“I should be able to drink if I want to!”

Before I quit drinking, my brain spent a long time throwing a temper tantrum about it. 

Sobriety felt like something I “had” to do – and the whiny, two year old part of my brain was not happy. 

I thought I should be able to drink ‘normally’. I should be able to drink like my friends and I should be able to find a way to carry on drinking.

If this line of thinking is something you get stuck in too, I want to help you choose some thoughts that feel better:

Key points:

Pick a thought that feels better

Replace “I should be able to drink” with: “I get to put whatever I want in my body, in order to feel my best.” Your best is your definition. It’s your choice whether your best includes alcohol or not. No one “has” to quit drinking. You’re just making choices that feel best to you. 

Should is such an unhelpful word. When it comes to alcohol, there’s nothing you “should” be able to do. We don’t talk about how we “should” be able to eat chocolate all day. We know we can do that – if we want to – but we choose not to, because it wouldn’t actually feel great.


Still feel annoyed? Remember this:

At some point we have to quit making our lives all about that next glass. Life needs to be about more than when, where or how much we’ll drink. If you’re so upset about not drinking, it’s an indicator that something about you or your life needs to uplevel.

That feeling of “I should be able to drink,” is never really about the alcohol itself. It’s about what the booze covered up and distracted us from. Perhaps something in your life needs to change – or the perhaps the way you think about certain things needs to shift.


Watch your thoughts

Drinking problems are nearly always thinking problems in disguise. The goal of sobriety isn’t just to not drink. Long term, successful sobriety is about the inner work of creating a life you don’t need to escape from. For support with this, check out my online course here.

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