Have you ever stopped drinking and then struggled to stay sober?

You’re not alone.

The best way to stay sober is to focus on building a life you love without alcohol.

It’s about not only putting down the wine glass, but also shifting the way you’ve been living your life so that you no longer want to numb yourself at the end of the day. 

If you’ve been worried about your drinking for a while, have tried to moderate, made (and broken) all the rules about how much to drink and finally have sober momentum, it’s something to celebrate and protect! 

Whether you’ve been sober for a month, 4 months, 6 months or a year, there are steps you should take to stay on the alcohol-free path, build a life you love and guard against going back to drinking.

First let’s break down why women might struggle to stay sober after a period of time alcohol-free and go back to drinking. 

The four most common reasons women drink after a period of sobriety are boredom, stress, loneliness and hormonal changes before their period or in perimenopause.

They’re also big reasons women have fallen into the drinking cycle in the first place.

Sarah Rusbatch, author of Beyond Booze, how to create a life you love alcohol-free, writes “Alcohol is the solution we have created [because] we are overwhelmed, exhausted, lost, disillusioned and have no time for ourselves… no clear direction or focus on what we want to do with our lives…”

We’ve been taught through marketing, advertising and popular culture to believe that alcohol will help us relax, have fun, bond and connect with others, so it’s no wonder that when these emotions hit us we’re drawn to our old familiar coping mechanism and reach for a bottle of wine. 

But that will only drag you back into the drinking cycle you worked so hard to escape. 

Especially since alcohol is the fifth most addictive substance in the world (after heroin, cocaine, nicotine and barbiturates) and actually makes you more tired, anxious, overwhelmed and depressed. 

You don’t need a drink. You need REAL solutions to help you feel better mentally, physically and emotionally. 

Once you escape the drinking cycle, you finally have the clarity, energy and time to add in practices, people and activities that create a more fulfilling, purposeful and contented life.

🎙️ I asked Sarah to share strategies to help you STAY sober and create a life you love without alcohol.

In this episode, we dive into:

The four main reasons women struggle to stay sober after a period of time alcohol-free

✅ Why alcohol is being used by women around the world as a temporary escape from feelings of isolation, overwhelm, stress and the monotony of adulting
✅ How hormonal fluctuations, especially those experienced during premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and perimenopause can increase cravings to drink
✅ Practical ideas for healthy coping mechanisms to mitigate stress, loneliness and boredom in sobriety
✅ Why to prioritize your own enjoyment and pleasure in order to stay sober
✅ How to stabilize a dysregulated nervous system
✅ Why to focus on building your new AF life by adding in practices and people that bring you joy, and a lot more…

Checklist to identify if you are a gray area drinker:

➡️ Do you make rules around your drinking, such as specifying how many drinks, how often, what type, or what time of day to drink, but find yourself frequently breaking these rules?

➡️ Do you secretly worry about your drinking and often regret your actions or words while under the influence?

➡️ Do you find it challenging to “stay stopped” when you try to take breaks from drinking? You want to take a break from alcohol but keep returning to old habits despite your best intentions.

➡️ Are you not always honest about how much you drink, either downplaying or exaggerating your alcohol consumption?

➡️ Do you appear high-functioning on the outside, with no one questioning your drinking habits, but internally, you feel like alcohol is becoming a problem?

➡️ Do you constantly negotiate with yourself about when you will drink next, feeling like alcohol is taking more from you than it is giving, even though you may not have hit rock bottom yet?

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

❤️ Join The Sobriety Starter Kit Program, the only sober coaching course designed specifically for busy women. 

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

📝 Save your seat in my FREE MASTERCLASS, 5 Secrets To Successfully Take a Break From Drinking

💥 Connect with me on Instagram.

Or you can find me on Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube and TikTok @hellosomedaysober.

Love The Podcast and Want To Say Thanks?

Buy me a coffee!

In the true spirit of Seattle, coffee is my love language.

So if you want to support the hours that go into creating this show each week, click this link to buy me a coffee and I’ll run to the nearest Starbucks + lift a Venti Almond Milk Latte and toast to you!


💕 Support the sponsors of The Hello Someday Podcast

You can find all the special discounts mentioned on the show right here: https://hellosomedaycoaching.com/sponsors/

Leave me a rating and review on Apple Podcasts!⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I read every single review and they really help the podcast algorithm decide to share my show with a wider audience.

Just click here, scroll below the latest episodes, and you’ll see the link to “rate and review this podcast”.

I’ll be forever grateful to hear from you and to read reviews like this one from Laura,

“I’ve listened to so many sober podcasts and The Hello Someday Podcast is by far THE BEST Sobriety Podcast out there for women. This podcast was key to me quitting alcohol. Casey’s practical tips and tricks are invaluable, with advice I haven’t heard anywhere else. If I could give this podcast 27 stars I would!!”

Connect with Sarah Rusbatch

Sarah Rusbatch is a multi award winning Women’s Health and Wellbeing Coach, an accredited Gray Area Drinking Coach and a Key-Note speaker sharing her journey to Sobriety and impact of alcohol on mental health to global audiences. She is also the author of the best selling book “Beyond Booze, how to create a life you love alcohol free”

Sarah has now supported thousands of women all over the world to successfully change their relationship with alcohol and create happier and more fulfilling lives. She is 5 years sober.

Learn more about Sarah at www.sarahrusbatch.com

Join Sarah’s facebook community – The Women’s Wellbeing Collective

Purchase Beyond Booze here.

Connect with Casey McGuire Davidson

To find out more about Casey and her coaching programs, head over to www.hellosomedaycoaching.com

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


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

Host Casey McGuire Davidson, a certified life and sobriety coach and creator of The 30-Day Guide to Quitting Drinking and The Sobriety Starter Kit Sober Coaching Course, brings together her experience of quitting drinking while navigating work and motherhood, along with the voices of experts in personal development, self-care, addiction and recovery and self-improvement. 

Whether you know you want to stop drinking and live an alcohol-free life, are sober curious, or are in recovery this is the best sobriety podcast for you.

A Top 100 Mental Health Podcast, ranked in the top 0.5% of podcasts globally with over 1.5 million downloads, The Hello Someday Podcast is the best sobriety podcast for women.

In each episode, Casey will share the tried and true secrets of how to drink less and live more.

Learn how to let go of alcohol as a coping mechanism, how to shift your mindset about sobriety and change your drinking habits, how to create healthy routines to cope with anxiety, people pleasing and perfectionism, the importance of self-care in early sobriety, and why you don’t need to be an alcoholic to live an alcohol-free life. 

Be sure to grab the Free 30-Day Guide To Quitting Drinking right here.

Subscribe & Review in iTunes

Are you subscribed to my podcast? If you’re not, I want to encourage you to do that today. I don’t want you to miss an episode.

I’m adding a bunch of bonus episodes to the mix and if you’re not subscribed there’s a good chance you’ll miss out on those. Click here to subscribe in iTunes!

Now if you’re feeling extra loving, I would be really grateful if you left me a review over on iTunes, too. Those reviews help other people find my podcast and they’re also fun for me to go in and read. Just click here to review, select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” and let me know what your favorite part of the podcast is. Thank you!


Thank you for supporting this show by supporting my sponsors!

