Kate's Blog

5 Mindset Tips For An Alcohol-Free March

I want to help you get March off to an incredible start.

If you’ve vowed to turn over a new leaf this month, something you’re definitely going to need is the right mindset.
Sure, strategies for stopping drinking are great, but if you’re not in the right state of mind, sobriety is always going to feel hard.
Here are a few of my tips and tricks for developing an awesome, alcohol-free mindset.

Clear your story about sober people

When I was drinking, I’d often say stuff like, “I don’t trust people who don’t drink!” I made lots of lazy assumptions about sober people and how dull they must be – perhaps you’ve done the same?
Now’s the time to let go of those ideas because a) they’re just not true and b) that stuff will hold you back.
Challenge the story you’re telling yourself by finding sober people online (Instagram is great for this). What are their lives like? Are they dull and boring? No way!
Choosing not to drink is a bit like choosing not to smoke – it really doesn’t say anything about you as a person.

Remember: you can’t figure things out from the safety of your comfort zone

You’re never going to know what alcohol-free living is really like unless you do it and keep doing it for at least a month (or ideally two – that’s when a lot of people see a big shift)
Success happens when you take action and you have nothing to lose by trying. Even if you fall flat on your face, you’re still moving forward (even if it doesn’t feel like it at the time).
You’re putting yourself out there – learning, growing and making progress. Seriously, when this finally clicks, you’ll look back and think ‘Oh, so that’s why all that happened.’

Your inner reality creates your outer reality

Recently I was out with a group of friends and one of them was frustrated she couldn’t drink because she was driving. When I offered to give her a lift home, she leapt at the chance, ordered some wine and immediately brightened up.
This is a great example of how powerful your mindset is.
My friend believed that by not drinking, she was missing out on something. The second she realised she could drink, her attitude and perception of the night changed. She felt better before she’d even had a sip!
My point is, if you think a month off booze is going to be thoroughly miserable, then guess what – it probably will be.
However, if you go into it from the perspective of what you’re going to gain, it’s much more exciting. I’ve written before about all the awesome things that happen when you stop drinking – why wouldn’t you look forward to that?

Make a firm decision, not a flimsy one

If you go into a break from booze thinking, ‘I’m going to try not to drink’ or ‘I hope I’ll be good this month’ then the chances are you will end up drinking.
That kind of approach means drinking is still on the table and you’re going to keep wrestling with yourself about what to do. If you let yourself drink then how much do you have? When? Where? The decision fatigue is exhausting.
It’s so much easier to make one firm decision and give it your all – no ifs, buts or maybes. (If you’d like some help to take a proper break from booze, check out my online course for more support.)

Understand that willpower will only get you so far

If alcohol-free living always feels like being on a strict diet, the chances are it won’t last. For long term, happy sobriety you need to get out of the willpower game and change your thinking about drinking.
Start analysing your thoughts and assumptions. What are you telling yourself about alcohol, day in, day out? Write down all the reasons why you think you drink. Then, go through your list point by point and explore whether those reasons are really true.
For example, if you think alcohol makes you happy, now’s the time to stop and analyse that. Is that really happening? What about all those times drinking has made you feel worse? And if you believe alcohol is helping you cope with stress, make sure you check out this blog post 🙂

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. 


52 Responses

  1. Thanks Kate I am starting over today and plan on making the whole of March booze free! I tried to stop back in Jan but wasn’t really committed, so what you said about making a firm decision definitely applies to me! I’m ready to do that now, wish me luck!

    1. Thanks for all your inspiration I am 15 days sober and feel great!! Today I was having a moment when seeing some posts and really wanted a glass of Champaign….I know I made the decision to start with 30 days and I needed to hear your blog tonight 🙂 thank you

    2. Hi Kate! I’m in ! As of today I am starting the program. I happen to be a binge drinker by the way. Thank you for the encouragement. j

  2. I have been totally AF since 1st Jan. I have just been on my first holiday whilst AF , it was a skiing holiday which normally would involve boozy lunches , apres ski and wine with dinner. I was apprehensive before I went and didn’t know what I was going to do. Out of 4 nights I had one glass of wine on 3. I have learnt my holiday wasn’t any less enjoyable for lack of alcohol , if anything it was more enjoyable, afternoons were spent skiing rather than finding somewhere to have lunch near an easy route back. The glasses I did have definitely did not increase my enjoyment of the evening.. lesson I have learnt is I now know I do not need alcohol on holiday to enjoy it.
    Sorry this was a long post but I had been anxious about my first AF hol. And even though it wasnt a 100% AF I am not beating myself up that I had a couple of glasses as it has taken the mystery away.

