My Marriage, Drinking and Not Drinking
What role does alcohol play in your marriage?
What happens in a marriage when one partner stops drinking?
My husband Mike is here to talk about drinking, dating, parenting, marriage and what happened when I decided to stop drinking.
So many women worry about the role alcohol plays in their marriage and what might happen if they were to decide to quit drinking.
Whether your spouse is your drinking buddy, wants you to stop drinking, doesn’t want you to stop drinking or just doesn’t get it, navigating marriage, parenthood and partnership and your relationship with alcohol is delicate and complicated.
If drinking is a big part of what you do with your partner all the questions come up:
- What will you do on date nights or on vacations if alcohol is removed from the picture?
- How will you get through the holidays with your family?
- How might you navigate those awkward work parties where alcohol is readily available and used as a crutch to ‘loosen up’?
Drinking is deeply intertwined in our relationships and when one partner decides to not drink alcohol anymore it not only affects the individual but also their partner.
In this very special episode, my husband Mike joins me as we talk about what our relationship was like when we were drinking versus our relationship when I stopped drinking and how my decision to go alcohol-free has affected our marriage throughout the years.
We also get real about the good (and the hard) parts of our marriage over the course of the last 19 years and how we navigated the transition from my drinking life and early sobriety to our new normal where I don’t drink and he still does.
We dig into parenting and what it was like when I was drinking, as well as how much was said or unsaid about my drinking, and how much of our drinking habits is visible to our partners versus how much is in our own head.
In this episode, my husband Mike and I discuss:
- The early years of dating and drinking and how that evolved over the 20+ years we’ve been together
- The ways in which drinking was a really fun part of our relationship for years and then shifted once we became parents
- How much of my worry about my drinking was visible to Mike in the years I was trying to moderate
- What was most frustrating to Mike about my bottle of wine a night habit
- Why Mike never asked me to cut back or stop drinking
- What Mike thought about me asking him to not drink alcohol at home for my first 30 days alcohol-free
Want more support, resources and tools to help you go alcohol-free?
You can Drink Less + Live More today with The Sobriety Starter Kit.
It’s the private, on-demand 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
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READ THE TRANSCRIPT OF THIS PODCAST INTERVIEW
My Marriage – Drinking and Not Drinking A Conversation
With My Husband, Mike
drinking, drinking, wine, life, sober, people, day, alcohol, worried, bottle, stop, red wine, feel, kids, sobriety, night, thought, home, remember, dinner, mike
SPEAKERS: Casey McGuire Davidson + Husband Mike
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, everyone. This is an episode that I’m honestly really nervous to record. But I think it’s an important one. Because so many women I’ve talked to worrying about their marriage, whether their spouse is their drinking buddy, or they’ve always drank together or whatever their spouse has been a big fear that they have and something maybe that is holding them back from stopping drinking. So I asked my husband, Mike, to join me on this episode to talk about our relationship before I stopped drinking and what it’s like now. So we’re going to talk about parenting and what it was like when I was in early sobriety. Maybe how much was said or unsaid and what our relationship was like when we were drinking versus now. I think a lot of us don’t know how much of our drinking and worrying about drinking and debating is visible to our partners versus how much is in our own head. So Mike, welcome to the podcast.
Hey, happy to be here. I’ve been very proud of this podcast, all you’ve accomplished for a long time. It’s a big honor to be on it.
Casey McGuire Davidson 02:38
Well, thank you for coming on. Just so folks know a little bit about us, although I’ve talked about you and our family a little bit on and off through the podcast. So we met in our first job at a college. We worked at a consulting firm in Washington, DC I started in June after I graduated you started in July. So met there. We were friends for a while started dating for a while. And then about two or three years after we met. So maybe a year after we started dating, we decided to move out to Seattle, Washington, and live together for three years got married, and now we’ve been married for 19 years. In September.
Yeah, actually where I remember that story is, we decided we wanted to leave the East Coast to move to the west coast. And we came out and looked at a few different cities and I voted for San Diego. You voted for Seattle. And that was the first time I learned you get a vote in the quarter.
Casey McGuire Davidson 03:41
I think that’s not quite it. I think what happened was you wanted San Diego I wanted Seattle, so I hustled and applied for like 15 jobs and got six interviews, got an offer and we moved to Seattle. Like I said, Yeah, well, so we loved moving to Seattle, we lived one of my best friends, Ed lived in a floating home on Lake Union with her boyfriend. And we thought that was the coolest thing ever and somehow managed to rent a floating home about a mile from them. So we used to kayak back and forth.
Those are good memories before kids, right? When you just didn’t have you didn’t have so many responsibilities in this role. And you can live in a little, you know, studio place.
Yeah. So I mean, the takeaway from all of that is that Mike and I met when we were about 22 started dating somewhere around 23 or 24. And we, you know, drinking was a big part of our relationship like it was what we did on a whole lot of dates. It’s what we enjoyed, you know, traveled a ton, both, you know, in the US and internationally before we had kids and lots of our lives was dinner parties with the wind flowing with Friends or date nights out which we really loved the pub crawls going from bar to bar to bar with apps, and anniversary weekends in the wine tasting areas and traveling and drinking. So, you know, for us in our relationship, drinking was sort of a threat that was just kind of constant.
