When you’re in early sobriety, self-care is a lifeline, not a luxury.
If you’re like most women who drink to reward themselves at the end of the day you’re probably running through life overwhelmed, overworked and overtired.
And if you continue to feel that way you’re going to do what you’ve always done: drink to check out and tolerate your life and your schedule.
One of the first things my sober coach, Belle Robertson from Tired Of Thinking About Drinking, told me to do in early sobriety was to lower the bar. She told me to do just enough to not get fired. She taught me to ask for help and take things off my list.
And as an overachieving, multitasking, “Straight A” kind of girl with a big job and two kids, that felt impossible. And I’m betting it might seem impossible for you too.
BuT Self-care is critical for setting you up for success in early sobriety especially if your life looks anything like this…
- You satisfy the needs of your boss, your coworkers, your partner and your kids – but not yourself.
- You strive to meet every need, fulfill every request and meet every obligation.
- You come home from work and try to make homemade lunches, help with homework, do the dishes, finish the laundry and reply to work emails once the kids have gone to bed.
- You take your personal days to volunteer at your kids school rather than recharge.
- You take care of the house, the groceries, the laundry, doctor appointments and sports schedules in between business trips and conference calls.
- You do everything for other people and put yourself last.
It’s no wonder you feel anxious, tired and stressed out!
And when you feel that way it’s easy to go to your most familiar coping mechanism, alcohol, and wake up even more tired and anxious the next morning.
You’ve been drinking to put up with the way you’ve set up your life and that needs to stop NOW.
Self-care and lowering the bar is critical if you want to get out of the unhealthy cycle of drinking, and wanting to quit drinking, being determined to stop drinking and then deciding that it’s all too hard and drinking again.
Self-care in early sobriety is a practice that will set you up for success.
In order to heal, you need to take the time to nourish your soul, refuel your energy, and meet your own needs, just as you do for others.
Early sobriety fatigue is real and when your body is recovering from alcohol it’s normal to feel incredibly tired. So when you’re tired, REST.
So what does self-care in early sobriety look like?
Here are some new habits to incorporate in your day…
- Recognize your limits
- Decompress throughout the day
- Take time to breathe
- Get fresh air and some movement
- Reach out to talk and connect with others
- Get enough sleep and drink a lot of water
- Feed yourself when you’re hungry and step away when you’re overwhelmed
- Create a nurturing environment somewhere in your home
Self-care isn’t a one-time event, it’s a daily practice.
And by slowing down, and taking care of yourself, you’re giving yourself the best chance to break free from the drinking cycle and embrace the vibrant, fulfilling life you deserve.
In this episode, I share:
What it means to take really good care of yourself in early sobriety
- The new morning ritual I want you to start right away
- 8 self-care practices recommended by Psychology Today
- How to slow down so that you can spring forward
- Glennon Doyle’s advice for what to do on your first sober morning
- 12 questions to ask yourself to make your life easier when you’re quitting drinking
Resources mentioned in the episode:
3 Ways I Can Support You In Drinking Less + Living More
Join The Sobriety Starter Kit, the only sober coaching course designed specifically for busy women.
My proven, step-by-step sober coaching program will teach you exactly how to stop drinking — and how to make it the best decision of your life.
Save your seat in my FREE MASTERCLASS, 5 Secrets To Successfully Take a Break From Drinking
Grab the Free 30-Day Guide To Quitting Drinking, 30 Tips For Your First Month Alcohol-Free.
Connect with Casey
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Want to read the full transcript of this podcast episode? Scroll down on this page.
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 30-Day 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 30-Day Guide To Quitting Drinking right here.
