Does Alcohol Keeps You Playing Small?
If you’re a smart, ambitious, accomplished woman who feels stuck and can’t figure out why you’re not achieving your dreams, it might be time to take a look at your wine glass.
So many of us love opening a bottle at the end of the day but don’t realize how much drinking saps our time, energy, focus and motivation.
Maybe you have New Year’s Resolutions you somehow never seem to keep, hobbies you’ve always wanted to try but never get around to, or just feel like you’re barely keeping your head above water most days.
The truth is that it’s really hard to move forward in life if you’re slowing yourself down with wine every night.
Alcohol can keep you from living up to your potential and playing small.
My guest today is here to talk about how drinking can sap your clarity, confidence and motivation and how to stop drinking and start manifesting the big desires you have for your life.
Amanda Kuda is a writer, coach, and educator.
She’s a former social drinker and party girl who is now living (and loving) a 100% alcohol-free lifestyle. Amanda’s passionate about teaching other high-achieving women how to navigate the stumbling blocks of going alcohol-free so they can step into a life beyond their wildest dreams and stop playing small.
In this episode, we discuss:
Why you don’t have to have a problem with alcohol for it to be a problem in your life.
- How drinking can block you from achieving your highest potential
- The definition of ‘grey area drinking’
- Why highly sensitive people and empaths may use alcohol to manage overstimulation and dull their emotions
- How to find out if you’re an empath or a highly sensitive person
- Why choosing to be alcohol-free doesn’t require joining a 12 Step Program or adopting the alcoholic label
- Amanda’s story and how she stopped drinking + started manifesting
Resources mentioned in the episode
The Highly Sensitive Person by Elaine N. Aron
Want more support, resources and tools to help you go alcohol-free?
You can Drink Less + Live More today with The Sobriety Starter Kit.
It’s the private, on-demand coaching course you need to break out of the drinking cycle – without white-knuckling it or hating the process.
Grab the Free 30-Day Guide To Quitting Drinking, 30 Tips For Your First Month Alcohol-Free
Amanda Kuda is a writer, coach, and educator who teaches a modern approach to personal development, self-actualization and spiritual enlightenment through the lens of elective sobriety.
Connect with Amanda
Follow Amanda on Instagram @amandakuda
To learn more about Amanda and her community, head over to Authentically, Amanda | Resources & Coaching For Driven Sober & Sober-Curious Females
Is Drinking Causing You To Play Small? Free Quiz: https://amandakuda.com/quiz
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Does Alcohol Keep You Playing Small? With Amanda Kuda
drinking, alcohol, people, life, feel, resonate, women, highly sensitive person, coach, coaching, Amanda Kuda, started, teach, day, sobriety, person, drinkers, alcoholic, gift, attracted
SPEAKERS: Casey McGuire Davidson + Amanda Kuda
Welcome to the Hello Someday Podcast, the podcast for busy women who are ready to drink less and live more. I’m Casey McGuire Davidson, ex-red wine girl turned life coach helping women create lives they love without alcohol. But it wasn’t that long ago that I was anxious, overwhelmed, and drinking a bottle of wine and night to unwind. I thought that wine was the glue, holding my life together, helping me cope with my kids, my stressful job and my busy life. I didn’t realize that my love affair with drinking was making me more anxious and less able to manage my responsibilities.
In this podcast, my goal is to teach you the tried and true secrets of creating and living a life you don’t want to escape from.
Each week, I’ll bring you tools, lessons and conversations to help you drink less and live more. I’ll teach you how to navigate our drinking obsessed culture without a bus, how to sit with your emotions, when you’re lonely or angry, frustrated or overwhelmed, how to self soothe without a drink, and how to turn the decision to stop drinking from your worst case scenario to the best decision of your life.
I am so glad you’re here. Now let’s get started.
Amanda Kuda is a writer, coach and educator. She’s a formal social drinker or party girl who’s now living and loving a 100% alcohol free lifestyle. Amanda didn’t have to hit a rock bottom to get there and you don’t either. Her passion is teaching other high achieving women how to navigate the stumbling blocks of going alcohol free so they can step into a life beyond their wildest dreams.
Today Amanda and I are going to talk about how to stop drinking and start manifesting. Amanda teaches a moderate approach to personal development, self actualization and spiritual enlightenment through the lens of elective sobriety.
So Amanda, welcome. I’m so glad you’re here.
Oh, Casey, thank you so much for having me. I’m really excited to be here today.
We met in on an online forum. We were both speakers in a multi week online education challenge about how to break your habit of drinking. And I wanted to have you on the podcast because I loved about the way you talked about how going alcohol free can help you unbottle your truest potential. Can you tell me a little bit about that?
Yeah, you know, it’s a concept that I uncovered on accident of probably much like you, I never thought that I was going to be teaching and coaching and writing a book on sobriety. And that’s what my life has turned out to be.
But you know, about five or six years ago, I was feeling really stuck in life and career and love and friendships. I felt like I was on a hamster wheel. And I was living out a story that wasn’t mine to live out. But I had invested so much time and energy and money and everything in that story, that I felt like I had to keep doing it.
And there was something inside of me that said, Amanda, you are meant for more than this, there is something bigger and better out there for you. And you could have it all if you just stopped drinking.
And that was a really hard voice to hear. And I was kind of like shut up voice. Surely you don’t mean that – maybe you just mean to cut back a little.
Because we live in a society where drinking is such a backbone of socializing, and such a backbone of everything that we do.
And we also live in a society where sobriety has a brand and that brand is 12 step recovery, addiction, which is great, if that is your path. Wonderful. But that wasn’t resonant. For me, I didn’t feel that I was quite at that level. And it was a really big deterrent for me to quit drinking because I thought that the only path was to call yourself an alcoholic.
And I realized finally that I was just going to call bullshit on that and try to quit drinking, or just at least investigate what it was like to be alcohol free on my own.
And what I discovered is that it truly unbundled this pent up potential in me that while I was really high achieving before, I had so much more that was ready to be expressed that I couldn’t even fathom until it was there and available to me. And I find that with a lot of high achieving social drinkers that the same thing occurs that you’re doing pretty well. No one would ever say that you have a problem or that you should be doing more but inside and your soul You know it’s true and if you could just clear up the space to let that come out. You would be astounded at what you have available to you.