Learn more: https://hellosomedaycoaching.com/sponsors/


How To Stay Sober Once You’ve Stopped Drinking With Sarah Rusbatch



drinking, alcohol, women, life, feel, book, living, stress, nervous system, talk, day, stopped, find, sober, dysregulated, fun, perimenopause, anxiety, kids, starting, gray area drinking, midlife women, beyond booze, menopause, health, wellness, alcohol-free, lonely, stressed, boredom, hormones, hormone replacement therapy (HRT), coping mechanism, dysregulated nervous system


SPEAKERS: Casey McGuire Davidson + Sarah Rusbatch


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. Today we are talking about


how to stay sober.


A lot of episodes on the show have talked about how to begin if you’re super curious, how to get through your first 30 days, your first 60 days, the ups and downs within that. But in this podcast with my guests, we’re going to talk about okay, you’ve stopped drinking? How do you move past loneliness and stress and the ups and downs of life without going back to your previous coping mechanism.


So, my guest is Sarah Rusbatch. She’s a multi-award winning Women’s Health Coach and Well-being Coach. She’s an accredited Gray Area Drinking Coach and a Keynote Speaker sharing her journey to sobriety and the impact of alcohol on mental health to global audiences.


She’s the author of the best-selling book Beyond booze: How To Create A Life You Love Alcohol-Free. And Sarah’s supported 1000s of women all over the world, to successfully change their relationship with alcohol and create happier and more fulfilling lives.


She is 5 years sober. And we were going back and forth because the time zones of where we live are so different. So, Sarah lives in Perth, Australia. And I live in Seattle, Washington, so about as far away from each other as you can get.


Sarah Rusbatch  02:49

Yeah, absolutely. So, I’m from the UK, but have been living over here in Australia for about 14 years. So, it’s always a challenge, getting those time differences, right, but we got there. So, thank you for your words.


Casey McGuire Davidson  03:01

Nice to meet you. Well, so let’s dive in. Tell us a little bit about you.


Sarah Rusbatch  03:07

So, I am a mum, I’ve got two teenagers. Thank goodness, I’m not drinking through this stage of parenting because I don’t know what I’d be doing. I have been working in this space of Coaching and I work predominantly with Midlife women. So, I’m a Menopause Coach, a Health and Wellness Coach, a Gray Area Drinking Coach.


And then, obviously, my book has just come out. Beyond Booze. And the reason I wrote this book was because I could see there’s so many brilliant, brilliant, Sober Books out there. There’s books about How To Get Sober. So, how to maybe doing a 30 day program, the signs that we need to do that. And there’s some incredible memoirs. But what I realized was, there wasn’t a book specifically for women. And I’ve written this book predominantly with midlife women in mind, about what it actually takes to create a life we love so much that we don’t need to keep going back to alcohol. And this comes from the heart because this is my journey.


I’m 48. I stopped drinking when I was 43. And it took me years to stop. It took me years, you know that classic journey of taking break, going back to drinking, taking breaks, going back to drinking, trying to moderate not being able to moderate. And what I really realized when I finally gave alcohol, gave it up for good.


In 2019, I had to actually, really work hard at what I was going to be adding into my life and what I was going to change about my life so that I didn’t even need to keep going back to alcohol. And that’s what my book covers. It’s everything for Midlife women. From hormones to our relationships, to our friendships, to managing stress, how to have fun and everything like that, is what I cover in the book.


Casey McGuire Davidson  04:57

Yeah, that’s really interesting. Because well, first, we’re the same age. I’m also 48. And I quit drinking 8 years ago. So, I was 40. But like you, it wasn’t my first try. So, I had worried for many years about my drinking. I tried to moderate, I tried to take breaks. And I actually stopped for a year 11 years ago, so I was 38 at the time, somewhere right around that. And I stopped out of a place of not really having a lot of other options, like I desperately didn’t want to quit drinking. But I wanted to stop feeling so anxious and so worried about my drinking and unable to cope. And so, for that time, I went to AAA for about 4 months, it wasn’t really my jam. The people there were incredibly nice, but the philosophy just didn’t align with the way I wanted to go. And then, I did that slow shuffle back to drinking, I ended up getting pregnant. But so, I didn’t drink for a year, but the whole time, I had removed alcohol from my life. But like you said, I didn’t add anything else in and had my daughter. Went back to drinking for 2 years. And at that point, got to the exact same low place. But I knew it was the alcohol this time. Before, I felt like it was situational. And once I fix my situation, I could go back to drinking.


So, the second time, it was I was like, oh my god, this is the alcohol. And the reason I tell that story is because the second time, and the last time I stopped drinking, I was very focused on looking forward, not looking back. So, I was like, Alright, I am not going back to drinking. So, what do I need to add to my life, whether it be therapy, medication, new friendships, new exercise routines, new hobbies, whatever it was. New boundaries. I was like, I’m not going back to drinking. So, I got to figure out what to do, as opposed to stopping drinking, sitting there and being like, this is boring, you know?


Sarah Rusbatch  07:14

How to me and I was the same. And don’t you think sometimes you have to go through that journey of stopping, starting, trying to moderate in that period? You almost have to go through that, too? Not everyone does. But I would say, most people do to get to that point where you go, actually, I know that alcohol is not serving me anymore. I know that everything in my life is better when I don’t drink. But if I’m going to give this, if this is going to be my new lifestyle, I know that there’s going to have to be some changes so that I don’t feel like I’m missing out so that I got new tools in my toolkit to make sure that I have a great life.


And that is what this book is about. It’s almost like, I feel like most women that I work with are in that midlife stage. They started drinking. I started drinking at 14, it was kind of like, my life. You know, it was all very, very social, lots of parties, lots of boozing. And it’s almost like this, this next season of life. And it’s giving ourselves permission to go. Okay, up until that point, I did life that way.


But now, that’s not serving me anymore. And that’s absolutely okay that it’s not serving me anymore. I am allowed to change my mind. I am allowed to change what I love doing, how I spend my time.


And now, this is my line in the sand of going forward and starting to experiment with this new version of me and midlife who is doing all of these new things. And I think that where people get stuck is they don’t know that they have permission to make all of these other changes. So, they stay trying to keep their life exactly the same, but without the alcohol. And I think that doesn’t work. And then, we often end up going back to alcohol.


Casey McGuire Davidson  08:51

Yeah, and I actually think it’s exciting. I mean, trust me, when I was first worried about my drinking, I did not think this was exciting at all. I thought it was like, the worst consequence, the worst case outcome of my entire life to have to stop drinking. But now that I’m on the other side, I look and I’m like, Yeah, we all have phases in our lives, you know, like your high school, your college, your early 20s.


You know, you buy a house and remodel it. You have kids, like all of those are distinct phases and where you have distinct friends and friendships and interests. And, you know, when I stopped drinking, I was like, you know, what do I want for myself for the next decade? Because you’re right, like, I didn’t want to stay on the couch boozing and passing out for another decade. That actually wasn’t a great look for me.


Sarah Rusbatch  09:41

Exactly, exactly. And so, I can remember feeling the same. I remember describing to my friend and saying, I just feel this fistful of potential, because I feel like I’m on the cusp of loads of new things starting to happen in my life because I’ve taken away the booze, which therefore meant that my energy had increased. My self-confidence, my self-belief, my motivation, like all of those things changed. And it was a really exciting feeling. Like you say, it’s a really exciting time of going. Actually, I get to curate what my life looks like going forward.