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READ THE TRANSCRIPT OF THIS PODCAST INTERVIEW
How To Practice Self-Care In Early Sobriety
How To Set Yourself Up For Success In Early Sobriety, Self-Care, feel, drinking, care, day, life, work, bed, kids, podcast, find, good, walk, put, Glennon, book, alcohol, overwhelmed, tired, part, quit, overwhelm, overwork, overtired, drink, to check out, tolerate your life, schedule, strive, tired, quit drinking, lower your bar, take care of yourself give your permission, take a break, remove as many sources of stress, overwhelm of aggravation and resentment, triggers, take alcohol out of your system, recovering, rest when you’re tired, guilt, say “no” to a lot of things, nonalcoholic, navigating your entire life without alcohol, without a hangover, sober treats, figure out what you need, intention, choose one small thing to take care of yourself, prioritizing your needs, habit, Self-Care In Early Sobriety
SPEAKERS: Casey McGuire Davidson
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. In this episode, I’m going to talk about
Today, we’re going to talk about
How to set yourself up for success in early sobriety.
And it’s all about self-care.
If you’ve been going through life, pushing yourself in every way over scheduling, putting your head down and trying to go through your endless to do list. Feeling like there’s never enough time in the day. Overwhelmed, overworked, overtired. You’re going to do what you always have done, which is drink, to check out and to tolerate your life and your schedule.
Self-Care probably feels like something you don’t have time for. If your life looks something like this, you satisfy the needs of your boss, your coworker, your partner, and your kids, but not yourself. Use strive to meet every need, fulfill every request, and meet every obligation. You come home from work and try to make homemade lunches, help with homework, do the dishes, finished the laundry, and reply to work emails, once the kids have gone to bed, you take your personal days to volunteer at your kids schools, rather than to recharge, you take care of the house and the groceries, the laundry that doctor appointments and sports scheduled in between your business trips, and conference calls. You do everything for other people, and you put yourself last. And then you drink way too much every night to check out and to stop feeling so anxious, tired, stressed, and behind. But then you do it all again the next morning. Something has to give; you can’t keep living this way. And right now, what’s giving you? What’s giving your health and your happiness and your sanity?
You’ve been drinking to put up with the way you’ve set up your life. And that needs to stop now. Because self-care, and taking care of your own needs, it’s absolutely critical.
If you want to get out of the drip feed cycle, if you want to stop drinking, wanting to quit drinking, being determined to stop and then drinking again. It’s exhausting to live that way. And in order to stop. In order to take care of yourself, you have to give yourself permission to take a break. You won’t be able to quit drinking, if you don’t change the way you’ve been operating. When you were drinking to get through the day.
In early sobriety, you need to lower your bar and then you need to lower it again. You need to stop going so hard or you won’t get to the good part. And here’s why. When you finally decide that you’re ready to get out of the exhausting cycle of drinking, trying to quit drinking again. You want to make sure that this time, you’re successful and to be successful, you need to get through day 3 and day 4 through your first weekend in Munster years without a Trunk. You need to remove as many sources of stress and overwhelm of aggravation and resentment, you need to get rid of as many triggers as possible. You need to stop trying to take care of everything and everyone else, and you need to start taking really good care of yourself.
Once you take the alcohol out of your system, your body will quite literally be recovering from having it in your system, you’re going to be really tired, really, really tired, and extreme self-care is required. So, here’s what I want you to do. I want you to pretend you have the flu, stay on your couch as much as possible. rest, sleep, watch bad TV or good TV, go for a slow walk to get some fresh air. And don’t do much more. Your homework right now is to take a look at your current to do list and take some stuff off of it. Like a lot of stuff, or your entire first month, anything beyond what you absolutely need to do. To not lose your job and keep your family alive, you should take off the table. Don’t volunteer for the field trip or the Work Project, the organization of the baby shower or this surprise birthday party. Don’t decide that this is the day or the week or the month that organize your finances for the first time in ages. Find someone else to do the carpool duty or the big presentation. Bake Off the weekend family reunion or 40th birthday party or company picnic. I know you don’t think you can. You feel like you have to go. You think it’s important. You feel obligated and like it’ll look bad if you don’t show up. And that’s where the guilt comes in. Because for the first time in forever, you are going to actually take care of yourself. You’re going to rest when you’re tired. You’re not going to drink to just push through the overwhelm or the stress or the social anxiety or being exhausted or being at something you don’t actually want to be at. So, you’re going to say no to a lot of things. And then you’re going to feel like you’re not doing anything.
