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How To Quit Like A Woman with author Holly Whitaker

Holly Whitaker, author of The New York Times best selling book Quit Like A Woman, The Radical Choice To Not Drink In A Culture Obsessed with Alcohol, was an integral part of my decision to stop drinking and support in early sobriety and I’m not alone. Her work has helped thousands of women walk away from alcohol. 

In the days before I stopped drinking, and in my first months alcohol-free, I would take long walks on breaks from work to listen to Holly and Laura McKowen’s HOME podcast.

Finding the HOME Podcast made me feel understood and so much less alone. Here were two smart and successful women, talking honestly and vulnerably about their drinking, what led them to quit drinking, sobriety, relationships, motherhood and how to navigate our drinking culture alcohol-free. 

When I was 60 days sober, I signed up for Holly Whitaker’s Hip Sobriety School, an eight week sober coaching group program with tools, resources and lessons from Holly on “how to quit drinking when you think you can’t”. 

And when Holly’s book, Quit Like A Woman, was released a few years later I read it and how the book made her story, tools, research and holistic approach to sobriety available to a wider audience.

Quit Like A Woman has been described as a groundbreaking look at drinking culture and a road map to cutting out alcohol in order to live our best lives without the crutch of intoxication that will change the way you look at drinking forever. 

Holly writes,

“To properly heal from addiction, we need a holistic approach. We need to create a life we don’t need to escape. We need to address the root causes that made us turn outside ourselves in the first place. This means getting our physical health back, finding a good therapist, ending or leaving abusive relationships, learning to reinhabit our bodies, changing our negative thought patterns, building support networks, finding meaning and connecting to something greater than ourselves, and so on. To break the cycle of addiction, we need to learn to deal with cravings, break old habits, and create new ones.”

I found Holly’s approach helped me understand how to let go of my nightly bottle of wine habit and find new ways of coping and celebrating through a lens of empowerment and self care, without adopting a label or spending the rest of my life struggling “one day at a time”. 

At the time of the book’s release Holly’s perspective was desperately needed for thousands of women who were struggling with their relationship with alcohol. 

However Holly’s work, approach and the views she shared starting in 2014 with a piece titled 9 Reasons I’m Not An Alcoholic*. (*No one is.), in her book, a New York Times opinion piece titled “The Patriarchy of Alcoholics Anonymous”, and in an article in TIME magazine titled Why I Stopped Calling Myself An Alcoholic were also controversial and criticized by members of AA who found their path to sobriety through the program. 

In the New York Times Holly wrote, “Participation in A.A. is not the only effective way to stop drinking, but we’ve been trained to believe that refuting or even questioning it means you’re in denial. The truth is, A.A. may be the foundation of global recovery, but it wasn’t made with everyone in mind. It’s a framework created in the 1930s by upper-middle-class white Protestant men to help people like them overcome addiction. Its founders believed the root of alcoholism was a mammoth ego resulting from an entitled sense of unquestioned authority…The values baked into its founding continue to shape the way the organization works, and it still has too many echoes for my liking of the ways women are expected to blame themselves, follow instructions and fall into line in a patriarchal society.

Holly rejects the term “alcoholic” as a stigmatizing label that places the blame for addiction on the individual consuming the addictive substance, rather than on the drug of alcohol itself. 

In Quit Like A Woman, author Holly Whitaker rejects the idea of being an alcoholic and likens the use of the term to victim blaming. The substance of alcohol itself is addictive and instead the term alcoholic places the blame on the person who has become addicted to an addictive substance
In Quit Like A Woman, author Holly Whitaker rejects the idea of being an alcoholic and the term alcoholism. The substance of alcohol itself is addictive and the label alcoholic places the blame on the person who has become addicted to an addictive substance.

Holly also argues that the 12-step program does women a disservice in its approach. In her New York Times opinion piece Holly writes, 

“I know a lot of women in recovery, in my real life and social media social circles, and through the recovery program I run. They aren’t drinking themselves numb because they are awash in oh-so-much power, or because of some pathological inability to follow rules or humble themselves, or because their outsize egos are running the show, as A.A.’s messaging would suggest. Quite the opposite: They’re drinking because they have so little power, because all they’ve ever done is follow the rules and humble themselves, because their egos have been crushed under a system that reduces their value to subservience, likability and silence.”

I love Quit Like A Woman for the very reasons it’s controversial because it speaks to me in a positive and empowering way that the program of Alcoholics Anonymous did not.  

I attended AA for four months in early sobriety back in 2013, the first time I attempted to stop drinking for an extended period of time, and I met kind, lovely and amazing women who were welcoming and generous in offering me their wisdom, experience and support in stopping drinking. It was good to know I was not alone in struggling to moderate my alcohol intake but I found the Big Book, program and traditions practiced in the meetings felt patriarchal, condescending and full of religious teachings and undertones that didn’t resonate with my beliefs. 

It’s common to hear that AA is a spiritual program instead of a religious one. 

I’ve been told that my “higher power” does not need to be God, but rather it can be anything (including the universe or your dog). But when my sponsor told me to get on my knees and pray daily to have god lift my obsession with alcohol I was out. 

I believe that alcohol is an addictive substance, in the same way that nicotine and cocaine are addictive, and that anyone with enough exposure to the substance will inevitably go down the path of becoming habitually, emotionally or physically addicted to alcohol. 

As Holly writes, 

“What I am saying is, alcohol is addictive to everyone. Yet we’ve created a separate disease called alcoholism and forced it upon the minority of the population who are willing to admit they can’t control their drinking, and because of that, we’ve focused on what’s wrong with those few humans rather than on what’s wrong with our alcohol-centric culture or the substance itself.”

― Holly Whitaker, Quit Like a Woman: The Radical Choice to Not Drink in a Culture Obsessed with Alcohol

In contrast The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous teaches that the path to addiction recovery is through taking a moral inventory of ourselves and asking God to remove our shortcomings and defects of character. 

The following are the original twelve steps as published by Alcoholics Anonymous:[11]

  1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.
  2. Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
  6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
  7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
  8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
  9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  10. Continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.
  11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
  12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

Steps 6 and 7 instruct you to humbly ask God to remove our shortcomings and defects of character.  

The program of Alcoholics Anonymous and the 12 Steps have worked in helping millions of people stop drinking, including many of my very best friends in recovery. But as a woman who has never been religious and rejects the term “alcoholic” as a label to carry throughout my life, it was not for me. 

In Quit Like A Woman Holly Whitaker describes the many addictive properties of alcohol and the ways in our culture we are encouraged to consume it regularly.

It helped me understand why I felt alcohol “worked for me” in helping me relax and also why I woke up at 3am with crushing anxiety in a way I had not previously understood. 

