Kate's Blog

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

“At the end of each day, I just want to numb out, switch off and escape the world.”

When life is tough, it can be tempting to drink just to get a break.

You want to shut down the world… and you crave that numbness

So how can you quit drinking if it means sacrificing that escapism and down time?

That’s exactly what today’s video is all about.

Key points

Alcohol is an unreliable numbing agent

Have you ever got drunk and then felt sad afterwards? You know that kind of maudlin, teary drunkenness? Or perhaps a few drinks led you to feel even angrier and you decided to tell that person what you really think of them. Or perhaps you’ve gone to a comedy show and laughed and laughed, despite having lots to drink?

In those moments, you’re not numb. You’re not switched off. You’re not void of emotion. You’re drinking, but your feelings are still right there. If alcohol truly numbed people, there would never be fights in pubs because no one would have any emotions! There would be no sadness, no anger, no passion and no laughter whilst drinking.

The fantasy of numbing out

The idea that alcohol switches you off is a bit of a fantasy in my opinion. It can’t do that unless you drink so much that you’re unconscious. (And none of us thinks that’s a good idea.) Before the unconscious stage, you still have the ability to think about whatever it is that’s so bad.

All alcohol can really do, if you’re lucky, is distract you. And that’s an important distinction. Because like I said, we never truly switch off, unless we’re unconscious. But we can switch our focus away from certain thoughts and feelings and use alcohol for distraction. The whole process of drinking is one big distraction.

Language matters

If you can start saying, “I drink because I want some distraction from my life and my troubles”, that’s a win. Because talking about the distraction is much more helpful than telling yourself the fantasy of, “I drink because alcohol completely numbs me. It totally switches me off and I can’t feel anything when I drink.”

Talking about drinking for distraction is much less dramatic than “numbing out”. It takes the temperature down a bit. And we can work with that. On my Getting Unstuck course we can look at why you want so much distraction and how else we could create that for you.

Looking to create a sober life you love? Click here to learn more about my Getting Unstuck 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. 


12 Responses

    1. I’ll be in touch with more information about the course in early January, but mark your calendar for Monday 8th January 2024 when it starts. 🙂

  1. Thanks Kate,
    Alcohol doesn’t numb out or provide rest, peace, relief. These days when im tempted to buy into the lie that I deserve a treat (wine) , I’ve started to question myself and play it forward as the truth is, Ive always felt worse, more exhausted, less capacity to manage life when I drink. Its a well trodden path and hard to break this habit which is reinforced at every corner, social event and friendship I have and social circle I know. I told my lovely husband last week not to tempt me or buy me wine and that I’m embarking on new coping strategies. Im honest with people, I really dont mind saying, I cant do it anymore, not worth the sleepless nights and fatigue…

    1. Good luck. I was a heavy drinker and haven’t had a drink now since first week of September. I had to ask my husband to support me. The first few weekends were hard then after that – he stopped drinking too! Both so much happier. Wishing you success.

      1. It’s great that you have support at home Mary and well done on 2 months of sobriety – it’s such a fabulous feeling waking up hangover-free!

  2. I have done the course in April 2017 and it was the best thing in my life. Never had a drink after.
    Feeling so much better and have just run another Marathon.
    Thanks so much Kate. X

  3. This craving for numbness is a common justification for drinking. But the greater the numbness, the greater the price we pay. With regular alcohol use, you need increasing amounts to achieve the same level of numbness and we all know where that leads.
    Keep going sober sisters x

  4. I love this video! So true! The idea that alcohol numbs you is just a myth – I’ve always found that it heightens my emotional state at the time (after the first drink anyway). This idea of alcohol being a distraction is just so helpful in addressing the reasons we drink. Thankyou for this xx

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