Kate's Blog

“Sobriety Makes Me Feel So Deprived…”

The thought of quitting drinking used to make me feel so deprived. 

Getting sober felt like signing up to a lifetime of missing out…
… And the more I thought about it, the worse it seemed.
So how do you feel good about giving up booze if you’re feeling deprived?
I wanted to share how I changed my thinking about this – and what you can do the next time these thoughts come up. 
I explain all in this video.

Key points

Why it’s important to tackle the “I’m so deprived” thought

If you practice this as a mantra, your brain will quickly decide that this quitting drinking thing is much too hard. You will either give up on sobriety, or – if you do manage to keep going – it will feel pretty miserable. 

Deprivation vs restriction

Restriction is something we do all the time without realising – it’s a form of self care. We restrict ourselves to just one partner. We restrict ourselves from eating cake for breakfast or staying in bed when we should be at work. Restriction helps us get the life and results we want.

Feeling deprived is your choice

Consider this: you are never really being ‘deprived’ of alcohol. You can always choose to drink if you want to. No one is forcing you to stop – you’re here by choice. You’re choosing to restrict yourself from drinking, in order to have a better quality of life.

Remember what true deprivation is

True deprivation is you continuing to drink over every uncomfortable emotion and never figuring out how to manage your life without alcohol. It’s you being deprived of the life you deserve, because you’re too hungover to follow through on your promises. Now that is true deprivation.
Looking for help and support to quit drinking? Click here for details on how we can work together.

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. 


36 Responses

  1. So, so true – great post, Kate! We make all sorts of restrictions that we take as natural or needed or plain common sense. Not ingesting ethanol and endangering our lives is a pretty sensible one! If asked, I say I don’t drink rather than I can’t drink. xo

      1. Love the reframing of deprivation to restriction. Kate has such a talent for reframing a lot of alcohol’s falsehoods and myths and empty promises.

  2. Thank you for your message. It’s making me really think hard about all Im missing out on because of drinking. I thought just restricting myself to just certain times or events is enough but maybe it’s not.

    1. You have nothing to lose by experimenting with a break from booze Tracy. You already know how drinking makes you feel… I think the freedom of not drinking at all might surprise you! I recommend taking a break for at least 6 weeks so you can get into the swing of things and find out what it’s really about. If you need any help with that, I can help you via my course: https://thesoberschool.com/course/

  3. I love this one, Kate!
    I hadn’t thought about restriction vs deprivation.
    At Day 114. Went out to dinner with friends this past Saturday evening. As I watched them drink wine, I thought about how I could order wine, but, really didn’t want one. I would only be ordering one to “fit in”.
    I listened and paid attention to my own body – self care .
    In the end, I have the power to decide. I enjoy that feeling!
    Alcohol is not on my food plan and is not an option – restriction .

    1. Congratulations on your 114 days Bev! And well done for tuning in to what you really wanted and needed. We don’t need ethanol to socialise, have fun or feel good 🙂

    1. Thanks Kate. I stopped drinking 16 days ago after I noticed my drinking had increased to 3 glasses of wine every night. I have been reading your posts and blogs since I started, you inspired me to give up completely rather than moderate.
      This blog has reminded me that that inner monologue does affect how you feel.
      I choose to not put alcohol in my body because I do not want to deprive myself of these great nights sleep and clear mornings.
      Thanks heaps, life changing.

  4. Oooh, the restriction bit is an interesting thought! I’ve been on and off the paleo wagon pretty much since it became a thing. It confused me for a while that influencers and whatever are always on about alcohol allowances, but if you read the hard copy literature, alcohol is one of the foods that’s not allowed. It’s off diet because it’s the single most unhealthy simple carb that exists, and the negative effects last for days. In CrossFit, they tell you not to drink because it will noticeably F up your performance for the rest of the week.
    So in the paleo lifestyle (the real thing, not the alcohol-friendly influencers hawking scammy overpriced membership groups) it’s framed as a “good” restriction to improve health. I didn’t get very far trying to quit drinking at first, because our society treats sobriety as like you’re walking around with a scarlet A on your chest for alcoholic. When I reframed sobriety as an empowering health choice and not a punishment for failing to moderate, it became a lot easier to stick with it. It also became a lot easier to handle the “why aren’t you drinking?” question because it’s not socially acceptable to label someone an alcoholic if they’re passing on the poison for health and fitness reasons.

    1. You nailed it here – viewing sobriety as a positive and empowering choice, rather than a punishment, makes such a huge difference!

