The Sober Lush: A Hedonist’s Guide to Living a Decadent, Adventurous, Soulful Life – Alcohol Free
In this episode I interview two incredible authors and really cool sober women, Amanda Eyre Ward and Jardine Libaire about their new novel, The Sober Lush: A Hedonist’s Guide to Living a Decadent, Adventurous, Soulful Life – Alcohol Free.
The book is all about the joy to be found in life after you step away from wine as your constant companion.
Jardine and Amanda have called this book “an ode to the technicolor playful side of sobriety” because it evokes the pleasures, feelings of connection and deliverance from the ordinary, that come once you start living life without numbing out.
In our conversation Amanda shares how she was able, through her friendship with Jardine, to get a taste of a sumptuous, beautiful, art-filled life where booze didn’t have a place.
In this episode, you’ll learn:
- What Amanda and Jardine learned about dismantling your drinking life and rebuilding it so you don’t want booze anymore.
- How you might feel in early sobriety and why you should hold on for the sweet and beautiful life that’s coming your way.
- How to navigate a date night, trip or holiday without alcohol.
- How to have early conversations with your husband or partner about what you’re doing and finding the support you need
- Amanda and Jardine’s favorite ways to live a decadent, sober life.
Amanda Eyre Ward is the author of eight novels, including the New York Times bestseller The Jet Setters, which was also a book club pick by Reese Witherspoon, and it features a character trying to stay sober on a cruise ship. Amanda’s work has been optioned for film and television and published in 15 countries.
Jardine Libaire is a novelist and a screenwriter. Her novels include Here Kitty, Kitty, and White Fur. She also co-wrote a film that was just released called Endings, Beginnings, starring Shailene Woodley, whose character has just given up alcohol. She’s from New York and spent a decade in Austin where she became good friends with Amanda. Jardine now lives in LA.
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ABOUT THE HELLO SOMEDAY PODCAST
The Hello Someday Podcast helps busy and successful women build a life they love without alcohol. Host Casey McGuire Davidson, a certified life coach and creator of The Sober Girl’s Guide to Quitting Drinking, brings together her experience of quitting drinking while navigating work and motherhood, along with the voices of experts in personal development, self-care, addiction and recovery and self-improvement.
Whether you know you want to stop drinking and live an alcohol free life, are sober curious, or are in recovery this podcast is for you.
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The Sober Lush: Living a Decadent, Adventurous, Soulful Life – Alcohol Free
drinking, sober lush, decadent, adventurous, soulful, life, free, normies, doom, Perrier water, travel, Italy, Cinque Terre, Tulum, Mexico, bike tours, arsenic hour
SPEAKERS: Casey McGuire Davidson + Amanda Eyre Ward and Jardine Libaire
Hi friends. I’m really excited to share today’s episode because in it, I get to interview two incredible authors and really cool women, Amanda Eyre Ward and Jardine Libaire about their new novel, The Sober Lush.
Jardine and Amanda share their experiences building an adventurous, soulful life, alcohol free. And what I love about our conversation is that it’s real and honest, and also hopeful. I find their book and their approach to living life without alcohol, both exciting and inspiring.
In this episode, we touch on all the varied experiences that most women go through when deciding that drinking isn’t working for them anymore. The highs and the lows, the joys and the challenges in moving from your drinking life to as Amanda says in our conversation, how sweet life is, on the other side. From embracing sober travel and new experiences in Rome, in Mexico City and in your own hometown. To the feelings of doom we all experienced in the mornings after drinking. To having early conversations with your husband or partner about what you’re doing and finding the support you need. We cover it all, including Amanda and Jardine’s favorite ways to live a decadent, sober life. The book is beautifully written, which is no surprise because both our Jardin and Amanda are successful authors.
Amanda’s the author of eight novels, including the New York Times’ bestseller The Jet Setters, which was also a book club pick by Reese Witherspoon, and it features a character trying to stay sober on a cruise ship. Amanda’s work has been auctioned for film and television, and published in 15 countries.
