Are mindfulness practices part of your sober toolbox? If not, they should be.

Mindfulness in sobriety can help you manage cravings, reduce stress and anxiety, regulate your emotions, increase self awareness, support your overall well-being, mental health and prevent relapse. 

I know those are big promises, so let’s break down what mindfulness is, how you practice it and can apply it to your sobriety.

What is mindfulness

Mindfulness is a mental state where you focus your attention non-judgmentally on the present moment. It involves being aware of your thoughts, emotions, and sensations without getting attached or reacting impulsively. The goal is to be fully present in the moment, acknowledging and accepting what happens without trying to change it.

How can mindfulness support your sobriety

📌 Managing Cravings: Mindfulness will help you observe cravings as they arise, acknowledge them without judgment and let them pass without acting on them. Mindfulness practices can help decrease the intensity and frequency of cravings over time.

📌 Reducing Stress and Anxiety: Since stress and anxiety can trigger relapse, mindfulness techniques like deep breathing and meditation can help calm your mind, reduce stress levels, and lower anxiety.

📌 Improving Emotional Regulation: Mindfulness helps you recognize and accept emotions, rather than reacting impulsively to them. Improved emotional awareness and regulation can minimize anger, loneliness, boredom, resentment and other emotions that are triggers to drink.

📌 Enhancing Self-Awareness: Through mindfulness, you can become more aware of your thoughts and feelings. Increased self-awareness can help you make better decisions, identify triggers and unhelpful patterns, and develop healthier coping strategies.

📌 Promoting Overall Well-Being: A regular mindfulness practice can improve your mental health and well-being, which is crucial for anyone in recovery. A healthier mental state supports sobriety by fostering a positive outlook and a stronger resilience to challenges.

📌 Supporting Relapse Prevention: By cultivating a mindful approach to daily life, you can  maintain your focus on your sobriety goals and remain vigilant against the mental and emotional states that might lead you to drink.

🎙️ So, if you’re ready to dive into all things mindfulness in sobriety, I asked my friend Deb Masner, host of the Alcohol Tipping Point podcast, to dive into what mindfulness is and how to use it to support your recovery and alcohol-free life.

In this episode, Deb and I discuss:

How mindfulness practices can help to reduce stress and anxiety, manage cravings and regulate your emotions

✅ The biggest myths about mindfulness (that typically involve an image of you sitting cross-legged on a meditation pillow with a salt lamp somewhere in the background)
✅ How to incorporate mindfulness into your life even if you’re a Type A multitasker
The benefits of slowing down, being present and incorporating mindfulness into daily routines
✅ Strategies for reducing distractions and improving focus through mindfulness practices
Plus Deb walks us through a live mindfulness practice on the show

And I know that even when you’re bought into the idea that mindfulness is a great practice to incorporate to support sobriety, you probably have some preconceived ideas of what mindfulness is from watching yoga or meditation YouTube videos. 

They may involve sitting criss-cross applesauce on a meditation pillow, surrounded by essential oil diffusers and maybe a salt lamp. Am I right?

Yoga, meditation and breathwork are practices that can absolutely be used to achieve mindfulness, but that’s not what it’s all about. 

There are a lot of myths of what mindfulness is and what it achieves that can get in the way of finding an approach that works for you.

Here are the top 9 myths about mindfulness:

Myth: Mindfulness is only about relaxation.

         ➡️ Reality: Yes, mindfulness can definitely lead to relaxation, but that’s not its primary goal. It’s really about experiencing life as it unfolds in the present moment.

Myth: Mindfulness is a religion.

         ➡️ Reality: Despite its Buddhist origins, mindfulness as practiced widely today is secular and not tied to any religion.

Myth: Mindfulness is either very difficult or very easy.

         ➡️ Reality: Practicing mindfulness isn’t necessarily difficult, but it’s not effortless either. It can require continuous effort to bring yourself back to the present, especially in a world where we are used to multitasking.

Myth: Mindfulness means you ignore the future.

         ➡️ Reality: Mindfulness doesn’t mean that you don’t think about or plan for the future, but it helps create mental space to manage thoughts about the past and future more effectively, allowing for a more balanced existence.

Myth: Mindfulness is about emptying your mind.

         ➡️ Reality: Mindfulness is not about achieving a blank mind or having no thoughts. Mindfulness is more about noticing your thoughts and feelings without getting all wrapped up in them. Just watch them go by like clouds in the sky without judgment.

Myth: Mindfulness is only for reducing stress.

         ➡️ Reality: Stress relief is a big perk, but there’s more to it. Mindfulness can help you handle your emotions better, boost your focus, spark some creativity, and even make your relationships smoother.

Myth: Mindfulness takes a lot of time.

         ➡️ Reality: You don’t need to dedicate hours each day to practice mindfulness. Even a few minutes can make a difference. You can practice mindfulness in everyday moments, like when you’re taking a walk or even while you’re eating.

Myth: Mindfulness is just meditation.

         ➡️ Reality: Meditation is a popular way to do it, but it’s not the only way. You can practice mindfulness with all sorts of activities that keep you in the now with a focused awareness, like listening carefully, swimming, eating, walking or doing yoga.

Myth: You need to sit still to practice mindfulness.

         ➡️ Reality: Sitting still is one way, but definitely not the only way. You can be mindful on the move too, like when you’re walking or stretching. It’s all about being in the present, however you choose to get there.

