Do you put others’ needs, wants, and values ahead of yours?
Do you need help with setting boundaries in your relationships and around your sobriety?
If so, you need to listen to this episode of The Hello Someday Podcast with guest Hailey Magee!
Hailey is a certified codependency recovery coach who has worked with over 100 clients across the United States, Canada, Ireland, South Africa, and more break free from the shackles of codependency.
In this conversation Hailey dives deep into how to become the woman you want to be and what that looks like without alcohol.
Speaking your truth, setting boundaries, and putting yourself first is not something that comes easy. You have to work for it everyday. The more you do, the easier it will be to live a life you love.
In this episode, you’ll learn:
- The meaning of codependency recovery
- How to master the art of speaking your truth
- How codependency shows up in your relationship with friends, family and your partner
- How to find the space you need on your road to recovery
RESOURCES AND LINKS MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE
Author mentioned in episode: Harriet Lerner https://www.harrietlerner.com
- The Free Sober Girl’s Guide to Quitting Drinking – 30 Tips For your First 30 Days
- Read the Blog for more strategies on building a life you love without alcohol.
- Contact Casey
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.
READ THE TRANSCRIPT OF THIS PODCAST INTERVIEW
Codependency Recovery and People
Pleasing in Sobriety
codependency, recovery, people pleasing, sobriety, SHE RECOVERS®
SPEAKERS: Casey McGuire Davidson + Hailey Magee
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.
Today I’m excited to have a conversation about codependency, boundaries and people pleasing with Hailey Magee.
Hailey is a Certified Codependency Recovery Coach. She helps women conquer their “people pleasing” pattern, set empowered boundaries, and mastered the art of speaking their truth. Hailey had worked with over 100 clients across the United States, Canada, Ireland, South Africa, and more. And she’s also one of the coolest women I’ve met in the world of recovery over the last few years.
Hailey and I both live in Seattle, and a year or so ago, we ran into each other at a local gathering for SHE RECOVERS®, which is an online group of women in recovery from all things. When we first met, we immediately started talking and I love Haley’s energy, her honesty and her enthusiasm. I think the work Hailey is doing is so important and valuable for all women to do. So I wanted to bring her on the podcast to share her knowledge, her tools and resources with you all. So let’s get started. Hailey, welcome to the Hello Sunday podcast.
Hailey: Hi, Casey. Thanks for having me. This is awesome.
Casey: Yeah, I’m so excited to chat with you. So I love this topic because I definitely raised my hand as a people pleaser. And since I’ve quit drinking and become a Coach, I’ve done a lot of work around saying no and boundaries and figuring out what my needs actually are. It’s definitely not easy. But I’m, as much as I’ve heard the term codependent and coaching, I’m not sure I fully understand the meaning of the term or how it’s applied. So can you share what that definition is in the work you do?
Hailey: Yeah, for sure. Yeah, it’s interesting because the word “codependency”, the meaning of it has actually evolved, since it sort of became a popular term in like, the 70s or 80s. And so, at first, codependency was typically defined as someone who was like, in a relationship with a practicing addict or alcoholic. But over time, it’s really come to mean, anyone who develops an excessive reliance on a partner, whether that’s an emotional over reliance, a financial over reliance, and really at the core of it. I like to think of codependency, at its core, it’s kind of like a dysfunctional relationship with the self. Codependency means that we put others’ needs and wants above our own and we rely on their sense of value of us, instead of our own value of ourselves.
Casey: I think that’s super interesting. I’ve actually never heard it described as a dysfunctional relationship with ourselves. But that makes a lot of sense to me.
Hailey: Yeah. Because like if you’re outsourcing, like, if you’re relying on other people to tell you that you’re valuable or that you’re worthy, intrinsically, that means that you don’t have the inner resources you need, to tell that to yourself. And so, at its core, yeah, that’s how I like to think of it because then when it’s in our control, it’s something that we can work on and resolve over time.
Casey: Yeah. And I think as women, even growing up as girls, like, we’re so conditioned to really care about what other people think of us. To be seen as nice and helpful and supportive, and to not cause conflict. I mean, I see that even in schools with my son and my daughter, they’re sort of conditioned in different ways. And so I think that as you grow up, a lot of women, kind of, they are really uncomfortable if people don’t think they’re nice or think they’re being, you know,, “bitch” or whatever it is, right?
Hailey: Yeah, totally. So many of us were taught how to be very empathetic and pleasing as young girls, but rarely are we taught the other side of the coin, which is to assert those boundaries and say no. And I think, yeah, we do a disservice as a culture to our young girls, because we’re just not taught those tools. I know, I wasn’t, that’s for sure.
