How Do You Choose Your Path To Sobriety?

If you’ve reevaluating your relationship with alcohol and looking for support as you stop drinking there are many paths to sobriety and sources of support for an alcohol-free life. The most important thing you can do as you stop drinking is to find the approach, tools and resources that are the right fit for you. 

For decades Alcoholics Anonymous, founded in 1935 as a mutual aid fellowship for abstinence-based recovery through its spiritually-inclined Twelve Step program, was the best known program recommended to people who struggle with alcohol use disorder.

Popular culture rarely depicts other paths to sobriety in TV and movies, but there are many programs and approaches that have successfully helped people stop drinking that are alternatives to the AA twelve-step addiction recovery model, including Women For Sobriety, SMART Recovery, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, sober coaching and online courses, programs and communities.  

In this episode, I’ve teamed up with Gill Tietz from the Sober Powered Podcast, Dave Wilson, host of the One For the Road Podcast, and Eric Zimmer, host of The One You Feed Podcast to talk about our different paths to sobriety and the support we chose to stop drinking and navigate life happily alcohol-free.

I hope that in listening to this episode, with two men and two women, of different ages and backgrounds, with different drinking histories, lengths of sobriety and paths to recovery, you’ll find an approach that resonates with you to help you get out of the drinking cycle. 

Tune in to hear us discuss:

  • Our own individual stories drinking and how each of us came to recovery
  • The things that held us back from quitting drinking for years
  • Why we each choose different tools, resources, programs and paths to sobriety
  • How we each replaced the habit of using alcohol as a coping mechanism and as a way to connect and celebrate in order to live happier and healthier lives 
  • Our best advice for you if you’re sober curious, trying to stop drinking, in early recovery  or living an alcohol-free life

Ready to drink less + live more?

If you’re ready to change your relationship with alcohol join The Sobriety Starter Kit

It’s my signature sober coaching course for busy women to help you drink less + live more. 

To enroll go to www.sobrietystarterkit.com.

Grab the Free 30-Day Guide To Quitting Drinking, 30 Tips For Your First Month Alcohol-Free


Connect with Gill Tietz, Dave Wilson, & Eric Zimmer

Gill Tietz, Host of the Sober Powered Podcast

Learn more about Gill and how she can support you on your sobriety journey, head over to www.soberpowered.com

Dave Wilson, Host of the One For the Road Podcast

Follow Dave on Instagram @soberdave 

Eric Zimmer, Host of the incredible, The One You Feed Podcast

Learn more about Eric and the programs he offers, head over to www.oneyoufeed.net

    Connect with Casey

    Take a screenshot of your favorite episode, post it on your Instagram and tag me @caseymdavidson and tell me your biggest takeaway!

    Want to read the full transcript of this podcast episode? Scroll down on this page.


    Are you looking for the best sobriety podcast for women? The Hello Someday Podcast was created specifically for sober curious women and gray area drinkers ready to stop drinking, drink less and change their relationship with alcohol.

    Host Casey McGuire Davidson, a certified life and sobriety coach and creator of The 30-Day Guide to Quitting Drinking and The Sobriety Starter Kit Sober Coaching Course, 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 is the best sobriety podcast for you.

    A Top 100 Mental Health Podcast, ranked in the top 1% of podcasts globally, The Hello Someday Podcast is the best sobriety podcast for women.

    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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    4 Paths To Sobriety with Gill Tietz, Dave Wilson, and Eric Zimmer


    drinking, sober, people, sobriety, alcohol, life, started, stop, support, podcast, years, Coach, Casey, Eric, feel, Gill, day, self-loathing

    SPEAKERS: Casey McGuire Davidson + Gill Tietz, Dave Wilson, Eric Zimmer


    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 buzz, 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.

    Hi there. Happy Dry January. This is a huge time of year for people to take a break from alcohol and see how good they can feel without it. And it’s important to me to kick off dry January in a way that inspires you to know that there is no one path to quitting drinking. And no one way that’s better than others. There’s no profile of a person who decides that drinking isn’t working for them. And who takes that first step to see what life is like without alcohol. So, I am really excited to bring you today’s episode.


    I teamed up with my friend Gill Tietz from the Sober Powered Podcast.

    Dave Wilson, who you might know is Sober Dave, on Instagram and the host of The One For The Road Podcast. And Eric Zimmer, the host of the incredible, The One You Feed Podcast. We got together to talk about our own individual stories of how each of us came to recovery. What held us back from getting sober sooner, how we stopped drinking, and why we each decided to choose our individual paths to sobriety, what support we needed to navigate life happily, without alcohol.


    I hope that in listening to this episode, with two men and two women of different ages and backgrounds, different histories with alcohol or drugs, different lengths of sobriety and paths to recovery, you will find something that resonates with you and where you are today. Because you are a rock star for doing this for reevaluating your relationship with alcohol, for deciding to take a break and seeing what life is like on the other side. And for tapping into resources and taking those first steps. And then a few more. And then a few more. You’re amazing for working through the triggers and the challenges to get to all the awesome stuff. On the other side, the better energy, and the deep sleep, waking up without the self-loathing and without being so mean to yourself to feeling confident and proud and content and healthy.


    And if you want even more support, go to hellosomedaycoaching.com. There, you’ll find my completely free 30 Day Guide To Quitting Drinking with 30 tips for your first 30 days. It is really comprehensive. It has helped over 13,000 women walk this path. So, if you want to get that guide as well, it’s a great place to get started. And you can find it at hellosomedaycoaching.com.


    You can do this my friends. So, let’s get going.



    Welcome to the show, Eric, Dave, and Casey. I thought that we could get started with a little quick intro of who we are and what your story is. Eric, do you want to start us off?



