Dry January is in the news as more adults are signing up to take part in the annual challenge of 31 days with no alcohol.
What began in 2013 as a public health campaign from Alcohol Change UK with the goal of encouraging people to take a break from alcohol so they could “ditch hangovers, reduce their waistlines and save some serious money” has become a global movement.
In fact, 15-20% of American adults participated in Dry January in recent years, led by Generation Z and Millennials.
But now that Dry January has become a popular health trend covered in the media and all over social networks, even Gen Xers and Baby Boomers are jumping on board.
So, why are so many people doing Dry January these days?
Participating in Dry January gives your body a break from processing alcohol after the excesses of holiday parties and celebrations.
A lot of Americans want to drink less these days. In fact, a 2023 study found that 34% of Americans want to consume less alcohol.
And the negative effects of alcohol on mental and physical health are no longer a well kept secret.
Despite a decades-long marketing and lobbying campaign by the alcohol industry trying to convince us that “moderate drinking” was healthy and red wine is good for your heart, a Gallup poll in 2023 found 39% of Americans now view moderate drinking as unhealthy, an 11-percentage-point increase since 2018!
10 ways you’re going to feel better if you join Dry January
✅ Better Sleep:
- Alcohol can disrupt sleep patterns. Take a month off and you’ll experience deeper and more restful sleep.
✅ Increased Energy:
- Without the energy-draining effects of alcohol, individuals often find that their overall energy levels increase. This can lead to improved productivity and a more active lifestyle.
✅ More Mental Clarity:
- Alcohol can impact cognitive function and focus. During Dry January, people often report heightened mental clarity, improved concentration, and a sharper mind.
✅ Weight Management:
- Alcoholic beverages can be high in calories and often lead to poor food choices. Cutting out alcohol for a month may contribute to weight loss and a healthier approach to nutrition.
✅ Better Skin Health:
- Alcohol can dehydrate the body and contribute to skin issues. Participants in Dry January frequently notice improvements in skin complexion, reduced redness, and a healthier overall appearance.
✅ Balanced Moods and Emotions:
- Alcohol is a depressant that can affect mood and exacerbate feelings of anxiety and stress. Many individuals find that abstaining from alcohol for a month leads to a more stable and positive emotional state.
✅ Liver Function Improvement:
- The liver plays a crucial role in processing and eliminating alcohol from the body. Taking a break from drinking allows the liver to recover and function more efficiently.
✅ Lowered Blood Pressure:
- Excessive alcohol consumption can contribute to elevated blood pressure. Abstaining from alcohol may result in a temporary decrease in blood pressure levels.
✅ Reduced Risk of Alcohol-Related Health Issues:
- While one month may not completely eliminate long-term health risks, abstaining from alcohol can contribute to a reduced risk of alcohol-related issues such as liver disease, cardiovascular problems, and certain cancers.
✅ Renewed Sense of Well-being:
- Participants often report an overall sense of well-being, both physically and mentally, after completing Dry January. This renewed feeling can serve as motivation for continued healthier habits.
So now that you’re sold on the benefits of Dry January, how do you stick to your commitment to give alcohol a pass when Friday night rolls around?
In this episode, I’m partnering with 4 of my favorite sobriety coaches and podcasters to give you all the tips and tricks to do Dry January right!
Gill Tietz from The Sober Powered Podcast, Suzanne Wayre from Sober Mom Life Podcast, Michaela Horvathova & Erinn O’Neill from 2 Sober Girls podcast and I got together to share our best advice for surviving and thriving during your dry challenge.
If you want even more, I spoke with The New York Times on how to prepare for Dry January success, and created a podcast episode dedicated to how to keep your New Year’s resolution to take a break from drinking.
And here’s an interview I did on SiriusXM with CNN contributor + host Micheal Smerconish to help him get ready for Dry January and set him up for success.
In this episode, Gill, Suzanne, Michaela, Erinn & I dive into:
➡️ The benefits and challenges of participating in Dry January.
➡️ How to enjoy your time alcohol-free in Dry January (and keep going when the going gets tough)
➡️ Why setting realistic goals and finding a community and support is key
➡️ Each of our personal experiences with Dry January
➡️ Tips, tricks insight and advice for rocking 31 days alcohol-free in January
➡️ How to navigate social pressure to drink
➡️ How to use Dry January as a springboard for longer term sobriety
3 Ways I Can Support You In Drinking Less + Living More
Join The Sobriety Starter Kit, the only sober coaching course designed specifically for busy women.
My proven, step-by-step sober coaching program will teach you exactly how to stop drinking — and how to make it the best decision of your life.
Grab the Free 30-Day Guide To Quitting Drinking, 30 Tips For Your First Month Alcohol-Free.
Dry January In The News
Connect with Gillian Tietz
Head over to Apple podcast and listen to her show, Sober Powered Podcast
Follow Gill on Instagram @sober.powered
To find out more about Gill and how she can support you on your journey to recovery, go to www.soberpowered.com
Connect with Suzanne Warye
Suzanne stopped drinking just before she turned 40. She has three kids who are now eight, five and three years old.
To learn more about Suzanne and My Kind Of Sweet, head over to www.mykindofsweet.com
Tune into her podcast, The Sober Mom Life – Each week, Suzanne talks with inspiring, strong, sober women. She shares deep dives on Mommy Wine Culture and how alcohol affects our anxiety, and Suzanne also shares more about her personal drinking and sobriety stories.