But I don’t think this is talked about enough. And so, so many women have got into a trap. Perhaps where we’ve been, looking after young kids, where that stage of parenting is very demanding. We don’t get time for ourselves. We don’t get that. And then once the kids start to get older, we get more time. Maybe they leave home, they’re teenagers, they’re going out with their friends all the time. And suddenly, we have this time. And then we’re like, I don’t know what to do with it. Because I’m so not used to actually having time to myself or being able to give myself permission to do the things that I want. And that’s where it, we can actually reframe that to become exciting of experimenting with just this version of me like now, but we’ve got to have the, the desire to do that. And that’s what I hope my book really offers women.


Casey McGuire Davidson  11:02

Yeah, and I think it can apply for women of all ages. I mean, you know, I stopped drinking when my daughter was two. So, I was fully immersed in the toddler years, and yet also was like, if I just remove alcohol, and do nothing but parent, a toddler and an eight year old, I won’t stay sober, right? Not in a bad way. Not that I didn’t love my kids, it was just like, I needed more inspiration and hope and interest. And that’s, that’s all good. And you’re right, I don’t think people talk about it enough. Because you do have to sort of expand your interests and your circles of friends. Because there’s this time between when your life is fully immersed in the world of all your drinking friends, all your drinking activities, all your drinking habits, worrying about it, trying to stop recovering from it. And then you have this empty time. But for you know, this big, beautiful life you get to build. And that empty time for a lot of women. It feels like boredom, but it’s actually a piece, you know, and potential, like you said.


Sarah Rusbatch  12:15

Yeah, yeah, totally. And I definitely found that I thought that that quiet, empty time was boring initially, because I was someone that had a very dysregulated nervous system, I was constantly living in that fight or flight state with adrenaline pumping through my body. Go go go burning the candle at both ends, you know. And so, when there was peace, and there was calm, it was just like, Oh, what do I do now. But actually, now I’m like, Oh, my goodness, give me more of a calm give me more of the peace. But it’s taken a while to adjust to that because my body for a very long time had been used to living in this constant fight or flight state and then using alcohol as a depressant to bring me down. And then the next day, you wake up with anxiety, because you’ve had so much to drink.


So, you’ve got that cortisol flooding through your body. Anyway, I was living my life in a way that was incredibly stressful, very, very busy. And then alcohol, again, was the evening switch off that I came to rely on. And so, you’re just in that vicious cycle. And so, for a while, it’s a period of adjustment. And I think as humans, and particularly in the world we live in now. We’re not patient anymore. We don’t like to wait for things to settle. We want everything to be how we want it immediately. And the biggest thing I’ve had to teach myself is patience.


Casey McGuire Davidson  13:33

Yeah, I totally agree. And I, you know, the way you’re talking about how you are living is exactly how I was, too. And I felt like I was just driving in fifth gear down this highway, and I would get home with my kids and immediately want to downshift into first gear. I was like, Okay, I’ve got two hours to relax. And that was it. And so, the easiest way to do that was to basically knock myself unconscious with a bottle of wine, which is crazy. Looking back on it. I mean, if you’re like, do you knock yourself unconscious every night? No, that sounds horrible. But that’s what I did.


And so, I definitely want to talk about the nervous system regulation part of it because you can’t live in this like red zone of anxiety and busyness and all those hot emotions. And you have to bring yourself down to sort of what I think of as the green zone where you’re feeling pretty good emotionally and physically moving throughout the day.


But I mentioned this to you before we jumped on. One of the things I really liked in your book is you had a gray area drinking checklist. This idea of like check yourself, answer these questions to see if you fall within sort of the gray area drinking spectrum. And of course, I read through them, and I was like yep, I check off every single one. These and did but will you read those to us?


Sarah Rusbatch  15:03


Yeah, so Gray Area Drinking is a term coined by Jolene Park, which describes people who aren’t don’t have end stage physical dependency on alcohol. So, they’re not the person that’s waking up in the morning, needing to wait for a drink. Sometimes gray area drinkers don’t drink every single day. But nor are they a take it or leave it drinker nor are they someone that oh, yeah, might have a glass of wine at that party might not they sit in that gray area.


So, here are the key signs, as read from my book. So number one, you make rules around your drinking, how many? How often what type of drink, what time of day, what day of the week, but you often break them. People who don’t have a problem with alcohol don’t make rules around their drinking. Number two, you secretly worry about your drinking, and often regret what you said or did when you drink. Number three, you take breaks from alcohol, you may not drink every day, but you find it hard to stay stocked and you keep returning to old habits. Number four, you aren’t always honest about how much you drink. Number five, on the outside, no one questions you’re drinking, you’re very high functioning. And it certainly doesn’t appear you have a problem. But for you, it feels like a problem. And it’s something you worry about more and more. The next one, you live with a constant internal chatter about alcohol, always negotiating with yourself when you will drink next. And you’re a long way from rock bottom. But alcohol feels like it’s robbing you of life. You’re starting to feel like it’s taking more than it’s giving, but you don’t know what to do next.


Casey McGuire Davidson  16:34


Then you wrote: If you’ve checked off any of the above, it’s a sign you lie in the gray area drinking zone.


And when I read it, I was like, Yep, I check off every single one of those.


Sarah Rusbatch  16:45

Yeah, and most of the women I work with, do. And because this has become so normal, we then don’t think that there’s a problem because most people are drinking in this way.


So, I listened to a podcast recently that said, it’s estimated 3 billion people across the globe sit in this gray area drinking category. Where they don’t fit the bill for dependents, they don’t fit the bill for needing to have medical support to withdrawal from alcohol, but they are drinking a way in a way that is having a negative impact on their life. But most people wouldn’t even realize it. And sometimes they don’t even realize it themselves. I didn’t initially.


Casey McGuire Davidson  17:28

Yeah, and the other thing, I think what I hear from so many women is I just want to drink like a normal person. Like, I want to be able to have two drinks like this friend on meeting. And what I say to them is like, you have no idea what their drinking is like. They might be having one or two before or they might have two glasses with you and then come home and open a bottle. I mean, that’s what I did.


Because most of the women I work with say, nobody really knows how much I drank. Or nobody knows how much I worry about it. So, it’s kind of funny that we share everything. So many things with our friends. We talk about our diets and our workouts and our kids and everything. But I bet, if you actually, if all of us were honest, and you had a big drinking group of like 15 women, I bet like 7 of them would be worried about their drinking and fall on the Gray Area Spectrum.


Sarah Rusbatch  18:28

Yeah, I agree. And I have exactly the same most women that come to me say they want to drink like a normal person. And what they describe as normal, someone that just has a glass every now and then. And I’ll say to them, when did you ever drink like that? So, tell me about a time in your life when that was what your drinking was like where you could just have one glass, you didn’t think about it, in between you didn’t want more, you didn’t care. That was just it.


And there’ll be like, we’ll never know. But I’m not a magician, I can’t turn you into a type of drinker that you’ve never been. We’ve got to take some acceptance for the fact that some of us, our brains have wired differently. We get a way bigger dopamine hit from alcohol than the next person. So, we’re always going to have that desire to keep drinking more.


Secondly, whether we’ve had any kind of dysregulated nervous system or trauma because this the moment we create a neural pathway in the brain that says when I feel stressed, and I drink alcohol, and it makes the stress go away. We’re setting ourselves up for a little bit of a problem because, well, maybe a big problem because the neural pathway then gets created in the brain doesn’t forget.


So, every time you feel that stressed state, and the brain will kind of start going go down this path go down this path because that’s what you did last time. And that worked and your brain isn’t thinking about the 3am Wakeup or the anxiety the next day or the big meeting. You’ve got at 8 o’clock the next morning, the brain is wired for survival. So, it will take you down the path of doing the thing that worked last time. That was a quick instant fix. And this is why if we’ve used alcohol for stress.


