The first sobriety podcast I listened to was The Bubble Hour hosted by Jean McCarthy
10 years ago, when I was first questioning my relationship with alcohol and trying to stop drinking, I discovered The Bubble Hour Sobriety Podcast.
On The Bubble Hour I heard real people, telling real stories about addiction and recovery.
When I was first trying to get a handle on my nightly bottle of wine drinking habit, I didn’t know a single person who was sober.
All of my friends drank, my husband drank, and I had so many fears about what people would think if I stopped drinking, what my life would be like and how I would relax and celebrate without alcohol.
On The Bubble Hour sobriety podcast I found hope in the stories of women like me.
Women who had a complicated relationship with alcohol, loved drinking like I did but found that it was bringing them down and keeping them stuck. The Bubble Hour inspired me to give alcohol-free life a try.
Over the last 10 years The Bubble Hour Sobriety Podcast has released over 300 episodes about addiction and recovery from drinking and was downloaded 4.2 million times.
And today my guest is the host of The Bubble Hour Podcast, Jean McCarthy.
Jean is an author, speaker, and recovery advocate who has been sober for over a decade.
She joined The Bubble Hour podcast as a co-host in 2013 and took over the weekly program as its sole producer and host in 2016.
In this episode, Jean shares her insights into the early stages of recovery, the importance of imagining a life without alcohol, and how to identify if you have an addiction to alcohol. We also discuss the many benefits of living a life without alcohol and the positive changes that can result.
Jean is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to the topic of addiction and recovery and this is a must-listen episode for any woman who is struggling with alcohol.
So grab a cup of tea and tune in to this conversation with Jean McCarthy.
In this episode, Casey and Jean discuss:
Why The Bubble Hour Sobriety Podcast was created and why it’s ending after 10 years and 300 episodes
The meaning behind The Bubble Hour Podcast name
- Jean’s own story of drinking and recovery
- Our favorite free Facebook sober support group, the BFB (Booze Free Brigade)
- Tools we used to stay safe and happy in early sobriety
- How the sober movement and sobriety podcasts have grown in the last 10 years
- Jean’s new podcast, Tiny Bubbles, her Unpickled recovery book series and more
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Connect with Jean McCarthy
Jean McCarthy is an award-winning blogger and podcaster who is best-known as a voice of recovery advocacy.
Jean has written several books on recovery, including a self-help series (UnPickled Holiday Survival Guide, 2019; UnPickled Prepare to be Alcohol-Free, 2022; UnPickled Recovery DIY, release date TBA), and a collection of poetry (The Ember Ever There: Poems on Change, Grief, Growth, Recovery, and Rediscovery, 2020).
Jean has also completed her first novel, a work of upmarket fiction for mainstream audiences.
Her blog UnPickled (9,000+ followers) began in 2011 and has continued to chronicle Jean’s alcohol-free lifestyle since her first day of sobriety. Thousands of readers credit UnPickled as a motivating factor in their decision to quit drinking.
Jean joined The Bubble Hour podcast as a co-host in 2013. She took over the weekly program as its sole producer and host in 2016. The show has a devoted and enthusiastic listenership with more than 4.2 million downloads.
Purchase her books at www.jeanmccarthy.ca
Listen and Subscribe to The Bubble Hour
Read Jean’s Blog: www.unpickledblog.com
Follow Jean and The bubble Hour on Instagram:@jeanmccarthy_writes and @thebubblehour
Follow The Bubble Hour and Unpickled on Facebook: @unpickled and @thebubblehour
Listen and Subscribe to the Tiny Bubbles Podcast
Connect with Casey McGuire Davidson
To find out more about Casey and her coaching programs, head over to her website, www.hellosomedaycoaching.com
Connect with Casey
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READ THE TRANSCRIPT OF THIS PODCAST INTERVIEW
The Original Sobriety Podcast For Women – The Bubble Hour with Jean McCarthy
drinking, recovery, quit, life, day, book, people, listening, feel, podcast, talking, alcohol, sober, stories, sobriety, self-help, hour, wine, tiny bubbles, Dry January, Sober October, UnPickled, Booze Free Brigade (BFB)
The Bubble Hour
SPEAKERS: Casey McGuire Davidson + Jean McCarthy
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. Today, we are talking about the original Sobriety podcast for women or at least the original one for me, which is
The Bubble Hour with Jean McCarthy.
Jean is my guest today. She’s a friend of mine. She’s an award-winning blogger and podcaster who is best known as voice for recovery advocacy. She’s written several books on Recovery, including a self-help series, The UnPickled Holiday Survival Guide, The UnPickled Prepare To Be Alcohol-Free, UnPickled Recovery DIY, which is coming out in a bit. And a collection of poetry, The Ember Ever There. And I’ve interviewed Jean on a couple of occasions. So, I am going to link to all of those in the show notes.
And on the original Bubble Hour Podcast. I was listening to it before I was sober. I was listening to it 10 years ago, on my first, sort of sustained sobriety attempt, on many walks, and when I did finally quit drinking, Jean interviewed me on the Bubble Hours, so I’ll link to that, which shares my story too.
But Jean’s blog, UnPickled began in 2011 and has continued to chronicle her alcohol-free lifestyle since her first day of sobriety 1000s of readers credit UnPickled as the motivating factor in their decision to quit drinking.