Yeah, you know, I mean, I, I don’t know how different that is from lots of folks. Right, that it’s, it was code for grown up fun. Yeah. And if we were going to try and you know, do grown up fun, whatever that looks like when you’re 22. Yeah, alcohol was like, of course, going to be a part of it.
Casey McGuire Davidson 05:38
Yeah. It was a signal of a good time, and vacations and happy hours. And we had a lot of fun.
Yeah. And it was a I, you know, I’ve never really been much of a wine drinker, you know, before that, but that was what you’d like to drink. And so I kind of learned how to appreciate wine with you.
Casey McGuire Davidson 06:00
Yeah. Yeah. And one funny story that we kind of realized, I think we were a good like, maybe 10 years into our relationship before I figured out that Mike’s favorite beverage of choice was not also red wine. I don’t even know how we discovered it. Probably when we went to Italy. And we were sort of ordering those like crafts or half crafts of, of wine, and I ordered red. And he was like, actually, I prefer white. And I had never heard that before in my life.
Well, you know, when you’re, when you when you know, when you meet a girl for the first time you find out what she likes to drink, then usually the smart thing to order at dinner. And so yeah, I get that for like a decade.
Yeah. Yeah. You know, we’re here to kind of just talk about sort of Mike’s side of the story and his memories, as well as sort of what I was thinking about and worried about before I quit drinking, and then in early sobriety, and kind of what it’s like now. So, I mean, I think at the start, we just, you know, I always love to drink, I think you’d like to drink, too. It was just something that we did together. And I was kind of always a seven nights a week drinker. I don’t think I always drank as much as I did. But it wasn’t, you know, it was just something that was, you know, dinner time, you open up the wine, that’s how I kind of lived.
Yeah, I mean, I, you know, I, I suspect a lot of people are like that. And it’s just the fact that it’s a habit, right? It’s, uh, you know, sooner or later, you know, as you get older, it’s a thought, a signal that it’s like, Good time anymore. And like, signal that it’s like, rest and relax time. Right. And so once you get in that habit, right, it’s kind of it becomes kind of automatic.
Casey McGuire Davidson 07:51
Yeah, yeah. And, um, I’m not sure when it’s kind of flipped to where I was like, Oh, shit, I’m kind of worried about my drinking, I sort of remember it when Hank was about six months old. That was like the first time that I remember reading, drinking a love story, which is a book by Carolyn Knapp. And I only remember it because I read it on my Kindle. And I would read it and then every time I would finish reading it, I would like, open up five different books to push it down in my Kindle queue. So you like wouldn’t somehow randomly look at my Kindle and see that I was reading drinking a love story, which is the most ridiculous thing in the entire universe to have done, because the times that you actually open up and look at my Kindle is ridiculous, much less worried about it. But the fact that I was doing that stands out to me is like, Oh, yeah, that’s when I kind of was, was worried about this, and also really didn’t want you to know that I was worried about this.
Yeah, I don’t have any memory of that at all. I mean, it’s interesting that you talk about when we had kids, right, because I think that’s a dividing point. Maybe in a lot of a lot of different things. Certainly kind of what I remember around your drinking, right. It was, uh, you know,
I was never that bothered by it. Right. But I think it’s your, you know, your drinking style, or it was, I don’t know how much if you talked about this before, right, but you just don’t really have an off switch, drink until you’re buzzed and then keep drinking. Yeah. And, you know, it was like, before kids are like, at, you know, like, you know, there’s some times where that’s annoying but not really. And then once you’ve got the kind of shared responsibility that children are or you know, is coming the first times were you not like being able to post and, you know, like, you know, in the evening or whatever was more frustrating.
Casey McGuire Davidson 10:00
Yeah. Yeah. Cuz before kids, it’s kind of like, you don’t have to ask permission of each other to do too much. I mean, it’s definitely, you know, I mean, obviously, what you do impacts the other person, but it’s not like if you’re checked out, then it’s on the responsibilities on someone else in the way it is. Once you have kids. Yeah, that’s totally true. Right. like somebody’s got. He’s got to be on point.
Give the bottle when? When they’re crying and?
Yeah, yeah. So I don’t really have any real memories of it before that. Right. I mean, you were, you know, like, it was always more fun before that. Maybe before that, right. Yeah. Like, Oh, yeah. You know, Casey, does my going out and having a good time.
Yeah, the, the unspoken rule was always that you would drive home, right?
Yeah. Well, I had an off switch. Yeah. So yeah, that was always kind of the assumption.
Casey McGuire Davidson 10:59
Yeah. I mean, it was just like, I would drive places sometimes. But we didn’t even have the discussion about who would be driving home because it was always you.
Yeah, right. Yeah. No, I would get a little annoying, I guess sometimes. But, no, that’s part of part relationships, right? We always have, I think, little places where we take on certain loads or protections of each other. So I don’t it I was kind of used to it.