So what was it about drinking in particular that was kind of blocking you from you know, achieving your potential I know for me, I drank a bottle plus of wine a night every single day in my life. So, for me, it was coming home and sort of zoning out pretty quickly. Like I just I got done everything I had to get done, which was like dishes and kids eating and you know, homework and getting them to bed and then I would just be in front of the TV on my couch. And then the next day I was dragging so much that I was just barely coping with getting through the day and trying to recover and then thinking about drinking again. So for me, it was very clear that I had very limited time or energy or mind space, or heart space, to do anything beyond like my work responsibilities, home responsibilities, and like, beat myself up a bunch. So I go to the gym, you know, for like penance for drinking too much. But it wasn’t different for you, you know, my drinking pattern was a little bit different. So I was more the no drinking through the week, then kind of hit it hard, work hard play hard on the weekend. And so that looks like happy hour on Friday brunch on Saturday, you know, maybe something going out Saturday night, something on Sunday.
And obviously, if you’re spending your entire weekend, like all of your free time drunk, or on your way to drunk, you completely lose any opportunity to do anything extracurricular in your life. So not only just professional potential, but to have any hobbies and you’re exhausted.
And then you know, you’ve experienced I know, as many of your listeners have that feeling of anxiety where you just feel like you’ve done something terribly wrong. It’s not like you robbed a bank, you know, you didn’t do anything immoral. But there’s something inside of you that just says this isn’t fitting. And so when you’re taking away your time, and you’re making yourself feel awful, and then you also don’t realize that alcohol is affecting your, your intellectual capacity and your creative capacity.
Drinking makes you feel foggy all the time.
Even though my hangover wasn’t, you know, literally around on Monday morning, or sometimes it was Monday morning, Tuesday morning, by the time I felt kind of clear headed, it was Wednesday or Thursday, and then it was time to start the cycle again. So really, maybe I was getting two to three good days out of a week. And that is not my, my fullest potential, I have so much more in me to give. And I was trying to squeeze it out with a little brain power and a little creativity and a little intelligence that I had on those three days, and it just doesn’t add up.
So what was keeping you there? I mean, was it you surrounded yourself with a lot of drinkers? Was it you know, did you have any social anxiety because I know a lot of women do
A little bit of everything, you know, yes, it’s your environment, I socialize with people who are drinking at the same level or more. So it made my behavior right and just and necessary. You know, it’s what also made it difficult to stop because you think that you won’t fit in with the people who you’re around.
Also I read as an extrovert, but honestly, I’m very shy and introverted. And I always have been, and I learned to come out of my shell. As an adolescent with alcohol, I always felt like I didn’t fit in. And alcohol was a way to bring me out of my shell and make me like everyone else. And I when you don’t develop social skills, and you’ll use a you use a coping mechanism through your entire life, of course, it makes every social situation seem insurmountable or impossible without alcohol.
And we tell ourselves this lie.
So it was so many things, one that my group, my social friends, were drinkers at the same level two that I had social anxiety that I never learned to manage on my own. And then I think another underlying thing that we don’t talk about quite often is that many of us don’t know that. Honestly, I was a highly sensitive empathic person. And I didn’t know what that meant. I didn’t know you know, as a kid growing up with those characteristics, no one tells you, hey, you might be an empath, you might have some sort of energetic predisposition about you, that’s actually a gift, but you’re made to feel that it’s wrong or bad or weird.
And so not only was I trying to fit in with my peers, when I started drinking, ultimately, at a higher level, I was trying not to stand out, because I felt like a huge weirdo. And once I came to that clarity, on the other side of being alcohol free, I realized, wow, I actually had this tremendous gift that’s made me feel other than my entire life. And essentially, the bigger picture of what I was doing with drinking was using alcohol to dilute that light to dilute that gift, so that I could be on the same level as everyone else. I was just using it to dilute my vibrational frequency. And that is, I think the most tremendous insight that I’ve had through this journey is that I’ve been using it to to draw my sparkle. And I think a lot of people resonate with that.
If you’re listening to this episode and have been trying to take a break from drinking, but keep starting and stopping and starting again, I want to invite you to take a look at my on demand coaching course, The Sobriety Starter Kit. The Sobriety Starter Kit is an online self study, sober coaching course that will help you quit drinking and build a life you love without alcohol without white knuckling it or hating the process. The course includes the exact step-by-step coaching framework I work through with my private coaching clients, but at a much more affordable price than one-on-one coaching. And The Sobriety Starter Kit is ready, waiting and available to support you anytime you need it, when it fits into your schedule. You don’t need to work your life around group meetings or classes at a specific day or time. This course is not a 30 day challenge, or a one day at a time approach. Instead, it’s a step-by-step formula for changing your relationship with alcohol. The course will help you turn the decision to stop drinking from your worst case scenario to the best decision of your life. You will sleep better and have more energy, you’ll look better and feel better, you’ll have more patience and less anxiety. And with my approach you won’t feel deprived or isolated in the process. So if you’re interested in learning more about all the details, please go to www.sobrietystarterkit.com. You can start at any time and I would love to see you in the course.
I love that you said that and I want you to go into a little bit more about what an empath is, or a highly sensitive person. I feel like a lot of the women I work with in coaching are also highly sensitive. I know I was like really attuned to the emotions and the moods of the people around me. For me, I really wanted harmony. And so I was just like, I would feel how they felt and I would want to make it right. And if I couldn’t, I would be really uncomfortable. And then then I would want to drink to kind of like, you know, get over feeling it so deeply, but explain to us what an empath is, or highly sensitive person?
Yeah. So an empath is if you’re highly empathic you really take on and feel the emotions of others for them. And often you might find yourself trying to take away someone’s pain. And for the women who are listening, this can start as early as childhood where you’re trying to maybe take away negative emotions that your parents feel, and you are trying to manage their emotions. And you do it with everyone though. And often you’re rewarded for it. You’re told, oh, you’re such a little adult. You’re so sweet. You’re so kind, you’re so mature. And so we’re built up that this is a good thing, but we’re not taught the skills to shut it off and to not take on things for other people. And when you reach adolescence, you will get a tool, a magic tool, a magical elixir that is alcohol that does help dole that ability to take on things for other people. So an empath is someone I would highly recommend that you go online and just google empath quiz. There’s a great release the same set of like 25 questions that you can use to discern if you are an empath. It is grabbing a book off my shelf here. It’s by Elaine Aaron, I have this I’m not sure if you’ll use that.
