Kate's Blog

How Much You Drink Doesn’t Matter – Here’s Why

I get a lot of emails from people who want to know if they’re drinking too much.

They’re counting units and adding up glasses…

They’re worried but also confused (doesn’t everyone drink more than you should?)

So exactly how much is too much? Well, I think it doesn’t really matter.

There’s something else that’s actually much more important… and I explain all about it in this week’s video.

Key points

A false sense of security

When you’re laser-focused on quantities, you can always find someone else who’s drinking more than you. It’s easy to find books or blogs about heavy drinkers and convince yourself that you aren’t ‘that bad’.

How much you drink might vary a lot

The chances are that your drinking changes day by day. Sometimes you might have a lot and feel ok; other times you might have less, but still wake up with regrets. How do you decide what an ‘average’ night is?

Sobriety isn’t a last resort

By focusing on how much you drink, the implication is that sobriety is only necessary for people who are ‘bad enough’ or have crossed a certain line. That’s not the case. You don’t need to be anywhere near rock bottom in order to decide that you’re going to change.

Focus on how you feel instead

Keep a diary, so you have a record of your mood and general wellbeing when you’re drinking. Look for patterns. This is the information that will tell you whether or not alcohol deserves a place in your one and only life.

Looking for help and support to create an alcohol-free life you love? Click here for more details about my online coaching programme.

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. 


53 Responses

  1. This is absolutely right! I do that. I look to see if I am ok compared to others. I know I need to stop drinking. This is very good advice and motivation. Thank you

      1. Kate I want to say how much I think of you. You are so encouraging and your way of teaching is great. You are helping me learn not to hate myself and to try to live life with out needing alcohol.
        Blessings to you

        1. I used to to that too!
          Keep an eye on every one else’s drinking and would wish that they drank faster.

    1. I have been receiving these emails since last year and everything you say makes complete sense.
      I only now have had the courage to say enough is enough and totally intend to stick to this.
      Thank you at this scary time.

      1. Well done Kathryn, that sounds like a brave first step. I recommend taking a break from drinking as it’s less overwhelming than trying to quit ‘forever’. If you need any help and support to make sobriety stick, my online coaching programme will walk you through the early weeks of alcohol free living. You can find out more details here: https://thesoberschool.com/course/

    2. That’s really given me food for thought! I compare myself to my Mum, she was alcohol dependent, alcohol got in the way of our relationship, gone 18 years , I miss her, and here I am now , doing the same! Only I compare , saying I’m not drinking as much a Mum did. But , in truth , I am!

  2. Hi Kate,
    This definitely resonates with me. In fact I’ve been keeping a diary for sone time and because of the insight I gained from writing it I have been sober for 28 days and will carry on being sober.
    Thank you for the video

    1. Right as always Kate. If I used comparing myself to others as my standard, I wouldn’t be 380+ days sober. It needed to be about how I felt and not waiting for my rock bottom, or for me to get bad enough to write a memoir.

  3. Kate has nailed it on the head once again. Watching other people who drank more than I did used to make me think I “wasn’t that bad”. Lesson learned- measure yourself with your own measuring stick. I knew I wasn’t feeling right, which was why I was questioning myself. Second lesson, taking a successful break doesn’t mean that it’s possible to resume drinking and have it under control. Breaks gave me a false sense of control. Approaching 2 1/2 years alcohol free- it’s so clear to me now! Thanks Kate!!

    1. Hi Kate. I was that girl. always counting. when i took your course i realized I was not drinking anywhere the amount of my classmates. I almost quit because I thought I was over reacting to myself.
      But I stuck with the course and it was what i actually needed. just taking the course made me fell good and in control. IYou said once… if you are thinking about quitting drinking, theres probably a reason. Sometimes in a social setting I want a drink. Then I ask myself how Ill feel and the I just grab water. I feel better when Im in control of what I ingest. Its been 8 months now and when people ask why Im not drinking with them, I just say alcohol never did me any favors. and people get exactly what I mean. They get that look of guilt. I dont judge them tho. I like the upgrade to my life. Ive saved money, calories, sleepless nights and bad decisions. Now I have no decisions. Happy Me. I still enjoy your talks.

      1. Great to read that you still are on track, Dulce, and that you feel so well. I was in the October 21 class too and love my upgrade of life.

  4. I’ve just turned 50 and still treating alcohol like it’s my best friend, it’s not and it isn’t even a good friend! I am changing my mind and this video is a real help in supporting my thoughts and confirming my decision making

    1. Going alcohol free would be a brilliant birthday present to yourself! Alcohol is definitely not your best friend Clare.

    2. Well Kate
      This may sound really mushy but I think you’re great inside and out I look for you every day it just helps to hear your voice and to see you because what you have done has help so much I’m not sober yet but the difference is amazing to what I was I don’t feel a failure anymore like you say baby steps hopefully I’ll be on your course when it starts up again as couldn’t this time.
      Very grateful Athené xx

  5. This is everything I compare myself to people who are worse than me I’m just unhappy inside me and can’t continue to think rock bottom will be my clue to quit I’m just not happy with my daily drinking and it’s making me feel ill all day and I’m constantly thinking about drinking and I’m tired I’m ready for July class!!

