Kate's Blog

Problem Drinking Looks Nothing Like You See In The Movies!

Last night’s Oscars got me thinking about what makes a great movie.

In all honesty, if a director had to make a film about my drinking story, it would be incredibly dull.

Watching me fall asleep on the couch after ploughing through a bottle of wine, then going to work hiding a hangover? Not very interesting.

But… that’s kind of my point.

Real life isn’t like the movies. You don’t have to wait until something dramatic happens before you quit.

That’s what I’m talking about in today’s video.

Key points

Playing the movie forward

This is a visualisation technique you can use when you’re tempted to have “just one” drink. Imagine your drinking story as a movie: what’s really going to happen if you have one? What would we see taking place later that night and the following day?

Don’t forget that your drinking movie isn’t just 90 minutes, like the ones you see at the cinema. It’s actually going to be about 24 hours long, because that’s how long you deal with the consequences of drinking for. It could actually be longer than that, if you tend to suffer with hangovers for long periods.

Don’t look for the drama

The mistake a lot of people make when they’re weighing up whether or not it’s time for them to quit is this: they start looking for the drama. They’ll say things like, “Well – nothing really bad has happened yet.” “I haven’t had my rock-bottom moment.” “My drinking doesn’t look like the stuff you see in the movies.”

If you’re like most of the women I work with, your drinking story is going to look pretty dull and unremarkable most of the time. You’re just quietly drinking too much at home. Quietly feeling utterly miserable about it. Quietly hiding a killer hangover and all that shame and regret. 

Boring drinking is still bad drinking

Maybe no one else sees you drunk and there are no huge consequences in your drinking story. But there’s still all the stuff that YOU notice. That you feel. And the thoughts you have about yourself and your life. That kind of drinking is a long way off “rock bottom”, but it’s still really damaging, especially over time. 

What does your boring drinking movie look like?

Let me know about your drinking story in the comments below. When you’re writing your movie, you might want to consider the following: 

  • How does it start?
  • What will we see after a few hours?
  • How well do you sleep?
  • What will and won’t you do in the morning, when you’re nursing a hangover?
  • What extra problems might you be dealing with?
  • Who else might be affected by your lethargy, your short temper, your hangover?
  • What everyday things are going to be harder?
  • Is there something that often happens when you drink, that you’d hate others to know?
  • How will sobriety impact your outlook on the day?

Looking to create a sober life you love? Click here to find out 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. 


25 Responses

  1. Going down the pub, talking loads of nonsense, buying everyone drinks, being the last to leave, stumbling home, eating my dinner that my partners cooked for me, fast asleep by 8:30. Awake at 3am with a panic attack, no more sleep, wishing my face didn’t look so bloated and swollen when I start work online at 9am. Horrific

  2. My movie would have been drinking every evening to take the anxiety away for the evening only to find it 10x worse going to bed feeling exhausted, sick with even more anxiety, guilt and then to wake up and feel Yey more anxiety and start again?! Why?! (7 months sober now and my movies looking brighter each day)

  3. Kate a great visualisation and very helpful. Proof is your personal movie/ journey post drinking looks a lot more exciting and a great inspiration.

  4. My movie would be.. I have alot of pain in my shoulder, had MRI done and it looks like another surgery.in the same arm. I would drink a bottle and say, it helps the pain, only room wake up and not only is the pain back, but a hangover headache on top of it. Plus feeling like I’m a failure.
    I joined this course to get a grip and stop. I just love it when I’m not drinking.

  5. I’m single and mine would be I come home from work some days, (not every) and feel bored and I have a glass of wine because for me, I get somewhat energized and feel more extroverted and creative and like to talk to friends. That is usually fun for a bit but then I just keep drinking more and get a little too “honest” and start feeling grumpy.. I wake up and feel dehydrated and tired and think, why do I keep doing this? I’m in the U.S. and my coworkers drink and it’s kind of a joke..

  6. My drinking movie is so boring because it’s what we’ve all seen before! A horrible rerun! Playing the movie out has stopped me so many times this past year. I’m definitely up for an award in March 27th! A whole year of starring ME! Sober! Winning!

    1. Wow, congratulations Lisa – a whole year of sober winning! I hope you plan a special treat for your starring role of authentic YOU ❤️

  7. My drinking movie would be a boring comedy. I think it’s fun to drink and cook. I make up all kinds of things to eat and also huge messes in the kitchen. I will attempt to clean up the mess and after that I am usually worn out. Lol it’s really not that fun.

    1. The alternative scene could be a delicious meal cooked and enjoyed with energy to clean up afterwards. Have you tried any home made mocktails or alcohol-free alternatives? The market is expanding all the time due to increased demand, so experiment with finding ones you like.

  8. Everything you say Kate is always so true and used to be so me! My movie would start when I was alone knowing my partner would not be returning for a while and think let’s just have one drink…You know the next scene,Partner comes home I’m flat out in bed and wake at 3 feeling terrible. Next day is terrible feeling reached and guilty and partner very cross and upset as it has happened again. .What a waste if time and wrecks your relationship never ever worth it! I’m getting there with a few blips .Thanks again Kate for your inspiring Blogs I would not be without them

    1. Alcohol is such a massive time thief. Not just the drinking time, but recovering from the hangover and guilt afterwards! Nobody ever regrets NOT drinking 🙂

  9. My movie would be me realising that it’s all been a lie and the alcohol has not relaxed me at all. The guilt in the morning and the silent screaming in my head is unbearable sometimes. It would leave a person to say why has she done it what a waste

    1. Too true Janice, alcohol does not deliver on any of the promises it makes, but usually adds its’ own problems because now there’s a hangover to deal with too. Drinking to feel relaxed is like setting your house on fire to keep warm; not a good idea…

  10. I’d love a Sliding Doors style take on what it would gave have been like if I’d done this sooner! Both sides would be dull and boring admittedly, lol

  11. My movie starts with a stress ful day or afternoon. Not looking after myself in the afternoon and eating poorly. Just one quick one, oh no there goes the second so one more is so disappointing. The guilt sets in I hate myself as I have just done 35 AF days. Then the hiding the s__t sleep, and the covering up of my shameful behaviour. I am sure you get the picture.

    1. Your movie shows the importance of taking care of your own needs during the day Carole, so it doesn’t turn into a horror story at night. Step up the self care and the end of the movie will be a happy one…

  12. My movie is great all week feel good then the weekend approaches and what do I do open the wine after the first glass I feel bad so I have another then I fall asleep and wake feeling horrible, have to make a good weekend movie to make me feel good and in control.

  13. Hi I’ve just started reaching out for help and stumbled on your website. Reading and listening to you all is like your a fly on the wall in my home. My movie starts with me determined not to drink that day, then before I know it I’m having my first drink, hiding it and sitting in my bedroom, one turns in 2 and 3 and so on. I wake early hours feeling so much fear and anxiety who did I ring? What did I say? The feeling of dread will last for days sometimes and can’t remember anything. I feel like the worst mum in the world and beat myself up constantly and vow to myself that this is the last time…….until that voice appears again in my head and here we go again, it is pretty boring to watch but the feelings and dread I feel each time is like self torture. I do need help as I can’t do this alone how do I sign up

  14. It used to start with just one or two, being bored, going to the bar to meet guys or to get attention. Sometimes used to end in a blackout blur. Even if just was one or two I would sleep like crap. ALWAYS. And I would always feels bad in the morning no matter what, sometimes dealing with embarrassing texts. When I am sober I am usually in a good mood and know I am doing my best, while living my best life!

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