Why do you drink? What benefit or service are you hoping alcohol will deliver?
The answers to these questions look different for different people. But there’s one thing I can say for sure:
No matter what problem you’re trying to mask or fix, alcohol will always ensure you end up with MORE of what you don’t want.
Whether it’s boredom, loneliness or something else… alcohol is quietly creating more of that problem for you, as I explain in today’s video.
Short-term distraction, long-term pain
If you drink because you’re bored, alcohol will help you kill a bit of time initially. But in the long term, it will create more boredom for you – more of what you don’t want. Why? Because when you’re drinking, you’re far less likely to take the action needed to create a life that fulfils you. You’re probably not going to maintain your relationships properly or find new, interesting things to do. And because you’re not doing those things, you’re going to get bored again pretty quickly.
Alcohol makes any problem worse
Take any problem or trigger: stress and/or grief are good examples. In the end, alcohol always gives you more of what you don’t want. But it’s hard to see that in the moment because drinking is like plugging your brain into the matrix. Have you seen that movie with Keanu Reeves? In The Matrix, people think they have this great life. But they’re actually experiencing a simulated reality, which is there to distract them from what’s really going on.
The matrix trap
If you drink because you’re feeling lonely, alcohol won’t change that. It’s just that you’re “plugged in” to the matrix for a little while, so you notice the loneliness less. But the next morning, when you’re hungover and unplugged, that loneliness will still be there. In fact, it might even feel worse. The morning after you’ve been drinking, pretty much everything feels worse. Which is, once again, more of what you don’t want. It feels very hard to solve or fix anything when you’re recovering from drinking alcohol.
Unplugging from the matrix
Are you willing to unplug from the alcohol matrix and be present with whatever it is you keep drinking over? It’s the easier option in the long term, I promise. Allowing yourself to be present with your loneliness, stress or boredom might not be as intolerable as you think. And if it is unpleasant? It could be the push you need to create a life that you don’t need to numb out from.
Looking to create a sober life you love? Click here to find out more about my Getting Unstuck course.
That was great to hear Kate, I have been drinking heavily for 10 +years after losing my 18yr old son in a road accident, I’m also very lonely, everything you say makes so much sense, but unfortunately I cannot afford to join, I don’t work anymore so finances are difficult, i will however continue to watch your videos, once again, thank you x
My last 1 and half bottles of pinot noir was on Christmas Day. For 15+ years, I really loved the taste of red wine and it hasn’t been easy to stay away from drinking. I stopped alcohol altogether (only keep mirin for Asian cookings ) to see if I can tackle OCD better while raising 2 active toddlers. Everyday is still very much a challenge, but with alcohol completely out of the whole equation, I slowly see the hope. The hope that I am CAN make the quality of daily living better, for myself and the entire family.
Thank you Kate for all your organized, thoughtful posts and videos!
You’re welcome Niki and I’m so happy you are improving the quality of your life with alcohol out of the equation. It really does not offer any service or benefit and is toxic to the human body, so you’re absolutely doing the right thing for you and your family.
Hi Sharon. I’m so sorry for your loss. I can’t begin to imagine how hard it is to lose a son. My heart goes out to you. I couldn’t afford to do Kate’s course either, but with all Kate’s bolgs and videos, I managed to stop drinking. (1 year af and counting) I learnt so much about alcohol and what it actually does to your body and mind. I felt like I had been a drugs pusher as I was in the pub trade for over 20 years! I never thought it would be possible to stop. But it is! You can do it Sharon.
This is so true- I drank to cover or mask the stuff I didn’t like about my life- some of which I can’t actually change but it is far easier to cope with sober than hungover and everything else is better so I don’t think about the things I can’t change so much anymore
Exactly Sharon, a difficult day sober is much easier than an ordinary day hungover!
Thank you. Two weeks in and although not a lot has changed I am feeling calmer, more cheerful, less tired and richer!
Drinking through boredom slowly being replaced by other activities, can’t wait for the evenings to get warmer.
You are really helping, thank you.
Congratulations Valerie, two weeks is a great start and you’ve listed four benefits already so plenty has changed for you I’d say 🙂
Your words make so much sense to me. Everything about this last video you shared makes so much sense to me and just so true. It’s just so hard.