Follow Suzanne on Instagram @mykindofsweet
Follow The Sober Mom Life @thesobermomlife
Connect with Michaela Horvathova & Erinn O’Neill
Michaela Horvathova is a mom, health coach, meditation teacher, business mentor, content creator, and podcast host of the Healthy Style Podcast and 2 Sober Girls Podcast. In February 2022, she decided to live alcohol-free. It is one of the best health decisions for herself, her daughter, her career and the life she wants to live. She used the healing tools she teaches her clients, and she realized she had a toxic relationship with alcohol, and have used it to cope and not deal with childhood trauma. This lifestyle shift has reduced her own anxiety and low moods which clouded most of her adult life.
Erinn O’Neill has been sober for a little bit over four years. She is a health coach and sobriety mentor.
Learn how Michaela and Erinn and support you on your sobriety journey at www.healthwithmichaela.com
Listen to the Two Sober Girls Podcast
Follow Two Sober Girls Podcast on Instagram @2sobergirlspodcast
Follow Erinn on Instagram @recoverwitherinn
Connect with Casey
Take a screenshot of your favorite episode, post it on your Instagram and tag me @caseymdavidson and tell me your biggest takeaway!
Want to read the full transcript of this podcast episode? Scroll down on this page.
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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.
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READ THE TRANSCRIPT OF THIS PODCAST INTERVIEW
Sober Coach Advice On How To Do Dry January Right
drinking, Dry January, sobriety, Sober Coach, alcohol, sober, January, Michaela, Casey, feel, dry, day, benefits, love, month, years, thought, February, contemplation stage, podcast, Suzanne, Erinn, sobriety starter kit
SPEAKERS: Casey McGuire Davidson + Suzanne Warye, Gillian Tietz, Michaela Horvathova, Erinn O’Neill
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, in this episode, you get not just
my advice on how to do dry January, right
but I’m partnering with 3 other Sober Coaches.
So, I’m teaming up with Gill Tietz from Sober Powered, who I’m sure you know, and Michaela and Erinn, the team behind the 2 Sober Girls podcast. And we’re joining together to give you our best advice on how to dive into Dry January. How to enjoy it, the benefits of it and how to keep going when the going gets tough.
So, in the show, you’ll hear us talk about a bunch of different things. We’re going to talk about the concept of Dry January, and its impact on sobriety. We’re going to share our own personal experiences and perspectives on the benefits and the challenges of participating in Dry January.
We’re going to talk about how to set smaller goals and how to seek support when you’re just getting started.
You’ll hear about the benefits we experienced when we stopped drinking even for just one month, the physical benefits the better sleep and improved health, the power, and the confidence we gained, as well as just the freedom and peace and the mental shift from the constant noise in your head about drinking or not drinking.
There are so many benefits to taking a break from drinking and Dry January is the perfect time to do it, if you are interested. I hope you get a ton of great tips and tricks and insight and inspiration from this episode. And if you want to dive in, I would love to have you join me in the Sobriety Starter Kit Course. We have a community we’re having a live dry January kickoff, and you will get my step by step sober coaching program to take you from day 1 to day 100. Today, 180 and beyond. I would be honored to support you.
Gillian Tietz 03:29
Well, happy dry January. This is a very exciting episode. We have a 5 person collab today with multiple different podcasts. So, I want to take a moment to introduce everybody before we get started.
So, Casey, do you want to tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do and also how long we’ve been sober for.
Casey McGuire Davidson 03:53
Yeah, absolutely. So, my name is Casey Davidson. I am going to hit 8 year sober next month. My sobriety date is February 18, which is insane to me. I am the host of the Hello Someday podcast for sober curious women. I’m a Life and Sobriety Coach. And I’ve been married 21 years. I have two kids. My son’s 15. My daughter is 9. And I live in Seattle.
Gillian Tietz 04:25
Thank you, Casey. Erinn and Michaela, welcome. Do you want to take a moment and introduce yourselves and tell us how long you’ve been sober for?
Erinn O’Neill 04:34
Yes, thank you so much. We’re so psyched to be here. I’m Erinn O’Neill. And I’ve been sober for a little bit over 4 years and Casey your sobriety date is my birthday, almost fell over this. So, I love numbers like ah, um, and I am one of the co-hosts of 2 Sober Girls and I have my better half on with me, Michaela.
Michaela Horvathova 04:57
Yes. So, my name is Michaela, the other co-hosts of the 2 Sober Girls and I have been sober for almost two years. So, it’s going to be 2 years in February. And I’m just so thrilled to be in this realm of these amazing like all of you amazing women and just get to hear so many amazing stories and transformations. Right?
Gillian Tietz 05:20
Thank you, ladies, and Suzanne, how about you? Tell us a little bit about you and how long you’ve been sober for?
Suzanne Warye 05:27
Yes. Hi. So, I have been sober for it’s almost 4 years. So, it’ll be 4 years, January 19. So soon, and I am the host of The Sober Mom Life Podcast. I’m also at My Kind of Sweet doing all of the glamorizing sobriety and sharing style and all of that. I’m a mom of 3, and I’m just trying to drink as much coffee as I can.
Gillian Tietz 05:50
I love it. I’m trying to actually do the opposite. Chill this. I’ve been doing that for a long time. So, trying to do less of that. Yeah.
Suzanne Warye 05:59
I mean, I didn’t say it was a good idea. But let’s. Yeah. Better than alcohol, that’s for sure. Right, exactly.
Gillian Tietz 06:07
And I’m Jill, I host the sober powered podcast. I celebrated four years in early November. I do a lot of things. But I’m very proud of being a chemistry professor in the Boston area. And I’m a certified anger management specialist. So, I love anger and rage.
Suzanne Warye 06:31
I just love what Jill says like, she’s so sweet. And just like, your voice is so sweet. And she’s like, I love anger and rage. It’s so good. So good.
Gillian Tietz 06:42
The deep internal kind. So Dry January is really exciting. A lot of new people come into the server community at this time. Some people like it, some people don’t. But I’m curious, Casey, what do you think about dry January?
