Thank you! Your words are very wise. Not ready today…..but maybe tomorrow your are moving me on the readiness scale.

  2. Hi Kate
    Inspirational as always
    Prior to the pandemic I was bouncing back and forth between “Moderation” and sobriety. I realized I don’t really moderate.
    Then the Corona virus hit and I tested positive and went through 4 weeks of hell.
    On the plus side, I stopped drinking and haven’t gone back. I thought I would resume my old pattens but I have remained sober and feel so much better. And you’re right; hangovers don’t help recovery or clear thinking during a crisis.
    I thank you for always being there and encouraging us.

    1. I’m sorry to hear you’ve not been well Stevie, it sounds like you had a bad time of it. However, that’s great news about you stopping drinking – keep going!

      1. I’ve been playing this drink no don’t drink game for way too long. It’s so much work. So today I’m not going to overthink it and not drink. I’m glad I found this site with such inspirational blogs

  3. I’ve always had a sport, luckily I can still scull, which is a great workout and therapeutic.
    I can adjust to situations fairly well. Perhaps it’s because I’ve moved a lot, I’ve never felt “ home”, living in the States. I’ve always felt in limbo, so this situation is, to me, another limbo.
    As for the wine, I do love red and Prosecco. I also make sure I have herbal tea in the evening which really helps, instead of loading on wine.
    I have an angel on my shoulder in the mornings and the devil hops up later on!
    I ain’t no angel by any stretch, but at 56 I don’t bounce back so much the next day!

    1. I like your comment about Angel in the morning and Devil at night. I go from 1 glass at night to maybe 2 or 3 at the most then I go for a few days with out. But getting back to the original “Wine O’Clock” scenario, once I get past that time (about 6ish), I have no notion so still not going completely sober but drinking has been cut right back. I have my green tea and enjoy that with a small chocolate bar at night instead of wine and crisps. Also keeping my calories under control in this difficult time. I love reading all these comments it’s so inspiring and very very helpful. I pray a lot and asked Jesus not to let me reach for the wine last night and I didn’t so happy about that. Hoping to go further though and stop drinking altogether at some point, but not quite there yet. Thank you Kate for all your wise words and encouragement. you are absolutely spot on with everything.

  4. Hi Kate, as usual, I love your blogs, posts! I am on day 97 here alcohol free after doing your Unstuck Course in January! I am thinking exactly the very same as in this pandemic is the perfect time for my sobriety! I literally cannot go anywhere so the pressure is off and no one can come to my house either! I still do think about a drink of wine here and there but I play it forward and so far that is working! I also read my quit lit and listen to my podcasts and they inspire me! Thanks so much, Kate! I needed to hear this today too!

    1. Congratulations on your 97 days Mitzi! I’m delighted to hear you’re doing so well, that’s fantastic. There’s never been a better time to be AF, in my opinion 🙂 Stay healthy!

  5. Kate, being in your Pandemic group has been one of the very best things I have ever done. I have never thought about how alcohol affects me over 24 hours rather than the immediate gratification. This course is making me feel glad to be alive. I love getting up in the morning, and liking that person I see in the mirror.
    Thank you so very much Kate and all my courageous pandemic cohorts. Isn’t life grand!

    1. Thank you Pamela – it’s a pleasure having you in the class, and seeing you go from strength to strength 🙂

  6. Well said. Interesting way to look at it. 24 hours after the first drink really made me think. Thank you

  7. I am thankful the course started in the midst of this terrible virus. I have talked with so many friends, moms, etc. who are having their wine delivered to their homes. Some have started taking anti-depressants, and anti-anxiety pills. Most have young children at home. This time at home has given me a lot of time to reflect on so many things especially what I can do to stay mentally and physically healthy. It is nice not spending so much money on wine and not waking up with my heart pounding, dehydrated, and anxiety attack. Thank you for your support, I love watching your videos.

    1. Kudos to you for joining the course at this crazy time! It would have been easy to put it off until later in the year…. But I think this really is the perfect moment to be AF, on so many different levels. And it sounds as if sobriety suits you!

  8. Yes, Corona make my husband and me to drink more and more and more. We support each other and we are soon a sinking ship.