So remember that mindfulness is super flexible and personal, so just explore it to find the best ways it fits into your life.

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

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

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Connect with Deb Masner

Deb Masner is the founder of the Alcohol Tipping Point- a place to find free resources, tools, and tips to help you change your drinking. Deb runs 30 Day Dry Months where she helps people practice not drinking. 

She is a Registered Nurse, Certified Health and Wellness Coach, SMART recovery facilitator and alcohol-free badass.

To learn more about Deb and the work she does, head to

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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.

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How To Use Mindfulness Practices To Support Sobriety With Deb Masner



drinking, mindfulness, feeling, emotion, talking, present moment, moment, meditation, life, work, sit, day, breath, accepting, slow, people, helps, inhale, allowing, helpful, mindful, support, sobriety, habits, grateful


SPEAKERS: Casey McGuire Davidson + Deb Masner


Welcome to the Hello Someday Podcast, the podcast for busy women who are ready to drink less and live more. I’m Casey McGuire Davidson, ex-red wine girl turned life coach helping women create lives they love without alcohol. But it wasn’t that long ago that I was anxious, overwhelmed, and drinking a bottle of wine and night to unwind. I thought that wine was the glue, holding my life together, helping me cope with my kids, my stressful job and my busy life. I didn’t realize that my love affair with drinking was making me more anxious and less able to manage my responsibilities.

In this podcast, my goal is to teach you the tried and true secrets of creating and living a life you don’t want to escape from.

Each week, I’ll bring you tools, lessons and conversations to help you drink less and live more. I’ll teach you how to navigate our drinking obsessed culture without a buzz, how to sit with your emotions when you’re lonely or angry, frustrated or overwhelmed, how to self soothe without a drink, and how to turn the decision to stop drinking from your worst case scenario to the best decision of your life.

I am so glad you’re here. Now let’s get started.


Hey there! Today, we’re talking about


mindfulness in sobriety.


My guest is Deb Masner, the founder of alcohol tipping point, a place to find free resources, tools, and tips to help you change your drinking.


Deb is a Registered Nurse, a Certified Health and Wellness Coach, a SMART Recovery Facilitator, Mindfulness Instructor and Alcohol-Free Badass. She runs 30 Day Dry months where she helps people practice not drinking. And Deb has been on my podcast before and we talked about 20 NEW Questions To Ask Yourself About Your Drinking.


So, welcome.


Deb Masner  02:03

Well, thank you, Casey. I’m excited to be back on the show and talking about this topic, which is near and dear to my heart.


Casey McGuire Davidson  02:11

Yeah, well.


So, let’s get started and talk about why mindfulness in sobriety is important.


Deb Masner  02:21


Well, I think mindfulness just in our general day to day lives, no matter what you have going on is really helpful and important. And it’s such a good tool, you know, a lot of us are just feeling so overwhelmed. We’re feeling stress, anxiety. And so, mindfulness is a way to bring us back to the present moment back to the here and now instead of being you know, there and then.


Casey McGuire Davidson  02:49

well, it’s a different approach, right? Because before when we felt anxiety, worry, all of that we would sort of, or at least I would kind of try to knock myself unconscious with alcohol. So, the idea of being present in the moment versus completely numbing out is definitely a new approach to managing those feelings.


Deb Masner  03:15

It’s so true. And, you know, we as a society are terrible at feeling uncomfortable. And we’re designed that way, right, we’re designed to move towards pleasure and away from pain in the quickest way possible. And so, we haven’t learned how to just sit in uncomfortableness. And it could be anything from you know, air conditioning, to having heat to having sweaters to like, we just, we want our environments to be comfortable. And then we want our emotions to just be calm and comfortable. And that’s just not reality. You know, we are going to have so many different emotions, thoughts, feelings, that’s life. And I like the reminder, like life is 5050 sometimes it’s awesome. Sometimes it’s awful. And it’s everything in between. And that’s what makes it interesting.


Casey McGuire Davidson  04:11

Like, can we make it at 20?


Deb Masner  04:17

Yeah, yeah. But going back to drinking, you know, I did a survey with my email list. And I was asking, like, what are the challenges when it comes to drinking or quitting drinking or whatnot. And the number one challenge for people was anxiety and stress, you know, they are drinking because they’re anxious or they’re stress. So, if we can learn to manage those feelings, and accept them, then we’re not going to be as likely to turn to drinking. So, that’s just one way that mindfulness can help us when we’re changing our drinking and then help us in our bigger life, which is you know, we are going to have Stress. That’s a fact. Right? But it’s how do we handle this stress?


Casey McGuire Davidson  05:07

Yeah. And one of the things I liked that you had said when we were talking about this is that because you say, mindfulness, and you know, a lot of people immediately think of meditation, which I’ve, everybody tells me I need to do it. I’ve been like, Yes, I’m going to do this forever. And I just never do.


I listen to like meditations when I’m falling asleep to kind of clear my mind. But that’s it.


But you said, mindfulness is not sitting crisscross applesauce in front of your Buddhist statue.


So, tell me about what it is instead?


Deb Masner  05:45

Well, I think that the big misconception, like you were saying is that it’s meditation.


So, meditation is a way to be more mindful, but it’s not necessarily what mindfulness is.


