Kate's Blog

You Aren’t Weak, Broken Or Lacking Willpower

Many people mistakenly believe that sobriety is just about having tons of willpower.

Maybe you’re convinced that if you were stronger, you’d be able to ‘control’ alcohol a bit better.
Perhaps you’ve confided in someone about your drinking, only for them to turn round and say, “Well – why don’t you just stop at one?” 
This stuff can leave you feeling as if your drinking is a personal failing and weakness. 
I get it. It’s a horrible place to be. 
But you aren’t weak at all. I explain why in this video:

Key points:

You’re not weak

If you’re reading this, I’d put money on the fact that you are smart, motivated and driven. You’re juggling many competing demands, between family life, work and the fallout from the coronavirus.
You have to be a strong person to make all that stuff happen whilst feeling hungover and pretending everything’s absolutely fine. 

The real problem

Alcohol is a mind-altering, addictive drug which is normalised, glamorised and often presented as the solution to all your problems, and completely essential to a full and happy life. 
It’s completely normal – and predictable – to become dependent on an addictive drug that is repeatedly presented to you in the most flattering and appealing way.

Successful sobriety isn’t about willpower

Let’s be clear: grit and determination will only get you so far. Long term, happy sobriety is about much more than willpower – it’s about doing the right mindset work.
If you want sobriety to feel less like a punishing diet and more like an empowering way of life, you have to examine the benefits of drinking. Is alcohol genuinely providing everything you think it is? (Hint: it’s not).

Why do you really drink?

The real work of sobriety is looking at why you want to numb out in the first place. Why do you want to escape your life so often? 
Examining this is much more helpful than clinging on to a story (and it is just a story) that you are weak or broken and there’s something wrong with you.
If you’d love some help and support to quit drinking, click here for details of my online 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. 


57 Responses

  1. Thank you Kate. I am nearly 1 year AF after taking your class last summer. Not only did it help me quit, but it helped me be kinder to myself too. Watching your video today reminded me of just how much I used to beat myself up, day in, day out. I really hated myself. I’m very happy not to be in that place anymore!

    1. I’m so pleased to hear that Molly – congratulations on your sobriety! It sounds as if a lot has changed for you over the past year ❤️

    2. Thank you Kate. I have put off listening to this for so long as I didn’t want to admit there is a problem in my life, but now I have listened, I feel glad I did. I feel ready to look into what’s going on with me and make a change.
      Thank you so much xx

  2. Thank you kate. Im still struggling with taking that first step. But I am determined to make this work. Looking forward to taking your course

      1. Thanks Kate. I have definitely seen my inability to stop at one drink as a willpower failing. I hadn’t considered how powerfully our society links alcohol to almost every situation ‘you’ve worked hard, you deserve it’ or ‘you’re low? Have a few drinks cheer yourself up’ , or ‘You’re stressed? Relax with a bottle of wine’ , ‘Something to celebrate? Cheers, get out the bubbly’. It just goes on and on and I’m only now recognising, at 53, how powerfully I have absorbed and accepted those norms without ever questioning them. Time to assert myself. I’m on day 18, my best record yet.

  3. Thanks Kate – just what I needed – I’ve always felt I must have no willpower – as I’ve tried many times to give up alcohol but always go back…Glad I recently saw your site – it came at just the right time – since I have chosen to live my life alcohol free, I am 7 days sober 🙂 and I feel so much better already. Must say thanks also for the free wine o’clock survival guide – great idea.

  4. Thank you so much Kate for your message to Me and the blog for today !
    I’ll start analysing why I need this drug and work on AF.
    The lockdown has so much to answer for!

