Kate's Blog

“I Just Want To Numb Out And Escape For A Bit”

Many people want to numb out these days.

We’re living in difficult times – and when things are tough it can be tempting to drink more, just to get a break at the end of the day.
You crave that numbness. That feeling of turning off the world. 
So… let’s talk about it.
This video is all about how to deal with the urge to numb out and escape. 

Key points

You’re not really numb

If you’ve ever got drunk and still felt really sad, happy or angry, you’ll know that alcohol is not actually that great at numbing your emotions. You can still feel them, right? Alcohol is an unreliable numbing agent, to say the least. 

What actually happens

Even when alcohol does help to facilitate some numbness – or it acts as a bit of a distraction – all that really happens is you shuffle your problems along by a few hours. Things never feel easier at 4am when you’re tired and hungover, yet unable to sleep.

Choose better quality problems

Here’s the thing: you can choose to sit with a craving to numb out and deal with the discomfort of that. Or you can choose the discomfort of being hungover, tired and anxious. Sobriety will get easier with time, but drinking won’t. So which problem would you rather have?

Healthy escapism

Numbness is really just escapism, and there are many ways to get that without drinking. Binge watch Netflix, go out for a walk, dance, read or do something else that’s completely absorbing and distracting. 

A radical idea

As a drinker, it didn’t occur to me that I could just sit with difficult emotions and feel them. We’ve been taught to run from pain and numb it at all costs. But really, it’s just part of life. We can sit with difficult emotions. They pass quicker when we let ourselves feel them.
If you’d like some help and support to create an alcohol-free life you love, click here for details of my online course.

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. 


60 Responses

    1. This video really could have been tailor-made for me! I definitely ‘numb out’ either at 5 o’clock on non work days or the minute I get home on work days. I don’t even have anything to numb out from, my life is very good! I suspect, after watching the video, that I am ‘numbing out’ from the rubbishness of the previous night of drinking. Tonight I am going to sit and just feel – I’m even looking forward to that problem and now I’ve told myself it will be a problem, I’m more ready for it. One thing I have found that helps on my very few non-drinking nights is a huge mug of tea, followed by another.

  1. Well timed and well composed. Thanks Kate. I am looking forward to my challenging yet connecting yoga class tonight to unwind from this anxiety. I am so thankful for this resource.

      1. Well timed snd very helpful! Thank you for this discussion. Getting numb and escaping temporarily from anxiety are my primary reasons for drinking.

  2. What you said about turning the lights off and sitting in the dark… well that really hit the nail on the head for me. This has to stop. Looking forward to your course.

  3. This is perfectly put. I quit drinking a year and a half ago and the excuse of “numbing out” at the end of the day was totally me. Thank you for this.

      1. Mel
        I am 7 days AF and feel a lot better and sleep has got better . I drank to numb out and escape plus for confidence,I drank if I was happy ,sad angry and it made things worse. I find your video s and blogs very helpful Kate thankyou

  4. Went 5 weeks alcohol free. Honestly woke every morning feeling 30 years younger ! I was waking up thinking of going out raving Fast forward and Iv had a few beers and a bottle of wine over 2 weeks. Feeling tired and my 50 yrs old . Back to alcohol free for me. And I read read read through the evenings !

    1. It sounds as if alcohol free living is the best choice for you Jo. Just double check you’re doing the right mindset work and not trying to stay sober on willpower alone. If you need any help with this, my online course covers this work in detail: https://thesoberschool.com/course/

      1. Hi …. I am not AF…. I so.wished I was… I resonate with everything in the video…. I wake up every morning and the firat thing I think about is drink…. what I drank last night… Will I find the willpower not to drink tonight. I feel so.miserable all the time. Kate… your comment about focussing on willpower rather than.the right mindset…. what do you mean?
        I try use willpower along with thinkung that I will feel better when I wake up early hours…. but sometimes I juat don’t have the willpower. I find it hard distract my self in the evenings during lock down..
        I am so fed up…. I wished I had joined the last course .
        I do enjoy reading and listening to your emails…thank you.

        1. Hi Sarah, relying on willpower alone is always going to be a problem. It makes sobriety a lot like going on a diet – i.e. it’s always going to feel hard and like you’re missing out. The approach I teach in my course is completely different. We work on transforming your mindset around alcohol (and understanding what it does and does not do) so that you can quit and feel good, rather than deprived. My next class will be in January 🙂

        2. I’m currently in the course, and it is amazing. I’m AF for 13 weeks, but I have been here before. I think this time I will be AF forever. I think the difference is the education of this course and the reading material recommended. I’ve done day one so many times I never want to do it again. Good luck

          1. Thank you for your comment….Has the course been that helpful to you?
            Well done on being AF… good luck to you …

  5. Thanks Kate. I needed this today. I have been pushing myself too much (typical at this time of year with competing projects) and want so desperately to shut it all off shortly after it gets dark – so early!! Distracting works for now but needed this reinforcement!