Oh, I have that book as well, the highly sensitive person.
Yes. So just google a quiz for being an empath, then a highly sensitive person is also an interesting personality trait. And basically, just ask yourself if you were highly sensitive or hyper aware of the subtleties in your environment, if you’re in a really loud or crowded place is it overwhelm you since in a sensory way, and also just different energetic or intuitive gifts? So clairvoyance?
But intuitive gifts that sometimes we have, that we are, are not taught to manage or taught are wrong. And if any of those words or any of those phrases resonate with you or tug at your heart, I definitely encourage you to go look them up and see, okay, is this possibly something that’s in my background that had been bearing down my entire life that I use alcohol to cover up I’ve used alcohol to make less resonant. And for a lot of, I wouldn’t say for most women, but for a lot of women, Yes, that’s true. And you don’t realize it until it starts to come to the surface again. And I just want to encourage you that it’s a very beautiful gift to have to be empathic to be a highly sensitive person to be intuitive in any way. These are gifts that were given and gifts that we often try to block out. So it’s something Yeah, that I think will resonate with a lot of people.
Well, and I love that you said that too, when you mentioned like the noise and situations because really, you know, when you’re drinking, it puts this like bubble around you like this film, where everything is a little bit more at an arm’s length from where you are right? It takes a few more minutes for it to like process and hit your brain when stuff happens that reaction time. But when you’re hung over, the same thing happens, you’re still dulled, you still have this film around you where you’re not quite responding, you know, in real time, the way you would if you weren’t drinking or hung over. And so a lot of women in early sobriety feel so sensitive, like they’re running around without their outer layer of skin, and that everything is too loud and too fast and too much. And so we always talk about like building this sober bubble, this drama free bubble where you’re going to need a lot of quiet time in the beginning, because you’re not used to feeling everything in real time or hearing everything so loud.
Yeah, you’ve essentially been cheating or fake feeling the entire time. I think about it as if you’re at the bowling alley and you have like toddlers get the bumpers that they put in the gutter so your ball doesn’t go in the gutter. Let’s say your entire life you’ve been bowling with the bumpers up. And that’s alcohol. It keeps you from hitting the the highs and the lows. And now all of a sudden you take those bumpers out, of course it’s going to be hard. Of course you’re not you’re going to hit the gutter often and it’s going to be frustrating. And you can also learn to reposition yourself and shoot straight down the lane. And that’s what you learn. When you learn emotional regulation skills. You learn to cope with your emotions. You learn to bowl properly rather than having this false positive basically that you’ve been getting by having the gutters or the the bumpers in the gutter. Yeah. And it’s essentially what alcohol does for you.
One of my favorite things I’ve ever read was Glennon Doyle wrote in Carry On Warrior, she has a chapter that’s a letter to her friend on her first sober morning. I have a blog on it. I’ll link to it in the show notes. But she says that when you stopped drinking, it’s a lot like recovering from frostbite that you know at the beginning, these feelings come in they are like tingles, and then they start to feel like daggers. And the idea is that like you know, sadness, loneliness, regret, all these things come but you’ve been numb for so long, that you kind of learn to go through it. And then it gets so much easier.
Totally. First of all, Glennon Doyle is a goddess and something else. She said something in her book Untamed that really resonated with me. Glennon said that alcohol isn’t your problem. It’s just your ineffective solution.
You don’t have to have a problem with alcohol for it to be a problem in your life.
And alcohol is always a mask, or a disguise for something else that you’re avoiding, always, always. And that goes for you if you are, you know, in addiction and recovery, but especially if you are not, it is just your it is not your problem, it is your ineffective solution to something else. And if you can get at that something else and be brave enough to look at it, and work through it and heal it, or at least come up with better coping mechanisms in your life – being alcohol free will become your superpower. You will be unstoppable.
Yeah, I agree with that. 100%. I was like nodding my head as you were saying that. So how do you help people work through that in the work that you do?
In the work that I do, I found that there are a couple of different things that you need in order to thrive.
The first is a shift in mindset.
We’ve been brainwashed to believe that we need alcohol.
We’ve been brainwashed to believe that it’s a requirement for social activities, that it is something that helps us in many ways. And I definitely want to touch on this the brainwashing a little more deeply. But just in general, we’ve been brainwashed. We need to shift our mindset and we need a different perspective and learnings and how to do that.
We also need a community we need people to show us that it’s possible and we don’t have to be a social outcast if we choose this lifestyle. That’s why a has been such a tremendous brand for people who identify as alcoholics because it provides this built in community. And one of the things that I think is important if you are looking for a community is also to remember that every sober community won’t be for you.
One of the things that one of my clients pointed out to me recently she said she had been in a lot of different you know, one of the things we all do is we go like overboard with learning. We buy all the Quit Lit, we listen to all the podcasts, we follow all the accounts we join all the groups And she said, you know, Amanda, a lot of the groups are really disheartening for me because the women are talking about a level a relationship with alcohol, that doesn’t resonate with me.
So I always say that if you’re in a group that’s making you feel like you are justifying your drinking, because you’re not as bad as, as them, I say quit. It doesn’t. You don’t have to find community in these in this the first place that was obvious place, which are some of the sober groups, even though they’re wonderful.
But you need to find a community that resonates with you. And then you need accountability. And you need support in navigating situations that you’ve never been taught to navigate before. And a lot of that looks like working with someone like your eye who is a coach who can hold your hand and kind of be your Sherpa on this journey, because we’ve been on the journey before. And we know all of the details that we can alert you to so that you can do it more easily. And you can avoid some of the stumbling blocks.
I love that one of my favorite quotes is like you can learn something secondhand, there’s not time to make all the mistakes yourself. And, you know, when I started, I was like I was just stumbling around in the dark. Until I figured out that other people had done this not drinking thing, but before people who were like me, and that they actually had information that could cut out a lot of the pitfalls. And you know, I don’t need to make every mistake myself, I could take some shortcuts in life.
Yes, and mistakes. I mean, to be honest, mistakes are how we learn. But you can also really increase your comeback rate. If you have someone supporting you around some of them and then helping pick you back up. When you do make one of the you know, the mistakes.
Yeah, and also inspire you to be like, Oh, I don’t have to hit a bottom. My life. You know, my life is okay, now my life’s pretty good. But it actually can be so much better. And I now see someone else who stopped drinking who used to be just like me, who is telling me that I can be happier and more fulfilled or fulfill my potential like you.