  5. I’ve tried numerous times to quit drinking on my own without success or direction. I mainly drank starting anywhere between 3:30-5:00 mainly out of boredom and a feeling I “deserved” a drink because I thought I accomplished what I set out to do that day. What I end up accomplishing in the end was ruining the rest of the day and the feeling of dragging myself thru the next morning. I find now that if I inundate 3:30-5:00 especially with positive thoughts thru rereading our lesson and reading and posting the comments fills my head with positive thoughts on not drinking and pushes out the feelings of deprivation. It basically sets my head straight and helps tremendously.

  6. You’re absolutely right Kate, it’s the freedom that sobriety gives you that so many people don’t understand, booze just traps you in so many ways, you can’t drive, can’t hold a decent conversation, can’t sleep, can’t function at your best next day, can’t exercise properly. Bang on.

  7. Thank you, these were wonderful words today. I have worked on quitting for many years, and today your words resonated with the thoughts I just had today. I am choosing not drink so I can be a better mother, for my health, to lose those unwanted pounds, etc, etc. Just like people who train in sports to perform at the top level. I cannot perform my best with alcohol. Thank you for your blogs, I am going to sign up for your waiting list this summer.
    It is time to run the course to win!!

    1. Love this – “I cannot perform my best with alcohol.” We only get one life… time to stop letting alcohol run the show and hold us back 🙂

  8. Hi Kate!
    Thanks fore this talk on deprivation. I have been sober free for 6 months now and it hasn’t bothered me; except for my sweet tooth I now have!!!
    I have been suffering from insomnia very badly for the past 2 – 3 weeks and last night I thought about going to the store at 11pm to get a bottle of wine to help me sleep, but I didn’t. Thought about it again today, but instead I am watching your video; which helped; so THANK YOU!!!

    1. Well done Margie. You haven’t come this far to only come this far, right? Alcohol might knock you out but in the long term it will actually create more sleep problems and worsen your existing insomnia. You did the right thing 🙂

  9. Thank you Kate. Your blogs always inspire me. i am happy to say I am 8 months without alchohol. I keep a daily journal and my first sentence was “Are you really going to do this?” Rereading my words made me realise in the beginning it was hard but each day thereafter was easier and now I am feeling great. Your website and blogs really helped me. Once again Thank you Kate.

  10. Thanks, Kate, for the reminder! Day 295 and I really needed to be reminded about taking care of myself — I did choose to quit and with the assistance of “Sober School” I learned to manage my emotions regarding alcohol! I am happier, healthier and continue to work through this lifestyle change! Happy Day!

  11. I so needed this pep talk. After making an absolute fool of myself at a much loved neighbours house a few days ago and ended up with a cut and badly bruised leg (and ego ! ). I have never been so determined to wave alcohol goodbye. I’m so ashamed, annoyed and disgusted with myself. I’m black and blue. No more !!! That’s it for me. A hard lesson to myself.

  12. It’s like you knew exactly what I needed to hear today. Uncanny! Though I know I want to live AF from now on, sometimes life gets hard and those old tapes play without me really realizing it. The last couple of days my old tapes have been bemoaning the deprivation of the “fun” of alcohol; not enough for me to drink, just enough to dampen things a bit. This helped so much b/c it brought the ridiculousness of that to the surface. You are exactly right, the real deprivation would be me drinking! DUH. Can’t thank you enough for this … I’ll be watching it over and over, as I do your course!

  13. I’ve realised that this is one of my biggest questions so I sat down and googled it today. I am so glad that I came across your website and this video in particular…it has resonated so strongly with me and will really help me moving forward. I look forward to reading more of your wisdom! Thank you so very much from South Australia! ❤️

    1. The ‘fear of missing out’ is a huge barrier for many women because alcohol is so normalised in our society, but it serves the industry to keep us in the alcohol trap. If you’d like some help to ‘get unstuck’ check out my coaching course where I teach women how to have fun and live a fulfilled life without ethanol, to give it it’s correct name. https://thesoberschool.com/course/

  14. My brain understands everything that is being said here, but when I think about stopping drinking alcohol, which I must do because it has become the controlling factor in my life, I still feel deprived. the only reason I drink is to get sozzled. To get that ‘high’ or buzz that we all know comes after the first few mouthfuls of vodka. I miss that hit and the thought of living the rest of my life without it makes me feel deprived. Like I would be missing out. Everybody else is enjoying the buzz, and I’m not. I continue to poison myself on a daily basis at the age of 60 because I just cannot seem to get over this feeling of deprivation.

      1. Thank you Kate. I quit smoking overnight 20 years ago when I understood that it really is all in the mind. I hated smoking but felt compelled to do it as I was ,addicted’. But we don’t have to use willpower for something we have no desire to do! And I have never felt deprived with smoking because I actually absolutely hated it I just thought it was really difficult to quit. The problem is my mind tells me I really do enjoy drinking, for that hit and I just can’t get over this stumbling block of desire and deprivation

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