Have you been thinking it’s time to take a break from drinking, only to decide that you’re “not that bad”?

Most women who wonder if they’re drinking too much can look around and find lots of reasons why it’s not a “real issue”. 

We’ve been told that having a problem with alcohol is black or white. Either you fall into the category of someone who is “an alcoholic” or who “has a drinking problem”, or you don’t.

But in truth, binge drinking among women has become so normalized that it’s easy to dismiss any worries you have about your alcohol consumption by looking at friends and family members who drink like you do.

Katherine Keyes, a professor of epidemiology at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, said that “If you look at who is binge drinking the most, it’s women at midlife,” she said. “We see the greatest escalations in women with the highest socioeconomic status — those with the highest incomes, the most education and the highest-status occupations.”

And it’s no wonder. Alcohol has been sold to women as a part of a luxury lifestyle, having a good time and a way to reduce stress.

A lot of women fall into a category known as “gray area drinking” where your drinking falls between the extremes of having negative consequences from alcohol consumption and being able to take it or leave it on occasion. 

You don’t have to have a drinking problem to decide that drinking isn’t helping you be your best self. And you don’t need to be an alcoholic to benefit from a longer period of time alcohol-free. 

When I was drinking I had a big job and two little kids. I was busy and had too much to do and too few hours in the day. 

I’d hurry home after work, feeling desperate to relax, and immediately open a bottle of wine.

What had started with a glass or two of wine with dinner had shifted over the years to drinking a bottle of wine (and sometimes more) while cooking dinner, helping with homework, doing the dishes, and watching TV.

And then I would wake up at 3 am with my mind racing and my heart pounding, feeling like complete shit.

I’d worry about how to handle the business trip next week, get to daycare pick up on time, manage everything in-between and how I’d get through the morning with a headache and a hangover.

It was exhausting – the producing, delivering, overthinking, self-sabotage, overcompensating and trying to look like I had it all together.

Running through my head on a semi-constant loop were thoughts like…

“What’s wrong with me? Why am I so stressed out? How can I turn off my mind?

Maybe I need a regular yoga practice? A good therapist? A girl’s night?

I should meditate. And also train for a 10 K.

I really need to write this all down.

Or I could just open another bottle of wine…”

Maybe my story resonates with you.

Maybe drinking is your favorite way to relax, but what started with a glass of wine has  become the bottle.

Maybe you can’t wait for happy hour, but waking up at 3am with anxiety and starting the day with a hangover isn’t the way you want to live.

Maybe you’ve tried to make rules about how much you’ll drink – but can’t seem to get them to stick.

Or maybe you’ve promised yourself you’ll take a break from drinking, only to find that by 6 pm your resolve has vanished.

If you have a love-hate relationship with alcohol like I did, listen to this episode to find out what some of those early, subtle signs are that might tell you it’s time to take a break from drinking. 

And then check out The Sobriety Starter Kit program and see if it’s the right support for you to get out of the drinking cycle!

20 Signs It’s Time To Take a Break from Drinking

If any of these signs resonate with you, it’s not the end of the world. But it is a sign that you might want to see how good you can feel if you took a longer break from drinking. 

You’ll be amazed at the time and energy you’ll have when your life isn’t filled with drinking, thinking about drinking and recovering from drinking. 

And if you want more support, I can help! 

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

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

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

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

💥 Connect with me on Instagram.

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

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

Host Casey McGuire Davidson, a certified life and sobriety coach and creator of The 30-Day Guide to Quitting Drinking and The Sobriety Starter Kit Sober Coaching Course, brings together her experience of quitting drinking while navigating work and motherhood, along with the voices of experts in personal development, self-care, addiction and recovery and self-improvement. 
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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Should I Take A Break From Drinking? Look For These Signs To Know It’s Time with Casey McGuire Davidson


drinking, alcohol, wine, bottle, women, sign, life, people, night, husband, break, wake, alcoholic, thought, podcast, kids, morning, buy, years, remember, alcohol use disorder (AUD), gray area drinking, take a break from drinking, blackouts, coping mechanism, signs you should take a break from drinking, white knuckling

SPEAKERS: Casey McGuire Davidson 


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

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

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

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

Hi there.

Have you been going back and forth about whether you should take a break from drinking, but you don’t check all the boxes for a person who has a quote unquote “real problem with alcohol?” That’s the case for a lot of women.


You probably work really hard every day to accomplish a lot. You’re smart and capable and productive. You manage work deadlines and finances, business trips, family vacations, school conferences, daycare pickups, or whatever it is you have going on in your life. And if you’re anything like the way I was, you also love to drink, it’s your favorite thing. You don’t check all the boxes that would categorize you as having a drinking problem. And I want to talk about what some of those early subtle signs might be.


Maybe you think about drinking a lot and you get irritated. If you can’t drink for an evening. Maybe you have a glass of wine, and you immediately want a second or a third. Maybe you leave the office and wonder if you have enough wine at home. That was something I did all the time. It was so crazy. Just the question of, Do I have enough and having that be the motivating factor to try to stop really quickly at the grocery store before I had to pick up my son at daycare, or maybe you tell yourself you’re going to take a break from alcohol for a reset but have trouble making it more than a couple nights.


We think that having a problem with alcohol is black or white. Either you fall in the category of someone who is a quote unquote “alcoholic” or has a drinking problem, or you don’t. And heavy drinking is so normalized that it’s easy to dismiss any worries you have about your alcohol consumption by just looking at friends and family members who drink a lot like you do.