“Because alcohol is primarily a depressant, we reach for it to take the edge off. Which it does, initially. However, the counteractive process (or the B process) to the depressant nature of alcohol is a release of cortisol and adrenaline into the body. If you drink one glass of wine, you might have about twenty minutes of the desired “relaxed” effect before the drug (A process) wears off, and you’re left with increased amounts of cortisol and adrenaline, which fuel anxiety. This means alcohol causes anxiety; it doesn’t manage it.”

Holly Whitaker, Quit Like a Woman: The Radical Choice to Not Drink in a Culture Obsessed with Alcohol

I was honored to have Holly come on The Hello Someday Podcast to talk about her book, Quit Like A Woman, The Radical Choice To Not Drink In A Culture Obsessed with Alcohol, the early days of Hip Sobriety School and how much the recovery movement has shifted in the last 10 years. 

Tune in to hear Casey and Holly discuss:

✅ The role alcohol plays in our society and specifically in the lives of women

✅ Why Holly created a sober community with resources for anyone questioning their relationship with drinking and The Hip Sobriety Program I joined in 2016

✅ The ways that alcohol companies target women and why alcohol is starting to have its “cigarette moment”

✅ Why we need to “practice sobriety” and why those of us over here in “Soberland” need to embrace that the process of quitting drinking is one of trial and error

✅ Why the phrase “never question the decision” (NQTD) is a useful mantra to stay the course when you’re tempted to drink

✅ How the rise of sober curiosity and women speaking out about their decision to stop drinking has broadened the discussion around addiction and recovery

✅ Why it’s important to know the things you can’t fuck with (and Holly and I can’t fuck with alcohol anymore)

Chrissy Tiegen’s instagram post at 4 weeks sober crediting Quit Like A Woman as one of the driving forces behind her decision to be alcohol-free

✅ Holly’s advice on how to get started if you are questioning your relationship with alcohol

 

3 Ways I Can Support You In Drinking Less + Living More

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Connect with Holly Whitaker

Holly Whitaker is the author of the New York Times bestselling book, Quit Like a Woman: The Radical Choice to Not Drink in a Culture Obsessed with Alcohol. Her work has been featured in Vogue, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Fortune, and many others. 

Holly’s work focuses on understanding the intersections of systems, culture, and individual experience and identity through the lens of addiction and recovery. She lives in upstate New York.

Learn more about Holly and how she can support you on your sobriety journey, head over to Hollywhitaker.com

Subscribe to Holly Whitaker | Substack

Follow Holly on Instagram @hollywhitaker

Listen to my interviews with the other authors mentioned in this episode

Jean Kilbourne on The Advertising of Alcohol To Women

Laura McKowen on Saying Yes To A Bigger Life 

Annie Grace on The Alcohol Experiment – Control Alcohol and Find Freedom

Catherine Gray on The Unexpected Joy Of Being Sober

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.

The best books for women quitting drinking and going alcohol-free from my bookshelf. Featuring Quit Like A Woman by Holly Whitaker.
Quit Like A Woman by Holly Whitaker on The Damage Alcohol Does To Our Bodies
Holly Whitaker in Quit Like A Woman on why we need to embrace practicing sobriety vs complete abstinence as the measure of progress and success. Quitting drinking is a process of trial and error and training - much like training for a marathon. You start with the Couch to 5K.
Quit Like A Woman by Holly Whitaker  - Why the inherent judgement in term relapse is harmful because quitting drinking is a process of trial and error. Most people need to practice sobriety
Quit Like A Woman by Holly Whitaker. Why the mantra to Never Question The Decision - NQTD - Is helpful in maintaining sobriety

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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. 

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READ THE TRANSCRIPT OF THIS PODCAST INTERVIEW

A Conversation About Quit Like A Woman with Holly Whitaker

SUMMARY KEYWORDS

alcohol, drink, people, life, sober, felt, book, sobriety, talking, recovery, create, big, existed, helped, podcast, women, happening, remove, years, work, quit

SPEAKERS: Casey McGuire Davidson + Holly Whitaker

00:02

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.

Hey there. I wanted to record a very special episode today. Because we’re hitting some big numbers.

[00:00:08] this is the four year anniversary of the first time. The hello someday podcast. Was launched to the world

[00:00:15] in those four years. I have released 214 episodes. And the show just hit 1.5 million downloads. So whether this is the first episode you’re listening to, or whether you’ve started from the very beginning with me. Thank you for being here. Thank you for taking this journey with me. Now for this anniversary episode, I am bringing you my number one guest interview in all of the episodes I’ve recorded net and released over the last four years.

[00:00:54] And that one was my interview with Holly Whitaker. Who wrote the book quit like a [00:01:00] woman. And Holly has a very special place in my personal sobriety journey. Because When I was 60 days, alcohol free, I joined her third class of hip sobriety school. And that eight week program was a big part of my sober journey, learning from her, getting to know the other people within the program. And it set me up for longterm success.

[00:01:26] So when we dive into this interview, you’re going to hear from Holly, we’re going to chat about the role alcohol plays in our society, and specifically in the lives of women.

[00:01:37] We talk about why we need to practice sobriety. And one of my favorite parts of her book is where she talks about the fact that those of us over here in quote unquote, sober land. Need to embrace that the process of quitting drinking. Is one of trial and error. We [00:02:00] talk about why the phrase never questioned the decision. Or N Q T D is a really useful mantra to stay the course when you’re attempted to drink. And on my seven years sober versary I actually got it tattooed on my wrist. It’s my first and only tattoo I’ve ever gotten, but it is something I want to have with me to always remember. Holly and I talk about how the rise of sober curiosity and women speaking out about their decision to stop drinking has broadened the discussion around addiction and recovery. And we talk about why it’s important to know the things that you can’t fuck with. Holly is incredible and inspiring and in this episode, you’re going to hear her advice on how to get started if you are questioning your relationship with alcohol.

[00:02:54] But as I was looking back at four years of the podcast at 1.5 million [00:03:00] downloads, which is a number that just truly blows my mind, I looked at what my top 10, all time episodes are. And I wanted to share them with you.

[00:03:10] So if you go to hello, someday coaching.com forward slash top 10 you will see a list with my top 10. Most popular episodes of all time, the ones that have been downloaded the most since the show launched. And I want to tell you what they are in case you want to dive into any of them.

[00:03:34] So let’s start at number 10. The 10th, most popular episode over the last four years

[00:03:41] Was an episode with Laura McKowen. Who wrote the books we are the luckiest and push off from here. We did episode 151. On how to get through sobriety.

[00:03:52] Number Nine. was an episode I recorded with Becky Volmer about her book. You are [00:04:00] not stuck. That was episode 145

[00:04:04] The eighth, most popular episode of the hello someday podcast was episode 1 0 5 with my very good friend. Libby Nelson. It was about midlife evolution and embracing who you are with the work of Brene Brown.