Casey McGuire Davidson 07:02
I absolutely love it. And you know, I’ve been sober almost 8 years. Dry January was definitely not as big a thing. When I stopped drinking, I maybe vaguely was aware of it. But in the last two years, somewhere between a third of all American adults, and a fifth of all American adults, it depends on the year, participated in dry January. And last year, it was incredible how huge it was in the media, I mean, the today’s show, NPR InStyle, the Atlantic, the New York Times, Forbes, USA Today, literally everyone covered dry January. And what I see from that is, it is mainstream, it is all over the news. And the reason I like that is because for people who maybe have been trying to cut back on drinking or are worried about it, but also an and personally, this is something that I felt, are really concerned about what people might think of them, if they stopped drinking, this is something that you can dive in on you can tell people about it, you might have all your friends join you. There is no shame and it’ll give you that sober momentum to get through the beginning part of sobriety with community support.
Gillian Tietz 08:28
Yeah, I totally agree. I think the fact that it’s so normalized and socially acceptable to do.
Dry January is a great way to avoid drinking things and kind of navigate the social side and take advantage that it’s just normal that people do it. It’s not like something that you have to feel awkward about.
Casey McGuire Davidson 08:52
And the other stat absolutely, that blew me away, was a study this year, said that most Americans are aware of the sober curious movement, not the oh my god, there are people who can drink and then they’re these quote unquote, alcoholics over there. But also 34% of them said they’re trying to drink less. And I know if you’re surrounded by big drinkers, you’d look around, and you’re like, Oh, my God, I’m going to be ostracized If I don’t drink as much. 1/3 close to more of them, actually probably want to drink less. And you guys just don’t talk about it. Yeah,
Michaela Horvathova 09:34
I agree with that. So, it’s so interesting, though, as a recovering alcoholic. The idea of being dry in January was like the worst idea ever, like, did Hallmark create this? Like, I thought it was cuckoo cuckoo. And I did not speak because I was addicted to alcohol. It wasn’t an option. It wasn’t like oh yeah, this month. I’m good. I’ve just put this aside and that was like, Are you crazy? And, you know, for me and my environments, nobody really like there’s a couple of people who did it. But I’m like, I’m still working out, I’m still drinking water. I’m, you know, I was doing everything but not drinking. So, I wasn’t looking to Dry January to like, jumpstart, like a health care because I was like the healthiest alcoholic around like, I truly call them like that. Like, it was. It was crazy.
So, while I love the idea, I always love the idea of anybody being introduced to like, the bliss and joy and the beauty of not drinking. And this is a way to, like invite you in, I think, really hard. I just want to say this to anybody who relates to me my story. If you’re addicted to alcohol, you’re just not going to be able to just stop and say, yeah, let me do it. It’s like not like joining a gym, or my friends are doing it, you’re going to need so much more, I needed so much more. But to Casey’s point, I think it’s so cool to normalize it, to have people around you who are doing it, who are choosing to do it. And you know, there’s so much power in our environment, and that collective energy. However, I never in my life had a Dry January while I was drinking. Like, I didn’t have a dry, say until I really put down the drink and got help. So, I you know, talking to Makayla offline, I was like, Oh my gosh, I could insert and dry in my world is a negative connotation of like, not working progress. And so, like for me, like sobriety is so gorgeous, and you’re hydrated and it’s full of life. And so, I’m like, almost like, we want to like, change Dry January to you know, something. So, because it’s the most positive thing. It’s what a gift to your body, to stop that man. But I guess that would have never happened for me. Yeah, that’s my story.
Yeah. Awesome. So, I think, I mean, I think the culture is really shifting when it comes to people being more open to drinking less, or just having that awareness. And I think like you, Casey said, four years ago, when you started, like, it just was not like that big of a thing. And as the years progressed, there are more and more people being aware. So, I love that. I do believe that it’s not a one size fits all. So, I do believe like, there’s so many layers to this, when I think of it, I think that if somebody, let’s say did dry January for the last like, 2 or 3 years, I would invite them to extend it to like 6 months and like, you know, like start building on things because it’s, I’m sure there’s a lot of data there of how they are feeling better. And there’s a lot of positives.
And then for someone, this is Michaela speaking, I was sober curious. For 10 years, there were many years I took off in my 20s. And even in my 30s, when I had my daughter, when I was really into health and wellness, Aaron and I are both health and wellness coaches. And so, but then there was this side of me not fully deciding that I don’t ever want to drink again. And until I made that decision, I was like watering down my life like my capability to achieve the things that I wanted to achieve, achieve the health goals, and all of that was just not attainable when alcohol was somewhere in the future. So, for me, it had to be like, and that was a process. I mean, we talked in our mastermind group yesterday, there’s some girls are struggling, but they’re able to just like for example, have one drink. And I was like, I was there for a year. Until that one drank was just like, it just, it was out of a habit. It was a ritual. But then the next day, I just, I felt terrible. I had anxiety, depression, all of that. So, to me, that’s not worth it. And when you have that data, when you know better, you do better. And why, you know, so year after year, if you’re doing this, like try to extend that time is my recommendation.
And also, the other pieces having proper. I wouldn’t say proper having, like what are you replacing alcohol with? When you’re taking out alcohol in January? I think there needs to be a bigger plan other than just like removing alcohol, like we need to look at. How are we feeding our gut our brain? How are we replenishing all of all of the things that we lose when we drink, you know? So having a proper plan in place is really essential to be you know, to have this be a success. And to get something out of it. Not just like, oh, I got to say it and drink all month and then go hard at February. You know, because.