    1. Hope you give yourself a much needed break and some time to yourself Mary – it sounds as if that’s what you’re really craving 🙂

  6. I just want to write a small message of hope and excitement for those out there struggling: after reading the post about gaining back hours in your day with a hangover last week, I have been alcohol free for 7 days. I feel fantastic! I am committing to myself to take 4-6 weeks off from drinking and then see where the road takes me. I’m not sure why that particular post resonated so deeply with me, but I feel so much gratitude. Thank you Kate!!

  7. I just watched your video. I have recently
    moved from my home state to be closer to my grandson, daughter and son. I live alone for the first time in my 55 year life. I am a long time binge drinker. I have been living here in Florida now for 6 weeks and have drank to “numb out and escape” every night since. I contracted the Covid 19 virus and 2 weeks ago and am now isolated even more and want to numb out even more. All that said, I feel ashamed, weak and anxious that is how I am living.
    I am glad I came across you video. Today
    And tonight. Thank you. I appreciate your wisdom and your strength.
    I am going to do my best not to drink and to be present in my lid

    1. It sounds like a difficult few weeks for you Kelly. I hope you can look after yourself by staying alcohol free – it’s a very kind thing to do for yourself during a tough time 🙂

    2. Hi
      Numbing vs feeling. Hmm which one will grow me. Feeling! Yeah. On my 6th day. Its working but have to stay committed to my choice, like anything else in life. Good advice for me.

  8. Thank you yet again Kate! I have loved listening to you over the last couple years. I will be honest I have had THE worst year..stuck inside..not working..turned my leased car in..fight with a neighbor who was my sober support AND broke up with my boyfriend..I feel so alone. I’ve thought of drinking(a little bit) and I have a year but I kno it’s not going to solve anything..thanks to you I had a year in 2017 too just from listening to you..anyone out there who is struggling just HOLD ON cuz sometimes early sobriety is not good but I keep holding on hoping one day I’ll be living the life of my dreams and that alcohol is NOT going to give me the life of my dream!!

    1. Sounds like a really tough time for you Colleen. Remember that drinking won’t change anything – it will just make those problems harder to deal with. You can do this!

  9. I can agree with everything in this video. I drink every night a glass of wine. It has gotten to the point of now 3 or four a night. I don’t like the feeling of everyday waking up tired. I don’t even feel drunk when I drink those drinks. It is habitual. I need a helping hand for me not to be terrified of going a single night without alcohol. Change is always difficult.

  10. Thank you for the video. I know that I need to stop drinking as it is ruining my life and slowly killing me, trouble is just don’t know how. First thing I think about when I wake up is my first drink, then it is downhill from there. Looking forward to joining the course as I am too weak to do it alone, thanks.

  11. Day 11 of no wine! I absolutely refuse this lock down to sit drinking on my own then deciding to FaceTime people as I was pissed and lonely. I felt like I was a pain. I felt rubbish and looked dreadful. It’s 4 weeks until my hubby is home from working abroad so I’m going to try and use that time to not drink. I can’t promise myself I won’t at Christmas but that is too far away right Now. One day at a time!

  12. Hi Kate
    7 days and I will not lie The Weekend was tough, kept busy and then watched Niall horan as a treat with a non alcoholic glass of wine filled with ice!
    Woke up Sunday refreshed and Most importantly started today achieving my lists not putting things on to tomorrow’s list as can’t face.
    A walk on the beach or a good book and hot cup of tea are my go to’s if thinking about drink or wanting to treat myself.
    Blogs keeping me focused.

  13. Great talk and advice! I bought myself some flowers (total cost the same as a bottle of my usual wine), and every time I see them, it reminds me that I am making a positive and good choice that will help me stay younger for longer!

  14. Great info Kate, I am actually recovering from covid and it’s my first day that I am allowed out as my isolation is over. All I want to do is have a long walk with the dogs in the fresh air, it’s the simple natural and normal pleasures that I am now craving not alcohol so I will keep reading your blogs and listening to your videos for encouragement and not rely on alcohol to escape, thank you Kate

  15. This is me to a T!!
    I actually got very emotional by the end! I am sick of drinking! I have 2 girls, and I’m always tired, hungover, fed up! Enough is enough! Thank you for your video xx

  16. The example of the two problems is great, sitting with the craving and working though it or having a drink and going through all the side effects. Such a no brainer when put like this. Today I am 47 days AF. I am in week 6 of your fabulous course. I still have cravings but not every day and they are not as intense. I try to listen to my cravings to see what they are really about. Sometimes I am just hungry. Other times it is not as simple. What I do know is that I would rather sit with the craving rather than give in and waste 47 days and then have to go back to day one. When I need to numb out I try to distract myself. Tonight I went out and watered the pots plants and it gave me joy to see how they are progressing with some extra TLC. Drinking time took away from plant care. Sometimes I make a cup of tea and have a cheeky biscuit on the side.(I lie, three or four cheeky biscuits) The cravings really do only last for a few minutes at a time so I say to myself, they are not super cravings, I can deal with this. What I don’t want to deal with is a hangover. Thank you Kate for all your inspiration and support.

