Kate's Blog

What Our ‘New Normal’ Can Teach Us About Sobriety

Right now, we’re all getting used to a ‘new normal’.

Can you imagine going back in time, and trying to explain to the January 2020 version of you what life is like today?
I would never have believed so much could change within a few months, but it has. 
This got me thinking about our ability to change and adapt. 
In fact, when it comes to sobriety, there’s a pretty valuable lesson we can learn from this lockdown life… 

The breakdown:

We adapt quicker than we think

When the lockdown first began, I couldn’t get over how quiet it was in my local town. Now I no longer stop and stare at the closed shops – I’ve just become used to it. 
What are you doing now, without even thinking about it? Perhaps keeping a 2 metre distance from others has become instinctive. Or maybe you’d never used Zoom before and now it’s second nature. 
Many things that seemed unthinkable a few months ago are now part of ‘normal’ life. 

What’s the lesson here?

Most of us don’t like change. It’s uncomfortable at first and we worry that it’s always going to feel unfamiliar. But that isn’t the case. 
If you can find a new normal in the middle of a global pandemic, then you can find a new normal in sobriety. Not drinking won’t always feel strange – you’ve just got to give it time.
(Plus, unlike the coronavirus, sobriety is awesome!)

Take a proper break from booze

The reason I’m always going on about this is because finding a new normal takes time. My online course is 6 weeks long because sobriety isn’t a one and done job – it takes a while to settle in.
When you’re in the cycle of ‘being good’ from Monday to Thursday each week – and then drinking all weekend – you never get to a new normal. In fact, all you do is repeat the hardest bit of sobriety each week (I wrote more about this here.)

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. 


35 Responses

  1. Love this. I was only saying yesterday that the worst bit of lockdown (for me) was the week leading up to it and then the first week. So much change. Since then we’ve slowly got used to it. I need to apply this logic to my own drinking for sure. I always quit, then something happens and I decide it’s too hard, so I never get past the awkward beginning bit.

    1. I agree, that week before the lockdown was stressful, with major changes being announced every day. To bring this back to your drinking – I’d compare what you’re doing now to living in that pre-lockdown week over and over; you’re doing the hardest and scariest bit again and again. Hope that makes sense? If you need some help to make a proper break happen, I wanted to make sure you knew about my online course? You can find out more here: https://thesoberschool.com/course/

  2. Thank you, I have realised how well I can accept change.
    Giving up alcohol during this strange time proves that it’s possible to be alcohol free under stressful situations.

    1. Exactly – if you can make this happen now, you can do anything! It’s great to see you taking action and rolling with the changes (on all fronts!)

  3. I loved the sound of 1st the sheep and then the birds in the background. And yes, we have adapted and I am starting again today

    1. Those sheep aren’t normally so noisy! I think they just wanted to crash my video. Great to you hear you’re getting back on track Julie.

    2. Yes, this has been a time of great change for all of us. I have envisioned myself during this 6 week course as not being sober and continuing as I was going, drinking 2 or 3, maybe 4 strong drinks a night. Then I see myself now. I can’t even count the ways being sober is better. It is a whole new life and is an upgrade beyond words. Thank you Kate for this beautiful gift of a lifechanger.

      1. AF living clearly suits you Pamela! Well done. It’s great seeing you go from strength to strength ❤️

  4. Hi Kate i think this is a great topic! you are absolutely right that there is a parallel between the adjustment of not drinking and dealing with the “new normal” of coronavirus. At first it feels really strange and uncomfortable, then you sort of get used to that “new normal” and adjust your behavior accordingly. Once in awhile i think it would be nice to have a drink to take the edge off the current situation but then i think “that is NOT going to help at all and i know where it would lead which is to make me feel worse with more anxiety”! So i just acknowledge the thought and that i’m feeling that way and then i let it go. It doesn’t actually take long for that feeling to pass and it helps when i focus on the positives of being able to stay home with my family and spend more time together fully aware and sober every minute of every day! Practicing gratitude overall helps too. Thank you for your blog thoughts they are spot on!

    1. Thanks for sharing your experience Karen. It’s so important to remember that how AF living feels in the early days isn’t how it’s always going to feel, so we can’t let that put us off. I’m so pleased you’ve found a new normal with sobriety!

  5. This is so true! I’m now on day 1032 of my “proper break” from alcohol and my new sober normal is brilliant. For any of you thinking about it, I highly recommend Kate’s class. Having structure and support really helps.