So, mindfulness is just means paying attention, on purpose in the present moment, without judgment, and it’s just really a way of thinking and living. And so, you can bring it back to different aspects of your life.


And I know we’ll get into different ways we can incorporate mindfulness into everyday life. But it the simple part of it is, you’re just accepting life on life’s terms, accepting, you know, paying attention to what is and not what you want it to be. Because so often, we’re kind of fighting reality.


Yeah, and we can’t, there’s so much we can’t change.


And so, mindfulness is just a way to be in the present moment, without judgment, just allowing things as they are.


Casey McGuire Davidson  06:48

So, tell me how you could practically apply this. And let me think about, you know, when I was back in the corporate world, when I was drinking, and my boss changed what the plan was for executing that week gave us an entirely new objective that had to be pulled off in three days, and I didn’t think it was going to work. So, I was like, fuck, now. Now, it’s not going to work. And then she’s going to be pissed about that. But she doesn’t want to hear about it. Like, tell me about accepting that without, you know, getting resentful, angry, whatever. Or do you just get resentful? angry, anxious? Yeah.


Deb Masner  07:30

So, that’s where it’s interesting.


So, a lot of people think mindfulness is about relaxing and feeling calm and peaceful all the time. But really, it’s about experiencing life as it is right now.


So, it is about like, Okay, you accepting that you have this new work assignment, you’re feeling anxious about it, and agitated about it, maybe angry about it. And so, then it’s like, how do we manage those emotions, because those emotions are okay. They’re just messengers. They’re just telling our body ourselves like, Okay, I’m feeling anxious. That means maybe I need to pay a little bit more attention to this, put some more planning into this. But what happens is, because we don’t want to feel uncomfortable emotions, we resist them. And there’s that saying, like that, which we resist, persists.


So, we’re trying to not feel anger, because that’s like, not a socially accepted emotion, right? Or anxiety, because like, Oh, it doesn’t feel good. I don’t feel comfortable.


So, with mindfulness, it’s like, allowing that emotion that feeling and processing it. Because no feeling is final.


So, I think it’s, I think, where you can accept that you’re going to have these shitty days, these shitty moments, these high stress situations. I think accepting that and expecting them is really helpful. Because otherwise, we’re just kind of on the defense all the time. So that that’s one way does that kind of make sense?


Casey McGuire Davidson  09:13

Yeah, but how do you actually accept it and process it in a moment where you’re like, Oh, my God, I have no time to do anything cause I’m totally overwhelmed. The deadline is too soon.


Deb Masner  09:28

Right? So, then I just bring it back to the present moment again, because in the present moment, there’s rarely a problem. Like you, you may be thinking like, gosh, I’m feeling overwhelmed. I have a lot to do at these podcasts to catch up with, you know, or in your work situation. But when you pull it back to right now, like right now, you’re okay, right now we’re just one on one having a conversation. The busyness is kind of the anxiety about the future. And so, that’s what I do is I just always remind myself like, okay, slow down, take a deep breath, and recognize like, it’s okay. What am I going to do right now? In this moment? What can I do in this moment? And then from there, keep going.


Casey McGuire Davidson  10:25

Yeah, I mean, part of me is remembering, or thinking of what, you know, people told me in early sobriety, which was just do the next right thing. Right.


So, you’re in this moment, you don’t know what to do. Okay, what’s the next right thing? Is it take a couple deep breaths? Is it walk outside? Is it like, just get through the next 20 minutes? And then think of something else?


Deb Masner  10:54

Yeah, absolutely. And it can be like, for now, for now, because a lot of people are afraid of the future, especially when they’re quitting drinking, like, Oh, I’m scared. I’m going to drink again. Or I’m scared. I don’t know what’s going to happen in the future. I’m anxious about that. It’s like, you don’t have to decide that. You know, for now. I’m not drinking.


Casey McGuire Davidson  11:18

Yeah. Yeah. And it’s not related at all. I know. I’ve done an episode previously on Tara Brach and sort of the RAIN method. Is it similar to that at all?

Deb Masner  11:29

Yeah. Tara Brach does the method, and she does radical self-acceptance?


Yes. And I do.


I have an exercise I could walk you through if you really want to. Okay, do you want to do that?




So, this is going back to having all these different emotions, right. And usually, we’re trying to hold on to our good and I say, quote, unquote, “good” emotion versus bad, because I don’t think it’s, I’m trying to get away from labeling emotions, because they’re just messengers, right? It’s how we interpret them. And so, it’s like, how do we allow these emotions so they can pass through us, you know, just like they talk about surfing the urge to drink? Well, that’s what we’re doing with the emotions and, and a drinking urge or craving is an emotion, right, it’s a feeling and that feeling will pass.


And so, if you’re open to doing this exercise, which you said you would go ahead and just get comfortable. If you’re listening to this, and you’re in a place where you can pause and sit down. Maybe close your eyes, if that feels comfortable for you. Just do what’s safe for you right now, I know a lot of people are maybe driving or walking in, go ahead and just slowly focus your attention on a fixed point in front of you on the floor, or you can just close your eyes. And then start to notice your breath. Just notice each inhale you exhale and after a few breaths, maybe notice where your body is making contact your feet touching the floor the support of your chair and I want you to think of a situation you’ve had that brings up an emotion maybe it’s a craving to drink.