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Casey McGuire Davidson 11:28
Yeah. Yeah. And, I mean, I think at the time I and still am, I’m still have almost all my same friends. But I was in a group that that drank a lot. That was definitely in the mommy wine drinking sort of culture. And then, of course, once I quit, I realized that not everyone drank like I did, and I probably pushed them to drink more, but not all of them. So we would go, you know, we would have happy hours on Memorial Day weekends with the kids that would start at 4:00 pm. And, you know, drink all night, and then a lot of times sleep over because you know, got to be safe with the kids. I’m being sarcastic. They’re somewhat, but also we would go away on kayak, camping weekends or weekends to Whistler and we all drank it was just kind of, you know, in some ways, the way we rebelled against being parents or you know, getting away from the kids or whatever it was, but we also just like to get drunk and get buzzed and have a good time and pretend we were 22 again.
Yeah you know and there’s lots of lots of laughs
You know that went with that it’s some It is interesting to think about there’s some tipping point I guess in your life right like you spend some portion of your life drinking because it’s the older more grown up, you know thing to do it codes for that and then at some point like suddenly You’re doing it because it’s the, the younger, cooler thing that try and recapture and yeah, I don’t know quite sure where that tipping point was, but it had to be somewhere.
Casey McGuire Davidson 15:10
Yeah, yeah. And then, you know, it just becomes a habit. And then it becomes what you do whether you’re kind of happy, sad, good day, bad day in between, you know, it was just kind of like my habit eventually that I would get home, I would open a bottle of wine, and I would drink it throughout the evening, you know, cooking dinner, homework, kids are already bed on the couch. And then sometimes I’d want to open a second bottle and have one or two or three glasses more and that was pretty standard, regardless of whether it was a Friday night or a Tuesday night.
Yeah, I mean, I, you know, you asked about, like, what are my memories of some of that, and certainly like the, the tendency to like, open another bottle after you were already kind of buzzed was one where I just I just didn’t get it. But, you know, relationships. Marriages are funny, right? We spend, you know, a lot of time overlooking things because, right, there’s no, I mean, that question was never going to be met with, like, a lot of understanding. Yeah. on your part. Right. And so, a lot of times it was, I didn’t care enough to have it be a battle, I just didn’t always understand it.
Casey McGuire Davidson 16:25
Yeah. Well, so from your perspective, since you, you know, met me at 22. What did my drinking look like to you from the outside, like, in my 20s, early 30s, and then late 30s, because I quit, you know, for the last time when I was 39 years old, man, it’s pretty tight when you talk about it. You know, the memories when it’s just the two of you, right? Like are, they’re just more like social, like, occasions or whatever, right? Where drinking is like an assumed part of it, right? When you’re going out with friends, or you’re going out to dinner a lot more when you’re a little when you’re younger? And it’s just the two of you, right? Like, of course, right? You know, alcohol kind of goes with that.
And then it didn’t seem, all of a sudden, it doesn’t seem so obvious. Once you got kids, right, once you got, you know, have a shared place, right? You know, that you’re living together, and you’re just watching TV on a Tuesday, all of a sudden, it doesn’t seem quite so obvious, right? And, you know, I’m kind of a, you know, open a beer dinner and still have it kind of following me around the house Three hours later. And I remember that used to just annoy you to know and, you know, I still did even after I quit drinking, because I’d be like, who is this person that like you’re just sitting on the couch, looking at your phone and you have a beer on the kitchen table behind you? That’s 3, 4s fallen. I’m like, dude, do you want this? Like, you know, I just I never got that. Yeah, you just forget about the beer.
And I, I would never quite get like how your you looked at like a, like an open bottle of wine the way I would look at like a plate of chocolate chip cookies. Like, why would you not keep going back? One more? Yeah. All right.
And so, anyway, in terms of how it evolves, right? Now, I mentioned this before, I think it’s, it’s different when you’ve got kids, and your schedule changes a little bit. And the, your ability to have kind of nighttime routines that might go in different directions, right, is a little harder to take, right? Because somebody’s got to do it. Like I said, be on point for all that stuff.
You know, and then eventually, I, you know, I knew that you were uncomfortable with how much you’re drinking and looking at the you know, you take time off it or whatever. And I don’t know, I was always very squarely in the camp where that was your business? You don’t I mean, and not Certainly, there was no upside me, you know, being, you know, being for it, or against it or whatever. And then I think when you when you decided to stop for good, I didn’t even know that for a while.
Casey McGuire Davidson 19:17
Yeah. Yeah. I mean, that’s interesting that you said that you knew that I was back and forth. Because I think for the longest time, I was incredibly defensive about it, and trying really hard to pretend that there was nothing to see there because I didn’t want you to be watching me or I didn’t want to tell you that I thought I needed to stop or cut back because I knew I was going to want to drink again. And I didn’t want you the person I’m going to live with for the rest of my life to be quote unquote, watching me and like I didn’t want you to be tuned in to how much I was drinking. I was kind of Trying to not have you see that. So, I feel like a whole lot of it was in my own head. You know?
