How To Stop Romanticizing Alcohol + Start Romanticizing Sobriety
What do Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte + Miranda from Sex And The City, Bridget Jones and Olivia Pope on Scandal have in common? Their shows, characters, sets and plot lines romanticize and glamorize alcohol.
TV shows and movies have taught all of us from a very young age that drinking is empowering, sophisticated, fun and ‘the thing’ that modern, independent women do.
Through marketing, media and the culture we have been raised in we’re taught that alcohol is both good and necessary and that it should be put on a pedestal.
We see drinking as a privilege of adulthood and believe that drinking makes us sophisticated and sexy and also helps us connect and relax.
On the flip side we’re taught that life without alcohol is less exciting, undesirable or something that only people with a “real problem” with alcohol would choose. And we’re convinced that life without drinking is difficult, dull and boring.
None of which could be further from the truth.
Life without alcohol is fun, exciting, healthy and happy (Promise!).
But those ingrained, subconscious or even unconscious beliefs can hold you back when you’re trying to shift your relationship with alcohol.
They sabotage your efforts to get healthy and talk about what you’re doing in an empowering way. They hold you back from feeling better and draw you back into old habits that keep you stuck.
My guest today is Kate Bee, founder of The Sober School, and we’re talking about how to stop romanticizing alcohol and start romanticizing sobriety.
In this episode, we discuss:
How to feel excited and inspired by an alcohol-free life
- Why to give sobriety a chance (since you’ve probably given alcohol hundreds of chances)
- Practical and positive ways to start romanticizing sobriety
Why we tell ourselves we can’t socialize without alcohol
- How to shift your fears about what life will be like if you stop drinking
- Why blackouts make it hard to see or remember the ‘unromantic’ parts of drinking
- Ideas for amazing alcohol-free vacations, birthdays and anniversary celebrations
- Ways to have fun and relax without a glass of wine
Ready to drink less + live more?
Take my FREE CLASS on 5 Secrets To Successfully Take a Break From Drinking
Join The Sobriety Starter Kit. It’s the private, on-demand sober coaching course you need to break out of the drinking cycle – without white-knuckling it or hating the process.
Grab the Free 30-Day Guide To Quitting Drinking, 30 Tips For Your First Month Alcohol-Free
More About Kate Bee
Kate grew up in the era of Sex in the City and Bridget Jones and believed her drinking was simply what successful independent women did. She was a journalist and a TV producer for the BBC and drinking after work was just how people socialized. But she was tired of feeling hungover and ashamed about what felt like more drinking than was healthy. So when Kate decided to quit drinking, she was disappointed to find that the only real support was through AA. She attended a few meetings but left feeling like she didn’t fit in because she was getting sober before her drinking had negatively impacted her work or her relationships.
Kate started The Sober School to support women wanting to quit drinking. The Sober School is an online group and inspiration of a really positive way to get rid of alcohol from your life without believing that you have a disease or you need to be quiet about it, or there’s something wrong with you.
To learn more about The Sober School, head over to www.thesoberschool.com
Stay connected to Kate and The Sober School on your favorite social media platform.
Connect with Casey
Find out more about Casey and her coaching programs, head over to her website, www.hellosomedaycoaching.com
Take a screenshot of your favorite episode, post it on your Instagram and tag me @caseymdavidson and tell me your biggest takeaway!
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How To Stop Romanticizing Alcohol + Start Romanticizing Sobriety With Kate Bee
drinking, alcohol, life, people, sobriety, feel, thinking, romanticizing, big, hungover, sober, stop, night, wine, day, quit, Kate, Bridget jones, women, coaching
SPEAKERS: Casey McGuire Davidson + Kate Bee
Welcome to the Hello Someday Podcast, the podcast for busy women who are ready to drink less and live more. I’m Casey McGuire Davidson, ex-red wine girl turned life coach helping women create lives they love without alcohol. But it wasn’t that long ago that I was anxious, overwhelmed, and drinking a bottle of wine and night to unwind. I thought that wine was the glue, holding my life together, helping me cope with my kids, my stressful job and my busy life. I didn’t realize that my love affair with drinking was making me more anxious and less able to manage my responsibilities.
In this podcast, my goal is to teach you the tried and true secrets of creating and living a life you don’t want to escape from.
Each week, I’ll bring you tools, lessons and conversations to help you drink less and live more. I’ll teach you how to navigate our drinking obsessed culture without a bus, how to sit with your emotions, when you’re lonely or angry, frustrated or overwhelmed, how to self soothe without a drink, and how to turn the decision to stop drinking from your worst case scenario to the best decision of your life.
I am so glad you’re here. Now let’s get started.
Hi there. If you’re listening to this podcast, I’m betting you’ve been going back and forth for a while now on whether or not you should stop drinking. And I want you to raise your hand. If you’ve had any one of these thoughts. You might have been thinking, I’m not that bad. I actually don’t want to stop drinking completely. I just want to drink like a normal person. Or maybe you come home after work. And you think I know I shouldn’t drink tonight. But I literally can’t relax or have fun without it. It’s really common to say I’ve tried to take a break from drinking before. But it’s just too hard. I always give up anyway. So what’s the point in trying again, or here’s one I hear all the time from women, everyone I know drinks. If I stopped drinking, I will be bored. Or I’ll be boring, I’ll have no fun. I’ll never be invited anywhere. I’ll just sit home and be miserable. Or maybe you can insert Whatever your reason is there. So is your hand up? If it is, that is totally okay. And that’s because taking a break from drinking and changing your relationship with alcohol. This shit is hard. And that’s why I’m really pumped to invite you to my brand new, completely free 60-minute master class, The 5 Secrets To Successfully Take A Break From Drinking. Even if you’ve tried and you failed in the past. After you take this free class, you’ll realize why what you’ve been doing up until now hasn’t been working and what to do. Instead, we’re going to cover all the juicy topics, including what questions you need to stop asking yourself, because they’re setting you up for self-sabotage, not for success. We’re going to talk about exactly what you need to do differently. So you can stop the exhausting cycle of stopping drinking and then saying Screw it and starting again. And we’re going to talk about the real reasons you haven’t been successful. And I’m betting they’re not what you think they are. And this isn’t surface level stuff. I am handing over the strategies and the mindset shifts I go through every day with my private coaching clients. If you’re listening to this podcast, I really encourage you to take a moment and sign up for this completely free masterclass. It will help you on your journey to drink class, and with more to feeling better. So if you want to save your spot, go to hellosomedaycoaching.com/class while the class is still available, and I really hope to see you there
I am really excited for the conversation today because we’re going to talk about why you need to stop romanticizing alcohol, and start romanticizing sobriety. And if you can’t imagine how to do that, we’re going to give you really practical ways to get started.