A lot of women fall into the category of what’s called gray area drinking, which is between the extremes of having negative consequences for alcohol and being able to take it or leave it on occasion. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never been able to take or be alcohol in a very casual way. I either was drinking and wanting more or not drinking and really irritated about it. You don’t have to actually even have a problem with alcohol for alcohol to be dragging you down or not serving you in your life. There is no question that alcohol disrupts your sleep dehydrates your skin makes you anxious makes you feel more depressed than you would be if you weren’t drinking and absorbed so much time and energy either thinking about drinking, drinking itself, recovering from drinking, and everything in between. I have seen so many women whose lives have opened up and become amazing. And they have accomplished more than they ever thought possible by just swapping out a beverage by just removing alcoholic drinks from the things they consume. And you get to see how that happens. By taking an extended break from alcohol. What keeps us trapped is the idea that the only people who would ever take a break from drinking are those who qualify somehow on the Google A quiz of am I an alcoholic? And for the vast majority of us, you probably don’t drink in the morning, your hands probably don’t shake. Friends and family might not have said anything to you about being concerned about your drinking, you might even have asked friends, do you think I drink too much? And they might have said, Oh, absolutely not, you’re fine, you drink like the rest of us, it’s no big deal. You might not have missed any work because of your drinking, or you can stop and not have to physically detox from alcohol, you might not have had a DUI and you say to yourself, that’s great. I don’t qualify, I’m not a quote unquote, alcoholic.


Now, before I go any further, I just want to say that I really hate the word alcoholic. And that word itself is not even a medical diagnosis. It’s just not in the medical community. They call it, alcohol use disorder. It’s on a spectrum like many other things, from mild to moderate to severe. And the vast majority of people in this world who drink are somewhere on that spectrum, there are actually very, very few people who truly can take or leave alcohol, if they are drinkers. And I will link in the show notes of this episode to a podcast I did on why I don’t use the word alcoholic to describe myself or anyone else, because I do think it’s an important distinction. But say you don’t qualify on those quizzes That is awesome. You do not need to be an alcoholic to decide that drinking isn’t helping you be your best self.


So, my story is when I was drinking, being a red wine girl was a huge part of my identity. I almost thought of it as part of my personality. It was a shorthand signifying that even though I was an adult and had kids and had a job and was married, to me, being a red wine girl somehow signified that I was still fun, that I was still looking at time that I was more than a mom or a wife. I felt like it helped me hold on to that girl, I was in my 20s or in college. And when I was drinking, my life actually looked pretty good from the outside. I had spent 20 years climbing the corporate ladder at big companies and small startups. Everybody knew I drank. But no one really said anything to me about it. And no one had said to me that they were worried about my drinking or that I should drink less, including my husband and my family.


Now, as I look back, there were definite times when I stepped over the line, and people question how much I was drinking or whether I should continue to drink? Absolutely. But looking in from a high level, nobody was saying to me, I think you need to not drink. The way I was living when I was drinking was I had too many commitments, and not enough hours in the day. I was constantly going but filled with this anxious energy, I could never quite release, I would hurry home from work, feeling desperate to relax, and immediately open a bottle of wine. I drink the bottle and sometimes more, while cooking dinner and helping with homework and doing the dishes and watching TV. And then, I would wake up at 3am with my mind racing and my heart pounding and feeling like complete and total shit. I would worry about how I would handle the business trip next week how I would get to daycare pick up on time, how I would manage everything in between, and how I get through the morning with a headache and a hangover. It was totally exhausting.


The producing and delivering. The overthinking the self-sabotage, overcome overcompensating and trying to look like I had it all together and running through my head on this semi constant loop. Or thoughts like these, I would think, what’s wrong with me? Why am I so stressed out? How can I turn off my mind? Maybe I need to do a regular yoga practice. Or I need a good therapist. Maybe I just need a girls night. Maybe I should meditate, and I also really should train for a 10k. I need to write this all down. Or I could just open another bottle of wine and 99% of the time the bottle of wine won. It was my coping mechanism and my reward for everything in life. And I am not alone.


Katherine Keith, who’s a professor at Columbia University’s School of Public Health, said that “alcohol has been sold to women as part of the luxury lifestyle of having a good time as a way to reduce stress. And she said, if you look at who is binge drinking the most, it’s women at midlife. The gray. This escalation in trucking is among women with the highest socio-economic status, the highest incomes, the most education and the highest status occupation. It’s not the people that you see on TV or in movies or in popular culture, as quote, unquote, “those people are struggling with alcohol.”


If you look around, it’s probably your friends, or your community or your family, it’s women just like you and me.


So, let’s take down the level of the types of signs you might be looking for, if you should take a break from drinking. And I just want to share the signs that I saw in myself and the signs of the hundreds and hundreds of women that I’ve worked with what they experienced. If any of these resonate with you, it’s not a big deal. It’s just a signal that this is a great time to take an extended break from alcohol.


This is a great time to do an experiment and see how good you can feel with a period of time, alcohol-free. Give yourself 3 months. And don’t white knuckle it. Do it in a way with support, reinforcement, intention, curiosity, and excitement. And if you want support in that, I want to invite you to join my Sobriety Starter Kit program. It will help take you from day one to day 30, 60. 106 months a year with tools and strategies, self-care, empowerment, guidance, so you’re not wondering what to do at what point and community you will meet an incredible community of women, just like you who are doing this thing as well.


So, let’s just jump into the science. And these are in no particular order.


Number one, maybe you make rules for yourself about drinking less.