Casey: Yeah, I definitely wasn’t as well. And I think that, especially when you stop drinking, and I see this with all the women I work with, one of the biggest challenges is making sure you have the time and space for yourself to rest and to actually soothe your emotions without drinking. And a lot of times, that means changing the rules with your partner or the people you’re in relationships with, in terms of how much you give.
Hailey: Oh my god. Yes, absolutely. And sobriety is such an opportunity. I mean, it’s such a transition out of so many old habits and into new ones. And I think for a lot of folks, myself included, I didn’t even become aware of my codependency until I quit drinking. So I quit drinking, I got sober and then after I realized that I no longer had alcohol to numb out and so I realized that I was using people in my relationships to numb out from my own needs just in a different way.
Casey: So tell me about that.
Hailey: Yeah, I mean, you know, I think, you know, growing up similar to what you shared about being young girls, like I was definitely taught to be kind, be nice, to be empathetic. And as I got older, I was definitely…uhmmm… Folks appreciated me for the way I always seem to be like, yeah, being of service or helping somebody. Now there’s this like celebration of this idea of being like martyrs, especially for women. And then yeah. when I quit drinking, (I’ve quit drinking twice). And this happened the first time I quit. And then all of a sudden, I was left alone with my emotions because they weren’t going anywhere. You know, I wasn’t… I wasn’t drinking, I wasn’t blacking out. And so I sort of had to learn how to sit with things like discomfort and anxiety and fear, just the normal human emotions that are hard. And I found, because that was so hard for me. I was sort of grasping at strings, like how can I make these unpleasant feelings go away? Because I’d never had to cope with them. You know, yeah. And my part…
Casey: I totally see that and, and my partner like my husband, I am really uncomfortable with conflict. And I think a lot of us are really sort of sensitive people to the environment and the emotional environment around us. And so trying to make that go away in any way possible. You know, I used to drink over it. And then as I quit, I realized I was sort of bending over backwards to make things all okay when I really felt resentment or anger…
Hailey: Totally. Yes. Right! Just doing anything you can to push those emotions out of your field of consciousness and not have to feel them.
Casey: Or just make them go away. And to do that you have to please everyone around you.
Hailey: That’s right. And what’s…what’s ironic about that, too, is that you please everyone around you, but then it never totally works. Because inside there’s that feeling of being out of alignment or being resentful at yourself for not speaking up for yourself. And so it’s a temporary fix. You know?
Casey: Yeah, absolutely. So if someone’s listening to this podcast, and they’re interested in this topic, but they’re not really sure it applies to them or to their life experiences. Can you give me a general idea of how codependency or people pleasing might show up for women?
Hailey: Great question, for sure. It can manifest in so many ways, things that just I’m just riffing things that come to mind are, you know, perhaps you have trouble engaging in conflict, you have trouble speaking up for yourself. You find it really difficult to say no, almost as if there was some sort of like physical barrier preventing you from saying the words. Perhaps you feel like you are the party who is always seeking to resolve and mend in relationships, but others are not meeting you there.
Hailey: Gosh, there are so many things and I think at its core another way it can manifest is just a reticence or unwillingness to dive headfirst into your own needs or wants or maybe you feel guilty or selfish when you admit that you want something or that you need something. Because we’ve been conditioned to think that other’s needs matter more than our own.
Casey: Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I know that even you know, when I stopped drinking, I had been married for 14 years. And no matter how healthy or unhealthy you know, your relationship is, you have an established pattern. I had for better or worse. Set up my relationship with my husband where I, for example, would go to work and come home and be with the kids. Right? He was a baseball coach, and he was the Dean of Students at the time and just always had nighttime events. And so my needs were sort of on the backburner to whatever his schedule was. And I did feel a lot of resentment around that. I did feel very bored. I did feel like I wasn’t getting what I needed, or I wasn’t happy, and therefore I sat on my couch.
Casey: And so when I quit drinking, you change those rules. I remember, you know, needing to see my sober girlfriends more. I remembered prioritizing therapy, and, you know, so he was in charge of one night a week taking care of the kids and coming home and reworking his schedule, regardless of what came up. And now that was, you know, that was a negotiation that had never been set up before.
Hailey: And kudos for you know, doing that because I think those negotiations are really hard, especially with our partners. I think it’s also wild because codependency can occur in any relationship. I mean, you can be codependent or a people pleaser and be totally single. Um, you can have codependent relationships with your parents, your kids, your friends, your colleagues, you know any relationship in which you feel like you have to sacrifice your authentic self in order to perform a more acceptable version of you. I would argue that relationship probably has threads of codependency.