Of course I, you know, I take out recycling a fair and it was like it was it was always pretty heavy. And so right. I always I always had that sense. But yeah, I mean in retrospect right, you always you always when you would talk about it was part of some larger health kick? Yes. Yeah. It was never. It was never part of its own thing.
Casey McGuire Davidson 20:31
Yeah. Yeah. I think that you were the person that I was most concerned about kind of noticing, or questioning how much I was drinking, because there was sort of no going back from that, because we lived together, right. So I didn’t want to tell you how worried I was about it. And that was kind of a lot that was weighing on my mind that I never shared with you. Because it was a day to day to day debate, beating myself up worrying about it saying I was going to come back saying Screw it. Like, that’s a lot of inner turmoil, that I was just sort of playing off around making dinner cooking dinner waking up in the morning.
Yeah, you know, I mean, it’s, it’s, it’s interesting, the, the secret sometimes that we keep from, from each other, right? And just in relationships and in marriages, because you’re trying to, you’re trying to either maintain some kind of façade of perfection, right? Or you’re trying to act like you’re still the same person you were when you were in your early 20s. Right, even though that’s right, kind of ridiculous. Yeah. Because you know, you know, however, you’re going to evolve in life, you’re going to do it together. We’re always kind of sketchy about how we how we do that in front of each other.
Casey McGuire Davidson 22:01
Yeah. And, you know, it was interesting, too, because you were talking about, like, once you have kids, it’s harder when the other person checks out. And, you know, my memories of it. I certainly know that I did that on a number of occasions, like, there’s no question. But I also feel like, I was working really hard to keep all the balls in the air and to keep being a really good mom and getting everything done. And, you know, spending time with them, while still drinking without being really irresponsible, right? Like, I would like, make sure we had dinner and do all the dishes and pick them up from all the sports and come home and make the coffee for the next day and get them to bed.
Now, no question. I had 2 to 3 glasses of wine while I was doing that. But then after I got them to that would continue to drink. And then in the morning, we’d be like, Alright, let’s pull it together. We got to get the kids up and snacks. And I mean, I was in my mind. I know there were times when I was definitely like at a commission, but I didn’t think that was most of the time.
Yeah, totally. Totally to be to be really, I don’t know, clear. Yeah, it wasn’t about that. Like mommy wasn’t there for like monitor responsibilities. Like you were always very good about that always are right. So it wasn’t like, you know, it’s a little kid like, you know, mommy won’t wake up right like that. It wasn’t like that. It I think what it was is when you’re when you’re married, and you have kids like the amount of time that’s just for the two of you gets pretty shrunk down anyway. Right? And so all of that kind of distance that comes with drinking came out of our time.
Yeah, right. Because your work time doesn’t change your commitment. Right? You’re pretty locked in there. And your mommy time was pretty locked in. There wasn’t much, you know what I mean? Yeah, over time anyway. Right.
And so I think, maybe that’s where the frustration or like the first ability to notice it comes from.
Yeah, I think that’s completely fair. Because I felt like I kept everything going as fast as I possibly could. And then once work was done, and the basic housework was done, and the kids were done. I was checked out like I was me on the couch with my glass and glass of wine finishing the bottle and like I was in my own bubble of having a party by myself on a Tuesday night.
Ah, yeah, you know some of that in um you know, I think one thing I didn’t even really understand until later until after until after you decided you wanted to stop drinking was how much what I kind of felt as distance. Other times of the day even was related to it, right like, you know, you know, where you gets a little frustrating when a yet you know, had to you know, get you up from the couch right and convince you that you wanted to go up to your bed, you know at night, right? So I wrote a little fat about bed like falling asleep on the couch and falls asleep on the couch. I was like, passed out on the couch. Like, you know, maybe weren’t the nicest on upon wake up at that point. Right? Yeah. And then, you know, when the mornings, right, you’d be kind of grumpy and distant too. I’m like, you know, it’s all. It’s all this left, right? It’s like after the kids go to bed before you go to work most days. Yeah. I think you probably just weren’t feeling very good some of that time.
Casey McGuire Davidson 25:37
Yeah. I mean, I really know that you did it. Well, I mean, I would you know, during that time, right. So I would be finishing my bottle of wine, sometimes opening another bottle. You know, when you were saying goodnight to the kids or going outside, or something would inevitably fall asleep on the couch. My memory. I don’t really remember you waking me up. I remember certainly sometimes waking up on myself on the couch at two or three in the morning. When you said that later that you couldn’t wake me up. I don’t know how that felt.
More I wake you up and you’d be like, I don’t want to get up. Right? Yeah, and sometimes, right, you get a little. Get a little.
