What’s the harm in just one drink?
You tell yourself, “I’ll just have one and leave it there. One drink is all I want anyway.”
There’s something very seductive about the ‘just one drink’ thought.
It sounds as if you’re going to have the best of both worlds – you’ll get what you want but do no harm.
Yet if you’re anything like I was, one drink was rarely just one drink.
If you want to stop repeating this pattern over and over, there are two things to focus on…
I explain all in this video:
Why ‘just one drink’ feels like a solution
It sounds as if you’re going to have the best of both worlds. You’re going to get rid of your craving, feel satisfied but not do much harm because it’s only one glass, right? That’s an illusion. If having ‘just one drink’ worked on a regular basis, you wouldn’t be reading this.
One drink won’t kill your craving – it amplifies it
If you’re obsessing over having a drink, you’re making it a really big deal in your mind. You’re romanticising it. When you have that one drink, those thoughts about how amazing alcohol is won’t vanish. They’ll still be there, only now they’re even harder to resist.
Alcohol = a distracting side show
Just one drink opens the door to an evening dominated by what you’re going to drink, when, where, how much. It’s exhausting. Your internal chatter is consumed by the contents of your glass, meaning you can’t give anything else your complete focus. Is that really what you want?
A different approach
Even if you do somehow manage to have just one drink, it’s hard work. You’re making the contents of your glass extremely important when really, life needs to be about more than the liquid that is (or isn’t) in your glass.
I recommend taking a break from drinking so you can step out of this tiresome pattern and experience something else for a while. You might just discover that sobriety feels better than one drink ever did 🙂 For details of my Getting Unstuck course, click here.
Yes, it was all consuming, taking over my mind, and I am managing to cut the thought process and concentrate on what I really want and need, and it’s not a future consumed by alcohol! Yes very difficult but with your help I will keep going and banish all thoughts hopefully. I did it before, but allowed the triggers to win, another thing I have to deal with!
It’s great to hear you’re still working on this Shirley. It can be hard to figure this out alone, so if you need any support I wanted to make sure you knew about my online course? The next class starts in July and you can find out more here: https://thesoberschool.com/course/
Hi I’m the same and I need help
Hi Ash, thanks for reaching out. If you’re looking for help, the best way for me to support you is via my online class. You can find out more about the upcoming course (starting in July) right here: https://thesoberschool.com/course/
Ash – I highly recommend taking Kate’s course. It really is critical to take a true break to start feeling the benefits of being alcohol free! I was in a horrible place last summer and took Kate’s October course. The money spent is so worth it (and quite honestly a good motivator to commit to the entire 6 weeks). I never could have done it on my own (believe me, I tried and couldn’t string together 3 days) and I really really recommend the course. The material and the community are life changing.
Hi Kate your “just one drink” talk was excellent. Me to a tee
My hubby is away for 4 days l am going to use this time wisely, listen to you and read all the other ladies posts constantly. If l can go 4 days without mind altering alcohol l know l can do more.
Well done for getting started Shirley. If you need any long term support to help you make this change, you might like to check out my online course. The next class starts in July: https://thesoberschool.com/course/
I am just starting on my sobriety journey and looking for any support and advice. It is taking a real toll on my life and my children. I have alienated just about everyone in my family and this just has to stop. My therapist suggested thus site and said it has been a great help to her patients
You make so much common sense Kate. You’ve really helped me over the years to face many truths. Today’s blog does ring very true!
No problem Lori! I’m glad this resonated with you 🙂
wow this makes real sense, today is day 1 for me; I’ve had a long tough day and yes I am thinking just 1 G&T as there’s no wine in the house.
It sounds like you could do with some help and support to stay motivated Deb? It can be hard to stay accountable when you’re doing this alone. My online coaching programme could be a good fit for you Deb – here’s some more details for you to check out: https://thesoberschool.com/course/
Kate, dear Kate, yes yes yes…After completing your course, I now can
accept that for me …there is no such thing a one drink. And I am perfectly OK with that. In fact, I am delighted to be free. 316 days of freedom…freedom from lousy mornings…freedom from struggling with alcohol…freedom from concern from what others might think.