  5. Thank you, Kate, for the wonderful ways you continue to articulate how insidious a drug alcohol is. I continually must remind myself that it is a powerfully sneaky drug, to which it can sometimes take years to become addicted, and that’s been the case with me. I do sometimes, as you say, find myself wearing those rose-coloured romanticizing glasses about the short-term feeling of escape and euphoria from using alcohol. Even though I’m past the 7-month mark in my t-total status, I cling to your videos (as well as to my journalling)for regular reality checks about this toxic drug. I love how you ask us to investigate the feeling we’re chasing by using alcohol and looking at what are the unmet needs we have that we believe alcohol will give us. Incredibly helpful for me! I continue on in my t-total transformation! Thank you hugely from my heart.

    1. Many congratulations on your 7 months B! That is fantastic. I’m glad these blogs help keep you focused 🙂

  6. I’ve made the decision to take a break starting tonight. I am strong in every aspect of my life . I can do this.

  7. I am loving these email reminders that help reinforce why I am taking a break from alcohol! I’m on day 8 and just made it through the weekend AF. Saturday was a little tough bc my husband drank but I woke up feeling really proud. I am trying to make the switch from using willpower (temporary) to really believing I don’t need alcohol in my life (permanent). Here’s to digging deeper and saying goodbye to alcohol forever!

  8. I’m 31 days AF and I’m so pleased, I don’t think I’m weak but I don’t think I could do it with out your inspiring videos, and it helps knowing other people are on the same journey. Thank you for all your support.

    1. You are in good company here, for sure. Many congratulations on your 31 days Georgina – wishing you an alcohol free June too!

  9. My 21,daughter has been home with me since March- we get along well but Thursday June 4 she calmly said, stop drinking and I have-!!!!!!!!

  10. I was sober for 3 months and it was tough. Fell off in December on vacation, birthday, holidays, Covid. Now I’m right back to where I was and really struggling to start this process all over again. Wish I could go away for a month and just work on getting better. I really need to figure out this mindset and why I drink. I think a lot off it is boredom and some kind of sick reward for working hard. One of my four children is getting married in less than two weeks and I want to be fully present and the best version of myself. This will be the first wedding in our family and I want the memory not a foggy blurred mess. Thank you for the emails and blogs❤️

    1. No problem Kate. It sounds as if you could do with some support? I know it can be lonely (and intimidating) doing this all by yourself. If you’re looking for some help to make sobriety stick (in a way that actually feels good!!) here’s how I can help you: https://thesoberschool.com/course/

    2. Today was a bit tough at the witching hour. I reread my list of reasons to take a break from A. My list, along with reading other womens’ blogs brought me back to reality. Today will be the 2nd day AF for me. I tossed all last night…just couldn’t get to sleep. Hoping for a better night tonight. I am so thankful to have found this site. I feel affirmed and positive. I will check back in at 1 week AF. I am sipping on hot beef broth as my substitute, which also helps me stay hydrated. Blessings to the ladies who struggle, and thanks to those who have had long periods of being AF for the encouragement.

  11. What a wonderful post. I’ve read so many books on becoming sober and in them they all say that in there early years they read and wrote blogs. Kate you are the first one that came up on google for me and I feel it was ment to be. I done 110 days alcohol free then had two slips, well disasters. I’m now back on 9 days and feeling better again. I’m angry with myself for drinking again but am determined to stay on track. I think I’ve got over the daily drinking witching hour but I’m so so worried about everything opening up again and me Just going back to old drinking habits. Weekend binge. I’m petrified actually. Makes me not want to make plans for the future. I think I’ve done well on my own so far, but I need some help, guidance for being Social and sober. So I’m asking for help. From anyone with wise works and tips. Please xxx Amanda

    1. Hi Amanda, well done for getting back on track. If you look through my blog post archive, you’ll see I’ve shared quite a lot about going out sober over the years. However, if you’re looking for more intensive help and support to socialise sober and feel really good about overcoming those kind of challenges, I can help with that too. The best way for us to work together would be via my online course. Here are some details: https://thesoberschool.com/course/

  12. Thanks to your course, Kate, I’m on AF day 84. My short term goal is still 100 days. I really don’t think to much about alcohol nowadays. Occasionally, it pops into my mind when I’m on a holiday. But, so far, I’ve managed to remember all the reasons I took your course. Thank you for the timely message as I’m meeting up with old friends this evening.