My guest today is Kate Bee, who’s the founder of the Sober School and lives near Manchester in the UK. Kate helps women quit drinking and feel really good about living a life alcohol free. She stopped drinking eight years ago and I have been following her on Instagram and her work and I am a big fan of what she does and her approach. The fact is that we’ve all been brought up in a culture that puts alcohol on this pedestal as the be all the end all of everything good in adulthood. We see it as a privilege when we reach adulthood and all the shows and the marketing and the advertising tells us that drinking helps make us sophisticated and sexy and helps us connect and relax.
And we also have been brought up with the idea that people who don’t drink are somehow lame or boring or the only people who stopped have a quote unquote real problem with alcohol are alcoholics because nobody else would choose to stop drinking. And those ingrained and subconscious or even unconscious beliefs really hold us back when we’re trying to shift our relationship with alcohol. Those beliefs sabotage our efforts to get healthy, they sabotage our efforts to talk about what we’re doing in an empowering way, they hold us back from feeling better, and kind of take us back to the old habits that honestly make us feel like shit, because we think they are something to be admired.
So, I’m so excited to have this conversation with Kate. And I want to tell you a little bit more about her. Because I was reading this and I completely and totally related. Kate grew up in the era of Sex in the City and Bridget Jones, which I did as well and believed her drinking was simply what successful independent women did. She was a journalist and a TV producer for the BBC. And drinking after work was just how people socialized. But she was tired of feeling hungover and ashamed about what felt like more drinking than was healthy. So when Kate decided to quit drinking, she was disappointed to find that the only real support was through AA, she attended a few meetings, but left feeling like she didn’t fit in. Because she was getting sober before her drinking had negatively impact her work or her relationships. And I did the same thing.
If you’ve listened to this, you know that I stopped drinking and went to a for about four months. And it just wasn’t the path for me, it didn’t fit for me. And I ended up going back to drinking again, until two years later, I found a Coaching approach. And I found online groups and inspiration of a really positive way to get rid of alcohol from your life without believing that you have a disease or you need to be quiet about it, or there’s something wrong with you. So that’s why Kate founded the Sober School. And I’m excited to have this conversation. So welcome, Kate!
Thank you. I’m so pleased to be here. And so excited to talk about this topic. It’s one of my favorite ones.
Yeah. And it’s something that’s so important, especially for women. And I think it’s everyone in society that we grow up and drinking is everywhere. You mentioned Sex in the City and Bridget Jones. I mean, yes, every single episode, it’s how they bond. It’s how they talk. There’s metaphors and significance around what they ordered, like cosmopolitan, everything. So tell me your thoughts on this.
Yeah, you know, as he was just talking that I was thinking about how we used to say a lot of these things about smoking, like smoking used to be kind of sexy and glamorous, like I’m just about old enough to have gone to school during that time when smoking was still quite cool. But now it’s the exact opposite of that. And certainly here in the UK, we make people go outside if they want to smoke. So you can’t ever get into smoking while thinking it’s kind of like sexy and normal and glamorized.
Casey McGuire Davidson 08:25
Same thing, you’re in the like garage. Like in my office building. You used to have to go down the elevators to the garage. We live in Seattle, it rains, it was the opposite of sexy and empowering. You were sort of like huddled in a corner with the other smokers. And you’re right. It used to be on TV and ads like the badass cool women smoked.
Yeah, yeah, I was looking at some really old cigarette adverts from the 70s. And they, they don’t really coupled together that kind of female empowerment along with the advertising, which is definitely a message that really appeals to me. And I was thinking about how we’ve gone through such a moment with cigarettes. But with alcohol, we just aren’t there. And I think it’s so normal that most of us have this hard time stopping drinking, given all the things you’ve mentioned from the way we see in TV and movies, to books and social media and our friends, too. I saw some pajamas today when I was out shopping that said like Prosecco party on them. It’s just normal.
Oh my gosh, I work out in the women’s wear the margarita made me do it or whatever it is. And I’m like, yep, you know, and but it’s, it’s supposed to be funny, and it’s a sign of letting loose and you have kids and yet you’re still a partier. So you’re like, somehow signifying that you’re still the girl you were in college.
Yeah. And I just think it’s important to keep that broader picture in mind. Because when we are thinking, oh, gosh, I really want to change my drinking, I think I want to stop or take a break. But it feels as if your life’s gonna be over. You know, I have so much compassion for the version of me who was struggling to quit drinking 10 years ago, but decided that she couldn’t do it them because it would have made giving up too much, because it just didn’t know any better then. And, you know, and now doing the job I do I see that with people today, we have this kind of like tunnel vision around how important alcohol is and what we think we need it for and what it does for us. So taking alcohol off that pedestal you talked about is such an important part to quitting drinking, and actually feeling good about it.