And Jean joined The Bubble Hour as co-host in 2013. She took over the weekly program and host in 2016. The show has devoted, oh my gosh, over 300 episodes, I think. I looked up to the subject of people telling their stories of addiction and recovery and has over 4.2 million downloads. It’s just incredible. So, Jean, welcome.
Oh, thank you. Nice to be here.
Casey McGuire Davidson 03:28
Yeah, it’s great to talk to you. And the reason that we wanted to have this conversation is after 10 years of the Bubble Hour, that podcast has wound down. And I know that so many podcasts, thought before they ever get started, they go a year, they go three, they go four years. I mean, 10 years, the amount of people in recovery, in sobriety, questioning their drinking, the number of stories you’ve told is amazing. And in winding that down. You’ve also created a book, Take Good Care, and a spin-off podcast to sort of pull the diamonds from all of that work. Is that right?
Yeah, I knew I didn’t want The Bubble Hour to just fade into the distance or fizzle out. There’s actually a phrase for it. I heard this week. It’s called pod fade when a podcast is kind of peters out, you know, trickles down to napping. And I felt that the show meant so much to so many people. And I had so much gratitude for the community that kind of came together around that show because when you have a storytelling podcast, you need to have a lot of guests as you know. And people that are willing to open their heart and talk about their most vulnerable thing, their most vulnerable moments.
You know, one of the biggest decisions that we make in our life, and I just felt that I wanted to wrap up the show in a way that honored the guests and the listeners and the whole magic of The Bubble Hour because it felt to me like it was sort of bigger than the sum of its parts, you know, the impact of that whole project was just so big. I don’t feel that that’s because of me, necessarily. I don’t feel it’s because of anything except that it just sort of had some kind of magic to it. And I wanted to end it in a way that honored that. So, I created a final season, that was sort of the best of that looked back over the history of the show. And then, even as I finished that, and took, you know, 350 hours of our cut materials down to 10 hours of this sort of documentary 10, part documentary about the podcast, I thought, Okay, well, what do I do with the other 340 hours that are on the cutting room floor, there’s just, you know, there’s just so much good material here that, that I just sort of felt like I could keep playing with it. You know, it’s almost like making a quilt or something out of beautiful pieces of material.
So, yeah, so some of the anecdotes came out in a book called, Take Good Care, which is kind of a part reading, part meditation, part workbook. And then yes, I’m continuing to mine the diamonds. I love how you said that. In tiny bubbles, so little, little bits, because I think sometimes, we just need a little quick hits.
Casey McGuire Davidson 06:36
Ya know, I’ve been listening to tiny bubbles and, and I love how it is a quick hit. I mean, under 15 minutes of just inspiration. I mean, you know, this podcast is hour long episodes, which you get to learn pretty in depth about a topic or a guest or subject. But sometimes you just need that quick, uplifting reminder of what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. And I think that’s so valuable.
Right? Yeah, I kind of wanted something that we’ve all been in the bathroom at a party hiding. Yeah, so I wanted that or that you could just listen to on the way to something, or maybe while you’re doing your hair in the morning, you know, the hour long format is important. And you know, you probably have people tell you all the time I listened to you on the treadmill, I listened to you when I walked my dog. And there’s, you know, there’s a time and a place for different kinds of formats. And so, I thought, well, this is I hadn’t seen anyone doing this yet. So, I thought this was kind of a nice fit. And it’s a fun change for me, too.
Yeah, yeah. I mean, what is it about women in early sobriety and walking with podcasts, I mean, that that was hours of my life. It’s the best medicine, when you are trying to make this huge change in your life to remember that you’re not alone and to get tips and tricks and inspiration and hope and commiseration, and to move your body and get fresh air, right, and get out of the house and away from your routine that you’re trying to break.
Casey McGuire Davidson 08:13
Yeah, yeah. So how in the book, let’s talk about take good care. There are, so you know, you said 340 hours or something crazy of Bubble Hour content. And in this book, it’s recovery readings, inspired by all of that content, there are groups on, you know, chapters on growth, and, you know, challenging old beliefs and patience with others, like, how did you choose?
Oh, my gosh, it was not easy. In order to build the last season, I went through this very interesting process. And anyone that’s worked on a podcast or even just listening to a bunch of podcasts will appreciate this. How do you go through 350 hours of material to find the nuggets had it Holika? Where do you even start with that? So, it took me a while to figure it out. But I ended up transcribing all of the episodes, and then putting the transcriptions into a database. And then I was able to quickly scroll through them and find topics or anecdotes. And I will remember like, what was that funny story that somebody told about X Y, Zed? You know, and I didn’t someone tell a funny story about I don’t know, like, chocolate bar, you know, so you could search chocolate bar in the database. And it would tell you all the time, someone said that, or if I was looking for something about marriage, I could search marriage and it would pull up all the times that someone mentioned that.
So, as I was learning to manipulate that database, that’s when I was starting to find all these little nuggets, and then I could either isolate them as a clip for the series or to just kind of, you know, tuck them away for the book. So, I, there was no real formal process, I just followed my heart. I knew I wanted to have each of the other co-hosts from the shell represented and some of the memorable guests. And some favorite stories that people would always mentioned back to me. You know, there’s one story that I included in the, it’s not in the book, it’s in the season 10, just a funny story about a gal named Shelly, who was trying to quit sugar and inadvertently quit drinking at the same time. And it’s just one of those stories people always mentioned to me, and I thought, Okay, I have to make sure that’s in there.
