“I’m so lonely, I end up drinking wine whilst I watch TV in the evenings.”
I spotted this comment on one of my blog posts recently.
It resonated with me because there was a time in my life when I was doing the same thing.
There’s a stigma around both loneliness and drinking too much.
When alcohol seems to soothe those lonely feelings, how can you possibly quit drinking?
That’s exactly what I’m talking about in this video.
The alcohol and loneliness trap
It can feel as if drinking helps with loneliness. It seems to provide some comfort, distraction and numbness. But alcohol is a false friend. It never truly makes your lonely feelings go away. It doesn’t solve or fix them. It’s just helping you look the other way for a moment.
Drinking makes loneliness worse
When we’re hungover and weighed down by alcohol, we’re highly unlikely to feel motivated enough to take constructive action. Alcohol makes anxiety and depression worse, so the thought of trying new things or reaching out to others can feel even harder than it really is.
Why it’s ok to feel lonely
A feeling often has something to tell you. It’s like a warning light on your car dashboard – it’s giving you information. The solution isn’t to cover up the warning light so you can’t see it. What’s the worst that’s going to happen if you sit with loneliness and let it be felt?
You might find that a certain feeling is not as bad as you think it is, once you just let it be there and be felt. But if you do crave some escapism, there are many ways to switch off without alcohol that won’t leave you suffering afterwards.
Looking for help and support to quit drinking and make sobriety stick? Click here to find out more about my online coaching programme, Getting Unstuck.
Yes this does resignate with me .. I drink more from boredom but yes loniness too.. I live alone.. but i make excuses not to call or visit people . I tend to only want to speak once iv started drinking !!
Hi Amanda, I have a blog post about drinking for boredom here: https://thesoberschool.com/im-bored-and-drinking-relieves-boredom/
Remember, alcohol will just keep you stuck in the bored and lonely feelings – the way out is to leave alcohol behind 🙂
Yes I drink because of boredom and loneliness. Also I love wine.
I too, drank from loneliness, to numb myself and had been doing so since 9/11/01. 20 years of using alcohol to try to make myself feel better, to feel less lonely, to tamp down the grief of losing my husband on that horrible day. I took the October 2020 class and had great success until Christmas that year and although it didn’t happen immediately, it inevitably led right back to every day drinking. I’ve been AF for 72 days and no matter what I’m feeling I know that alcohol will only compound my issues. The imagined momentary relief is just that, imaginary and all too fleeting. It’s up to sober me to identify what’s wrong and make the necessary changes to improve things.
So true. Find it especially hard when it’s cold and dark but iPlayer and Netflix can be a good resource! Thank you x
Girls I Drank a bottle of wine maybe a bottle and a half every Friday and Saturday night, I drank in bed watching TV and sometimes into the next day if I wasn’t working, Now I haven’t drank in one month tomorrow and I don’t intend to drink again and it was through loneliness as I am a single mother and I thought it was my treat but it wasn’t a treat, it was a nightmare
Congratulations on your one month sober Lil! That’s great. And you are right… drinking is never a treat. Quite the opposite, really.
This resonates with me. I kept telling myself I’m lonely and would drink in the quiet of the evening alone. But, I have sense come to realize that I’m NOT lonely. I have so many lovely friends and family that I get to be around. And sometimes I’m alone. And that’s ok. That’s time for me to read, write, garden, or watch something on YouTube. I do good being sober for a couple of weeks or even months, and then I fall into the trap of drinking just one and then before I know it, I feel like crap and am “managing” alcohol again. I’m so over this cycle. It’s been 2 days alcohol free for me! One day at a time. Thank you for this site!
Curling up with a good TV series is always so much better than drinking! Keep going Ria 🙂
Hi Kate. I’m on day 2 af. I was sober for 6 months before Christmas then 1 glass of wine at Christmas led to a bottle each night!! Again!! I thought I was lonely but the wine made me feel lousy, useless, and exaggerated low moods which then sent me to another bottle. 2 days af and I feel better already… I’m going to do a year af this time and then another. Thankyou for helping me with your blogs. Inspiring
Hi Kate I was getting in that habit because I was lonely and tired. While I was drinking I would have big plans in my head to go and try something new the next day but when the next day came I didn’t do anything except be angry with myself because I didn’t feel good about myself physically or mentally the next day. Now 71 days Sober and I just watch TV when I’m lonely or I declutter or prep meals for the week. I am hoping to move to new adventures soon but for now it’s working. I think for me sometimes it’s the routine of life get up go to work come home have dinner and do it all again. I was extremely busy last week with friends, lunches, baby shower and family so this week I felt some stress but realized it was because I was extremely tired. Back on schedule now feeling calm.