Casey McGuire Davidson 26:18
You’re a little like frustrated. Yeah, it’s great. You wake up, you can sleep on the couch. Yeah, that wasn’t that often. Yeah. But so what I remember is coming up to bed, the door to the bedroom would be shut. And I would just be like, Fuck, and then of course, immediately would be defensive, try to open it quietly go to bed, usually wake up at some point in a total anxiety, panic, which is kind of what happens when you drink, right? Everybody talks about the 3:00 am wake ups with the pounding, you know, anxiety, the anxiety, worrying about falling back to sleep worrying about how you can function. So I had a lot of nights where you were sleeping next to me calmly and I was just freaking the fuck out in my own body. And then in the morning, you know, you would kind of roll over and just be like, so how you feeling? And I would just be so defensive. And like, what I’m fine, what do you like, I was like, it felt like a shot across the bow. And honestly, of course, I felt like complete and total garbage. I felt like you were judging me sort of passive aggressively, which let’s be clear, you were and in, in complete, you know, legitimately, of course you were. But I would be just trying to get the kids up, put on my makeup, get dressed, get out the door, get to daycare feeling like total garbage. So you’re not wrong, that I was seriously like, defensive and distant and not meeting your eye. But it was all about me and my drinking and being defensive of it and beating myself up and not wanting me to look you in the eye because I didn’t want you to look too closely at me.
And so right you’ll I learned never not to poke that bear. And so you kind of leave it alone. You can go on like that for years. Right? Because, you know, I mean, to be fair, you were still like I said perfectly competent and on point with all the other pieces your life. Right.
Casey McGuire Davidson 28:22
Very Nice Person. Let the record show. Um, but you know, right, like, wasn’t like you were out of control in some general way. Right? You just weren’t very, you just weren’t very happy about it. And defensive about it.
Casey McGuire Davidson 28:46
Yeah, I definitely felt like, you know, I think you said to me once or twice probably more than that. Like, they don’t be a martyr. Like, if you’re doing this for us, you can stop because it’s not that much fun to be around. And I definitely felt like I work, and I deal with the kids and I come home, and I do the chores and like my one carrot. My one tree was wine. Yeah. And, you know, in retrospect, if anyone’s listening to this, and that resonates. That’s a pretty small reward for going through life day to day and it there is a whole lot else out there that is way better than holding on for your bottle of wine and waking up feeling like garbage.
Yeah. Is that what you? I mean, in some ways, I have a question for you. Like, is that what you found right away when you stopped?
Casey McGuire Davidson 29:41
No, not right away. Although I would say that I noticed a lot of changes right away. I mean, looking back the absolute hardest and crappiest experience was not as much early sobriety once I got passed my first like, three weeks, 30 days.
The hardest part was the saying I was going to stop saying screwed and drinking again waking up in the mornings, there’s nothing worse than when I was waking up in the mornings feeling like total garbage. And I mean, I used to walk into work. When I was at the startup in Bellevue, literally walking into work feeling awful sick, asking myself in my head, do I just abuse alcohol? Or am I an alcoholic? and telling myself to get my fucking shit together? And what the hell’s wrong with me? I mean, that was a daily experience. That sucked. You know?
a hell of a, that’s a hell of a of a reward for your little reward. Yeah, right. Yeah. Right. Like, tell her what she’s one. Yeah. Um, is that feeling every day? Yeah. And so. So, you even when you did really decide to stop doing it, right? You shaded that and all kinds of different ways. Right. So that, I wouldn’t know that. That’s what you were doing?
Casey McGuire Davidson 31:13
Well, yeah. Um, so I didn’t actually tell Mike. Anything more than I was doing 100 day no alcohol health kick. I’m pretty much past 100 days. I did. I hired a sober coach. I did not tell Mike. I was doing that. I joined hip sobriety school when I was at 60 days. I didn’t tell Mike, I was doing that. And I think there were a couple different reasons for that. One, I wasn’t sure I was going to make it. And I mean, that would be no surprise to you. Because I had told you a million times that I was going to take a break from drinking and then four days in or seven days in, I’d be like, Hey, babe, will you pick me up a bottle of wine at the store? You know, screw it.
So one, I wasn’t sure I was gonna do it. Um, I think I did not tell you I was hiring a sober coach, because I didn’t want you to know how serious I thought it was. I didn’t want you to know, you know, any of that stuff. Because we are going to be married for another. I don’t know. How long are we going to live? I did not want to go all right. I mean, for forever, right? Yeah, no, but I mean, you know, how many years is that? 3040? Whatever. Yes, all of them. So I didn’t you know, what, if I changed my mind, like, then you would be like, dude, my wife’s drinking a bottle of wine again. And she heard a sober coach. Like, what the fuck, right? So I didn’t tell you. So I was very sort of secretive in my own head about drinking when, when I was drinking, and then I was very secretive in my head, when I was stopping to.
Um, it’s, it’s funny, the whole idea of I’m going after this, like self-betterment. And I’m going to keep it a secret from you. So you don’t find out that I’m trying to make myself better in some way. But I get it right, you. My experience with you is you don’t fail it. Hardly anything I’ve ever seen you set out to do and so you probably pretty scary that notion of failing.