Suzanne Warye 14:55
Okay, you guys I love I love all of these points. because this is totally what I was gonna say, like, I have a love hate relationship with dry January. I love it. Because like Casey said, it’s it’s kind of this like socially acceptable break that people can take from alcohol, right. And I think any break that you give your body and your mind, and your soul from alcohol is a win. If that’s a day, if that’s two weeks, if that’s the whole month, that’s a win, like your body needs a break from this toxin, right? And so that’s the love part, like I love that. We as a society are like, yes, okay, we will allow you 30 days to take a break from alcohol. And we won’t ask questions. And yes, we support that. But then February 1, you better get back on that, like, you better start drinking. And the hate part of it for me is the countdown, and that it tends to be a countdown. And I think when we’re focused on February 1, we are losing so much of the beauty like Erinn said, what that it’s like, full and it’s not dry, right? Dry connotes like you think about this, just like yeah, like barren, cracked, not this like luscious thing, right? And so, it is. You’re wasting that time, not on alcohol, but I’m counting down to when you can drink. And then you’re coming off of that, thinking that that’s what sobriety is. And you’re like, Oh, well, I’ve tried that. And that just sucks. But that’s not what sobriety is, because like for me, alcohol has no, there’s no room for alcohol in my sobriety. I don’t count down to it. I’m not thinking about it. I’m not talking about it, except I am. Because I made it my job. But other than that, in my real life, I’m not talking about it. And so, yeah, I think it can put a bad taste in our mouths, when that’s the only time we’ve given ourselves to take a break from alcohol.
Yeah, I think that’s like going to the gym for a week and saying, I’m not getting the results. I’m just, I’m just never going to go to the gym again, because it’s not working for me. So, it’s like the same thing is like, you’re not you, guys. I mean, that first year, I mean, it’s different for everybody. But that first year of being sober, it’s, it’s, there’s a lot of hard moments. And it’s not as pleasant. I mean, there’s a lot of highs, there’s a lot of lows, because you, you don’t have anything to like, numb it down with, and you have to go through it. But when you get through to the other side, and you get to you know, your brain starts working properly, your senses, your you’re able to actually enjoy the mundane things which are so rich and beautiful, just looking at a tree or just breathing in just clean air or just having a house to live in. Like, we don’t think about those things deeply when we are drinking, because we’re thinking how miserable we feel the next day, like that’s, I mean, my days, my two, three days afterwards, it was just like, there was no gratitude in there whatsoever. And so, when you don’t live with that, it’s, you know, it’s really hard to, I guess, to get by and so I get why people go back to it because it’s just like an easy fix. But again, back to that one month, you’re not going to get those full benefits in one month that you get, let’s say 6 months or to a year. And then you could be like, Okay, now I know why. Now I know why these girls are saying how amazing and fabulous it is. Because it’s probably not going to feel fabulous the first month. You’re just like testing it. And it’s, I mean, maybe some people but yeah, it wasn’t like that for me.
Erinn O’Neill 19:02
And even if it does feel fabulous. And you’re still just thinking about when you quote unquote “can drink again”, you’re looking at drinking still as a privilege that you’re setting aside for the month like you’re like okay, I’m not partaking in this privilege Ward, even when you’re doing dry January. And that’s just to me missing all of it. And so that yeah, it’s the love hate.
Michaela Horvathova 19:27
That came from our culture like yeah, that isn’t is the prize. The prize is living a healthy free sober life like Amen. Tired lifestyle. This is so much better than any day perfect day of drinking. You can’t even compare it and I think that’s the shift that we’re also you know, passionate about sharing because this is the price this is so much better. And such shift your mindset to Okay, let me enter into it and dry January with an open mind enough for me, this is something I’m kind of wanting to do. Let me see instead of being like, oh my god, okay, I have five more days. And then okay, what am I drinking? What? Like, where are we going? Right?
Casey McGuire Davidson
Hi there. If you’re listening to this episode, and have been trying to take a break from drinking, but keep starting and stopping and starting again, I want to invite you to take a look at my on demand coaching course, The Sobriety Starter Kit.
The Sobriety Starter Kit is an online self study sober coaching course that will help you quit drinking and build a life you love without alcohol without white knuckling it or hating the process. The course includes the exact step by step coaching framework I work through with my private coaching clients, but at a much more affordable price than one on one coaching. And the sobriety starter kit is ready, waiting and available to support you anytime you need it. And when it fits into your schedule. You don’t need to work your life around group meetings or classes at a specific day or time.
This course is not a 30 day challenge, or a one day at a time approach. Instead, it’s a step by step formula for changing your relationship with alcohol. The course will help you turn the decision to stop drinking, from your worst case scenario to the best decision of your life.
You will sleep better and have more energy, you’ll look better and feel better. You’ll have more patience and less anxiety. And with my approach, you won’t feel deprived or isolated in the process. So if you’re interested in learning more about all the details, please go to www.sobrietystarterkit.com. You can start at any time and I would love to see you in the course
Casey McGuire Davidson 20:10
Yeah. What’s your thought? I know you have a lot of thoughts about the body and what heals?
Gillian Tietz 20:16
Yeah, I took breaks. And I did exactly what Suzanne said, I did the countdown to when I could drink again, and I agree with you, it makes you miss the benefits. Because you’re so focused on the end goal. I have, I have two thoughts. The first thought is that even though you’re missing some of the benefits, you can’t help but become aware of at least some of your suffering going away. And when I was drinking, I thought that all of this suffering was me. And who I was, I thought it was just like a big list of problems that I had like, like the middle of the night anxiety and the self-hatred and all the different problems I had, I thought it was me. And when I stopped drinking, even though I only stopped drinking to cure myself, and I couldn’t wait to drink again, and moderate, which didn’t happen. But I did notice, wow, I’m not anxious anymore. Isn’t that interesting.
