Opening a bottle used to be my reward whenever I felt I’d worked hard or achieved something.
So when I tried to “be good” and not drink, I’d last a few days, only to go and ruin it with wine 🤦♀️
Looking back now, it was crazy. But it may well be a pattern you can relate to. If it is, today’s blog will help!
Why this is such a sneaky thought
It seems as if you’re just acknowledging your hard work and effort. But the “I’ve been so good” thought also creates feelings of deprivation and permissiveness. That combination of feelings stops sobriety from feeling good for you. So if this thought comes up for you a lot, it’s important to work on it and get your head straight.
What it really means
If you often find yourself thinking “I’ve been so good”, you need to take a look at what else you’re thinking about not drinking. The chances are that you have a lot of thoughts rolling around your head about how alcohol-free living is hard or depriving. Maybe it feels a bit like being on a diet for you? You can stick with it and “be good” for short periods, but your motivation eventually runs out.
Pay attention to what you’re thinking
For long-term success, sobriety needs to become something you want to do. Even when it’s the weekend, a special occasion or a holiday! If you want to take time off from sobriety, it’s because you’re having a thought about it that makes it feel hard. So we need to work out exactly what that is.
Get clear on what you think you’re missing
Don’t let this stuff sit in your head, stewing. Get it down on paper so you can work out what it is you think you’re missing out on. If you struggle to change your thinking or untangle these thoughts yourself, make sure you get support with this – it can be life changing!
I help women with this mindset work on my Getting Unstuck course all the time. Click here to find out more about it.
Hi Kate. I am really thankful for this blog and can relate to the “reward” system identified. Not one to patronize; it does really feel like I am on a “diet” and soon and very soon I will have one day of drinking as a “cheat day”.
We all know this is not so and it is how the proverbial brain “wiring” is. I am not married and have no real friends – only acquaintances – I only study and work. Some days I just want to kick back and relax but relax with alcohol. I get the “party” started in my head and I would just drink liquor and recently started to smoke (ugghh! – I know). The alco has now become a trigger for this nasty habit.
However, I do feel immense depression the days (emphasis on days) following. My country’s archetype is that of crime and there is nothing more as far as I see I can do because I can not venture out much just to enjoy the sea or surf. Nonetheless, I am trying my very best to stay successfully sober. One story I want to relate; I went to NYC for my Christmas vacation and because I could have gone and sit and enjoy the sights albeit cold I felt no need for a drink. It was sobering and liberating.
Let’s be clear, you DO deserve to kick back and take a break, but drinking a toxin that puts added stress on your body is not the way to achieve relaxation. As a society, we have grown up believing that alcohol is a reward or a treat, but it’s the exact opposite and I coach women how to rewire their thinking in my myth busting “Getting Unstuck” course. If you’d like some help to take a break from booze and give sobriety a test drive, here are the details of my next Getting Unstuck course: https://thesoberschool.com/course/
I too feel as if its a “diet” and felt i deserved a cheat day now and then.. followed by days of guilt. Thank you for sharing your story. Your my inspiration for another sober day! I was asked today.. what is my definition of freedom… i replied, no alarm clock, no shoes, no socks. You inspired a new thought on that topic as well. Wishing you peace and freedom
Perfect timing, thank you. Its my 26th wedding anniversary tomorrow. My husband and I are away on holiday for a week to celebrate. I know my husband is a little bit dissapointed we won’t be having our usual celebratory bottle of fizz tomorrow then a boozy lunch. I’ll be driving us to the restaurant, he will have his usual bottle of wine, I will have my sparkling water and drive us home. He will then crack open another bottle. Exactly what I used to be joining in with. I feel so much better not drinking. But this is where I find it hard, breaking the old routine of wine with my husband. I know he would be so happy if i got stuck in with the wine, the relaxation, the joviality and fun! Then the arguments and headache to follow!! x
Happy anniversary for tomorrow 🙂 I’m sure you are happy to forego the arguments and headache for a lovely holiday and a free ride home. If you’re still finding it a little hard when your husband still drinks, have a listen to this blog I wrote a while ago about having a partner who drinks – I think you’ll find it helpful to reframe any difficult thoughts: https://thesoberschool.com/i-want-to-quit-but-my-partner-still-drinks/
Oh this is THE sneaky thought for me right now. It’s the end of the semester. Summer break is around the corner. I’m exhausted, had COVID, I DESERVE a drink. I think it will relax and reward me. It’s the stress reliever. I was watching a streaming series on Netflix, and the main female character experiences a lot of trials and tribulations. In response, she would walk, express her anger, lie flat on the floor, eat peanuts. I thought, “wow, this is so great. These are all AF free options to stress and ways to reward yourself.” The last episode she drank bourbon–aaaaghhh. It’s everywhere, telling us we “deserve” the drink. I deserve sobriety. My family and friends deserve my sobriety. It is an upgrade! To be continued.