Bloomin’ heck you are so right. The stuff you are running from when you drink is there the next day but even more of it. I just couldn’t see that before. I feel like I have seen the light.
I’ve been to a few social things this month that I would normally have had a few (7) drinks at, I stayed sober and guess what? Had fun. I never, ever, ever thought this could happen. I thought booze was my closest pal.
We need to experience things a few times sober that we used to associate with alcohol to retrain the brain that it IS possible to enjoy them without a drink, then it becomes the new habit. Booze is not your friend and it doesn’t have your back – so pleased you are seeing the light Cassie 🙂
I unplugged and am just facing my somewhat problem life head on. Keep your mind clear of the Matrix
I have forever thought The Matrix was a metaphor for addiction – Lord of the Rings also – whether the creators intended this or not. Very powerful. Really want to sign up for the next course.
Thanks for your feedback on the analogy. Please add your email to my mailing list and you’ll be sure to hear about my next online course in April: https://thesoberschool.com/course/
I actually drank out of loniness and sometimes for the aches and pains in my body, I had knee surgery and work 12 hours a day. I dont think a glass of red wine is harmful to you, but my problem is I couldnt stop at a glass. Ive recently joined a Fitness class which requires no alcohol and it has helped. Alcohol took its toll on my weight and skin appearance, now Im getting back to my healthy self. Its been nice having solid poop and non puffy eyes in the morning.
I’m 7 weeks in with no wine and whilst I thought I would be bouncing off the walls by now I do sleep better but need more sleep. I was a massive red wine drinker and then just decided to stop to figure it all out. Your videos are so helpful and provides us all with the reality of why we’ve been dependant on alcohol for so long. Thank you.
Agree! Putting booze aside has helped me take full stock of my problems with a clear mind. Yes, you still have worries and issues, but putting alcohol out of the equation gives you the control. And, I am loving myself more every day! 11 months for me thanks to The Sober School!
Congratulations on your 11 months Lisa, a year soberversary coming up soon! I hope you’ve planned something to celebrate the milestone because you deserve it ❤️
Enjoyed your video. It gives me reasons to think first. I feel so much better when I don’t drink. Enjoying all this very much. Thank you
I am about 10 weeks alcohol free and I have unplugged from now what I will refer to as the alcohol Matrix. Since then, I have helped my loneliness by having frequent intimate conversations with my husband. After 30 years of marriage, we feel closer than ever. I listen to meditation videos instead of drinking wine to ease my stress . I am more productive and find more time to read and relax doing healthy things i enjoy which would have never happened if i were still drinking. Thank you for this invaluable perspective.
It warms my heart to hear the positive changes your ‘unplugging from the alcohol matrix’ has made to your marriage; thanks for sharing ❤️ If you need any extra support, I’d be honoured to help: https://thesoberschool.com/course/
That was very very true mine is boredom. wonderful advice
Excellent talk and so true
I love the analogy of now being unplugged from the matrix and have been so since 31st December. Mine is mainly boredom. I have not yet figured out what I need to replace it to get through that though. My husband is still a very heavy every night drinker so as a couple we are still stuck and plugged in. I need to find away to move forward within our relationship as my main temptation is to plug back in to share with him again. Managed not to do so on his big 60th birthday last weekend so am very proud of myself though. Caused an upset with our friends who basically said ‘enough of this s**t, its march now. Have drink with your husband!!’ Not very supportive.
Putting down the alcohol is just the first stage of sobriety, building a life that you want is the next phase and can be pretty enlightening so put your mind to work Sandra. I’ve linked here a previous blog I wrote about having a partner that still drinks that I hope you find helpful: https://thesoberschool.com/i-want-to-quit-but-my-partner-still-drinks/
Are comments on here open to the public Kate?
Yes Lisa this is my public facing blog post, but you’ve posted with just a first name so no personal details shared.
I think I thought that I didn’t really have any ‘reason’ for drinking…The analogy with the matrix makes so much sense and has made me think about things differently and I need to be present to work it out. I know I don’t want to be plugged in but it feels like sometimes I’m not actually plugging myself in…it just happens to me. This has been so helpful, thank you.
You’re welcome Laura and the work I do with my students delves deeper into the reasons why we reach for a drink even when our conscious mind is adamant we’re not drinking tonight!