So, I think even if people are counting down to February 1, where they’re going to just go hard. You can’t forget what you learned in January, even if you just think about drinking the whole time and rewarding yourself for taking a break. And my other thought is, the first 30 days is a lot of physical healing. And so, a lot of your body recovering from being blasted with alcohol for probably years. But the cognitive benefits happen later. So, the unfortunate thing with dry January is it’s only 30 days, you’re not actually going to see those really special cognitive benefits that you guys were talking about, like being happy to see a tree, I love trees, and nature and sunlight. But that took like six months for me to be able to feel gratitude for anything. The mental clarity burst that you get is typically around 2 months. So, even though one month is enough time to see some of your suffering go away and to have some benefits, the ability to think clearer, and assess your situation, it doesn’t happen until closer to two months. So, you’re missing out on that really special part. And that’s I agree with you Michaela to extend it. Either if you just enjoy Dry Jan, and you thought it was awesome, or you’ve been doing it regularly, just see, do it for 60 days and see if you get this clarity boost, where you can tell me that I suck and I’m wrong if you don’t get it, but maybe you’ll get it.
Erinn O’Neill 23:17
And then you’ll want to extend it to 90 days.
Casey McGuire Davidson 23:19
Yes, I know, at least not. I think one of the things I like about your Dry January, and you know, I’m a Sober Coach. So I am in no way, encouraging people or advising them to go back to drinking in February. What I like to propose is 100 days alcohol-free and again, not wanting people to go back to drinking at 100 days, but you’ve gone through so many ups and downs. And you see so many benefits within that time period, that the goal would be when you reach that milestone, you want to extend it to 6 months, you want to see how good you can feel at a year. But when I started trying to take breaks from alcohol, I literally could not get past day 4. The thought of never drinking forever, or not drinking for a year or even 6 months. I mean that was insane to me. And if I had done that, I would have immediately thought I am never going to have this thing that I’m so emotionally and habitually and physically addicted to the dopamine hit again. So, what I found is it does really help to set smaller goals and to celebrate them to even get you started to see how much it’s impacting your anxiety and your sleep, and a lot of people are held back by the social pressure of drinking.
So, if you’re listening to this and you’re actually worried that you might have a problem with alcohol, which is definitely where I was, as it helps you begin, and the hardest part for people is to draw a line in the sand. The other thing I thought was really funny is my sobriety date is February 18. Michaela, you said your sobriety date was in February, trust me 8 years ago, I was my goal was to do Dry Jan, I didn’t make it. So, I wasn’t able to stop until I added support. I got a Sober Coach, I joined online group. But doing Dry Jan, even trying to, versus trying to moderate it’s kind of a self-diagnosis of how important alcohol really is to you. Can you do it? Can you do two weeks or three weeks. And then if you can’t get more support, yeah.
Suzanne Warye 25:44
And the big piece to this, Casey is, let’s say, you do decide to do a week or a month, like, in the back of your mind, commit to just reevaluating how you’re feeling at that time, to not just say like, okay, like February, I’m just going to go back to my old ways, like, this is a self-discovery. It’s like a journey that you get to know yourself on this, like beautiful, deep level that you truly can’t when you have alcohol in your system. So even if you have to, like set a reminder in your calendar to be like, you know, January 30, or 31st, whatever that is to check in with myself, do I want to continue? How do I feel and just to sort of, like, take an inventory of like, what went well, what was difficult, and this is when I think having a community and conversations like this is really important to communicate, like this was hard when this happened.
And then somebody, for example, who has been there can give you beautiful, simple advice that you probably never thought about. And there are many things, there’s probably hundreds of things that you have not thought about that happen when you are sober. And to just have a group or a friend that has done this for a really long time can be like, Oh my gosh, I’ve been there. This is what I do in these situations.
And the other big part is, it’s just so wild to me, that socially and I know a lot of people use this as an excuse to like, not be able to drink and be like, Okay, now I have an excuse. You don’t need an excuse not to drink. Like, we give you full permission to just say I don’t want to drink anymore. I think we don’t need a dry January to not drink we don’t need you know, I used to say that, you know, before, like, Oh, I’m on a cleanse when I truly didn’t want to drink, and I was not on a cleanse. Like, we don’t have to do that we don’t have to lie. I posted yesterday, like what is in my glass, it’s none of anybody’s business and what’s in your glass is not in my business. And that’s the way it should be. And we have to have those boundaries. So, I know most of our listeners are adults, like we are adults, we get to change, and we get to evolve, and we get to make different decisions year by year. So, if we’ve been drinking for 20 years, like I was, you know, on and off, I get to change that. And I still have people like Wow, you’re so different. I wouldn’t. I mean, thank God, I’m different. Like, I would not want to be the same like we’re supposed to evolve.
Erinn O’Neill 28:19
Ivan love, can I just hop in real quick because I want it? Just speaking of change real quick? My mom and I have talked about this, we talked about this a lot. You know, she’s a therapist, we talk about the five stages of change, right? So, when you’re talking about behavior change, there are actual five stages and it’s not, you know, it’s not an order, you don’t go from like one to the next and an even line. So, this kind of goes back to Gill, your point of, you know, like, even if you do start drinking in February, all of those things that you notice in January, that the maybe the struggle was lessened, or, you know, pain was alleviated, whatever that does come with you into February, even if alcohol is reintroduced, because that is part of that contemplation stage. And sometimes we’re in the contemplation stage when we’re kind of just noticing. And what we would probably call, sober curious, we’re, we’re noticing and we’re like, Oh, right. And so, I did feel better in January when I wasn’t drinking now that alcohol is reintroduced. So, we always say in our group, you know, that’s just so not failure.