Casey: I love when you said a more acceptable version of you. Because you know, I think and I hear this in my clients all the time. I know for myself that like when you’re a kid, you are taught consciously or unconsciously based on your family what is an acceptable version of you and whether it’s being type A and always getting straight A’s or whether it is being quiet and amenable or your value is based on your productivity or whatever or excelling in sports, right? That is the acceptable version of you and we internalize that. It becomes our own expectations.
Hailey: Yeah, no doubt about it. That’s exactly true. And I even think like you’re saying, like productivity addiction or perfectionism, these are all like, sort of themes, variants on the same theme.
Casey: Yeah, yeah. So talk to me about the women you work with, and what… what you do like how you…how you help them sort of get more healthy in terms of relationships and boundaries and sense of self relationship with themselves.
Hailey: Hmm, yeah, for sure. So I think I always like to start with the premise that right like we talked about codependency is a dysfunctional relationship with the self. And so I like to think of codependency recovery is happening in two distinct phases, if you will, and this is what I work on with my clients. So phase one is really where you strengthen and nourish this relationship with yourself. This is before you get into the boundaries, before you get into the romance like this is all about you. And that alone for so many women is revolutionary because these women, so many of us rarely take that time for ourselves. We think it’s bad, we think it’s wrong. And so that begins by, you know, learning to identify your needs, learning to listen to your body, when it tells you it needs something, or feel something. And then just getting clear on you know, who are you as a human when you’re, instead of just being like an appendage to someone else or someone else’s dreams or goals? What are your independent dreams, goals and values?
Casey: And that’s so hard, right? You’re almost deep conditioning, your entire history of what you’ve been taught, right? Because I know, I always think of it as peeling back the layers or unbecoming. You’re on this journey to become the person that you’re taught to be or what You think will give you the emotions that you want, right financial stability, other people thinking you’re successful, whatever it is, right? And then there’s that dissonance, you know, whatever it is in your body that says, what I’m doing is making me anxious and uncomfortable and unhappy, but you don’t know what it is.
Hailey: That’s right. Because we’ve been conditioned, like you’re saying, like so thoroughly since childhood, you know, for so many of us and so similar, you say peeling back the onion, I love that or peeling back the layers. I think of it as an explanation. So like, you’re like, there’s these layers of people pleasing, and you’re like digging beneath them to unearth something, it’s there. It’s not like it’s not there. You just have to reclaim it after all that time, you know. And so once we do that, once we get more in touch with our identity and our sense of self, that’s when we go into phase two, which is bringing that self we have within us into our external world, which includes our relationships, our actions, our boundaries, all that good stuff. And really, I think that when we bring that inner sense of self to our external environment, we just feel.. I use the word like aligned. we just feel aligned with who we are inside and we don’t have to perform anymore. And that is such a gift for so many of us who haven’t felt that way before.
Casey: And I assume that it’s super uncomfortable in the process. Is that true?
Hailey: It’s so true. It’s so… it’s, you know, I like to think of it as you know, working a muscle, you know? For so many of us that muscle is kind of, it’s been unused for a long time sort of speaking our truth and setting boundaries and so, we have to work it out, every day, do little workouts and strengthen it over time. But it’s hard.
Casey: Do find that women feel guilty or apologetic? I mean, because we all have established relationships. Whether it’s with your boss, with your partner, even with your kids, right? People are like, I have to do this for my kids. Like, I want to. I want to be that mom. It’s like, Yes, you do. But you’re also telling me you’re deeply unhappy. So what do we do with that conflict?
Hailey: Mm hmm. Totally. It’s so hard. And by doing this work, I mean, it’s real bravery. I don’t and I don’t even mean that as sort of like a feel good. Like, that’s for real. Like it’s brave and courageous. I’ll share the story, you’re gonna laugh. But I remember when I started dating my partner. I’d done a couple years of codependency recovery work, and it was a big deal because I was stepping into a new romantic relationship and I was ready for it to be challenging. And one day, we decided we were going to get burritos for dinner. And he was like, “Oh, well, let’s go to a, you know, restaurant down the street. I really like their burritos.” And in my head I was like, “nah ah, I like these other burritos better.” But I was so afraid to say it. When we were driving in the car and I was like, “you know what,” I was like, “I’m just gonna say it. I want burritos from this other place.” And it was not a big deal. And he was like, “Okay, great, let’s go there.” But I truly felt like it was a really huge thing.