Yeah, if you can find someone who is a good solid mirror, it will help you go so much further faster. I mean, this is with any area in life, if you hire, you know, a coach to help you with your finances, and they’ve always been rich, are you really going to, you know, resonate with how with what they’re doing, because they’ve never been where you are financially. You don’t have to find someone that’s an exact replica of your story. But it always helps to find someone who you feel like they’ve kind of been in the same trench you’ve been in before.
Yeah, yeah. And I agree with you in terms of, if a group or a story isn’t resonating with you, there is so much out there, go find your people, you know, find your tribe love them hard, because there are certain books that I loved but were not my story. And if they’re, you know, super dark, I was like, Well, I’m not that bad. You know, it’s easy to be like, so I don’t have a problem, because I’ve never had that happen to me. And yet, there’s so many other stories of women who, you know, felt like me, where they’re just kind of like, the Knights are slipping through their fingers. They are vaguely hung over every day. They’re you know, dealing with anxiety and depression. And then they stopped drinking, and suddenly they’re doing so much more than they ever did with her life previously. Oh,
And you’ve talked about like releasing shadow elements, the key piece playing small. And you know, I definitely think that alcohol can keep you small, right? It keeps your world small. It keeps what you attempt to do small because you don’t want people to look at you too closely. But like, what are those shadow elements that you’ve seen in yourself or in your clients?
Well, you know, when we already discussed is the shadow around being special or being you know, exceptional in some way. And if you have an energetic gift that is an exceptionality, and I want you to celebrate that, but we’ve been made to feel different from that. We also use alcohol to avoid being too much. You know, as women specifically, we’re told we can’t take up too much space. So what better way to keep ourselves small, then to dilute ourselves a little each day or each weekend or however much so that you know, even if subconsciously, so that we cannot think at the intellectual level that we are able to because God forbid, that might intimidate someone or God forbid, that might make us to where we are more successful than a man and then we’re updateable are on variable, or that we intimidate other women and no one wants to be friends with us. So we use it very, very unwittingly, to keep ourselves from being too much. But then more often than not, the one that is the most obvious is we keep it we use it to dilute the parts of us that don’t feel enough. And this is kind of an energetic principle.
But for the most part 99.999% of the time, when you were drinking you were doing it to send yourself a message And that is, if you’re doing it to help you to help boost one of your characteristics that you don’t feel is powerful enough, so you’re doing it so you can be more fun, more exciting to where you can have more energy to where you can be more relaxed, where you can be, you know, more outgoing, we can be more sexy. And if you’re drinking to become more of something, you’re doing a couple of things. One, you’re telling your subconscious, that you are not enough as you are. And two, you’re telling your subconscious, I don’t believe you can become enough as you are. And that is such a limiting story that you’ve told yourself, even though you’re not literally saying those things. That’s metaphorically what you’re getting at when you’re saying that you need alcohol to perform. And it’s so disempowering, like, that is not the message any of us would want to tell our daughters or our nieces or anyone, you never would look at a child and say you’re not enough. You’re not capable of calming down on your own. You’re not capable of being funny on your own. You’re not capable of being attractive on your own. Yet, that is the message we send ourselves every single time we drink. And it’s harsh. It’s really a harsh message.
Yeah. And I love what you said about being too much. You know, requiring too much. I always, you know, kept the visual in my mind of like, the wine bottle being like a pacifier. So when I had, you know, little kids, but I was gonna say every time my son would like cry or get loud, I’d be like, oh, here, have your pacifier have your pacifier. Right. They stick it in their mouth, they suck on it. They don’t say anything, right, they stop crying most of the time. And so like, a lot of times women are, they use one as their pacifier to like mollify themselves so that they ask for less so that they’re less demanding. And then people, society, but also, like men are like, here have some wine. Here. You know what I mean? You need wine to relax. And what they’re basically doing is kind of like putting that pacifier in and be like, here, shut up. Have your wine, you know,
Yes, it’s and it’s become so acceptable. I mean, we know specifically mom wine culture, there are memes and hand towels and glasses and Koozies. And all of these things that tell you Oh, that’s cute that you do that? No, actually, that’s so disempowering, you’re taking your own body’s natural ability to regulate itself. And you’re saying, you don’t have to do that you’re cheating the system. I think that, you know, I know you had it William Porter on recently, and he does a really good job of explaining this. In lots of senses. I think he talked about it specifically with sleep. But when you teach your body it doesn’t have to perform because alcohol will do the job, then you It takes only that much more practice to teach your body to perform when it’s time. And and you do that with your emotional regulation, too. It’s not it’s every system in your body that you’re using alcohol to double down, you’re then going to have to try that much harder to bring it back online, then I don’t say that to be discouraging. I just want everyone to know that. Yeah, it is going to be a little hard to get into normal life without alcohol. But that’s okay. Because you will be so much better off and so much more capable and so much more powerful on the other side.
Yeah. And you actually learn to use tools. I mean, I feel like once I started drinking regularly, to deal with social situations, or anxiety about school, or work or family relationships, or sleep, like I used it to help me sleep until I figured out that it It ruined sleep and woke me up at 3am. I stopped reaching for other coping skills and other ways to manage anxiety or to manage overwhelm or to enjoy life without it. And so it sort of stunts your growth.
Absolutely, all of the areas that you are afraid to do life with alcohol are just areas where your emotional growth has been stunted. 100%
Well, one of the reasons I really wanted to have you on in addition to the fact that I just love the manifestation and how alcohol is keeping you small is you’ve written and talked quite a bit about being single and dating and relationships without alcohol. And I know that’s something that I mentioned, I’ve been with my husband since we met at the age of 22. We’re hitting 19 years married in September.
So like I have very little experience dating without alcohol. Right? And so, talk to me about that, because that’s something that a lot of clients I have have fears about or they feel like not drinking might be a liability. You know, do I put it on my online dating profile, all that stuff?