I drank a bottle of wine in bed to watch tv an settle
A Big thank you this is day 1 for me again but you are saying everything I think .I know tomorrow will be harder but hopefully I now have you not great with Tec but found you late last night and you say everything I think and understand when no one else does
Well done for starting over Athene. If you need any more help and support, I have an online course that will guide you through this process. Here’s some more information: https://thesoberschool.com/course/
I drank 6 bottles of wine and half bottle of gin over the last 3 days, so depressed, back to day 1 no alcohol today,
I love listening to your talks and can relate to so many things you say. I’ve been sober now since 1st January and feel like I have my life back. I don’t miss it at all. I only occasionally think about it if I have a sudden drama in my life my habit it to reach for a drink immediately. So that’s work in progress. I find alcohol free spirits really helpful as I like to get a drink with ice and a slice at tea time – it’s a habit but doing it with alcohol free drinks works. Some great ones out there.
Congratulations on your sobriety Nicola, that is fantastic! Well done 🙂
I work full time during the day Mon to Fri, I drink wine every night watching tv, I don’t feel it’s loneliness, it’s something I do when my boyfriend goes to work at night and I’ve done that for years. I also feel like I can’t talk to my friends or family on the phone on an evening unless I’ve had a few drinks. I find myself trying not to drink and break the habit, and when I do so, if the phone rings, I just don’t answer it as I can’t hold a telephone conversation without having a drink in my hand. I have mobility issues and get picked up for work in the morning and dropped off again at home after work, so going out at night for a hobby is not an option.
Genna, let’s step into a proactive and trouble shooting mindset for this one. The key for you is to look at this limiting belief you have that you can’t talk to your friends or family on the phone without having a few drinks first. That is where your work is. I recommend journalling all your thoughts on this so you can get clear on what’s really going on. What is it you’re afraid of?
Hi Kate. I just don’t feel confident and feel I can’t be myself on the phone sober. When I’m sitting drinking wine, I can hold a conversation for longer, be more open, more chatty, funny. Does that make sense? I avoid phone calls if I’ve not had at least 2 glasses of wine. I’ll call back and make an excuse, like ‘oh my phone was charging’ or ‘oh I was in the shower’ – Then after a few glasses I’m more than happy to chat. It’s nothing to do with my friends or family having drinking issues, as they don’t. It’s just me, being me. I struggle to even speak to my parents in the evening unless I’ve had a few wines. I can’t make sense of it.
This definitely resonated with me. I’ve yet to manage a single sober 100% day.
I keep ruining my relationship due to alcohol. I know it’s a viscous circle but I can’t seem to get out of it.
It’s actually really hard to get past the first few days, and even worse when trying to face a break up (of numerous).
I feel like I need a miracle to break the negative patterns I’ve unfortunately created.
I drank occasionally until my son passed away last May. Then I think I was drinking almost every evening all summer. I have stopped now but the loneliness I feel everyday is still a battle I am working on.
I am sorry about the loss of your son. My sister died when i was 19, & I drank for years, just to try to forget for a moment. I wasted so much of my brief precious time trying to drown the pain. This grief is bigger than you, and i hope you find your way to some specialized grief counselling if you haven’t already. I hope you have lots of love and support. Blessing and prayers that you find your way thru this dark & terrible time. Hugs to you!
Just what I needed today! Thank you & I enjoy your pep talks soooo much! I always look forward to new ones!
I’m new to this journey
Thank you, Kate. It’s my first time listening in. Everything you said, of course, made sense. Yes, I am 72, lonely and do drink 2-3 glasses of wine while watching evening TV. Confronting painful, past situations make me uncomfortable. Wine helps ease thoughts or issues that I should be capable of resolving easily. I’m stuck in this invisible labyrinth. I’m currently getting advice through the help of a therapist and meds to help with cravings. Listening to you and reading your viewers’ comments after has been very resourceful to me. Thank you.
Hi Kate, I did your Getting Unstuck course starting in September last year. Today I’m 6 months alcohol free and am quite chuffed with myself I can tell you!! I always told myself that wine was my friend, my company at night. I have been (and still am) lonely (at times) but I know that drinking wine was a habit for me every afternoon when I finished work. Throughout and following your course, I really struggled to break that “bad habit”. It was more than a craving … I really believed that drinking wine helped. It didn’t.
It actually made me feel remorseful, guilty, affected my sleep and health, coping with everyday ups and downs …. and affected me financially too.
I set goals for the 6 weeks of the course, then to reach 100 days, then 6 months …. now I’m going for 12 months. I have to say I am proud of myself as I’m 68 years old and started drinking at 20 (I believe because of my extreme shyness) and only stopped for 18 months when I was pregnant and breastfeeding. An old boyfriend once said to me when I was in my twenties “have another glass of personality Leith”!! And for me, it was true.