    1. Great, it sounds as if you learnt a lot from that experience. Now just imagine how good a completely alcohol-free holiday could be! If you’ve not tried that yet you should definitely treat yourself to a booze-free break. You’ll come home feeling amazing.

  3. I made a commitment to stop drinking for 100 days and that began on Jan. 28th so today is my day 37! I am pretty convinced already that I want to be alcohol free past the 100 days but I wanted to give myself a short term goal instead of saying forever. I’m still working on the myth and drinking makes me more interesting or fun to be around. I know that I already feel better and have less stress since I stopped drinking – I just need to believe that I can still do all of the fun things I did before alcohol free so that is what I’m going to be working on in March.

    1. Congratulations on your 37 days Tamara. 100 days is a great goal to be aiming for (saying forever can be very overwhelming / intimidating.) Keep an eye out for my blog next week – I’m going to be talking all about the concept of ‘fun’ in more detail 🙂

  4. Thanks Kate!
    I’m also starting over today. I’ve tried many times and failed. I’m at home a lot on my farm, and I see work that needs to be done. Instead, I go buy a bottle of wine, and accomplish nothing. I really want to kick this habit and regain my energy and enthusiasm for my wonderful life. Thanks so much for your inspiration!

  5. I need this today! I’ve been thinking of taking a break from alcohol for awhile. The tip about make a firm commitment, really hit home. I also like the idea about making a list if the reasons I drink . Thank you

    1. I’m glad this resonated with you Nancy. Good luck with your break from booze – you’ll feel so good for it! 🙂

  6. I’m about to mark six months AF. When I started, I told my family that I wasn’t sure how long I would be AF.
    Today, I can’t even imagine drinking. I don’t want to anymore and I feel the best I’ve ever felt in my entire life!! I feel whole and complete. At my six month mark, I plan to work on cutting some of the sugar I allowed myself when not drinking. Bonus, lost 20lbs!!!

    1. Woo hoo, congratulations on your six months Julie! It sounds as if alcohol-free living suits you… a LOT! 🙂

    2. I am really inspired by this post and I truly need to hear these stories ! Thankyou! After increasing amounts of wine each night and two recent episodes of drinking so much I had blackouts ( first time in years) the last resulting in my 6 year old asking me in the morning if I was still drunk ( first he had ever said these words to me ) and that I needed to not drink wine for two weeks ! So we shook on it and I told him and my daughter I wasn’t proud of being drunk and it was very silly and I didn’t want to do that again! Broke my heart that they had seen me drunk at all ! I think it’s the universes way of helping me. I can’t imagine life without drinking as it’s been a big part of my life for many years, so to hear it can be life changing in a positive way will help. I am now Day 2 and to be honest last night I didn’t even want to touch a drop. My motivator is my children and being around for them and healthy and happy. I am 45 so it’s well and truly time!
      So here’s to life without daily alcohol !

      1. Dear Donna
        It’s like reading my story….I can totally resonate with you…well done…I’m with you on day one of restarting…have been wallowing in self pity of late and lots of wine…the usual hating myself etc….today is my day one and I’m going to go back over course work…..AF is my only solution to a happy life…..keep going I’m with you⭐️☀️

        1. Thankyou Aphra and go you! Good luck on your journey. For me too! the waking up everyday why did i drink that much and feeling dusty all the time…. last night it was 8 pm and i needed groceries and for the first time in so long i cant remember i hadn’t had two or more glasses of wine so got in the car and went to the very quiet supermarket feeling amazing that i could get the groceries done in the evening and make my day more free it was really liberating. We can do this! 🙂

          1. I’m day 2 now and woke up feeling clearheaded:)….went swimming last night,so away from house and temptation….keep strong:)))))

  7. I did Dry January and then tried moderation lol I am not a moderate person, I’m all or nothing. I am on day 3 of six weeks off now. I think I’ll probably stay off of alcohol because as you point out the mental energy it takes to negotiate with myself every day is too much.