  6. Thanks for that Kate. I’m nearly 3 months af and am finding it surprisingly easy going, which l like to think is proof my body is a lot happier without alcohol. The other day the bar lady asked me how much was I drinking to make me need to stop. I said I didn’t Need to stop I just got fed up feeling rubbish after drinking alcohol. I wish I had heard and repeated your analogy about being gluten intolerant and eating a bread roll. Brilliant! And yes I was in our local… drinking a tonic and lemon.

    1. Well you can save that smart answer for next time! It is frustrating when people leap to conclusions. Congratulations on your upcoming 3 months Sue!

  7. Thank you, I drink a bottle and usually a half every night. I can’t remember anything after the 1st bottle. I want to quit. I had never had a drink of alcohol till I was 50. I come from a long line of alcoholics.
    I am 71 now and it just seems to get worse. I have never drank anything but wine. My friends all drink wine and don’t seem to have a problem. I don’t know if I can quit, but I would like to.
    I will begin to journal each day as you have suggested.

    1. Hi Deana, it’s great that you’re going to start journalling. Keep a record of this and see where you are with it after a month or two. My next stop drinking course starts in July, so this would be great prep work to do over the coming months 🙂

  8. Interesting.
    I know I am drinking way over recommended limits yet I find it hard to stop. I have actually cut down quite a bit. Whilst I don’t feel particularly badly affected I have noted that when I visit my 90+ year old Mum. who rarely drinks, I have more energy. Equally when I visit her I am in a stress-free environment,
    temporarily’, with nothing much to do except relax(?)

    1. Alcohol actually makes it harder to cope with stress – it makes us less resilient. So if you’re drinking because you’re stressed it’s a real lose – lose situation. This is a great opportunity to find some alternative ways of coping with stress.

    2. This is so true Kate – for years I told myself my heavy drinking was not a problem because I didn’t drink every day….then I listened to your blogs and wise words and realised it WAS a problem because it was simply making me unhappy. Now I am nearly 2 months AF and friends are confused – it’s hard to explain why, when there was no dramatic melt-down moment …..so I took your advice about being really positive to friends about it and I just tell them with a huge grin that I’ve been drinking all my life so ‘been there, done that’ now I’m trying something different!

  9. Spot on – thanks Kate. I’m just grappling with opening a bottle of wine as my resolve was flagging. I’m not going to after watching this. Thank you 🙂

  10. I’m 54 and had a love hate relationship with alcohol since I was 20.
    I have been to that as low as you need to go, but it still didn’t stop me.
    I have done exactly those things you mention in your video.
    I think that if you are asking yourself if you are drinking to much , then you probably are.
    I drink a bottle of red wine every night.
    At the moment I don’t ask myself any questions or worry about what anyone says.
    But, I’m gaining weight and I am spending Money that I should be saving.
    Though I’m not in a bad place I decided to stop for 2 weeks to see if I really will feel different.
    Tonight was my first without a drink.
    Thank you

  11. Thank you I’m drinking again but I did watch this I have to get on with you more maybe this time I will quit forever even though my husband drinks

  12. I appreciate the video, thanks. I know I drink more than others and I feel embarrassed about it too. I am trying to stay sober as I recognise that drinking causes me to feel ashamed the morning after. I am glad that you made the comment about it doesn’t matter how much is too much, what matters is the feeling associated with drinking and this varies from person to person

  13. Thank you, such clear helpful advice, going through a really difficult time right now and having problems managing anxiety and leaning too much on alcohol.
    I think I did hit rock bottom.
    Menopause doesn’t tolerate alcohol well either.
    So helpful to break it down simply.
    Telling yourself it won’t help and still doing it is nuts really and sad

    1. Quitting drinking will definitely help with your anxiety Sarah (alcohol makes that so much worse in the long run) and the menopause too 🙂

  14. Kate this is my favorite video of yours and it means the most to me. I used to drink 2-4 drinks 4-5 nights a week… and felt so compulsive and obsessive about alcohol even though I would say I was not a heavy drinker. However… It was a horrible way to live spending so much time thinking about alcohol. Not being a heavy drinker kept me in limbo for soooo long. Thank you for spot-on describing why I quit drinking. July 2021 graduate of your class.

  15. Kate this is my favorite video of yours and it means the most to me. I used to drink 2-4 drinks 4-5 nights a week… and felt so compulsive and obsessive about alcohol even though I would say I was not a heavy drinker. However… It was a horrible way to live spending so much time thinking about alcohol. Not being a heavy drinker kept me in limbo for soooo long. Thank you for spot-on describing why I quit drinking. July 2021 graduate of your class.

  16. Thank you Kate. I haven’t had an alcoholic drink in over a month and every time I listen to you, I can relate and appreciate everything you say. It’s because of you, your honesty, words, encouragement and approach that I finally feel that I have all the support I need and have been looking for all this time. You make sense. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. ♥️

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