You aren’t going to feel guilty. I know when I started to do this and not just for an afternoon because I was hungover. But for a full week, two weeks, a month, I lowered the bar. And I felt like I was being way too easy on myself to self-indulgent, like I wasn’t doing my part or carrying my fair share. I felt guilty, going to bed early, sitting down reading a book, watching TV, drinking a cup of tea. But here’s the thing that you need to understand. You’re not actually just reading a book or making tea, or watching TV and going to bed. You’re not. Here’s what you’re really doing.
- You are navigating your entire life without alcohol.
- You are getting up and getting dressed without a hangover.
- You’re working and dealing with your boss and your coworkers without thinking about if you have enough wine at home at the end of the day.
- You’re sidestepping offers for Office Happy Hours or looking away from a friend’s post about the date night with the big glass of wine on the bar.
- You’re dealing with all the emotions that are coming up that you would push down so far, and for so long, when you were drinking.
- You’re dealing with kids and carpools, homework and bed times, late night emails, and married without alcohol.
- You’re figuring out if you want to go to a football party, and if you do, what nonalcoholic drinks you’re going to bring for yourself. And if you’re going to drive your own car, and what sober treat to get for yourself at the end of the night.
You are doing big stuff. This is really important work. You are quitting drinking. And if you do it right, you only have to do it once.
So, now is not the time to start a huge diet. It’s not the time to dump all of your wardrobe on the bed and Marie Kondo. It’s not the time to start a new endeavor, no new projects, no new responsibilities. Go ahead and lower the bar, and then lower it again. Because if you go too hard, if you try to do too much, if you keep going at the pace when you were going when you were drinking, to dull your senses, enough to make it all okay, and fade away, you won’t get to the good part.
I promise you that after this part is over, you will have more energy, motivation, and drive than you’ve felt in years, you will sleep well, you’ll wake up with energy and feel good. And you can do anything you want to do then.
But for today…
You don’t have to cook dinner for your kids, they can eat cereal.
You can lay under a blanket and watch bad TV, while the kids watch TV too.
You can put them to bed and crawl into bed without doing the dishes.
You can cancel swim lessons, or just decide that your kids not going to soccer.
Your goal is total and complete self-care with bonus points for slots for sleep, books, relax, walk, repeat.
If you’re at work, try to do the least amount, pretend you have the stomach flu. If you were throwing up, you wouldn’t go into work. Or you would work from home, or you leave early.
You’re quitting drinking, take care of yourself first. And then, you’ll be able to take care of everyone else.
I know it feels counterintuitive. But you do really need to slow down. In order to spring forward, just get through the first days without drinking. Get through Day 2 and Day 4, Day 6 and Day 8. Getting through each day is like putting a brick in a barrier while you’re building between yourself and drinking, just by getting through the entire day. And the entire night without drinking, you get to put a new brick into that wall. And as the wall gets higher, as more bricks get added to the wall as it goes from 2 bricks to 4, to 12, to 19, the stronger you will be it may feel like you’re doing absolutely nothing accomplishing nothing.
Just resting and napping and going for walks and doing the work you have to do and driving the places you absolutely have to drive. But that’s not true. Every single day, you’re adding a new brick. And that is hard work. And it’s important work. So, I’ve told you that self-care is important. But you might be sitting there like I don’t even know what to do. I don’t even know what that is I get plenty of pedicures, I buy myself whatever I want anyway, or I have zero time for self-care. Literally, it cannot happen. So, how can you figure out what you need?