[00:04:23] Number seven was an episode on what you can expect in your first 90 days of sobriety. With Courtney Anderson of sober vibes.

[00:04:34] The sixth, most popular episode of the podcast was actually the second one I ever recorded. It was on five mistakes women make when quitting drinking. And if you are in the cycle of drinking and stopping, drinking, and drinking again, Definitely listened to that episode. Episode two.

[00:04:58] The fifth, most [00:05:00] popular episode of my podcast to date was actually a two part episode I did with my husband all about our marriage. What it was like when I was drinking, when I was not drinking.

[00:05:13] And what our family and parenting was like before and after my sobriety, we met at age 22 and I stopped drinking when we were 40. So we had a lot of years where drinking was a big part of our relationship. Our vacations are date nights. And everything else.

[00:05:34] Number four was episode 159. It was how to quit alcohol with Danni Carr.

[00:05:41] Episode three was another one about my early journey. It was episode 97 with my diary of my first 30 days sober. So if you want to hear about how I navigated my cravings and my triggers and my fears about [00:06:00] not drinking and my debates back and forth in my mind, you can go to that one it’s episode 97. All right.

[00:06:06] Number two, this is my top guest episode ever recorded. It is quit like a woman by Holly Whitaker. And that’s the one you’re going to hear right now. And Holly had a very special place in my own sobriety journey. And the number one episodes of all the 1.5 million downloads of the show was episode three on seven strategies to get through your first week without alcohol.

[00:06:35] So if you have not listened to that episode and you’re working on getting sober momentum, you’re stuck at the beginning, definitely check out episode three. It is my most popular out of all 214 episodes. I’ve recorded.

[00:06:51] And I don’t expect you to remember all of these so go to hello someday. [00:07:00] coaching.com forward slash top 10,

[00:07:03] and you can get a list and listen to the top 10 episodes of all time of the hello someday podcast.

[00:07:12] So thank you for being part of this. It has been a passion project.

[00:07:17] It has been a journey that I have loved. It has been a ton of work and a ton of hours and so incredibly rewarding.

[00:07:27] And if you want to celebrate with me, if you enjoy this show, I wanted to ask you to do me a favor, and that would be to share this episode.

[00:07:39] Stop right now on wherever you’re listening, hit that share button.

[00:07:44] Share this episode with someone. Share it with a friend who’s on a sober, curious journey. Share it in a sober group that you might be in. Share it with your mother or your sister or your best friends so they can [00:08:00] understand what you’re learning about alcohol and why you’re questioning whether it’s serving you in your life right now.

[00:08:08] So take one second and please share this out. I would be so grateful.

[00:08:13] And lastly, coffee is my love language. Seriously. I live in Seattle.

[00:08:18] I have a coffee habit that I am unwilling to kick. And if you want to buy me a coffee to help me get through producing the next 200 episodes. You can go to buy me a coffee.com forward slash hello someday. And with that, let’s jump into this episode. I know you’re going to love it.

It’s quit like a woman with Holly Whitaker.

Hi there.

My guest today is Holly Whitaker, who you probably know she’s the author of The New York Times bestselling book, Quit Like A Woman, The Radical Choice To Not Drink In A Culture Obsessed With Alcohol.

Her work has been featured in Vogue, The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal fortune, and many others. Holly’s work focuses on understanding the intersections of systems culture, and individual experience and identity through the lens of addiction and recovery. She lives in upstate New York but is joining us from LA today. And I’m so excited to have Holly on not only because her book, Quit Like A Woman, has helped so many women get out of the drinking cycle. And think about the role alcohol plays in our society and in the lives of women in particular in a new way. But because Holly was a big part of my own sober journey.

 

I joined her Hip Sobriety School way back in April 2016 When I was only 60 days alcohol free, and it was a big part of giving me the tools and community and steps and resolve to keep on going.

 

So, Holly, welcome.

 

02:37

Thank you. Thank you so much for having me, like ages ago. That Hip Sobriety was the thing ages ago.

 

02:44

It’s like six and a half years ago. And I think it’s just crazy, right? I think I was one of like maybe your first four classes that you did.

 

02:56

Which one did you go through?

 

Casey McGuire Davidson  02:57

I did April 2016.

 

03:00

So that was the third? Oh my God I had I ran it once in May 2015. With like, 10 people. I did it again in January. And then you were like, the really like the first really big one is? Yeah.

 

Casey McGuire Davidson  03:13

Yeah, I remember that. And I also know like one of the things that was like, Okay, I’m definitely going to do this was I was really worried because I was going to Italy in June of that year. So, when I was like four months sober with my mother and my sister, and like, which total trigger and I was a red wine girl. And you talked about Italy alcohol free, so I was like that’s it? I need this so I don’t break down.

 

03:43

Yeah, in that front. I mean, like I had never it’s so funny because I had always dreamed about going to Italy and drinking Have you ever been before?

 

Casey McGuire Davidson  03:50

Oh yeah, I had been many times and drink a lot of crafts.

 

03:55

Yeah, I think it’s really funny because I absolutely had never been to Italy, I’d always dreamed of Italy and like going to Italy and drinking my way through it. And then the first chance I get to go to Italy, I end up not being able to drink and I’ve now been to Italy probably like I don’t many times and I’ve never had a drop of alcohol there. Which is, because of that and in a way, I don’t even think about I don’t associate Italy with wine. It’s like this weird thing that I forget exists and is you know, a staple of the culture. Yeah, so…

 

Casey McGuire Davidson  04:28

You know, that was definitely inspiring to me because I was like, I need to learn from Holly how the heck to do this. So, you know I started with you I guess I was your third class and yeah helped me so much. And I think that the hip sobriety framework was evolved in attitude and what became Tempest and what became your book. Can you tell us a little bit about like, what started this process for you?

 

04:55

Like, I’m aiming what started my own journey of getting sober or my reason for sharing it with others, your reason for sharing it. It was honestly just this desire. Now, it wasn’t just this desire, it was this.

 

It was a rage, right?

 

It was. It was like, it was anger. I think there was a couple of things that were going on. It’s interesting because I don’t do that anymore. I don’t, like, it might be. The core of my work is not to change the conversation about recovery and sobriety. I think for anybody that’s listening, that’s just coming into this space. Or maybe it’s only been around for a few years, it’s really, really hard to put words to how much has changed in the past decade, when it comes to how we talk about alcohol and how we talk about addiction and how we talk about recovery. But when I was getting sober, which always makes me feel like I’m overstating, you know how, like how old I am, or different was, but very truthfully, in 2012, when I first stopped drinking, there was like a book or two on the internet that talked about alcohol.