I thank you big time for your lead.
I’m so pleased to hear you’re enjoying your freedom Maggie. Congratulations on your sobriety – you’ll be celebrating a year soon 🙂
Hello unfortunately last night I had a drink due to stress but today I am telling myself to work out instead and drink plenty of water and watch what I eat. Watching your videos really helps me also so thank I love you for telling your story and reaching out to help others I am tired of this behavior so I will change it thank you
Well done for starting over Jaikesha. If you need any support beyond my short weekly videos, you might like to look into my online course. Then we can really dig deep on some other ways to manage your stress 🙂
Here are some more details about the class coming up in July: https://thesoberschool.com/course/
Thankyou so much, this is helping me lots x
No problem Grace, keep going! 🙂
Here I am again! Alone and feeling depressed, I know the wine is a depressant, it just digs me further into my hole. Don’t have a lot of friends, none actually, I don’t go out and my alcohol is consumed alone and sneaky. The only one I am hurting physically and mentally is me.
Somewhere in the midst of day 5; needed this. Really want to free my mind of all the focus on the hows, whens, etc. of drinking. No bad side effects except some insomnia. Overall happy, but know there’s a long twisty road ahead. Hoping to find some hiking mates so I can stay the course this time. (Had a year in a few years ago and got stupid, thinking I could moderate. Yeah, I know.)
Finding those hiking mates will be important – we’re wired for connection and we’re not meant to do this kind of stuff alone. If you’re looking for a community of like minded women, my online course is a group coaching programme for this very reason. Everyone starts the class on the same day, so you go through it together, as a tribe. There are some more details here: https://thesoberschool.com/course/
Hi Kate that was amazing video. You have really made me think. Thank you
No problem Moira – I hope it inspires you to keep going!
Thanks, Kate. This was really good. I’m early in my sobriety, but I don’t miss it. My glass of wine – or any other alcohol was on May 22nd of this year. Almost a month now and I intend to keep going. I don’t keep any alcohol in the house and when I want something nice and cool, I have a glass of iced tea. I love being AF and your videos really help.
It sounds like alcohol free living truly suits you Amy! Congratulations 🙂
Hi Kate! Great post! I’ve never read it articulated like that before – and all of it is so true! One was never one, so better it be none. : )
Thanks again Kate, your blogs and instagram posts have inspired me to stop drinking completely. 65 days sober now and loving the good night’s sleep, the clear head and the energy to do more.
I love this post. Yes, one drink for me always led to more and then the next day and the next.
It is actually easier to give up completely rather than moderate. It frees that inner chatter you talked about.
Thanks Jane – I’m glad that hit home and made sense 🙂
Hi Kate. I’ve tried to have the one glass of wine. You’re right. It never works. I fell off the wagon recently. I am getting back on.
Go for it Cheryl. It sounds as if you aren’t happy drinking – I think going back to sobriety could be a great move for you!
Everything you said is so true! I remember my doctor telling me after getting my cholesterol test back (it was extremely high) that I could still have one drink; and I remember looking at him and saying “What’s the point”? Honestly to me I knew that would never happen so I have been alcohol free for almost 8 months and I LOVE IT!
Wonderful – congratulations on your 8 months Margie!
My mantra ( not original – I read it somewhere) is “Play the tape to the end”. Deep down I know there is no such thing as one drink. I now say to myself if I am tempted – “you know how this ends”. “If you don’t start you won’t need to stop”.
I love this strategy! In fact I shared a video about that concept here: https://thesoberschool.com/playing-the-movie-to-the-end/
I’ve listened to many of your videos and they are all great, but this one blew me away !!! How right you are about all the crazy thoughts that go through your head…I’ll have one drink, maybe two at the most. Will anyone point out that I’m drinking too much ? Do I have more at home? It’s so exhausting !!! Thank you so much for these amazing videos !!!
It really is so, so tiring. I’m glad it resonated with you Elizabeth!