I know that when I was worried about my drinking, I tried all of these conscious and unconscious strategies to drink less. So, I would tell myself that I would only drink twice a week. I would only drink on the weekends. I would only have two drinks at a time. I would drink water in between my alcoholic beverages. And then, I would have trouble sticking to each and any one of those for very long. I also tried different strategies to limit my drinking. So yes, you can make rules about when you’ll drink it, how much filtering. But I also did things like switching the type of alcohol I was drinking, so I was a big red wine girl. So, at different times, I would tell myself, I am only going to drink white wine because I didn’t like it as much, or I would only drink beer, I would try to do things with my schedule. Like I would take 5:30 In the morning bar classes or bootcamp classes, so that I wouldn’t drink too much the night before, because I would be too hungover.


I would join a running club that would go at 7pm to 8:30pm. With the idea that then I couldn’t start drinking at 6. And maybe after I’d been so healthy, I wouldn’t want to start drinking at 8:30. At night, I switched from bottles of wine to even Boxed Wine. Because in my mind, somehow if you have3  glasses of wine, there’s only a quarter left in the bottle. So that’s ridiculous. It’s just calling to you. You almost have to finish it. So, if you’ve got a box of wine, then you can have three classes and you would never even see how much was left in the box. By the way, that was a horrible strategy. So, if you’re thinking of that one, don’t do it. Shockingly, buying a box of wine did not help me drink less or control my drinking. So, I’m going to save you the trouble on that one.


I think a universal sign that you might want to take a break from drinking is waking up at 3am with a racing mind and anxiety. I don’t think there is anyone who has struggled with alcohol who has not had those 3 and wake ups and know how crushing they can be. You wake up and regret how much you drank the night before. I would wake up sometimes with one eye open and just immediately start talking shit to myself. I would think what the fuck is wrong with you, Casey, get your shit together.


I would hate looking in the mirror and putting on my eyeliner, and seeing my eyes being bloodshot and watery. I mean, that’s a huge sign that you should take a break from drinking.


I remember some days I would go down to get the coffee in the morning. And if I had opened a second bottle of wine, I would hold it up to see how much was left in the bottle. And I did that to gauge how shitty my day was going to be. How bad my hangover was going to be. So, if the bottle was 3, 4 was full. I was like, alright, this isn’t going to be good. But it’ll be okay, I’ll get through it. If there was only a quarter left in bottle number 2, I was just like, fuck, today is going to suck.


You might want to look at taking a break from drinking, if you were sort of hiding the empty bottles, even from yourself. So, for me, I would finish a bottle, I would put it in my recycling bin. And then, I would put something on top of it like a newspaper or paper towel or something. I did not want to look at my empty bottles in the recycling.


Another sign is you sort of always kept one eye on the booze.


So, at restaurants, or looking at how much wine is in the bottle on the dinner table, how much other people are drinking or not drinking. So, I remember, back in the day, my husband typically drank beer, and I typically drank wine, but it got to the point where I needed quote, unquote, a bottle of wine, or I wanted a bottle of wine at night. So occasionally, I had my bottle of wine open, and he would be like, Oh, I’m going to taste this, or this would be good within, or I’ll have a glass and he pour himself a class of, of wine from the bottle. And I would just internally be pissed at him, I would be like, fuck, now I don’t have enough. Now I’m going to need to open a second bottle of wine. And it’s going to be awkward. I mean, those thought patterns, people who don’t struggle at all with alcohol, they do not think those things but but I was very aware of it. I also used to be at the restaurant and sort of like trying to signal the waitress to bring me another glass of wine. before it got awkward right before everyone else asked for the check, or before we finished up with dinner. Because maybe I’d only had two and she just was not coming back to get my order for third class. Sometimes I’d even get up from the table and go to the bathroom in order with the waitress on the way to the bathroom. It’d be like, Oh, hey, they brought another class like it’s so casual, right? Like, no problem at all. I don’t know if you’ve ever done this. But I’ve also went on this kick where I was all into port, or dessert wines. And if we’re being really clear, it was because I wanted one more drink before dinner ended. So, everybody else was getting dessert. And I was pretending I was like all sophisticated and really in deport. I also used to say things like, oh, I don’t have a sugar too, or no dessert for me, I take my calories and wine. So, that’s very funny looking back, because alcohol has a ton of sugar in it. And so, the idea that you don’t have a sugar tooth, and you just somehow prefer the taste of your preferred alcohol is comical, looking back. But if you’re saying things like that, if you’re talking about, oh, I take my dessert in wine, I don’t have a sweet tooth, but you’re drinking a lot of alcohol. Those are great signs that maybe just take a break from drinking.


No big deal. But give yourself 100 days to see how you feel without it to see how much space mental space opens up in your life. How much happier you could be if you weren’t constantly spiking your dopamine with alcohol, and your body wasn’t constantly suppressing that happy hormone that you should naturally have.


Another sign is if all your activities seem to revolve around alcohol.


You know, I used to be like, Oh, I’m very social. All my birthday parties were wine tasting weekends. At sports, there was always drinking occasion. My wedding anniversaries, we used to go away to the wine country. I mean, there was always a reason to drink or a drinking activity. Even pumpkin carving with all my girlfriends had become a champagne, pumpkin carving brunch. Another big sign is if you only do part of your drinking with others, so maybe you have a glass of wine before you go out or you go out with people. And then you come home and open another bottle of wine for like, just quote unquote, “one more glass.”