Casey McGuire Davidson 33:32
Yeah. Well, and also like there is, you know, in my mind, too, and this may not be true. So I have actually, so I finally quit five, five and a half years ago, when my son was eight, and my daughter was two. I actually the first time I sort of was like, oh shit I need to stop drinking was when my son was five. And I went to a therapist for anxiety, but I very clearly picked him because he specialized in addiction and anxiety, and went in there and was like, oh my god, I have such bad anxiety. My boss is so tough. My life is stressful. I’m a mom of a little kid. And by the way, I’m drinking a bottle of wine at night. And he immediately was like, yeah, let’s talk about your drinking. I’m like, No, no, forget like drink eat, let’s talk about my dress. But he, you know, had gone through a he was sober. He immediately like zero data like tricky, which, of course, I did not want him to. And yeah, join this secret on my Facebook group. I’ve talked about the BFB met a woman there who was super cool, and my age and I liked her a lot and she was four months sober. So she offered to take me to an AA meeting. And, you know, last thing I thought I would ever do, but I liked her. So I was like, well bucket list bucket. I guess I’ll go so All that is to say that despite me saying, I didn’t want you to be watching me or worried about me, I had gone to a meetings, you know, three years before and you knew about that, like, how did you feel about that?
I mean, I think from the very, from the very beginning, you can tell me if I if this is wrong, because maybe, you know, maybe it can be some good or whatever, like, like, Hey, I’m great. You know what I mean? Like the steps if that’s what’s making you happy, right. Like, if you think that that’s something you’re trying to, to change. Good. I think I probably did have that. That moment was like, Wait, does that mean I have to suffer into the impression that you thought I was overreacting with a and that you were not that thrilled that I was going to it? That’s that was my sort of emotional takeaway from that.
Yeah. I don’t know what I remember you telling it with always the caveat of like, but that doesn’t mean I’m an alcoholic, you know, right. Like I you know, reject that label. Right. And so, I thought being on your side meant that I had to, like, also very clearly rejected, there was a problem. Right. And also, right, like, I don’t know that you really kind of vibe with the whole a thing.
Casey McGuire Davidson 36:22
Yeah, I didn’t. For me, I didn’t really like it. So I think what, we’re very nice, yeah, right. But just never really felt like you were something frustrating about it to you. And I’ve remembered, you know, saying like, Well, is there a way to do that? Yeah, you want to stop drinking. Isn’t there a different way to do this? Yeah. Cuz I don’t know that you’ve hit some grand rock bottom here. Right. And so couldn’t you just do it without that?
Yeah. Yeah. And I think you also, at least here in the Seattle area, the meetings are 90 minutes. And that’s, you know, it’s a large chunk when you’ve got a job and a little five-year-old. It’s a large chunk to try to carve out.
Yeah, yeah, not right. You know, another thing, you know, like, Oh, you know, yeah, right. Do you have to be gone? Yeah, right.
Casey McGuire Davidson 37:14
for that amount of time. That’s why Oh, yeah. Probably is the wrong reaction to have. Yeah, no, but I mean, I think that, that there was some tension there. And it was probably me projecting too, because, you know, I was like, this is not necessarily what I want to be doing. You know, in going to a certainly a while ago, like, I definitely did not want to be calling myself an alcoholic, I went to a bunch of big book meetings, which probably was not right for me, because I am not religious at all and have a healthier resistance to organized religions. And, in general, that’s just who I am, I’m actually pretty resistant to it. So it was probably not the right cognitive fit for me. And then I’m sure you picked up on that. And yet I was going, so I loved the people I met there, it was actually really cool. But I had a lot of tension around it.
And the timing, like going to 90-minute meetings was difficult for me. I mean, I think that’s one of the reasons when I actually did quit the second time, I worked with a sober coach and tapped into a lot of online resources. And, and a lot of the time when I was sort of doing my sober support, tapping into that was when I was rocking Laila to sleep at night, like I would go up there for two hours with her, instead of drinking a bottle of wine on the couch, and I would put in my earbuds and listen to books or listen to stuff from my coach, or I would listen to, you know, audios when I was driving to my workouts in the morning or on a walk at work. And I would actually take my coaching calls.
My coach was in Paris, it’s Bell, from tire to thinking about drinking, but I would, you know, most of them were midday, on workday. So I would go out to my car, and just block off, you know, an hour on my calendar at work and take my calls from the car. So, a lot of that wasn’t really apparent to in the same way that me going to a 90 minute a meeting was.
Yeah, right. You know, on. On some level, it’s, uh, you know, it’s interesting, right? Like the idea like, Oh, Okay, I get it, I support you, you know, you’re gonna stop drinking. Does it have to be like you took on like, another part time job. Right, you know, and you were like, why can’t you just stop somewhat?
Casey McGuire Davidson 39:49
Yeah, especially at the time.
Yeah. And I you know, I think also right, like, you know, being, you know, not immersed in it yet, right. Like, I think there was probably some conversation Like, why don’t you just cut its way back? Right? Yeah. Like, what?
Why don’t you just don’t drink during the week? Or why don’t you just or why don’t you? Why don’t you just drink? Like I do? Yeah, right. Seemed like the most obvious if it’s upsetting to you, why don’t you just not drink?
And, you know, obviously, right, it turns out it’s an, you know, an addictive substance and you’ve got, you know, brain chemistry designed to foil that play. Yeah.
