Kate's Blog

Is Fear Stopping You From Quitting Drinking?

Happy Halloween!

If you’re scared you can’t quit drinking, worried what other people will think or daunted by the idea of managing life without alcohol, you’re not alone.

Fear keeps so many people stuck in an unhappy relationship with alcohol. The thought of changing can be genuinely scary.

But there are a couple of things about fear that I wish I’d known a lot earlier – and I thought today might be a good day to talk about them 🎃👻

I explain more in this week’s video.

Key points

The problem with fear

Your brain has not evolved in the same way that your environment has. You have a primitive brain walking around in a modern-day world. Back in our cavewoman days, it was useful to be afraid of a lot of things: you needed to be scared of what was hiding in the woods.

Today, fear is still useful when we’re in genuinely dangerous situations. But to be honest, that doesn’t happen all that often nowadays. In reality, most of the things we’re afraid of today aren’t perilous at all. We might try to avoid being embarrassed or judged, for example. Unpleasant? Yes. But not dangerous.

What are you really afraid of?

When you look at common fears around alcohol-free living, what it tends to come down to is that most people are afraid of experiencing a feeling that they think will be unpleasant. Like being vulnerable, or failing at something (like trying to quit drinking).

But what is a feeling? It’s just a vibration in your body. It can be helpful to remember that. And not all ‘bad’ emotions are intolerable. In fact, some people will choose to spend money on watching a scary movie today, knowing that it will make them feel terror, uncertainty and dread!

What would you do if you weren’t afraid?

If judgement, failure or feeling awkward didn’t scare you, how could things be different? When we make decisions based on our fears, things rarely go well. Nothing good ever comes from sitting around thinking about all the reasons why you can’t do something. 

In other areas of life, you tend to automatically focus on the positives. When you apply for that job or try that new thing, you might feel scared, but your focus is on what you might gain. You can do the same thing with sobriety too. What if your decision to quit drinking turned out to be the best thing you ever did for yourself?

Looking for help and support to create a spooktacular, alcohol-free life you love? My Getting Unstuck course will transform your relationship with booze and yourself. Click here for more details.

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. 

Comments

19 Responses

  1. Thank you for your video Kate. I am scared of what other people will think but your video got me thinking that maybe that isn’t so important. Would I rather be scared of their judgement… or be scared of what I’m doing to myself if I continue to drink?

  2. I remember being so scared before I stopped but now I consider it one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself.

  3. I completed 7 weeks alcohol free and felt great – then a few drinks on my birthday- which I totally regret doing – I’m now redoing the course to get my head back in the mindset it was in – I’m scared of failing again

    1. Keep going! The early days are some of the hardest, but if you stick with this you will get to the good bit as you know 🙂

    2. Wow this is Pat. I stop and start all the time. Praying as I have oral surgery next week and more thoughts of wine will be lessened. Kate has fabulous advice

  4. Hi Kate, thanks for sending that video. I am stuck in those fearful thoughts bt have taken some action today. Firstly I am still not drinking and will not let my fears stop me. But I have also spoken to Andy and found out what is making him so quiet and unable to talk to me. He has gone out tonight, that is the first time for ages and I chose not to and am heading for an early night. I’ll keep plugging away and getting stronger.

  5. My fear was that if I stopped I would experience a terrible withdrawal. I was a heavy drinker on the weekends. Mainly beer. I went to my doctor and he looked over my last history and believed I would be ok. Well……I was and still am

  6. This has been a really tough weekend for me, on so many levels. My relationship with my husband is deteriorating and I have caused my children, who are now young adults, to feel worry and anxiety around me, and my behaviour. I feel everything you said, shame, guilt, judgement and fear, I want to curl up in
    a corner and dissappear, but your kindness, supportive emails and videos, have helped me so much. So I would like to thank you Kate, I feel I am on a journey to regain control of my life.

  7. When I quit drinking 2 years and 11 months (exactly!) ago, I was definitely afraid. What would people think? How would I get through vacations, holidays, get-togethers, parties without drinking? But I was more afraid of where I was heading: health problems, wasted days, so I decided to try quitting. The first year after taking your course, I was all about replacement drinking. Instead of an alcoholic drink, I made sure I had a fancy AF replacement, and that got me through that first challenging year, when it’s full of all sorts of AF “firsts.” But what I’ve discovered in the subsequent years is that there was nothing for me to be afraid of! People grow to accept your not drinking as a norm. Just as I don’t think much about what I’m drinking these days, they don’t think about what I’m NOT drinking. And more and more restaurants and bars are offering mocktails. It’s not freakish to be sober these days; in fact, it seems to be a trend. Sure, I had to do a little explaining at first, but there were so many reasons I wanted to quit that I just used the one that best fit the situation. And a simple, “Nah, I don’t feel like drinking today” (or tonight) can work just fine. Good ol’ Franklin D. Roosevelt said it best, “There’s nothing to fear but fear itself.” We are way more able to confront our fears and doubts than we think we are!

    1. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on longer term sobriety. It really does become the ‘norm’ and other people accept that, so there’s no reason to fear it. Sober suits you Dove ❤️

  8. Hi Kate, I have just come out of a relationship and am struggling with that but this is day 86 of no alcohol. This will be my first Christmas and New Year in a very long time without drinking. To be honest, I will be glad when it’s all over but I’m determined to stay alcohol free.

    1. Congratulations on your 86 days alcohol free, that’s awesome and I hope you feel better with a clear head during this emotional time. How about changing your thinking about Christmas and the New Year? Look forward to enjoying quality time with family and friends and being able to drive or leave a party when you want to. Concentrate on enjoying the run up, preparation and delicious food without any anxiety or guilt. You’ll have crystal clear memories of this magical time instead of hangovers, shame and exhaustion. Have a listen to my free pep talk at times of temptation and make yourself a priority: https://thesoberschool.com/pep-talk-audio/

  9. That was amazing – the bit about job fears and still going for promotion – why don’t I see sobriety as a promotion – it is like a pay rise?

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