So many of the women I work with, look around and say, why can I drink like a normal person? Why can’t I be that woman who goes out and has one or two causes of blindness? The truth is that almost none of the women I work with anyone from the outside would think that they have an issue with alcohol. That’s because so many of us only do part of our drinking in public. We might drink before we go out or after we go out. So, the idea that everyone else in the universe is going to this lovely outdoor dinner and having one or two glasses of wine. You just don’t know that and from my experience, from doing this podcast for years and years and talking to 1000s of women, so many more women struggle with this. And a lot of those women who are worried about their drinking might be your best friend. We just never talk about it.


Another sign is if you were annoyed if events don’t include alcohol.


I remember going to baby showers and literally being annoyed. If alcohol was not served. I was a yet the mother to be cantering. But what about the rest of us? I mean, I used to go to groups of parents of new babies, it was called peps in the Seattle area. And during those evening gatherings with our 12 week old, I was annoyed if no adult beverages were served. So yes, that is a sign that I probably should have recognized, I don’t know, eight years before I stopped that maybe taking a break from drinking would be a good idea. Another one, maybe you’re embarrassed by your recycling. I mean, I mentioned putting the newspaper over the top of the bottles or hiding the bottles, even from myself. So sometimes, if I opened a second bottle, I would put the bottle behind my coffeemaker, so even I wouldn’t have to look at it in the morning. So many women talk about being embarrassed taking out the recycling instead of their spouse or their kids. Because it was so heavy because it had so many bottles or cans in it or taking out recycling multiple times a week. So, it never got to full when I was drinking, there would have been 9 wine bottles in my little plastic container by the end of the week. So, I definitely took it out multiple times. And the good news is that, now that I don’t drink, I don’t even give it a second thought. I’m like Hank, my son, go get the recycling, get it out of here. And you have no idea just those random things. How much lighter you are moving through the day without having that constant thought of things like, oh my god, I should take out the recycling. There are too many bottles in there. Do I have enough at home? Can I signal the waitress? am I drinking too much? How many should I drink tonight? How bad am I going to feel in the morning? Am I going to be able to work out just this light this and this space in your life is pretty incredible.


Another sign is if other people make comments or joke about your drinking, maybe you get birthday gifts.


With a wine theme, there was a great Saturday Night Live skit about this that started out as being very funny with all the wine, and signs for your kitchen, and kitchen towels. But then it got really dark. And a lot of those signs and jokes and cocktail napkins are masking something that really isn’t funny. The ones that aren’t like,

It’s not drinking alone, if my dog is home.

When my kids wine, I wine back. To school supplies being a case of wine, I mean, all of that stuff actually can be kind of dark.


But if a lot of your gifts, or a lot of the jokes, or a lot of the cards you get are about alcohol. That’s a great sign that maybe you should take a break from drinking.


And by the way, hopefully you’re noticing that none of these are you got a DUI, or your hands are shaking in the morning, or you’ve lost your job or your family or anything like that. No, these are just sort of the early signs that so many of us get into a life where we all drink. And it’s so normalized, that we don’t even notice there’s this subtle slide into our world where your priorities suddenly are dominated by whether or not you’re able to consume alcohol. You might drink more of the days of the week, then you don’t. And I thought this one was funny because I was really a 365 days a year, 7 days a week, no days off kind of drinker unless I was trying to make rules about how often I would drink and then I wouldn’t white knuckling through for days and break and get a bottle of wine and then white knuckling it again, 3 or 4 days and break and get a bottle of wine.


But yeah, if you drink more days of the week than you don’t, that’s a great sign that you should take a break from drinking.


Here’s the other thing I would say, so many of us think that we are taking a break from drinking when we go 3 days, 4 days when we only drink on the weekends. We think that is taking a break and you have no idea how much easier it is to not drink when you get further away from the drinking cycle. So, you were not really taking a break from drinking when you were only drinking on the weekend. You were just constantly going through that craving and withdrawal. We’re all in recovering and craving and withdrawal and recovering cycle, it can be brutal.

So, give yourself the opportunity to get to 30 days, which is the time when your dopamine and your serotonin resets to get away from alcohol.


So, your cortisol, your stress hormone, can drop to get to the point where you are happier. And to get to the point where your habits start to shift. So, you’re not automatically craving alcohol at the end of the day. Or on a Friday night, you will be amazed, the first Friday night that goes through, when you don’t think about drinking, and you realize it as you’re going to bed that you didn’t think about it, you will be amazed at how much more full and happy your life will be. But that does not happen. If you’re doing what I used to do, which is, hey, I’m going to, quote unquote, “make my life full” by doing a running club or a morning workout, or a meditation class. And white knuckling it through four days of not drinking with all these strategies and willpower, and then drink and then beat myself up and do it again.


Another sign is, if you’re very touchy about your drinking, if you get defensive about it, if you justify it, or downplay it, rationalize it or attribute it to something else. And I did that all the time.


So, for example, my husband would give me a look and be like, What are you doing when I was opening a second bottle of wine on Tuesday night, and I would get very defensive and be like, what it’s been a hard day, he would ask me how I was feeling in the morning. And I would think it was very judgy, which meant I was incredibly defensive. And I’d be like, what, I’m fine. It’s nothing to see here. It’s great. But I was irritated. I was not meeting his eyes. I was defensive about it. I would, quote unquote, “fall asleep” on the couch, and he couldn’t wake me up. And we all know that means I passed out, of course. But I would come up to bed at 3am When I woke up and the door to our room would be closed. And I would just be like, What a fucking dick closing the door. I mean, it was all about me. But I was so defensive about it. It was a clear sign that this was not, nothing to see here with my drinking.