Maybe you’re thinking of a work scenario where you feel anxious. Maybe it’s agitation after a fight with your loved one. And so just think of that challenging scenario. And think of one emotion that you’re experiencing with it. Try to just pick one emotion and name that feeling. We call emotions feelings because we feel them in our body.


And now, I want you to focus on that emotion in your body. Ask yourself Where is it located? Simply observe where you feel it in your body Maybe you feel tension maybe you have a tightness in your stomach or around your heart or your neck. Whatever you experienced, just try to stay with the sensation. Be gentle on yourself and if your emotion how to size what size would it be? A quarter a book. And if your emotion has a shape What shape is it? Is it solid, wispy breath if your emotion has a color, what color is it just want you to observe the emotion. Just watch it for a few moments. recognize it for what it is. Feel the sensations in your body. Use your breath as a vehicle to stay with those sensations. Direct your awareness to the part of the body where those sensations are strongest. Then breathe into that part of the body on the in breath. Just slowly let your breath rather than pushing this feeling away, try to let it be in silence, you can say to the feeling, it’s okay. You’re allowed to be here. Whatever it is, it’s okay. Let me feel it. And see what happens if you allow yourself to experience whatever you experience in this moment.


Just stay with the awareness of these bodily sensations, your relationship to them. Breathing with them, accepting them, letting them be and you can repeat It’s okay. Whatever it is, it’s okay maybe you’re noticing that the feeling gets more intense. And maybe the feeling remains the same. Or it reduces might also move in your body. Whatever happens, it’s okay. Simply allow it to be observe what happens. Stay with experience with curiosity and kindness. You’re experiencing sensations without reacting. You’re allowing the experience to be there just as it is. Allowing means letting the thoughts emotions, feelings, or sensations we have. Simply be there without trying to fix or avoid anything. Just let it be. Breathe into it. Acknowledge it. Notice if it’s changing shape, changing color changing temperature. Might feel it slowly fading away. Just thank your emotion for bringing you a message.



Tell yourself it’s okay. You are safe. You’re going to be okay.


Deb Masner  19:29

Go ahead and wiggle your fingers and toes. Open your eyes. Just bring your attention back to the present. Just bring yourself back into the room. How was that Casey?



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 You can start at any time and I would love to see you in the course 


Casey McGuire Davidson  19:47

Yeah, it was good. I felt like a meditation. I actually very rarely slow down so when I’m feeling something I’m like I need to work out I need to power through. So, it was funny when you were describing it. I was like, Oh, I’m feeling this like circle, sort of over my heart, like a circle kind of rain. They’re like weirdly, like slightly painful. And it was like, interesting.


Deb Masner  20:15

And then do you notice it changing? Did it no, like, No, I was shot ridiculous.


Casey McGuire Davidson  20:21

J, it kind of stayed, but it was good to like, be like, okay, because before I’d like felt it and kind of been like, I got to do this, and this and this. So, I’m going to let it go.


So anyway, that was very interesting. And I think that, I’m glad you did that, because it sort of helped me envision what you were talking about. It felt like meditating. But with, you know, picking a topic, you know, when you go on Insight Timer, and sometimes they have like, meditations for awareness, or, like, in a good way. I’m not very good with the silent breathing.


Deb Masner  21:04

Yeah, I mean, it is like meditating. It really is. But I think what happens like counter intuitively, when we can pause and allow our feelings without trying to change them is, then we feel more relaxed, we do feel better. Like we feel like okay, I am okay. In this moment. Yes. And it is similar to the rain method you were talking about with Tara Brach, which is, stands for, you know, the RS like to recognize the emotion, the A is to allow it, the eyes to investigate it, where you’re just like noticing the sensations, the color, the size. And then the end is then that important part of nurturing, having compassion for yourself, like it’s okay. And yeah, then you’re like, Thank you. Thank you for telling me this.


Casey McGuire Davidson  22:03

Yeah, no, that makes a lot of sense.


So, how often do you think people should sort of practice mindfulness?


Deb Masner  22:13

Well, I mean, it’s interesting, because you can do it all the time, technically, because you’re always in the present moment, right. But I think if you wanted to have like a practice, where you kind of scheduled it or incorporated it throughout your day, I can go through some of those techniques, if that’s helpful. timeline on it? Yeah. Yeah. Well, I


Casey McGuire Davidson  22:38

know when you’re having sort of a panic attack or something there, they say, Okay, think about, you know, three things, you can touch three things, you can hear three things you can see, you know, all those, right?


Deb Masner  22:50

And it’s not like when you’re at work, and you’re anxious and angry, you can be like, Excuse me, everyone, I need to go lay down and meditate. I wish I could, like, pass on the world. Yeah, so I think if you want to, I’ll just use myself as an example. I like to do like a guided mindfulness activity or meditation daily. And it doesn’t even matter how long. I mean, that was probably 5 minutes what I walked you through.


Yeah. So, if you have 5 minutes, right. If you have a minute, just to do, like a box breathing exercise, that’s wonderful. But there’s little ways you can practice mindfulness throughout your day. So, one of those, like I said, is the breathwork? And you mentioned you don’t you have some, like difficulty with breathwork.