Casey: And it is the little things. And you… I mean, I also think that I love that you said that you were expecting the relationship to be… I don’t know if you said challenging or what it was, but like, so many of us expect a relationship to be easy and harmonious. If it is, “right”. And so we want to get rid of any feelings that make it seem like it’s conflict or disagreement, you know, right from the start, which does stop you from being who you really are.
Hailey: Right, exactly. That expectation of just constant bliss is unrealistic. And if two independent individuals are going to come together and speak their needs freely, there’s going to be difficulty and conflict. I think, learning to me.. Learning to set realistic expectations for that, like you’re saying, you’re doing yourself a great service.
Casey: And I assume that some relationships are healthier than others, right? Some of this work is easier than others, especially if your partner or your boss is, you know, some are domineering and difficult. Can you tell me a little bit about that?
Hailey: Hmm, it’s such a, it’s a really excellent point. Because what you’re saying makes me think of this. I think a huge part of this recovery work of codependency recovery is learning what we can and cannot control. And so, the way I see it in my relationships, I’m able to control whether or not I express my needs. I’m able to control if I learn how to soothe myself, things of that nature. But at the end of the day, I can’t control my partner, and that really makes a big difference. Like I’m lucky enough now to have a partner who is able to hear me when I express my anxieties, he makes space for me to express myself freely. But like you’re saying, Casey, like some partners, are domineering and do not have the emotional bandwidth to do that. And in those relationships, you could do years of codependency recovery work and still not be able to single handedly design the relationship that makes you feel cared for.
Casey: And so what do you.. what do you do in terms of your work with women where that’s the case? Because some women feel really, like they’re in a difficult spot like, they’re expressing their needs, or what makes them uncomfortable, or if they feel belittled by their partner, and their partner gets angry and cold and walks away?
Hailey: Great question. Great questions. These are like wonderful questions. Um, I have two thoughts on that. The first thought is that, when we break these patterns, like you’re saying, Casey, we have these negotiations and rewrite the rules. It’s very common, even in the healthiest relationships, for there to be a period of difficulty. There’s a famous psychologist Harriet Lerner, who’s one of my favorites. And she uses this phrase called “countermoves”. And basically what that means is, that when we start setting boundaries or doing things differently, it’s natural for our partner to want to return to the status quo. So our partner might be like, “no change, back, change back.” And that can initially cause “tough times”. The hope, though, is that that period of squabble is short term and that down the road, you and your partner are able to negotiate into a relationship that feels healthier to you. But the key is noticing, when despite your best efforts at communicating and being true to yourself, your relationship isn’t shifting in that direction you needed to. Perhaps your partner is stonewalling you, perhaps they’re continuously avoidant or dismissive. And that’s where we need to eventually develop the sense of inner strength and resilience to be able to say, you know, I don’t need to… This relationship is not worth me sacrificing my needs and myself. I would be better off alone than in this scenario and that is hard.
Casey: Yeah. And I think that you know, I always tell people I work with like, you know, a lot of people have sort of a presenting problem when they come to a coach or a therapist, right? There is for me, it’s often drinking I’m sure for you. It’s.. it’s codependency and, and relationships. And I always tell people that don’t make huge decisions on your relationship right at the beginning, because when you change, the entire relationship changes. You are both stronger and happier and more independent in your life, which may make you see that you know, obviously you have a part in the relationship and how it’s been set up. And also, like you said, partners need time to adjust. You know, they can be scared of what you’re doing and then see that when you’re happier and healthier, the relationship is easier. You’re more calm, you’re more present. Not that it’s all on you. But just, you know, it’s not…give it time, right? Because patterns have been set up for years. And you need to work on yourself first, like you said.
Hailey: That’s right. Yeah, I mean, you know, think of it this way, too, if you’re occupying the codependent position and you’re constantly initiating with your partner wanting more from your partner, yada. And then you reach a point where you realize you need to refocus your independent energy on yourself. Your partner may not know you’re going through that mental process. And so all of a sudden, your partner might be like, “Whoa, do I not matter to her anymore? Does she not love me anymore?” So it’s, you know, it’s really natural for both parties to be a little bit jarred by the change. And that’s why I think it’s so important, if possible, to initiate open conversations about the healing work you’re both doing, just so.. this way, you can both be kept in the loop? Yeah.
Casey: And I’ve seen like, some partners want to support their, you know, the women in their lives because I work primarily with women on being happier and healthier and they even support them in quitting drinking often or want them to. And yet when they start doing that, they feel scared and it comes out in different ways. Like, wait a minute, you are doing all this growth and all this work, and you seem so much stronger. Do you need me anymore? Are you going to ditch me? Like if I don’t change, if I’m still drinking, I wanted you to quit drinking and yet, now things are different and that makes me insecure.