Such a good question, you know, because we’ve been taught that meeting for drinks is the quintessential first date, right? That’s just what you do. And I had to face this full on because let me be 100% honest, I did not come into my own like physically or emotionally well until I stopped drinking but physically, I was An ugly duckling. I was tall. I was gawky. I had oily hair and acne, I did not get asked on a single date in high school or get asked to a single dance like I, I didn’t learn how to date. And then when I got to college, and I was drinking, and I had like my level of flirtation, and my physical confidence was a little higher, it only means that every single romantic and sexual experience I had was under the veil of alcohol. So I never learned the skills 0% learn how to do that. And also was still living in my high school head that I wasn’t attractive, and I wasn’t fun, and no one liked me. And so at 30, I realized, okay, whoa, I have to learn to do this on my own. So I promise you there is no one who has had to really unravel this story more than me. And here’s what I realized is that, you know, I’m sure anyone who is single, who has dated as a drinker has probably also dated someone who drinks pretty heavily in can corroborate that the connection you get in those relationships is often quite false.
And it’s often the most intimate moments are often under intoxication. So deep conversations, how many times have you waited to have a difficult conversation until you’ve had a few drinks? How many times have you not felt comfortable in bed because you needed a little alcohol to loosen up. So all of that connection, while maybe valid has still been a little fake. And when I realized this, I thought, you know what, that’s not what I want for myself, I’m going to figure out how to do this, and actually develop real connections with people.
So here are some of my quick tips.
The first is if you’re using dating apps, you I actually have a whole course on how to use dating apps more mindfully because I think it’s all a head game. And I think dating apps are a great tool, especially and even this last year, how else were you going to meet people other than online. So it’s a necessary tool, and it’s a tool that you can use to your benefit.
So the first is going with a positive mindset, if you go in with the attitude of dating sucks dating apps suck, they, of course, they’re going to suck. But in terms of acknowledging your alcohol free lifestyle within the app, what I think is that most places, your bio is limited to characters just like an Instagram bio, or, you know, Twitter bio.
And so I don’t think it’s important to use that real estate for acknowledging your sobriety. Also, because I think there’s so much stigma around it that it could be a quick hard pass for someone who, to be honest, I would have hard passed on someone who said that they didn’t drink because I didn’t understand. It could be something that someone passes on. And they could actually be a good match. But I I always bring it up. And mind you, I did this the wrong way several times, I tried all the other ways, I always bring it up within text conversation before I determine if I’m going to meet with the person. So I always want to let them know in advance that I don’t drink. But to be honest, I also am really, really particular now about screening people. And I shared this on on a talk recently, because everyone had a different opinion on, you know, would you date someone who drinks would you go on a date and let the other person drink even though you’re not. And here’s what I’ve decided. And this is a very rigid but important philosophy.
I’m happy to date someone who drinks as long as it’s not a key cornerstone of their personality and their hobbies, that’s fine with me, it doesn’t since I’m not in recovery, it doesn’t trigger me or bother me. But I will absolutely 100% not drink and not let you drink on the first three dates. And here’s why. Because if I have to show up in my full authentic self, and be uncomfortable and have nerves, then you can do it too. And if you are the person who might be my partner for life, I want you to feel comfortable enough with me that you can approach that situation and be comfortable in a room with me without alcohol. So I don’t say this to people. First of all, I’m not trying to like trick people.
But I always manufacture for state situations to where drinking isn’t an option. So I only meet for coffee or go for walks, I don’t do anything else, we are not going near a bar in a bar or at a bar, because I want to have this moment of Okay, if I’m going to do this, you’re going to do it too. Because if we’re going to be in this maybe forever not to jump to conclusions. I want us to both like feel those feelings. It’s so important that you feel the nervousness or you feel the butterflies like that’s the fun part of dating. And that’s also how your emotional system responds to tell you if you’re a match. And if you dilute that system, you just do yourself a huge disservice. So that’s kind of my like, my roundabout like up to the first date rules on and advice really mentioned to them before you meet them. Like in a text or in a conversation like by the way I don’t drink. Yeah, I say By the way, I don’t drink just I let you know, just in case that’s a lifestyle issue for you. And if it is then great that you’re not my person and I’m not missing out on anything. I think an earlier version of me worried that I was missing out on something but If it’s not a lifestyle match, then why spend my time? Why waste my time on a date with you?
Yeah, yeah. And I like the idea of going somewhere where drinking isn’t an option. Like a lot of people I know. They’re like, Oh, we go for a bike ride, or we go for hike for the first date. But like coffee and walk or brunch is great, too, just so it’s not something where you’re sitting in a bar uncomfortable when the waitress comes over and asks you what you want to drink.
Yeah, and really, I do that for another reason, too, that’s outside of drinking. But it’s because I want to know if I want to go on a second date with Yeah, and I’m in a crowded place. It’s overstimulating like a bar or a concert or movies, I can’t have a proper conversation with you. So I, you know, I also want to create a situation where we can get to know each other. And that level of consciousness, though, has only been available to me, because I’m alcohol free before me wouldn’t have cared. But now I know what I want and what I’m deserving of and what real connection is and how to get it. And I know that it’s not done in a crowded place where you can’t hear the person that might make me sound like a grandma. But it’s just, it doesn’t make sense to me anymore.
No, it’s totally true. And I can imagine that a lot of people spend time worrying if someone likes you, without really identifying if they actually like the person in front of them.
Yes, yeah, you’re trying to impress someone you don’t even know if you want to impress?
Yeah. So I had heard that you have exercises to truly identify your type, can you share any of those with us?
Yeah, I’ll share one that’s really, really quick and easy. And it’s called I call the inventory. And what you do is you take a piece of paper, and you fold it lengthwise, where you have two columns, hotdog style, if you’re in grade school, they have it folded with two columns.
And on the left side is the negative characteristics. And on the right side are the positive characteristics.
And these are the characteristics you’re looking for. Yes, and looking and not looking for a partner. And the easiest way to get at them, is to go through your last three to five significant romantic partners, and write down the characteristics that they had, that you liked, that you enjoyed, and then write down the characteristics that they embodied that you’re like, ooh, didn’t really do it for me.
And the really cool thing about this exercise is you’ll start to see patterns. So you’ll start to see where maybe you’ve attracted a specific type of person that’s there to teach you a lesson. Maybe it’s not your type. But you’ve told yourself the story, will all guys are like this. No, you’re actually just attracting guys who are like that. So it gives you some areas where you can learn where you have work to do, but it also helps you get more clear on Okay, what is it that I actually want and desire. And when you haven’t written down, that’s so important, because then when you see him, you’ll know, right? And if you just have this ethereal list in your head, oftentimes you don’t recognize it when you see it, or you’ll divert back to the negative list, because you haven’t gotten clear on Oh, these are actually hard knows for me, and I keep saying yes, but it’s actually a No.