Casey McGuire Davidson  23:46

No, I like, I would say that I have difficulty with meditation with sitting Oh, why Utley. And try not to think about anything or letting my thoughts pass. Like, I have a lot of difficulty with that. Box breathing, which you mentioned is actually something my daughter taught me when she was like six or seven years old, she pulled up a YouTube video, and we do it often. I think it’s amazing for like getting that anxious energy out there. Why don’t you tell people really quickly what box breathing?


Deb Masner  24:20

Well, box breathing is just kind of a technique to slow down and take a deep breath up. I’ll walk you through it because it’s so quick. But it’s so helpful because it does affect your parasympathetic nervous system. It does calm your nervous system, they teach it to Navy SEALs, they’re teaching it to kids. I love that your daughter taught you that. It can be real quick. And I love coming back to the breath because it’s free. And it’s always accessible. So, you always have your breath. So, what you do with Box breathing mean is, we can do that together, Casey, what we’re gonna do, I’ll tell you first and then we’ll do it together. But we’ll inhale for four seconds, hold it for four seconds, exhale for four seconds. And then repeat.


Casey McGuire Davidson  25:19

And that’s it, you’re imagining like a box. So like, say you’re going down the right side of a box, it’s like inhale for four seconds, hold it when you’re going across the bottom. Yeah, exhale, going up the side. Hold it again, right, like the visual.


Deb Masner  25:39

Oh, that’s interesting, because I just like the counting the breathwork to like, I don’t know, if you can really go wrong. I like to keep things simple. So, I’m like, if you want to envision a box, you can, um, but let’s just do the counting together. So, go ahead. And you can all do this as you’re listening to the podcast. Just take inhale through your nose for four seconds, ready 1234. Now hold for 4, 3, 4. And slowly exhale through your mouth for four. And then we’ll go ahead and repeat, inhale hold and exhale. And you could do a whole minute of that is all it takes, you could do that so easily at your desk or on your, you know, lunch break, or when you get a bathroom break, or whatever, you can do that anytime.


There’s another simple breathing technique that I think is really cool and easy. And it’s so simple. So, the idea is to inhale. And then on your exhale, make your exhale even slow, or then your inhale. And that’s it. And the reason why is because when we hold our breath, you know, think about situations where you’re holding your breath, or a lot of people find when they slow down and do some deep breathing, that they’re like, Whoa, I didn’t realize I hold my breath all the time.


Yeah, but when you’re in high stress situations, you’re holding your breath, you don’t realize it. And so that’s why it’s, it’s good to just slow down. And then your body, when you’re slowly exhaling, it sends a message to your body, like, Oh, it’s okay, you can calm down, like you can relax. So, that’s super simple.


Um, okay, so you don’t like meditation. It’s a little more difficult for you. So, you can do mindful walking. And that’s where you let, you know, so often, when we’re walking, at least, I’m either listening to podcast or music or I’m talking. But if you can take a few moments to just listen to the, the sound around you. Listen to the birds, the trees, you know, listen to your feet, just on the pavement. Take a moment to smell. Inhale, what are you smelling? It’s springtime now and there’s so many like, yummy blossoms out there. You know, and what do you see? What do you see when you take a walk with you know, really noticed the trees, the flowers, the houses, like? So, you’re just pulling in different senses. And you can just do that for like a minute or two of your mindful of your walking and then pull out your stuff back in and get back to it. But you know, you’re just bringing yourself to the present moment.


Yeah, one thing that’s really helpful for people is to do mindful eating. And so, that’s where you just, you slow down, you savor your food. The smell, the taste, the color, the texture. You’re just slowing down, and that helps people.


I am a mindless eater, like raise your hand if you’re a mindless eater. I remember in work, I would be like, I would have a snack. I’d be at my desk. And I wouldn’t remember even having the snack I would see the wrapper in my waste basket and be like, Oh, I’d be sad like I don’t even remember eating that. So sad.


People can do mindful chores, mindful dishwashing, you know, just like really feeling the temperature of the water, the texture of the water running on your hands, the colors of your dishes, the dish soap smell, you know.


So, there’s just different moments throughout our lives where we can like, slow down, and just be present. Just be in the here and now.


Casey McGuire Davidson  30:24

Yeah, though, there are two things that I’ve found, like do very much helped me. One is when the weather’s like decent, I lay on my back on my front porch, and just listen to everything and sort of feel the sunshine going across my eyes, like that’s one and the other one is swimming. Because your breath is so loud in your ears, and you feel it really deeply. And that’s something that I always feel like it’s fully immersive.


Deb Masner  30:56

Oh yeah. Those are great examples. You know, my whole goal is just to make mindfulness more accessible for people. I think it’s, it’s been so daunting, and because people tied it a lot to meditation. And, you know, it was like, Oh, what do I have to do to be be meditation person, a yogi or whatever? Like, do I need to go on a silent retreat for 10 days? or climb? Oh, my


Casey McGuire Davidson  31:25

God, that would kill me. Literally. I mean, obviously, I’m a talker, but I would just yet that would not that would be torture for me.


Deb Masner  31:32

Yeah, yeah. So, I’m trying to take the whoo out of it. And just it’s in there, they have taken the whoo out of it like this is being taught to. taught in a lot of hospitals, I taught our mindfulness class recently in the hospital that I work at it, it’s being taught to kids, it’s being taught to blue collar workers, it’s being taught to refugees, it’s, you know, like that. It can be for anyone, you don’t have to like, move to Tibet become a monk. Secret of Life, like it’s just like, Okay, what are we going to do with it here? How do we practice it here?