Yeah. But the book is just, I just wanted it to be beautiful. And so, I thought any story that just really gave me that warm feeling inside, I included that. I put together some really beautiful artwork. And I just wanted it to be kind of a keepsake book, so that there was just another way to hang on to what people loved about The Bubble Hour.
Casey McGuire Davidson 11:14
Yeah, well, question for you. Many, many people listening to this, know of the name the bubble hour, but don’t know why it’s named that and right in the start of take good care you. Your first writing is about the bubble. Can you tell us about that?
Yeah, it came from one of the original co-hosts named Lisa. And when she quit drinking, she knew that she had to protect herself at all costs. She knew she just she just treasured her sobriety. And so, she envisioned a bubble around herself. And she would just fill it with all kinds of good things. It might be chocolate, it might be bubble water, podcasts, and, and so when they first started the show, it was started by friends, Ellie, and Lisa. And Ellie loved this concept of the bubble that Lisa talked about. So, she said, Can we call our new podcast, The Bubble Hour? And, and they talked about that about putting this bubble around yourself and filling it with good things.
And so, the original intention of the show was that it would be something in your bubble, you know, another tool, and to put your, put your headphones on, and you are kind of in a little bubble, you’re in your own little world. Recovery encouragement. And so that was the original concept. And I love that idea. I’ve actually had therapists mentioned that to me, too, when you’re, you know, when you’re around people that you feel you need to really hang on to your identity with, you know, the idea is to envision a bubble around yourself. And in it are all your values and all your, your core beliefs that you treasure and things you love about yourself the things you won’t betray about yourself. And you interact with people through that bubble.
Casey McGuire Davidson 13:05
So, it’s a concept that transfers nicely to me, when I think also, I mean, I definitely took to heart the idea of the bubble. And you know, one of the things that I’ve noticed is that when you stop drinking use, you sort of lose that, that film or that bubble that’s around you. When you’re drinking, you know, obviously, when you’ve had a couple drinks, your reaction time is slowed, things don’t hit you as hard. You’re sort of in your own head. And when you’re in a hangover, it’s the same way. So, a lot of people when they stopped drinking, it feels like they’re sort of outer layer of skin has been removed. And everything’s too loud and too fast and too much. So, building this bubble is like, for me, it was sitting in my daughter’s room, rocking her to sleep in the quiet with her sound machine on have waves or going into my bedroom and just reading or watching a show sort of being in my own introverted space without a lot of external stimulation.
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.
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Yeah, it can. And of course, it’s a play on words too, because, you know, we think of bubble, we immediately think of drinks. And so, it is sort of maybe taking back the imagery too. And the same with tiny bubbles. I mean, the phrase tiny bubbles was a song from the, I don’t know, 50/60s about champion, actually. So, I love to do remember that tiny bubbles. Makes me feel happy, makes me feel fine. I think Don Ho was the singer.
Oh, wow, get a ukulele.
So, I thought I’m going to take back that were two tiny bubbles, I’m going to take that back because we’re the bubble out or we can just have little bits of our bubble. Yeah, and. And it’s pretty fun. I feel like people get the play of it. Because I think fun is kind of what we miss at first, because it is a lot of work. And it does feel super serious. And even the word sober seems to imply that we’re going to be serious all the time. And we forget that we can be light hearted and fun and playful. And that we can break things down into little pieces and just do a little at a time. We don’t have to always be pushing the boulder uphill, you know?
Casey McGuire Davidson 16:16
Yeah, no, I love that. And, you know, one of the things, I mean, I found the bubble hour in a very sort of roundabout, convoluted way that I don’t even know exactly how so this was 10 years ago. And I think people who are coming to being curious about sobriety or questioning their relationship with drinking, can’t really even imagine how much less was out there. At the time, you know, Dry January wasn’t really a thing. Neither was Sober October. The non-alcoholic drink movement wasn’t going on. There weren’t Sober Tick Tock and Sober Instagram and all the things. And so, you know, I found the bubble, and our favorite group that you actually dedicated part of this book to, you said to the Penguins of the BFB, past, present, and future. And the BFB is the Booze Free Brigade. It’s a secret private Facebook group where Jean and I met. And I think that’s how I heard about The Bubble Hour originally. And it was, in my mind, sort of revolutionary 12 step was not my path. I did try it, but hearing, being able to tap into stories of drinking and recovery, which is somewhat the basis of some meetings in a private way, but also hosted by women. I thought that was really amazing.
Yeah, I think there, it definitely is a female focused show, we made an effort to include men over the years, but I could see the audience demographic, it’s 90% female, and probably in terms of guests may be you know, 25 to 30% of the guests were male, that would be probably a generous estimation, I really did try to get some male voices on there. But because so many of the guests were listeners, who got sober listening to the show, and then wanted to get back by telling their story, just you know, sort of self a lot of female voices. But I do think that having female hosts for the show also kind of got away from some of the notion of patriarchy that I think for a long time had been associated with recovery.
And I think that, that obviously has changed a lot over the years. But when we think back to the time that you’re describing, and when, before the internet exploded with recovery stories, and before, I think a younger generation sort of stepped up and started living their life out loud in more ways than just recovery. Just being very transparent about a lot of aspects of their lives. I think that prior to that, if you weren’t sure if you needed to get help with your drinking, and you wanted to hear other people talk about it, you know, you kind of had to go to a church basement and get yourself in there and find the courage to go to a meeting. And I wasn’t in a position to do that emotionally when I quit drinking. So, podcasts that told those kinds of stories really fed that part of our souls and then as you say, having female voices in the middle so sort of got the message out that this isn’t just a male dominated thing.