 

There was really one or two blogs that existed. Mrs. D Goes Alcohol-Free was one. Genevieve was another. There were like, basically two women I found on the internet that we’re writing about. And then, we’re writing anonymously. Genovese is Jennifer, there was no real conversation about the upsides of removing alcohol, there was no mention of big alcohol, that wasn’t a thing. People that didn’t drink were people that were, you know, couldn’t drink. And they were meant to go away and shut up. And you know, go, and attend their meetings anonymously and not talk about it. And there were all these intersecting. I don’t want to say state of affairs, but like, what was at the time, it was just so limiting, and it was so isolating. And I had a lot of, I guess, like, I had a lot of anger at what existed, right. I had a lot of anger.

 

The fact that no one was talking about it, that no one was excited about it, that people were drinking alcohol the way they were and really, not like, and problematically and believing because they weren’t, you know, some, like, extremely addicted individual, that they didn’t have an issue with it. Like there was just all of this stuff that was happening in the culture that really felt it was wrong. And it also felt like, what I was seeing was something that I could not talk about. And so, I think there was two big motivations. One was really, really, there’s the creating of this, of this, like story that around alcohol, that it is not this necessary staple that we need to consume, and really opening up that dialogue about how, what we were really conditioned and trained to, like a drug that we were conditioned and trained to consume was actually extremely harmful, not just to like a small percentage of people that became severely addicted to it, but the giant, you know, the general population, and really highlighting this idea that alcohol is a drug, and one that you know, a you know, multi trillion dollar industry benefits from, without any liability or culpability for the deaths, and that it’s just like kind of the next big tobacco. So, there was that piece of it.

 

And then there was this other piece of it, which was, I had a very, very beautiful and expansive experience as many people do. Getting sober. It was an upgrade, it was not, you know, like I had resisted quitting drinking, because there was, you know, just this belief that like, now I had to go over with these sad people over here, and we were just going to go to meetings for the rest of our lives, and our lives were over, because it’s, it’s, you know, the idea still is, but was very, very much concrete back then that if you were addicted, then you were somebody that couldn’t anymore, and that your life had to get really small. I mean, in recovery. Right.

 

Right. You like you had that. And so, I think they’re those two things, really wanting individuals to both, like feel excited about and like desire to get into recovery. And then the other which was, you know, like, we have our ideas about alcohol are very backwards and wrong. Those were the things that primarily compelled me to do it. And it was, you know, there again, like, it’s really hard to overstate, there was there really nothing that existed at that time. That was, you know, aside from like, some very nice things. It was really like spreading those messages.

 

Casey McGuire Davidson  09:53

Yeah, I completely remember that because, of course, I quit six and a half years ago, but like most people will. As in, kind of my first rodeo, my first try. So, it was almost 10 years ago, the very first time I tried to stop drinking, and you’re completely right. I mean, I joined the BFB, which was this very hard to find niche online Facebook group that I think when I joined, they were barely transitioning to Facebook. It used to be like, a Yahoo email group, which is crazy too. I mean, I’m feeling very, very old. But there was nothing there. I mean, the only advice, like you said, was like, go to a meeting. And then this small online, super hard to find email group and Facebook group, which I think, you know, just in my own personal experience, didn’t resonate with me and took me back to drinking. I mean, I was also not ready to quit drinking, but it was also that I didn’t want that version of my life. And so, when I sort of decided that I really needed to stop the second time, it was kind of like this small, emerging new world. I mean, I remember on like, 10 days alcohol-free walking out of my office to go to a walk. And I walked to the water listening to your Home podcast with Laura McKowen. And yeah, I mean, you were really one of the first to put together an online program that was different. And you got a ton of blowback for that. I mean, you will really Oh, right.

 

11:35

Yeah. And still, right. Like I just this morning posted about the same thing that we were talking about 10 years ago and are still talking about today. So yeah, a ton of blowback.

 

Casey McGuire Davidson  11:48

Yeah. What I loved about your program was, it was a framework, it was step by step. I mean, each week, you had a new topic, you had a new framework, we had a Q&A online, which now, you are so famous that I’m very happy and lucky that I went through that with you when you were still doing, I mean, my God, you would it was supposed to be an hour, you would, you know, answer questions until they were all done. I mean, I think it was like two hours by the end of it. And super interactive. I mean, it you know, it was a long time ago, but I, it really helped me. So, thank you very much for that.

 

12:29

Yeah, it was such a joy to do. It really was, you know, it was like one of the best periods of my life. And I think one of the most important things I’ve ever done, right? And yeah, thank you.

 

Casey McGuire Davidson  12:40

Oh, you’re so you’re a couple of things that you said, that really resonated with me and like stuck with me to this day. And one of the things you said was, I just don’t fuck with alcohol anymore. And that was so helpful to me because I had like, burned my hand on that hot stove. So how many times you know, like, hoping it would be different hoping that like, now I can fuck with alcohol just like once a week on a date night. And it’s sort of framed it in a new way. I mean, I think you were even like, there’s lots of shit I could fuck with like, because I think we all want to like still be a little rebellious and still like not be an adult who doesn’t do anything that is dangerous or rebellious or like not good for us in the clock. classical sense, but just that idea I was like, Oh yeah, just don’t fuck with that one thing and your life will be better.

 

13:40

Yeah, yeah, and I framed it is know what you can’t fuck with, right? Like, know what you can, and can’t fuck with. And I do think that like, when you’re removing alcohol from your life, like, for me, alcohol was subversive, right? It was it was definitely like a symbol of my… it was just a symbol of my own liberation. As it’s been trained to like, we’ve been conditioned to believe that using alcohol is like, is a symbol of our rebellious nature or like the one way to like you know, really like, demonstrate our independence or like, it also lowers inhibitions so maybe it’s like the thing that we use in order to like, really get down and dirty or whatever it is, but for me it was it was this really important piece of my identity and this really important like substance to me that helped me to, you know, break free of all the all the crap that like had felt like it was completely oppressive and so I think removing it was like removing a bad boyfriend or removing a bad relationship right? It was just like this. Like you said, like, goat. Like, trying to make it work in all these different ways and it never does. Like, like saving it for date night or only having X number of drinks a week or only once a manager only on this occasion or only whatever never works, ever, ever, ever, ever, right and the same way that nothing that like kind of undoes us ever works when we try and just confine it to a special time. And for me it was identifying, these are the things that I can’t do anymore, these are the things I have to stay away from, because they will take me down. And, and I’ll stay there. And then I’ll have to pull myself back out again. And I’m exhausted, I can’t keep doing that.