Another sign is maybe you use drinking as a coping mechanism.


So, if you have a horrible day at work, or get some bad news, your immediate reaction is I need a drink, or I deserve this, if drinking is your favorite reward for getting through the day. And here’s the thing. Of course, you think that if you look on social media, at any time, someone comments about having a hard day, or a kid having a tantrum, or your plane being delayed at the airport or your boss being a dick or had late night deadline. And every single comment would be, You Deserve A Drink, get the wine stat we’ve just been conditioned that any annoyance or inconvenience or issue of managing life deserves alcohol as a solution.

But if you are starting to use drinking as a coping mechanism, if that is your first knee jerk reaction to anything that happens, take a break from drinking, see how you feel without it.


Another sign is if your serving sizes have increased, or you’re pouring bigger classes, or you need more alcohol, then you use to get to the point that you want to.


And this is so common. I even remember buying the really big glasses of wine, thinking it was sophisticated, but truly, you could just put a shitload of wine in those glasses.


Another one is blackouts or gray outs, not remembering stuff, being blurry at the end of the evening, waking up and wondering where your jacket is, or your phone is or if you started the coffee or if you did the dishes.


The night before, I was kind of a big blackout drinker, I didn’t remember a lot of conversations. I didn’t remember the ends of a lot of shows. And so, it was kind of amazing to me to realize how much of my life I was kind of erasing by the amount of alcohol I was consuming, which if you looked around was not that uncommon of amount of alcohol to be consuming. So, if you are waking up and looking at your stuff, or your phone or your texts, or your social media posts wondering whether or not you said something you shouldn’t have the night before, great sign to take a break from drinking.


If you kind of look at your spouse in the morning and try to gauge his mood to understand how bad things were the night before or if he’s pissed or worried or upset. Also, a great sign.


Another one is, if you hide part of your drinking.


So, this is one of those where most of us are like, of course I didn’t hide my drinking. I did not have it In a boot in my closet, I didn’t hide alcohol in the laundry room. Hey, if you do that, no judgment, none at all. But a lot of people, myself included think, Oh, I didn’t do that. And you kind of need to look back and say, Okay, how true is that? Because I always said, I didn’t hide my drinking. But I also was on the couch. And as soon as my husband would leave the room, I would hop up, run to the bottle of wine, refill my glass, and try to be back on the couch, before he returned, so he wouldn’t know or notice that I was down in class after class, or he wouldn’t know how many I had.


Another one is, I tried to open another bottle of wine, or really, really quietly when he wasn’t around, so he wouldn’t hear the pop up the bottle. Now, those are 2 things that might be subtle, in terms of hiding part of your drinking or downplaying.


When you go to the doctor, and you just say, Oh, how much do you drink, you say, oh, a couple glasses of wine. A couple of nights a week. Of course, I was never like that pretty much bottle of wine maybe 5 nights a week. Like, Nobody says that. Right? So that is downplaying it. But then as you go along, it gets harder and harder to tell yourself that you’re not hiding things.


So, for example, near the time that I stopped drinking, I was more often than not drinking more than a bottle of wine at night. So maybe a bottle and a half. And I would go to the store, and I would buy, you know, the 6 pack of wine bottles. But of course, for the 10% discount. Because I’m very frugal. I’m being sarcastic here a little bit, or a lot. But I would buy three my favorite bottles that have a cork, and three bottles with a screw top, same type of wine, but not my absolute favorite. And I would keep the screw top bottles in my wine rack. So, I would drink my bottle of wine one night, I had no idea how looking back, I thought that was like zero big deal, or how my husband thought it was not a big deal. But it was so normalized in my household. But then, I would have a screw top bottle, and I would refill after the bottle of wine was done or in the middle, from the screw top bottle like that is 100% hiding my drinking.


I even at the time was like, if my husband ever pulls out this bottle with the screw top to like, offer me a drink and it’s two thirds gone, I’m going to have a really hard time explaining that I was like, that’s kind of weird.


Maybe you have zero issue drinking alone, or you routinely have a party, by yourself on your couch, at home or on work nights. I mean, that was me, your husband might say that you’ve repeat yourself at night. Or maybe you ask your husband to drive most of the time. It was almost understood, it was definitely unspoken in my marriage that my husband would always drive home. I mean, I was never going to be the Chosen One to drive home unless I specifically stated I wasn’t going to drink.


Maybe you subtly choose not to eat at restaurants that don’t serve alcohol, or you get upset if you get there and find out they don’t drink alcohol. Maybe you’re anxious if you’re traveling if you are staying with someone else, and you wonder if there’s going to be enough to drink or enough of your favorite drink. Wherever you are. There’s this weird sense of urgency, or of keeping an eye on alcohol and sort of rationalizing that. The reason that you want to buy extra alcohol is just because they’re weird, or you don’t want to bother them or maybe they’re uptight, all these kinds of things that somehow make it normal that you would want to bring your own quote unquote “stash” or whatever it is to wherever you’re going. Sometimes people rotate liquor stores or grocery stores so that it’s not totally obvious to the clerks, how often and how much alcohol you are buying, how much or how often you’re buying alcohol. I know, for me, I would sometimes make random comments about having a party when I would buy six bottles of wine like the clerk was somehow judging me for how much alcohol consumed or maybe you go to Trader Joe’s or Costco and just buy a case. So, you know, you can just have it stashed, and there’s no question maybe you always get alcohol if it’s served wherever you are, and alcohol is being served more and more places.


