Kate's Blog

Knowing Your Reasons: 3 Tips For Finding Your Why

Quick question for you…

Why do you want to quit drinking or take a break from booze?

What’s motivating you to do this – or consider it?

You can probably give me a couple of reasons off the top of your head.

But I wonder if there are some other motivators that you haven’t even considered yet?

This week’s video is all about finding your why.

Key points

Finding your why helps you pause

A good why slows you down a bit. It creates a pause before you do something on autopilot. Finding your why won’t magically stop you from drinking, but it opens up a moment for you to think about whether you want to do what you’ve always done – and get the same results – or whether you want to try something different.

You can have more than one why

The idea that you need one momentous, noble and powerful why is a myth. We’re in different moods on different days, so you want to mix and match your whys to fit the needs of the moment. You’re entitled to have reasons for quitting drinking that are very personal and that aren’t particularly deep and meaningful.

Keep things positive

If your whys are painful to hear, you need to ditch them or reword them. “I want to quit because I’m tired of being such a constant disappointment to everyone” is not a good why. We don’t want to be coming up with whys that make us feel terrible – you cannot self-loathe your way into successful sobriety.

Dig a bit deeper

Using the 5 whys technique can help you uncover a why that really resonates. It starts with you asking yourself,  “Why do I want to quit drinking?” and answering, “So I can…” Repeat this five times. For example:
– Why do I want to quit drinking? So I can wake up without a hangover.
– Why do I want to wake up without a hangover? So I can start the day feeling good and feeling rested.
– Why do I want to start the day feeling good and feeling rested? So I can feel more confident at work.
– Why do I want to feel more confident at work? So I can feel respected when I’m talking in meetings.
– Why do I want to feel respected when I’m talking in meetings? So I can start speaking up more and going after what I really want.

I’d love to hear what you uncover – let me know one of your whys in the comments below.

Looking for help and support to create an alcohol-free life you love? Click here to find out more about my Getting Unstuck programme.

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. 


53 Responses

  1. I have a laundry list of “whys” — all those things you mentioned, Kate. But, in the end, what all of them boil down to is that I want to be one person, the same person at 6 pm, 9 pm, 11 pm, that I am the next morning. I want to be the person I can count on. All the other ones are still important to me — heath, setting an example, looking better, etc., — but this one is the one that has kept me focused on success.

    1. Why? Because I fear the wine face that looks back in the mirror at me.
      Why? That someone would guess I have a problem.
      Why? That I dislike me.
      Why? Because it hides loneliness.
      Iam 30 days in to not drinking. I do actually feel quite free.

        1. Why? Because I’m trying to numb pain
          Why? That pain doesn’t go away
          Why? I’m trying to act happy in front of my partner but it’s causing more pain
          Why? Because I can’t let go
          Why? I need to let go to help me not just us

        2. Thank you Kate.
          I did two and half years starting in 2018. Your blogs have really helped me to focus.

    2. I love what you wrote here Linda – “I want to be the person I can count on.” That’s a good feeling 🙂

    3. I love that reason. It so resonates with me but I didn’t know it until you put it into words. Thank you

  2. Why? Because I want to stop feeling shaky and hungover all the time.
    Why? Because I have had a stroke, and I shouldn’t be drinking at all.
    Why? Because I can’t get up in the morning as early as I would like to.
    Why? Because I really would like to go back to work.
    Why? Because I want to save money and buy a house vs. rent and spend our extra money on booze.

  3. I like drinking have for years but know normal people dont drink like i do . My husband was a great drinking partner but has ill health as a result so nags . I dont have hangovers am fit physically but suffer with anxiety for good reason according to the doctor . I feel i have given everything up and the booze is the last thing . I feel its for other people not me . Actually like to please myself for a change

    1. By all means, carry on drinking Katherine, if that’s what pleases you. But I wonder if that really is the case, given that you’re commenting on a blog like mine? I wonder if there’s a part of you that wants this to happen for just for yourself.

    2. I need to cut down and know it just got to get my mindset sorted . Your blog helps me start focusing . I gave up smoking so i can do it just feel i will have nothing left . Stupid but true x

  4. Clarity of thought and integrity of emotion. I love what Linda says about being the same person, no matter the time of day or night. I want to face life on its own terms, not distorted.