 

And then also identifying, but these are the things that give me that same edge that I can mess around with, you know, and like I remember in like early sobriety, it was like when I was in Italy, I would go from cafe to cafe to cafe and have a shot of espresso. And I’d have like 10 or 12 espresso shot. I could never do that today. But back then I get super high on caffeine. And that wouldn’t ruin my life, you know, but like, it felt good. And it felt a little dangerous. And it was a little dangerous. But like the end, you understand. So yeah, it’s it is a really important concept of like, just like knowing the things that we really can’t, that really don’t are never going to work for us. Right? Ever, no matter what angle we go at it. Yeah.

 

Casey McGuire Davidson  16:11

Well, and one of the things that you talk about extensively, and I think it’s so great is like, of course, it’s never going to work for you it is this addictive substance that addictive to everyone. And it’s going to bring you down, right? Like, it’s never going to work for you. And anyone with enough exposure to it is going to get to a point where it doesn’t work for them either in the substances working as designed, right? That’s right. That’s right.

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 

 

16:44

So, what was that shift and helping you realize that because it is something that we are conditioned to believe is good for meaning a rite of adulthood, something that is precious, something that should be celebrated? And like if you take it away from your life, Oh, my God, how sad for you? You know?

 

17:06

Yeah. And I think like, it’s interesting, because I also like, think that we really understand that now a lot more than we used to. I there’s, you know, so many different like nonalcoholic beverage companies. There’s this over curious movement, “movement”, there’s the, you know, there’s gray area drinking, there’s mindful drink. There’s all sorts of different things that we have now that allow us to really call into question than the necessity of alcohol. I think for me because there was really no conversation around this at the time. It was, I read, I read Alan Carr’s book. I mean, I’ve talked about this so many times. And it’s mentioned in my book, and I’ve mentioned it for years that this was like a really pivotal moment. For me, I picked up a book a book changed my life. But the idea of like, the Alan Carr presented in his book, which I think is really, really important was that you don’t have to do this anymore. Right? There was such a flip for me in this idea of like, I had, I had not alcohol hadn’t felt good, since I started using it right, like and I think that that’s pretty true for a lot of us that don’t necessarily become addicted to it, but anybody that’s on the spectrum of problematic drinking, anybody that’s had a hangover, anybody that said something stupid, anybody that has, you know, woken up with like that dehydrated mouth, and then awful, like hangover breath, or like, anyone that has, you know, like, ended up with mystery restrict receipts the next day, like there’s so many different things that like are really unpleasant, that involve alcohol. And I think, for me, there was lots of unpleasantness, as well as like, you know, a sexual assault and, and any number of things. Alcohol had really never been this, like, additive factor in my life, maybe for a few minutes, like maybe the first buzz, maybe the, you know, one perfect fun night out that like out of, you know, like, 50 that were awful and never ended up the way that I wanted them to. But like, for the most part, alcohol was not something that made me feel great, right? It’s a depressant, it feels anxiety. It you know, like, does all sorts of awful things to your body. You know, it like erases your memory, it compromises your decision making like there’s all this stuff that it’s that are not great, right like that it does to us and so for me, I had always believed I have to make this thing work. Like yes, these are these things are the consequences of the price that I pay for doing it. I just need to use it a little like more responsibly, and like a little bit more like I’m disciplined and then it will work for me. And so, you know, by the time I quit drinking, I had been drinking for over 20 years. And I think That was the flip for me, which is like, I had always believed fully, I have to make this thing work to have a life to have a good life. And then it was, I don’t have to do this, I can have a good full life. And I don’t have to keep doing this to myself. And that was it. You know, that was for me, like The Matrix moment of realizing it’s, it’s not necessary to drink to have a good life.

 

Casey McGuire Davidson  20:28

Yeah. Well, and I remember like, when I was 22, I mean, I was just so not willing to look at the negative side in comparison to the positive side, like, I never did this after like, my, you know, the age of 25, which I have no idea why. Because my drink he got way worse. But I remember being 22 in my crappy basement apartment and my first job and drinking too much and literally being on the floor of my bathroom for hours throwing up yellow bile. I mean, literally hours, and my mother at the time over the phone would be like, Casey, I think it’s time for you to reevaluate your relationship with alcohol. And it became a joke. Like it became my punch line for literally 15 years as like, That’s hysterical. I will never do that. That’s ridiculous. But I mean, I was shaky and like, truly, truly ill. And one of the things you mentioned, you mentioned, Alan Carr’s book, and what I think is really interesting about your approach. So, in hip sobriety, oh, my God, you were the most voracious reader, and share of that information of anyone I’ve ever met. I mean, every single week, there would be like 12 book recommendations that like no one could possibly ever read. But I was like, Oh, my God, this woman knows what she’s talking about. But like, this is a full time job. If I were to read every book you would recommend, yeah, it was that plus a very, I wouldn’t say touchy feely, but like, the physical, the emotional, the spiritual, like, drink hot lemon water. And like, in our first session, you were like, everybody put your thumbs up and your hands up and you Breath of Fire. Like I was like, I mean, right? It was this combination.

 

22:35

Right, right. Yeah, it was, I mean, I think like, there’s, there’s a lot that goes into our healing, like, there’s a lot that goes into our sickness, right, like we’re not, it’s, it’s not just alcohol, like, alcohol isn’t the thing, right? Like, alcohol happens to be a substance that is, you know, widely misused, and, and problematic and fatal and toxic, and all sorts of stuff. But, um, you know, alcohol has existed for, you know, since it’s fermented sugar, right, like, it’s like, it’s a naturally occurring substance, it’s been used for 1000s and 1000s, of years, you know, the problem really lies within the lives we lead the culture that we live in, and, and all numb, you know, like, when we really are talking about what makes people sick, it’s, you know, it’s not that you’re born with an alcoholic gene, right. Like, it’s that you are, you know, born with your predisposed, you know, set with your, with your, your gene blueprint, and then you go out into the world and, you know, certain things get turned on and traumas form, and, you know, all sorts of coping mechanisms are made. And there’s, you know, like, essentially, we’re just each of these, like, walking, living, breathing stories, you know, in these collections, of, of dying, you know, like, dynamic collections of like, of pain and, and, and joy and each of us are extremely individual and, and the reason that we might end up using alcohol in a way that doesn’t feel great, or becomes addictive and qualifies, you know, on the spectrum of alcohol use disorder, you know, a very, it’s no, no two people have the same story. And I think when you’re really looking at, okay, so if we drink because of, you know, 1000s of different reasons, you know, our, our recovery from that and removal, the substance, right, because you don’t just like pull, you don’t just like remove the alcohol and then you’re fine. You know, like oftentimes alcohol not often always, it’s intelligent, like we’re intelligent for using these things. So, you remove the thing, but then you’re left with Well, this was a helpful coping mechanism and a tool that I used, you know, and like, I have all this stuff that like needs attention. And I think that what I found when I was researching what makes us sick and what heals us is that it really has to be, you know, first dynamic, it has to include all these different aspects to address all the many reasons that we are you struggling and are sick or whatever.