When I quit drinking, I had to implement a new practice. Every morning, after I rolled over in bed, I laid there for a minute. And I asked myself, How can I take care of myself today? Here’s why this simple question works really well as a new morning ritual. It covers a lot of ground asking yourself, How can I take care of myself today? It immediately kicks your mind into self-care as a primary goal. It makes you do a quick physical body scan. How do you feel? Are you tired, stiff, anxious, restless. It also makes you do a quick scan of your schedule. What you have planned the day ahead with the purpose of finding some window of time for self-care. And it also makes you do an emotional scan. So, you’re asking yourself, how can I take care of myself today? Am I overwhelmed? Am I lonely? am I sad? Am I excited? I’m got too much work to do. I only have 20 minutes at this window. However, you feel right.
So, you figure out what you need. And then you figure out and put the intention out there that you can choose one small thing to take care of yourself. You are prioritizing your needs. And it’s really sad that finding 20 minutes to do something to take care of yourself and figuring out what you need is important. It is Psychology Today. It does a really good job of describing in practical terms, what self-care means, so I wanted to share with you. This is what they said…
Self-care means finding a way to decompress throughout the day, not just when you leave work. What is it you do to rest your mind during and after the work day? What helps you tune out the noise.
Self-care means knowing who you are and your limits.
Self-care means recognizing when you were doing more than you’re used to handling and trying to figure out what can be done to slow down.
Self-care means making sure you’re well fed. Do you eat well, does what you eat gives you energy that you need to function. Do you take time to eat meals at work or do take time to have snacks when your body requires food during the work day.
Self-care means taking the time to get to know yourself better. It means learning to recognize your own temperament and trying to prepare for your personal limits.
Self-care means identifying what you enjoy doing what’s fun for you and make a serious effort to integrate it into your day, or at the very least into your week.
Make it a habit to plan something to look forward to every day. And it doesn’t have to be complicated.
Self-care means knowing how to debrief from a day’s work. That might mean walking home from work to clear your head, driving in silence or listening to music to help transition from work to help.
Self-care means feeding your spiritual self. That might mean meditating, praying, communing with nature by walking in the park, observing a sunset or a sunrise practicing gratitude. Reading or listening to something inspirational.
Self-care means giving some thought to changing a difficult situation. We know best what we need, and what we can deal with. Is there anything that can be done to make your life less stressful? Think about whether changes can be made your work environment where you sit, the work you do? Are you working unsustainable hours? Or is there some end in sight? That can apply to your personal life too, with your schedule of your family and with your partner?
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
Don’t worry, I know that was a lot. So, I’m going to put all these questions and what self-care means, as identified by Psychology Today in the show notes of this episode.
But you’re probably hearing all that and you’re busy. You have a million things on your schedule. But I want you to start thinking even with that schedule, what can I do to take care of myself today, this is a muscle you use every day. This is a new practice. And my favorite part of it is I can do it while still laying in bed. Because if nothing changes, nothing changes. And you want to stop drinking. You don’t want to feel this way anymore.
So, here are some questions to ask yourself to start.
How can I take care of myself today? If you are lonely, thank you. Can I call a friend on my drive to school? Or can I call a friend on my drive to work? Do I need compassion? Do I need a heart to heart? Do I need a laugh?
If I’m feeling overwhelmed, Can I make my life easier? Can I pick up takeout sushi or an easy dinner instead of cooking tonight?
If I’m overwhelmed at work, okay, I’m going to take care of myself by prioritizing some projects or pushing out some deadlines. Not everything can be done at the same time without losing your sanity. Do you need some alone time?
One way you can take care of yourself is to think can my kids go to another house for a few hours this weekend so I can get some self-care or some downtime or be alone? If not, can I reach out to see if my babysitters available in a couple of days. A few hours of babysitting can be cheaper than the one you drink each week, and way better for your body or your mind. or can you ask your partner to cover a few hours so you can take a long walk and listen to a podcast or book on tape? Or sit in a coffee shop alone?