    1. That’s wonderful Nancy – congratulations on your 84 days! ❤️ Enjoy your evening out with friends. Remember – it doesn’t matter what’s in your glass 🙂

      1. The evening with friends went well. I had 2 Heineken Zero beers. My first taste of an AF beer. Not bad at all.

  13. Night 1 of sobriety. I’ve had nights off before but that was usually because I was working (I was a night support worker). I actually took the job so that I had to limit my drinking. Now I’m a full time carer for my husband and I have 3 teenagers to look after. I feel like I can actually do this after reading your blog Kate, and reading all the comments. I hope I can comment next week and say “day 7” wish me luck and thank you xxx

  14. You make me want to cry Kate, in a good way, thank you for this message, I am so excited to start the course, I am already on my journey but not fully there. Your vlog and blog is really a life saver for me. Thank you for what you are already depositing into my life.

  15. Thank you for your prompt response to my post the other night. I’m working on getting into a schedule to read and reread your replies to your followers. I enjoy your responses and suggestions and “how to think about your thoughts”. Your comments definitely call for self reflection … what draws me to a wine bottle? what exactly am I trying to forget or solve? I look forward to your class beginning in July. Thanks again for responding!

    1. No problem Rita. Registration for the July class will open towards the end of June, so keep an eye out for some emails about it. Keep going! 🙂

  16. Love this video and thought process around it thanks Kate great video it makes me feel nit broken and more empowered

    1. I’m pleased to hear that Nicole. It’s hard to move forward when you’re feeling broken and beating yourself up.

  17. Hi Kate,
    Today I am 30 days alcohol free. I remember when I was on day 3 thinking “I think I can really do this!” After trying so many times and not being successful I realize what worked this time was your website and your blogs. They are so encouraging. They made me understand that it is not the feeling that I “can’t” drink anymore, it’s the feeling that I don’t want to that makes it work. Thank you, thank you, thank you!From the bottom of my heart!

    1. Many congratulations on your 30 days Lisa! Well done, you should be proud. I’m wishing you many more alcohol free days ahead 🙂

    2. Lisa, your post struck a cord with me. It is early morning here, but will be day #3 AF for me by the end of the day, God willing. I’m so happy to hear that for you at day #30, you don’t think so much about drinking. For me, I seemed to start to “plan” when and how much to drink that evening. I am waiting for the time when I no longer think and plan about the evening’s glasses of ETOH.

  18. Gosh just reading all those comments makes me realise I am normal but just dependent upon alcohol to be my emotional crutch. I’ve been on the online AA meetings but just hate the fact that you begin by introducing yourself as an alcoholic, yours is a much better approach and I love listening to and reading your words, you’re keeping me focused Kate

    1. Thanks Ann. AA is a great fit for some people, but not for others. I created The Sober School to provide an alternative approach for those who crave something different 🙂

  19. Still on the poison. It hasn’t clicked yet but a lightbulb flickered on and off again today. So alcohol is the culprit all along is that it? Help! I’m stuck in quicksand and sinking fast!

      1. I’m really short of money right now. Being in lockdown and having a drink problem is costly. A double whammy.

  20. Just feeling weak and full of self loathing when I read your message. I’m still in the thinking about it stage but feeling encouraged now instead of helpless. X

  21. Thank you so much, for starting this blog. I’m 55 years old, and have been a heavy drinker for a little over 10 years. I understand that many people have found AA tremendously helpful, but for many reasons it was the absolute wrong choice for me, and only made me feel worse. Your approach speaks to me, and from the comments people make in your blog, I feel like I’ve finally found other women, who have gone through similar life experiences, and I can connect with. I will heed your advice, and shoot for 3 months, as a starting point. Wine is starting to affect my health. I have numerous reasons to quit, and only one reason to continue drinking it. I’ve decided to frame the issue as, It’s not that I can’t have alcohol, it’s that alcohol can’t have ME.

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