 

And then also, when you’re specifically talking about alcohol, you know, our habitual use of alcohol for going back and like every night we’re using alcohol, we come home from work at 5pm, there’s this whole thing that happens that’s like, by design, like, you know, like, the time of day, the way the sun hits the building, the way the keys sound, when they open the door, the smell of you know, your home, when you walk in, you know, the like, the ritual of making dinner, the smells, the sense, the feel the you know, all of it, like these are things that cue us to, to perform a habit or locked in, you know, when you drink alcohol, alcohol releases dopamine and a whole cascade of neurochemical events that create a really like textured memory. And all of those things that are incorporated into it that I just like mentioned, like the sound of the keys, the oil, hitting the frying pan, the cutting board coming out, if you’re making dinner at home, or if it’s a Sunday, and like walking into your favorite restaurant, or Friday going into a bar, whatever it is, there’s this collection of cues that are infused, to uphold and to and to propel you and compel you to drink.

 

And so, if you’re trying to create, if you’re trying not to, you know, keep firing up those same things, you really have to create a fully like sensual experience to help lock in new memories of healing, right. And so, if you’re, you know, like incorporating different tastes and different textures and, and, and different sounds and really like, like creating, like whole sensory experiences of ritual for healthy things. We’re, you know, we’re basically trying to, you know, create new wiring, and that supports different habits.

 

Casey McGuire Davidson  27:10

Yeah, yeah. And I think that one of the things that you did, which was very cool is not only were you one of the first people talking about this openly, but because of your work, you were one of the first people who was sort of creating this thing where you were bringing people together, like you said, I was part of the first kind of bigger, big class. I mean, I don’t remember whether there were over 100 people in it. And of course, everyone was in different phases of quitting drinking, being sober, curious, before that was even a thing or further along, where they were like, yikes, this is a problem. But what was cool is, it used to be this thing that none of us talked about, right? Everybody’s to this day, if you’re early in this phase is like, what is wrong with me, all of my girlfriends can drink, everyone at work can drink, yada, yada, yada. And what you realize if you come together is like, there are so many people out there who look like you and have the same social life as you and do other things who are still, if you saw them as one of your girlfriends, you would think that they, you know, didn’t have a problem with it, because nobody talked about it. And once we started bringing people together, you’re like, okay, there actually is nothing wrong with me. And there are all these people out there who are not open about the fact because they’re worried about themselves that like, you know, it’s like the me to movement of struggling with alcohol.

 

28:51

Yeah, well, I mean, I think like I was the AAA was pretty much the first like, I want to be the first person to bring a large group of people together. Yeah, to, but I think that like, what was really different about like, the, you know, early to those intense, and like, what, you know, what I did and what other people did, like Annie grace, was like, or lore of a cow, and or, you know, like, was really create conspicuous non consumption, like conspicuous sobriety. And I think that that was what made it you know, I think that that was one of the, like, the big turning points was that it started to move out into, like, the open discussion and open dialogue and, and, and, and other people shared their own stories and made themselves seen in their recovery or in their, or their attempts at sobriety or whatever it is. Yeah. And so, I think what really, really shifted back then was that there was just like, that was a huge, I think, a huge sea change, which was people being really proud and very loud. And there were many, right? There were many, many people.

 

Casey McGuire Davidson  30:03

Yeah, it was just like just bubbling up to the, you know, I felt like in that time, it was like pulling a thread. Like, you know, I listened to the home podcast, which I don’t even know how I found it. You know, some people were talking about it. And then you interviewed Annie Grace, and then you talk to Catherine Gray, long before she wrote a book.

 

You’re right. Like, when I think back, I feel like in those early days, there were more and more people, this emerging discussion about this and being open. And you would find one thing that resonated with you, I found the Home podcast, and I don’t even remember how I found it. And then it was sort of like, pulling this thread like you talked with. You talked with Annie Grace on it. And then I was introduced to her work. You interviewed Catherine Gray back in the day long before she wrote, you know, the book, The Unexpected Joy Of Being Sober, broke her anonymity on our podcast, she was writing anonymously before that. Yeah.

 

Casey McGuire Davidson  31:09

She was actually on the BFB back in the day, and she would like, post some of her early writing. Like, she was that. I joined later.

 

 Yes, yeah. It was such an interesting time. And yet, like you said, people who because a lot of people listen to this, who are just coming to the idea of, okay, maybe alcohol isn’t working with me, and I’m shifting my thought patterns. And it’s, you know, they are, I mean, no one listening to this, or at least if you’re in the early days, it’s like, Oh, my God, I’m so lucky, right? If you’re struggling with alcohol, you’re like, Fuck, this sucks. I’m not lucky at all. But like, just the breadth and the depth, and the openness of conversation, if you go on Instagram, or TikTok, or anything like that, you know, it is really widespread and easy to find, if you want to. Yeah, yeah.

 

32:07

It is. I mean, it’s like, it’s everywhere. I think it’s wild to kind of see how many different options exist. And I think it’s also like, really important to stay like there was just a bunch of white women at the beginning that were talking about this. And I think there’s a huge movement towards intersectionality. And representation, there’s a lot of queer accounts. There’s a lot of accounts for people of color. There is, you know, there’s like a, there is an increasing representation of all of the different ways that individuals struggle. And he’ll and I think that it is easy to take for granted that this exists. But it was it was rare. Yeah, it is.

 

Casey McGuire Davidson  32:51

Yeah. And you talked about, you’ve written about sort of that alcohol, will you hope it is, or it’s beginning to have, you know, the cigarette moment. And you wrote in your book, a reversal of public opinion, and a rejection of it by mainstream culture is seen as something we used to do. And once we remove our willful ignorance, which I completely think it is willful ignorance at all levels of society, have its harmful effects on us personally, and collectively. It will change do you see that happening more? Or? I mean, obviously, there’s still a ton of work to do.

 

33:32

Yeah, I mean, like, I follow Google search term, like big alcohol, there’s still very few things that are like, it still isn’t. It wasn’t even a term, you know, years ago, like maybe, maybe Charlotte Castle, or Jean Kilbourne, or, you know, uttered those words years ago, but like, it just wasn’t a thing. And I think that it still really isn’t, though, I think that we are, you know, we say like, there’s big psychedelic now there’s, there’s, you know, there’s big cannabis. And I think we are starting to acknowledge that there is a large corporate interest that relies on our death that has to replace its customers. You know, there’s like some statistics out that like 60%, if like, 60, like that, that most income 60 to 80% of income from for alcohol and just the alcohol industry comes from people that misuse this product that don’t use that use the product, not as you know, they suggest and so I think and that if like everybody drink responsibly, then everyone was like, basically the alcohol industry would, you know, go there, like drink responsibly, that’s our you know, right.