Casey McGuire Davidson  32:14

Yeah, and one of the things that I think is helpful that is, I often talk about how, you know, daily calibration, sort of trying to keep yourself in that emotional Green Zone is really important. Like, of course, you’re going to get upset or down or lonely or bored. But figuring out how to solve for that in small increments, is way more effective than getting to a breaking point, and then really wanting to like downshift or numb out with alcohol. And it seems like mindfulness can be very grounding on a regular basis to stop your emotions from going all over the place.


Deb Masner  32:58

Yes, I had one instructor who he was a mindfulness instructor, but also a PhD counselor, but he talked about how, you know, we’re always going to have stress, like it’s in the water. So, you think of stress as like the you’re in the water, it’s the water level. So like, what you were saying, what are things you can do to keep that water level down, so that when a wave comes, it doesn’t knock you out? Because so often people are like, up to their chin? In the stress in the water. So anytime a wave comes, it’s going to knock you out. So, how do we lower our water level? Like, how do we manage our stress? We’re still in it, but it’s not every little wave isn’t going to knock us out?


Casey McGuire Davidson  33:45

Yeah, yeah. And it’s taking a moment so that you aren’t strung so thin, that anything will send you over the edge. One of the things, you know, we talked about diving into is using mindfulness, specifically during a craving to drink, because I know that’s something that a lot of people struggle with. So, we you offer some suggestions about that. Yeah.


Deb Masner  34:16

So, I think that allowing the emotion exercise that I walked us through, can be really helpful, because it’s basically like, what urge surfing is where you start, where you’re allowing it. I think the other thing is, you know, this concept of acceptance and allowance, because so often we are afraid of our cravings. We’re afraid of the urge to drink. So instead of being afraid of them, like expect them, yeah, and allow that because we’re fighting ourselves. When we’re fighting the craving, the craving comes in, it’s like, oh, I don’t want this craving to drink. Go away. You know, how’s that going to go? Wait, so if you allow it And I like to just name the urge, like Ursula, the urge. And I, I’m not afraid of Ursula, the urge, like in fact, you know, expect her because Ursula shows up at like five o’clock every day, she shows up to all the weddings, and all the parties, like so you’re expecting her, you’re expecting this urge. And it’s okay.


And yeah, merciless, like that annoying aunt or something. But it doesn’t mean you need to respond to it. And so, I think when we’re talking about changing our drinking, so much of our drinking has become habitual. And we’ve been on autopilot, and autopilot, you know, it can be whatever cue it can be. Anytime you feel anxious, or you drink at it, you’re angry, oh, I’m I drink at it. That’s how I get rid of it. And your mind has just learned so quickly to turn to drinking, to solve whatever, you know, thought feeling sensation you don’t want to feel is.


So, mindfulness is like taking a pause. So that, that you have like this break.


There’s a really good quote that I keep it on here. No. I had a quote.


But it’s like this pause between the stimulus and the response.


So, you want to slow down enough so that you can use your logical thinking brain to be like, do I really want to drink? What am I really feeling right now? What do I really need? You know, if you’re like, Oh, I’m feeling anxious. Okay, what are some ways I can manage that anxiety? Maybe it is taking a mindful walk, or maybe it is doing a breathing exercise or doing a guided meditation, you know, so, but you’re slowing down enough that you don’t automatically grab that tree. And then, you’re just allowing it and the urge will pass like no feeling is final.


Casey McGuire Davidson  37:01

Yeah. Yeah. And that’s something in terms of you mentioned, if you expected, it’s easier. And I often tell women, obviously, in the first two weeks, you know, anyone who tells me they don’t want to drink in the first two weeks, I don’t believe you anyway, you know, I just am like, that’s a freaking miracle, because I wanted to drink on day one, and day two, and day four. And I was irritated and annoyed, and, you know, resemble my husband, if he had a beer and jealous and all those things. But obviously, it gets easier every day. And in the beginning, you can’t imagine sitting through a Friday night and not wanting to drink. And at some point, you’re going to be end of day Friday night and be like holy shit, I didn’t even think about it. But I think if I tell women that for some reason, all the women I work with days 16 to 18 can be really tricky. I think of it as the last gasp of like, drinking trying to pull you back in. But if you expect it, you know, I always call it like a breakdown breakthrough moment that if you really desperately want to drink, just think this is my breakthrough moment. Like this moment when I don’t drink is when I jump to like the different side and the new level. And just knowing that and expecting it can be really helpful.


Deb Masner  38:31

Yeah, I think so. And then we’re not fighting it. And then we’re fighting ourselves, you know, that suffering? Yeah. And I recently learned that I think it was day 14, they said, but maybe they don’t have it pinpoint. But your dopamine levels are at their lowest on those days. And so that’s why that you have more of a trigger to drink. Like, your body’s like, where’s my dopamine, where’s my dopamine, and then there’ll be an uptick, because then your body is resetting itself. And your dopamine levels are naturally increasing.


