Kate's Blog

How I Knew It Was Time To Quit Drinking

How do you know when it’s time to quit drinking or take a break from booze? It can be tough to tell.

We tend to view drinking as a black and white issue; you’re either a ‘normal drinker’ or an alcoholic.

In fact, many people are somewhere in the middle – in the grey zone. Life might look fine on the outside… but alcohol is still causing misery inside.

When you’re in the grey zone, the chances are there won’t be a dramatic wake up call or a major crisis that prompts you to stop.

It will probably be subtler than that.

I asked some of the women I’ve worked with to share how they knew it was time to quit:

Jo: “I tried to give up alcohol for Lent and lasted less than 24 hours. My daughter was pregnant with our first grandchild and I got drunk at her baby shower. I knew I needed to get sober for her. 710 days later, I am a sober grandmother for both of my grandchildren. Best decision ever.”

Cindy: “I decided to stop when I realized I was the only person still at the party. I was always the only person most drunk. I hated myself after every event. My family was concerned about me.”

Emily: “I saw an advert for a fun event in the park and my first thought was “Oh, too bad I can’t go to that, there won’t be any alcohol there.” That was the moment that I realized that I was so reliant on alcohol. I didn’t want to live my life like that.”

Heather: “In the last months of drinking my cleaner found a glass of wine hidden in the utility room. A friend borrowed a coat and found a glass in the pocket… I knew I was on the verge of losing my credibility and becoming known as someone with a drink problem.”

Jackie: “I came home from work, didn’t change my clothes or feed the dog… I went straight to the wine bottle, poured a large glass and started drinking just standing, looking at the cabinets. I knew right then I was in trouble.”

Ann: “I knew deep down that drinking was making everything worse. I had started to have suicidal thoughts every time I drank.”

Dana: “I had lost all interest in anything but drinking and did not like to be with anyone who didn’t drink.”

Kristen: “For years I tried repeatedly to moderate my drinking and failed every time. When my grandson was born with serious health issues, I knew I had to quit drinking completely in order to help care for him. I wanted to be fully present and available every hour of every day for him and his parents. Sobriety was intended to help my family — but it became the best gift I have ever given myself.”

Paula: “On Christmas day I drank wine for most of the day and it made me so sad and tired. I think this was truly the day I knew I would do everything this time to go AF for good. What was the point now that it provided no fun, just pain?”

Katie: “I realised I was likely halfway through my life, based on an average age expectancy of 81 for women in the UK. I had been suffering anxiety and depression on and off with extreme overwhelm and alcohol wasn’t helping any of that, it was making it worse.”

Amy: “I fell flat on my face the August before I took your October 2019 class while entertaining guests at our house. We had a BBQ outside and I tripped over. I cut my lip and the area between my eyes – no stitches needed but I was mortified and it looked bad for days.”

Suzanne: “I didn’t have a particular incident, just a constant niggling guilty feeling that I was plotting excuses to drink more and more. I was concerned about my health too and I was becoming very argumentative when I’d had a few glasses of wine.”

Melissa: “It was the exhaustion that finally set me free. I was tired of worrying about my drinking, of figuring out the logistics of when, where, what and how much to drink. I was tired of waking up dehydrated and feeling useless the next day.”

Victoria: “While researching a place to retire, I visited a golf community. I asked myself: Do you want to be the lady on the happy hour bar stool? Or the lady on the bicycle and golf course? Day 486.”

Suzy: “807 days ago I was taking my 20th or so break from drinking. Sometimes with the intent to quit, and other times with the intent to just take a break. Only this time I did things differently. I found your course and it was just what I needed to make it stick.”

For help and support to 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. 


18 Responses

  1. I think my moment was mothers day last year. My children gave me wine themed gifts, including a big wine glass with my name on it. I laughed and smiled, but inside I was upset that they associated me with that. I joined your course not long after and I am (nearly!) one year alcohol free. Yesterday my children gave me flowers and a candle for mothers day. It was perfect.

    1. Wow – what a difference a year makes! I’m so pleased to hear you had a much better mothers day yesterday. Congratulations on your sobriety Sally ❤️

  2. Alcohol for me was a chosen strategy to function well despite all adversity (Long office hours, perfectionism, toxic bosses etc.)
    When I ended up in a nervous break down I saw that the world was still spinning and that I was still breathing eventhough I was no longer functioning any more. As a result I stepped up for the life and job that truly made me happy. So I quit alcohol when I stopped functioning and started to be happy instead. Best think I ever did. Day 102 today ☀️

  3. My decision was made much like Suzanne’s story. A lot of small things finally added up. I had realized it was taking my body longer to process the alcohol, often waking up still feeling tipsy; I had fibbed once again at my routine medical checkup and certainly never entertained the idea of admitting that to her; and knew I was too frequently having one or a few more large glasses of wine than I intended; my emotional affect was flatlined and my eyes were dull. Not long after that doctor appointment I came down with a major cold and didn’t drink because of the medication I was taking, then realized that was a good way to just stop. My spouse never was a drinker, at all, so it was easy to ditch the booze still in the house. Just about 2 months in now; first 2 changes have been brighter eyes and spontaneous giggles with the grandkids.