When we go back to trying to moderate that’s a lot of times, that’s essential. And you’re in that so it’s pre-contemplation when you’re really not open to, you’re just not open to it yet, right? It’s like Nope, I don’t want to look at this yet. It’s contemplation then, so you start noticing and you start thinking about oh, okay, this might be. Yeah, I did feel better in January and then you’re in preparation stage. When you kind of commit and you’re like, Okay, I’m going to make a plan. So, I’m going to do you know, I’m going to make my own Sober March or whatever it is you start to plan. And then you’re in action when you’re like implementing your plan and maintenance is the last one. And like I said, these aren’t like Bing, Bing, Bing. You’re not going to go, you might be in contemplation, and then back to pre-contemplation. When you’re like, Nope, that was too much to think about, not going to think about it anymore. And then you can jump to preparation. So, but all of these stages are so important. And we don’t just wake up overnight and say, I’m done. If you think you did that, in my, my story is that spontaneous sobriety. But that doesn’t mean that years leading up to it, I wasn’t in that, that contemplation stage, because I want.
Gillian Tietz 30:48
And I totally agree with you. And I appreciate what Casey said too, about failing Dry January. I think that there’s a lot of pressure to be perfect. And to get the whole month. And if you can’t do it, then you suck. But I never did Dry January, because I couldn’t imagine not drinking for 30 days, that sounded horrible and scary. And like, why would I want to do that, the goal is to just drink less. So, it doesn’t seem like something I should participate in. But even if you know, quote, “fail” Dry January, you still learned a lot, and you got some experience, and it moved you a little bit down this contemplation stage that you’re referencing. So, I don’t think that it needs to be this push to have perfect 30 day breaks, even if you’d get four days or a week, like that was still a valuable experience, and you still learn from it.
Suzanne Warye 31:50
And you could get back up, like let’s say you slip on the fourth day, okay, Thursday, like, let’s continue and like let’s jump on and continue the program, whatever the program is, obviously not drinking. But I do recommend having something to replace A with having a spiritual practice, perhaps, you know, editing the way you’re eating, like, adding in more vegetables, adding in more fruit, adding in more hydration, adding in more exercise, because you’re going to need those feel good chemicals. So, we have to replace it with something. So there needs to be some kind of plan doesn’t have to be, so you know, so rich, and like, oh my gosh, now, every single day, I have to do all of these things. But just seeing what you can do, it’s going to really allow you to make this transition easier as well. And you’re going to feel a whole lot better after the 30 days if you’re adding in simple wellness practices into your day.
Gillian Tietz 32:46
So, I have a question for you guys. If you could travel back years and time to your newly sober self. And give yourself one piece of advice for the journey. Casey, what would you tell? Eight years ago, Casey? Yeah,
Casey McGuire Davidson 33:08
I would tell her that it is so much easier to not drink than to try to moderate and that the first two weeks are the worst. Because I really think alcohol is like a magnet. The closer you are to the less last time you drink, the stronger the pull will be that you will not always feel like you’re struggling not to drink at the witching hour the way you do in week 1 and week 2. So, I wish I had known that. And I wish I’d gotten support to get further away from it because I thought I suck. I hated not drinking. I thought life not drinking sucked. And the truth is withdrawal sucked and being an early sobriety suck. And it is so much better if you give yourself the chance to get further away from it. And it’s easier with help.
Gillian Tietz 34:05
I love that magnet reference. Aaron, what would you tell your newly sober self, though part of my story, I went to rehab and so I’m going to talk to that person in rehab.
Erinn O’Neill 34:14
And so, I would tell myself, keep going, keep going. Don’t give up. Don’t give up. Keep going Keep going. It’s so worth it. It’s so worth it. Everything your heart is ever desired, and more is on the other side of the train. Do not give up it is so flipping unbelievably good. But I would then again, tell her Do not give up too because I was I was a truly one day to time person. I can’t believe I have to pinch myself that I’m here. And I can’t believe how good life is. So, I would just scream it holds her face and say you’re going to do this. You can do this but don’t give up because every day was a battle for me. Getting every day was a battle. And it’s worth it. It’s so worth, Erinn.
Gillian Tietz 35:05
That’s beautiful. Thank you. Okay. Michaela, what would you tell your newly sober self? Oh my gosh, so many things.
Michaela Horvathova 35:13
But I think the main piece would be like, You are so much more than a party girl, like I identified with going out and drinking and getting dressed like that. That was like the ultimate like luxury. And I was having fun. And it was such a big piece of my identity, to be quite honest with you. And I did it since I was a teen, you know, have evolved, dreamed about a life like, like different than that. And the way to get there is, you know, the other piece would be like, it’s okay to feel the feelings, because that was a big piece. For me, dealing with a lot of trauma. From childhood, there was a lot of things that I now realized I didn’t want to feel an alcohol helped me to cover that up. And so, once I removed the alcohol, I didn’t know all of those feelings that will come up and they came up that whole year. It was just it was like popping up feeling after feeling. And so, I would tell her, it’s okay to feel the feelings. It’s in fact, the cure for it all.
Gillian Tietz 36:22
Oh, that’s so good. I Suzanne, what would you tell your newly sober? So, so
Suzanne Warye 36:31
much like Michaela said, I’m like, okay, where would I start? I think I would, I think I would say be where your feet are, first of all, because you’re really bad at predicting the future. And your brain can trick you and think that you’re good at it. And so be here. And remember what you know and keep coming back to that. Because in that first 30 days, there was so much I didn’t know. And it could carry me away, if I let it. Like all of the what ifs and what about wins and like, everything was so scary. But I just kept coming back to the one thing I knew. And I would just remind, yeah, I would remind myself that like, what do you know? What do you know? What do you know, and just to give myself a chance, I don’t think I’d ever done that. Just like, give myself a chance to feel it all. To live it all, to do it all and to figure it out, and that I would be able to figure it out. You don’t know how you don’t know when you don’t know what that’s going to look like, but just jump, jump.