Casey McGuire Davidson  39:11

Yeah, yeah, I can see that. And the other thing is, if a lot of people try to stop on a Monday day for it to eat, or you’re approaching your first weekend, it’s, it’s a hard time like, in January, they call the second Friday, like quitters day when throw in the towel. So that’s, that’s interesting to me, too, but it’s definitely, you know, if you want to drink like you said, you know, you can go back to this episode and do that mindfulness meditation and sort of sit through it.


Deb Masner  39:47

Yeah, and I think I will say like, in the beginning, you know, with cravings like there you can either distract or allow, and I think the allowing is a practice that’s why I’m here. Let’s say like practicing mindfulness. I think you know, setting yourself up for biological success, and using distraction methods and whatnot specially in the beginning are probably going to be more helpful for you. And add this add, you know, mindfulness to it. But I do recognize like, Oh, those first couple of weeks are real tough. So it’s like, pull out all the stops. But I think once you realize once you get good at being comfortable with uncomfortable emotions, whether it’s your drinking, craving, or your stress at work, anxiety, agitation, it helps you so much in all of life.


Casey McGuire Davidson  40:46

Yeah, yeah, completely. And I wonder if it’s somehow also related to a gratitude practice, or if it can be oh, do is like marked down, write down five things I was grateful for each day, either early in the morning, or, you know, end of day, and they often were, because I did it every day, really small things. Right? Not I’m grateful for my health and my happiness and my family. Not that any of that is bad. But it was like, I’m grateful for this person who did something nice for me today, or for this sweet hug I got from my kid or the flowers, you know, whatever it is. And that kind of helped me notice smaller things that were good in life.


Deb Masner  41:42

Yes, a gratitude is a great way to practice mindfulness. Because so often, we are delaying our happiness, right? It’s like, oh, when I’m sober for a year, then I’ll be happy. When my kids graduate high school, then I’ll be happy when I retire, then I’ll be happy, right? We’re always like, kind of delaying it. So, but gratitude is, what are you grateful for now. And so, it does bring you back to the present moment, the present day, and that’s fine. Like those little things like, oh, just sitting here, like, Name 5 things that you’re grateful for? And, yeah, it’s such a good mindfulness tool. It’s a good tool in general, but it is definitely related to mindfulness.


Casey McGuire Davidson  42:31

So just to wrap up, one thing I wanted to ask you is, what are the top myths about mindfulness?


Deb Masner  42:39

Oh, well, I would say, you know, we kind of covered meditation being one of the top myths, that it’s to relax. You know, mindfulness is just allowing life to happen as life is. And so it can be, you know, we can end up feeling relaxed. When we do those kinds of exercises are bringing ourselves back to the present moment. But it’s not like the goal of mindfulness. It’s not a religion, although it has Buddhism roots, it mindfulness itself is not a religion. And in it’s not difficult, like we just walk through some stuff. But it’s not easy either. Like you said, you know, it, we’re always kind of planning ahead for the future, right? Our head is, we’re not always right here. I think they even did a study participants, they would like doing them throughout the day and see, like, where their thoughts were at where their head was at. And like, 47% of the time they were elsewhere, right? But so it is, it isn’t difficult, but it is an easy either, like I find myself constantly bringing myself back to the present moment. Like it’s okay. It’s okay.


And then, I would say the other myths are that it’s not a way to be concerned with the future, either. We’re not just going to turn into the dude, you know, and Matthew McConaughey and just be cool with everything. Like you still have to plan, you’re still have to like, figure out your future. It’s just so that we have more space in the here and now. It’s so that our time isn’t like spent so much in the past and are rumination and regret or sadness. And it’s not so much in the future where that’s like, uncertainty and being anxious and all of that. So, it’s like, how can we spend more time in the present? How can we balance all that apt?


Yeah, yeah. So those are the main myths, I would say.


Casey McGuire Davidson  44:54

You know what’s interesting, because this just popped up in my email box this morning. Morning was a New York Times article, talking about how multitasking is a bad habit with you know, weight tactics to help you stop doing it. And it’s, you know, the multitaskers guide to regaining focus, but talks about how when you’re trying to do many things at once, it’s, it’s actually very inefficient. And you don’t do either one well, and focusing on one thing at a time, helps you not get overwhelmed, but also do things more efficiently. And in my mind, like, Mindfulness helps that scattered brain, I know that I used a lot of the women I talked to, like you drink to shut off your busy mind that is constantly going, and this is sort of a healthier way to shut down your mind and focus on what’s around you and sort of ground yourself in that. Absolutely.


Deb Masner  46:03

Yeah. And I still multitask and nice. Yeah, I mean, we all we all do that.


Casey McGuire Davidson  46:15

But even for a couple moments, right, for 5 minutes a day, you’re just focusing on the present.


Deb Masner  46:22

Yeah, and mindfulness is just like, it’s a way to pay attention. And you can choose what you’re paying attention to, you know, it’s like shining a flashlight on something. But with that, it’s choice. And I think a lot of us feel out of control. And so, I think it’s a good reminder, like, oh, like, there are things I can control, I do you have the power of choice? You know, if I slow down and take myself out of autopilot, then I can make an informed decision. Without feeling like what just took over my brain?


Casey McGuire Davidson  47:02

Yeah, that’s awesome. I think that’s a great place to end this. Will you tell us more about like the work you do and what you offer and how people can get in touch with you?


Deb Masner  47:14

Yeah, well, I have that alcohol tipping point. That’s where you can find me on Instagram, I have a website, I have a podcast, Casey’s going to be on it again, she was on it. In my first year, was it my first year, but I just remember that being one of my favorite conversation.