    Sure. I’d be glad to. So, my name is Eric Zimmer. I am the host of The One You Feed Podcast, which is an interview style podcast where we talk about really what it takes to live, have a good life. You know, how do we, how do we thrive? How do we prosper? I’ve had the pleasure of having Gill on the show. I’ve appeared on her show. So, there’s a quality of guests, we get lots of great guests. You know, my sobriety story started a long time ago, I got sober for the first time in 1994. And was a homeless heroin addict at that point. And you know, kind of a really low bottom, I mentioned homeless, I weighed 100 pounds, I had hepatitis C, I was looking at potentially going to jail for 50 years, things were not going well. So, I got sober.


    We’re going to talk more about how all that happened later in the episode, but I got sober, and I stayed sober for about eight years. And then a couple different things happened. And I ended up going back out and drinking, I didn’t go back to heroin, but I was drinking, I was smoking marijuana. And eventually, by the fact that I’m appearing on a podcast about sobriety, you can tell that that second experiment did not end well. And so, I had to get sober again. But it was a very different experience, because the first time was this extremely low bottom. The second time I was on the outside thriving, I was making more money than I’d ever made, I had just been promoted into the best position I’ve ever had had a nice car and a nice house, and all those things were all in place. And yet I knew on the inside, I was just as sick. So, I got sober. And fast forward. From there. I’ve had a career in the software business, I founded a solar energy company. And that failed. And when that failed, is when I sort of launched this podcast. And since launching the podcast, I’ve gone on to do lots of one on one coaching with people from around the world. I created a program called spiritual habits, and I have the podcast. So, I think that’s my quick version.



    Thank you. Yeah, it’s hard to summarize it all in in two seconds.



    Did I stay within my allotted time? Yes, you did. Dave, do you want to tell us a little bit about who you are and your sobriety journey?



    Yeah, sure. Thanks, Gill. Thanks, Eric. My name is Dave Wilson. Okay, so But Dave, yeah, my story started back when I was 14 years old. And I had the misfortune of my mum leaving the family home. And I got in with a group of lads from school, actually, that led me down a path of stealing, drinking, bunking off school. You know, I didn’t actually finish school. And then I kind of lived in normal late teens, early 20s, well, we’ll go out, but I would work hard and just drink at the weekends. But when I reached 32, I was introduced to a local pub in the UK, there was an old fashion pub, you know, with a saloon bar and a public bar. And the public bar was where all the builders and workmen used to go to. And the other side were solicitors and, you know, their suits, we used to call them, and I used to use excuse of actually getting work from the pub because I was in the carpet industry. And I was called Dave the carpet. So, I always used to say, you know, the work, the money I get from the world will pay for my drinking. So, there’s not a problem. But it probably is what it was never quite enough in the pub. So, I used to get takeouts and I started drinking indoors. And back then you could get a cider called Diamond Wire. And it was 8.4%. And I started drinking indoors. And then that kind of led on to my health declining putting on why when I was 14 years old, I moved away from the pub. And I realized then that the pub near me wasn’t the same. So, I started drinking indoors all the time. I put on more weight. So, I googled what alcohol was the least amount of calories in that pot vodka. And I was never really a spirit man. So I went from half a ball, which lost him about half an hour to a bottle to then later. And to be honest, I don’t remember my 40s at all. I was drinking Elite when I for a long time passing out blacking out, but I was still functioning, getting up going to work drunk still half the time. And it got to my 50s that the doctor basically said to me that if I didn’t stop, I would die. I didn’t stop. And I ended up like Eric, not the same, I imagine but I made myself homeless for a few days by going a while or vanished. No one knew where I was. And I drank in the pub all day and then went and drank Volcano freezing cold beach and nearly died there because it was April in the UK. It was freezing. I was paralytic and it still wasn’t enough meat stop drinking. But January 2019 came. I had an epiphany and I just stopped. And I will say that I shouldn’t have stopped the ID for medical reasons. You know, I should have reduced but I stopped. And since then, everything has changed. I’ll talk a bit more about that later. But I can honestly say, it saved me and it’s the best thing I’ve ever done for myself, ever. It Lots of things have happened since I’ve become sober.

    Casey McGuire Davidson 

    Hi there. 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. And 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 




    Thank you, Dave. Casey, do you want to give us a quick intro to who you are and how you got started in sobriety?


    Casey McGuire Davidson  10:32

    Yeah, absolutely. So, I’m Casey McGuire Davidson. I live in Seattle, Washington. I’m a Life and Sobriety Coach, and I host the podcast, the Hello Someday Podcast for Sober Curious Women. But before I started that, I was sort of a self-declared red wine girl. For many, many, many years. My story is a little bit different than Dave; I spent 20 years I was climbing the corporate ladder in big companies and small startups in Seattle, and got married, had kids bought a house, you know, all the usual things, but I was pretty consistently drinking a bottle of wine or more. Every night, I was sort of the seven nights a week, 365 nights a year drinker, I sort of varied, where I drank, you know, just for variety. So, I drink it, happy hours, you know, out with my coworkers, I drink on date nights with my husband’s or girls nights. But most of it was me coming home from work with my kids, after picking him up for daycare and sort of a glass wall cooking dinner, a glass while doing the dishes, and then finishing the bottle on the couch while watching TV, you know, to quote unquote, relax or whatever. Nobody really said anything to me about it. It was just sort of like part of who I was. I was always a big drinker since college. And I think that I had so many other things distracting, like what Eric talked about, from you know, there’s nothing to see here. I had a good job, I was successful, I had a good marriage and friends, and my kids were good. And at the same time, I would have the 3am wake ups. And I would you know hate putting my eyeliner on my bloodshot eyes in the morning and not want anyone to look at me too closely. When I was at the best stop with my five year old and yet promised myself I’d take a break and by 4pm rationalize that, you know, it’s been a hard day, a good day, it doesn’t matter, whatever it is. So that was pretty much my story. I quit drinking almost seven years ago. Again, like Dave said, it was literally my worst case scenario in my life. I desperately didn’t want to quit, I wanted to figure out how to moderate and it’s been the best decision I’ve ever made.