Casey McGuire Davidson 19:52
Yeah. And as a woman, I appreciated that you did have some men on and some men When listening, but I actually loved that it was so heavily women hosting but also women’s stories, mother’s stories, in very different places with very different histories of drinking in recovery, for me was amazing to hear stories of women like me, who also drank like I did, and yet stopped and told me life was better on the other side. And I think we need that, you know, in 12 Step, they always say, look for the similarities, not the differences, but also hearing people whose life story is actually very similar to yours, helps you relate to it. And imagine what’s possible for you as well.
Yeah, I think that’s true. And I think we, we need that. I mean, it’s part of the stages of change, it’s part of the contemplation and investigation, is to look around and say, who has what I want. And if I do make this change in my life, what’s it going to be like, and to get past our own assumptions, and so to have all those stories available, helps people imagine what their life will be like after alcohol. And it is important to do that before you quit, that is a normal thing to do.
So, I’m, I’m guessing that you have listeners who are still drinking and who would feel apologetic about that, or even feel ashamed to be listening to recovery podcast, knowing that they’re still struggling. And you and I both know that that is part of the process, that we’re glad you’re here. We’re glad you’re listening. You’re welcome. And we’re with you, you know, we’re all at different stages of this. And so, for me, as someone who quit drinking almost 12 years ago, I don’t think I’ve got it, and someone listening who’s still drinking and still hurting. They don’t got it. So were we, you know, I’m not talking to them. No. I mean, that’s my heart sees your heart. I’m like physically feeling the pain of how it feels to be that person listening, as I’m saying this to you.
Casey McGuire Davidson 22:20
Yeah. And you know, the idea of like, you’re doing the work by listening to this by listening to another show. I mean, you are doing the work, you’re taking steps to evaluate if drinking things working for you. What else is out there tips and tricks? You know, like I said, I think I heard the bubble hour, and found the BFB, 10 years ago, and this Saturday, actually, which is insane. To me, 3 days is 7 years for me.
Oh, you. Um, but I mean, there’s 3 years in there of listening and tapping into resources and being a member of the BFB and getting some time and then going back out drinking. And, you know, I don’t think there’s any person who magically said, Oh, drinking isn’t good for me, and immediately put it down and walked away and the culture and society we live in? Or if they do, they’re a unicorn, which is amazing. But for many of us, it takes time.
Yeah, it definitely does. And there’s a lot of factors that contribute to that, I think, you know, some people really can put it down and walk away, if they get the wakeup call early enough in the trajectory. And if they have a good reserve of recovery capital, you know, they have a lot of a lot of sort of natural supports, then probably they can quit pretty early on and do it easily. But the farther you go into the spectrum of addiction, and also depending on the level of what your recovery capitalist, and that we can talk about that too. But depending on those combination of those factors, you know, it can take longer, and it can take a lot more effort. And that’s not to say, permission to keep drinking, permission to not try. I’m not saying that. I’m just saying Don’t. don’t give up and don’t feel ashamed of it. Because you’re here and you’re listening and you’re doing the work. And that’s, that is what matters, and just keep showing up. And sometimes, Yeah, you’ve got to put a lot of gas in the tank sometimes before it gets to the point where it starts to have you know what you need to get going. I’m really mixing up my metaphors there.
Casey McGuire Davidson 24:51
No. I’m, I’m following you. So, I hear you on that question for you. You mentioned you know, your degree of risk Every capital, tell me what you mean by that?
Well, it’s a term that has really gained some momentum in the last few years. Because it, it encapsulates something that I think we sort of danced around for a long time without really having good language for it. So, it really refers to what do you have in your corner as you approach recovery? So, you know, do you have your basic needs met? First of all, you know, because we know that when we see someone who is really marginalized and is struggling to find secure housing, and they work and you know, if they’re, if they’re just struggling to get by probably addiction is not going to be the first thing they need to address, they probably need to address like the food, the shelter, you know, the basics of life. So, you know, that’s the very basic thing, but then, okay, how is your living situation? Are you living in a house full of people that are also in addiction? Or do you have people in your household that are going to support your recovery? So, having people around you that support your recovery, that is a piece of recovery capital that you can leverage? If you don’t have that at home? You have to get it somewhere else? And so, we look at these things.
So, do you have access to mental health supports? Do you have? Do you have a sort of all the pieces that you need to bring together and get yourself into recovery. And so, what recovery programs do like smart recovery, a refuge recovery, you know, we can go down the list. They’re kind of a prepackaged assembly of recovery capital that you can just plug into and get right to work. So, if you’re going to go your own way, you’ve got to kind of address all these bases and things that you need. And you need to address the physical aspects of it. Not just secure housing, but also safety talks, supervise supervised detox, in some capacity, someone should probably know you’re quitting, you should probably know what the risks are before you quit. You know, all of these things are, are pieces of the puzzle that we have to bring together in order to successfully do this.
Casey McGuire Davidson 27:22
Yeah, that makes sense. And when you are going through your book, I noticed they’re different. So, I sort of underlying self-compassion, and accountability and shining the light the person who guides you forward on the recovery pathway. You know, were there a couple of things that you really inspired you to include these, like, who was the person who was shining the light for you on the recovery pathway?
