Kate's Blog

The Subtle Ways That Drinking Makes Your Life Harder

If you’re questioning your relationship with alcohol, it can be tempting to compare yourself to others. 

I used to love reading dramatic, rock bottom stories about other drinkers.
I’d confidently reassure myself that things weren’t yet ‘bad enough’ for me to have to quit. 
But that meant I overlooked some important signs.
I’m talking about the small, subtle ways that drinking makes life harder. 
This is the stuff that really counts:

Key points:

Drinking makes life harder in all areas

Having to act like someone who is well rested, happy and hangover free is tiring. It’s hard to sustain that kind of performance. If you’re a secret drinker, maintaining your supplies and disposing of the empties takes work. Pretending that you’ve not had a few drinks takes effort. 
Maybe you’re unable to drive after a certain time or you avoid answering the phone. Perhaps you shop in different places in case someone notices, or you worry that you might smell of alcohol. The mental load of managing this is stuff draining.

Why this matters

As the saying goes, “Enjoy the little things in life, for one day you’ll look back and realise they were the big things.” This principle applies here too. The examples outlined above may not be particularly noteworthy on their own, but the cumulative effect is soul destroying.
Looking for help and support to create an alcohol free life you love? Click here to find out more about my online coaching programme.

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. 


23 Responses

  1. The subtle thing for me was the school run! I have three kids and several different drop offs. When I was drinking I always did it feeling frazzled, tired and ill. At the time I didn’t really appreciate how hard alcohol was making that part of the day, I just thought I was a bad parent. I’m over a year AF (thanks to your course Kate) and the school run is so much now. Sometimes we even get there on time, lol.

  2. Definitely gave me something to think about, especially not answering the phone so my family didn’t know I was drinking

  3. Wow this really resonated with me. I am 15 months AF and listening to this has confirmed I had to make this change. It was as you say small stuff but I was heading out of control.
    Thank you so much xx

  4. every word you said i can relate to sometimes im a secret drinker this is very draining on my mental health . I often go to different shops in the hope that no one notices andi often don’t answer phone i want all this to change

  5. Very insightful and makes me thankful that I’ve quit alcohol. Seven months on and I feel so much better mental and physically.

  6. You nail it every time Kate! Keeping up with it all was exhausting. The “incessant internal chatter” while around other people having drinks, and the feelings of regret when alone afterward, and the energy spent behaving like it was all alright was just a huge energy sap. Lately I notice how relieved I feel when driving past liquor stores, particularly some of my more regular places. I never have to go in one of them again! You are right, it’s the little things that are liberating.

  7. I completely resonate with what you have said Kate. The hiding the empty bottles then discovering them a few days later and the feeling of shame. Any excuse to have a “hair of the dog” and finding inventive ways to justify it. Looking back it’s exhausting. I’ve only just finished the course yesterday but the feeling of immense relief that I don’t have to do that anymore is overwhelming.

  8. I did 9 weeks no alcohol! Felt better then wham there was the excuse to have a glass of wine or 6! I blame everything for my drinking, 24 hr carer, rarely get out for coffee, never socialise so I drink, no life outside of home…that is my excuse. Not a good one I know as other people manage. I know I have to change but why? I really cannot motivate myself at all.

    1. Have you taken Kate’s, 6 week “Getting Unstuck From Alcohol” course? Just curious, because it really changed my life and broke my relationship with alcohol.
      All the best, Sue ❤️ You CAN do it!

  9. And let’s not forget the the not-so-subtle or quiet, exhausting little things. Like screaming at pigeons to get out of your way as you stumble down the street! Well.. that was long ago. But yes, even rock bottom can be subtle. It’s not necessarily defined by huge or public catastrophes. Very often, and certainly in my case, it’s a growing sense of malaise and doom enjoyed all alone in the comfort of my living room. When you start wondering which methods of suicide are the least painless it’s time to take serious stock. Another real “I can so relate” video from Kate. Thank you.

    1. Yes it’s a kind of deceit which makes us ashamed, even more prone to hiding, lying and being secretive. Then we hate ourselves and need more drink to cope with that horrible feeling and the vicious circle goes on and on, often below our conscious awareness. Thank you Kate for this video reminding us of the insidious, tiring aspects of drinking which we can be free of when we stop. We can be free of the fear that our shameful habit will be exposed. We can be proud of getting through the days without that nasty crutch and seeing that actually, unbelievably, life is better without it.

  10. I just wrote about the little thing that matters to me. I now clean up the kitchen after dinner very carefully. Sometimes I even sweep the floor!

    1. Isn’t it nice, Pat! To care about our surroundings and want to create a more organized and clean space. Waking up not having to clean up yesterday. In more ways than one!

  11. Yup, I can relate to most of your comments Kate as well as several others here. Very, very exhausting. It is definitely freedom not having to manage all that anymore. When I took your class in July I couldn’t see how to stop reaching for that wine glass every day. I now have the power to say “Not today Lady” and feel fine with it! Many thanks

  12. Everything in this video resonates with me. It is so draining to try to manage all the behavior. Actually this is similar to trying to moderate drinking. So much energy is often spent on “will I drink tonight, if so how many, will I have enough wine at home” etc. Just easier to not drink at all and quit bargaining with yourself it sucks up so much energy that could be spent on your kids, or pets, or family/friends and most importantly YOURSELF!

  13. Can relate to all of this and so many of the comments. Trying to recommit and care about myself first, it’s tough but I have to do this. Thanks!

    1. Meg, it took me a while too. I followed Kate for a year or so before joining one of her 6 week courses online. It was a total game changer for me. I committed to not drinking through the course and really found out how much better I felt, looked, and how much easier it was to manage my life and feelings. I’ve since, gone beyond the 6 weeks alcohol free. The things I was taught and the support provided within the group was so amazing. Such a safe and honest space. I highly recommend it, if you haven’t thought of it In all sincerity… It changed my life.

  14. A timely reminder of what a mental drain the constant negotiation about whether to have a glass , now or wait for a bit . Did I have a cold bottle of wine …. Would 1 be enough . I won’t drink today and then ……
    With the silly season fast approaching a very relatable post . Thanks Kate

  15. I can relate to all of this and yes, it is the little day to day things that drinking make harder to accomplish. Excellent blog post, as usual.

  16. I am so thankful that I came cross this site it was totally by chance (I had been googling famous people who had quit drinking so I could read their stories) all the comments from the previous woman rang true to me -the lies, the deceit, the hiding bottles, not answering the phone… I’m really looking forward toThis group and the program

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