If you feel like you need a boost of human connection, can you stop by the desk of a friendly person at work? And say, Hello? Can you read a book instead of watching TV or working? After getting the kids to bed? Can you go to bed early and listen to a sleep meditation and get up early for a quiet hour alone in the hub? If your body is tired, Can you stretch or can you meditate? If you’re feeling restless? Can you go for a walk or run? If you feel worn down? Can you eat something with protein so you’re not starving during the witching hour?
If you feel like you don’t have anything nice for yourself, can you add flowers to your shopping cart at the grocery store? Essential oils, hand cream, a bubble bath. These are all small acts of self-care. And rather than just buying something for yourself, what you’re doing in the morning is identifying something specific unique that day, you do a scheduled scan, you do a body scan, and you do an emotion scan. And then he picks something.
I hope as you listen to this podcast, you will also think of quitting drinking as the ultimate act of self-care. Because it is you were about to take care of yourself better than you have in a long time. And if everything I said in this podcast, so far, doesn’t make sense, and you still don’t know what to do, on day one, or day 2 or day 6, I wanted to share Glennon Doyle‘s advice on what to do on your first sober morning from her book, Carry On, Warrior. Early in that book, she has a Chapter titled, Day One. And it starts with this reading…
To my friend, on her first sober morning,
To this day, I haven’t found anything that more accurately describes the feelings of early sobriety, how sensitive and irritated and sad and confused you can feel when you stop being numb…
And here’s her advice on how to step into life, once you’ve stopped drinking. Here’s what she wrote. I’ll put it in the show notes as well.
Get out of bed. Don’t just lie there and think thinking is the kiss of death for us. Just move. Take a shower, sing while you’re in there. Make yourself sing. The stupider you feel the better giggle at yourself alone. Joy for its own sake, joy just for you created by you. It’s the best. Find yourself amusing. Put on some makeup, blow dry your hair, wear something nice, something that makes you feel grown up. If you have nothing go buy something. Today is not the day to worry too much about money. Invest in some good coffee, caffeinated and decaf, decaf after 11 o’clock. Read your daughter’s story. Don’t think about other things while you’re reading. Actually, pay attention to the words. Then braid your girl’s hair, clean the sink, keep good books within reach. Start with Traveling Mercies. David Sedaris is good, too.
Glennon goes on…
Get out of the house. If you have nowhere to go, take a walk. Don’t excuse yourself from walks because it’s called bundle up. The sky will remind you of how big God is. And if you’re not down with God, then the oxygen will help. Same thing. Call one friend a day. Don’t start the conversation by telling her how you are asked how she is really listen to her response and offer her love. You will discover that you can help a friend just by listening and this discovery will remind you that you are powerful and worthy.
Get a yoga DVD and a pretty map.
She wrote this while there were still DVDs. You can find video streaming on the internet. Practice Yoga after your daughter goes to bed. The evenings are dangerous times. So have a plan. Yoga is good for people like us. It teaches us to breathe, and that solitude is a gift. Learn to keep yourself company. Learn to keep yourself company when you start to feel. Do, for example, when you start to feel scared because you don’t have enough money, find someone to give a little money, too. When you start to feel like you don’t have enough love, find someone to offer love. When he feel unappreciated, unacknowledged, appreciate, and acknowledge someone in your life in some concrete way. When you feel unlucky, order yourself to consider a blessing or two, and then find a tangible way to make today, someone else’s lucky day. This strategy helps me sidestep wallowing every day.
Glennon says, and this part made me laugh.
Don’t worry about whether you like doing these things or not. You’re going to hate everything for a long while. And the fact is, you don’t even know what you like or hate yet. Just do these things, regardless about how you feel about doing these things. Because these little things done over and over again, eventually add up to a life a good one.
So, you can take Glennon’s advice, or you can take my advice or something in between. But either way, I want you to start taking very good care of yourself. I’m sending you hugs, and love. And I’m so proud of you for doing this
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.