“How can I get sober when I love drinking wine? And cocktails? And beer?”
At the height of my drinking career, I asked myself this question a lot.
I knew I needed to stop and I knew cutting down didn’t really work for me.
I hated the way I felt when I broke the promises I’d made to myself.
And yet I still loved drinking.
If you’re in a similar position, let’s talk about the best way to move forward:
We haven’t always loved alcohol.
It’s important to recognise this. Think back to your first alcoholic drink – what was it like? For me, the taste of wine made me gag. But I pushed on through and learned to tolerate it.
I taught myself to love it because I was already sold on the idea that drinking was going to make me more relaxed, confident and fun. For many of us, this cultural conditioning is part of our belief system before we’ve even had our first drink.
If it was really about the taste…
We’d have no problem switching to alcohol-free wines and beers. The range available now is terrific. And have you noticed that after a break from drinking, that first glass of wine never tastes quite as good as you remembered?
It’s easy to say, “I just love drinking wine”
It’s much harder to admit the truth: that you have a hard time feeling good enough. Or you find it difficult to relax on your own. Or you struggle to manage the transition from work life to family life.
Drinking is always about the feelings or benefits you’re chasing. When we cling on to vague statements like, “I just really love drinking!” it’s hard to move forward. It’s a disempowering place to stand in.
When you know what you’re really using alcohol for, the path forward becomes clearer. Then you can start asking, “Ok – how can I do this on my own? What skill do I need to learn or practice?”
If you’d love some help and support to quit drinking, click here for details of my online course.
Yes I agree. I have realised I dont actually like the taste of white wine but I push through until I cant really taste it anymore. Actually I liked my first drink snakebite and blackcurrant thought I now believe it was the sweet taste of blackcurrant that made it taste good.
I remember drinking that too! Plus lots of other very sweet drinks that helped hide the taste of the alcohol itself.
“Wine doesn’t love me” is a better phrase for your brain to hang onto. After being free from alcohol for almost 2 years, I can honestly say that I was never drinking for the taste. I’ve found af wines that are very good and I enjoy them but I rarely finish a bottle, I don’t crave it and I freely share it. I don’t worry about where the next glass will come from or calculate how much everyone else is drinking in relationship to me. Clearly I was not addicted to the grapes! I took the October 2018 class and I never looked back. Thanks Kate.
Could you please share what AF wines you’ve enjoyed? Ives tried Ariel and FRE brands and they are awful.
If Kate allows, google Wines for Moms for af wines. I order from the US. I like the Pierre Zero Chard and Señorio red. Both are great with food. I’ve taken them to restaurants and sometimes they wave the corkage fee. That being said, I have given up most af drinks. They are a treat now. I just don’t need them and I prefer not to drink my calories. Also good to take to dinner parties to have something in my wine glass.
Good to hear from you Tracey! And I like your reframe here – ‘wine doesn’t love me’ is a good one to remember.
Kate, thank you so much for your blog. Beer is my downfall and I’ve pretty much convinced myself that it’s the only way I can sleep. I am one of those people whose brain doesn’t know when to shut up. Anyway, I really appreciate your blog and the please continue on!
Hi Sherry, you should definitely do some research on alcohol and the devastating impact it has on sleep. Matthew Walker’s book, Why We Sleep is very good on this. I highly recommend it 🙂
I never really enjoyed my first drink but like the others I powered through. I think it was pier pressure. Everyone else seemed to be having a better time than me coz they’d had a drink.
I had a very low point in my life and started drinking heavily but have managed to rain it in but hate the way I feel afterwards and hate the broken promises I’ve made.
I was supposed to get married yesterday but like many other couples we were unable to say our vows. So instead made a promise to my family to give up drinking as of today coz really want to enjoy my wedding day when it comes round and I want to remember every moment of it.
I’m sorry about your wedding Samantha – that must be a big disappointment. But I really love the promise you’ve made to yourself. I work with a lot of women who regret not being able to remember their special day – I hope you are able to be fully present for every second of yours, when it finally comes around!
The first taste of alcohol was awful. What I normally drink still tastes awful. When I started drinking, I simply thought it was the cool and adult like thing to do. Very shortly after it became a coping technique.
I do like the taste of wine but as you say that’s not it with drinking. To a large extent, drinking wine makes me feel sophisticated, glamorous even, grown up, what it means to be a self actualising independent woman. This internal dialogue and constant affirmation makes it hard to give up for any length of time.
