Kate's Blog

Struggling To Quit? Make Sure You Answer This Question

The morning after I’d been drinking, I’d often wake up in the early hours and wonder:

“What the hell is wrong with me?”

“Why do I keep doing this?”

“Why can’t I just get my act together?”

Lying in bed with my eyes closed and my head pounding, I had no idea that I was asking myself all the wrong things.

If you’ve been drinking when you promised yourself you wouldn’t, there’s a much better question you should be asking instead. I explain what it is in this week’s video…

Key points

A better question to ask

If you’re struggling to quit, the thing to ask yourself is this: “How does my drinking make sense?” “How does it make sense that I’ve developed this pattern?” You can learn a lot of useful stuff from this. This question forces you to bring curiosity without judgement to your situation and step into a calm, figuring-out mindset. That will get you so much further than beating yourself up with shame and disgust. 

Some examples

So how does your drinking make sense? Let’s say you drink in the evening to switch off after being on the go all day. It kind of makes sense to use alcohol for that purpose because it literally slows you down. If you’ve been really hard on yourself all day because you haven’t got as much done as you wanted, drinking alcohol might help you think about something different and stop beating yourself up.

Why this information is useful

A big part of quitting drinking is understanding yourself and why you drink. There’s always some benefit to your drinking, otherwise you wouldn’t do it. Some of those benefits are subtler than others, but they’re always there. Once you start identifying what that benefit is – and it might be different on different days – then you can begin thinking about how else you could meet those needs and manage your life. 

Curiosity vs shame

When you make your drinking a personal and moral failing (“What’s wrong with me?”) you end up shaming yourself, which can feel very painful. When you’re in that place, you close down the opportunity to learn from what happened, which reduces the chance of you making lasting changes. So drop the judgement and start being the scientist of your sobriety.

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. 


28 responses

  1. Thanks Kate, I liked this question because I’m often very hard on myself and this made me look at it a bit differently. When I think about why my drinking makes sense, it’s because it’s my “me time”. I’m busy all day and always put everyone else first…. looking after the kids, work, even the dog! It feels like drinking is the only thing I do for me. Plus all my mum friends drink as well. It’s what we do and have done for a long time. So it makes sense that it’s my go-to. But I still want to change.

    1. Hi Kelly, what if ‘me time’ could be real ‘me time’? Time just for you, to relax and do things without alcohol and any of the hangover, anxiety and stress it creates. I can show you how to achieve that and still have fun, be confident and relax without a glass of wine in your hand. You can find out more here; https://thesoberschool.com/course/

  2. This is one of your BEST blogs ever, Kate. I love it. The light bulb went on—I am a workaholic, so I can’t give myself time off. The drinking is enforced time off, but it has the added “benefit” (I’m using that sarcastically) of giving me more reasons to beat myself up. Brilliant. I’m sure there are other reasons, as well, but this whole process of self-observation and curiosity is so useful, not only for choosing AF living but living in general. A friend of mine, for example, does something that bugs me. I’ve been resentful and blaming her, but then I turned it around: why does this bother me? I discovered that I was envious of her. This is a great discovery I can work with. 127 days!

    1. Ann, I’m so pleased this resonated, I love those light bulb moments. Congratulations on your 127 days!

  3. Thanks Kate
    I am struggling to stay sober and can honestly say that my drinking makes perfect sense if I can accept the consequences.
    However I cannot.
    The price is too high but I am lazy. Learning a new way of living is hard work. I have been sober for 14 weeks and in truth it was good. I liked it!
    But it requires another marathon effort…

      1. For anyone ready to take a chance in being curious and delving into Kate’s course, I applaud you! This is your time to explore a new way to think about your drinking. Gift yourself! I have 408 days AF! Thanks to Kate’s course, it’s got me totally unstuck! It gets easier and so worth it.

  4. I drink most days.. it’s just became habit I finish work and go the shop for wine.. I tell myself that three glasses of wine is not a problem because most of my friends can be out and drinking lots more.. but it’s becoming daily and dangerous for my health.. I never get hangovers.. so that’s also concerning..