    I love that. Thank you, Casey. So, a quick intro for me. I’m Gil, I host this overpowered podcast. I just celebrated three years of sobriety in early November. And I was a solo drinker. And like Dave, I loved drinking by myself, I used to say drinking by myself was my jam is my favorite thing to do. Even though my husband never made a comment about my drinking or thought that I had a problem or needed to drink less or stop, I still preferred drinking alone, because then I could just really go for it. And those were always the worst nights too. At the same time. I was also a daily drinker, pretty much right from the start. And I had a lot of mental health consequences for my drinking, I had a lot of depression, which eventually became suicidal thoughts. And that was what finally pushed me into sobriety, I spent so many years thinking I could just learn to moderate and control it if I tried hard enough, or I found the right strategy. And eventually, the suicidal thoughts became so powerful that I just accepted. I just can’t, I can’t do it. And I gave up. And now it’s been three years. And I agree with all of you best decision that I ever made, even though it’s hard. And even though it felt scary. So, I think we’ve all mentioned reasons why it was hard for us to stop. But Eric, what do you think was the main thing that held you back from stopping the second time around?



    Well, I think the thing that held me back in all cases was simply a huge part of me not wanting to, you know, I don’t think you get to the level that any of us got in our relationship with substances if they are not doing something somewhat profound for you in some way. Right? They have been a friend of sorts, not in the long term, good friend, but certainly in the short term, and in many moments, at least for me, was a good friend. So, what held me back was not wanting to have to quit and we all talked a little bit about this idea of moderation, right, which I think in AAA, they say it’s the great obsession of every abnormal drinker that will someday be able to control our drinking, right. And we try all kinds of different strategies. And if you’re like me, and you’re mixing multiple substances, and you’ve got even more variations to try, no drinking, but only we’d only weed on the weekends or alcohol on the weekends weed in the morning, you know, only taking valium three days a week. I mean, they just can keep spinning this game around and around. So I would say that was the biggest thing for me, was coming to terms with over a long period of time, the fact that I could not find a way to make alcohol and drugs work in my life, and eventually getting to the point where I realized, well, the answer probably has to be abstinence, which is the worst possible answer, at least for me, particularly the second time because I knew what was going to happen if I couldn’t figure out how to moderate my drinking, I knew I was going to go back to 12 STEP program, and I was going to have to give it up completely. And I was desperate not to do that. So, I really tried hard to moderate. So, I think that’s the most concrete answer, on the other hand, take more of my Buddhist perspective, right? Buddhism talks about this moment is here because of all these causes and conditions that arise, right. So, on another level, in addition to what I just said, the things that would support my sobriety didn’t come together till they came together, you know, and those were internal to me things, those were external to me things, those were support that I was able to get. So, all that stuff sort of had to line up in the right way at the right time for me to achieve something like permanent sobriety.



    Dave, you mentioned that you had a lot of moments that should have encouraged you to stop. But what do you think was the main thing that kept you trying to keep drinking in your life,



    I used alcohol as a coping strategy. I stopped enjoying Alcoa long time ago, to be honest. So, I would numb myself out really quickly. I’ll get in from work. And I’ll pour the largest vodka you could imagine, to numb me straightaway. And I will continue like that, I would never sit there sipping it watching the telly with my feet up thinking, Oh, this is great. It was purely doing a job I intended it to do. And after 40 years of drinking, it’s a tough decision to make to end that relationship and compare it to a relationship that you’ve been in because it wasn’t always awful. In the beginning, it was fun. It gave me confidence. And it made me funny, I used to really love having a drink. But during my 40s and 50s, it was purely there to numb out the pain, but I wasn’t ever ready to address the pain. So, the first time I tried to stop, I lasted a few days, and I just couldn’t do it. And I just put it down to the fact I wasn’t ready. So, I had to change my mindset. And after that, in April, I had to go back to the doctors, and I will add to that as well. The doctor had double my antidepressants just before that happened, right? So, I was a bit psychotic or thing. And I was on four medications. I was on tablets, my cholesterol that was score high, my blood pressure was 180 for over 126. And the doc said I’m a walking heart attack, and I was only 54. Then I was 130 kg. I had acid reflux daily, I would projectile vomit acid without warning. You know, I was basically I think on the brink of death. And that didn’t stop me because I still wasn’t ready to deal with what was going on in my life. And it was when I say an epiphany, it was almost like a friend text me on the scent for January and who said to me how do you feel like joining me to stop drinking alcohol free months. And when I got this text, I had a hangover, obviously, Monday morning, I looked here and literally burst out laughing. I thought I can’t even give up three days, right? But something happened that day. It trickled in slowly. And then I remember pulling over in a lay by late on that day. And I sat down, and I thought I wonder where I would be in three months. I wonder how my health would be how my relationships would be you know how I would feel every day if I was to three months without alcohol. And I text him and I said this go. So that was it that day. And you know what the weird side of me often wonders. I wonder what my last drink was because I don’t remember because the night before I hadn’t planned it. And it’s almost that I want to go back and revisit that last drink and go that’s it. Because I’m pretty sure that I’m going to do it again. Trust me. So, it was pure serendipity. I think that I stopped drinking. But do you know I’ll add to that there’s a thing about spontaneous sobriety. And you could label mine is that because I gave up on the day, but I think there was a lot of Have subliminal thinking going on? Along the lines of I know, I’ve got to stop. So, it was psychologically preparing myself for that day as well.



    Dave, I was actually thinking about my last drink over the weekend. So, it’s funny that you mentioned that. And I was reflecting on it. I don’t remember the exact one either. But I was reflecting on it. And I was like, it probably wasn’t even like anything great. You know, it was just like, a stupid drink in a dive bar. And, and I didn’t know in that moment that that was the very last one. So, thank you for sharing that. Okay. Casey, what do you think was the main thing that held you back from quitting drinking?


