Kate's Blog

Why Do I Keep Drinking When I Said I Wouldn’t?

When I was trying (and failing) to quit drinking, I always had a lot of angry questions for myself the morning after.

Questions like: Why on earth did I do that? Why do I keep drinking when I said I wouldn’t?
Sometimes my drinking felt like a bit of a mystery. It didn’t make sense and yet I kept doing it.
Can you relate?
If you don’t know why you keep drinking, check out this week’s video.

Key points

The “I don’t know” trap

It sounds like such an innocent thought that feels so true. However, this thought will sneakily block you from your own wisdom. The truth is, your drinking always makes sense. There’s a reason you keep drinking. There was a thought and a feeling that went before the drinking and you chose to manage those with alcohol.
 

Commit to being curious

A big part of quitting is understanding why you do it and learning how to be curious about it. Remember, there’s nothing wrong with you. You don’t have a disease. You keep drinking because you have a coping mechanism that isn’t really working for you. So let’s drop the judgement and work out what’s happening inside your own head.
 

Take a guess

It doesn’t matter if your guess is wrong. What does your brain think you’re getting when you keep drinking? What if – and this is important – what if your drinking is actually just showing you the life skills that you’re missing? What if it’s just highlighting the areas you need to work on and figure out how to provide for yourself?
 

Missing skills

What skills might you need to work on? If you keep drinking because you’re bored, start thinking about how you could create more pleasure in your life, just on your own. If you keep drinking for confidence, how might you start generating that confidence from within? Or perhaps you need another way to deal with worries, anxiety and stress. What is it for you?
 
Looking for help and support to create an alcohol-free life you love? My Getting Unstuck course will transform your relationship with booze and yourself. Click here for more details.
 

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. 

Comments

86 Responses

  1. Thank you so much for your videos. They make so much sense to me. It’s like you’re reading my mind. I’m still struggling with alcohol but I’m doing a lot of soul searching and it helps to know that I’m not the only one and that I can make the necessary changes to quit. You give me hope for an alcohol free future.

    1. Thank you. This the first video I’ve watched but got me thinking. I drink as a reward at the end of the day. I really enjoy a glass of wine or a G&T, they are a treat.

    2. I still get the urge at the weekends and when someone has a drink in a film or program watching just that quick thought just one or two won’t hurt but then I remember last time had drink how sick I was

    3. Hi , TRICIA, I HAVE QUIT BEFORE SO I DO KNOW THE REASONS WHY. I DO OKAY ALL DAY BY MYSELF DOING WHAT I NEED TO DO AND THEN WHEN THE EVENING COMES AND MY HUSBAND COMES HOME IS WHEN I WANT TO START DRINKING

      1. I’m quoting from a previous student of mine who said “I love how I get to choose what I do with my evenings and weekends now. Alcohol chose for such a long time, but now I’m in control”

  2. I know I am bored . My job in psychology was great before the pandemic. I saw patients face to face and ran groups. Now I am at home most of the time and have not seen a NHS patient face to face for two and half years. There is no contact with the team and no connection. I thrived on that. I do a private practice with face to face and have reduced my hours with the NHS. I am isolated. I know why I drink and you are right it’s about interrupting that pattern of behaviour but I find it hard. I don’t drink every day and have cut back. It’s the mindset that bothers me. I am filling a void.

    1. Lisa, you have identified why you drink right there. Lack of job satisfaction, isolation, boredom – that’s where the work is required. I can help with that; the mindset work is a big part of my coaching. Here are the details should you wish to work with me: https://thesoberschool.com/course/

  3. I drink to forget, and feel happy, I get both when I drink. I want to be able to drink without it becoming a problem, I just don’t seem to able to do it.

      1. I had a challenging childhood and lacked confidence drink helped with my social anxiety.sadly I have turned to alcohol to comfort myself. I am realising that it has been a destructive and negative coping strategy. It feels scary though to face emotions but it’s about digging within and loving yourself .thankyou

        1. Absolutely agree Lizzy. Sobriety is the ultimate in self care and so worth it, not only for the health benefits but for improving mental health, confidence and self esteem too.