Casey McGuire Davidson 10:52
Yeah. And I think part of it is taking it off the pedestal and looking realistically at what it does for your life. And that’s everything from the physical effects to knowing the disease connection between cancer and alcohol and how you feel in the morning when you’re hungover. But I feel like that’s not enough. Because the romantic side of it is so high. I really think that like sobriety or life without alcohol beats or rebranding, because the truth is that when you give up alcohol, your life substantially gets better. And pretty quickly, and a lot of the fears you have about how dull and boring life is going to be without alcohol, or that you’ll never have fun again, just aren’t true.
Yeah, exactly. But yeah, like you say, it takes a little while to kind of get your head in the right space. I don’t know if you’ve ever had this experience before you stopped drinking of being the designated driver.
Yes. Although honestly, most people would never choose me to be the designated driver, like I was highly unreliable, including my husband, like I would drive to every evening event, he would always drive home and he drinks it was just unspoken, that I would be like, completely not the person who should be driving at the end of the night. Despite me saying that I would do it. Like he just always was like, yep, better not have another Casey is supposedly bad druggie, but I’m pretty positive, she’s gonna throw it.
I couldn’t relate to that. I used to dread those times. But I went out with a friend recently. And she was the driver. And I could see she was not having a good time. Because like most people were drinking part from me and her. And I said to her after a while, if you want, I can drop you off home afterwards, have a drink. If that works, like, make a pic. You got a face as miserable as sin. And she was like, oh, yeah, that would be great. So she went and ordered a drink. And in a split second, her body language, her mood, the way she was engaging with people. It all shifted. And her drink hadn’t even arrived. Yeah, yeah. And, you know, that’s the kind of thing we need to be thinking about. Because she’d gone from being all up in her own head about how depriving it was how miserable she was that she couldn’t drink to Oh, suddenly feeling as if she got the freedom to do that and shifting how she was. Yeah. And it’s that shift, but we’ve got to learn to do in sobriety. Because we don’t want to be the sad designated driver forever.
Casey McGuire Davidson 13:38
And it’s completely psychological. Right? It’s like Pavlov’s dogs. You didn’t even get the reward yet. And yet, you’re getting the hi from just knowing the reward is coming. And that is conditioning.
Yeah, exactly. I mean, I remember that. Just feeling that relief, as I kind of went over to their fridge and open the bottle, or I ordered a drink in a bar. The stuff hadn’t like, drunk it yet hadn’t got into my system. And I was already feeling that relief. But the good news is that if someone’s listening to this, and they can relate to that, well, if you know, it’s all in your head, so to speak, you’ve got so many other options, it means that you can retrain yourself to get that kind of relief from drinking something alcohol free and something equally lovely. And you can learn to manage your mind and relax naturally at the end of the day.
Yeah, yeah. And it’s actually easier to do that, right? Because when you’re drinking, you have that cognitive dissonance between this makes me feel good. And then you wake up at 3am or in the morning and you feel like garbage. And anyone listening to this is probably in that place or has been there right like, you know, drinking isn’t actually Are we making you feel better? So when you make this mindset shift, it actually is easier because the evidence in your life actually stacks up with what you’re telling yourself.
Yeah. Isn’t it interesting how many of us, we obsess? Well, we forget to look at the bigger picture, and play that movie forward. And you talk about waking up in the middle of the night feeling awful. And I like to make this comparison between like watching a movie. And many of us, we judge our drinking, and we romanticize our drinking, based on that first scene of the movie, which is the first half an hour after that during the first hour. But actually, each night, our drinking movie, it lasts for almost 24 hours, because that’s how long we feel the effects of drinking for. Yeah, and if you went to see a movie at the cinema, and the opening scene was great, for the rest of it was terrible. And it ended with you staggering out feeling awful, you wouldn’t tell your friends to go and see that movie, you wouldn’t keep romanticizing it and wanting to go back to it. But that’s what a lot of us are doing. We just obsessing about this first bit and forgetting everything that happens after that.
One, there’s a whole bunch of reasons for that. Part of which is, I was sort of a gray out blackout drinker. So I didn’t remember a lot of the bad stuff, right, it would sort of come back and flashes or the next day, I’d be kind of like trying to gauge with my husband or the girls I was out with, like, how embarrassed I should be or how bad it was. But like, I didn’t have that external perspective. Seeing yourself as being really unsophisticated and uncool. And like sharing too many stories, you know, and this is me who, like no one really told me I needed to stop drinking, right? It wasn’t to the point where people, you know, I wasn’t going to work, or I wasn’t doing anything, I didn’t have any real negative consequences. But like, the effect of the alcohol to makes you not have that clear vision that your idealized version is not actually what’s happening.
Yeah. And I think as well, when you’re drinking, it can be hard to just take that step back and see that it’s how you feel at five or six o’clock in the evening, when you’re like, you had a terrible day, and you’re desperate for a drink all of that stuff, it does get easier in sobriety, because you don’t keep starting your day on a kind of minus 10, which is what you do when you’re hungover. So you’re kind of going through the day with a one arm tied behind your back. And that was my big stumbling block was how am I going to manage? How am I going to unwind? How am I going to cope with these feelings? And it never occurred to me that if I just quit drinking for long enough, I actually might find that I don’t get wound up to such a high place in the first place. Yeah, all that stuff, all that logic that passed me by when I was in the middle of all of this.
Casey McGuire Davidson 18:19
Yeah. And I mean, there’s so many reasons that we believe that drinking is what we should do, or that life without alcohol isn’t as good. And, you know, I know you used to work for the BBC. And drinking was a big culture. And when you said Bridget Jones in Second City, I was like, Yep, absolutely. Tell me about some of those ways that you know, the fears you had about sobriety and the ways you sort of romanticized alcohol because I think we all have sort of the common themes.