    Casey McGuire Davidson  20:40

    Yeah, I mean, I was laughing too. And you guys were saying you don’t remember your last drink. Or you didn’t know at the time that it was that because I didn’t either. I mean, my last night drinking, and we can talk about this, but it was so uneventful, you know, typical bottle of wine on the couch, you know, same things turned on Scandal or some show, and my husband said to me, I think you watched this last night. And I said, No, I didn’t, you know, you’re wrong. He doesn’t pay attention, whatever. And I got to the very end of the hour, and something about that was familiar. And I was just like, Oh, my God, my brain literally did not record an entire hour, which wasn’t unusual. And yet, I was so sure he was wrong. Like I was just like, You’re completely wrong. And so, you know, you don’t know anyone listening to this, when you’re like, oh, my gosh, I have to be ready for day one, you don’t know when your last day drinking is going to be? Joe, you asked me what held me back from getting sober sooner. I think the biggest idea in my mind that held me back was that I was quote, unquote, not that bad. You know, I knew I drank a lot. I knew I drank way more than other people did. But everyone I knew drank. And you know, that’s by design, we surround ourselves with drinkers. But I literally didn’t know a single person in my social life, who loves drinking the way I did, and had stopped and said that life was better. And they were happier on the other side. And so, I had this sort of dichotomy, which I think so many people do that either you are a quote, unquote, alcoholic, and therefore you need to stop, or there’s nothing to see here, you just abused alcohol, you need to get better at moderating it. And it was so ingrained in my identity, you know, who I was as a red wine girl. And it was shorthand for everything from I have two little kids, but I’m still cool. It was part of business networking, it was part of how I sort of expressed Yeah, I have fun, you know, all that kind of stuff. So, I think that would help me back. Obviously, I did not want to stop drinking, right. I loved it. And I think for a lot of us who drink we’d love it. But also, it was the idea that like, I kind of by the end knew that this was going nowhere good. And that it was unsustainable the way I was drinking. But very clearly, in my mind, I was like, I could probably string this out a couple more years. You know? If I’m going to have to stop, I can probably, you know, play it out for a while longer. Yeah, held me back for a long time. And I wish it hadn’t. Joe, what about you?



    Everything you guys said definitely. But I think the main thing for me was what it meant about me if I had to stop, that was the thing that I was fighting against the most, because I thought that people who had to quit drinking, were weak willed losers who can’t control themselves. Like I believed everything bad that you’ve ever heard out there about alcoholics. So, I didn’t want to be that I didn’t want people to attach all of those things to me. So, I was scared to give up, you know, the fun, which barely existed anymore and connecting with other people. And I thought I was like this little wine connoisseur, who, who knew all these fancy things and went to wine tastings. And so, I didn’t want to give up that, but it was more like what it meant about me if I had to stop. So, I was fighting against that. So, if I could just learn to moderate then I wouldn’t be a loser. And I would shame myself when I wouldn’t moderate. Like, if you can’t figure this out, you’re going to have to stop for good. And everybody’s going to say you’re an alcoholic and a loser and you have no self-control. So, I would like threatened myself with the stigma. And that only made it worse. But that was what held me



    back. The other thing I’m struck by listening to your stories, and mine also is I think another thing that holds us back is sort of the destructive spiral of addiction which is I don’t feel good about myself. So, I take a drink. And then I behave in ways that I don’t feel good about, or I have a lot of stigma towards myself for drinking, which then makes me feel worse, which then causes me to need to take another because I feel so bad, which then causes me to feel worse. And it’s just this slow, gradual eroding of who we are and the shame that creeps its way in also. And I think that’s the other insidious part of this that makes it so hard.


    Casey McGuire Davidson  25:29

    Yeah, I think what I love the most about not drinking is just the absence of that horrible voice in my head, the self-loathing the braiding every morning, just to have that be gone. And to wake up and think of nothing but the smell of the coffee, or whether it’s raining, or you know, all that stuff is pretty incredible.



    You know, I think as well, it’s the time that you get back in your head, because you have the usual thing in the morning, when you say you’re not going to drink that day. And then you start to negotiate throughout the day. Right. And then by the afternoon, there is so I might just have one, and then you get your two bottles, or you lead with vodka, knowing for where you’re going to do it. And then it starts again. So, what Eric said about the hamster wheel, isn’t it? I call it the hamster wheel of doom, where it’s so impossible to get off because you go through this cycle, don’t you have repeat, repeat behavior?



    Yeah. And it just brings you lower and lower and lower and meeting alcohol more and more. And I thought that the only good part of my life was like those first two hours where I was drinking. And I thought that my actual life was bad, and the drinking. So, it really just tricks you into thinking you suck, and the drinking is good.



    Yours lasted two hours to your mind lasted about 10 minutes. Why was



    that because you had 30 more years on earth? Joe would have gotten down to the two second mark. Yeah.



    Thankfully, I still kept my two hours. Yeah. Well. Eric, when you stopped, you mentioned that you started with the first time what do you think you did the second time that really helped you to get sober,



    I did 12 Step programs in both cases, I mean, the first time I chose that, because I went to a rehab. And that’s what they did there. And honestly, in 1994, in Columbus, Ohio, there was no other game in town, like very literally, there was no other choice. So that’s where I got sober. And so, then when I realized I needed to get sober the second time, that just seemed like the place to go, you know, this is 15 years ago. So, I don’t know 2007, maybe there still wasn’t a lot in the way of alternatives in the way there are now. So, I just went back because that’s what I knew. I knew how to do it. I knew it worked. You know, there’s lots of things about 12 Step programs that many people find objectionable. And I find some of those things objectionable, too. But the thing about them the power, I think that they have for many people, and certainly was for me, was in Columbus, Ohio, there were hundreds and hundreds of meetings a week. So, if I needed support and help, it was available in person for me nearly any time, that is a real strong advantage to it that I think, at least in my case, offset what many of the disadvantages are and maybe we’ll get into that as we talk about how we get sober. But I did it 12 Step both ways. But largely due to lack of choice. I think today in today’s world, I would probably very likely have gone a different direction, whether that would be good or bad. I have no idea. I can’t say I just know what did work for me. But I do think the fact that there are lots of alternatives now is great. And I think that’s part of why we all want to do this episode was the show that there’s not one way to do this. I think that’s really important.