Casey McGuire Davidson  20:03

So, we’re going to be getting into problematic drinking that and also, you know, you can retrain that automatic behavior as well, but it definitely takes work.


So, you know, the idea that if you think stress to alcohol is a paved straight line highway, and stress to another coping mechanism is, you know, this winding path, the more you walk the winding path, the more clear it’ll be, the more automatic it’ll be.


The other thing that women have said to me is like, Oh, it didn’t used to be like this, like, in my 20s, in my 30s. It, you know, I was able to have 2 glasses and let it go. And that may be the case, and for a lot of people it is but you know, in your book, you cited David nuts research, who I researched before I followed him, and I love this stat, because nobody really talks about it enough. He writes that alcohol is the fifth most addictive substance in the world, after heroin, cocaine, nicotine, and barbiturates. And the only one that is freely available to purchase in any amount, any time of day, like the remaining four substances are either illegal heroin and cocaine, only available by prescription barbiturates. Or carry major health warnings.


And, you know, advertising has been banned, which is tobacco. And I flew internationally and went through Duty Free and was taking pictures of, because they had this huge carton of cigarettes, and literally giant signs on each of them saying, smoking causes cancer, smoking causes X like huge signs, and then just these gorgeous displays of alcohol with nothing on them. So, I think the fact that we wonder why we can’t take it or leave it and have trouble moderating it, is because clearly, it’s one of the most addictive substances in the world. No one would be like, God, why can’t you moderate heroin or cocaine?


Sarah Rusbatch  22:13

Exactly, exactly. So, the two things about alcohol are number one, it’s really addictive. And number two, we build tolerance to it.


So, because we build tolerance, we don’t get the same buzz from the one or two glasses that we’re used to. So, then it needs to be three glasses. And then oh, no, now it’s the bottle, or now I’m opening the second bottle. And it’s very subtle. It’s very insidious, how much it can creep up like that. But before we know it, it’s one and a half bottles a night. And you know, but we’re still high functioning, which I got clients that can drink two bottles and still get up at 5am and go to the gym the next day. Like it’s incredible, what the human body can actually start to learn to tolerate and adapt to, but also somewhat terrifying.


Casey McGuire Davidson  22:55

Yeah, absolutely.


Well, so take us through for people who have stopped drinking and are feeling pretty good. They’re through the initial phases of withdrawal. How do they stay sober?


And maybe, first tell us, what are the main reasons that women go back to drinking after they have a period of sobriety? And then what do you recommend instead?


Sarah Rusbatch  23:21

Yeah, so what I see as being the kind of the key reasons that women are drinking or end up going back to drinking, and I have a community of 20,000 women and I ran a poll in my community to ask this question. So, this isn’t my kind of opinion. This is facts from women all over the world.


And the 3 key reasons of boredom, stress, and loneliness. But and I’ll talk about those in a sec. But the fourth one that actually has started to be talked about more and more since I wrote the book is also hormones.


So, the number of women who are relaxing just before their period. And I’ll talk about that in a moment as to why that is. So, if we look at those reasons for boredom, stress, and loneliness, for some women, it’s all three. For some, it’s just one. For some, it’s a combination, but for most midlife women that I’m working with, those are the reasons that they are drinking at the level they are.


So, if we want to stay sober, if we know and we’ve reached that point of going, Yeah, I’m better in my life without alcohol. I know that things are great when I don’t drink. We’ve got to address, why was I drinking?


So, number one, stop looking at what was alcohol serving as a solution to because for many people, they think alcohol is the problem. They’ve got to the point where it’s like, oh, alcohol is not working anymore. Alcohol made me feel crap. It’s impacting my sleep. It gives me anxiety. Alcohol is the problem. I’ve just got to stop drinking. But in actual fact, for most people, alcohol was the solution.


There is an underlying problem, but we’ve almost forgotten that in the in the way of way that we are that the physical impact, Alcohol is starting to take from us. So, we need to look at what was alcohol the solution for.


Is it that I’m really lonely? And we can be very busy. And we can be surrounded by people. But we can be really lonely. Because we don’t get to show up as our authentic self. We might be surrounded by people where we have to play a certain part when we’re with them. And this is the case for a lot of women. Where the authentic connections as we’re getting older, may not be there in quite the same way we feel like we’ve got to keep up with what other women are doing. And we don’t feel fully seen for who we are.


We can be really stressed. Most of the women I know, particularly since COVID, shows us that they’re dealing with the lion’s share of the household work, the raising of the children, they’re often working full-time or part-time and doing the Juggle. But they might have aging parents and women, we know, take on an increased sense of duty and responsibility for others. And so, we’ve got to also look at what’s the stress that the woman has in her life? And how can we start addressing that.


And then boredom. So, I find lots of women in midlife are, they’re not taking time to do activities, or spend time doing things that actually really interest them that they’ve got time to, that they look forward to doing. And so, then alcohol just becomes the quick, easy fix for I’m bored, I’ve got a couple of hours, I don’t know what to do with myself, I’ll just drink wine, and then that dumbs me down. Because it does dumbed down the brain so that we start to find boring things more interesting, because we’re, you know, having that impact on our brain. So those are the reasons.


And then, as I said before, hormones, like got a lot of women who, when they’re in perimenopause, from our early 40s onwards, really noticed that that increased craving for alcohol will be there that those few days before their period. So, I get them tracking their cycle, I get so that we can be really aware, this is going to be a trickier week to stay sober, what might we need to do.


And I’ve also got some clients for whom going on hormone replacement therapy (HRT) completely removed their cravings for alcohol, because they were able to balance out their hormones more.


So, there’s lots that we can start to look at an address at that deeper level. So, I would say to listeners, where do you sit on that? Start thinking about the which of these feels right for you? Is it boredom? Is it stress? Is it loneliness? And then let’s start working on each one. One by one, how are we going to manage our stress? What can we delegate? What do we need to add in the start to relax our nervous system a little bit more? If it’s boredom, what hobbies and interests do I want to start adding in? And if it’s loneliness, who were the people that are my people that I feel the most authentic with? And who are the people that I don’t feel that way with maybe I need to be spending more time with the people that I’d have that true deeper relationship with?


Casey McGuire Davidson  27:48

And you said HRT, that’s hormone replacement therapy, correct?


Sarah Rusbatch  27:52

Yes. Yeah. Although, I think now, it’s called MHT.


Casey McGuire Davidson  27:56

So, how would someone if they think or they noticed that right before they their period, they crave a lot? Like, how would someone go about learning about whether that’s an option for them or something that they should look into? Do they go talk to their doctor?


Sarah Rusbatch  28:13

Yes, I took it to the doctor.


So, some of the signs that we are in perimenopause. Perimenopause can start to happen about 10 to 15 years prior to menopause. The average age for menopause is 51. So, from early 40s onwards, we were likely to be in perimenopause.  Some of the signs that were in perimenopause are insomnia, panic attacks, anxiety, brain fog, started to put weight on around the tummy, itchy skin, vaginal dryness and dry eyes, lack of libido, not starting to overthink things, over ruminating muscle and joint pain, irregular periods, fibroids. Like, there’s a long list of signs that we are in this perimenopause arena. And I actually find so many women don’t actually know about this. And so, that’s part of what I do through my programs as well as not just around alcohol. It’s actually about starting to understand what so many of my clients find cases when they remove alcohol. They realize they’re in the depths of perimenopause, alcohol was there was masking so many of the symptoms and actually I’ve actually removed the alcohol.