Someone said a waterpark or an amusement park at a farmers market. There is a bar and my kids soccer indoor soccer lessons place. I know there’s bars at hockey places. So, even when you’re going to take your kids to a practice, you are managing to get it. Maybe you post memes or jokes on social media that have an alcohol theme or theme about women drinking a lot to normalize what you’re doing. Or you look back and see that every social media post you put up there recently includes alcohol in the picture or in the storyline.


Sometimes you might plan your food around drinking either saving calories to account for alcohol, or a vote, or avoiding foods that would, or avoiding foods that might mess up your buzz. Maybe you’ve woken up after a night out and even just had the thought I need to cut back, or this is not good. Another one would be finding more bruises. I used to say I bruise like a peach. And I read somewhere when I was researching this, someone wrote, yeah, you may be anemic, but you’re sobbing. Habit may be more likely to blame alcohol, it dilates your blood vessels. So, if you bump into something, you’re wide open vessels are more likely to become injured, and bleed more. Since alcohol also makes you more clumsy and it numbs pain. You are also less likely to notice it when you bump into things. But so many women talk about these unexplained bruises that you might see, you might just feel less energetic than you used to more mentally sluggish, less effective at work. Maybe you feel like you have everything together. But alcohol is the one thing you don’t have a handle on. Maybe you know that you don’t have enough switch. So, once you start drinking, you always want more. My husband used to say to me that I just drank until it was gone. Or until I fell asleep slash passed out. There was no middle ground. And that was so true. I basically drank until it was gone. He asked me once why I did it. And I was just like, I never want this feeling to end, I feel so good. I never want it to end. And somehow I thought that if I just drank more than the feeling would go on longer, which looking back was so not the case. And I cannot believe how many times I woke up just brutally hungover and feeling ill to my stomach. And with a pounding head feeling like the blood vessels in my brain were about to explode. And somehow I thought that was okay, or that was worth protecting or maintaining. For the buzz I felt when I was drinking.


Maybe you don’t remember the INS shows or conversations you’ve had after you were drinking. I’ve told the story how the day I Finally Quit drinking the night before I turned on the show. And my husband mentioned to me that I had watched it the night before. And I was so sure that he was wrong. I was positive he was wrong. I had zero recollection of this program at all. And then I got to the very end of it an entire hour in and one piece of it was incredibly familiar. And I just realized that I had completely erased an hour of my life and my memory from the night before. And that was really scary. But my husband would always say to me, we talked about this, don’t you remember, we discussed this. And I was so defensive about it saying oh my god, I’m just so busy, and I do all things, etc., etc. But you also have no idea how good it feels to remember everything. Or if you don’t remember something, just be like, Yeah, I was busy. But without the guilt, without the defensiveness. Just being like, yeah, oops, and just having a roll off your shoulders. That is so good.


I mean, the basic one, right, you wake up feeling sick from drinking with a headache, or hangover. I’ve got to tell you, we think that drinking is so sophisticated, and helps us advance at work or helps us bond with our partner and makes us closer. I remember being 38 and on my knees at a fancy resort, throwing up red wine in the bathroom while running the sink. Because my husband and my two little kids were in the hotel room next door to the bathroom, and I really didn’t want to have them, and I really didn’t want them to wake up and hear me puking. So, the opposite of being sophisticated, is throwing up red wine and sweating in a hotel bathroom when you’re close to 40 years old. Even when I was younger. I would sometimes I was look I was big pro or upper for some reason. I had a really weak stomach so I would throw up in my office bathroom sometimes when I had a really big night out before and just waiting for the coworkers to leave the bathroom to throw up and to trying to play that off.


Oh my god, if you are getting sick on any kind of a regular basis, that is a great sign that alcohol is not working for you.


And I know that you probably love drinking. You probably cannot imagine your life without alcohol, all your friends drink everyone, you know drinks, I so get that. But lower the bar for the significance of the decision to take a break from alcohol. Just say to yourself, I’m going to take 100 days off. Because I don’t remember the show last night where I felt really hungover this morning. Or it’s becoming a little too important to me, or I’m not getting up for my workouts. And just see during those 100 days, how you feel. For me, one of the final signs that made me stop was I had just this lingering feeling of fear or unease or doom. I mean, there’s no question that drinking bumps up depression and anxiety, but I really felt like I couldn’t cope with my life. And no wonder my nervous system was constantly shot. I probably hadn’t had a good night’s sleep in years. But I really felt like I was scared that my mental health was going down. And that I was fooling everyone and pretending to everyone that I had it all together. And I was really worried about myself. And I am so grateful that I took that chance to get help and get a coach and join a group and get away from that place of living.


With that fear and unease and doom and anxiety, you don’t realize how much better your life is going to be when you remove this substance. And women will come to me, and we start working together. And they talk about how things are really difficult with their boss or their colleagues or their husband or partner or kids or mother or mother in law, or their financial situation, or mental health or anything else. And all of those things may be true. Those are all triggers to drink. They’re probably a lot of things in your life and your schedule and your responsibilities that you need and want and deserve to shift that remove the alcohol first, when you get the alcohol out of your life, and schedule and relationships and habits, everything will shift when you change everything around you changes. So, for a lot of women, I’ve seen their work become easier, their schedule become less stress, they connect better with their partner, they connect better with their kids, they are stronger and have better boundaries with the people in their lives that they need boundaries with. You save a shitload of money not drinking.