    Yeah, and even though a lot of people think that AAA is the only option, if you start exploring, and Googling or hanging out in the sober community, you’ll see there are lots of different options, but I thought that a was my only choice to and I remember my biggest fear about that was that someone would recognize me, which was so stupid, because they’re there for the same exact reason I’m there. But that was my main thing. Like I can’t go because someone’s going to recognize me there and then they’ll know



    that is a hugely common thing. I mean, it really is. I mean, I think stepping into any new group is always hard under any circumstances, right? Particularly for those of us who are a little bit more shy, perhaps or introverted, but then you add that stigma of addiction alcohol to it. Boy, that is a very brave move, walking into whatever support you find the first time is a really big and brave move.



    I totally agree. Dave, you mentioned that you had spontaneous sobriety Be a bit even though it was a mindset shift for a while leading up to it. Yeah. When you did get sober and you did decide to stop with your friend for three months, what did you do for support? And why did you do that over other things as you five psi. At that moment, I only thought there was a in a friend of mine actually, she was going to a local to me. And ironically, I didn’t care if anyone knew I was because I came out the closet straightaway. And I thought I don’t care. Because it was my way of dealing with it. I wanted everyone to know that I was getting help. And I needed help. So, I had no issue with that. But I went there about five times. And towards the end, it didn’t quite sit with me. And I couldn’t pinpoint it. And now, I’m four years sober.


    I think maybe it was the wrong meeting that I should have mixed and matched and tried other meetings and met other people because I went to the same thing. But I created my page on Instagram and started posting my story. And there were a lot of people that were messaging me about it, because I’m a bit older. And I say it how it is. And people seem to like that. And then I saw an event that was held with a few guests, there was a couple of offers there and whatever. So, I bought a ticket, and I got on the train to go to that. And normally, I’d have pre drinks, you know, turn up a bit of Dutch courage. And I got there, and it was really rough this area, and I was walking up and down. I think I’ve done of ongoing hard time, if I can do it. Eventually, I plucked up the courage and it was packed in there. And I met all kinds of people. There were a couple of bikers in there. You know, people from all walks of life. And I remember I’ve told us talking was done the speeches and whatever and the interviews, I left there and got on the train. And I thought, oh my god, there were so many normal people. I didn’t know what to expect. But it was like everyone’s normal. You know, I feel part of something now. And from that day, we stayed in touch. And as you know, till I mean, we’re all on our podcast, we’ve talked to people all over the world. I’ve done 50 Now live of funds globally, all three people I’ve met for the community. So, the community is a huge pool for me, even now, after four years, I might have a down day and I might post and people come in like yourselves and say, Dave, you know, come on my get through today. And you know, the community on social media has been a real savior for me. I didn’t think any of us were normal either, Dave.


    So, same feeling. Yeah, yeah. Casey, when you stop drinking, what did you do for support? And then why did you choose that over your other options?


    Casey McGuire Davidson  32:55

    Yeah, I was resonating with what Eric said about the options available when he stopped drinking both the first time and sort of what he knew was available the second time. So, like many people, I’m sure listening to this. When I finally stopped drinking seven years ago, that wasn’t kind of my first rodeo, I guess. I tried to stop drinking 10 years ago when my son was five. And you know, I did it because I’d really gotten to the point where I felt like I couldn’t cope with my life. I felt like I couldn’t cope with my job, my marriage, my kid, even though I loved him more than anything. And so, I was like, I have to get sober to get some clarity on what specifically isn’t working in my life. And I went to a therapist, and he was sober through a 12 step program. I joined it online group just in the very, very early days of that stuff a decade ago. So, 2012, 2013. And people there invited me to go to AAA. And I went with them and met really incredible people. It turned out not to be my path for various reasons. And I’m sure part of it was I wanted to go back to drinking. But part of it was sort of the structure and the approach and the rituals that weren’t necessarily the direction that I wanted to go. So, I went back to drinking. And the second time I came back seven years ago, so just three years later, the world had changed quite a bit, which is incredible. I was still a member of my online not drinking group. But as I was debating quitting drinking or not, people recommended sober coaching to me. And that ended up being my path. I went you know, after that fairly remarkable night of not remembering the shows. I watched I had the 3am Wake up. I felt like garbage in the morning. I went into my office and went online to look up this sober coach and signed up that day at 10am and in the spirit of support is available anywhere she lived in Paris. We emailed every day she had audios you could listen to it was Belle from tired of thinking about drinking. And we had coaching calls, I’d go out to my car for 30 minutes in the middle of my workday. I think that worked for me for a couple of reasons.


    Eric, I love that you said there’s in person support available at any time through a 12 step meeting. And I think that’s incredible. Also, as a mom of an eight year old and a two year old with a full time job, it was difficult my husband coached after his job and, and it just didn’t work for my schedule. But being able to tap into online groups and email my sober coach or, you know, listen to audios when I was driving into work or walking to coffee or rocking my baby to sleep at night. That worked for me. And so, the other thing I loved about coaching was there was no labels. That was a big hold up for me, I didn’t have to call myself an alcoholic. It was also that I needed help with the big things like and for me the big things were, who am I if I don’t drink? What are all my limiting beliefs about life without alcohol and what it’ll be like? And like Jill said, What will people think of me, but it was also the really small blocking and tackling like, Oh, my God, I’m going to a dinner party. What am I going to say to the host? I am driving home from work, and I desperately want to pick up a bottle of wine. What do I do? Instead? I am angry at my husband and my two year old is crying. What do I do? And it was those like, really practical things that I needed help with? Yeah,



    and we don’t realize how hard that every day, things can be. Especially I get mad at my husband too. So, I get that. And a lot of other people. I used to just drink at people all the time. And then I didn’t realize that until I got sober. And I had the urge to then drink it those people and you have to learn how to just handle everyday things. Yeah, Casey,