Jardine’s a novelist and a screenwriter. Her novels include, Here Kitty Kitty, and White Fur. She also co-wrote a film that was just released called, Endings, Beginnings starring Shailene Woodley, whose character has just given up alcohol. Jardine’s from New York and spent a decade in Austin where she became good friends with Amanda. She now lives in LA.
So let’s dive into the conversation with Amanda and Jardine. I think you’re gonna love it.
Welcome to the Hello Someday Podcast, the podcast for busy women who are ready to drink less and live more. I’m Casey McGuire Davidson, ex-red wine girl turned life coach helping women create lives they love without alcohol. But it wasn’t that long ago that I was anxious, overwhelmed, and drinking a bottle of wine and night to unwind. I thought that wine was the glue, holding my life together, helping me cope with my kids, my stressful job and my busy life. I didn’t realize that my love affair with drinking was making me more anxious and less able to manage my responsibilities.
In this podcast, my goal is to teach you the tried and true secrets of creating and living a life you don’t want to escape from.
Each week, I’ll bring you tools, lessons and conversations to help you drink less and live more. I’ll teach you how to navigate our drinking obsessed culture without a bus, how to sit with your emotions, when you’re lonely or angry, frustrated or overwhelmed, how to self soothe without a drink, and how to turn the decision to stop drinking from your worst case scenario to the best decision of your life.
I am so glad you’re here. Now let’s get started.
So, hi, Jardine and Amanda. I am so excited to talk to you about your new book The Sober Lush. It is so refreshing and important to read a book about all the joy to be found after you step away from the wine bottle. Your book is about living a decadent, adventurous, soulful life, alcohol free. And I think it’s so important because I know that the question of how will I ever have fun when I don’t drink? or What will I do without that fuzzy buzz that makes everything lighter but also dim at the same time, and traveling without alcohol. It’s a big one that keeps so many women stuck in the drinking cycle for so long. So, since this book just launched, I’ve read it, of course, but you’re introducing it to my listeners and to the world. So will you tell me about the book?
Jardine: I would love to and thank you so much for that introduction, too. We call this The Sober Lush: A Hedonist Guide To Living A Decadent, Adventurous, Soulful Life – Alcohol Free, so it’s basically a really eccentric little book. Amanda and I have called it an ode to the technicolor place, side of sobriety, we’ve also called it a road map. So it’s a hybrid of things. It’s.. it’s a little bit of a… a manifesto. It’s a little bit of a collection of ideas and tips. And mainly it’s meant to just evoke the…the pleasures and the feelings of connection and the feelings of deliverance from the ordinary, which is something I’ve gotten hung up on. To sort of like, give the texture of that so that it’s more real to someone who’s curious about what the other side of sobriety might look like.
Casey: Yeah, that’s amazing.
Amanda: Yeah, exactly. I mean, when I first got sober the first 10 or 20 times, I thought it would be a life of deprivation. You know, I would go to meetings where I didn’t know anybody, although everyone sounded like they were saying exactly what was in my brain, but then I would go to the same parties without wine. I had the same life and it felt very bleak. And in getting to know Jardine, who had been sober a little while longer and getting a taste of a sumptuous, beautiful, elegant, art filled life, where booze just didn’t even have a place. It really made me realize, well, I have to rebuild my life from the ground up and it’s going to be so uh, so much better life. And so that’s what The Sober Lush is about – the things that we learned along the way about how to dismantle and rebuild your life so that you don’t even want it anymore.
Casey: That’s amazing. And I love how in the book, you kind of go back and forth between the concrete examples of joy and strategies to get through parties and events and your experiences in finding joy after giving up drinking, but also going back and forth between like how you felt physically mentally in the drinking cycle and early sobriety, but also your experiences quitting drinking. So why did you choose to write the book in that format?
