Kate's Blog

Trying To Drink Less? Beware The Tolerance Trap

The other day I got an email from someone who follows my blog. She wrote:

“I’m so mad with myself. I managed almost a whole month without drinking but for some reason I bought some wine one Saturday evening, at home alone.

“I only had one glass that first night and I thought I had reset myself and things were OK. Unfortunately there have been many more drinks since then. I’ve lost control and I’m back to square one again.”

If this story sounds familiar, you’ll want to check out my response today…

Key points

The tolerance trap

When you take a break from drinking and then go back to it, your tolerance to the drug is really low. So you don’t need as much in order to feel the effects. This can trick people into thinking they’ve cracked moderation and are in control, because initially they can have one and then stop.

Don’t be fooled – this is only temporary. The next time you drink, you’ll need a bit more to get the same effect. And then more the next time… until things are back to where they were before. Often it’s not the first drink after a break that’s the problem – it’s what it opens the door to later that’s the real issue.

Alcohol vs other drugs

Alcohol is the only drug that we’re obsessed with trying to control. We make alcohol addiction about the person – we blame the individual – rather than looking at the real problem, which is the drug.

You don’t really ever have control over an addictive, mind-altering drug. We certainly don’t talk about controlling nicotine, cocaine or heroin. People don’t take a month off vaping and then say, “OK, that’s it – I’ll definitely be able to control this now!”

Real freedom is hiding in plain sight

Moderation is tiring. Think of all the effort that goes into trying to drink less – waiting until a set time, buying smaller bottles, jumping through various different hoops… and then after all that, you still don’t feel satisfied because you’re not drinking in the way you truly want to.

That’s a lot of discomfort to put yourself through for very little reward. So what I invite you to consider is this: could you get more satisfaction from not drinking at all? What if alcohol-free living was where the real freedom, the real satisfaction lies? It’s just hiding in plain sight, waiting for you to jump on board.

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. 


10 Responses

  1. Hi Kate I’m almost one month wine free your blogs have helped me so much with my way of thinking one day at a time onwards and upwards hopefully

    1. That’s great to hear Miranda and my webinar will answer many of your questions about moving forward in a positive and fun way because stopping drinking doesn’t have to be tough. I can show you how to quit without feeling miserable. There is another way of doing things…

  2. Oh my goodness. This video came just in time. I don’t know why I started to crave a drink after being AF for almost a year and a half. But I was toying with it; I journaled and got it out of my system about having a drink, but your video really said it all. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I’m gonna keep this video and replay it when this urge comes over me.

    1. Hi Ginny, I am so pleased to hear this helped you. Journaling your thoughts, getting them down on paper and out of your head is a great sober tool. Well done.

  3. First day again today trying to live without wine, managed a month recently, this is really helpful and hope I can do it!

    1. Repeating the first days and weeks of sobriety are doing the hardest part over and over again. Give yourself a proper break from booze of at least six weeks and think about what you are gaining by choosing to be alcohol-free, not what you are trying to live without. My free ‘wine o’clock guide’ will give you some added motivation: https://thesoberschool.com/wineoclock

  4. I went 7 years without alcohol but last year at Thanksgiving, 1 Blue Hawaian drink felt so relaxing after my 4hour flight i kept drinking when i came home. Now its bad. I try to eat at 4:30 because i dont drink after supper.
    Trying to stop drinking forever. Keep pitcher of green tea to sip on now and no liquids after 5:30.

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