Yeah, yeah, I, I think my drinking really, it kind of rocketed up a gear, when, in my mid 20s, I got my first proper job. First of graduate job, I had a fairly high disposable income because I didn’t have any ties back then. And suddenly, I felt as if I was living the life I dreamed of having a fairly good job during the day, and then people to go out with and socialize with afterwards. And that had kind of been everything I’d wanted to do. I thought I was so cool. I was Bridget Jones or Carrie from Sex in the City. But then, like, the crack started to show up very quickly, because actually, the people who I was working with, yeah, they wanted to go out for a drink maybe once or twice a week. But I realized quite soon that I wanted to drink like five or six times a week. And so I began buying a bottle of wine on my way home. To then drink on my own. And I think part of me knew that wasn’t okay, that wasn’t normal. But again, I could bring that back to a sort of, hey, I’m an independent, self-sufficient woman. Isn’t this what we do? Yeah. And that really kept me stuck for a while.
That’s sort of like, yeah, I can do whatever I like, actually. And, you know, this is me, you know, relaxing in my nice flat with the views and the, like, I’ve kind of like, isn’t this isn’t the success isn’t this everything I wanted.
When you look at even shows today, and I always tell women that I’m working with in the real early days, like, don’t watch those shows where the women are constantly drinking, like there are a ton of great things you can binge on that don’t include a giant glass of wine, but I’m thinking in particular about scandal because I was watching that right before I stopped drinking, and she would go home somehow dressed in all white, I was a red wine girl, I had wine away in my purse, I sprayed it everywhere, because I constantly spilled and would wear nothing but black because I was just like, constantly like dropping it everywhere. Not the actual class just the red wine, silly. But she would sit there alone in a lot of the scenes after the big day with this giant Goblet of wine. So it even normalizes obviously, even drinking alone is what you do if you’re a badass woman and sophisticated at the end of the day.
But in those shows, like you say, it does look sophisticated. And yeah, you can wear your white dress and not spill red wine on it amazingly. Or still be wearing your heels at the end of a long drunken night. Yeah. But the reality of my drinking, especially the drinking at home, which became as time went on the thing I did most often that that was the irony that towards the end. I think 90% of my drinking was at home alone. Yeah. But yeah, I was obsessed with the fact that I couldn’t quit drinking because that’s how I socialize. But when I drank at home on my own, it looks horrible. I always think of myself, wearing my kind of gritty, old dressing gown, surrounded by things I’ve been drinking food that I’ve been eating, because I was always on a diet but drinking was the time I also like let myself eat whatever I wanted, I would often pass out on the sofa whilst watching TV. There was nothing glamorous or nice about that.
Casey McGuire Davidson 22:56
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, 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.
Your drinking sound exactly like mine, everything you said, I was like, Yep, I that was 90% of my drinking to passing out on the couch waking up at two in the morning, feeling like garbage looking around being like, oh my god, how am I going to cope tomorrow? Not remember the end of shows? I mean, that was most of my drinking. And yet I held up the after work happy hours and the vacations in Italy and the date nights with my husband.
Yeah, for me, one of the big things that nearly stopped me quitting was thought of what will I do when I get married? I should point out that I was single at the time. And I’m actually still not married now. Yes. It’s a good job. I haven’t put everything on hold. Because at the time, I could not visualize getting married without drinking champagne on the day.
Yeah. Yeah. For me, it was eating, I quit when my son was eight. And my daughter was two. And I was even like, How can I not drink at my daughter’s wedding, she was two years old like that theme. And one of the things that actually helped me shift that and I want to talk about how to shift that perspective, was actually thinking about the trajectory of my life over the next decade. So my son was eight. And I was drinking a bottle plus of wine a night, and having all the negative stuff associated with it. What would his life and my life looked like 10 years out when he was a team, if I kept on that path, knowing that it just gets worse. And I was like, will he even want to bring his friends home to the house in the evening? Well, he respect me. Will we have all these amazing conversations and the relationship I want? If I keep drinking? So, you know, I had one, one part of my brain being like, what about my daughter, Lila, his wedding, she’s too. And another part of my brain being like, this is not going anywhere. You want it to go for your family, any, it’s not going to be good for your relationship with your kids or your own health.
Yeah, yeah. Wow, what a powerful way to play that movie out with different endings. Yeah, I love that.
Casey McGuire Davidson 27:18
And now it’s been almost six years, right. And he’s 13. And he’s super proud of me for not drinking. He just is like, when I hit 1000 days, he and my husband went to this craft store and got this big, tall glass vase and put in 1000, little turquoise beads in there and like had it on the kitchen table with flowers and a card. So you know, and it’s not all of our relationship. He’s not like my mom, quit drinking. That’s the number one thing in our life. But he is not embarrassed to have friends over and I’m present for him and I am not hungover in the morning or not wanting to drive him to sports, you know, basketballs at, you know, pickups at 9pm. At night on a Friday night.
Yeah, yeah. And you’re building a relationship with him. That’s, yeah. When you think ahead to that wedding, whenever it will come. You know that that relationship that you’ve built over years and decades with him? That’s going to be what matters? Yeah, but what’s not the liquid that’s been your glass for this one day?
Casey McGuire Davidson 28:26
Yeah. Which by the way, was making me anxious and feel like garbage and hating myself, and you know, all that stuff? Yeah, yeah. Let’s talk about how do you romanticize sobriety, because I know for a lot of women, it’s like, yeah, I can’t think of anything. Sexy, sophisticated, romantic, good about life without alcohol, just because sometimes it hasn’t been modeled for people.