Now I’m forging onwards with new respect and confidence in myself. A have myself … and especially your course Kate …. to thank for this. I still read your blogs for inspiration. Thank you Kate xxx
Congratulations on your sobriety Leith! I’m so pleased you stuck with it and kept going. What a transformation! Well done on your 6 months. I’m wishing you many more and look forward to seeing you reach that one year milestone. Wonderful stuff – be proud ❤️
Hi Lieth, I too took the Sober School in Sept. and I know I drank out of loneliness most nights. It has been almost 6 months since and I still consider myself a practicing sober person. The loneliness can still be there but now the shame and hungover days are gone. Life looks better in the mornings!
Thanks for replying Val. Living alone is often lonely for me and I have been my own worst enemy … thinking wine is my company. The temptation is still there but not the guilt the next morning, as you say. Let’s stay strong Val … for ourselves!! Well done both of us!!!
Loneliness and boredom, I drink a bottle a night. Hubby works away all week and then when he is home he wants to drink and I join him. Also lost my brother at xmas he lost his long battle with cancer. I know drinking doesn’t solve anything, it just makes my depression gets worse.
Hi Kate, Loved the talk ! Yes Loneliness has been part of my journey also. Just another feeling to smother rather than feel. Loved the analogy of putting the piece of paper over the warning light in the car ♀️ I have so been doing that. Thank you for the amazing and so important job that you do.
I sit at night and my head goes in to overtime I don’t no how to not have a bottle of wine I sat until 8 last night and then found myself going getting a bottle witch I didn’t want to do. How do I stop myself from wanting that drink? X
Loneliness and boredom are huge triggers for me. Sometimes I cringe at the thought of going home at the end of the day unless I’m going home to drink and numb out. Otherwise I don’t know what to do with myself. I am quite stubborn and an expert at making excuses. I am starting to sit with my feelings more and try to remember what brings me joy. But I am surfing (metaphorically) day by day without depth or goals etc and a lot of self disappointment. Your talks give much hope and perspective so thank you for all of that. I realize the work I don’t want to do needs to be done. After all (and one of my favorite quotes) nothing worth anything comes without some work. Alcohol makes me lazy and feel guilty that the last thing I want to do is make an effort especially if it’s just for myself. I seem to be fooling everyone else but I should be more concerned about how I’m fooling myself. Before I make this a book I will stop here. Thanks for listening.
Hello Kate. I am a newby to your site and am so very much grateful to have found you. I too get lonely even though I have a true friend whom I have known for over 30 years.
Despite it pouring with rain all day, I was more than ready to get the wellies and waterproofs on, get my mobility scooter out and get soaked for a bottle of wine. I decided to read your 5 ways of not drinking tonight, and when I saw “you can have a drink tomorrow” that was enough to stop me.
Thank you so much for those few words. I will see how I get on tomorrow.
I am booked in for course commencing 4th April and am feeling more positive about it.
A sober night,
This really resonates with me. I live by myself and my drinking has really increased over lockdown and when work is stressy and I come home to an empty flat then it’s so tempting to have wine but I can never stop at one glass! I am hoping to start a course soon Kate, I’m finding the videos really inspiring, thank you!
i drink because of loneliness and depression of my past, I dont want too, im embarrassed to say, my kids go on at me all the time, and iunderstand and then feel down and lonely and open another bottle, i have tried to see my doctor but cant get a face to face appointment which does not help, you can read many things for help but not the same as face to face, im really struggling and letting myself and my boys down
It can be hard trying to quit on your own, which is why community is such a key element of my Getting Unstuck course. Find out more here: https://thesoberschool.com/course/
This really resonates. I just found this video after googling drinking for boredom and loneliness. A few years ago i did actually start a few new based interests, not to reduce drinking but just for general wellbeing. I love doing these things and connect with people through these and I also have close friends and family I see and speak to so alcohol doesn’t prevent me from this.
But the problem i have is that cause its not possible to fill all of my evenings that way (so then out comes the wine); as costs of classes etc build up and a lot of my friends and family have their own young families. So it’s coming back to an empty house or on the evenings where i have nothing going on and want to chill (as i also dont want to be ‘doing jobs or activities’ every evening at home either). I am single since my divorce, i have been online dating but haven’t found anyone for long term relationship. And i have discovered im a person who does get a lot of their energy from being around other people and thrives on novelty. So im a bit lost how i can just sit and chill on my own without having wine. Thank you so much for the video and the comments from everyone
You are not alone in finding boredom and loneliness a trigger to drink. Humans are wired to connect and as we evolved from living in tribes, it makes sense that you find energy in being around other people. This is where the community element of my ‘take a break from booze’ course is so powerful, because you are walking the same path as other women who really understand your struggles and are rooting for everyone to succeed. Have a listen to some of my past students to get a sense of the community support that develops from learning together: https://thesoberschool.com/success-stories/