Hailey: Totally, there’s that fear. Right? Well, Will you love me? Will you need me and that’s like, so natural, because like you’re saying, you’re rewriting old scripts. And what I like to remind women in my coaching practice, when we break the people pleasing pattern, it’s really natural for us to be like, “Oh man, who’s going to leave me? Who’s gonna be angry”? You know, it’s really easy to think of the worst case scenario. But what I like to remind my clients, a little reframe is helpful here. It can actually be helpful to ask yourself, all right, when I begin to speak and live my truth, who is actually going to benefit from this? And how, and really, you know, we can think of this in terms of partner, parents, friends, kids. There are a lot of benefits to be had, when those close to us began to speak and live from their sense of authentic self.
Casey: Tell me about that. Because I completely get the fear that someone’s going to be angry with you or disappointed in you. But give me an example of the benefits that your clients see or women doing this work see on other people and in their lives.
Hailey: I think one of the most profound ones I experienced with my clients is this idea, especially for women who are mothers. There’s this idea that they’re going to role model the type of behavior they want their children, especially their daughters to learn. So learning “how to”, like we were talking about before, like learning how to say no, set boundaries, engage in healthy conflict. By modeling those skills, their daughters will finally get the chance to learn how to do that and how to value themselves and relationships.
Casey: When you said that, so many light bulbs went off. I mean, I completely see that and I also think, not only for their daughters, but for their sons to see, because they’re going to carry that through every relationship in their lives. And I think when, you know, when I talk to my clients about their partners who, who have a set expectation of what their wives, and you know, even if they work, what they should be doing, that’s modeled often on what they saw from their parents. And right, that’s hard to break, but when you think about sort of paying it forward, your son, you know, my son thinks that women work. My son thinks that women are successful. My son thinks that Husbands help out. And, you know, that’s just one example. But not only does my daughter see that, but my son does too.
Hailey: Exactly. You know, I mean, you’re paving. Yeah, you’re giving them the opportunity to see this is how folks live in the world. It’s very empowering. And something else that comes to mind too, is like, I feel like, I feel like we all have a friend who radiates authenticity. I can think of one friend in particular. Her name is Donna. We were freshmen roommates together and have since been, you know, best friends ever since. And this is a woman who has always spoken her truth, even if it was hard for me to hear, you know. If I was wearing a shirt that she thought was ugly, she told me. If she didn’t like my new boyfriend, she told me. And she told me the good stuff, right. But to this day, I know I can trust her with anything because I know that I’m going to get an unfiltered and authentic response from her and those folks are hard to find. And so that’s, you know. Our friends and our loved ones will also benefit from this.
Casey: Yeah and I know so many clients who say my relationship with my spouse is so much deeper and more honest and more authentic than it ever was before and they don’t realize how much and I find this to be true myself like, how much everything going on in my mind about my stress, my anxiety, not really been enjoying what I was doing for work, my resentments. My worrying about my drinking – that was so much in my head and I just put on this smiley, “Little Miss Sunshine” I can do it all face to my husband, because I didn’t want him to question my drinking and I was scared of stopping I didn’t want to, so that if everything looked okay, even to him, then, you know, we could be like, yes, you know, I thought he’d be like, Yeah, she drinks a lot, but she’s a great mom and she has this great job and she’s always happy and you know, all the things.
Hailey: Totally. That’s like the it’s so cunning, this idea of like the high performing, perfect seeming person who abuses alcohol like I was that same story here.
Casey: Yeah. So I really loved when you said earlier, the concept of “the inner world finally matching your outer world”. And I feel like it sort of goes along with what we were just touching on. But can you for people listening to this? Can you give me a more concrete example of how that sort of manifests when the inner world is not matching the outer world and then when it does after doing some work?
Hailey: I’m totally so I think, let me think of a good example.
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Hailey: Um, okay, this is a small example. It’s just, you know, from my personal experience, I used to have the hardest time speaking up and setting boundaries in scenarios that involve like dating or interacting with guys. It was just a blind spot for me, it was really hard for me. And so I remembered that feeling of icky dissonance I would feel, when I’d be on a date. And I would just be sitting there thinking, this is not a good fit. I’m just not into this person. But my facial, my facial expressions, my words, my reactions, were all just, you know, you think he was like God’s gift to the world, like I was just so there was such a dissonance there and it I would always leave and just feel so icky and just be like, why was I acting that way? But again, it’s just this conditioning of like you have to put on the sunshine face. And another little victory. I’m sharing these just to show folks that like, baby steps, right. But I went on a date I don’t know, like over a year ago now. And I met someone for coffee. And I could immediately tell that this was not going anywhere. I just was completely uninterested in this person. He didn’t really seem to care about my story at all like he was wasn’t asking any questions. It was totally unreciprocated. And so after 15 minutes, I looked at the clock and I said, You know what? I really appreciate you taking the time, but I don’t think I’m interested. So I’m going to go.