    I love that you sort of countered the in person support with what you needed. Because what we ultimately need is what fits into our life, and what works with our characteristics and our personality. And like I said, I think the fact that there are more options is an amazing thing. I mean, the second time I got sober, it was in person support is what I had. And I had a really difficult time because I had kids same thing, I’m going to take my kids to you know this in the evening, I’m coaching soccer I’m doing actually I never coached soccer, I’m terrible at soccer, but I did coach baseball, and you know, so then it for me, it was like, Alright, I got to get a lunch meeting in, and then I’m having to rush to the meeting and you know, kind of get out of work in time. So yeah, I mean, there’s a lot of advantages to this convenience. And, Jill, I’d love to kind of hear maybe what your path was.



    So, I didn’t really do much. In the beginning, I stopped. And I did that because I realized that drunk Gill, my alter ego would probably do something really bad to me, if I were ever drunk and alone, which as I said, In the beginning was my favorite way to drink. So, I felt really scared for myself. And I accepted that I can never drink ever again for the rest of my life. And I didn’t take it one day at a time approach. And because I said forever, not that I was like cool with it. But I accepted it. I felt like I didn’t need support. So, I didn’t do anything. I was in like a Facebook group or two. And then I kind of hung around there and like, posted a little or commented a little, but I didn’t do much. I listened to podcasts. When I quit for good, I binged all have Craig Beck stuff, because he makes me laugh. I love all of his thoughts on moderation. He’s so funny. But eventually, in these Facebook groups, I started kind of sharing. And at that point, a couple months in, I still thought like, I was the only one that had my experiences. And I was afraid to tell people about it. Because they kept saying, If I tell people that I used to feel suicidal when I drink, they’re going to like call, I don’t know who you call on me, and I’m going to get like the 72 hour hold. And like this whole, I was really afraid that that was a completely unique experience, and that there would be some consequences if I shared it. So, I kept a lot of things to myself. And then eventually I got comfortable sharing. And so many people told me like, me, too, and that helped me I was like, wow, it wasn’t just me. Like that isn’t a weird, abnormal experience to have. And then it is continued hanging out with Facebook people until the world shut down. And we all went into quarantine. I was about four months. sober. And I worked in a lab. So, I always had to be like at work. And I have liked therapy at that point for like 10 years. But I felt awkward about like leaving work at the same time every week. And like, maybe people would know I was going to therapy like, oh my gosh, shocking, someone goes to therapy, right. And when we all went home, and I couldn’t bring my lab work home with me, I had a lot of time, and therapists were now meeting with people virtually. So, I started doing therapy, around four months sober. So that’s when like, I finally did something and got support. And up until then I was angry, I would go out to social things. And I would cry afterwards from the stress. Like, I still wasn’t drinking, but I, I wasn’t doing fabulous at it. I was just not drinking. And through therapy, like I learned, why are you so angry all the time? Why do you want to drink at people? Like, why is it so hard for you to think about like shameful things? And why do you believe you’re a loser if you don’t drink? So, I learned kind of like what was going on in my own head. And that was what helped me the most. And then over time, the rage started to calm down. And I could learn to manage my emotions a bit, but I had no tools or skills when I stopped drinking, because my only coping skill, like Dave was saying was just drinking.



    You have such a sweet disposition. Joe, I can’t see rageful Gill at this juncture in my life, but I’m not doubting her existence. I’m just saying it’s a very stark contrast to what we get, you know, a view now.



    Yeah, everybody says that. But she does exist. Yeah, my husband say the same thing. Yeah, my husband can tell you guys she does. She does appear sometimes. And the way that she appears is like all, we’ll be sitting on the couch, and I’ll stand up to like, rant at him about something. And it doesn’t even have to be like rage directed at him. But he still sees it, even if it’s directed at other people be up to serious business, put down your phone and get ready for a lecture. So, for you guys, it seems like it wasn’t that hard for you to get support. I think for me, I had all of these beliefs that have meant something bad about me. If I needed help, did you ever feel that way? Or did you just feel that support would help you? So, you wanted it?



    Oh, I think I came about it via a long path. And I think most of us do in the same way that there’s this moderation thing, right? Where I’m going to moderate this, I’m going to figure this out. There’s also this idea that I can do this on my own, I should be able to do this on my own. And so, my experience was lots of attempts of that, right? You know, I think for when I first started really drinking, too, the first time I got sober was not that long, right? Maybe, I don’t know, six years. Now again, I have a tendency to burn the house down quick, which is, I suppose an advantage in many ways. But I think from early on, I started knowing something’s not quite right. And so, I started trying in my own way, 1000s of little moderation quitting experiments. And so, I don’t think I wanted support. I think that, in my case, I ended up in a detox center. Because I was in big trouble. I’d gone to AAA and N.A. before that, and just it didn’t do anything for me. It just had no real effect on me. But I ended up in a place where I was just desperate. And then I was kind of surrounded by support. And I think in that process, I started to see like, Oh, this feels good. This feels good to walk into a room and have other people tell their story and me be like, oh, yeah, that’s a lot like mine. I don’t feel so alone or to share some part of me. And then everybody looked at me like yeah, of course. Yeah, I felt that. So, I think it was a I don’t really want it. But I started getting exposed to it. And as I got exposed to it more, it started I started to notice that a it worked and be it felt good. But I don’t think I wanted it. I think I’m a little bit like Dave in that my outward identity was so alcohol and addiction focused, that there was no shame for me. If there was any shame for me and getting help. It was from the people around me who were like, What are you a quitter? You know, I mean, like that kind of shame. You know, it wasn’t from the rest of the world being like, Oh my God, you’ve got a problem. It was from the people in the trenches with me who were like, what you’re going to AAA? Are you kidding me? You know, that’s where I felt the pressure. So, it was kind of the opposite direction.