Oh boy, there was a few bright lights for sure. I think at first before I was really engaged, like before I really brought it into my life. I first looked at the celebrities that I knew were sober and read memoirs. And then, who were they were the ones that you saw that I listened to Michael J. Fox?
Casey McGuire Davidson 28:21
I read. I listened to his autobiography, too, because yeah, he was like my first crush in Family Ties way back in the day.
Yeah, me too. Alex P. Keaton. So cute. That was one. And I also just read books by nondrinkers. Like, I remember hearing that I think Tina Fey and Kathy Griffin and I don’t know, just celebrities that were disclosed that they didn’t drink. Even if they weren’t necessarily in recovery. I was really fascinated by, like, how do you not drink? Like I just couldn’t? Yeah, I could not imagine how you don’t. But what do you do? How do you negotiate why? Yeah, yeah, that was.
Yeah, what else is there? So, I mean, though, that’s how deep the fog is. At that stage, when you’re in it so deep, I just could not even imagine what life would be like. So, it’s trying to get a glimpse of that at first. And then the bubble hour actually was something I stumbled across early on. So those early hosts that I didn’t know yet they’re in Boston, I’m in Canada, Boston, and so Where’s Lisa? She’s in the south somewhere. So, she, you know, these voices of women far away, were really bright lights for me, and then all the people that they interviewed as well. And so, at first, it was a lot of anonymous voices. And I also listened to the Smart Recovery podcast, back then, too. They ,it wasn’t like slick podcasting than 2011. Let me tell you, we didn’t have all of these great things, you certainly couldn’t see the person you were talking to, like, I can see you now. But yeah, they were more like recorded presentations, I think some of the ones that I listened to, and probably the most important influence was that my dad had quit drinking before he was even married.
So, from the time I met, or one of my earliest memories is that one of my sisters said that our dad was an alcoholic. And I was, I tattled on her, and I said, you know, she says, you’re an alcoholic? And you’re not. And he goes, Well, no, I am. But I don’t drink. Because, yeah, you have to quit drinking, if you’re an alcoholic, and so I can never ever have a drink and, and then I remember being scared that he would drink because I’d never seen him drink. And, and he just, like said, no, no, like, this is like, this is how it is. I’m just a nondrinker.
I can’t. So that was an early memory of mine. And my, my dad and I had some contentious years later in life, and definitely left each other with a lot of emotional scarring. But underneath it all, this, you know, that was a really important core lesson. Because for me, when I knew I had to quit drinking, when I, I knew in my soul that I there was no, there was no moderation, there was not possible. I knew what that looked like, you know, I had seen it. And I think what I hadn’t seen was the work of recovery. My dad was a sober person, but he wasn’t into this healthy, healthy stuff that we are now. So, I like to think I carried the ball a little further. And I think we all try to do bad is, you know, we’ll try to advance things a little more. But, yeah, I’m really grateful to him for that stability. And I’m grateful that he quit drinking in the first place. Because I think that would have made my life very different. Had I not grown up with a sober father, and I’m sure a lot of listeners can tell me that’s true.
Casey McGuire Davidson 32:10
Yeah. Question for you. I mean, we’ve talked many times. And I don’t think that I’ve ever heard what helped you realize that you couldn’t keep drinking, or you didn’t want to keep drinking? I’ve heard you interview so many women about their stories. But do you mind sharing a little bit about that?
Sir, I think that I felt like I was slowly losing myself, first of all, and I, I really drank to ease the discomfort of the difference between the emotional armor that I put on for the world, you know, the coping skills that I used in life that worked really well for me, and the me that I was kind of hiding underneath. And the distance between those two things became intolerable. And I could all day long pretend that I was this super woman that did all the things, and you know, I had a big job and kids and marriage and life, and I live in a small town and in a smaller city where, you know, when you’re a business owner, you’re kind of a celebrity, you kind of leveraged the, your visibility to promote your company. And so that felt to me, and so I felt like I was always on, and I always had to be perfect, perfect, perfect. And I was always in coping mode. And I didn’t know that you’re not supposed to do that. I thought that there was something wrong with me for not finding that easy.
Yeah. And the more that I kind of lived in that armor and felt that that was who people wanted me to be, the more I felt like that the real me underneath, didn’t deserve love. And that if people knew who I really was, and that I was nothing, like this bigger image of myself, that they would not want to be with me. And I mean, that includes like my husband and my kids, I was really convinced in my heart that I was unlovable, and unworthy. And that if I ever was exposed, that I would be alone, and I would deserve it. I mean, I’ve my sons were teenagers, and I really thought like they’re going to, they’re going to be so disappointed. When they learn that I’m like, just, you know, the mom that they have on a pedestal is really just kind of a piece of garbage. So that’s pretty sad place to live. And so, wine helped me live with that discomfort because I stayed busy all day. But when I went to bed at night, you know, you, you lay there, and it’s just you and yourself. And so, I could keep my inner voice is at bay all day long. But when I went to bed at night, there I was, and I would just like lay awake and cry or berate myself or just start looking over my day and thinking of all the things I did wrong. And so, what I found was that wine was a very nice shortcut to fall asleep faster. And I became like, terrified of not sleeping, I became terrified of being alone with myself in that way, and which translated to, to sleep, right, because that was when I had to stop, I had to stop and sleep, which meant I had to face myself for a few minutes. And that was always uncomfortable. So basically, you know, at first, I just started drinking wine at bedtime as a sleep aid. And then it worked so well that I drank more and more. And I got to the point of timing of blackouts to the second before my head hit the pillow. That was really my goal was to control this controlled blackout.
