Why November Is A Great Time To Quit Drinking

Why November Is A Great Time To Quit Drinking

“I want to quit drinking but I’m not sure this is the right time…”

I’ve lost track of the number of people I’ve heard say that. I know I said it countless times. Once I’d decided I needed to stop drinking, the next big decision was when. And the more I thought about it, the harder it was to find the ‘perfect’ time. Somehow, it never felt like quite the right moment.

At this time of year, with Thanksgiving and Christmas just around the corner, it’s easier than usual to decide that ‘it just isn’t the right time.’

If you’re wondering whether quitting now is really worth it – or perhaps you’re tempted to put everything off until the new year – then here are three things you need to know:

 

black oneThere will never be a ‘perfect’ time to stop drinking!

The truth is, there will always be something on the horizon – a birthday, a wedding, a holiday or some awful team building event at work. There will always be something that could get in your way and derail you if you let it, because real life continues whether you’re drinking or not.

I know it’s tempting to wait until you’re less stressed, or you have more time, or you don’t have to leave the house for a month. But … when is that ever going to happen? Stopping drinking is actually one of the quickest ways to reduce stress in your life and claw back more time. If alcohol is making you miserable, or you suspect it’s holding you back, then the perfect time to quit is always going to be now.

 

black twoSuccess happens when you take action.

I was always very good at thinking about my drinking but not very good at doing anything about it. Turns out you don’t learn very much, or make much progress, when you’re trapped in your own head with the same thoughts playing on repeat.

You make progress by taking action, even if things go wrong. When you’re trying to do something great – and sobriety is great – then the chances are you will trip and fall flat on your face at some point. But then you get back up, learn from what went wrong, see where you need more support and look at what you’ll do differently next time. That’s how you figure out what works.

Standing around, waiting to have all the information before you begin, is a sure fire way to never take action. You don’t have to know what’s going to happen next. You just have to start, and now is as good a time as any.

 

black threeImagine how great you’ll feel if you do this now.

Let’s say you quit today. How are you going to feel in two months time, having navigated Christmas and New Year and all the other festive stuff? You’re going to feel invincible, that’s what! There are a lot of sober firsts in sobriety, and you’ll have powered through some of the biggest challenges already.

You’ll end 2016 on a real high and will set the tone for how you want to start 2017. And along the way, you might just discover that you can have a brilliant Christmas without alcohol. The festive season is a great excuse for drinking a lot, but not drinking doesn’t mean you’ll miss out or not enjoy it. (As I’ve always said, if alcohol-free living was anything other than fabulous, I’d go back to my boozy old ways pretty quickly.)

Even if you try now, last a little while and then slip up over the festive period, so what? You’ll still have learnt so much from that experience. You’ll be much further ahead than you would be if you stopped trying. Remember, when you slip, you don’t return to the starting line, because you cannot undo all the hard work you’ve already done. All sober time counts. The most important thing is to keep at it, because that’s where you make the big breakthroughs.

 

Keep going! And have a great week 🙂

Kate
x

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44 Comments

  1. I quit drinking back in mid-February. I’m coming up on nine months now. I tried to quit a few times before February, including when the New Year hit, and I can tell you that the time of year you quit makes no difference. It really comes down to taking the action and getting as much of a support system as possible, whether that means joining a 12-step program or telling friends or family who can help hold you accountable.

    Reply
    • Yes I agree – it’s your mindset and support system that counts, not the time of year. Congratulations on your 9 months! 🙂

      Reply
      • Thank you!

        Reply
  2. Love this! Thank you for the reminders!

    Reply
    • You’re welcome Ashley 🙂

      Reply
  3. Kate as a member of the April program I have continued to be successful at not drinking alcohol. A blessed side effect has happened in the last month. My husband who has always been a heavy drinker has quit drinking wine, scotching gin. He does have a beer or two. He is amazed how much better he feels and sleeps. The trickle down of your program has not only changed my life in not drinking but also my husbands. Thank you

    Reply
    • Brilliant! Mary, I’m so pleased to hear you’re still doing well – and you’re obviously affecting those around you too, in a positive way. That’s made my day 🙂

      Reply
  4. Thanks for this reminder, Kate! I know I’ve guilty of planning to do something, be it losing weight or quitting drinking, around events and seasons and holidays and . . .the list goes on and on. What I’ve learned is that the list is actually excuses for not taking action.

    Reply
    • Yes, that’s so true. It’s hard to admit, but those ‘reasons’ can often be excuses. At least you’re taking action now! 🙂

      Reply
  5. An insightful article reminding me that there will always be a reason to put off the start of this journey , i was only thinking this morning about December, when I haven’t even tackled today and November !!!

    Reply
  6. Thank you Kate! I love reading your blogs. Asking what the plan is for drinking in the next few months is such a reminder for how we want to participate in the upcoming season. And it is such a true statement that drinking adds to stress and guilt. Just not drinking is so easy. And so hard.