    Dave, you said that you were like, proud to get support. What made you feel that way?



    I’ve always been interested in how we think. I’ve always had a real passion for becoming a therapist one day so When I was drinking, I actually signed up to a course trying to be a therapist and then go on to university. And part of that was because when, as I said before, when I was at school, I literally failed everything and left before I was due to leave. And I’ve always had this thing that I’m ill-educated, thick, useless, can’t do anything. So, I’ve done basic jobs. But I’ve got by because I think we’ll all agree when we go through this addiction become incredibly resilient. So, I did two years at college, doing a course to become a therapist, and I learned a lot. I learned a lot about listening skills theory, but surprise, surprise, I’ve failed miserably because I used to get drunk whilst doing my homework. I thought it’s a good idea to have four or five pints private night, my MacBook, and then I’ll do a 1500 word, dissertation thinking it’s the best thing ever and put it in think, yeah, I smashed that and then be hauled into the office saying, What the hell is this? So, I failed that.


    But you know what is said about my sobriety? You know, the first year was just outside lockdown, but in lockdown, I believe education is key, and quite often to our head people towards your podcast, because they’re short as Science-based. My podcast is more life stories. She knows site, gives a bit of variation there. And I decided to do a course on becoming a gray area drinking coach, like Casey said, how important it was for her to have a Sobriety Coach. And you know what, I learned more in those few months than I did about life itself. I learned about the nervous system, about all the unique things that we need to put in our cyber toolbox, you know, to help us and also the power of accountability as well. And I flew through that loved every minute of it, and then set up as a sobriety coach, and you know what, working with people that starting out or like Eric, you know, second time around, and I learned myself from people tonight, I mean, I learn about their journeys, and even on my podcast, you know, I love talking to people about what they’ve been through. So, for me that education was so important for me. And as we all know, every week we learn something new. And this journey is never linear. And it never will be. I look at it, like riding a bike appealed Sunday show on a straight with his son out. And as you head downhill like that, and it’s pouring rain, you either find a bike in the bushes, or you keep pedaling, you know, and trust me. In the last few months, I’ve been pedaling uphill, but I’m still not drinking. So that’s a bonus.



    Dave, I also thought that drinking helped me study and do my homework. Really was convinced I actually did it every time. I know,



    I would love to see some of those essays, Dave, I think would really be special. If you can find them.



    I’ll probably got them somewhere. But that’d be in the public. Lectures been somewhere.



    That’s your second book, Dave?


    Casey McGuire Davidson  48:10

    Yeah, Joe, I thought it was interesting when you said about, okay, I knew this was just it, I was never going to drink again, that I needed to stop forever. Because I think definitely that thought was one of the things that held me back for a very long time. And so, when I finally stopped drinking for the last time, one of the things that appealed to me is that it was 100 Day Challenge with a coach with support. And what helped me about that was it wasn’t, I’m going to try to moderate, I’m only going to have two drinks, I’m only going to drink once a week. It wasn’t one day at a time, but it also wasn’t forever. So, you know, I just had to go on faith that if I didn’t drink for 100 days, I would feel better. And I would look back at the way I was living with the drinking and the bad memories and the hangovers and the 3am wake ups and the anxiety and say, oh my god, I never want to go back to that. Again, I can’t believe that was my normal. And that is what happened. But I think that if I had said forever, I would go out to dinner and see a woman at the table next to me with a glass of red wine and just be like, I am never going to have that again. And therefore, I’m going to drink one last time. Right. And I think that that would have held me back from ever getting the distance I needed from alcohol. When you talk about support. I think there were two pieces that I needed one, the online support of knowing that there were lots and lots of people out there specifically women mothers, people who worked out there like me, who also struggled with alcohol and their husbands drank and all their friends drank, right? I was like, okay, they have the same set of problems I have, which is different than other people. And that’s okay. They’re still pressures. But not only that someone said to me, and I think it’s so true that there are sort of two sets of problems that you solve for when you stop drinking. And the first one is sort of the aftermath problems, which are the hangovers, the sleep, the defensiveness, the self-loathing, the bad talk, like, that gets solved pretty quickly. But then you have the underlying problems. And so, for me, I think I needed layers of support. So, in the beginning, I needed the practical advice, like, how do I not drink on a Friday night? How do I tell my husband, I’m not doing this? How do I go to a work happier business trip. And then, like you, Jill, I started therapy four months in. And it was because I had a major panic anxiety episode. And I was really upset because I thought that by quitting drinking, my anxiety would go away. And I was like, Oh, my God, I gave up the thing. I love more than anything in this entire world. And I’m not fixed. But it was the first time I could see it clearly. And go to a therapist weekly and start to dig into why am I feeling this anxiety and get on medication, while also not counteracting that with a bottle of wine at night. And what’s amazing is I actually got diagnosed with a mild mood disorder that I’m sure I’ve had my entire life. But I wouldn’t have figured that out. If I was still drinking, I would just blame myself for everything. So, I mean, support started with an online group and a coach. And then I added exercise. And then I added therapy, and I added medication. And then after that figured out some boundaries. So, you need support for each stage of your journey. That’s what I found.



    I love that. That’s amazing. And I see that all the time that we quit drinking, and we think like, that’s it. Now I’m better. Now everything should be good. And then it’s shocking when things still aren’t good. It can be like really confusing and lead a lot of people back because why bother? Right? If things don’t get better immediately? Why bother giving up my favorite thing? So, thank you for bringing that up.