Yeah. I mean, it was just, you know, when, and I think you even asked me once you were like, why do you keep drinking, when you’re drinking, and this was when we were in the house. And I remember very clearly saying to you that I was like, I just never want to stop feeling this way. Like that my brain was lit up, and I was feeling good. And I was like, you know, in my mind, if I just keep drinking, I will continue to feel this good longer and longer and longer. Despite the fact that you know, I kept drinking, and then I pretty much passed out and woke up feeling like garbage again and again and again.
And so, you finally, you finally stop. Right? And, you know, like, made it through the 100 days. Right. And, you know, I think I celebrated that with you. Yeah, you made your 100 days, right?
Casey McGuire Davidson 41:18
Yeah, cuz I definitely told you, I was doing the 100-day alcohol free challenge. And I was like, hey, Dave, I’m on day 50 or 75 or 100.
And so, you know, what was that like? For you? Right, when you like, finally we’re doing I don’t know, our family’s worth a life. Right. sober.
Yeah. Well, I mean, I think that once, I mean, I sort of remember really clearly I, before I stopped drinking, it was sort of the last bit I had gone, you might remember this, I had gone to a business trip in Arizona, a big conference, and I you know, was so excited to be away from our kids so I could sleep through the night he was still doing the wake ups and stuff and thought I’d be in this gorgeous resort and super well rested and you know, beautiful everything. And I went to this mixer. And there was free alcohol Of course and I didn’t know anyone, and it was a business thing. And I ended up drinking so much. Which you know, is sort of my that’s just what happens and woke up the next morning with a full on talking 10-hour days conferences. I was on for work and felt shaky, felt awful, like just brutal, brutal hangover. And then, you know, that was pretty brutal.
And I was like, Fuck, I gotta stop drinking. This is bad. This is not good. Drink a little bit that next night. Not a ton. There was a woman next to me who also was drinking a ton. I didn’t know her but she like could not function could not sleep. I was falling asleep at the table, like really bad. And so got her home. But that was like another sort of sticking in my head like cautionary tale. And then we met up as a family at a gorgeous resort. And you know, we you’ll remember this. This was like some night where it was supposed to be this beautiful, beautiful dinner out on this patio in Arizona. And Hank, for some reason, violently, suddenly didn’t feel well stood up, took three steps and puked all over the patio where everybody else was eating. Do you remember that? I remember. You took him to the bathroom. And then I was there with Lila, who was not quite 2 and for some reason, she picked up a plate threw it, smashed it like at the feet of another table. I mean, it was mortifying.
Yeah, it was a train wreck. And so you know, you were coming out of the bathroom with Hank and I was like, we got to get out of here like while it was screaming and throwing plates. So we went back to the room. And I’m sure I’d already had a couple glasses of wine but the resort they’re so nice, knocked on the door, and delivered a bottle of wine somehow apologizing to us for like what we tried to the rest of this looked like somebody you could use one yes, clearly. And so drank that. And what I remember is the next morning live was in a crib. You know, we’re in a hotel room with two queen beds. And I was so ill sweating nauseous. I was in the bathroom, throwing up red wine and bile at the age of 39. I’m trying God knows how to hope that you guys wouldn’t hear me in the you know, across the wall, which of course you would.
And I was just like what is happening? Those were like the four things kind of that happened right in a row. That That, or I guess that was three. The fourth was I came home. And you know, random night I was sitting down, of course with my bottle of wine and watching shows, and I was watching skin or something and you were like baby watch this last night. And I literally didn’t believe you. Like I was like I had No, you’re wrong, you’re just wrong. And I watched the entire episode. And right at the end, there was just something where I was familiar, like, right at the end of the episode, everything else was blank. And I was like, holy shit. I don’t I have no recollection of this last night. And so I woke up at three in the morning that morning, as per typical, someone on the BFB was said something about Belle coaching, and I contacted her the next day.
And that was my last day one. So it was like this small building. Once I stopped drinking once I started working with her, you know, of course, my first two weeks I was wanting to drink but I’m, I’m a good rule follower. And I like my straight A’s. So I was like writing her every day, she would send me stuff to listen to I would do it. Um, and I think pretty quickly, I was feeling physically better. I liked the support. I liked feeling like I was building towards something. And I was proud of the days I was building up like I liked the idea of 100 days. And I think you can you know, pretty soon after maybe it was a month ago, I said, said something to you asking, you know, are you noticing a difference? And I think he said something like you’re just much more peaceful or home is much more peaceful. At night. Do you remember that at all?
Yeah, I do. And I think somewhere in there, what I remember is the first times that there was like a serious conversations about how, like, the our bigger life had to make some adjustments to support it set, would that have been the first time you really doing any of that?
Tell me what you mean.
I’m like, I need you to not have any more alcohol in the house for a while.
Casey McGuire Davidson 47:17
I think I asked you not to have any wine. So yeah, I recommend to my clients if at all possible, to not have any alcohol in the house. But certainly not your beverage of choice. So you drank beer. There’s hard alcohol around that I’ve never have touched. But and I drank beer, but it wasn’t my jam. It was really wine of any kind. So, I mean, I think I definitely said to you, like I need no wine in the house. And if I asked you to buy any wine, please don’t.