    Reply
  7. It’s so true, there’s always some event where alcohol is going to be the focus. It’s just the world we live in. I will have 5 years of sobriety on Nov. 30. I’m so glad that I quit! All the holiday events are so much more meaningful for me now that I am sober. If you are thinking about quitting, take action and you will feel so great!

    Reply
    • Congratulations on your upcoming five years! So inspiring. I will have nine months on November 15.

      Reply
  8. Love the post, love the site,it’s all so supportive and helpful..I decided a week ago to stop: alcohol, caffeine, cigarettes, sugar consumption. I succeeded on the 3rd day, in purchasing 16 bottles of alcohol for the festive season and managed to make it through a huge party this weekend (I even worked the bar). Several people told me pack it in and have a drink..others helpfully reminded me that this is the worst time of the year to stop, but you either want to stop or you don’t – you have to de-personalize, remember what you vowed to yourself and use all the “tools” available. It’s only a week, but I feel like my party lifestyle was in a past life..even though I have been drunk/hungover for most of the last 12 years

    Reply
  9. I quit on 18th December last year and I agree- it doesn’t matter what time you quit. What I did notice was the relief of the Christmas and New Year season not being one elongated hell of a permanent hang-over. Also, just personally, I do much more socialising in the summer and I tend to hibernate in the winter. So there was an element of my early days where I was just indoors a lot, looking after myself and getting much more sleep than I would in the summer when I party a lot more. Final thing, no one ever notices when you don’t drink (well, nearly no one!) because they’re usually to drunk to notice/care themselves. And thats also the case at all those Christmas parties.

    Reply
  10. Kate, what a great post.
    There are so many sober firsts. Some work out and some dont. Take weddings for example..brutal. The last wedding I went to I didn’t make it. Now I know to be more prepared or skip the reception all together.

    I did wake up November 1st and thought what a great gift it would be to have sober holidays under my belt. That sounds so much better than falling into the trap of drinking my way through November and December just because it’s what everyone else is doing or because it’s what I’ve always done. I would feel invicable for sure. It WOULD be a great end to 2016 and even a better start to 2017.

    What I know for sure is being sober does elevate stress and give you more peaceful time. That’s what we need year round, but we especially need it at this time of year.
    I’m definitely up for the challenge. Taking inventory of my toolbox and seeing what else I can add.

    Reply
    • Love your attitude, Kimberly. You can definitely do this. Here’s to finishing 2016 on a hangover-free high 🙂

      Reply
  11. Long term sober and I promise the time of year doesn’t matter. Nothing, well, few things, beat the feeling of making your resolutions on December 31st and for the first time not having ‘cut down/stop drinking’ and ‘lose weight/get fit’ topping it for granted, with no real belief in the ability to do either. Enjoying sobriety, slimness and health and setting new, positive goals is so much more positive. Start filling your tool box NOW and go for it!

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  12. Omg I needed to read this today…I hit rock bottom and can’t let the holidays trick me. Yes I love to make excuses.now is just as good as any other time..tx you

    Reply
  13. As I sit here reading these with a glass of wine in hand, I really wonder if I’m strong enough to do this. It’s been a tough couple of months with work, husband, kids & mindset, trying to undo the reliance on winding down with a few glasses of wine seems impossible

    Reply
  14. I have found myself taking longer to get over Fridays nights which led last weekend to drinking on a Sunday knowing fine work is next day . I have said to myself I’m sick of hangovers and this Sunday after a 21st birthday celebration that lasted til 4am I felt sick for the first time in years . It’s not easy but I know it’s now all I want to be alcohol free and out of this cycle .

    Reply
    • Go for it Christine, you won’t regret it!

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      • Thank you Kate ⚡️I look forward to the crystal clear mornings and restful nights

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  15. Hi Kate,
    I have only just given up drinking – Day 8 and completed my first booze free weekend in a long time. I’m actually – strangely, looking forward to the festive challenge! I have been hungover (quite badly) on Christmas Day and Boxing Day for the last 20 years, and even when the children were small, I wasn’t focussing on the magic of Christmas for them as much as I should have been. Don’t get me wrong – like you, I don’t look like a heavy drinker, and I am a very good mum with amazing and happy children, but the fuzzy head and slight sick feeling has ruined my true enjoyment of them and Christmas for too long. This year I hope to focus on wintery walks, lovely food, making decorations and actually remembering everything! I’m also planning lots of fun family time on New Years Day and avoiding the ‘usual suspects’ on NYE. Can’t wait to feel optimum health, and lose a few pounds in the process. I love your site. Can I have some more info on the January course please?Keep up the good work Kate! x

    Reply
    • Hi Bryony, congratulations on your 8 days! I’ll email you some details about the course – you can also read about it here. Places are limited, so if you’re interested in joining, make sure you get on the waitlist!