  9. I’m planning to remember the “time of COVID19” as my springboard for my sobriety! The other night, I got into a little argument with my spouse which tripped my trigger. For the first time ever, I didn’t reach for a drink, but was able to slow down and really feel how I was feeling and to respond more calmly and sanely with my spouse…Thanks to being in your course for the past three weeks! It has been so helpful and I’m more confident than ever, that being tied to alcohol is a passing thing for me!! Thank YOU!

    1. Well done – you responded brilliantly in a triggering situation! It’s going to be very cool to look back and know that you achieved something truly incredible during the craziest and strangest of times. Congratulations on your sobriety Kathleen 🙂

  10. I’m part of the Pandemic Unstuck class.
    Couldn’t be happier to quit drinking now, for all the reasons Kate mentioned.
    I honestly haven’t felt better, and have not been craving booze. The techniques in the course give me the tools to navigate this in a whole different way.
    I have discovered, however, what a vicious cycle alcohol is.

  11. I have never been more grateful to Kate and the Sober School. I am so thankful to be alcohol free during this strange time. I feel calm and strong and able to cope. I’ve been sober since October 2018 when I took Kate’s course. I won’t lie. It was hard at first but I agree with Kate that it will probably be easier now when the temptation to drink out at parties and dinners is removed. You will have those sober firsts eventually, a wedding for example, but you will have more confidence in navigating those if you start on your sober journey now in lockdown. If I can do it anyone can. I never thought I could but I did and I’m so thankful for it.

    1. Great post! It sounds like you’re in a really good place right now Katie… feeling strong and able to cope is just what’s needed during these strange times. It’s lovely to hear from you – and congratulations on your sobriety!

  12. I’ve gone backwards and am drinking more. I feel ashamed. I’ve downloaded the wine o’clock survival guide.

    1. Please don’t feel ashamed. I hope the wine o’clock survival guide helps – there are some tips in there to keep you on track tonight. If you’re looking for long term support to change your drinking, please take a look at my online programme – that’s the best way for us to work together: https://thesoberschool.com/course/

  13. Still going strong after doing Kate’s course I’m January. This is the first time in my life that I haven’t drank my way through a stressful situation! It feels great.

  14. I had been alcohol free for 14 months prior to lockdown. I was very proud of that fact and I felt brilliant. I had so many reasons not to drink and those reasons still exist. However, the alcohol has started to creep back into my life. It slipped in with me barely registering it. That is what I find so worrying. Why has it been so easy at this time to start drinking, albeit extremely moderately. It makes me feel so crap but my resolve has almost disappeared and I’m very disappointed with myself. On the other hand, all my drinking friends and family think it’s funny and they are quite content that I’m back on their terms.

    1. It’s not easy when other people are encouraging you to drink – but you have to do what’s right by you. And it sounds as if you know alcohol is not working for you at the moment. It would be worth looking at the benefits you feel you get from drinking – there must be someone, in order to pull you back. If you need any support doing that work, please do take a look at my course: https://thesoberschool.com/course/

  15. Thanks Kate. This is a great reminder as to why not to drink. I have remained AF since taking your course 10/19, and lost weight even though my sugar intake has increased during this shut down. I continue to read ‘quit lit’ to stay on top of why I quit. I am so glad that I found you, and my husband is beyond thrilled to have me back in the evenings.

    1. Awww – I love what you shared here about your husband being thrilled to have you back in the evenings. That’s wonderful. Congratulations on your sobriety Millie, I’m delighted to hear how you’re getting on ❤️

  16. If you have even a small nagging thought that you are drinking too much I would encourage you to do Kate’s course. I wish I’d done it sooner than waiting for COVID to provide the opportunity. The environment is so supportive and Kate provides the tools you need to take a break. It’s not easy but nowhere near as hard as I feared and the benefits are HUGE!

  17. Hi Kate
    On September 15, 2019 I decided to try the 100 day challenge – it would end on Christmas Eve and I could have a drink then if I wanted to. I’m happy to say I didn’t and I just realized that as of today, I am at day 227. The first 100 days required more effort and but the next 127 days flew by – it’s become a way of life for me. Even with the current health crisis and all of the stresses that go with it, I have remained AF. I don’t think this would have happened if I hadn’t found your site. Thank you so much! PS I’ve lost 10 lbs, and am sleeping so much better!

  18. What a great message that extends beyond alcohol. This so directly relates to food too! Thank you for this Kate! 🙂

    1. No problem Lisa! I’m pleased to hear this resonates – and yes, the same principle definitely applies to food too 🙂

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