    Yeah, that’s a really important point, I think, which is that some people feel better almost immediately upon quitting drinking, other people feel almost immediately worse. And so, knowing that is really important. And we hear about the pink cloud in early sobriety a lot. And it’s true for many people, there is a pink cloud, there is that great relief that this thing, you know, this guillotine that’s been hanging over my head all these years, someone has just wheeled it away, and it’s not here anymore, and there’s a great relief, and then slowly life sort of starts to trickle back in. But we all have underlying issues, you don’t get to the point with alcohol and drugs that many of us get to that’s not generally the sign of a well-adjusted personality structure, right? There’s things we don’t know how to deal with we don’t know how to cope with. So, I love that idea. Also, Casey that you said about support at different stages of the journey and needing different things. But I think it’s really important. I always say to people don’t confuse what getting sober is like with what it’s like to be sober. Because for me getting sober is a misery. It is a deep misery. It feels like being torn apart inside. Because one part of me desperately is like, I can’t do this. The other part of me is like, but I have to do this. And then there’s no relief from the substance to at least dampen that down a little bit. So, getting sober for me is misery, however, been sober for me. I mean, it’s good enough. It’s what I’ve done the vast majority of my adult life at this point, and it’s really been a great thing. But I think those are two really important points you both just brought up there.



    I think it’s also important to recognize landmarks, because for me, the first year was all about stopping drinking, physically. And I’ve got up to the first year and then I celebrated my soul bursary, and it was almost like a week or two after that I went through the whole feeling of what now you know, and I related that to maybe pregnancy where there’s a big build up to the birth, right. And then the baby’s born, and then two or three weeks later, the phone stops ringing and the baby’s crying in the night and you’re like, oh my god, I’m on my own and I felt I really don’t know what to do now. And I’m having more and more people come to me now with this feeling. I call it the second phase of sobriety where they’ve actually got used to not drinking, they’ve told all their friends, they don’t drink and they’ve experienced holidays, birthdays, Christmas, all without drinking, and then all of a sudden, it’s like, I don’t know who I am. I don’t know what I’m doing. You know, and often that’s an important thing. As I said previously, that is never linear. And it’s an important thing. The landmarks can be really triggering.



    Yeah, that’s really interesting, Dave, because I think the first time around, I was in a 12 step program, and we hand out coins at 3060 90 days a year, there’s a big focus on that. And I think there’s a lot of benefit in that. However, it is a double edged sword, right. And the double edged sword of it is a we invest too much belief that at a certain point a year, then everything will be great, right? So, we’re, we’re building towards this big thing, and it’s just another day. And then there’s the other which is that if you’re not achieving perfect sobriety, you feel like you’re making no progress based on those milestones, which can be very disheartening. You know, when I came back the second time, I had had eight years sober before, so counting three days just felt depressing. You know, okay, well, I’ve got I got a week now. Yeah, but you used to have eight years, you know, I’ve got a month now. Yeah, but it’s not a year, we just all so I finally just was like, forget it. I often get confused how many years I’m sober, because I just have paid so little attention to it. I have a friend. I’m like, was it 2007? Was that one it was it 2006. Because for me those milestones just they got in the way after a certain point. So, I think finding your relationship to them that works for you and holding them somewhat lightly. Also,



    for me, the 13 month, milestone was the most anticlimactic, boring, like, it was 13 months I woke up and I’m like, I don’t feel anything about this. I don’t feel excited about it. I don’t feel like anyone would care about it. And it was weird. And then it happened again, at 14. I’m like, I don’t think 14 is really that exciting either. And after that build up, like the 11th month for me every single day was so exciting, because it’s like, oh, 20 days until on my one year, five more days. And then after the year, it’s like you crash again.


    Casey McGuire Davidson  57:03

    Yeah, I mean, I think that it’s important. You know, Eric, you said about celebrating milestones in the 12 step program and how that’s helpful. I mean, I think we always need something to look forward to, I think that just makes us happier before, during and after, but what you’re looking forward to needs to shift. I mean, I still for my annual sober-versary I guess, I take the day off of work, I do exactly what I want. I plan something for myself. Because even though people in my life know. I mean, they know because I tell them that it’s coming up because I want them to like, acknowledge it. But they don’t get it. You know, they don’t get it’s a big deal. So, for my one year, I went to a she recovers yoga event in Seattle and was gathered with all these women. And you know, it was just really special. But then the next day, I went to Mexico, with my family, and it was my first big sober vacation. But I think that you know, my year two, I was just living, you know, the first year you’re learning how to do everything. And the second year, I was just living but I really focused on joy. So just planning all the little things that would make me happy. So, I got kittens, and you know, took up doing a triathlon again, and just little things that made me happy that were sort of incompatible with being drunk and passed out on my couch.



    Thank you, guys, so much for having this conversation with me and sharing everything. This was very insightful. And I think we all have very different experiences. But there’s a lot of similarities to in the way that we think and the way we’ve approached things.


    If someone wants to learn more about you and connect with your work, Eric, where can they go do that? oneyoufed.net. Or look for the one you feed podcast anywhere you get your podcasts. You’ll notice it has a little two wolf heads on it. It’s fairly distinctive.



    Thank you. And Dave, where can people connect with you and your work show? My podcast is One For The Road. And you can find that on all your podcast platforms. And all my other details, my coaching my book, everything on my Instagram @soberdave.



    Thank you, Dave, and Casey, where can we connect with your work?


    Casey McGuire Davidson  59:27

    Yeah, my podcast is called the Hello Someday Podcast. And you can find that anywhere you listen. And my website is hellosomedaycoaching.com. And I’ve got a bunch of free guides on there if anyone’s interested.



    Thank you. Awesome. And if anyone wants to connect with me, my podcast is called Sober Powered. That’s my Instagram my website and you can learn more about that at soberpowered.com. So, thank you guys again so much for joining me today. Thank you.



    Thank you. This was really fun, and I think we accomplished We hope to show there’s lots of different paths here. There’s lots of different ways of feeling about this. And there is lots of solutions.



    Yeah, and whatever you try, you can always try a different thing and sobriety evolves as you keep going in it.



    Thanks so much, guys. 


    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. 


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