        2. Kate
          You help me so much. I made 100 days and on day 101 I celebrated my husband birthday with wine at dinner. But I immediately snuck more.
          Then a few days later while alone over night I drank a bottle.
          Next morning I asked myself WHY. But now after today’s blog I know asking why is a tool not a means to find an excuse.
          I look forward every week for your blog. Iam on day 4 and I am determined to get to the place where I finally and forever accept alcohol free living brings me more of what I want in life.
          Thankyou so much for your help

  4. I just like the feeling of being drunk it used to be for social events so I could loosen up and have fun. Now it’s on my own at home every night a way to forget/cope with just loosing both my parents one was expected I looked after my mum with Alzheimer’s she died in October last year and my dad died unexpectedly suddenly found on doorstep in May. Drinking seems to be in the family I have an addictive personality. I am a medically retired mental health nurse. I’m petrified of dying so drink to forget but drinking will probably kill me it doesn’t make sense.

    1. Your reasons for drinking are right there, but only you know how alcohol makes you feel. Society needs to stop seeing alcohol as a benign, social lubricant and see it for the toxic, addictive substance that it really is. Just because it’s legal, does not mean it isn’t lethal for some people.

  5. It’s thinking time, the video was good I didn’t really see that I was blocking the why in me if that makes sense. Today I have taken time out to read and hear your video and guild don’t feel quite as on my own as yesterday

    1. Hi Kate, I think I’m in control but if I’m drinking even a few every night that try to control and I know that so I can’t I stop?

    1. This is how I feel. I don’t know if I’m depressed because I drink or drink because I’m depressed. I have never felt so alone in my life, yesterday I got thinking that no one would actually notice if I wasn’t here. It’s sad 🙁

      1. Kate
        You help me so much. I made 100 days and on day 101 I celebrated my husband birthday with wine at dinner. But I immediately snuck more.
        Then a few days later while alone over night I drank a bottle.
        Next morning I asked myself WHY. But now after today’s blog I know asking why is a tool not a means to find an excuse.
        I look forward every week for your blog. Iam on day 4 and I am determined to get to the place where I finally and forever accept alcohol free living brings me more of what I want in life.
        Thankyou so much for your help

        1. 100 days is impressive, but it’s the mindset work that is so critical to your success. You still believed in that moment that alcohol would do something for you and sadly it never does…

  6. Thanks Kate. I took your sober school class in Jan and loved it. It was so easy to take a proper break. But after 8 weeks I slowly slid back into the old habit. Now it’s time to take back my life.

  7. This really hit home for me.
    Absolutely love your videos, really has me looking at myself and life in a different way.
    Thank you so much.

  8. Hi Kate that’s a very interesting view and as I get further into my AF journey – 3 weeks today – I am learning so much about myself… the real ME. I know there’s things for me to work on and I’m happier in myself for doing this, step by little step. Thank you for your support and wisdom you are an absolute star!

    1. So glad to have helped you learn more about yourself. We don’t often do this reflective work and it’s very empowering ❤️

    1. I am going through the same thing so you have my sympathy. It’s very hard to believe in yourself when someone has tried to convince you you are worthless.

  9. Very helpful. Been imbibing now and again Which I know I shouldn’t but I don’t feel alcohol has a hold on me that it did before I took your getting unstuck course. Yes it’s a little dangerous playing this game But I have a much better understanding why I drink and continue to work on those issues. Kate you’re wonderful!

  10. I drink to avoid worrying… and I end up neglecting my life and making much more to worry about. So when I get sober, I see a mountain of thins to do and feel shame about it. Then drink to stop worrying about it. But the middle of the night I wake up making promises to change.. the only way I can fall back asleep. I’m tired.

  11. The thought of why I want to drink no longer is a problem. It’s just easier not to think lol. Almost three months now. What ever works for me.
    P.S. I do look forward to audio videos you send. Thks

    1. I just watched your video I feel like crap again every time 4 o’clock comes I want 2 bottles of wine I hate my self for this everymorning I tell my self I’m not going to do this no more it just hits me it does make me feel good but I feel guilty as soon as I buy my alachol

      1. We sometimes forget that alcohol is addictive and the most accepted drug on the planet, so it’s no wonder we come to rely on it when it is marketed to us as essential to everyday life! Stop this self sabotaging merry-go-round by joining my next ‘getting unstuck’ course in October where I can help you unpick the myths around alcohol:https://thesoberschool.com/course/

  12. I realise I drink for the following reasons:
    I am unfulfilled at work;
    I feel “I’m not enough” in my current relationship;
    I’m not confident with who I am anymore;
    Drinking makes me forget and numb against all of the above.
    I want to change and give up this dependence when times are hard. I’m so looking forward to joining your October course. I’ve a lot of soul searching and work to do on myself in order to be free and to be happy, without the need to drink! I know this isn’t the answer.