  5. Really found this helpful. The log and short of it is when I drink I’m not a very nice person. What stood out for me is when Kate said at the end we only get one life and we should be the best that we can be. Thanks again for saving my life x

    1. I totally agree with you Rachel, we only get one life and I now really want to stop drinking alcohol, so I can encourage myself to have a happier life when I wake up in the morning feeling better because I was sober the night before. X

    1. Why stop drinking? I want to improve my health and save money
      Why? I want to be hangover free and I want to spend money on more meaningful things
      Why? I want to live an exciting life. Savings from alcohol could help me restart horse riding which I love.
      Why? Life is short and I want to make the most of it.

  6. I want to quit drinking so that I can get my figure back, eliminate bloating, eat healthier, get my skin back to beautiful, stop feeling sorry for myself and terribly lonely. I turned 60 this month, cut off my siblings, they hurt me and don’t like my honesty I had brain hemorrhage 10 years ago and my kids moved out leaving me alone, I cannot drink alcohol, I had several accidents because of alcohol, I luckily kept my good job. All of the above reasons are why I want to break this awful habit. I start and I quit, my mindset is now more positive. I am ready to begin to say goodbye to the feelings of shame and guilt and hello to peace and happiness.

    1. Your whys resonate with me. Though I haven’t had a serious health issue, I want all those things you first mentioned. Also, I have had several accidents that I attribute to my drinking. I am also 10 years older than you. I made a commitment to stop last Saturday. I knew I had two dental appointments on Monday and Tuesday so that was an immediate motivator. I lasted one week when my husband bought a bottle of red wine. I had three glasses. That was Sunday. Yesterday, he came home with a bottle of vodka. I did not succumb though I thought about it. I think I have a better handle on it though. I really don’t feel like drinking most of the time. And I remind myself of how much better I feel if I don’t drink, how I start my day early, how I get some much more done. How much happier I am in general. How I’ve already lost two pounds, how I am not bloated and how my stomach feels so much better. I haven’t really been able to exercise this week because of the oral surgery but I plan on doing more exercise when I feel better. One more thing–when I don’t drink squandering upwards of 650 calories a day, I am able to eat more of the foods I love without feeling guilty–and still lose weight!

      1. Ok
        WHY does it hit you like a wave
        WHY do you think about it all the time
        WHY does everything seem to be connected to alcohol even the Jubilee
        WHY do I get so far then start again
        But have seen the lights just WHY do they switch off
        Can’t thank you enough for your help so far
        I would also like to thank everyone else who’s put there heart and soul here x

    2. To continue being sober makes me proud knowing I can achieve this
      To feel proud gives me the strength to eat a whole food diet and not emotionally eat or drink
      Eating a healthy diet and not drinking makes me the best version of myself !.‍♂️

    1. Why,why, why ,? This is what you say when you wake up the next day feeling awful.Like Linda and Ruth to be the same person all the time, and not have to look in the mirror and see that bloated wine face.,to be healthier and enjoy by husband, children and grandchildren all the time without having to make excuses about being ill.

  7. I want to quit drinking so that I can be healthier, both mentally & physically and be fully present & enjoy my own life. I want to continue to have better relationships with my husband and children, most importantly, and also with friends and other family. I want my days to be filled with nice things and to once again become creative and feel fulfilled. I no longer want to waste a second of the rest of my life! I want to experience ‘joie de vivre!’

  8. Why because I want to have good health, I would like to have a few more years with my children and hopefully one day grandchildren. A year ago I was diagnosed with breast cancer it’s been a crazy year of surgery, radiation medication’s. The sad thing is the cancer I have is linked to being overweight and excessive drinking. Can’t allow myself to spiral and lose any more time.

    1. Wishing you a speedy recovery Julie. Sounds like this is a good time to take proper care of yourself 🙂

  9. Why: I want to stop thinking about alcohol when can I have a drink, not feeling satisfied… wanting another.
    Why: I want clarity of emotions, clarity of mind.
    Why: I have so much more energy for me and others.
    Why: I am going to be a better person.
    Why:I am going to live a better life.