Gillian Tietz 37:49
I love that. I would tell myself I would say two things, I would say you’re not different from other people. And just fracking chill. You’re not different from other Fievel meaning like, when I quit, I was like, I’m not like other people. I don’t need support. But my suffering in the beginning would have been less. Had I just got some support and found out that oh my god, other people are feeling the exact same way that I feel Look at that. I didn’t have that experience until months in. So, I would say like, stop prejudging things, you’re not different. You’re not the only one in the world. And the just freakin chill piece. Really what you were saying Suzanne, about all the future tripping, I worried about social events, like over a year in advance. And I would spend a lot of time thinking about like, what everyone’s going to think of my not drinking and, and like worrying about the worst case scenario, like just stop. That’s what I would say like, just like you said, really be in Be Where Your Feet are. Try to stay in the present. So that’s my advice for me if I could help myself. But I also want to know what benefits you guys saw in the beginning. So, Casey, it’s a long time ago.
Casey McGuire Davidson 39:26
I remember. Actually, one of the things I did, I had a super coach and I emailed her like I wanted to be an a star student. So I emailed her on day one and two and seven and 16, like literally five to six days a week, documenting how I felt. I wanted to drink on day one. I wanted to drink on day two, but I just stuck with it because I was like, all right. I’ve said I’m doing this. I’m emailing her every day I went through every emotion on day 12 Have I had my first really good night’s sleep? Maybe in years, you know, I would been waking up at 3am for so long. It was incredible. I asked my husband on day 30 What he had noticed, because I was worried I was boring.
And what he said to me was that our home just felt a lot more peaceful. I was less up and down, I was less sort of outraged and, and you know, upset, and stressed out when I walked in the door. At the end of the day, I was less irritable in the morning. So, he didn’t think I was boring. He actually liked it. And I had been working out for years in the morning, you know, punishing myself doing burpees at 6am, after consuming a bottle of wine the night before, I actually did look a lot better. I, you know, was still working out. And I definitely my skin was better. My eyes were clearer. I was less bloated. I did lose weight. So, I was proud of myself. And that doesn’t the weight loss doesn’t happen for everyone, just so you know, you’re going to crave sugar. But the one thing I would say is, regardless of the scale, you will look better people will be like, What are you doing? You look fantastic. And the answer is I’m not poisoning my body every day.
Gillian Tietz 41:27
You see, I think it’s interesting that we think our husbands are into the chaotic, a sloppy version of us and that they’re not but baby passing out on the couch is so fun.
Casey McGuire Davidson 41:39
It’s so hot, so sexy.
Gillian Tietz 41:44
What everybody wants for their wife. Because I felt that way too. He’s going to think I’m boring. And I’m just so happy that you asked him. Yeah, I’m glad to hear that. Michaela, What benefits did you notice in your first 30 days?
Michaela Horvathova 42:04
Okay, so, as I previously mentioned, I was sober curious for about a year. So, there was many, probably days and weeks, I didn’t drink, like in a month. And so, I wasn’t addicted, right. And so, when I gave up drinking, the biggest thing that I’ve noticed is it was a sense of freedom. It was like this thing that was like I was carrying with me every day like knowing like, am I going to trim my neck because it was like one of those things like I just I didn’t. I didn’t know, like, if I was going to go to an event, I didn’t know how I was going to leave. And that worry. And that anxiety about the future and being a mom just crippled me. It crippled me. And a big piece.
For me, quitting drinking was Wayne Dyer, one of my favorite spiritual teachers. He was just saying, and I know he was sober for a really long time, he said, in order for me to have the success that I want and have the life that I want, I could not drink and that always stuck with me. And at that time, when I decided I didn’t want to drink, I was working through some career things and making some decisions. And I knew that in order to go to that next level, and level up, I could not drink like that voice, his voice just never left me. Like it was just like, that’s what’s going to happen. Like, that’s what you’re going to have to do. And so, when I took a sip of my last drink, I was it was a glass of champagne. It came to me, and I swear to God, it was just the knowing like, this is your last drink. It was like some other voice. And it said, like, you can take a sip, you can celebrate this, like last moment, and I did. And I put it down. And I didn’t even say anything to the person I was next to it was just like, I was just a deep, deep knowing. And so, the biggest thing was immediately that day, I felt a huge shift. It was a huge energetic shift. It was a huge mental shift. It was I feel like I’ve graduated to like that next like frequency, you know, like, have like, okay, like, things are about to start happening for you. And they did. And they did.
But yeah, and then the other physical things better sleep. I feel younger than I felt in my 20s You know, like, which is which is amazing. I think sobriety is so sexy. And I think, you know, doing all of those things that now I’m able to really dive into my house because I really wasn’t when I was drinking because it just you are taking like two steps forward and then I felt like I was taking 10 steps back like it was just like misalignment of my energy and who I truly was. So, I feel so aligned.
Gillian Tietz 44:52
Those are all excellent benefits. Aaron How about you, though?