    1. Andrea, I can relate completely to your relationship comments. This is another reason why I drink ie “I’m not enough” “I’m not confident”…I was dating a Narcissist, took me 3 years to realise this, I confided in a good friend, a nurse, who guided me in the right direction ie run, leave him & don’t look back which I did. With Kate’s help, I plan to stop drinking and be the confident person I once was.

  13. I’m one week in to breaking the cycle. But I totally relate to the ‘I don’t know why…’
    My partner would come home with a bottle of wine (which I didn’t even want) and I would drink it because it was there. And I couldn’t relax until it was gone. And that’s the way it was every night for the last 5-6-7 years.
    I would drink because it was there….sounds awful doesn’t it.

  14. Hi Kate, I don’t crave or think about a drink/alcohol when I’m at work 9 – 5 however when I leave work the craving starts. I live on my own & wine is company for me, it also gives me a temporary buzz. The next morning I feel awful, dehydrated etc…when my son stays at the weekend with his daughter, my 9 year old granddaughter, I don’t drink at all, we do fun things – go to a cafe, park, forest walks, beach etc Thanks to you, I am trying to change and I’ve had 5 alcohol free nights recently.

  15. Having a drink has become may way of unwinding at the end of the day, even if it hasn’t actually been particularly stressful.
    A totally unrelated trip to hospital has made me rethink this.
    2 weeks alcohol free!

  16. I like being “buzzed”. My issue is that once I open that bottle, I drink it all. I can’t/won’t stop at 1 or 2 glasses. I drink the whole thing.

    1. Same here, so I’m trying not to have the first one. If I then get into my pj’s (even if it is really too early!)I can convince myself I’m getting ready for bed so don’t want it anyway.

  17. It seems ridiculous, but I don’t know my current “why”. As I’ve drank off (and mostly) on for 20 years, I’ve never thought about exactly why/when. I know it’s changed over time, for fun when I was younger and more recently to get over a loss.

  18. Thanks Kate, I’m trying to identify the why and create a more positive me, this blog really struck home and I’m going to do some work in my journal to explore what I really think.

    1. I drink because I’ve created this habit for myself over the last 10 or so years of a bottle of wine every night. Even though I say in the morning I don’t want to do this anymore and purposely don’t have any in the house, come 5:30pm, i head to the bottle shop.

  19. Just stumbled across this site & signed up for the Oct course. Have struggled with bouts of stopping/starting & using alcohol to de-stress, relax & manage life! Have not drank anything for last 7 days – evenings are hard. Feel grumpier which I knowing not healthy. Need to find a way to get the ‘decompression’ without booze!

    1. Welcome Paula and I can help you find healthier coping strategies and create an alcohol-free life you’ll love! It will be my privilege to guide you on my October “Getting Unstuck” course.

  20. I dink to cope with the monotony of coming home after a days work to do all the house chores after a full day. It’s like a crutch. My husband works late and often leaves me to go to the pub. Again I’m at home on my own with a teenage son who plays games in his room, my husband plays golf. I was a golf widow when all this started any years ago.
    I am exhausted by it all. My parents are a huge support . My husbands not so.
    I have my dogs to keep me busy for walks and play, but it doesn’t stop the sad feelings I have.
    Does anyone else feel the same?
    I have to take myself off from looking at the perfect lives of others to stop e procratinating.

  21. What a refreshing reminder of how I used to think. I got to the point where I didn’t know why I was drinking every night. Thanks to Kate’s course, I’ve done the work and have 4 months and 26 days of sober bliss!! I recommend the course and Kate knows how to coach you for success!

  22. Yes it’s only after not drinking for awhile the realize it’s rather pointless now. It’s just another drink. I can have a soda, some juice, an herbal tea… anything really. But it’s taken several months of stopping for me to really see the influence of the marketing, wanting to fit in with friends, and just blind compulsion. You’re right though it’s good to own it…to know why. And it’s good to know why I don’t drink too.