Oh, that’s super interesting. Yeah. Well, when we talk about manifesting, I know that you do work around, stop drinking live alcohol free, and then start manifesting the life you want to live. Can you tell me about what that means to you?
Yeah, so manifestation is just aligning energetically with the thing that you want, so that it can be more magnetically attracted to you. And kind of, as I explained earlier, when you are drinking, you’re sending your body negative messages, you’re sending your psyche, your inner guide negative messages of you’re not enough, you’re not worthy. So you’re already putting yourself at a disadvantage when it comes to attracting what you desire. Because at the heart level, you don’t believe you’re worth attracting that thing. Even if on the ego level. You’re like, yeah, I’m worth it. I’m good. Your subconscious is saying no. But what’s interesting is on the energetic plane, you also send a message out to the universe.
And when you’re drinking, you send the message of, Hey, I’m okay with mediocrity.
I’m okay, living the life that’s like this that I’m living right now. So bring me more of this. And the universe can only respond at the level at which you’ve told it to play. So if you’re saying I’m fine with this mundane life, I’m fine being just like everyone else, I’m fine in this situation. It’s only going to show you other examples of that same situation when it comes to your job when it comes to your financial and material abundance. When it comes to your romantic partners. When it comes to your friendships.
The universe can only respond to you so much as you have stepped up for yourself.
So when you take alcohol out of the equation, basically what you do is you send a big message and a megaphone out to the universe. It’s like hey universe, I’m done fucking around. Show me what you got.
And you obviously have to do more work. It’s not just you know, remove alcohol poof things. You’re have a Ferrari in your garage. It is remove alcohol, do the work to also work on your mindset. In your limiting beliefs, make yourself a good version, a better version of yourself. And then watch as miracles start to happen in your life, I have had all of my clients manifest tremendous things from, you know, a almost $100,000 check randomly, that helped her leave her dead end job that she was ready to get out of, to Little things like, you know, just gifts that they had been wanting to buy for themselves. And they were able to, because of whatever situation or the exact mentor that they needed to help them on their professional path to be exact romantic partner. But those things didn’t come into their lives with, maybe they could have gotten them before, it would have just been a lot more struggle. Because you can absolutely manifest things into your life as a drinker. But once you get that level of alignment and confidence and self worth of, I deserve this, and oh, hey, by the way, I’ve set my wife up for it, bring it to me, the universe responds, and really quickly, and you will be astounded if you put the right practices into place, how quickly you can call in all of the things that you want. And sometimes even something better.
I think that’s awesome. I actually, I did a podcast in on this in the beginning of the year, like it’s called, like manifest the shit out of life. But I call it like, following my divine breadcrumbs. And so you sort of see something that you’re attracted to that’s kind of calling towards you, and you kind of step towards it. And then you’ll see something else and you kind of step towards that. And it’s all leading you somewhere really good. I used to sit at work be like, I don’t like my job, but I earn so much money. And I have my house and my kids and my mortgage of my lifestyle, I like I love the vacations. And therefore, in my mind, I can’t see anything else that will get me as much money for the same amount of work. So I’m gonna stay here and be miserable. where, you know, because we were such a planner, right? We needed to know that that exact thing existed. And it wasn’t until I like, stepped back and, and was like, Okay, here, I would like to find something that is fulfilling, but also lets me go on great vacations and have more free time and is more stable than working in a corporation. And then kind of opened my mind to like looking around that I was able to be like, Oh, this is interesting, you know, all that kind of stuff, it opens your mind to first of all, just be curious, but also to have be open to creative possibilities.
I also I was stuck in a dead end nine to five job which bless it, it gave me so so many gifts. But ultimately, I had put myself there. And it was not the right place. I was not stimulated creatively or intellectually. And I was I was stuck there because of the golden handcuffs syndrome, you know. And I talked myself into the fact that in order to live the life that I wanted, I had to have this nine to five career. And then all of a sudden when my creative capacity was opened back up, I could see that Hmm, maybe there are other possibilities and that those possibilities are actually available to me. Yeah. And it also gave me the courage to start exploring them, and then the confidence to start pursuing them. And then once that happened, it kind of just snowballed and opportunities started coming to me teachers started coming to me clients started coming to me. And I realized that I had been completely holding myself back. And that alcohol was the thing that was keeping me complacent. Because it helps me, you know, it helps you once you have to put on a mask that you are out of alignment with your authentic self, which is what many of us do on our careers because we pick a career that we think is going to earn us money or because we’ve been told Oh, you’re really good at this, you’d be a good XYZ. And yeah, we are good at it. But that doesn’t mean it’s our dharmic path. And so once we start to put on this mask and become a character that we’re not meant to be, we have a level of discomfort. And the alcohol helps us build the discomfort of being out of alignment. And then we need to drink more because we’re not getting an alignment. Because we’re not in alignment, we need a drink. And so it’s just this vicious circle. And once you take yourself out of it or take, you know the the magical elixir that’s keeping you blind out of the equation, you start to realize, oh, maybe this isn’t who I really am. And maybe I could be someone even bigger and better. And I’ve seen this happen over and over and over in the lives of my clients that one of them within four months at night. I’m not saying these are typical results. She told me she couldn’t leave her family business because she was basically tied to it. But she really wanted to be an interior designer and she’s just like, I just don’t know how I’ll ever make enough money. I don’t know how I’ll break into it. Well as she started to call in manifestations she called in an internship. with just the right person, who then ended up hiring her for more than she was making at her family business that she thought she could never leave for months, for months. And it’s just when you get into alignment, you start to have the pot this possibility that something else could exist and the courage to go after it. And I just think it’s such such an amazing opportunity for women that were missing out on left and right.