Hailey: It was crazy! And I’m telling you, Casey, I walked out. I remember distinctly it was raining, I was walking to the grocery store, and I was dancing in the street, because past Hailey would have never had the…strength to do that.
Casey: That is amazing. So what did he say?
Hailey: He just sort of looked kind of surprised. He’s like, “Oh, all right, you know, have a good day.” And certainly, you know, he was disappointed. And it was extremely scary to buck up the courage in them.
Casey: My god, I can’t imagine.
Hailey: But it was awful. But like after I was flooded with this relief in this realization that like, Oh my god, I can actually do this. Like the only thing keeping me from speaking these truths is my fear. And that can be.. Yeah, hmm. So that’s an example of that inner feeling manifesting as external actions. And it just feels so good.
Casey: Well, and I think that applies to everything. Like a lot of us, I call it sort of editing your life and being in touch with what lights you up and what brings you down. I think we all have a friend from a past life or a co-worker or something that is kind of toxic, and spends all the time complaining and doesn’t see you as the best version of you. Almost, they’re critiquing you, or they, you know, there’s this patronizing relationship. And, you know, sometimes you have to say, is this relationship serving me? You know, and that’s easier to figure out when you’re not going round and round in “what’s wrong with me?”, “Why can’t I get it together with the drinking?”, I feel like crap.” But it’s really important to tap into the people you surround yourself with, whether it’s a partner or a friend and say is this you know, I always think, is this person bringing out the best version of myself? Do I like myself more when I’m around them? Because of the energy that they’re putting out there.
Hailey: I love that question. You know, “do I like myself more when I’m around them?”, “Are they able to see the best parts of me?” That’s everything. And I don’t know, I’d love to hear your experience on this. But I know both when I quit drinking, and when I started actively breaking the people pleasing pattern, I saw a massive shift in my friend groups, like there was a definite shift.
Casey: I see that in part and I think that’s really, really scary for women who are contemplating not drinking. Because they’re, you know, one of their biggest fears is I’ll lose all my friends. I won’t be able to hang out with them anymore. I may not be able to relate to my husband because he’s a drinker and we always drank together. And I think it is.. it happens in positive ways and it doesn’t happen for all your friendships. So I had been friends for decades, right with this group of women, and we drank a lot. But as I quit, I realized that I was, to some extent, one of the few driving it right? I had mommy playdates with alcohol, I had brunch with alcohol. I had everything with alcohol. I thought it was awesome. And I thought we were fun. And I thought we were reclaiming part of our lives, from children and from work. And once I quit drinking, I said to one of my best friends, we were going on a walk and I was literally like, 20 days without drinking. And I said to her, I don’t even know who I am anymore. And we’ve been friends you know, since well, before we had kids, and she said, I feel like I finally got my best friend back.
Hailey: Oh my god goosebumps down my spine right now.
Casey: I know. I do also make great friends who had also quit drinking. I always think that women who quit drinking are the coolest. And in my mind, I mean no offense to my friends who drink but like, you know, they’re fun. In my mind, like, you know that they like to have fun. They’ve done some work. So you have to do some humbling work and think about yourself in a really authentic and sort of raw way, the good and the bad. When you quit drinking, it’s just it’s, I don’t, you can’t do it without it in my mind. But you also come out like you don’t tolerate small talk anymore. Like you just want to go deep immediately. And you have this common understanding of what you’ve gone through, you support each other more, you’re empathetic, but at the same time, like I have so much fun with my friends who quit drinking, like we have dinner parties, and we go on hikes, and we have amazing brunches, and we laugh. So you don’t have to lose all your other friends, and you make tons of amazing new friends, but you do lose those friends who are toxic, or who are so surface who don’t even care why you’re quitting drinking or what’s going on with you. Who think that, who starts disinviting you from things because you don’t drink. And the amazing thing is, it’s not until you quit drinking that you’re like, Well, I’m not even trying to like this person. I’m not… that I have to. I feel like I need to drink to tolerate this person. And that’s amazing, because you’re like, why am I tolerating that? What am I scared of?