OMG Helen, I could have written this myself! I loved the first taste of alcohol ( a Baby Champ) and have continued to love it, albeit the first glass is better than the fourth…. but drinking wine makes me feel glamorous, sophisticated, accomplished. I do not drink any other alcohol only wine, so the connection of wine and these strong positives does make a hard job of giving it up!
Another great video. i couldnt understand why people drunk this foul tasting stuff but it was all about the confidence it gave me.So away i went on this drunk journey.
Sober now since March 25th still have a glass of Tonic water at night but dont feel the need for that now either.Funny!!
Amazing – congratulations on your sobriety Sally! 🙂
I would like to hear more AF wine recommendations. I have yet to find a decent alcohol free wine. I agree that the AF beers are lovely.
I chased the feeling! I can’t stand the thought of putting a glass of wine to my mouth now!
Well done Kate!
Love your updates! Keep them coming.
I started sobriety a year ago and love my new life!!
Congratulations Lawrence! 🙂
Thanks for this, Kate . I’m currently on my 9th day of sobriety. Once I get over the worst 3 days after a massive binge, I feel better and start to romanticize alcohol again. So I need these reminders until I (hopefully) get to a place where I don’t even think about drinking for any reason.
Congratulations on your 9 days Kimberly. Keep doing the mindset work to tackle the benefits you feel you get from alcohol. If you need any support with that, my course can help: https://thesoberschool.com/course/
This was very helpful and eye opening for me to hear today.
Thanks Kelly 🙂
Been enjoying your blog and receiving your emails. You know what really gets me is sitting down at a restaurant and when the waiter comes up and offers you not necessarily something to drink meaning like water, but a cocktail. “Can I get you something to start off with like a cocktail or glass of wine” How about a mocktail?? This is mostly in the evening at dinner but it just bugs me and it’s the hardest part of the meal to get through for me for some reason. Once I hear the words “iced tea please” come out of my mouth I am fine with everything else even though I wince a little at iced tea because its forced. Hanging in with 50 days AF. Thanks again for all your great advice and insights!
Well done on your 50 days Stephanie! 🙂
I actually really DO like the taste of wine and beer. Sutter Homes has a non-alcohol line called Fre that has more of a grape juice wine blend taste about it. I also drink the NA version of Coors or Busch on occasion. I definitely do not drink these alcohol free versions as much as the alcohol laden ones, but it is nice to have the taste on occasion without the guilt or regret.
Claustauler is an amazing AF beer. Great look, taste and feel on a warm day
That’s great – all the more reason to explore those AF options 🙂
Day 4 for me & drinking alcohol free larger, just 3 bottles per evening but really missing the real thing. I did 20 days recently & want to beat that, this is my first ever post. X
Well done on your 4 days Lizzy. So the real work here is figuring out why you miss it. What do you use alcohol for? And then you have a great place to work from. Don’t let yourself miss the real thing without getting crystal clear on why.
I agree.. its about chasing the feeling. To unwind and relax for me. Im currently trying to always remember the ‘why I stopped’. I post a note on my fridge and at my door which makes me think twice. I am on day 5 no wine. Thanks!
Keep going Dawn. You’re worth it.
I agree Dawn, it’s all about the feeling for me as well. Congratulations on day 5, I am 1 day behind you.
I think, in part, I was chasing the sugar and calories in the wine itself. In my crazed quest for the perfect body and an unrealistically low weight, I never let myself eat dessert or carbs so that first happy hour drink really was filling a literal emptiness. Once I stopped drinking, I could eat more delicious and nutritious food and still stay slimmer, without starving.
Yes – this is such a good point. I often tell people to have some water and a snack around wine o’clock because we can easily confuse thirst and hunger cravings for cravings for alcohol.
Going to try very hard to have an AF June, as you say it needs to be tried. And during lockdown my drinking has increased and my clothes have all got tighter – and my self loathing grown . Oh dear, time for a change
Wishing you all the best with your alcohol free journey Jane. If you find yourself in need of extra help and support to stay the path, check out my online course here: https://thesoberschool.com/course/
I had my first taste of wine when I was so young that I don’t even remember what I thought. I do know that I have been following Kate for 3 weeks now and I have been alcohol free since day one. Kate speaks to every belief and feeling that I have had towards wine and martinis for a long time. I will not look back. Drinking will not be a part of my future. Thank you Kate!
So pleased to hear about your 3 weeks Lisa – congrats!
Going on week 3 AF and never felt better! I discovered an AF Cabernet from Ariel and an AF Chardonnay from St. Regis. Both have helped when I’m associating with family members and friends who like to drink. I’m slimming down and the bags under my eyes have since disappeared . Life is Great and even better sober! Thanks again for your blogs!