Casey McGuire Davidson 36:04
Isn’t that crazy? Like the amount of effort and the conscious strategy involved in some of this?
Yeah, I couldn’t have explained it to you that way at the time. Yeah, I would have said, I’m very, very busy. And I really need to sleep. And I just drink a little wine to help me sleep because I have to get up in six hours and do it all over again. Yeah. I wouldn’t have told you. I wouldn’t. I wouldn’t have told myself that. Yeah, I was drinking. Yeah. But the it was becoming harder and harder and harder to thread that needle. Of, of managing the amount of alcohol that you need to consume, because it escalates. Yeah. And, and it was a problem, because also, I was starting to crave alcohol earlier in the day. And then you’re trying to manage it, you know, driving your kids to all the things that you’re just really want to go home and drink. Yeah. And then I was starting to wake up in the night too. So, then that was a problem, because, you know, you need to sleep.
Yeah, I needed to sleep. And if I woke up, I would, again, be right myself. And also, I had a new thing to add to the list of reasons that I hated myself, which was that I couldn’t quit drinking. I couldn’t manage my alcohol. Yeah. Right. So, it was really snowballing. And yeah, it just, I was at the point where I was, as I said, I knew a little something about alcoholism, about addiction, thanks to my dad. And I had this idea that okay, so I know I can’t quit drinking, that means I’m going to have to quit for life, you know, when I quit? But what is it that’s going to make me quit something terrible is going to happen. And then I’m going to have to quit, right? That’s what we think happens. I’m going to I’m going to hit rock bottom and go to a quit drinking like everybody else does. And I thought, what is the rock bottom going to be? And I was so scared, because I knew that again, public image, you know, the big face for the world? How far am I going to fall socially professionally? What am I going to lose? What is going to happen? Am I going to kill somebody in a car accident? Am I going to lose my license? Am I going to lose my family? Am I going to hurt myself? embarrass myself? Like, what is it and so I was really consumed with the dread of this. And, but don’t I sound like a fun person to be around?
Casey McGuire Davidson 38:39
Oh my God. Yeah, we all were right. We’re like, drink and then your leaves behind the smile, you know? Yeah.
Yeah, exactly. Because I was. I was Yetta, Yetta doing all the things to distract from my problems. So anyway, I just had this epiphany at one point of like, oh, wait a minute, I do not need to wait until something happens. I could just quit. Yeah, and I sort of feel like all of these little like, I just had all of these little emotional paper cuts are all these little red flags. It’s all of these little things kind of all of a sudden, just burst into this awareness. So, it wasn’t like one big thing happened. It was more like there was just a tipping point of all the little things. And then I had that realization and then I drank for two more days, and then I quit.
Casey McGuire Davidson 39:30
Yeah, I love when you said like all these little paper cuts. I always call it for me like a death of 1000 cuts. And, you know, an image popped up on my phone, you know those Facebook memories on Valentine’s Day, seven years ago, and it was me, you know, posting pictures of my husband and my adorable two year old and my adorable eight year old at this fancy verb sort of, you know, Happy Valentine’s Day from whatever. And I looked at that date. And I was like, That was four days before I quit drinking four days. And you would never know that I was at that point where I was like, shit. This is it. This is as you know, I felt doomed. And yet the pictures are an Italian restaurant with this incredible sunset and my adorable children. And, you know, it’s, it’s a death of 1000 cuts. It’s one more hangover, it’s one more time not remembering stuff. It’s one more 3am Wake up where you finally just take that first step and tap into resources and then take the step again. And, you know, you never know, I did not know, when I was, you know, taking pictures in Arizona at a fancy resort, that four days later, I would stop drinking. No idea, if you would ask me, I would have said absolutely not. And that’s what I think is amazing that you never know when it’s going to stick because so many of us have a million times where we’re like, I’m going to take a break. I’m not going to drink I’m going to you know, this is my bottom. This is low enough. I can’t take this. And then. So, if anyone’s listening to this, and is at that point, it could be four days from now. You know? Yeah, you don’t know. That’s
right. It’s so true. Because I was trying to quit every day. You know, I did start every day saying, okay, um, today, I’m not going to drink. I want it to every day. Like, I can’t even get hundreds of days a year. It was for sure. years. So, it was it was hundreds of days that I woke up and I would, I would think I would either think, well, I can’t quit today, because I have to go to thing tonight. Or Today’s a day. I don’t have anything on. I can do it today. Yeah. And then I couldn’t like By two o’clock, I would be inventing excuses why it wasn’t going to be the day. Yeah. So, I wanted it. But I also, I didn’t understand that the reason why I started looking for reasons at two o’clock, or, you know, noon, or whatever, why I started renegotiating with myself, was because I was like, starting to withdraw physically. Yeah. And I just didn’t understand any of that. Because I also was in a lot of denial about how much I was drinking. And even when I look back at my early blogs, like, oh, I can see that I really downplay how much I was drinking. Cuz I really wanted to be not too bad, you know? Yeah. But yeah, I kept, I kept trying and failing and trying and failing and trying and failing. But then there was some additional flak, I think, I think I really realized that day of like, I can just quit. And I think I just had a kind of a moment of honesty with myself, and I felt something else. I felt like an excitement about the possibility of really doing it, that I hadn’t felt before it was bigger than the fear. And I, I did something that I had never done before, which was tell somebody, so I My husband didn’t know how much I was drinking. You know, no one knew I was hiding it really well.