Amanda: Well, it’s interesting. Both of us are writers. And when both of us got sober, we had agents and editors, you know, who thought oh, maybe you can write a great memoir. You know, maybe you can join the great works of literature and quit lit, that we all love and love to read. And we know Sarah had Bella and her book blackout is so incredible and, and I tried, I thought, Oh, well, okay, I’m a writer. That’s what I do. But whenever I use the first person voice, it just fell apart. I didn’t work. I didn’t feel comfortable telling you how to do it, because I really didn’t know. So when Jardine and I had the idea of writing a book together, and we started with the weave voice, all of a sudden, it just fell into place. And then we thought, Well, what can we do with this? It’s not our individual stories. It’s more a manifesto for a new life that we were kind of making up as we went when we said “we, this glamorous, fabulous tribe”. It was kind of, yeah. Right Jardine? So, we and that voice worked. And then we sort of figured out what the book could be. And then when our agents went out with it, you know, different editors wanted it to be a cookbook or more of a narrative story or, oh my gosh, Casey, someone was saying, like, we’re gonna do a mocktail sale on target with your faces on it. And it was like so figuring out what the book even was, was a large part of the process.
Jardine: Yeah. And you know, we’ve talked a lot with them various writers who we love, you know, just read Good Morning, Destroyer of Men’s Souls. I don’t know if you’ve read that yet. But I feel like that was a book that was built on this beautiful foundation. This new library of Quizlet. But she’s talking about codependency and being the other side of an addicts’ world and life and partnership. And that to me was an example like The Sober Lush of somebody who looked at what existed already and thought what isn’t here, yet. You know, what can I build or add to this growing little archive of books and The Sober Lush to me came about from our conversations. Like, what didn’t we have when I was 25? I want to read about things like, what could have made a difference? The memoirs were massively helpful. I wish blackout had existed when I was 22. But what I also would have loved would have been to read about how I can still go out and dance, I can still go party, I can still feel exhilarated like these things. I was so terrified of losing. Yeah, hard evidence, like, you can have that still. And what would it look like? You know?
Amanda: And also, you can start that now you don’t have to get to the bottom. I mean, I read Caroline Kaps’ Drinking A Love Story. And I was like, oh, how can I not have to quit? You know, it never occurred to me like, or you could stop the battle now and start enjoying. So that’s what we wanted to get across. You don’t have to wait.
Casey: I mean, I always say and people, people say this, it’s not just me, but like your bottom is whenever you stop digging. And, you know, the question isn’t, Am I bad enough to quit? Because that’s got all the preconceptions of nobody would quit unless you literally could not drink anymore. But is this good enough to keep going? And I feel like you guys really capture just the human aspect of you know, your life is still pretty good. And yet, you feel like crap. And you talk shit to yourself every morning and you don’t know why you keep doing this to yourself. And you’re literally making yourself ill. That’s enough to decide this isn’t working for you, or even to experiment with 100 days without alcohol and see how good it is. Everything you said my mind’s going off the charts better cause Of course, like, Drinking A Love Story was my very first book I read. And when I was like, Oh, damn, do I have an issue with alcohol and I was like hiding it on my Kindle, so my husband wouldn’t see it. And like opening other books after it ridiculous so in case he looked at my Kindle, it wouldn’t pop up like, the about of fear I had of him living with me thinking that I might think I had a problem is crazy. But I love how you talked about “we”. Because, you know, from talking to other women who are trying to quit drinking or have quit drinking, the universe, you know, our experiences are so similar. And our thoughts are so similar. Like, it’s not just you, everything you said. I’m like, Yes. And not only have I felt that, you know, I coach women, everybody feels that.
Jardine: When I finally went to an intake meeting at an outpatient because that’s how I finally I would do 30 days, 30 days, 60 days all on my own, always trying to do it on My own furtive and private, then I finally my therapist was like I know a really generous, lovely outpatient group you will be taken care of every night on your journey to this and maybe get to the other side and stay there this time. The intake involved me saying, Well, I’m an abnormal case, I’m not actually an alcoholic on this. I’m Matt and he kindly explained to me what terminal uniqueness was, you know, full idea of like, Oh my god. Just to know that all these thoughts are like, not these crazy. Private I came up with this all on my own thing, but universal. That was a massive step forward for me. I wish again, when I look back, I wish I had taken that step and and heard other people’s thoughts earlier.