 

34:42

So right. I mean, they say that as a way to confuse this not as a way to help us and also to shrug their own liability. But I think the point I’m making is, what you saw, what you’ve seen, happen with like Big Pharma and that has really impacted and changed, you know, both like corporate culpability and public awareness and public sympathy. And, and the same for tobacco is that there were a lot of lawsuits and that there was really, you know, and even like recently with what’s happened with jewel, the electronic cigarettes, it has required legal action, and which always unearths extremely like tactical and specific marketing schemes, and the defrauding of the public. And like, the hidden agenda of trying to, you know, hook children is the consumer, all of you know, like, all the hits, all the things we now have happened over the years within the tobacco industry, but we still don’t have that with alcohol, and we still don’t have that with alcohol, you know, in my opinion, because so many of us drink still. And, and it’s still seen as this, this as, not just what we’re supposed to do, but as this like wonderful, like life giving substance that we’re so fortunate to have.

 

And so, I don’t know, when like this, you know, there is the like, there is the like social rejection of it that’s happening, though you and I are like kind of in it. So, we think it’s a lot bigger than it is, you know, like the general population people don’t think this way. Um, but there is like starting to become like there’s a tipping point it’s in, you know, like sober curious is the thing most people have heard of at this point. But I don’t think that you’re really going to see like, you know, alcohol having like, “a cigarette moment” until there’s some kind of class action lawsuit brought against the alcohol industry that shows, you know, now intent to kill their customer. Right. Yeah.

 

Casey McGuire Davidson  36:43

And you know, what’s interesting, I follow some Google terms as well. And obviously, like, there is just starting to be this bubbling up. I mean, I think doctors just are putting forward that they think there should be stronger warning labels other than don’t drink when you’re pregnant and don’t thrive on alcohol. And, you know, the American Cancer Society literally just changed their guidelines, like what a year or two ago saying that no amount of alcohol is safe in terms of your cancer risk. And one of the articles that popped up, which cracked me up was an article by like the wine Association, or one of those lobbying groups, and it said, like, somehow people are pushing the news that alcohol is bad for your health, and people are starting to believe it, like as a problem as something to be solved.

 

37:36

Of course, it is, it’s a problem for the wine Association, right? It’s a problem for anybody that’s profiting off of death without paying for its cost.

 

Casey McGuire Davidson  37:44

Yeah, or, you know, because of the money they give in the lobbying and the laws, and, you know, all that kind of stuff. But if anyone doesn’t know Jean Kilbourne, because she has been doing this work for a really long time. I actually interviewed her on the podcast, so I’ll put that interview in the show notes because her work is really fascinating. And it was at the time frame, yes, it’s big tobacco and, and sort of diet culture way back before that was a thing and big alcohol but framed sort of in the lens of media awareness and, you know, intelligently consuming the messages you’re, you’re getting. Yes. So, I remember, you know, two years ago, there was like a super big moment for your book where Chrissy Tiegan posted on Instagram that she was four weeks sober, and said, Quit Like A Woman helped her become sober. And you know that a friend and a doctor had given her the book. And your book had a lot of publicity before that. But it was sort of this celebrity, you know, endorsement that had a huge following. And sort of awareness of that. What do you think about that? Do you think that helps? Do you think I mean; I remember you were going on the Today Show or Good Morning America and all that kind of stuff.

 

39:09

Do I think it helps in the sort of celebrity aspect of it?

 

39:15

Well, yeah, I mean, like, I think that yeah, like, absolutely. And, and, in many ways, right? Like, it’s again, like conspicuous, like, there’s a person that has, you know, 30x million followers on Instagram, like the actual like, you know, Mayor of Instagram, I think or in Twitter, whatever, Chrissy Tiegan, who, you know, has great influence, talking about her struggles with alcohol, too.

 

Yeah, I think there’s, you know, like, in just that alone. Yeah, it invited a lot of people to the table that were either not sure whether or not they were struggling with it too and like to count themselves in as somebody that could explore their drinking and yeah, I mean, I think that the impacts of that. You know, they’re still, they’re still being felt.

 

Casey McGuire Davidson  40:04

Yeah, yeah. And one of the reasons I want to encourage people to read quit, like a woman and I know many women already have is, because you do lay out, we’ve touched on it. But in the book, like, a laundry list of reasons why alcohol is toxic to your body and why it shouldn’t, you know, of course, it’s not good for you. And of course, it’s addictive, but also what it does to all of your functions, and 10 reasons why the terms alcoholic and alcoholism should die. So, if you’re interested in those things, it’s laid out really intelligently and clearly. And if that, you know, those kinds of labels are something that is holding you back from deciding to stop drinking, I think, I think it’ll help you sort of get over that, that barrier to entry to deciding to try being alcohol free or testing it for a while or getting over what you’re scared your, you know, boss or best friend or mother will think if you decide to remove alcohol.

 

Yeah, yeah. So, I know you’re working on a ton of different things. And like, you know, removing alcohol from your life is one part of your life. But as people go further in their sobriety, it doesn’t like to define you completely, or absorb all your time and energy. So, what, what’s exciting you now I mean, I know you love learning and reading and everything else.

 

41:41

I really think we all just went through like a, an extremely traumatic event that’s ongoing and has had no definite end. And I’m talking about like the pandemic, I think what’s been really interesting to me and grabbing my attention, and, you know, has me thinking is, you know, like, where do we go from here? I think like, how do people move out of this space? And like, how do we honor and like, like, grieve properly? I think that there is it’s interesting, because it’s kind of like the thing that like we all just went through. And one of my friends remember, we were talking a couple of years ago, and he said, You know, there’s no playbook on how to emerge from a global pandemic. And like, how does how to, like psycho socially, spiritually integrate, after we’ve all been through what we’ve just been through. And I, I think about that a lot, because I think it’s this almost unspoken thing, because we don’t know how to speak about it. Have, we all just experienced this, and there has been no ritualization, there has been no threshold to cry, there’s been nothing right for us to like, collectively examine the effects, and also to like, to grieve, to heal, to and to really like, decide where do we go from here? And how do we, you know, how do we individually and collectively operate.