You do deserve sobriety Ann, it’s a much better option for you, your health and for those around you. Being completely relaxed means having nothing to worry about or annoy you, physically or mentally. True relaxation is achieved by removing the source of discontent. Alcohol, by definition, cannot do that. It can’t remove the things that annoy you or stress you out. The summer break is the relaxing time but adding alcohol can only make it worse by adding a hangover, guilt and anxiety…
Hi Kate. Just wanted to give a huge thank you for all the help you are giving. Just starting to whirl this sobriety life around in my head. You are helping immensely xo
You’re welcome and I’m so pleased to be of some help. If you want to work with me further, here are the details of my next online course: https://thesoberschool.com/course/
I love your videos and especially this one. I’m at 99 days today! I’ve been trying to become sober since 2017 and had several starts and stops along the way. My longest was last year at 300 days but the holidays got me. 🙂
And 100 days tomorrow, that’s brilliant! 🙂 Here’s a blog I wrote last year about the fear of missing out on holiday that you might find helpful. Spoiler alert – you’re not missing out on anything except a hangover: https://thesoberschool.com/youre-not-missing-out-sober-holiday-myths/
On day 120 – just back from another dry holiday but struggling with another dry bank holiday weekend.
Normally I’d be treating myself to a few beers and a nice bottle of wine but not this weekend…..
I haven’t been gagging for a drink but I’ve missed the overall experience and it’s left me a bit tetchy
An extended weekend should be a break from the daily grind and a chance for you to recover physically and mentally. Hangovers and heavy drinking make this virtually impossible. So rather than focusing on what you think you’re missing, concentrate on the benefits of being alcohol free that you’ve already experienced in the last 120 days: proper rest, relaxation and wellbeing. Now is the time to treat yourself because remember, you’re saving lots of money by not drinking!
I’m going to make sure I’m ready for the next one, treats a plenty
This is so helpful. I think I will reread it evertime think I need a “reward”
That’s a great blog thank you. Never ceases to amaze me how it all comes back to ‘ how we are thinking’ and you highlight that so well.
Alcohol has messed with my thinking for so so long . Time to go back to being in control.
This is exactly the cycle I am in at the moment. I am so proud that I have cut back on my drinking but don’t feel like I am ready to be sober. It does seem like I would be missing something. I am so close…I just haven’t found the missing piece of the puzzle. On Fridays and look forward to the wine all day but at the back of my mind, there is a little voice saying but now you won’t sleep well tonight and that voice is a little sad. I need to move that little to the fore front of my mind 🙂
You are not alone in feeling in a cycle, but that’s why I recommend just taking a break from alcohol and giving sobriety a test drive, so you know what you are choosing between. No pressure to stop drinking forever, but unless you give it a chance, you can’t make an informed decision. Have a listen to some of my past students for their experience of the approach I teach: https://thesoberschool.com/success-stories/
Thanks Kate! I will!
I drink every night and I’ve tried to cut back. I might miss one day.
I then get mad and upset with myself for letting my self down. I think I drink because I’m very lonely. I even got a job working evening to help me stop but I come in at 10pm and crack a bottle open not good. I’ve tried going for help that seemed pointless the only thing they did warn me about is not to just stop as it could lead to a a fit as my body withdraws.
Hi Alison, It can be lonely trying to do this on your own. My online coaching programme would be a great fit for you, if you are looking for support. Here are some success stories I think you will find helpful https://thesoberschool.com/success-stories/. Our next course starts on 10th July 2023.