Yeah. And as we’ve mentioned, we’re taught to see that really just two types of drinkers normal drinkers and raging alcoholics. So it makes sense that we don’t want to be in the raging alcoholic category. And there’s, you know, I always thought something a bit strange about people who don’t drink or that whole Oh, you can’t just a non-drinker. What nonsense, but all those little things that feed into us thinking that sober isn’t very sexy. Yeah. And people quite often tell me this. They’re considering, you know, my company’s called the sober school. People are like, I don’t like your name, Kate. Change that sober sounds really dull and boring. And I get that it does have all these connotations with it. So what we need to start doing is just first of all, as we’ve been doing here, becoming aware that we’ve been falling into this pattern of talking up alcohol and talking down sobriety, even when we’re trying not to drink. We sometimes talk about alcohol as If it says, like, lover that’s been taken from us, yeah. Or like the best level we ever had. And we’ve got to stop doing that, and start talking about sobriety instead. Because if this was a kind of cheesy 90s romantic comedy, alcohol free living is the guy that the girl overlooks to start with. But he’s kind of there in the background. And we’ve got to bring him up to the kind of into the main storyline. Yeah. So like, a really easy thing you can start doing is write down one thing every day that you love about alcohol free living. And if you challenge yourself to do this every day, you’ll be amazed at the things you find. Because you’ll start off with stuff like I love waking up without a hangover, like the kind of big stuff. But then you get into the nitty gritty things like you were mentioning about your son, like him being proud of you. Or, you know, you love the way your partner like looks at you in the morning. Rather than that look of like, what were you doing last night? Yeah, you’ve got their respect back. Or you can jump in the car and pick up your kids at any time of day or night, when we started looking for those little specific things, we start finding more and more of them. And that’s just a one example of where we need to start kind of putting out energy to, rather than playing the story all the time about what a hardship and a burden sobriety is.
Casey McGuire Davidson 31:38
Yeah. Yeah. And I think that, you know, there are literally so many of those moments, I love that you said, write them down. And notice them because I think doing that split screen of like, if I had been drinking, here’s what would have happened, like the good and the bad, right? Because I’m not drinking, here’s what it was like. And it can be everything from I drove home and was not terrified that I would get pulled over or not worried or not second guessing things. But also, like, I had this really great conversation with someone that I probably would have not been present for and may not have remembered all of it. Like I got to connect with that person, or I got up on Saturday morning actually went for a run or a kayak, which I had been telling myself for years that I would do but always sort of rolled over with a headache and said, Screw it. Like, I’m a more interesting person. I am doing more very things.
Yeah, yeah. I love that. And I think you can apply this strategy to so many things, if you’ve got something coming up that you are worried about, you know, say an event that you’re going to go to and you can’t imagine not drinking there? Well, you can start rehearsing this in advance and start thinking about, why is me being alcohol free? Why is that going to be the best thing ever? Yeah. Why is that going to make this event so much better than it would be worse, I’m drinking. And if you start doing that in advance, before you even get there, you’re priming the pump, you’re priming your brain to look out for these things. And to start anticipating and visualizing what it’s going to be like, because there are so many things that you’re going to gain. And I love what you said about having those conversations with people that maybe you wouldn’t have had before. And it’s those little things that you can just miss or gloss over. If you don’t stop and register that this is happening. Yeah, this is what life’s about.
Casey McGuire Davidson 33:57
Yeah. I mean, I think what you said about visualizing what’s going to be amazing about it is so important. And you know, I remember doing that when I was pretty early in sobriety going to Mexico to a big resort that I loved that I drank app before. And so that was a challenge that I needed to address. And so I thought about waking up in the morning, having coffee and going out on the deserted beach, they had these gorgeous white beds, like swinging beds on the beach with curtains and you know, I could never get them when I went there before because I was always hungover and getting up late and running the kids out. And I would go there and I would just like watch the beach and drink my coffee and like say hi to the other four people who are there and feel all proud of myself in perky and be like hey, how are you either the people jogging by that you’re always like, rolling your eyes at when you’re hungover. You’re like Oh Jesus, you’ve already gone for, like, that was amazing. And like reading a book on the veranda, you know, and remembering it. And you know, forget about all the little things like the bar bill and being able to go out to the hot tub in the pool with my daughter at 10pm. Whereas normally I would just not be safe, right? She was like two years old, I can’t go in the pool with her at 10pm. So all of that was pretty amazing.
Yeah, yeah, I think that’s so important to do. And, yeah, just soaking up all those benefits that you get from it. I’ve just lost my train of thought, oh, it’s the other thing I love is like so many of us and you know, with new year’s resolutions, right? I used to tell myself the exact same thing every single year, like, I’m going to do X, I’m going to do Y I’m going to, you know, start this hobby. And one of the things that is really awesome to do when you stop drinking is to actually sign up for some new things, sign up for the guitar lesson sign up to do painting, you know, I signed up for a 10k and joined a running club, which I had told myself for like decades, I’ve never run a 10k in my life. And, you know, so it was pretty amazing. I was that girl at 8am on a Saturday seeing a group and jogging six miles. And I was like becoming this person that I always wanted to be. And I just remember getting so emotional on those runs, because I was just like, This is what’s awesome about not drinking, like I’m actually proud of myself.
Yeah. And that’s the secret as well as to be going out and adding things into your life. Because when I look back on my unsuccessful attempts at stopping drinking, I did quite a few dry January’s and things like that. I never changed anything about my life during that time. Yeah, all I did was kind of monitor the calendar to see where we were, and how close we were to me being able to drink again and saying I’ve done it. But we’ve got to start creating a life that that feels really good that that we don’t want to escape from. So that involves adding some stuff into it, and doing things to genuinely make us feel good. And focusing on that. Yeah, rather than just mourning what’s left us? Yeah, someone said to me once that breaking up with alcohol is a bit like breaking up with a partner. Even when you know it’s the right thing to do. There are going to be moments when you question it, and you doubt it and you wonder if that’s right. But we’ve all had that experience of breaking up with someone, and then looking back and knowing that it was the best decision ever. Yeah.