Casey McGuire Davidson 43:25
How much were you drinking? Well, I hate to say it because it probably doesn’t sound like a ton, but I mean, it was every night it was from four till midnight, okay, every day. And I would have usually I would put some Margarita premix Margarita in a tequila, or in a coffee cup as soon as I got home from work, so I would start with that and then wine. And I didn’t want to I knew if I drank a bottle of wine every night that was going to be like, Oh, that’s bad. Let’s count like smoking a pack a day. So, I stopped buying bottles and started buying boxes. So, then I couldn’t see. Oh, yes, you know, and then I also that’s why I was also drinking tequila was so that then I wasn’t drinking a bottle of wine. Yeah, in my mind. So, I think I originally wrote that, you know, I only have two or three glasses of wine a night, but they were like, fishbowl size glasses and I was supplementing with other stuff. And then I would sometimes to just go and like pour a shot of whatever Scotch or something or Oh, I really liked Wow, how can I not remember it burns all the way down? Cognac Yeah, before bed too.
Casey McGuire Davidson 44:42
So, I love how we mix and match and are like, well, that doesn’t count. You know?
Yeah, that was just a little nightcap is just a little sip more like cough medicine. You know. I was just playing all kinds of games with myself. But when I did the I would do the online tests that we all do to you and even when I downplayed my drinking, it’s still put me in the top 1%, which was like 34 or 36 drinks a week easily that, I mean, easily that. And that’s without even measuring, you know, it’s more if you measure.
Casey McGuire Davidson 45:19
yeah. Oh, yeah. Have you ever seen how small five ounces is I’m like, I’ve never seen a glass of wine that is five ounces.
I know that, you know, it’s like when you go to a restaurant and they give you a coffee cup, that’s like a little. Yeah, coffee, like on a saucer. And you’re, you think we’ll just leave the pot, because this is too small, like, I drink from a big cup.
Yeah, same for wine. Like, to me, I only have a cup of coffee, but it’s really like three servings of coffee.
Same same for mine.
So, I was drinking them. I was drinking such that, you know, my addiction was sort of I was kind of in withdrawal by the afternoon. And drinking in the evening and falling asleep at night. There are later stages of physical addiction where your body’s really not metabolizing alcohol properly anymore. And you can’t predict what things are going to look like I hadn’t quite got to that stage yet. And I think that that did help me in that when I did quit drinking, I didn’t realize how dangerous it was to just quit on your own. And I hadn’t told anybody. And so, I definitely do not recommend doing that. Now I know it’s super, super dangerous. And you really should be aware of the risks. And you need to be honest about how much you’re drinking, because you need to know what kind of risk, you’re putting yourself into when you quit. And what, kind of, what is like a responsible way for you to quit?
Yeah, so I didn’t know that. And luckily, I made it through. Okay. And then, the next, the first, like, few days, I felt so physically unwell. That it confirmed to me that I was if you can believe it, dependent on alcohol drink daily for a decade. Yeah, you’re like, so that. I know, that was one of those convincing things for me that that helped me realize like, oh, yeah, I really was. And then like I said, I knew what to do. I knew that. Okay, I really was addicted. That means I’ve really cannot drink ever again.
Casey McGuire Davidson 47:27
So, did your husband support you when you told him?
Well, I didn’t tell him for 10 days. Okay. And yes, he did support me. He did. And that was like, one of the greatest things I I’m glad he took me seriously. And I think I was really I was afraid of two things about telling people. First of all, I was afraid that they would tell me I didn’t need to quit. And I knew I did. I just could not go on living like that. I think you could hear the sadness in my voice when I talked about what it felt like to be at that. Yeah, and stage of self-loathing and being so lost to myself and feeling so unlovable. I that was intolerable. But also, I was afraid people would say I didn’t need to quit. And I was also afraid that he might say that he didn’t want to be married to someone who didn’t drink. And I also had to waited until I was certain that I mean a skirt to tell him because I knew like, well, this is non-negotiable for me. I can’t, I can’t not drink now. So, if that was a pretty scary thing, because I had to that was as scary as quitting drinking, honestly, was thinking this might end my marriage. And, and I have to I don’t have an option.
Casey McGuire Davidson 48:53
And that could have kept you stuck for so long. I mean, I know for so many of us are we drink a lot with our spouse. I know I did. We met when we were 23. And I quit drinking when I was 40. That was a long relationship of boozy nights. And it’s scary, but then you also get to see that many times your fears that could have kept you stuck for years weren’t realized.