Erinn O’Neill 44:56
I can relate a lot to you know what Casey said? asleep was so deep and like delicious. And I didn’t remember ever, like, not fun. Like I wouldn’t use to wake up with like a glass of wine by my bed and like waking up the middle of night and feeling like anxious and sweaty and like, super not sexy. And so, the sleep right away for the first 30 days, but then I, you know, everything gets better. That’s the thing, everything gets better and better when you put down the drink. And you add in these amazing habits actually take care of yourself, everything starts working. But what I was seeking in alcohol was power. When I put down the alcohol, I actually connected to my true source of power. And I was like, This is what I’ve been looking for, like, you know, I was looking outside and myself, it’s in me. And I started regaining that power. And it’s like, you know, I was trying to vacuum my house without plugging in the vacuum. I got the plug in, and I’m like I am I have this, I don’t need that. I don’t need anything outside of myself. And that’s the coolest thing. And that just grew and grew and grew. You know, my power is, you know, I’m talking about a spiritual like connection to my higher power to God that I could not find because I was looking at a drink and that drink funny enough that I was looking for it with keeping me from that. So that was one of the coolest things that first 30 days. I mean, like, oh, okay, this is what happened afterwards, I’m really craving. And again, it gets better and better and deeper and deeper, the longer you’re, you’re, you’re in this lifestyle.
Gillian Tietz 46:31
Erinn, I love that so much. Suzanne, what were your benefits in your first 30 days?
Suzanne Warye 46:39
So, my story is different, too. It’s like, Michaela isn’t that I wasn’t a daily drinker, I wasn’t at the time that I stopped. I wasn’t actively addicted, because I didn’t, I was moderating what people would call successfully. I say that in really big quotes. And so definitely that freedom of just being able to look ahead to events and knowing that Oh, it’s just off the table like I don’t have to, there’s no question mark anymore. And removing that question mark. Really, I felt so free and just not scared anymore. And anxious about it. But I, Joe, you’re going to laugh because the first thing that came to mind when you said what was the best benefit? You know, for me it was being able to clean my kitchen every night.
Sex so oh well having sex in my clean kitchen. How about that?
Suzanne Warye 47:37
Yeah, works. Yeah, yeah, the countertop for clean guys. Um, no, Gill, I didn’t even know I didn’t know this. But when, because I’ve always said that. Like, I was able to, like nighttime became such a precious time for me that I could nurture our home and like put my kitchen to bed. The sounds it’s I sound like I’m 80 years old. You guys, I promise I’m not boring. But it’s just, it’s just so sacred to me. And to be able to really, you know, it’s taking care of future me so that when like 6am Suzanne gets up, like her coffee is ready to go. And I just have to push play and my favorite mug is out. And like 6am is so grateful for 830 or 9pm. Me now. And that wasn’t the case when I was drinking, right? It would it’s just such a like sliding doors moment. And really, it just highlights completely how sobriety changes everything. And then when my when my morning starts off well, and like my coffee’s ready to go and my kitchens clean. Like I feel better. I’m nicer. I’m just a better human. And it’s just a way to really like take care of my space and my home and my family. Just have a clean kitchen.
Gillian Tietz 49:08
First, I thought that was weird. I know. But I’m with you. I’m with you now.
Suzanne Warye 49:16
Okay, I thought it was the weirdest thing, but I mean, I am. I have a lot of those. I have a lot of weird things. But now you get it right.
Gillian Tietz 49:22
So my benefits that I noticed, I had a few that really stuck out. I agree with you guys about the sleep and everything that you said and feeling free and peaceful. The first benefit that I noticed is my deep suffering stopped the anxiety that would keep me up all night stopped, and I didn’t feel suicidal anymore. And then I got like a giant pink cloud. I was like, damn, sobriety is the best And the pink cloud would go away later. But so, I was loving it like right in the beginning. I’m like, I don’t have to feel anxious what. And my other benefit that I noticed maybe towards the end of that first month was that I, I kept promises to myself. And I felt a tiny bit more confident. And I believed in myself a little bit more, it would take me years to get to the point where I could clean my kitchen, and not build up to be the most disgusting kitchen in the world, and then clean it because that doesn’t really feel the same. But I built up a tiny, tiny bit of confidence, or maybe as Erinn would say, power. And it just made me feel better about myself, and hopeful. And I think this was amazing. I think that we have very different experiences, but then we all are similar to in a lot of ways.
So, I appreciate you all joining me today to talk early sobriety and Dry Jan.
And Casey, if we want to connect with you and your work, where can we do that?
Casey McGuire Davidson 51:13
Yeah, absolutely. I love how different our perspectives are and our drinking experiences. I’m hoping anyone listening to this will find many different things that they can relate to, which I think helps just knowing you’re not alone. The best place to find me is that my website hellosomedaycoaching.com. I’ve got a free 30 day guide there for your first month alcohol free. And you can listen to the Hello Someday podcast, wherever you listen to podcasts.
Gillian Tietz 51:43
Thank you, Casey, Erinn and Michaela, where can we connect with you and your work?
Michaela Horvathova 51:50
First, you can find us @2sobergirlspodcast on Instagram. We love to hang out on there. So, you could just send us a DM. I’m also at health with Michaela on Instagram as well. So, you can DM me on there and then 2 Sober Girls podcast which you can listen to anywhere. And Erinn is at recover with Erinn on Instagram.
Gillian Tietz 52:12
Suzanne, how about you?
Suzanne Warye 52:14
I am at mykindofsweet.com – that’s all style sobriety. There’s also 5 tips to help you get through your first 30 days. That’s a little freebie and my kind of sweet on Instagram where I you know, glamorize sobriety, and the sober mom life podcast.
Gillian Tietz 52:31
Thank you. And Rudy has decided that now is the ideal times. Rudy, where can we find Rudy can be found in my office this mine, in Rudy’s office. But if you would like to connect with us, sometimes he does appear in my podcast episodes. That’s Sober Powered. And then I have a bunch of goodies and ways to support you on my website, soberpowered.com. And thank you all so much for joining me today. And I hope we can do it again.
Casey McGuire Davidson 53:05
Thank you guys.
Suzanne Warye 53:07
I can’t wait everybody. Yay.
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.