Maybe you’re with someone now who you will never be with if you hadn’t gone through that breakup in the past. So there’s a bit of holding your nerve and knowing that you got to trust your instinct, even if there are those ups and downs well, and also just knowing I love the analogy of the breakup. And I think that as well, because you have to go through a little mourning period. I feel like if you don’t go through a mourning period, you’re not serious about leaving it behind. But you don’t need to dwell there, right? You need that space to open up in your life so that new good things can come into it. And I think it really helps in terms of romanticizing sobriety, yes, you’ve got your list of all the bad things about drinking, why you want to stop. Anyone who wants to stop has their list of like, shit, you want to stop happening, right? And it can be as simple as I want to lose weight. I look like crap. I never work out my stomach feels awful in the morning. But in addition to that, make a list of what you want to bring into your life, all the things you want, that you haven’t had time or energy, or just follow through with to do and sort of post that up somewhere. And I even like, post up pictures of I had a vision board of all the things I wanted to do without drinking and all the things that were good in life. Like there was something that said like more coffee, more sunsets, you know, more connection more hugs, more adventures. I had a picture of me on like orange Vesper scooter in Nantucket, when I was like 22 and I like took this Vesper ride out to all these lighthouses and took all this photography by myself and I was just like I want to feel that again. And having that image helped me so much. I was like, I want to be that girl, not the girl, hungover in the morning or like, zoned out on my couch. At the end of the night. I want to be the girl on the fuckin scooter in Nantucket.
You know, I love that I wish I had had such a clear vision when I stopped. I think I was very much motivated by what I wanted to escape from for a long time. And I just managed to keep going enough to then pick up on the fact that I needed to have more of a stronger vision of where I was going. One thing I wanted to say when it comes to romanticizing sobriety is we’ve got to give sobriety a chance, because most of us have given alcohol a lot of chances as well. My god. Yeah, see that again?
Yeah, we’ve, we’ve given alcohol, so many chances, hundreds if that final last chances, all of them. But yet, we’re so quick to go out and do something sober once. And then we’ve got a whole story about that.
Casey McGuire Davidson 41:16
Yeah, that is that for me, I was miserable. Like the girl who was the designated driver. Like, that was not fun.
Yeah, yeah. And I know, for me, and many of the people I work with, it is literally about practice. And if you can commit to going out and doing something, let’s say 10 times, check, go to 10 social events, and then come back and draw some conclusions on it, you’re in a much better place than just going out once or twice. Because those first few times when something is new, it is going to be awkward. And we are naturally like we’re wired to want to stay in our comfort zone. We don’t like things that are different. So we can’t let ourselves judge the experience on that. So if we can just keep doing it for a bit longer, get over the initial awkwardness, then it’s a bit easier to spot all those amazing things that we’ve been talking about and all the benefits that you might not see otherwise.
Casey McGuire Davidson 42:19
Yeah. I totally agree with that. And part of it too, is like, set yourself up for success. If an event is completely driven around romanticizing now calling that’s the main activity, you will be able to do that at some point. But don’t do that to yourself. In the beginning. I remember for my birthday, arrange something before I quit drinking. So it was a hot air balloon. I live somehow right next to 90 wine tasting rooms, literally three, three miles from my house. I’m pretty sure that’s why I moved here. A hot air balloon in the afternoon at sunset that landed and he went to one of my favorite wineries for wine tasting. And I was like 20 days sober. And it was my birthday. And when you talk about an ex-boyfriend, literally, I went in there. They were all tasting. I was red wine girl. They were tasting red wines. Pretty sure again, that’s why I chose it. And I was like, I’m not drinking, do you have something else? And they were like, well, we have water, you know? flatwater and I felt like I was watching all these people making out with my ex-boyfriend and I loved him so much more than I ever could. And what if I had chosen the sunrise hot air balloon? What if I had gotten there at five in the morning on a gorgeous summer day? My birthday is in August and done the sunrise and then had this incredible brunch, right? So it’s a little bit about like, if you romanticize sobriety, pick things that are going to be amazing that you would likely never do because I would not have gotten up at four in the morning to catch a hot air balloon a little ways away from me. And enjoy that be that person?
Yeah, yeah. Well, I quit drinking about six months before I turned 30. Wow. And I remember feeling under a lot of pressure at the time to have a big birthday celebration. And all my friends had had a sort of throwing a big party. And there’s the time drew nearer and nearer. I suddenly got that like nagging feeling that throwing this big party just wasn’t right for me. And it wasn’t so much that I thought I was going to be tempted to drink but a bit like you described there are still it’s gonna be boring seeing all these other people drink. They’re gonna keep asking me why I’m not drinking. Like that just doesn’t feel good. It does. Didn’t feel inviting or fun. So, one of the bravest things I think I did in that period was to kind of buck the trend and go like, No, I’m not doing that. And I spend a lot of my money on a holiday on the holiday of a lifetime. to Kenya. Yeah, well, we did a safari trek, I did a kind of health and fitness, and a few days with loads of yoga. And that was those were all experiences, I would never have opened my mind to, I would never have thought I could have done. You know, I would just never have gone to that place without quitting drinking, triggering this whole chain of events that broke me out of this pattern where I was kind of sleepwalking through life doing other things, doing things just because other people were doing them.