You know, it does change your relationship a little bit. Because I stopped pretending, I was okay. So that, you know, that necessarily changed things because I had to start doing some things differently. And he did say like, what do you need for me? What does this mean for me? And so, it does affect the spouse you know, it has changed his life. He goes out to the pub meets his friends at the pub and has drinks there. But the person that was pouring him wine every night or beer every night at home because I didn’t want to drink alone, right? Yeah, it was kind of forcing it on him. So, it he, you know, he did have to change his patterns. And so, he was willing to do that. So that was good. And I think, you know, in the long run, the important thing is that when, when I stopped believing that I was unlovable, I allowed myself to be loved by my family. I truly am in love. Yeah, I started receiving that love. Yeah. And I think that maybe the differences in perceptible to the people around us. But I, I feel like I became a much better participant in my family and in my life at that point. So even if no one else had changed, I had changed. So, everything changed. So, I had a lot of healing to do. And I still do. I was telling you, when I when we first said, Hello, that I’m having one of those days where I’m like, Oh, my God, am I not done yet? I just, you know, sometimes it’s, it’s work. And we just have to kind of keep showing up for it. But I’m glad that I am. Because, you know, as we say this, it brings me back, it makes me realize how far I’ve come. And that what feels kind of uncomfortable and heavy today is really nothing compared to where I’ve been.
Casey McGuire Davidson 51:27
Yeah. Yeah. Thank you for telling us that story. I actually didn’t know your story, which is funny, because I’ve listened to so many hours of the bubble hour with you talking to other people and jumping in with your own experience and advice and what you know, and what you’ve been through. But I but I had never heard you know, what, what your experience was why you decided to stop drinking and what it was like, So, thank you for that.
Welcome. Thanks for asking.
Casey McGuire Davidson 52:04
I know, right, you’re on the other side of the mic. So, what’s next for you? I know, we were talking. You just got back from Australia. And you’re you are having like just a moment in life where you’re tired and reevaluating stuff. But I also know you’ve got another book in your tiny bubbles podcast. So, what should we look forward to in the future? Well, I think when I when I decided to wind down the bubble hour, one thing I was telling myself was that I just I want to live my life. I want to I want to give myself a little more of my time. Yeah, so I’m trying not to hurry up and fill it with too much else. But um, I’m bad about that. I am a creative person. I always want to look for the next project and do those things. But I will continue to do tiny bubbles for you know, the next few years. I want to have a nice little stash of 15-minute episodes there, that there’s just a nice little, you know, yeah, interaction stash in your toolbox.
Yeah, and contribute to the resources out there. And I am writing a new book right now in the unpeopled series. It’s called unbuckled recovery DIY. The unpeopled was my blog, and I don’t write so much on my blog anymore. Because the everything’s Fast and Furious. In the beginning, there’s so many changes. Oh, my God, you have so it’s so transformational, you have so many thoughts. And first, yeah, there’s so much to say. And now it’s now I sort of feel more like I’m this person who’s like, heard a lot of stories. And I’ve just collected a lot of wisdom. And so, I’m really feeling like my job right now is to just kind of organize and put together all of this material and information that I’ve had the privilege of, you know, holding space for and gathering. And I’m trying to make it into some useful, organized offerings.
So, the UnPickled series takes, you know, a lot of the things that I learned over writing my blog and puts them into like shorter books. So, one is about the Christmas Holidays. One is about getting ready to be alcohol-free, prepared to be alcohol-free. And this new one is Recovery DIY. And it really goes back to that recovery capital piece that we were talking about earlier. And assessing your level of recovery capital for people who, you know, want to go to a program and want to get sober using a program or using a coach like you, they can definitely do that. And the DIY book is sort of more like let’s look at the smorgasbord of offerings that are out there. And here’s all the spots that you’re going to need to fill on your list of “to-do’s” in recovery. And here’s all the ala carte ways that you could do that. And then how to keep assessing so that you know if it if you do need to go and plugging into a readymade resource or ramp up your supports.
You know, I’m actually going through that myself right now. In that, I was in Australia for a month because my youngest son moved there for med school. Perth, as far as you can go away on the far, far side, it’s beautiful, absolutely beautiful. But for he’s my youngest. And for him to move that Fars, you know, just hard. And then I have another family member who’s seriously ill right now and has some significant health challenges that’s been really, really emotional to navigate. And so that means that I don’t have, you know, that energy to put into my recovery to reinforce my recovery that I normally do. And then I’m being depleted in these other directions, too. And so, I, you know, I lean on going to meetings, I lean on things. So, I think that’s important, too, that we give people tools on how to kind of assess where you’re at. And when it’s time to say, yes, I’ve got this DIY program, but what’s my backup? Yep. And yeah, so that book will be coming out in 2023. And I’m excited about that. And yeah, I think then maybe just a little, a little slowing down.
Casey McGuire Davidson 56:23
Yeah. Well, you have done a decade, or more of great work to support just 1000s and 1000s. And I mean, my God, 4 million downloads of The Bubble Hour, probably more than that. So, you deserve to rest and the way life and, you know, expand.
So, thank you for everything you’ve done. And I personally am really excited to see everything you will do. But you know, like we talked about I went to Africa and took the month of July off last year. And that’s amazing, too. It gives you have completely new perspective. And, you know, you stop drinking and you’re meant to enjoy and explore life. Right? And it’s okay to slow down.
Yeah, it is. And I think wholehearted living. It can feel like it’s meant to be go. But yeah, slower, and gentler. And I just really want to show up for my family. That’s what I feel like is what I’m really looking forward to. And for myself, too.
Casey McGuire Davidson 57:35
Yeah. That’s awesome. Thank you so much for coming on. I really love talking to you.
Thanks, Casey. It’s good to see you. And I’m glad that we’re doing this together. Thanks for having me, of course.
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.