Casey McGuire Davidson  29:19

Episodes on perimenopause because it is so common. And what’s interesting is that the symptoms of perimenopause and actually I’ve done some episodes on burnout. The symptoms of burnout are very, very similar to the symptoms of going through drinking in withdrawal and being in that drinking cycle. And so, it’s hard to treat something unless you remove the alcohol portion of it because when you were describing perimenopause of like panic attacks, insomnia, overthinking things like brain fog, I was like yep, but those are also the symptoms of You know, drinking and recovering from drinking.


Sarah Rusbatch  30:03

Yeah, and the thing that we need to note is for women. Once we get into from our late 30s onwards, our progesterone starts to drop. So, progesterone is the hormone that helps us feel calm and relaxed. Progesterone also works in conjunction with GABA. GABA is the neurotransmitter that helps us to feel calm and relaxed. So, from our late 30s onwards, we produce less of this. So naturally, in our 40s, we’re going to be feeling a bit more stressed, a bit more anxious than we would anyway. So, then we turned to alcohol. And this is the reason we’re turning to alcohol is alcohol causes a big surge of the neurotransmitter GABA. So, Alcohol is a depressant. The problem is the brain is not designed to have such a heavy hitting surge of GABA, so the brain wants to keep balance. So, the brain actually releases cortisol, the stress hormone, in response to this GABA search that we’ve had from the alcohol. So, we are making ourselves more stressed and anxious by drinking, but we’re drinking in response to our stress and our anxiety. So, we end up in this complete vicious cycle.


So, what I do when I work with my clients is help them to remove the alcohol. And then we get a really clear picture of how they’re feeling, what support they might need. It might be from supplements, I do a Braverman neurotransmitter test with them. So I can see are you deficient in GABA 80% of the women I work with are deficient in GABA, which makes sense because we’re producing less of it as we get older. So, then I work with them through nutrition supplements and lifestyle to find natural ways to start increasing the neurotransmitters and we take that holistic approach for some clients, that’s not enough. And because their hormones are fluctuating so much, they will go down the route of going on HRT MHT. And find that that really works for them. It’s individual for everyone. But I think the one thing I know to be true is alcohol will massively exacerbate your menopause symptoms will massively impact your sleep when you’re in your 40s. Because your liver simply cannot metabolize alcohol in the same way in your 40s as it does in your 20s like something I didn’t realize is women have a shrinking liver.


So, from our late 30s onwards, our liver volume begins to shrink, which just means in our 40s and upwards, we cannot physiologically metabolize alcohol in the same way as we did in our 20s. So, it’s always going to have more of an impact on our sleep on our anxiety on things like hot flashes, and our mental and physical well-being.


Casey McGuire Davidson  32:32

Yeah, absolutely. And you know that’s interesting. I’m I was reading another book on addiction inoculation by Jessica Lahey. I’m interviewing her later in the weekend, she was talking about how when we are younger, we have more of the like, quote, unquote, positive reactions to outcome, meaning the spiking the dope dopamine and everything else, but you don’t have as many of the negatives when you were younger. And then as you get older, the hangover symptoms, the anxiety, everything else. Really start spiking. So, the idea of why could I handle it when I was 25, and not now, it’s physiological?


Sarah Rusbatch  33:13

Absolutely, it’s physiological. And we’re just women anyway, produce less of the enzyme, ALD h, which is the enzyme that gets breaks down alcohol and gets it out of our system quickly, women have less of that enzyme than men. What this means is women are more prone to become addicted to alcohol faster than men. And they are more vulnerable to the health risks of alcohol such as cancer, and we know alcohol is a cause of breast cancer and seven other types of cancer. Alcohol causes dementia, and liver disease and everything like that will happen quicker to a woman than a man if they were drinking the same amount of alcohol simply because a woman’s body cannot metabolize alcohol in the same way as a man’s. But no one is talking about this. And no one, you know, in all of the advertising when big alcohol decided to deliberately start targeting women. At no point was there any information out there going? But hey, women, just so you know, these are the health risks for you. When it comes to drinking alcohol. I was part of that generation. Yeah, we can match the boys pipe the pipe down the pub. And you know, all of that was that was happening in the 90s in the 2000s. I was a big part of that. And I believed it all. But now, what I know is women simply physiologically and particularly as we get older can’t metabolize alcohol in the same way.



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 


Casey McGuire Davidson  34:30

Yeah, absolutely.


And what you were saying with it earlier, which I think is so true, is that we have to create a life that we really love and enjoy to help us stay sober because, you know, I think that you can mentally know all the information why drinking isn’t good for you. And yet, if you don’t have another way to relieve boredom, or stress or loneliness or cravings, then, you know, you’re sort of like rolling the ball uphill every day and you’re going to get tired. But replacing those things actually is not as hard as you think it is.


So, why don’t you take us through some of the different ways to do it. Let’s start with stress. So, what are your recommendations if someone is drinking because of stress?


Sarah Rusbatch  35:23

So, the first thing we need to do is sit and work out. Is it everyday stress, in terms of just my life is very, very hectic, or have I had a dysregulated nervous system for a really long time? And that could be as a result of childhood trauma that could be as a result of any events that have happened previously leading up to this.


So, what I mean by a dysregulated nervous system, for anyone who isn’t familiar with that term, our nervous system is designed to be flexible. What that means is we move in and out of a stress state.


Stress is not bad. Stress is absolutely not bad. I might feel stressed.


I do a lot of work in the media. So, I was on TV on Friday. So just before I was going into the live TV, the adrenaline start going through my body, I’m feeling a bit nervous. It’s live TV, I’m live on air across millions of homes. And so, I’m feeling a bit anxious prior to that, and my body is going cool. But that’s the, that’s good stress, because that means that my senses become alert, I become really clear thinking. I’m doing exactly what I need to be doing. I finished the interview, and I go, ah, and then I can drop back down into a calm state because the event is over. That is how the human body is designed to be where we go into a stress state for a short amount of time. And then we drop back into a calm state. And that’s not a problem. That means we’ve got a flexible nervous system.


A dysregulated nervous system is when we became we become stuck in a chronic stress stage.


So, we’re designed to go into the stress response for about 1520 minutes, and that at the max and then drop down. Many people are living in that dysregulated fight or flight stress response. Like for very, very long periods of time. But we’ve got to start thinking about what are the micro stressors, it doesn’t need to be a massive, big event. There can be lots of micro stressors that impact us.


So, we can look at our morning routine. That’s a great place to start. So, do I wake up, turn on my phone, go straight on the news to see what terrible traumas have been happening, which for a really strong coffee, stay in the scroll hole for ages? So suddenly, I’m running really late. The kids are screaming, Oh my goodness, look at the time. I haven’t made the lunches. I’ve got to get them out the door. Oh, my goodness, I’ve got a work meeting. I completely forgot about that. My suits that are at the dry cleaners.


Like, we’ve got to start looking at what’s our morning routine? Like, can we start our day where we don’t reach for our phone first thing, where we may have written a plan the night before and checked our diary, what am I doing in the morning? What am I going to? What’s my first half hour of the morning going to look like? So, I know what I’m doing. These things are within our control.