In my first 3 months, I saved $1,600. 90 days $1,600 Not spent on alcohol. So, you can do the math over 6 months and a year it was incredible. So, there may be very real things that you need to change in your life that are stressing you out or weighing you down, that could very possibly be true. And it is a big mistake. To think that you need to wait until those things are better. Before you stop drinking. Remove the alcohol first. A lot of your life is going to get better just by getting that substance out of your body. And then, you have the clarity and the confidence and the energy to shift the other things in your life that you need to shift.


And then there are just the physical impacts of trunky. So maybe you’ve gained weight, your faces read your body and face are bloated or puffy. Maybe you just have a toxic feeling in your body. Maybe your liver enzymes are elevated, your skin looks really dehydrated, your eyes look really don’t stopping drinking is the best anti-aging thing you can possibly do. So, if your physical health is hurting, that is a great chance just for that reason alone to get the toxic substance out of your body for an extended period of time and see what your skin looks like see what happens to your body. See what your energy is like see what happens with your medical tests and what changes because it’s going to be good. So those are a lot of signs to consider and if some of those resonate with you.


Don’t worry about it, take it as a sign or an opportunity to get curious about what could shift in your life if you stopped drinking.


I posted this question to my sobriety starter kit programs members community. I put it up there. I told them I was going to record this podcast and said, Here’s my list.


But I wanted to ask, what are the things in your life that you notice that made you think, shit, I should cut back quick get a handle on this?


What were the things that got you started on considering taking a break from drinking, or on the sober curious path?


And all of these awesome, successful, interesting fun women wrote back, and I was amazed at how similar we all were. People wrote in about not remembering conversations, or hiding bottles from her husband buying two bottles, but only letting him see one. Kids mentioning or asking her not to drink, doing things drinking she wouldn’t do when she was sober. So, eating terribly drunk online shopping, texting people things she wouldn’t normally do a green to social events, she wouldn’t do sober. Someone else posted about refilling their wine glass when their husband left the room or pouring from two bottles. So, it isn’t as obvious how much you’re drinking, feeling a sense of urgency at restaurants to signal the waiter to get another drink.


A couple of people mentioned rotating liquor store or buy many bottles of vodka for the night. A lot of people mentioned just choosing restaurants or places to go where they serve alcohol. I remember back in the day Disneyland didn’t serve alcohol at the Magic Kingdom. And I was like, What the fuck, this is supposed to be the happiest place on earth, and they don’t serve alcohol. I think I was in my 20s. But I was somehow really offended and put off and irritated that the Magic Kingdom did not serve alcohol.


Other people talked about missing work because of hangovers. I was little bit different. I would force myself to go to work, and then feel so shitty. I would somehow be like, Oh, I don’t feel so good. I need to go home. I’ll keep working from there. And then sometimes I would have a glass of wine when I got home to feel better super common in the comments. Whereas the usual telling yourself you’re not going to drink that night at 8am. And then by 4pm 5pm 6pm you’ve convinced yourself that you deserve it. It’s okay you overreacted. You’ll just have one. It was a shitty day. It was a good day. Whatever it is.


Someone else said, you’re tired to having your partner be able to gaslight you with comments dismissing your feelings because you’re drunk or you’re or you’ve been drinking. Another woman said chronic gut health issues. And there are so many digestive issues that come when you’re drinking alcohol. And of course, the classic Googling, if you have a problem what is an alcoholic is drinking one bottle of wine a night alcoholic, all that stuff.


Someone else said, not only the digestive problems, but following Instagram influencers who post about drinking a lot. And then doing that in conjunction with googling. If you have an issue, spending a good bit of the day planning when you were going to drink or thinking about it, what or where you will drink picking cocktails on the menu based on which one would be the strongest choosing friends who’d like to drink a lot, disliking people who did not drink.


Someone else said, when you call or text people the next morning in the hopes that they’ll make you feel better about whatever stuff happened the night before, or trying to gauge how bad the evening was based on your husband’s fives.


Another one was just not trusting yourself. Like, knowing that night out is coming up and either dreading the hangover sets coming or knowing that you will not necessarily be fully capable when you get home. So, for example, I was always worried about paying the babysitter too much or too little. So, I tried to calculate that out before we went out. I would make the coffee and set the coffeemaker before I went out for an evening. I would set five alarms for the morning before I went out in the evening. All just not trusting yourself.


Business Travel is such a trigger for so many people and one woman road I traveled a bunch for work and flying used to make her anxious. So, she’d get to the airport extra early to make sure she could have a drink before boarding the plane and then wondered when the drink cart was coming by at her destination stopping by wherever was open to ensure she had a backup stash in her hotel room. And just always the thinking about drinking And the overall dishonesty, I used to remember that when I was away at a conference by myself, I would go to the bar and have a glass of wine and chat with the bartender with an app. And then I would actually order a glass of wine to go. And the bartender at some point, put saran wrap over the top of the class wine, and I carried it up in the elevator to my room, I would also always drink the mini bottles of wine that were in the hotel room, and I would pay for my hotel room on my work credit card. And I would ask them to put the wine and drinks on a separate credit card when I was checking out, other women wrote about just you glorify it, you glorify alcohol, you put it on a pedestal, it’s the answer of how you’ve reward yourself at the end of the day. You think it is sophisticated and social and how you connect with people, and is part of your personality, or identity or inner spirit. And that’s what I thought it was, I thought that being a red wine girl was part of my personality. I even said to my coach, I don’t even know who I am without alcohol. I don’t know what I like. And by the way, that is a huge opportunity to find out to get to evolve to get to transform to see what other interests and habits you might be when so much of your time and energy and focus aren’t absorbed by alcohol. Subtle things might just be hot sweats at night, poor sleep fatigue, feeling blood during the day, another woman whose good friend of mine wrote not being able to go a single day without a drink. Even when I was sick. I used to make a hot toddy and convinced myself it was good for my cold.