Yeah, I mean, I love that even like, getting clear on what else you might like, and then actually verbalizing it to someone other than yourself, like, putting it out into the universe, suddenly, stuff starts appearing to you. And you know, it opens up possibilities. I remember I am, I always in the back of my mind was like, Oh, I want to be a coach, but not yet. Like in a few years, like I’m not ready yet. And I was listening. I love Jensen, Sarah, you know, you are a badass. So I was listening to your data set making money, because a lot of my blocks were around financial security. That was always sort of my, that was my stumbling block. And a friend of mine in a morning workout group totally random. said, You know, I she was a nurse. She’s like, I’m a nurse, but I really want to be a coach. And I was like, Oh, that’s so funny. I really want to be a coach too. But not for a couple years. This was 6am you know, in the winter, at a coffee shop after a workout. And I was like, Oh, you should really listen to this book. Jensen, Sarah, you’re a badass. It’s awesome. She comes back in a week later, and was like, Oh, my God, Casey absolutely loved the book. I’m signing up for coaching school, I did all the research, I talked to the guy, I’m enrolled, and all of a sudden, I was like, What? So it was like, Well, fuck, if you’re doing it, I want to do it. Like, that’s crazy. So I was like, give me his name. So basically, we ended up because of this coffee shop conversation where I was like, actually, I kind of want to do that too. We both enrolled in coaching school together. And like went through and became left our day jobs and became coaches, but like, it never would have happened if we you know, if we hadn’t, like put it out into the universe, and then suddenly, like, pushed each other into stuff appearing.
Totally. And these are like the serendipities that will start to pop up in your life when you make room for them left and right. It’s you know, I’ve had so many similar circumstances and occurrences and things that, you know, I’m, I’m a girl who grew up with no, I mean, other than the fact I’m white, I that’s a tremendous advantage. I absolutely acknowledge that. But my family was on food stamps. My mom was a single mom, like I had to pay through my own college, I have no, you know, leg up in anything, I’m single. So I don’t have a spouse to fall back on. I don’t I have student loan debt, I have all the cards stacked against me. And yet, and I’m also not the type of person who just kind of barrel over people. I hate that, like, I’m not, that’s not my personality. So in terms of what makes a successful entrepreneur, sometimes it’s someone who’s very high in narcissism, and they don’t care if they just like barrel over everyone. And I just don’t have that. And so I but I am successful regardless. And it, I would never have had the confidence to do so. Or the time, or the skill set or the intuition or any of the things that I have as a coach, had I not, I mean, I obviously my business is based around, not quit not drinking, but I would never have any of that had I not made the decision to stop.
Yeah. And I also feel like when you’re drinking, I don’t know if you saw this too, but it colored every experience and interaction I had like, just as you go along and drink more like I became sort of more fearful, fearful, more resentful, I felt more put upon, I felt defensive, I felt tired. I just felt exhausted, I felt more insecure, about like, by ability to keep up about how I looked about my confidence. Often if I went out drinking, like, Did I say something that was wrong? Did I read the situation properly. So once you remove all of that stuff, you’re, you know, inherently more open and optimistic and positive and less stressed out and less exhausted, just by virtue of removing the alcohol and then you finally can look around and evaluate you know, your friendships, your spouse, your responsibilities, your schedule, your work situation for what it is, and be like, I like this, or do I want to up level it?
Mm hmm. So much. It’s I I couldn’t have said it better myself. It’s just an opportunity to look at every area of your life and ask Where have I been cutting myself short and, and then to do something about it?
Yeah. So what do you think is the biggest thing that women can do to stop playing small and we’re going to assume Okay, they’ve stopped drinking Like, what’s the next step that helps them sort of move into a new area of their lives?
Oh, well, you know, it’s you need to define which area you want to have you want to focus on. So is it financial abundance? And is that related to your career? Do you want to change careers? And always, always question that one, I think that’s the one where so many women are stuck on a path that they feel they have to continue on, because they’ve got one foot in the boat. Or maybe you’re stuck in a relationship or you know, and you can you can improve it. Or maybe you’re stuck in a relationship. And I hear this one a lot. You realize that alcohol is the thread that’s keeping everything together? And it’s scary. It’s scary to do that. But also, it’s better off for you and that person and everyone involved if things do dissolve. So identify the areas it relationships, is it friendships, is it money, is it work, where you want to improve? And then Honestly, I cannot say enough about hiring a coach, even if it’s not someone like you were I, I think that for women who are alcohol free, it is very helpful to have someone coach them who is also alcohol free. Even if it’s past the initial like taking a break from alcohol part of your journey. I think that in your career in your relationships, and getting clarity, having a coach that understands that foundational part of your life is important. But regardless, invest in yourself. Women are so bad about not investing in themselves. Find a way show or find a Sherpa find a guide, find a cartographer who has been on this map before, and have them help you it is, every time I’ve invested in poaching for myself, it has taught me so much and helped me go faster further than I could have on on my own. And we are in such a do it yourself, figure it out because you’re smart and you’re intelligent. And yes, you are smart and intelligent. But you can only read so many books and intellectualize so much you need to get out there and actualize your dream. And sometimes having often always, for me, having someone to support you in that and hold your hand is the best investment you can make.
Yeah, I mean, I I agree with that. Like, obviously, I had a coach, I had a sober coach. I also had coaches when I was in coaching school, and I have a lot of people I still work with. But what I loved about it is in my mind, you know, I went to therapy too. And therapy is like looking back and untangling what what you know what’s not functional in your life and how to function. And coaching is taking you from where you are now to where you want to be. And helping you overcome this stuff that like you know what the goal is, or you know, you want something different and yet, you haven’t been able to achieve that on your own. It’s someone helping you set the goal and hold you accountable and dig into the blocks that are keeping you stuck and encouraging you to move forward and even just having an hour to talk about what you want and what you’ve done. And and what’s holding you back and what you’re worried about. can really jump you forward.
Oh, yes, 100%. And the fact of the matter is, we can’t see our own shit. I can point out, you know, sub optimal behaviors in other people all day, but I still have a coach for myself because I even if I can see it acutely, I can’t dig in and really understand and really be alerted to all of the areas where it is making my life difficult. And if you can just have someone to direct you to the area that you need to work on. It is just such a gift, such an amazing gift.
Awesome. Well, one question that I had for you as well was you talk about gray area drinking and I’ve done an episode on it with Jolene Park about what that is, but it’s something that comes up all the time, right? Because it’s not that black and white. Like we’re all like, I want to drink like a normal person quote unquote, regardless of what that is, or I’m not that bad. I don’t have a problem. But can you tell me how you define or talk about gray area drinking?