  4. Let’s say I had 50 drinking days last year, that’s about accurate.
    40 of those, I drank a few drinks (3-6) and stopped. Bit of a sore head but hey, worth it right!
    Maybe 7 of those drinking days I went too far. My off switch is pretty unreliable and so I would just drink until I couldn’t any more. I betrayed confidences, interrupted people, would think I was being funny but was actually just being rude.. Don’t worry I would tell myself! We all need to let off steam sometimes. Everyone does – right? Anxiety and shame would follow me around and haunt me afterwards. Cringe after cringe as I hated myself for acting like an idiot. For being this person I wasn’t.
    For the final 3. Well even I knew not everyone did those. So epic blackouts, arguments with strangers, falling over, not knowing how I got home, breaking my toe, crying – just utterly out of my mind.
    I stopped drinking after one final session on 3rd january this year. This time after 20 years of friendship I managed to have a first row – which I caused – with my best friend. She forgave me, but I wanted to make a change.
    What I didn’t anticipate was that a general fog of anxiety would lift. That wine and lager that sit in my fridge no longer looked like friends and good times but shame and fear. I’ve celebrated that same friend’s 40th, Sober. And had a brilliant perfect day. It turns out my friends don’t do any of what I did (falling over, being rude) that was just a lie I told myself. The truth too unpalatable.
    In these dark times it would be so easy to drink again. I feel a sort of longing to blur the edges. But I’m scared too, for the anxiety and overwhelm of the hangover. For the times ahead I need my brain to work properly to help my kids through this. So far, I haven’t had a drink. I hope I don’t.

  5. My reason in some way or other is similar to all the reasons listed—-I just knew alcohol was making me miserable and I didn’t need or want it in my life. I’m close to 80 days AF and during this time of Coronavirus I’m so grateful I’m not drinking. Thank you so much for all the help and encouragement you provide for women to live a life free from alcohol.

  6. Hello, finding myself going for a glass (or 2) of wine every night, now that I am home all day because of the virus. After 10 days of this, I know that I am using the alcohol to cover up or numb my feelings…but finding it so hard to stop…did not have dinner tonight so that I did not have to deal with sitting there with no wine to drink….praying I make it through…

    1. Bath, I feel your pain.. I had to hit rock bottom to stop and it’s only been 5 days. This morning I woke up and said “One shot of vodka won’t hurt” instead I hugged my dog and waited three minutes for that time to pass. I also reminded myself how good I’ve been feeling and how proud I am. I was having blackouts brain fog, not remembering things, starting awful fights with my husband and he left me two weeks ago, we plan to work on us but there’s no way in hell it will work if I continue to drink. “I will lose my husband if I continue to drink “ is my mantra I play in my head all day long. Don’t get to point of rock bottom I did, alcohol is evil it’s poison and it WILL destroy your life. You made a big step being honest on here, Kate’s videos and daily affirmations really help me off the ledge. Hang in there, you got this!

  7. Last night I intended to drink one small box of Pinot Grigio of the 3 I bought. I drank all 3. This morning my husband told me I need to stop because I can’t control my actions or words when I drink and using the excuse that wine helps me sleep is an excuse and scares him because he says I stop breathing and then inhale deeply.
    This has to be my first day without wine. I have put off getting help with this site and no more. I’m starting today. My second grandchild will be born in May and I want to be alive to meet her. Thank you Kate.

  8. Stopped 10 days ago after a blackout yet again. Thankfully my sweet man took care of me. I felt so guilty and finally realized I needed to stop! I’m tired of hiding it and sneaking it. I was so proud I never drank until 6p.m. What a joke I played on myself. I pounded down over a bottle of wine a day. So far it’s o.k. I reach for my glass but now it’s filled with water.

  9. I always have thought i “don’t have a problem drinking” since I’m not an every day drinker. I do drink Friday-Sunday though. And every single weekend it’s excessive drinking and i’m unpredictable with my actions. I got so drunk off rum this past Saturday that I caused a huge fight with my fiance’ and embarassed myself. There has been several incidents where i cause a huge fight with him and he’s the love of my life. Then i wake up the next day and think to myself, “why did i act like that? why did i get so mad?” I’m done living like that! For him and for myself. I finally realize that alcohol is a problem in my life and this website was a lifesaver for me today. Thank God for these blog posts and all these women’s comments and stories i can relate to! I’m taking the steps this week and not going to get my usual Friday bottle of champagne. I know Saturday will be a little tough because it’s Summer and that’s the day i drink the most. But after last weekend, i have all the motivation I need. I know i can get through it because as long as i get through 2-8pm Saturday after that i will be totally okay. Here is to a new desire to grow in life! Thank you to all the ladies who have posted and the woman runnign this blog post. I really appreciate it.

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