And so many of us wrote back and said, Yes, me too. I mean, I would pretend that I wasn’t as sick as I was to my husband and family. Because if I did tell them that I had just a raging sore throat, it would be really weird if I opened to drink a bottle of wine or even two classes. So, I would pretend that I wasn’t sick so that I could still drink.


Someone else said, just trying to always plan your drinking. How much do you have in your house? Will it be enough? How much can you drink? Thinking about to have work in the morning? Would I have to get up early with the baby? If I started at 5pm? How late could I stay up? What excuses can I make for why I was drinking. She said it was so exhausting. And that’s the difference you’re going to notice, you will not be so exhausted by life when you stop drinking.


So, those are a lot of signs. And they don’t all need to apply to you. They are on a range from subtle to more obvious. And I would say during my 20 year drinking career, I varied between small signs that I should take a break from drinking to stronger ones, and they went up and down over the years. But my love of drinking was constant. But during that entire period, I remember some thought been in my forefront, which was I need to get a handle on my drinking so that I never really need to stop.


Stopping drinking was my worst case scenario. And looking back, and I’ve said this before, it has turned out to be the absolute best decision of my life.

And if I could go back and stop two years, or five years or 10 years earlier than I did. I wish I had done that because I was treading water in this kind of shitty vaguely hungover, sometimes exciting, kind of okay, exhausting place of life.


So, if any of these signs sound familiar, I would love you to get out a piece of paper and write down a few questions.

One, how would your life improve? If you’ve removed alcohol?

Two, What are all the benefits of drinking? And be honest. What are the benefits you see the drinking because that will give you a lot of information about where you need to supplement your life and limiting beliefs that can be shifted, and things that you need to add in to take the place of drinking.


Then, what are the benefits of not drinking? Because there are a lot and I’ve talked about so many of them in this podcast today. The things that go away when you stop drinking.


What are the negative effects of drinking? And then, what are the negative effects of not drinking? And when you look at those, think about which of the effects the positives or the negatives last long longer, I think it’ll give you some real clarity and insight into where you are. And then, I would love you to jump in, take an extended break from drinking.


And if you want support, please join me in the sobriety starter kit coaching program, I have designed it just for Busy Women like you who are ready to see how good their lives can be with it, own it, don’t wait until you actually want to stop drinking, because that day will never happen. Drinking just it’s this magnet, that the closer you are to the last drink, the stronger opposed it holds on you. It is very hard to understand why you’re drinking or to see a clearly when you were in the drinking cycle. So, if you want to wait until you beat yourself up enough or you write yourself enough shitty letters, or you have some negative consequence, so that you no longer want to stop drinking that day will never come, you have to take the leap and trust that as you get further away from alcohol, you will look back and see it clearly and no longer want to live the way you were living when you were drinking. And so, I recommend 100 day break.


You know what your life is going to be like for the next 3 months. If you are drinking, you know that drinking events, you know the highs, you know the lows, you’ve done it for years. Give yourself the chance, and the opportunity to see who you could be and what your life could be like, if you took those exact same 3 months alcohol-free. How much more energy would you have? What new habits would you develop? Would you be better at work? Would you go for more walks? Would you sleep through the night? Would you be more at peace? Would you start new activities? Would you be happier with yourself. Give yourself the opportunity to see if you get to 100 days to 6 months to whatever alcohol free and you are not happier. The wine, the beer, the cocktails they will be there. They’re not going away. But if you never give yourself the chance to get beyond five days or 14 days or 30 days or 40 days, you will never know what you’re missing.


So, if you are ready to do this, and I hope you are. I would love to support you.


Go to the sobrietystarterkit.com. You can learn all about my program. You can learn all about how I work with women like you and jump on in. I would love to welcome you.



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

If you’re interested in learning more about me, the work I do, and access free resources and guides to help you build a life you love without alcohol. Please visit hellosomedaycoaching.com. And I would be so grateful if you would take a few minutes to rate and review this podcast so that more women can find it. And join the conversation about drinking less and living more. 



Casey McGuire Davidson 

Hi there. If you’re listening to this episode, and have been trying to take a break from drinking, but keep starting and stopping and starting again, I want to invite you to take a look at my on demand coaching course, The Sobriety Starter Kit.


The Sobriety Starter Kit is an online self study sober coaching course that will help you quit drinking and build a life you love without alcohol without white knuckling it or hating the process. The course includes the exact step by step coaching framework I work through with my private coaching clients, but at a much more affordable price than one on one coaching. And the sobriety starter kit is ready, waiting and available to support you anytime you need it. And when it fits into your schedule. You don’t need to work your life around group meetings or classes at a specific day or time.

This course is not a 30 day challenge, or a one day at a time approach. Instead, it’s a step by step formula for changing your relationship with alcohol. The course will help you turn the decision to stop drinking, from your worst case scenario to the best decision of your life.

You will sleep better and have more energy, you’ll look better and feel better. You’ll have more patience and less anxiety. And with my approach, you won’t feel deprived or isolated in the process. So if you’re interested in learning more about all the details, please go to www.sobrietystarterkit.com. You can start at any time and I would love to see you in the course 




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