  8. I think the feeling of deprivation like I’m on a diet has really set me up for failure in the past. So I focus on letting go of something, the booze, that doesn’t work for me anymore, and feeling so much better about that being my decision, rather than feeling like I am forced to give something up!
    I personally don’t count days since I stopped drinking because for me that plays into my feeling of deprivation like “oh thank god I made it one more day”. I am not trying to knock anyone for keeping track like that because it does make sense.
    Having said that, I do know how many months I have under my belt and I am very proud of that!
    Thanks so much Kate for all that you do – I hear your words in my head all the time and they really help keep me on track 🙂

    1. I like your perspective on this. Letting go of something that doesn’t work for you is SO much more empowering than telling yourself you’ve got to give something up. It’s great to see you doing so well Karen 🙂

  9. Hi Kate.. your email couldn’t have come at a better time. I’m on day 1 today. I wish I could say this is my first day 1 but it’s not… it’s one of many over a 5 year period. I made a mental list of reasons why I drink and none of them are valid especially because I actually hate when I’m drinking. 99.8% of embarrassing moments occurred while I was under the influence of alcohol. And there are plenty of those as well. Today, I will begin to focus on the positive, not the negative. I do know I have to change my mindset. I’M NOT MISSING ANYTHING IF I DON’T DRINK! Thanks again.

    1. Yep, you’re definitely not missing anything! 5 years is a very long time to struggle with this Claire – if you need any more support on changing your mindset (a crucial part of this) then my stop drinking course would be perfect for you. I’m running another session again in April: https://thesoberschool.com/course/

      1. Kate – I’m way ahead of you. Added my name to the waitlist right after I posted my comments yesterday. I’m hoping to join your April session. Thanks for all you do.

  10. I am back to day one, yet again! It seems to be a Monday morning thing then I get to Wednesday and get a bottle of wine, on the hope that will be the only week day until the weekend but it never works out like that. Must be strong as I want to be alcohol free.

    1. I can’t believe you’re nearly at the two year mark already Mary! I expect to see the superwoman costume making another appearance 🙂

  11. I’m starting (again) today! I’ve had small recent successes in the past, but still reach for the wine in the evening, even after telling myself that morning that I wasn’t going to drink that night.
    During my last two pregnancies (within 2.5 years) I’ve never felt better, because I was sober, healthy, and hydrated! Most people think pregnancy makes you feel worse, but for me, it was amazing because I wasn’t drinking! I strive to get back to the “best version of myself” through self-discipline of course, (not another pregnancy making me do it!) =P
    As I mentioned above, I’ve had small recent successes in the past, but then I give in to “excuses” of “deserving it” after I put both babies down to bed. Not anymore! #4: I’m making a firm decision as of today, right now. I’m exciting for my bright, clear eyed, rested future! 🙂
    P.S. – I LOVE your wine o’clock guide. It was like you were reading my mind. 🙂 My list of “reasons to stop drinking” got really long! I didn’t realize there were so many reasons.

    1. great work Sara, i was the same during pregnancies felt so clear headed! then i used my excuse of the kids i think to drink daily and same as you i might get a Monday Tuesday not drinking (occasionally!) then by Wednesday i really wanted that bottle of wine, certain wines i could do half a bottle and the others i would have to drink the lot. the embarrasing moments and then finally my kids commenting on me being drunk was enough for me to go Wow! the universe has given me a chance to be more healthy and the last two days just remembering those little people questioning why i had drunk so much on Satuday has kept me really strong. Good luck with your journey and feeling clear headed, healthy and hydrated .

  12. I do not drink alcohol.
    Bottom line-
    No more headspace, no more decision fatigue.
    Occasionally, when stressed, I have to remind myself that wine is not an
    alternative to alleviate the situation. After that quick pronouncement to myself
    “I am not a drinker”, it has been easy to move on.
    Thanks for the utmost support, wisdom and encouragement Kate.
    Enjoy your holiday!