  23. Mornings this is so me every morning the plan is no drinking tonight, have a good day, then home walk my dog, eat then sit there, few hours later go get a bottle totaly bored, now I have a plan for tonight, I’m going to fill in some surveys on my phone earn some money instead of spending it.

  24. Thank you so much for the way you framed this issue – I’ve been doing a lot of work on why I drink, but I loved how you talked about ‘what am I outsourcing to alcohol?’ and learning new skills…this makes the concept sound simpler and gives a great starting point. Thank you! ❤️

  25. Thankyou for your videos. I’m sick of waking up feeling anxious after drinking a bottle of wine. I do it as a reward to relax and feel less anxious but I feel more anxious the next morning so am cheating myself.. more lately I find myself opening bottle 2 which is awful, I’m going to be kind to myself now and STOP…

  26. There are the reasons we drink and then there is the habit, too. I could have days off but then realize that a thought was percolating in my brain about having some wine and I could usually pinpoint the reason – I was bored, I was lonely, I was stressed and wanted that feeling of release – but after the first day or so of drinking again, I didn’t need or feel a “reason.” I was simply back in the habit and picking up without thinking anything at all other than “oh, it’s 5, time for me to go do what I normally do.” I now have 600 days alcohol free and I notice when I start thinking about wine, there IS a reason that I can readily identify. Sometimes it’s as simple as me wanting to escape all my feelings and be numb – just because! Instead of drinking, I find an activity that will provide me some of the same escape. And yes, the knowing why we don’t drink is also so important.

    1. Congratulations 600 days thats brilliant Linda. Tomorrow is 182 for me this is my 2nd attempt last time I managed 14 months so its still early days….

  27. I’ve found my cause for drinking – I’m lonely – ‘I’m lonely so I drink – I drink because I’m lonely’ – time to work on my loneliness – I’ve had many life changes – my dad died when I was with of a heart attack , I was in an abuse e marriage so got divorced – I remarried and had 3 children but he lied to me constantly and was not good with money so after 22 years got divorced and then 4 years later he died of cancer – which was a massive blow as we were friends – it’s been an excuse to drink – feel sorry for me but now I’ve faced up to this and realise I’m lonely I have to change x

  28. In the beginning I’d had a breakdown and my husband and dad suggested I should have a glass or 2 to relax That was 25 years ago. I’ve used it to hide my unhappiness when my marriage was failing. But now it’s partly boredom, got nothing else in my life. But also I’m scared after 25 years of alcohol abuse its too late health wise to stop. So what’s the point

    1. It’s never too late for your health Debbie. I have ladies in their 60’s and 70’s join my online course and they are now living their best lives. Here’s a link to find out more: https://thesoberschool.com/course/. To quote the English author George Eliot “it’s never too late to be what you might have been”.

  29. I have been on a rollercoaster of drinking for years and each time I am caught I swear I won’t but I find it a silent companion but I need to stop as I know I am losing my family bit by bit.

    I want to stop as I hate the wine witch I become, I want my family to be able to trust me again

  30. I drink for different reasons at different times.
    To celebrate, to relax, to de stress, to escape. Ultimately I think the overall reason is that I just want to “ feel “ different.
    The truth is, I may feel different in a good way while drinking, but later that night, or the next day- I almost always feel different in a bad day! It is never worth the temporary feel I experienced only briefly.
    It’s so funny that when I don’t drink, I always feel good with no regrets, a truly clear state of mind.
    I just have to remember that this will always be the case and stick to what I know is the truth!

  31. By the way I absolutely love and appreciate all of your videos and wisdom Kate.
    The one resonating with me right now is the “ alcohol trap “ and how alcohol is stealing joy.
    This could not be more true and I am so grateful to have this explained to me in such a way that I never saw it before!

  32. I tell everyone “I hardly drink at all” and for the most part that is genuinely true- I can go for ages without touching a drop- my partner can drink a lot and if I ever tried to keep up with him I couldn’t and never knew when I had drunk enough and would just keep going till I was sick and had to be put to bed- I vowed not to embarrass him and get like that again- but of course I did- I don’t seem to be capable of having a couple, it’s always more than that – and the following day not only do I feel dreadful I have the worst anxiety about my behaviour that has left me in tears , being sick, having the runs through terror about my drinking the night before and not being able to remember what I did or didn’t say or do- I don’t want to do this anymore

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