So, Casey’s going to be back on the podcast, Alcohol Tipping Point. And then I run monthly dry groups, I call them alcoholic days. So, if you need help, practicing, not drinking, if you want to incorporate more of these tools, like mindfulness tools into helping you navigate your drinking, then that would be great to check out. And right now, I have offered the mindfulness class, I have an eight week I call it mindful AF. For people who are, it’s not just for people who are sober or changing their drinking, it’s for anybody but I because that’s my wheelhouse. I do focus on the concepts, applying to people and sobriety and whatnot. But that’s called mindful AF. And right now, it’s just self-paced. But I may do a live class again, I’m not sure. But I love. I love revisiting it. Like, it’s such a good reminder for me, because if we don’t practice these things, we forget them. And so, it’s a great reminder.


Casey McGuire Davidson  48:41

Yeah, and one of the things that I love from atomic habits, and also it’s in this New York Times article, I’ll link to it in the show notes, because it just seems so timely. But it’s the idea of habit stacking for any habit you want to do. So, you know, maybe in the beginning, you’re working on not drinking and building up that muscle and making that more automatic and part of your identity. And then you add on. Okay, now I’m going to add on this mindfulness habit, and I’m going to do that every day. And then I’m going to add on, you know, daily walks, or whatever it is, you can do that in any order. But I think the idea of so many of us sit there and we’re like, Alright, I’m going to stop drinking, I’m going to workout four times a week, I’m going to eat healthy, I’m going to meditate every day. And that’s actually sort of setting yourself up for failure. And instead, if you can focus on one thing, and making it part of your, your daily routine, then you’re able to focus on something else and add that in over time, but we’re not really good at being patient. You know?


Deb Masner  49:51

We are we could use practice there. Yeah, that’s for sure. We want it we want it right now.


Casey McGuire Davidson  49:56

Yes, we want everything right now. Yeah. Absolutely. Well, thank you so much for coming back on.


Deb Masner  50:03

Thank you for having me. This was great. I hope it was helpful for people who listen.


Casey McGuire Davidson  50:09

I know it was helpful for me. So, I appreciate that. That’s great. And I’m sure it’ll be helpful for other people. Because it’s, it’s a concept that it’s hard to wrap your mind around how to actually do it, you know, as opposed to being like, yeah, yeah, I need the more money.


Deb Masner  50:27

Yeah. And that’s why I do the class, because it’s really, it’s not we just get together and meditate. It’s like, okay, we take different concepts like judgment, compassion, breaking out of autopilot, and just dive into them like, oh, okay, why think the way we do what you know, and then how can we change that? And then, yeah, go from there. So, yeah, definitely. It is one of those bigger.


Casey McGuire Davidson  50:55

Yeah, yeah. And I know, when I come on your podcast, we just talked about looking at how do you actually stay sober over the long term? You know, I’ve been sober for eight years. But how does that shift from the different supports and mindset you need, from the beginning to after 100 days to going on a year to after a year because it definitely shifts. And some of what I’ve done before I stopped successfully drinking was, I stopped drinking, but I didn’t make the shifts I needed to stay alcohol-free long term. And it’s really important to sort of incorporate that deeper work.


Deb Masner  51:40

Yeah, that is why I got into mindfulness because I quit drinking. I was like, What the fuck do I do with all this emotion? I used to drink at it. Now what do I do? So then I learned like, oh, I can. There are some different tools out here. There are some different ways I can like manage my mind, how wonderful. And it is just makes life better and easier.


Casey McGuire Davidson  52:06

Yeah, and so many people, you know, they stopped drinking. And all these emotions show up that they haven’t felt, or they’ve pushed down like resentment, anger, rage, sadness, loneliness, crying, by the way, it gets better. Don’t worry, I’m fishing. I’m making sobriety sound really bad. But it’s, it’s not that but you’re so used to numbing out, yeah, that you can either sort of knock yourself unconscious for the next 5 years, or you can experience and deal with some of these emotions and move on to a more peaceful and a happier way of living.


Deb Masner  52:46

Absolutely. And if the worst thing is you feel an emotion, well, that’s not going to kill you. Right. And you learn that again, and again, oh, I can feel anxiety, and then it will pass Oh, I can feel anger and it will pass like, Oh, I’m pretty.


Casey McGuire Davidson  53:06

I remember the very first time I felt like this rageful ANGER. It was at my boss in a situation. And I went up to the top of my driveway and limit a big on a big hill and like sat down. It was June on the hot pavement, and like just cried and was like angry crying. You know, whenever I get really angry, I somehow cry. And then, I went, and I sort of like rage gardened. I shoveled really pretty stones in my garden. And then it passed. And at 6pm. I actually felt this piece in this column and had dinner, whereas I normally would have drank over it. And then festered on that rage, and then carried it through the evening. I was like, oh my god, I can sit through this. That’s pretty incredible. And then still have the rest of my night.


Deb Masner  54:00

Oh, absolutely. That’s a good example of just allowing yourself to feel it and cry and move your emotion out of you. And yeah, well done.


Casey McGuire Davidson  54:13

Thanks. All right. Well, I will talk to you later.


Deb Masner  54:17

Thank you so much.


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

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