There are certain things out of our control. And I talked about this a lot in the book. But there’s certain things in our control. What do I do in the evening? Like we know that scrolling our phone causes stress in the body? How much time do we spend sitting on our phone scrolling? Are we do we delegate enough? And do we take time for ourselves? This is the problem. Casey, I think you’ll probably find this as well is alcohol. We can drink alcohol while we are doing the ironing making the lunches, unloading the dishwasher making dinner helping with the homework, doing all the things. Whereas or muster haskers.


Casey McGuire Davidson  38:36

Right. I always was like I can play Candyland. And Legos while drinking.


Sarah Rusbatch  38:42

Exactly, exactly.


Whereas, if we’re going to start taking time for ourselves, that means us being okay with perhaps saying to the family, I’m off to a yoga class now. Or I’m going to have a bath now and read my book for a while. And I find a lot of women have guilt around that. Perhaps, it was never a role model to them, that women are allowed to take time for themselves. They feel selfish doing that. So, we have to go, and I’ve written a lot about this in the book, down that path of actually, what do I want a role model to my kids? Do I want my daughter growing up thinking that mum is constantly the one that does everything for everybody? Or do I want a role model to my kids, that it’s okay for them to take time for herself? Because our kids will learn from what they see us do not what we’ve said. So, when we reframe it in that way, I think it’s powerful.


Casey McGuire Davidson  39:31

Yes, absolutely. I mean, I totally agree with you. And that was something that I definitely had to change in early sobriety and, you know, my husband was very busy, and work was very busy. And, you know, I actually, one of the big things I had to do was, find more babysitters and actually hire them because, you know, my husband and I were at that standoff. Where he was like, I have this thing I have to do. And I was like, but I need to do X, you know, and I used to always lose. You have that many standoff about whose commitments are more important. I used to always lose that. For whatever reason, and then, I was like, Great, I’ll hire a babysitter.


That’s fantastic.


And you know, it’s takes effort, but it was so worth it. The other thing, when you’re talking about, I used to do that, I would get up, turn on, like the political news, which is like designed to send you into the stress response, like literally, that is their entire goal is to keep you hooked. And I stopped getting the breaking news. I mean, little things. Stop getting breaking news alerts on my phone. Stopped watching the news in the morning. Started at night. I took the longest time to put, Do Not Disturb on my phone. Do you use that feature?


Sarah Rusbatch  40:51

Absolutely. And I mean, my map, changes everything. And so, I physically turn my phone off at 8pm every night. So that’s my thing. I turn it off, and I put it in the kitchen drawer. And I then don’t check my phone again until I get up the next morning. And yeah, changed my life. Like, yeah, I’ve slept I sleep better. I have more time. And just my whole body feels like, yeah, no one can reach me, no one can get me.


Casey McGuire Davidson  41:20

Yeah, well, I didn’t quite do that. But I was always worried that my alarms wouldn’t go off, if I didn’t have Do Not Disturb. But for the last year, I’ve been doing it and just not having those little pings when your email goes off, or the little vibrate when your texts like it changed my sleep. And I put on Sleep Sounds every night, which are just so good. I mean, look, I finally got blackout curtains, I mean, these little things that you think don’t make a difference. They really did.


Sarah Rusbatch  41:49

Yeah, I did a talk with a mental health expert recently. And he said, they’ve done research that shows if you sleep with your phone by your bed, you will not go into the same deep sleep that you do if you don’t have a phone in the bedroom. And so, he was saying, Get phones out of the bedroom, you know as much as you can, when we when we can. So, it’s starting to look at and I’ve written a lot about all of these tips in the book. And then what do I add in to support my nervous system. So for me, that has included breathwork, it’s included using essential oils, it’s included, moving my body and getting out for a walk, it’s included yoga, it’s included and turning my phone off in the evening so that I can’t be you know, constantly contacted, it’s having a morning routine that doesn’t allow me to get straight up, go on my phone or turn on the news and have coffee, I do different things first thing in the morning, and just the small changes have made a huge difference to my nervous system.


Casey McGuire Davidson  42:46

Okay, so tell me your morning routine, because I’m always curious about that.


Sarah Rusbatch  42:50

So, I journal when I wake up. So, I will. I generally get up between 5 and 5:30. And I will journal. I have these 5 questions that I will pick. A question that I journal, too. And I will respond to that question. I usually have a gratitude in there as well, of just starting the day with something that I’m so grateful for. I will then do a lot of stretching. And then, I get out and do some kind of exercise. So, whether that’s walking or going for a run or doing some like a little routine and weights routine in the garden, some kind of exercise. And then I will come back and then it’s time to get the kids organized for school get everything set up.


And I mean, Sarah drinking. Sarah would have been like, oh my god, that’s so lame. Like, that’s just ridiculous where it’s so Becerra is like, this makes me so happy. And so I’m in bed, usually by nine, half, nine in the evening, and I’m up at five half five, and that just suits my circadian rhythm and my body. Love that routine. Absolutely love it. And so that’s just what works for me. And I noticed such a difference to my mental health when this is my guests.


Casey McGuire Davidson  43:59

Yeah. And does your husband go to bed at the same time you do? Or is he usually up later?


Sarah Rusbatch  44:03

That, we both go to bed so we both get up between 5 and half, 5. And then my husband stayed up till like midnight, and I’m like, I don’t sleep well. And I’m like, let’s talk about that. You know?


Casey McGuire Davidson  44:08

Yeah, but yeah, yeah. But I go to bed early. I kind of go to bed when my daughter goes to bed, which is more like 10, usually. But I also get up around 5:30. So you know, it’s funny. We always talk about your trading these hazy boozy nights for these quiet peaceful mornings. Which, to some people sounds boring. And if you haven’t tried it, it is not boring. You know, I was worried when I stopped drinking that. My husband would think I was boring. And you know, he finally said to me, you passing out on my couch. wasn’t that exciting either?


Sarah Rusbatch  44:54

I was like, yeah, exactly. Yeah.


Casey McGuire Davidson  44:55

Well, so we talked about stress. What’s the Excellent, let’s go boredom. Because that’s, you know, drinking was my hobby. Like, I’m probably even called it that sometimes. So you got away most of your friends drink, maybe your spouse drinks. So how do you deal with boredom when you have this packed schedule?


Sarah Rusbatch  45:21

So, that’s exactly how I start. My book is with the, quote, “hobbies”. What middle aged woman has time for hobbies. And besides, I’ve got my hobby right here with me, holding a glass of wine. And that was it. Like, if you’d asked me when I was 14, what are your hobbies? I’d have said, drinking, drinking, drinking, drinking. And what I’ve realized over time, is doing things like what is fun, just for a moment, think about how would you define fun, and I define fun, as anything I do for my own enjoyment and pleasure. So, it has no purpose to it, than something I do, because I find it enjoyable, interesting or pleasurable. And then, that just opens up a whole new world when we don’t just think of fun as going out, getting past getting dressed up with our girlfriends, being in a bar, drinking cocktails, getting home at 2am passing out on the sofa, waking up with all your clothes still on and having to like then go about the day. Like, in our teens and 20s fun is as you were saying before about the media that talks about, it’s 80% Fun 20%.


A bit crap when we’re drinking in our teens and 20s. But at no point do we, as women, pause and go? Well, what is fun for me now as the woman I am today, and that’s what I take readers through in my book is the entire chapter around what’s my fun plan.