Great video! I have too done this more times than I even care to admit and never once realized how much effort and thought and time I was putting into it, not to mention how stressful it becomes when in your mind you think you’re doing the opposite. Brilliant. I’m looking forward to the next class.
You definitely aren’t alone in having that experience Michelle. Thanks for sharing it with us here 🙂
Many thanks to you for your words of wisdom & support. I went through the cycle of stopping & starting drinking for many years. I took classes (yours & a few others) but I would always revert back to thinking I could just have one glass of wine. And that never, ever worked. Finally in December 2019, something clicked. I haven’t had a drink since then. After the first 3 weeks, it got so much easier. And I am so grateful that I was not drinking during this pandemic. I still look to you for inspiration & encouragement. Thank you for all you do!
Congratulations on your sobriety Joan!
This is so true Kate !! Drink over takes I was sober from January till March but gave in at Easter and got really drunk !! And had a few drinking sessions since then Father’s Day was my cut off I got drunk had 4 cocktails got sick in cab journey home and could not sleep that night felt so unwell the next day !! I’m giving myself a break again two weeks on Sunday no drinking I felt so good when I gave up before !! I really don’t want to drink anymore .
I had done my first week, came back from my daughter, thought I would have one drink! It doesn’t work. This video and the play the movie to the end is just me. I’m going to try that next time I have that urge for one drink. I hate this next day feeling,
Cath, I understand completely.
Thank you so much for sending me this blog this morning, Kate! Your insights are so relevant and needed! Last night I ended up having 3 shots of tequila instead of 1, since there was no wine in the house! Of course this morning that seems silly, but it was not silly last night. This video, like the others I have watched gives me the ability to see the actual problem! I didn’t realize how much energy and time I can spend on just thinking about alcohol. It makes so much sense!
The good news is, instead of beating myself up this morning, I just said “That’s ok. It’s part of the process. Back to day one. I’ll keep trying!” Thank you for that!
When I read the posts of other people, I feel such a connection that I didn’t even know I needed! I am looking forward to joining the course next month. In the meantime, I am trying to limit myself to one or two blogs per day so I can take time to think about them. Each one is so valuable!
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
Kate, I thought I’d try this too, the just one or two drinks. It has worked out okay, but there are some elements of your talk. My biggest problem is sleeping. I’ve always had a very difficult time, and have never slept through the night, however with several glasses of wine, I could fall asleep no problem and only get up 2 or 3 times. Now I have great difficulty falling asleep, wake at least once an hour, am having somewhat disturbing dreams. I have to get up at 5:30 AM and had to text work today to say I was coming in late because after finally being awake since 2 AM after getting up every hour since 9:00, at 4:30 I knew I’d never get back to sleep before work. Any thoughts?
It is a well known fact that drinking alcohol interferes with normal sleep patterns and whilst it may help to get you off to sleep, the body is working hard to process it and therefore proper deep sleep is not achieved and you can wake feeling groggy, thirsty and still tired. Even when you first cut out alcohol altogether, because you may have come to rely on alcohol to help with dropping off, it takes some time to get back into a ‘normal’ sleeping pattern. Hope that answers your question?
Hi Kate, I totally agree about the exhausting pattern of constantly thinking where the next drink is coming from, how can I get more, when am I going to get it how much shall I get. I need a break from this pattern and to give myself a break rom the pressure of this let alone all that comes after the drinking.
You’re absolutely right Donna, it IS exhausting! Give yourself a break and have a listen to my free pep talk next time cravings come up: https://thesoberschool.com/pep-talk-audio/
This video is so me. I think I’ve had all those thoughts while out with friends. I have been listening to the “pep talk” every night on the way home, and reading blogs daily. The pep talk helps a lot as I always wanted that glass of wine when I got home from work. Can’t wait for the course to start!
So so helpful to bring these thoughts to the forefront and realise the patterns and distractions of alcohol taking control of how good a time you have on a night out. I’ve listened to 3 of your videos now and they have really helped with my first week of sobriety, despite my cravings the help in switching mindset has been very helpful, thank you!