Wonderful. It sounds like sobriety suits you Tasha! 🙂
Kate, that was spooky. It’s almost as if you were reading my mind. I was having that same internal dialogue just before reading this blog post. I like (no, liked) the taste of wine and the feeling it gave me. But I only liked the feeling it gave me with the first sip – anything beyond that was destructive. So I asked myself what it was that I wanted alcohol to do for me and realised it was that relaxed feeling. So I had a brain wave. I am going out to buy a foot spa and massage cushion after work today. Then I am going to pour myself a lime and soda in a wine glass, try out my new purchases and truly relax. Day 246 alcohol FREE!
Ha – sounds like perfect timing! Congratulations on your 246 days Wendy! You’ll be celebrating one year before you know it 🙂
So true! A toxic chemical cannot truly taste good, it’s just impossible!
The alcohol free drinks that I enjoy now that I’m sober are drinks that really do taste nice – fruit juices, teas and squashes that actually do taste good, and I’m sampling a lovely range of alcohol free wines that are tasty and refreshing. It’s a great time to be sober with all the yummy AF options out there now 🙂
There’s certainly more choice than ever before. Good to hear from you Carla! 🙂
To be honest I am so excited to start my journey. I have been worried about myself for such a long time, but the “how am I going to follow through and how am I not going to disappoint myself again” has been so reL for me.
So I def. also did not like the taste of red wine at first, but it really did not take long for me to enjoy it.
I have stopped a fee times but I have always loved the taste of it again from the first sip.
I really have to go and do some soul searching to go and find out what is the feeling I am chasing. I think off the batt for me it is just to not have to worry or controle anything. Which if you know me you would be shocked to hear this as people think of me as the most relaxed, fun loving def. not controlling person.
And I AM PRETTY much that way weather I drink or not. Only my husband, kids and maybe two friends really know the intense Rose.
It sounds like you have plenty to think about here. The good news is, there are lots of ways to relax and give yourself ‘time off’ which it sounds like you crave. You can choose to do that if you want to. Keep going Rosemary!
I am exactly the same as Jane, but I am having difficulty taking the first step. So I buy a bottle of wine
Hi Anne, it sounds as if you could really do with some help here. Are you on the waitlist for my next course? This would be perfect for you. Here are some details: https://thesoberschool.com/course/
So I turned 60 yesterday on June 1, I so want this to be a new beginning of an alcohol free life. Only 4 days sober but so want this to be it for me. Once I’m past 5 pm I’m fine, something about the time I get out of work till then, the urge is so strong. Praying for strength!
Happy birthday for yesterday Lisa! If you need some help to make this happen (I know it can be hard when you’re doing this by yourself) here are some details of my online course: https://thesoberschool.com/course/
4 days is great! The first few days are the hardest so keep going!
I agree that five o’clock is the hardest that is easier. Keep in mind how great you will feel in the morning!
Happy Belated Birthday!
Lisa, I have just turned 70 and I have been trying to quit the wine since I turned 60. I don’t wake up needing wine, it’s later in the day. Just before dinner or after dinner. I so want to stop for my health and my family. It’s a bad habit. We have our 39 year old son living with us for the past 6 years due to not finding a job in the field he chose in college. I believe wine helps me deal with him still with us. He’s a great guy, drinks beer occasionally and does his own thing. I pray he moves on soon and hopefully that will help me move away from my wine! Sorry to have joined your post uninvited. Good luck to you as well.
You are so right Kate! Whenever I take a break from drinking my ‘delicious’ Marlborough Sauvignon tastes like acid! It’s really just a case of feeding the addiction that brings the relief.
I think I’ve finally got that now! I’ve spent many years of feeling emotionally dependant and wanting to end the cycle of drinking and regret. I’m now 22 days AF of a 30 day target however I think I’m going to stay this way.
Thank you for your wise words.Xx
Congratulations on your 22 days Rachael! Wishing you many more alcohol free days ahead 🙂
I am new here and I’m on day 4 and cannot remember the last time I went that many days without wine!
Your comments ring so true. Many years (before my drinking days) ago I went many months drinking anything but water on a ‘health kick’. One day I treated myself to a black coffee…I cannot describe the euphoric effect from the caffeine, I still crave that feeling and I guess this is the same as my first ‘hit’ from wine…I didn’t like the taste but I loved the ‘relaxation’ effect.
Thank you for your empowerment! I truly think you are the one who’ll keep me on track, even with my 40th birthday approaching where I have been tempted to celebrate with alcohol.