So, for me, fun now is, getting up at 5am to go for a sunrise hike with a girlfriend. For me fun might be being in my pajamas at 6pm on a Friday night with a bowl of popcorn watching a movie with my daughter fund might be going and doing a sauna yoga ice baths session fun is doing an online course on a subject that I’m really interested in finding is I’ve just started doing adult hip hop dancing classes, which I’m absolutely loving, because I’m used to be a raver back in the day, I was on the dance floor all the time. So, to move my body to music and doing these adult dancing classes is just makes my heart sing. I just look forward to this class. Every Monday night. We’re in a big show at the end of June, which will be so exciting.


Casey McGuire Davidson  47:28

So, my daughter’s taking hip hop. So yeah, yeah, it’s so good.


Sarah Rusbatch  47:33

And so, and then for the women that I’ve worked with, I’ve seen women do tap dancing, take up drumming lessons and guitar lessons. I’ve seen women join choirs. I’ve seen women go back to university, do online courses, change careers, like there is so much out there. But we’ve got to just start asking ourselves, Well, what do I enjoy doing? And if we don’t know, because a lot of us don’t know. Then we start experimenting. And I’ve put loads of ideas in the book of what I experimented with to begin with to go Hmm, do I like this or not? And it’s not about having to go or have to like it. It’s about going. I’m going to be curious. I’m going to be curious about seeing as the woman I am at this age and in this season of my life. What do I enjoy spending my time doing?

I had a terrible statistic yesterday, Casey. I was talking to a woman who is a digital expert who helps people with phone addictions. And she said that the average Australian, and I would say that this is probably a similar statistic for America and the UK. By the time they get to the end of their life, they will have spent 17 years scrolling on their phone. And that made me so sad. So sad because we get one life, precious, wonderful life and I don’t want to waste any of it sitting on my phone scrolling watching videos of people I don’t know, doing things that don’t interest me because I’m not actually out there living a life for myself.


And so, we have to make that decision. This is my one life. What do I want to achieve? Create a bucket list. Create a list of all the things that you want to do.

I want to go and track the Inca Trail in Peru.

I want to do a hot air balloon.

I wonder like I’ve made a travel list of all the places I want to go, but start to get creative excited about this wonderful life that we have, instead of wasting it sitting on the sofa drinking alcohol, scrolling our phones and another month goes by. A year goes by, 5 years goes by, and nothing has changed.


Casey McGuire Davidson  49:45

Yeah, I mean I that’s something when you talked about a bucket list. That’s something I love to do for every season. Because everybody’s so worried about like oh my god summer all these drinking events and then the holidays all these Frankie events in the fall, and I asked them to make a list of all the things that they could do or interested in doing that don’t involve alcohol. So, they can actually get excited about the season.


And sometimes, things that they always said, they’re going to do, like, Oh, I’m going to do this hike on rattlesnake ridge, and I’m going to go kayaking here, or I’m going to learn to knit or I’m going to read these novels, or whatever it is, but really actually having a list putting it on their fridge for the season. And some women do it with our kids. And just figuring out things, see, and it takes some effort, right? I mean, you know, with Groupon is a great place to get ideas of things you can do just scrolling. You know, sometimes it’s Aerial yoga, or you know, trapeze or escape rooms, or whatever. And if none of that sounds good, I highly recommend just getting some great novels, and reading them all on a hammock or something. But the other thing I wanted to say, because this is who I was in, this is what I see a lot with women is we get into this martyr complex, right? And we almost use it sometimes as a weapon. That’s what I did.


So, my husband gets to do his bit he plays, I call it old man baseball. But he’s played on a baseball team for 20 years. He’s also a Baseball Coach. He also somehow goes fly fishing with his buddies three times a year. And, you know, my friends used to have this joke to be like, Oh, must be nice to be Mike Davidson. Like, he was living the good life. And I fell into this martyr role of like, I’m the main breadwinner. I work so hard. I have the kids if you know, it was like, once a quarter, I’d go out with my girlfriends. And I was pissed at him anytime he did something. And one of my girlfriends said to me, she was like, because I was bitching. She was like, is it that you don’t want him to be happy? Or is it that you’re not happy? And I was like, oh, fuck, I’m not happy, and so on. It’s that he’s getting to enjoy life. And so, just deciding to be less of a martyr and to ask for more or deploy resources to actually go on a vacation without your spouse and kids, or whatever it is. It could be life changing. I see friends. Right now, a woman I know, went on her first retreat, her first sober retreat by herself in Austin, Texas, and she’s on the coolest ranch. They have horseback riding, they’ve got like the plunge pool in the hot tub in the hammocks, and it’s gorgeous. And unlike, she texted me said, I am having the best time of my life. She was terrified to go. But just the idea of like claiming some of that for yourself, even if you’re scared, is pretty awesome.


Sarah Rusbatch  52:52

Absolutely. I’m so glad you brought this up. Because something I say so often is, no one is coming. No one is coming to make your life amazing. No one is coming to go. Oh, Casey had a really hard day. Let’s just sort out the kids and get Mike to help them. And I’m going to arrange for you to go on this weekend yoga retreat, it looks like you really need it. No one is fucking coming to do that we have to take responsibility for our lives. And there might be some people sitting here go, I don’t have the financial resources to do X, Y Zed, but there is always something available to us. There is always something it is our responsibility to make our life how we want it. It’s nobody else’s job to make us happy. And I do think that there was a lot of I was stuck in that place as well. I played the victim. And I played the Queen, like a bitchiness that was just like, he gets to do this, she gets to do that. And then and then it’s not fair. It’s not fair. And


Casey McGuire Davidson  53:46

the murder and therefore you can sit on your couch drinking wine because your life so hard and not minimizing anything but like, it’s, it’s easy to get into that place. And it’s easier to do when you are constantly hungover and craving and not getting good sleep. And, you know, I mean, alcohol really makes you depressed and anxious and pessimistic. And you won’t see how much it does that till you get away from it. But the other thing I will say is that I feel like, and you probably do too, when women stop drinking, the next big thing they usually have to deal with is boundaries. Right? Like, if they have poor boundaries, that is working for whoever in their life is getting them to do all the things for them and it’s probably your spouse, maybe your kids, maybe your parents definitely your boss. But setting up those boundaries are uncomfortable, right? doing less saying no, but you’re doing that so you can carve out some time to actually be happy and relaxed like regulate your nervous system. Take a nap go for a walk do so Something fun, but you have to insist on setting that boundary of how much you can give. And that’s uncomfortable.


Sarah Rusbatch  55:11

It is uncomfortable. And I’ve written a lot about boundaries in the book. It’s uncomfortable, but it’s not impossible. And yet we have to end it’s not. I think there’s a big difference between guilt and tension. Like, do we have to feel guilty for one night a week saying, You need to sort the kids out for one night a week so that I can go to my yoga class? Do we have anything to feel guilty about that? I’m not at all like one night a week. So we might feel tension, because we might feel uncomfortable, because we haven’t done that before. But there’s a difference between tension and guilt. And we need to just get Okay, the more we do it, the more we’re going to be okay with going, Ah, Tuesday nights, that’s my mate. That’s when I go and do something for me Thursday night, that’s his night where he goes and plays footy with the boys or goes to his, you know, chess group, or, you know, whatever, it doesn’t matter. But it’s so important that we get to take some time to for ourselves. And like I said before, this is the best modeling we can do to our kids, to both boys and girls, because we want to raise boys who see mom taking time for herself. So they don’t think that it’s the woman’s job just to be at home running the family. And we want to see girls that go, Well, yeah, my mom took time for herself. So I can, because if we don’t see that our kids are never going to do that. And then we don’t change the legacy that gets passed down to the next generation. Yeah,


Casey McGuire Davidson  56:32

Yeah, absolutely. What about loneliness? There’s a great book, that’s actually called, friendship in the age of loneliness, right? We’re surrounded by people, we’re more connected than ever. And yet, so many people feel lonely. What do you recommend for if that’s a big trigger?