    1. Thank you J – and congratulations on your 1032 days. Those are some seriously impressive numbers!!

  6. I’m so glad that I’m spending this time working on my sobriety – your course is wonderful and I’m glad that I’m making alcohol-free life my new normal

  7. Lockdown has changed our lives and people have learnt to Respect the guidelines to protect themselves and others hence social distancing now norm … for me it is to Respect my body and Love who I am now without distorting my health and life … AFL
    A blessing Corona Virus made me wake up and want to Live: and survive So Why Drink and do to myself harm when I’m so afraid of the Virus … so lucky your supporting me/us cause everyone else sticks up with booze as pubs closed … we are lucky we have good back up to keep us strong & motivated ♥️

    1. You make such a good point here Joan – at a time when we’re all really concerned for our health, it just doesn’t make sense to be drinking something that causes us harm (and weakens our immune system). Good to see you going from strength to strength at the moment!

  8. Loved this video Kate!! It’s so true what can become your new normal! I started lockdown in a horrendous way with my drinking, thinking there was no other way and I’d lost all hope of bringing myself back from that horrible place!! And thank u to ur course I’m heading full throttle into my alcohol free lifestyle!! I could have not carried on as I was!! Lockdown has been a great experience for me in that sense!! Thank u Kate!!

    1. That’s brilliant, B – I’m so pleased to hear how you’ve turned this around. You are going to come out the other side of this lockdown in a much happier, healthier place… and that is a huge achievement! 🙂

  9. Thank you so much for this video Kate! I love the opportunity to see the English countryside and hear the sheep! I’m a graduate of October 2019, but the holidays tricked me into trying moderation. Ugh! Today is day 15 and I feel so much better and am so proud of myself for trying again. The first 4 to 5 days are seriously tough but sobriety gets so much easier after that. I can’t imagine an easier time to quit drinking; the lockdown is doing a lot of the work for us!

    1. It’s great to hear you’re back on track Susan. This is the perfect time to work on something like this! 🙂

  10. I quit in September for 3 months and then December happened vacation, birthday, holidays, and then a virus. I am just 24 hrs. in and quite vulnerable. Hopping this is the first day for the rest of my life, I’m getting too old for this

  11. Thanks Kate-such a wise observation, and so true! I am now teaching all my exercise classes virtually, as a technophobe- something I would not even of dreamed of at the beginning of March!! The first few weeks were SO hard, but now I love it, actually even prefer it!!! I suppose it would be the same if I actually did the complete AFL, rather than just the Monday-to Thursday way…you are inspiring, Thank you!

    1. That is a great example of changing and adapting to something that seemed unthinkable before! I would encourage you to take a proper break from drinking. You really are repeating that hardest bit otherwise (and teaching yourself that sobriety is not sustainable, and can only be endured for a few days). You’re missing out on the good bit! 🙂

  12. I have found this period of lockdown an ideal time to quietly get AF days under my belt without the usual external triggers. I am 14 days in this time and committed to a full 90 days (where I hear the real shift takes place and the good stuff comes) I feel I can cope with all of the juggling of work, childcare, homeschooling, worry etc 100 times better AF and seeing improvements in my appearance already.

  13. Hello Kate so lovely to hear from you. I am so glad that I have found soberity and made the necessary changes in my life. Like the changes I have made in adapting to the new “normal” with Covid 19 virus, I have surprised myself how I have made life changes to my habits to abstain from alcohol. I am about to enter my 5th month Alcohol Free and I am feeling great and so thankful that I am not drinking during this Covid 19 virus. Thanks again to you and your course. X

    1. This is fantastic Mary Ellen. Many congratulations on your sobriety and I’m so pleased to hear all is well with you. This AF lifestyle clearly suits you! 🙂

  14. Hi Kate! Today marks 30 days AF! I am so thankful for this class and can’t imagine the condition I’d be in if I hadn’t decided to join. Such an unexpected blessing during the pandemic.
    *I noticed my skin in the mirror when I was driving yesterday – beautiful sunshine coming in —- OMG MY PORES ARE SMALLER!!!! I’m thrilled!!

    1. Congratulations on your 30 days Katie! I’m so pleased you’re feeling (and seeing!) the benefits already 🙂

  15. I’m feeling a bit like Katheryn. I have been sober for 15 years but my brothers death in March and then lock down drove me to the depths and I started drinking again. I hate myself for being so weak but am alone at home and feel so lonely . The self loathing and the constant giving up and starting again is eating me away. However today is day 2 of what I hope will be the beginning of a more sustained AF life .

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