I remember somewhere along the way. There were 30 days. You said that you were trying to have nothing really and I think that we did you do that? Yeah.
Casey McGuire Davidson 48:02
I don’t remember that. Okay. No, I remember, if I did good for me. I remember that for sure. Because I would go out with buddies right now. Yeah. You know, like, we’d have a beer. Yeah. And then yeah, after that. It was it was no why. Yeah. Which was okay with me. You know, like, I mean, it was that moment of bristle. I like, you know, right. Like, oh, I you know, like, I have to make that change, too. But then I realized that I wasn’t that big a fan of wine. Yeah. So it made it a little bit easier. It’d be harder. I think if it was, yeah.
Casey McGuire Davidson 48:36
So how did you feel about the, like, 30 days thing?
Um, you know, I think from the, you know, on all those experiences, you talk about, you know, right of like, you not being very well around it, like I was there too, for a lot of them. Right. And so, I was a fan of you making that change. So yeah, you know, I can deal with that.
But wouldn’t it be forever? Yeah, um, and I don’t know, for me the frame I always kind of had from the beginning of it was like, it was like you had had these health problems and like, gone and figured out that you were allergic to Sesame or something. Right. And like, yeah, of course, you’re gonna, you’re gonna have to make some adjustments. Yeah. around that, right, because it just isn’t, well, if they consume that, but did you believe that like when I was you, so you saw it as like, she really can’t drink this versus a health kick? Or was it somewhere in between?
I guess, somewhere in between, right. I think that it didn’t matter. Right?
Once you said like, Hey, here’s what I want to do or not do like, I’m not jumping out figuring out how I’m going to judge some parts of that. Yeah. You said I need to have that be true.
And so I always at least tried to follow that as best I could, as long as I was gonna have to make like long lifetime adjustments.
Casey McGuire Davidson 50:00
Yeah, and were you nervous about you seemed pretty good in the first 100 days cuz I was just like, Okay, this is what I’m doing it to help kick and, you know, it didn’t longer term seem doing, you know in that short term impact your life that much I mean I remember like we the date night and you wanted to go out to this brewery and I kind of was like, Hey, I’m still on my health kick, can we go to a coffee shop with live music or something?
But once I got to 100 days, I think I told you Okay, I’m going to six months. And that was during those, you know, the intervening time we were going to Italy and Croatia and Slovenia with my family, big vacation. And then I was also going to turn 40 and I remember you being like, Whoa, you’re not going to drink in Italy? That kind of thing?
Um, yeah, you know, that wasn’t like me being like, Oh, I thought we were gonna have so much fun drinking. I was like, are you you’re obviously gonna go. You’re gonna wander around Italy all day and not drink any more wine? Oh, okay. So that one, I’m not sure if I truly believed. Right.
But, you know, I was in favor of I don’t know, I’ve heard you talk about before about how you were worried or you have clients over that are worried that that their spouses, you know, we’ll be upset that they stopped drinking, because that means they’re not any fun anymore.
Casey McGuire Davidson 51:37
You know? And yeah, that was definitely something I was worried about. You know, and I guess part of the counter to that is like, once you’re at a point where you’re drinking is a problem. It’s, um, it’s not always that much fun. To be around. Yeah. And so, you know, I think that’s part of it, too, right. It’s the like, Hey, we’re gonna have some fun now, because there’s going to be alcohol involved. That kind of gone away, right?
Even on date nights and stuff, because like, I feel like, what you would prefer it if I just like, only drank on date night?
Yeah, but it was is likely to end up a little less fun is not Yeah, right. Because, you know, one of the things, one of the things that’s hard is you’re very competent, responsible person just across the board. And some of my frustrations around your drinking were just about, like, when that would fall off, right? where it would get you to the point where you just weren’t self responsible with just like dead weight, they had to like drag around, sometimes dead weight, right? Sometimes, um, sometimes as simple as, like, can’t drive right, sometimes as complicated as like, has to be physically, like, assisted someplace.
Which is all fine on a couch. But especially when you’re traveling, when you’re out in the city, you know, there’s just risk. Yeah, you’re right, that, you know, like, I don’t almost feel like I’m kind of a one of the reasons I don’t like drinking that much. I’m a regular drinker. But I really like time went on rides, I just don’t like that kind of loss of situational awareness, you know, kind of like them know, where the exits are. And, you know, in the end, have a, you know, look over my shoulder and like, when you’re when you’re stuck driving, and you’re navigators to sleep. You know, it’s a little frustrating.
Casey McGuire Davidson 53:30
Yeah. Well, and even I’m sure I got to the point where I was not walking well or tripping and falling or whatever.
Yeah. Right. You know, and, you know, not that bad. Right. But enough that, like, you know, you talk about that business trip, right. Like, that’s a that’s a situation with some risk. Yes. involved in it. Right. It just is right. And so I, that piece used to worry me.
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 Free 30-Day Guide to Quitting Drinking – 30 Tips For Your First Month Alcohol-Free, 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.
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