Yeah. I mean, that’s incredible that you did that. Didn’t you say it was in Kenya? Yeah. Yeah, it is very cool. I actually grew up around in Africa, and a bunch of different countries. My parents were diplomats with the US Embassy overseas. So I’m in like Zambia, and Mozambique and Namibia. And I can just imagine in early sobriety, if you’ve never been there, how incredible that would be in terms of like the adventure of a lifetime.
Yeah, it was amazing. Um, the other thing is, during that trip, I met someone who runs a fruit and veg box delivery service in the UK. Sounds really random. But this is back in what 2013 I hadn’t really heard of that, then. But he made such an impression on me. He and I told him about my idea for this thing called the sober school, but I didn’t think I was ready for it. And he was telling me about, you know, he’d set up his business after failing school, I’ve hardly any money and, and, and, you know, when you just think, wow, somewhere in the universe, I was meant to meet this person at the right time. Because he was just like, you, you are meant to do this next thing. And yeah, if I’d never gone on that trip, maybe the next few years would have looked totally different.
Casey McGuire Davidson 47:24
I always call that like following your divine breadcrumbs, like taking a step towards something that feels really good and exciting and amazing. And then you’re going to be given another breadcrumb, that’ll fall, you know, go to the next step. And then the next one, like, if you hadn’t stopped drinking, and then decided not to have a big party, you know, boozy night and decided to go to Kenya, and then met this guy. Like, it’s just this trajectory of good, optimistic, positive, exciting, you know, developments in your life. Yeah.
And the funny thing is, so now, I’m just turned 38. So not that far off turning 40. And I was thinking the other day, well, do I want to throw a big party for my 40s? Maybe I do. Because actually, now, I think, yep, I could throw a big party. And we do it exactly the way I want to do it. Every single person I know knows that. I don’t drink. They’re all fine with it. Because otherwise they’re not in my life. I especially post COVID. I like the idea of bringing everyone together and having a really good. Yeah, then and being there for all the right reasons. Yeah. It would just be so nice to do that on my terms, my way. But I didn’t have that confidence back then. Yeah. So back then the best thing I could have done was something completely different.
Yeah. And I know like a lot of people, it’s those big milestones that trip them up, but we’re vacations but it trips them up way before the event. Like I remember when I was stopping drinking, I was talking to my sober coach, and it was day 16. And I was like, Okay, here’s what’s what I’m worried about. I am going to Italy and Croatia on a vacation. How can I not drink on that? And she was like, okay, okay, when are you going? I was like, four months from now. And she was like, Alright, let’s talk about that in three and a half months. And we did all the work in between. I mean, first of all, I was feeling so much better. I was looking so much better. I was stronger. I didn’t have like the physical withdrawal by that point, but really needed to envision because like, I had been to Italy a number of times before my husband and I like drank crafts of wine in the sunshine and visited all the wine regions. Of course we did. And instead, I needed to envision going Venice, and I took all my wine money and spent it on like incredible Phoenician class necklaces that I just adored. And instead of wine crawls, I did gelato crawls with my eight year old son who thought I was suddenly the coolest mom ever. Because I was usually like, No, we’re just gonna sit at this patio for three hours doing nothing while I drink. And I went to bed early, so I didn’t do the late night stuff. But I woke up before anyone else woke up and I walked the canals and I did all this photography. I love black and white photography of just the empty buildings and streets. And that’s romanticized in sobriety, right.
Yeah, that’s amazing. I love that. So top tip for traveling anywhere is to look and see if they do a food tour. Yes, I’ve done food tours in Miami, are quite a few different places. Now. They do exist. They’re a thing. Yeah, what you’re saying there reminded me of a bit random. But have you heard of the gorilla experiment? No. Tell me about it is this I think it is from the 90s where the they got a group of people to watch a video of two teams playing basketball. And the people watching the video had to count how many times the ball passed between the two teams. And halfway through the video, a man dressed in a gorilla costume, walks across the screen, beats his chest and then walks back off again. And these researchers ask the people, so was there anything you noticed in the video? And more than half of them? Just say, Yep, I was counting the passes. And here’s how many times it went between the two teams. So those people didn’t even notice the gorilla walking across the screen? Because they were so fixated on something else. Yeah. And I think this applies so well to your holiday experience that we can go there and take our lens with us of like our goal, our goal? What can I do where I can drink? Oh, they’re watching everybody else order? And how much do they order? And what’s the class look like on their? on their table? Like?
Yes, yeah, basketball passes completely.
And it just reminds me that week, no one is ever having a full experience of anything. Like we can’t absorb 100% of anything. It’s just physically impossible. We have to tune some things out or our brain would just explode. So do we chew now the gorilla? Do we chew now the alcohol? Or, you know, what do we make room for what’s going to fall out the bottom? When you go on holiday, there’s only so much room in your suitcase. And if you take alcohol with you, is going to squeeze out a ton of space for other things. Yeah. And that’s always been a real comfort to me knowing that I’m not missing out because everyone is missing out. No one’s having this complete experience of everything. It’s just up to us to decide what we want to have within our experience and the food tool and the things that you described. That’s what I want in my experience.
Casey McGuire Davidson 53:35
And like bike tours and hiking tour. I’m a tour fan. I even did a walking photography tour in Paris. When I went there, there’s so much amazing stuff out there. You know, we took a Vesper to like four psi and like went on the highway, like, you don’t do these things, when you’re focused on going to the bar or you’re hungover or you’re sleeping late, like you’re really missing out on amazing things in life. And not only in vacations, like I remember, in early sobriety, I was driving across the bridge, I live in Seattle to see a friend. And it was like seven in the morning on a Saturday. And there were all these people biking across the bridge and running across the bridge with friends and talking and I was like, Holy shit, do they do this every weekend? Like I was like, there is an entire universe that I had no concept even existed. And those people look happy and healthy. And I was like, damn, like no concept. So you know, there is a lot out there that is an alcohol and the quicker you start romanticizing it in a really positive way. You know, shift your focus away from the glass of wine, how it looks what you’re missing out on and start envisioning how incredible life could be once you Leave alcohol behind it kind of take that weight off your shoulders, the happier and more successful you’re going to be. Yeah.