    1. I’m thrilled to see you going from strength to strength Sue! Congratulations on your 47 days – enjoy those cheeky biscuits! 🙂

      1. I actually cried while listening to your video, I need to make drastic changes to my life ……drinking every night …. Will ruin my life

  17. Absolutely can’t wait to join your course when you next have a space! Whilst I wait I’m finding your blogs so inspiring! This is day one for me of taking a three month break from drinking! Looking forward to discovering new ways to unwind that don’t involve wine o’clock! Thanks Kate

  18. Thank you Kate
    I have been part of the all consuming culture of drinking all my adult life. I live unhappily with a man who drinks all the time but sees it as no problem. Laughs about it. I am fighting. Myself mainly. I do love the taste of .red wine . I really enjoy it. But a bottle is so easily consumed. Every night. No problem. I have a heart problem. Both broken and drowned. I am not drinking for a while to numb anything but for my survival. I am often so numb that I might as well not be here.
    So, I am “feeling the fear and doing it anyway”, surrounded by people who are in denial about having any problem at all .
    You are both young and beautiful and also very wise. Thank you for your words. They do help.

    1. Hi Jill. I’m fairly new to this site (about 2 1/2 months alcohol free). Your post hurts my heart…I can so feel your pain in your words. I noticed this was posted one year and a day ago. I am wondering how you are doing today. Praying that today is a brighter day and you are happy & healthy. Blessings!!

  19. The biggest and bestest thing that happened to me after now 6 months of sobriety was the realisation that alcohol had always weakened my ability to cope with uncomfortable feelings and had always made everything seem worse. I’ve never felt stronger or less anxious . Being sober is like being a child again , minus the chopper bike and packet of spangles ! Anna (51)

  20. Numbing out myself – because I’m afraid to feel. Anger, boredom, sorrow, pain. Your point about allowing the pain rings so true.
    Haven’t had a drink for a week, and today – Saturday – I’ve really craved it to escape my life – two young kids and I just want to get away. From them, myself and my way of being a terrible parent at times.
    Thank you so much for your site, Kate. Have read a bit and seen a couple of videos. Truly great stuff!
    Take care!

  21. Another great video Kate that really resonates with me. I’m new to the Sober School and so happy I found your site — It’s like having a best friend who totally ‘gets it!’ You are so generous with your time and content, and helping so many of us. Isn’t it great to think of the butterfly effect of your work — so many of us off the booze (because of your help), more productive, better versions of ourselves, and how that impacts all those around us! Thank you!

  22. all very interesting reading, just completed my first night. I am in my 70’s my drinking has increased over the years where I find I am forgetting what I said or watched on television the previous night. I drink to escape an unhappy partnership, he is suffering from depression (now getting treatment) and find it very draining and I turned for wine to escape. my plan to to follow you and see how we go. Signed for the course in April

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Most recent

unexpected benefits main-min
10 Unexpected Benefits Of Quitting Drinking
If you’ve been toying with the idea of going alcohol free for a while, then you’ve probably already thought about the benefits this might bring. There are the obvious things like waking up without a hangover, looking better and making the most of your...
Read More
You're the only one main-min
Think You're The Only One Doing This? You're Not Alone
If you’re like most of the women I coach, then I’m guessing your drinking tends to happen behind closed doors, in the kitchen or on your sofa at night. Hardly anyone else knows about it, because you do such a great job of hiding it. You don’t skip work...
Read More
worry about this main-min
If You’re Going To Worry About Anything, Worry About This
If lecturing you about the dangers of drinking was all it took to motivate you to quit, then you wouldn’t be reading this. And personally, I much prefer talking about the benefits of alcohol-free living, because it’s such a lifestyle upgrade after all. But...
Read More

Enter your name and email below to download your free Wine O’Clock Survival Guide

As well as the guide, we’ll also send you helpful and inspiring weekly emails with free resources, tips & advice, plus details of our awesome products and services. We’ll take care of your data in accordance with our privacy policy and you can unsubscribe at any time.