  5. It was my me time and my release and I was angry with my husband because he was trying to help me but all I was thinking was this is the only thing I can control but how wrong was I it was controlling me

  6. I am a wife of 40 years, a mom, a gran and an empty nester (my kids and grandkids live a four hour plane ride away). I think that I have replaced all the fun activities with my kids with wine. I work very hard at my job every day ( I’m 61 and self employed) and the only way I can “turn off” is with my nightly bottle of wine. I can’t even sit and read a book without the wine to relax me. I am also very guilty of beating myself up and asking myself why I can’t fix this. I am looking forward to your “pep” talk offering for tonight. I quit drinking last June for 4 months and I am right back at it again – yup on day 1 again.

  7. Hi Kate, I’m 3 wks sober and I think I drink out of boredom and wanting to check out of life for a few hrs. I think its all habit and boredom

  8. Kate, I am 34 days sober and have no energy. I am tired all the time.
    When do you think I can expect to get my energy back?

    1. Hi Jean I know what you mean about tiredness. Thought this might be helpful
      * Heavy drinking will have caused your red blood cells to enlarge and become sluggish. These cells renew every 3 months and their healthy replacements are MUCH more efficient at transporting oxygen around the body so your energy levels begin to soar.
      I found looking at the benefits of not drinking after 1 week / 1 month and 3 months really helpful and have now been alcohol free 9 months and feel so much better. Xx

    2. Hi Jean, Feeling tired in early sobriety is very normal. It’s hard to put a timeline on it as everyone is different. But keep in mind that your body is recovering right now from years of being beaten up by a very powerful drug. It’s literally breathing a sigh of relief. So give it what it needs – rest, nourishment and self care. This article speaks of the need for rest really well: https://www.thetemper.com/how-to-be-your-own-mother-in-early-recovery-according-to-a-mom/

  9. Well, I want to start tonight without my usual bottle of wine….will listen again to pep talk later, and see if I can do it….wish me luck!

    1. Kaz, you can do this. Listen to the pep talk and have some lovely food planned for yourself. Think how wonderful you will feel tomorrow morning too.

  10. I’ve watched a lot of your videos Kate, but this one has absolutely hit the nail on the head for me. My life has been extremely stressful for the last 15 years, work and home, and I drink at night (and since covid from early afternoon when I’m at home), to switch my thoughts off. I have recently made changes that have really given me a better and much much easier lifestyle, but I am still set in the habit of drinking. I am very alone, with no one I can confide in. I need to do something about it but I don’t know if I can/how to.

  11. What a great blog! I feel like alot of others,think a drink will help a busy dinner party or help unwind after a busy day.
    I have realised it doesn’t work just makes things worse.I am looking at different ways to deal with these situations and try not to take on more than I can cope with.
    Thanks Kate you seem to write the right blog every week!

  12. I appreciate this! Focusing on why I was drinking really helped me to quit. It was definitely a long process. Journaling helped me get really introspective on this. I would sometimes go a couple months sober, then find myself drinking again. Instead of beating myself up, I journaled about why it happened and found some perspective. Now two years sober! Thank you for your blog, I read all the time to remind myself to stay in the right mindset.

  13. I haven’t had a drink since December 31st 2020 and started Kates Getting Unstuck course the first week of January 2021. It was THE best gift I have ever given myself. I was a wine drinker. If you are on the fence, jump off, what you invest financially into the coaching you will recoup much faster than you realise plus you will be doing your health a huge favour.

  14. Brilliant blog Kate. I would ask those questions all the time but would still continue to drink. That’s why l did your course in 2021 as l couldn’t stop drinking on my own, l needed to be in a place with others going through exactly the same so we could help and support each other plus on the course you get educated about alcohol.
    All l can say is when l was drinking l was a slave to the alcohol but once l decided to take a break from alcohol and enrolled on your course l started to feel free. I could think straight, l felt so much calmer, l made lifestyle changes for the better. I still continue to stay AF and have no desire to go back to that horrible addictive drug.

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