And the other thing I just want to reassure people is that some of the things you truly love doing right now, you probably don’t have to stop doing in sobriety. Like, if you love coming home from work and having a drink with your partner, you can carry on doing that when you quit drinking, because actually, what’s really special and lovely about that, is the fact that you’re spending time together. Someone’s asking you about your day, you’re hearing about theirs, you’re connecting, you can still have that in sobriety, like that’s not being taken from you. And the same way, you know, date nights, and all those other things. So I think it’s just about keeping that perspective and not like we started off talking about not putting alcohol up on that pedestal, and giving it the credit for all these things.
Yeah, it’s literally just a beverage in a glass. It’s like, if you were going to a restaurant and decide to order a salad versus a hamburger or became a vegetarian. It’s, it’s just a substitution, it doesn’t mean everything, we get it all this big importance and power.
Yeah, do the mindset work. Because you know how little kids have those comfort blankets they carry around with them. And if they lose the comfort blanket, they’re not going to have a good time at the party, they can’t settle down at night, all those things. Like we as adults know that that comfort blanket has no magic powers at all. But if the child thinks that they can’t go to sleep without the blanket, they think they can’t have a good time at the party, they won’t do. Like we’ve been carrying around alcohol with us like it’s a giant comfort blanket. And we’ve just got to let go of it. Yes, there’s a whole big world out there waiting for us.
Casey McGuire Davidson 57:05
Yeah, and the only way to see that you’re going to be okay, without that comfort blank, is to give it a chance to get some time away from it, and actually start enjoying your life, you know, versus like, just focusing like the woman who was a designated driver, just be miserable the entire time and not looking around at all the beautiful things around you. So I have loved this conversation. I know a lot of people listening to this are gonna want to follow up with you and find more out about what you do, how can people get in touch?
Thank you, the best place to find me is probably at my website, which is the sober school.com. I have a blog on there. I do weekly videos nearly every week. And some of the downloadable things a pep talk and a one o’clock guide. And I’m also on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter or at the sober school. So come on, come find me and say hi.
Casey McGuire Davidson 58:12
Awesome. Well, this has been perfect. Thank you so much.
Hi there. If you’re listening to this podcast, I’m betting you’ve been going back and forth for a while now, on whether or not you should stop drinking. And I want you to raise your hand. If you’ve had any one of these thoughts. You might have been thinking, I’m not that bad. I actually don’t want to stop drinking completely. I just want to drink like a normal person. Or maybe you come home after work. And you think I know I shouldn’t drink tonight. But I literally can’t relax or have fun without it. It’s really common to say I’ve tried to take a break from drinking before, but it’s just too hard. I always give up anyway. So what’s the point in trying again? Or here’s one I hear all the time from women. Everyone I know drinks. If I stopped drinking, I will be bored. Or I’ll be boring. I’ll have no fun. I’ll never be invited anywhere. I’ll just sit home and be miserable. Or maybe you can insert whatever your reason is there. So is your hand up. If it is that is totally okay. And that’s because taking a break from drinking and changing your relationship with alcohol. This shit is hard. And that’s why I’m really pumped to invite you to my brand new, completely free 60-minute master class, The 5 Secrets To Successfully Take A Break From Drinking even if you’ve tried and you failed in the past. After you take this free class, you’ll realize why what you’ve been doing up until now hasn’t been working, and what to do. Instead, we’re going to cover all the juicy topics, including what questions you need to stop asking yourself, because they’re setting you up for self-sabotage, not for success. We’re going to talk about exactly what you need to do differently. So you can stop the exhausting cycle of stopping drinking and then saying, screw it, and starting again, and we’re going to talk about the real reasons, you haven’t been successful. And I’m betting they’re not what you think they are. And this isn’t surface level stuff. I am handing over the strategies and the mindset shifts I go through every day with my private coaching clients. If you’re listening to this podcast, I really encourage you to take a moment and sign up for this completely free masterclass. It will help you on your journey to drink class and live more to feeling better. So if you want to save your spot, go to hellosomedaycoaching.com/class is still available, and I really hope to see you there.
So thank you for coming on here. I couldn’t appreciate it more.
Thank you for listening to this episode of The Hello Someday Podcast. If you’re interested in learning more about me or the work I do or accessing free resources and guides to help you build a life you love without alcohol, please visit hellosomedaycoaching.com. And I would be so grateful if you would take a few minutes to rate and review this podcast so that more women can find it and join the conversation about drinking less and living more.
ABOUT THE HELLO SOMEDAY PODCAST
The Hello Someday Podcast helps busy and successful women build a life they love without alcohol. Host Casey McGuire Davidson, a certified life coach and creator of The 30-Day Guide to Quitting Drinking, brings together her experience of quitting drinking while navigating work and motherhood, along with the voices of experts in personal development, self-care, addiction and recovery and self-improvement.
Whether you know you want to stop drinking and live an alcohol free life, are sober curious, or are in recovery this podcast is for you.
In each episode Casey will share the tried and true secrets of how to drink less and live more.
Learn how to let go of alcohol as a coping mechanism, how to shift your mindset about sobriety and change your drinking habits, how to create healthy routines to cope with anxiety, people pleasing and perfectionism, the importance of self-care in early sobriety, and why you don’t need to be an alcoholic to live an alcohol free life.
Be sure to grab the Free 30-Day Guide To Quitting Drinking right here.
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