Hailey: Right? So much of what you just said is absolutely golden. Yeah, I can totally relate to the, Oh, I just quit drinking. And now I’m hanging out with this friend and I feel like I have no idea what we have in common anymore. You know, it just, it takes the veil off and you see things for what they really are. I think it’s important to be like we were talking about setting realistic expectations for yourself. Like, there may be a period, whether it’s a couple days, a couple weeks, where you feel that shift in your friendships, and you may feel some of that loneliness and some of that fear. But these are the growing pains that get used to the other side. And that leaves space for more authentic connections to come in. So it’s a short term thing. And it might be hard at first, but it gets both.
Casey: Oh, it definitely does. And I always, always say, like, trust the process. There is space between no longer and not yet and then, not yet, is amazing. But you almost need to make space in your life for that. Like you do need to sit with yourself for a while and it can feel like being bored because we’re so used to drama. We’re so used to the high and the low, right? I’m riling myself up with all the drama, I’m diving into drama, to give me a reason to drink and then I’m recovering from drinking and beating myself up. When you don’t drink. like my husband said you’re in our house just seems more calm. It’s crazy. and it is more calm but if we’re not used to it, it’s calm and peaceful. And if you’re not used to it, you think it’s boring, which it isn’t when you kind of decompress from the drama.
Hailey: Yeah, it totally takes time to adjust and like hearing you describe those highs and lows. My whole body is like, oh God, like I remember that roller coaster of just like totally letting all my reservations go and just like having a drunken escapade and then feeling self loathing and awful and sick for the days after, like, I am so grateful that that’s not a part of me anymore.
Casey: Yeah, absolutely. So, tell me, if I loved your reframe, about when I begin to speak my truth, who else benefits from that and I completely get the family and the patterns but earlier you I said to myself in another conversation about you remember what it feels like to be a shadow of the woman you could be? Can you talk to me about that? Like what that means?
Hailey: Yeah, for sure. It’s such a distinct feeling. And I know I’m sure folks listening will relate to some of this, but I think, it took me, I’m thinking back to when I was in my last relationship, which is where, in my opinion, my codependency really reared its head. But when I think back to like, every aspect of my life, I was not living authentically. I was basing my decisions and actions on… Yeah, who I thought others wanted me to be. And so I was striving for professional success in a way that didn’t really align with my heart. But I thought it looked cool. And especially like in my relationships with friends, I always did like 10% of the talking and 90% of the listening. Like I was kind of just like a vessel and a sounding board. That’s been a big part of my story that was hard to overcome. And then in my romantic relationship too like, I really felt like my partner’s dreams and wishes kind of dictated the course of our relationship. And I participated in that dynamic just as much as he did. You know, but you combine all these different elements. And I remember a couple times just looking at my life and thinking that I was, I think it’s Melody Beatty, uses this phrase like an appendage to other people. And that’s how I defined myself. It was all based on what role I played to others.
Casey: And when you’re describing that, the immediate sort of thing, I thought of it, is being a shapeshifter. You know, and I would do… that I, I moved a ton, as a kid, to different countries every two or three years. So I was so desperate to immediately integrate myself that I would shape shift to whoever I was around at the new school or the new community. Even if I didn’t really like the person. I felt like security was more important. So it’s not to be bullied, ostracized, you know, left alone with zero friends, whatever it was. And it’s hard.
Hailey: It’s hard. And these… these skills, you know, to shape shift to play chameleon, to lie. I used to brag about the fact that I was a great liar because it came so naturally to me. These words are like coping mechanisms we developed as kids in order to feel like seen and heard. And in adulthood, we find that we don’t need them anymore, but they linger. They’ve kind of like
Hailey: Oh, I love that.
Casey: Yeah. Like, you don’t need the coping mechanisms anymore. They’re not serving you.
And it’s hard to you know, and in so many ways, like, it’s hard to let go.
Hailey: Yeah, exactly. It’s hard to let go. And we don’t need to fully let go. Because I think that at the same time, I forget the saying, but it’s kind of like the things that are our greatest downfalls or our greatest skills. Like I used to be a shaper. But at the same time, I am currently very empathetic and know how to tune into others emotions and provide them support. And that’s something I love about myself. And it might not have been possible had I not learned how to shift as a kid. So like you can stand in your truth and know who you are and know, identify who you want to spend time with based on whether you share their values, and yet also make other people feel good about themselves in a genuine way. Connect with people, my husband always says, You can talk and relate to anyone, like literally anyone that I come in contact with. I immediately kind of draw out stories of their lives and connections and it’s because I’m genuinely interested, But it’s the combination of having all that shape shifting practices, but being authentic. It’s just that ability to… it now.. I do consider it a real strength and I sort of, you know, I immediately… I’m so open but I think other people are comfortable being open as well. And if they’re not, they don’t like to talk to me and I’m cool with that too.