  13. I did Kate’s Unstuck course in January and it was so helpful. I have not had a drink since the course began and I know I need this blog and other “tools” to help me keep on going. I need to remember that it is not about willpower. Right now, for me, this is a key to staying alcohol free.

  14. Love your blog Kate. It’s always positive and life affirming. I have enjoyed being AF this past year. It’s like your quote. “Sobriety delivers everything alcohol promised”!

  15. Jan 1st was the last day I drank.i was aiming for 66 days which is almost up.This is the longest I have ever gone except whilst pregnant.it really is the mindset that makes the difference and really having a reason (s) to want to stop. I’m really enjoying AF, I originally wanted to moderate after the 66 but I’m worried if I try to have a few I will go back to old habits. So I’m going to go AF for 120 days and then reassess but I have a feeling it might be for good this time.

  16. I am alcohol free since Jan 1st too. I regularly check and read this blog to remind myself and motivate it’s great!! The question is “how do you give up or not have temptations on special occasions, celebrations??”
    My life before with alcohol I was constantly setting rules, negotiating and trying to moderate, but always there would be an occasion or celebration, an excuse to drink! where I drank too much. I don’t want to go back to that.

  17. I just want to to encourage those of you who are considering setting a goal for not drinking. I just finished Kate’s course as well, and her suggestion of setting a goal has been huge for me!!! I set a goal of 100 days,and plan on not drinking again, ever, because I do t want to go through the quitting again! And so many other reasons of course. Kate’s explanation of saying”forever”, as well as “one day at a time” is so great. “Forever” is overwhelming and day by day is exhausting, as you have to make that decision every day. I’m on my first AF holiday, and thoroughly enjoying it. It’s so nice to not have to worry about alcohol and my husband and I are laughing a ton!!! Thanks Kate!!!

  18. Hi
    I’ve just started drinking after 19 months of no drinking. Now I cannot seem to stop or imagine life not drinking. I found it extremely hard to socialize and was extremely lonely & isolated when not drinking. I now have had a few great nights out and just can’t seem to do it while sober.
    In saying that, every drama that’s happened in my life can be tied to alcohol, so am aware of the damage it can do.
    Going to have to bite the bullet and give it up once again.
    Thanks for the article

  19. Woke up this morning still drunk and with so much anxiety that I have hid away in the bedroom out of embarrassment again. I Cant keep doing this to myself and family, so this has been my day one. Am glad to have found the site as so many of the posts are relevant to me.

  20. Day one for me (again) … thats if you don’t count the 50ml minibar bottle of Vodka consumed around 8am so as not to leave any booze in the house.
    Best I’ve done to date is 16 months sober. Last year I managed 9 months but let a toxic relationship get the better of me and used how I was treated As a precursor to taking it back up again.
    Question – Would I even have been in this relationship had I been sober??
    Highly likely …NOT!!
    Last week I made up my mind to sever ties with this person for good and I truly hope he can leave me alone to heal.
    Can’t ever seem to find the “right” time to stop again – today I decided, as I struggle to look for the right time that it has to be today. I cannot sustain what I am doing. My “long” weekend (long cause I had to have Sunday off work as a result of my drinking) saw me function in a cloud of alcohol. I drank the bottle of wine I bought Saturday evening when I woke up Sunday morning.
    My habit is such that I can have binges that literally pretty-much last for weeks. On a number of occasions I have almost ended up taking myself to hospital for detox management, and if I didn’t have prescribed diazepam I would have had to have gone there.
    I have put myself and others at risk because of my drinking. It is just so widely accepted in our culture…
    Often I ask myself – what will it take for me to get it? Seriously injuring myself and/or others??
    I can not let it get to that
    I have a few good non-judgemental supports I met through AA and a couple of close friends and my family who understand where I am at with it. I quite like the idea of using this website and forum for extra support.
    At times I think that it is so unfair that this is my lot in life but I am hoping one day that my perspective will shift
    I know I will feel better. I know it’s not gonna be easy at times. I know I need to adopt a mind-set that doesn’t see me “giving up “something, rather, that I can view it as gaining something.
    Wishing all who have found themselves here the very best

  21. Hi Kate!
    I took your course in January – 68 days AF and still going strong! I love my tool box! No if’s, ands, or buts!!

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