Sarah Rusbatch  56:52

I think the first thing is to look at who in our life currently can we be vulnerable with, instead of actually pretending I was the queen of fine, I’m fine, I’m fine, everything’s fine. And I felt like, I was failing in some way. If I admitted I was struggling, I felt like I was not a good enough person. If I asked for help, and an actual fact, it takes a lot of courage and bravery to be okay with doing that. And so, who in your friendship group or in your life? Can you be vulnerable with, and can you actually open up to and say, are so? When I first quit drinking, I didn’t want to say to anyone, I had a problem with alcohol, because I thought I was letting other people down. If I wasn’t Sara, the party goer anymore.


And so, I just laid it off and kind of was like, Oh, I just want to do a bit of weight. I’m just doing a health kick, because I want to lose weight. So, what that meant was everyone thought that they could twist my arm to get me to drink again, to lose weight, get that back up and have a drink. Whereas, if I’d actually just been open and honest and went, do you know what alcohol is really destroyed my mental health, I’m really struggling mentally at the moment, it’s really impacted my anxiety. I and I opened up in that way, it probably would have been very different.


So, I really encourage people to look at who the people are that they can actually start being honest with because that creates such a deeper sense of connection to those people when we’re vulnerable. And when we show our real selves, we feel seen, we feel heard, we feel validated. And that stops us feeling lonely. There is nothing worse than being surrounded by people, but constantly playing a part and not actually sharing how we’re feeling. If we don’t have people in our lives, that we feel we can be that way with which can be very, very common.


That’s okay, but it is about starting to go. Do I want to create more time to get to know new people and invite new people into my life where perhaps I can create that deeper connection? And I do think there is nothing quite like finding an ex-drinker who is your new bestie because you both know that you are. You’ve probably got similar stories to tell. You’re both going to be incredible, strong women to have. Been able to remove alcohol in it. Well, that tells us we need alcohol everywhere we turn, and we can so some online sober groups and in-person meetup groups, things like that. We’ve got to perhaps push ourselves out of our comfort zone a little bit. Be okay with being the new person turning up to things we haven’t done before. But taking up new hobbies is a great place to start because then we’re going to find people with similar interests.


Casey McGuire Davidson  59:27

Yeah, absolutely. I think that’s great. And I, you know, a lot of women struggle to meet other women who don’t drink and when you find them, it’s pretty incredible because I love hanging out with women who quit drinking, right. They have done some work they’ve gotten real. They typically have the best stories, Reagan’s theories.


Yeah. And you know, it’s just really fun but I mean, even you know, as an adult making friends is awkward sometimes, right? Like meeting someone new and figuring out that you’d like each other. And so, I’ve just gotten really upfront when I meet someone I like, I’m like, Oh my God, you’re awesome. Can we be friends? And they almost always say, Yes, you know me, totally.


Sarah Rusbatch  1:00:15

I’m the same. Like, we all want to connect with people. And so put yourself in situations where you get to meet people that you connect with. Because again, it ain’t going to happen sitting at home on our sofa, we’ve got to be okay with putting ourselves out there, join a walking group, like, whatever your hobby is, whatever the thing is that you want to spend time doing. When you discover that, go and do that, because you’re going to meet other like-minded people that enjoy the same things as you.


Casey McGuire Davidson  1:00:42

Yeah. And just experiment. And if the first thing you try, isn’t the thing, keep experimenting it. You. I mean, it does take effort to find your new interests. It doesn’t have to be hard, but it takes it takes effort.


Sarah Rusbatch  1:00:57

Yeah, of course it does. And, and again, this comes back to what we talked about at the start that we have got, I think, as a generation, we are impatient. We want things to just click and they just land in our lap. And we’re less comfortable with doing the harder things but then we end up with a mediocre life. Like, if we want a great fulfilling life, we’ve got to put in the effort, you put in the effort, you get the result, you don’t get the result with no effort. And so, you’ve got to as an individual decide, am I okay with where things are now? If my I get my clients to answer the question, if my life is exactly the same a year from now, and nothing has changed, how does that make me feel? And if the answer to that question is sad, depressed, scared, worried, then we’ve got we know that we want to start making some changes, and the changes aren’t going to happen for you. We have to be the one to make those changes.


Casey McGuire Davidson  1:01:55

Yeah, absolutely. And, you know, you describe it really well in the book about how you feel when you’re drinking, which is just increasingly more tired, more anxious, unmotivated, low mood, wretched hangovers, zero energy for this temporary high, and it’s no way to go through life.


Sarah Rusbatch  1:02:19

No, and the thing is that most of us don’t realize how much alcohol is taking from us. Because we’ve been feeling that way for such a long time. That becomes our new version of just a normal is. I feel a little bit shit most of the time. And then, I drink and that makes that feeling go away. And then I repeat.


And in actual fact, taking that break from alcohol allows us I always say it’s like going from living your life in black and white to living your life in color. Because we really get to start to experience everything that life throws at us.


Casey McGuire Davidson  1:02:52

Yeah, I mean, I think it’s amazing when you get further away from drinking when you first wake up and be like, Oh my god, is this how I’m supposed to feel? Like actually feeling healthy, not having that low grade anxiety throughout your body not having a headache. I, yesterday, I was feeling really nauseous to the point where like, I had to go up to bed at 5pm. And like, lay down because I felt so sick. And I just laid there from 5 to 8pm. And my thought was like, Dude, I used to feel this way on a regular basis, which I did, like, just going through life and just being like, I don’t feel good, you know? Yeah. Yeah.


Sarah Rusbatch  1:03:34

Yeah, we thought that was as good as it got, like living 5 out of 10 was kind of like, yeah, that’s it. That’s all we can expect as a midlife woman.


And I’m here to say, Actually, no. You can expect, and you deserve so much more than that. You’ve just got to be prepared to put in the effort to get it.


Casey McGuire Davidson  1:03:51

Yeah, I think that’s the perfect place to end this. So, thank you so much for everything you’ve shared. I think your book is wonderful. I think it’s great to look at. How do you practically go about building this life when you remove alcohol?


So, tell us how people can find you find the book work with you all that good stuff.


Sarah Rusbatch  1:04:12

Yeah, so the book is available on Amazon. In the US. It’s in Barnes & Noble. It’s in a whole range of stores in Australia and the UK as well. So, that’s available to purchase. Beyond Booze: How To Create A Life You’d Love Alcohol-Free. And then, I’m very present on Instagram, which is just my name @sarahrusbatch and my website is sarahrusbatch.com. And I work with midlife women. And I run Alcohol-Free programs. I run group coaching programs, and a whole range of services to support women to create their best life without alcohol.


Casey McGuire Davidson  1:04:47

Very cool. And I’ll put all of those links in the show notes for this episode. Thank you so much.


Sarah Rusbatch  1:04:53

Thanks for having me.


Thank you for listening to this episode of The Hello Someday podcast.

If you’re interested in learning more about me, the work I do, and access 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. 


Connect on Instagram

Get The Free 30-Day Sober Guide That Has Helped 20,000 Women Take A Break From Drinking. 10 Tips For Your First Month Alcohol-Free From Hello Someday Coaching.

Get the FREE Guide


You're In! Check Your Email For the Guide.