Hailey: Right? Well, I thought I wouldn’t stop you Casey. Like, your energy is very welcoming, and it draws people in. And yeah, I think that’s a huge gift and a way you can be of service
to the world.
Hailey: You know? There’s 2 sides to everything.
Casey: You know, so there’s a woman at work, I gave me the best compliment I think I’ve ever gotten. And she said, you have the opposite of a resting bitchface. And I was just like, is cool, I’m happy about that. So in terms of I always want to ask people this, but what is the best thing that you’ve experienced since quitting drinking? And what’s the biggest surprise?
Hailey: Such a good question. Let’s see the best thing I’ve experienced. I think… you know, so to share… I have found there are so many different, like, resources in recovery that have been abused to me. For me personally, I’ve found a lot of solace and strength and community in 12 step programs. And the… the change I’ve witnessed that I’m most grateful for is I’ve noticed a shift in my values that I think was a result of the work of some of that 12 step work. But I’ve noticed that over time, I went from being like singularly focused on myself and my career plans and my ego, ego ego into being, you know, we all have ego, right? That still comes up sometimes, often. But my mindset has just shifted in terms of what I’m valuing. And I think that I’m really valuing community and service and authenticity more. And that’s been… I just like myself a lot more now. I’m grateful for that.
Casey: That’s all..That was amazing. And I love hearing, you know what helped people best but like when you said at the end, I just like myself For that, I totally agree. Like, I don’t spend almost, I’m so much kinder to myself. And I also don’t spend a lot of time berating myself, which I used to do all the time. Like, what is wrong with you get it together? Why can’t you cope? I almost never say that to myself. I mean, I don’t say that kind of crap to myself anymore. But it’s because I not only forgive myself more, but I also like myself better.
Hailey. Mm hmm. That’s so huge. I think for me the word that I should have just said this at first, I’m realizing as I’m thinking about what you’re saying, the word is integrity. Yeah, that’s what that’s the change. Like before it was like I said, I was a good liar. It was easy for me to over exaggerate, to not tell the truth, to lie about my drinking to say one thing and then get blackout and do another and now I feel like I have a really strong sense of that compass of what’s an integrity or not. So that’s.. Yeah… totally.
Casey: I can’t imagine you lying. You’re just such a warm, genuine.
Hailey: Oh my god,
Casey: and that sometimes, you know, there’s some people I’m like, Oh yeah, I could see you drinking like people who I love and there are other people. I’m like, I can’t see it. I’m
Hailey: Like a Jekyll and Hyde situation.
Casey: So I know we’re coming to the end. And I want to make sure that people know how to get in touch with you. And if they’re interested in working with you can find out more. I know, I personally have referred a number of clients with you, if they’re interested in quitting druggie, but that’s not sort of the primary, you know, if they really have a difficult relationship or something that they want to work on in terms of boundaries or codependency or, you know, an environment at home that isn’t meeting their needs. I’m always like, you got to talk to Haley. She’s amazing. So tell.. People can hear you.
Hailey: Thanks, Casey. Yeah, I think um, if any of this sounds interesting to you say hi. The best way to do that it’s on my website. So it’s haileymagee.com. And I know Casey, I’m sure you’ll have links or something.
Casey: I will have that. And I will also want to have links to the author you mentioned earlier.
Hailey: Oh, Harriet Lerner, I’ll send you a link later.
Casey: All right, perfect.
Hailey: Yeah, she’s the best. But yeah, on my website, I have an extensive blog where you can just read about these topics. And then you can learn more about my coaching and also sign up for a complimentary 30 minute consultation to chat with me and learn more. So yeah, it would be awesome to just say hi, and get to know y’all better.
Casey: Yeah, that’s awesome. And I have to give a shout out for your Instagram. Because you post the most amazing insights and amazing quotes. I have to tell you, I, like, take screenshots of them because I’m like, yeah, this is good. So that’s all for me now.
Hailey: Yeah, and then Instagram. It’s @haileypaigemagee.
Casey: Okay, and I’ll have a link on the show notes as well. So, thank you so much for having this conversation with me. I love talking to you. And I think that a lot of women listening to this will relate to what you’re talking about and take a lot of your tips away.
Hailey: Thank you so much for having me, Casey, and congratulations on this podcast. And it was great.
Casey: Yeah, thank you.
Hailey: Thank you.
So thank you for coming on here. I couldn’t appreciate it more.
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 Sober Girl’s Guide to Quitting Drinking, 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 SOBER GIRL’S GUIDE TO QUITTING DRINKING right here.
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