Amanda: And I would go to meetings that were in a really rough time. neighborhood of Austin and I think I consciously chose the meetings where I could walk in and think, Oh, I am not like these people. And then these people would stand up and say exactly what was going on in my brain. And I realized, this is exactly who I am. That’s why I do call myself an alcoholic. Because in those meetings, I realize, you know, I’m exactly like these people. However, I do wish that I had, had access to a body of literature or meetings or friends that would say, you know, from the very start, you really are like me, you know, other women, for example, or other super successful women and people. When I found the BFB, which is an online group that I love on Facebook, booze free guide…
Casey: The episode right before this is with my best friend Ingrid, who I met on the BFB and it’s all about finding friends in sobriety, and that you don’t need to be lonely. So we’ll put in the show notes some information about how to find it or other groups. But yeah, it’s so important. So go on, you found the BFB.
Amanda: So when I joined the BFP, it seemed to me to be primarily women of my age, which was incredible. So that was this great window into people wrestling with the same things, you know that on the outside, I have a beautiful life with a husband and children. And on the inside, I’m falling apart. And I was surrounded by other women who drank and held it in ways that they considered healthy, and they felt fine about it. And I was drinking in the same way and dying. So it was wonderful to log in late at night to the bfb and talk to people you know, I would say I’m at a party, everyone thinks I’m happy. I’m falling apart. And people would be right there in your pocket. We say we’re in each other’s pocket because it’s so great all night and messages from people who get it.
Casey: And that’s where we met Amanda. Like four years ago, which is insane. And it is true. I mean, people are asking.. parties are on New Year’s Eve or at dinner parties, and they’re just texting from the bathroom or at restaurants. And we’re and that’s a strategy we’re like, just go to the bathroom and post. Here’s what you need to do. Yeah. And that is so cool because they’re women just like you.
Jardine: It’s so empowering to connect with them too. And it actually enables me to then sit at a dinner table with people who are living a different reality because it’s really okay if some people want to drink and get hung over and they’re down with that and it doesn’t kind of make them go straight to meltdown as it did me. As long as I don’t feel like I’m alone in the world. As long as I know that some people share my reality. It makes it more possible for me to move through this world freely and not have to be so terrified of being in a group or in a room or at a business meeting with people for whom the reality of drinking is is really you know, fundamentally different.
Amanda: And that’s what the book is to. I mean, like the vanish is about the fact that you can go to a party, you can go to any party knowing that you can just walk out. That gave me a lot of courage because I would try to pre plan it and can it work for me and I still do that. But I also have the knowledge that I can just walk out and business drunk drinks in Malibu is a chapter about how sometimes you are going to have to go to drinks meetings, and you know, how do you handle that? And I think really, the key to all of those things is knowing you’re not alone. We get it. You can do what you need to do for yourself.
Casey: The other thing like, when I realized, you know, I can drive a separate car from my husband or tell him, Hey, I need to leave when I need to leave. Are you cool with that? Otherwise I’ll take a separate car. I mean, this from the girl who like he used to, it would be unspoken that he would drive me home from everything and I would pretty much pass out in the car on the way home because that was what I did. You know, so for him to be like, oh, wow, this is your girlfriend’s and you’re gonna leave whenever you feel like it. Like, that was big.
Amanda: Yeah, and even listening to yourself to know you want to leave, I think a lot of the time I would throw down another margarita because a voice in my head would be saying I don’t want to be here. For whatever reason I’m tired. I’m not interested. It’s it doesn’t feel like a good place for my kids. Now I hear that voice. And if that voice says, I want to go home and eat ice cream and take a bubble bath, that’s I listened to it. That’s a game changer for me.