      Reply
  16. A couple of months ago I had a few wine less nights only to fall back into my 6-8 relaxing with glass in hand. This has been my pattern for years, toss in waking up foggy with desert mouth. That voice in my head continually tells me you’ve got to stop, you’re killing yourself, your brains turning to mush. The difficult thing for me is I live with a HFA where everything revolves around alcohol. I read comments from yesterday and it was just what I needed. I poured seltzer water at 6, Day 1.

    Thank you

    Reply
    • Hi Kathy,

      I am totally with you on the difficulty of living with a HFA. My husband works away, three weeks on and three weeks home, and is completely alcohol free for the weeks he is at work (in the middle of the North Sea with nothing to tempt him), yet when he is home, he drinks and socialises every day as if it is a Saturday night. It is so difficult when you have that relationship with alcohol too, yet I spend three weeks feeling terrible and arguing a great deal; not getting work done to the standard I would like, and generally feeling miserable! It has been this way for two years and we are now at breaking point, so he is, for the first time, going to try to be alcohol free upon his return in 2 weeks, and I am on day 8 now! I think it is so important to have that support, even though ultimately you need to be able to live a sober life whether or not others are drinking around you. I don’t know if he can abstain full time – that’s his journey, but I want to start organising things for us to do together which don’t involve alcohol and see how it goes! If our marriage can’t survive sobriety then there are clearly other problems that need to be dealt with! I’ve planned theatre trips, meals, lots of gym time, and country walks for starters – fingers crossed! x x

      Reply
    • No matter what happens when your partner comes home plan out activities and interests you enjoy and this will keep you busy and envigorated . Good vibes for you Kathy

      Reply
  17. Day 2
    Feeling optimistic!

    Thank you for the support…

    Reply
  18. Day 3

    Hope no one minds if I check in daily?

    Reply
    • Well Done Kathy – I’m happy to receive daily updates!! I’m on day 10! x x

      Reply
  19. Day 4

    Looking forward to an alcohol free weekend.

    Reply
  20. Day 5

    It’s going to a good day!

    Reply
  21. Day 6

    I know it hasn’t even been a week, but I have this overwhelming feeling of strength.

    Reply
    • Hi Kathy – that’s so great to hear! I’m on day 14 today, and I too cannot believe how strong I feel about sobriety. I have been to the gym every day, been really present and focussued on my children, I have been meditating (just 10 mins a day), and I’ve been eating better – although daily sweet treat has been necessary in the evenings to replace the usual wine!! I feel so positive – long may it continue for both of us!

      Reply
  22. love reading your blog, I did 4 months free last year but now the hangovers are getting worse and worse so I’m stopping as from today! Thanks for the inspiration x

    Reply
  23. After a very long stressful day at work, that voice in my head started up “Should I just have one glass of wine with dinner?” Could I just have one, or would I be right back where I started?

    Happy to say I stuck with my seltzer and feel happy with my decision this morning!

    Reply
  24. Guys I’m reaching out to you all for support. After 17 days I lapsed last night – had 1glass wine on my daughteŕs 18th..drank the whole bottle??? Wallowing in self loathing today..help…arghhh. It really is an all or nothing game I guess. Just want this day to end so I can drag myself out this hole asap. Would appreciate some advice. Pauline

    Reply
    • Hi Pauline, have you downloaded my free Wine O’Clock Survival Guide yet? That will help you get back on track for now: https://thesoberschool.com/wineoclock

      If you really want to step things up a gear, my 6 week course will help you stop drinking (and actually feel good about it). It’s all about finding new coping mechanisms, changing the way you think about alcohol and getting the bottom of why you drink in the first place. The next course starts in January: https://thesoberschool.com/course/

      Reply
      • Pauline,

        Stop feeling guilty. Everyone makes this mistake.

        But remember how you feel at ” this moment” and the next time you are
        tempted, stop and focus on “this moment” and envision another outcome.

        If not drinking was easy we all wouldn’t be here. But with each others support
        it can become the best life decision you can make for yourself.

        Reply
        • Thanks and yes you are right..have stopped beating myself up now. Quitting alcohol is hard but not impossible. Thanks p

          Reply
  25. Hi guys!! I’m just completed 3 weeks which is great, and I feel so positive and clear headed – I just wondered if anyone else has experienced weight gain while quitting?? I’m exercising every day, and eating healthily, plus the 1000 calorie wine intake has stopped so I don’t get it??!! Does anyone know the scientific reason – I heard somewhere that your liver literally ‘has a break’ from metabolising ANYTHING as it has been so worn out with all the alcohol for so long! Any ideas and/or similar experiences would be much appreciated!

    Reply
  26. Day 17, and a Happy Sober Thanksgiving to all.

    Reply

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