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.

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