 

And so, I think that has made it like it’s a soupy thing, because it’s like addiction, like, there’s so much to it, right? There’s, you know, the weight, like it changed the way we’ve worked, the way we connect the way, you know, like, what we prioritize where we live, like, so like, very similar to addiction, right? You like you remove this substance, you pull this little thread, the whole web moves, right. You know, if you remove alcohol, your relationships change, you know, like your partnerships change, your social life changes, your health changes, it uncovers all of these things that were lying underneath it. You know, like people get autistic autism diagnoses or, or mental or other, like, it reveals, like maybe you’re queer, maybe you have ADHD, maybe, you know, like, all of these things kind of, like swim to the surface and, and your life is never the same again, and you operate entirely differently. And, and I think that, like very similar to that, like, we can look at the pandemic. And it’s the same thing, it just, you know, it rearranged us.

 

And so, I think about that a lot. I have, I mean, it’s just a lot of questions is very murky. And it’s hard to even, you know, like when all of my friends currently, when every single person I know, their hair is falling out, or they have unprecedented levels of stress and anxiety, or no motivation, or they feel more lonely, you know, I across the board, every single person that I know, is struggling pretty deeply, you know, and I think to me, that’s really fascinating, in the sense of like, and yet we’re still carrying on and going to work and, and worrying about the same things that we were worried about before, which seemed really frivolous. And so, I think about that, that’s what I think about and how and how that ties in to addiction and how that ties into recovery. And so, it’s, you know, yeah, it’s an interesting time to be alive.

 

Casey McGuire Davidson  45:12

Yeah, it totally is. And I know, you know, from working with women and talking with women, everything you described, and also, you know, being, I won’t say trapped, but you know, quarantined, or, or spending lots and lots more time with your spouse and your kids. And without all your usual distractions, is something that, you know, brought a lot of things to the surface. And then also, like the whole trust of humanity physically, and emotionally and reemergence, and sending your kids back to school. I mean, there is so much out there. And diverging views with other people in other parts of the country or other parts of your community. I mean, there is so much there. And you’re right, I think it’s going to impact us for a long time and change us and, you know, already has, yeah, yeah.

 

Yeah. Well, so if someone’s listening to this, and is just at the beginning of their journey, what would you say to them? Or how would you think that the best way is for them to move forward and get started with this?

 

46:29

You know, I think that there’s just no wrong way, right. Like, to me, I think, oftentimes, it’s probably the same thing that I’ve been saying for years, which is, I think that a lot of times when we look, we don’t have enough trust in our own momentum, and or enough trust in the process as it is. And I think that, when you look back at, you know, when I personally look back at all the things that had to happen, for me to move from, you know, what we used to call it Tempest is either, like, just absolutely not knowing there was a problem. Absolutely not being able to pinpoint. Alcohol is the thing, because that’s a real, like, even if you’re in severe alcohol use disorder, oftentimes, you’re just not even aware that there is a problem, right? There is so much denial, and there’s so much resistance. And I think that the we have to really recognize the getting to the point of awareness is, in of itself, a huge accomplishment that many won’t make.

 

And therefore, I think that when people are, what do I do now, there’s this idea that you can do it wrong, that you have to take these specific steps. And I go back to a lot of the things that I talked about way early on, which was you just throw the kitchen sink at it, right? Like you just like you figure out, like, as you go along, but you don’t, you’re not precious about it, you’re not thinking I have to follow these 10 steps, and then I’ll do this, and then I’ll do that, and then I’ll do this, but you essentially are using this as a period of time, really, if you’re if you’re serious about healing about your own healing, it’s immersive, it requires trial and error. But it also requires really working with where we are at the moment. And a lot of times when people come into recovery, or to address their relationship with alcohol or addiction, they are, really be down. It’s not they’re not necessarily in a great place. And I think that it can be really defeating at the beginning, it took a lot of willpower for me, it took a lot of like, picking myself up and dragging myself through therapy or dragging myself, you know, through my life as I was changing it. And I think at the beginning, it can feel so daunting and so overwhelming.

 

And so, I guess what I’m saying is, you’ve already done a lot of work to be listening to these words here. You should be so proud of yourself and appreciate what you’ve already done. Because it is a lot of work. And then also it’s just the trusting that this is an unfolding process. And it really is about you know, like committing, right like it’s about like committing and, and not committing to abstinence or committing to this training program or whatever. It’s just this commitment to continue to come back to ourselves. And we lose the commitment, and we regain the commitment, and we lose the commitment, and we regained the commitment but it’s just there’s really no wrong ABC way to move forward.

 

Casey McGuire Davidson  49:49

Yeah, I love that. And I have to say that one of the phrases in your book that I really liked is you talk about practice sobriety and Some of the shift that needs to take place around giving yourself that grace, a phrase that made me laugh out loud at like truly is, because here in sober land, and just that concept of like sober land, you said we don’t build on failure. We don’t have comebacks. We aren’t just working out the kinks. We relapse, which is a different word. And I don’t love that word. Right.

 

50:29

Because like you said, I believe it’s now reclassified is returned to us.

 

Casey McGuire Davidson  50:32

Okay. Yeah. Yeah, I really like that.

 

50:36

So right, right. Like we have relapse, we have a very different set of standards for referring recovery. And we fuck up what it means about us. And also, the way we’re supposed to atone, we’re supposed to announce it to the world like Dax Shepard, like, you know, go back to Days zero, you know, really get humble again, and have shown all these things, which is fine. That works for some, but the point is that, like, we have to be far more what’s feminine, like forgiving?

 

Yeah, fluid, like, instead of so rigid and so punitive. But that is what exists within if you’re learning to tie if your, you know, five year old kid is learning to tie their shoes, and they get it and then they like, mess it up. You don’t stay, you’re we’re now going back to the beginning. And, you know, and how could like you understand they are developing and learning and practicing and trying and, and it’s a mess. We understand that in almost every other area of development, except for this one. And this is an area of development, right? And so, it does require this this soft, forgiving approach.

 

51:46

Yeah. And you talk about it as being an undertaking a practice an endeavor that takes guts and risk and trial and error. So, if you’re listening to this, and you’re in the beginning of your endeavor, or undertaking or practice, just have grace with yourself in the practice of it, practicing sobriety, because it’s good, and it’s worth it. And it takes, you know, the old phrase, like it takes what it takes, right, everybody comes to it in a different way.

 

52:22

Yeah, that’s right. That’s right.

 

Casey McGuire Davidson  52:24

Thank you so much for being here. I mean, truly, it’s an honor. Yeah.

 

52:28

Thank you for having me. It was really fun. It’s nice six and a half years later, right?

 

Casey McGuire Davidson  52:33

Yeah, six and a half year later, and I’m still friends and in touch with a bunch of people who I did Hip Sobriety with in those early days. So that’s really a team, right?

 

52:51

Way back. Yeah. Yeah. Cool. Well, thank you.

 

Casey McGuire Davidson  52:54

Thanks, Casey.

 

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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