  10. I want to stop drinking so that I can start to like myself! I hate who I am when I drink and I always feel insanely guilty for my daughter and husband who I love implicitly!
    I hate the anxiety I get after drinking! I want to be healthier and happier! I’m a social drinker who in the right company over indulges! I want to be a better person someone my daughter can be proud of!

  11. I want to stop drinking because I am tired of failing myself. After 10 months alcohol free drinking now feels like failure.

  12. I feel absolutely rotten. I made it through one month alcohol free. Yesterday I put a shot of Irish cream in my coffee. I’m starting over again. I will try again.

    1. Cheryl, you have done so well and acknowledged that the shot of Irish cream has triggered you. Majority of people have dips in the road but your positivity saying you will get back on the thw right road is brilliant thinking. You’ve got this ❤️

    2. I answered my Why 378 days ago ( a little over a year) . I didn’t want to be tethered to the bottle of wine . It’s a crazy cycle. It was right before my 63rd birthday. I was tired of worrying about drinking. I wanted to feel good and have more energy and a clear head . I want to play with my granddaughter. Hike with my husband. Etc. I wanted to be myself again and respect myself.

  13. I want to stop drinking so I can truly connect with myself, my brain, my heart all the time and at 100%. When I’ve been drinking, that overhanging cloud makes that extremely difficult. I haven’t had a drink (loved that Chardonnay!) in over 2 months. My life is so much better. ♥️

  14. I want to stop drinking so I can get up earlier in the mornings and be motivated to wanting to do nice things I know that make me feel glad to be alive, like speed walking & hill walking for example: I used to love doing these things as I always felt great after it, now I can’t be bothered doing anything if I’ve been drinking the night before!! I don’t want to waste anymore days of my life feeling like crap tbh.

  15. I must quit alcohol, I make such a mess! Alcohol killed my sister at 38, drugs killed my brother at 45!
    I take a lot of painkillers when I’m on a bender so I won’t wake up, I now feel like I’ve shut down, I’m a good person sober..why do I this to myself

  16. I want to stop drinking to stop waking up with that jolt of anxiety and guilt. I want to stop feeling anxious and guilty that people will know ‘my secret’. If they knew my secret, which they probably do, I would feel so ashamed. I want to stop feeling ashamed and lift my head above the parapet to embrace life again. I want to embrace life because, as we all know, life is precious and it can very quickly be taken away….. I lost my daughter 2 years ago and I feel I owe it to her to stop drinking, she would be so proud of me. I have had a ‘break from alcohol’ for 80 days….. after years and years of false starts and broken promised to myself. Thankyou Kate for your no nonsense approach to ‘ having a break’ It makes sense to me…. I couldn’t embrace AA philosophy, although I tried…the higher power didn’t work for me. X Helen

  17. I want to be able to think clearly to remember what’s happening in my life appointments where I put stuff and not have my beautiful daughter worrying about me

  18. Why , I am sick of pretending, why am I sick of pretending it’s dishonest, I don’t want to be sneaking about any more, being dishonest to myself and my partner. Why, I want to feel alive and not full of guilt and shame and anxiety.Why I want my eyes to sparkle again. Why, I don’t want the slave master that alcohol is to me to control me anymore. Why, I am sick of trying to moderate and then drink more. Why I want to be free of this heavy burden that weighs me down. So today I will not drink and remember the times when I didn’t drink and was much happier. Thank you Kate and thank you too the other women who share their comments.

      1. Hi Nicky thanks for replying, I didn’t drink last night and do feel more connected to the world today. I hadn’t thought of that. I feel more energy too. It’s early days for me. So lovely to wake up and feel proud of myself.

  19. HI Kate, there are so many reasons why I should continue with my AF life (2 weeks tomorrow) – I want to get to know myself better, without the veil of alcohol blurring the lines. I want to not be zonked out with booze every night. I want to be in control of my life, not have booze dictate what I can and can’t do. I want to have new experiences which I have been unable to do before as I knew I would be too hung over to take part. I want to enjoy life more, be able to see things as they truly are. To stop investing my energy in something that does not serve me, but diminishes me. I want to leave my shame and guilt of drinking behind and forgive myself for wasting so much of my precious time.
    Your support is such a huge help, I cannot thank you enough – you are a life saver, I wish I had come across your inspiration a long time ago.

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