Yeah, it’s actually interesting because it is Gregory a drinkers account for the largest portion of drinkers, you know, so Jolene describes it as you’re not the fall down drunk needs rehabilitation and I’m being very stigmatized here. I know I’m not trying to insult anyone but what we as a society would put as an alcoholic and it’s also not the have a glass of champagne at a wedding every now and again. It’s the like you or me I’m drinking a little bit every night or I’m kind of binge eating on the weekend. That is where most people fall in this gray area. And it is an area where also we are told we’re told all of that is normal, the whole range is normal. And when we say we want to drink like a normal person gray area drinkers what we’re talking about is that little little bit of a sliver of a crescent moon People who drink champagne every once in and out again at a wedding. And really that’s such a small portion of society. So being in this gray area is really difficult though, because we’ve told ourselves, it’s normal. And we’re totally told ourselves that it’s bad or wrong, or we’re a failure if we have to put ourselves in the the dark area of of recovery and alcoholism. And it’s just something that we need to continue having conversations about that, you know, it’s okay to be in this in the middle. And you don’t have to be in the problematic area for alcohol to be a problem in your life, you can choose to change that relationship, even if you fall into honestly, what is considered a normal drinker, you and I are both considered normal drinkers. The person who probably drinks a little heavier than both of us is still a normal drinker, man, I just really, really want to normalize the fact that you don’t have to have a problem to change your relationship with alcohol.
Yeah, yeah. I mean, I love the question of like, not, is this bad enough that I have to stop? But is it good enough to keep going? Yeah, for me, it was, you know, I was drinking for two to three hours every night, and it was making the other 22 or 21 hours of my life so much worse, like, so clearly worse. And yet, I would come home at 6pm and be like, I’m gonna just go to my happy place from six to 9pm. And, you know, as the time went on, I was like, This is not good enough to keep going, like, I can play this out and see where it’s taking me. And it’s nowhere that I wanted to go.
Yeah, no, same I, but we convince ourselves that we have to stay there. And I, you know, I just I’ve been thinking about this a lot. I’ve been writing about this recently, because it we all do a disservice to those people in the gray area, I had a, I would say my only official troll on Instagram is a gal who I honor her for being so committed to her path. But she she was she had gone to a recovery center to get sober, she had an addiction. And she said, Amanda, you are being so dangerous. You are? Why don’t you just say that you were an alcoholic? Think of all the more people you could help. And it’s this stigma that that alcoholic is, is the only thing even from the insular side, even from inside of that part of the circle that that, that if you stop drinking, you’re an alcoholic, like I’ve had so many people from the alcoholic community say, oh, where do you go to meetings? How did you quit? How many days do you have? And they’re using that very exclusive language? And I, you know, I had to tell her, I said, Listen, I just have to say that there was no one speaking to me. When I needed to quit drinking, there’s plenty of people speaking to addiction and recovery. And I need to I’m called to I have to normalize this conversation that regular drinkers who realize it alcohol is no longer serving them can also quit drinking. And it’s, it’s true. And it’s I’ve done so many episodes about this in a good way. Because, you know, I don’t use the term alcoholic to describe myself. And didn’t you know, I actually went to some a meetings, it was not my path, but the language didn’t resonate with me, and it wasn’t what I wanted. You know, just in my life and my schedule.
If a 12-Step program helps you, that’s amazing. I completely respect it.
But the idea also that you’re in denial, if you don’t call yourself an alcoholic, I think is, is damaging as well. Because you know, that term is unnecessary. You don’t have to adopt that label. And so many people where alcohol is just clearly dragging you down and keeping you stuck and taking up way too much of your mind and your energy every day and every week won’t stop drinking because they don’t want to be put in that category.
And giving up alcohol as a health and lifestyle change with a really addictive substance. In the same way it would be if you decided to quit smoking, or if you decided to become a vegetarian, or decided to become vegan or decided to run a marathon, right? You were doing something different in terms of health and wellness than most of society. And it doesn’t it’s not a huge deal. Like if you had a vegetarian come over for a barbecue. It wouldn’t be like oh my god, what are we going to do like they would eat what worked for them, they bring their own food you would hang out you wouldn’t be uncomfortable eating a burger around them right? It’s just my a my body and my mind feel better without it.
So I think that the more of us that start talking in this gray areas phasers, start talking about going alcohol free without saying, Oh my God, if you don’t say you’re an alcoholic, you’re in total denial. It’ll help so many, you know, the vast majority of people who are in this middle space saying, I kind of feel like shit when I drink, but I can’t really leave it alone. So where do I go from here?
I know people are gonna want to follow up with you after this. And will you tell us like how we can learn more about the work you do and where to get in touch?
Yeah, so I offer one on one coaching as my primary offering. I do coaching for women who are just starting out on their journey. And I also do mentoring for women who are four plus months alcohol free and just want to up level in their lives. But if you just want to take a really quick quiz and figure out where alcohol is keeping you stuck, I have a great quiz at Amanda cuda.com forward slash quiz. And you can find me of course at Amandakuda.com, or on Instagram at Amanda Kuda.
Perfect. And I will put all your links in the show notes of this episode, as well as the other stuff we’ve talked about. So the highly sensitive person book, and all the other things. So thank you so much for coming on.
Thank you, Casey. It’s so great to hang out with you today.
Thank you for listening to this episode of The Hello Someday Podcast. If you’re interested in learning more about me or the work I do or accessing free resources and guides to help you build a life you love without alcohol, please visit hellosomedaycoaching.com. And I would be so grateful if you would take a few minutes to rate and review this podcast so that more women can find it and join the conversation about drinking less and living more.
ABOUT THE HELLO SOMEDAY PODCAST
The Hello Someday Podcast helps busy and successful women build a life they love without alcohol. Host Casey McGuire Davidson, a certified life coach and creator of The Free 30-Day Guide to Quitting Drinking – 30 Tips For Your First Month Alcohol-Free, brings together her experience of quitting drinking while navigating work and motherhood, along with the voices of experts in personal development, self-care, addiction and recovery and self-improvement.
Whether you know you want to stop drinking and live an alcohol free life, are sober curious, or are in recovery this podcast is for you.
In each episode Casey will share the tried and true secrets of how to drink less and live more.
Learn how to let go of alcohol as a coping mechanism, how to shift your mindset about sobriety and change your drinking habits, how to create healthy routines to cope with anxiety, people pleasing and perfectionism, the importance of self-care in early sobriety, and why you don’t need to be an alcoholic to live an alcohol free life.
Be sure to grab the Free 30-Day Guide To Quitting Drinking right here.
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