Jardine: It’s funny too, because I think what when I look back and so much of the book and the conversations that Amanda and I have had have been tracking this kind of stuff like the molecular makeup of all these moments and these patterns in our lives. I think I would come to a point at a party or a dinner or a meeting or whatever, where I had just enough to drink that if I could…went home, I was going to be lonely and weird and melancholy. And so I chose to just keep going, you know, like, you’re going to go home and feel odd and estranged. Or let’s just get so blissed that you go home and pass out. And now I can decide to leave and know that whatever I take back from the party, there’s still lots of emotions, from any event, from any social interaction, but I’m more peaceful. I can handle it. I can do the bubble bath. It’s a different.. it’s a different kind of, going home.
Amanda: And I can think of specific instances where we went home and texted each other like when I was at a writers conference, and said to everyone, oh, let’s meet at this place. And a famous writer said, what are we doing here? Let’s go to the bar and I was left alone. And I remember sitting and texting Jardine and saying, This is what the author says. And it made me feel wrong in every way like I was, you know, loser or whatever. And just having someone to say, oh how rude or you know, I gotcha you know you’re doing the right thing and I actually I think I ended up going to the bar and saying well I’m just going to go and that was something I journey in and I kind of worked out I can still go join them and put aside those feelings because there probably was something going on with this person that had nothing to do with me. And then Jardine and I remember at some fabulous film events of famous people texting me just like hey, I’m here this is wild. Whoa!
Casey: yeah, I love this guy is such good friends because I mentioned that the episode that’s coming out right before this is with my sober bestie on finding friends in sobriety and it is a game changer to have that person that you can text you know, I mean, I remember being at work events, happy hours, and I went you know, I ordered like trying to be all settle I was like, at this big table and I was like, Okay, can I have a ginger beer. And the waitress was like, you know, that doesn’t have alcohol in it. Loudly like, stopped the ordering. And I was like, Yes, I know. She’s like, I just don’t want you to be upset when it comes. And there’s no outcome. I was like, Are you kidding me? And so I went to the bathroom and I’m texting a grid and it just helped so much because I got to be like, how can you believe this happened to me instead of “Oh my God, I’m humiliated. What do you think like, what are these people thinking of me?”
Amanda: Jardine, do you remember the Perrier?
We were at the San Antonio Book Festival, all dressed up in this fabulous hotel, and with a lot of writers who were drinking and we ordered a bottle of Perrier with two glasses, and the waiter came all excited with a $300 bottle of Perrier-Jouët Champagne. And we have to be like, no sorry, the 299 Perrier. But you know what? When we’re together, it’s just funny. Alone, I mean, it’s not like I would have dropped the champagne, but it definitely would have been awkward. Yes, with a table.
Jardine: It was hilarious and it was hilarious too but like it is I was just talking to a friend last night is going through a crisis and for the first time ever, she has people that she can reach out to for help instead of like, stifling it all and being embarrassed by what’s happening and and she said more than anything in her new sobriety it’s been asking for help just reaching out and being like, Oh my god, this is happening. I don’t know what to do. For a lot of us that’s really foreign and it kind of is a game changer like to just simply say, like, can you text me back right now like, I need you. You know? I think there are people where that might be more comfortable and they’ve done it a lot, but for a certain category of us that is foreign and weird and, and sort of magical once you start doing it. You realize people love you and want to help you. It’s very healing.
Casey: Yeah, I feel like that’s something that most of us like I know myself when I was drinking. I never did. I tried to put on this happy facade of like, overachieving and I was people pleasing and I was honestly overcompensating and never revealing struggles, because I didn’t want anyone to look too deeply beneath the surface. I because..I was trying too hard to hide how much I was drinking, probably because I was afraid someone would tell me to stop. So I didn’t reach out for support, and you get so used to that when you’re quitting drinking because you have to, you know, and get support and so it just becomes like a muscle, you exercise and all of life is so much easier.
Amanda: Also, it’s putting aside the shame of needing help, and we’ve spoken about this, but I joined the BFB under a fake name. Because that’s how I felt comfortable being able to reveal, just as you were saying, Casey, that I was lonely and hurting and confused and issues in my relationships and friendships, I still don’t really feel comfortable talking about that with very many people and that’s okay. It worked for me. And I’ve advised some people on the BFB who say, I feel uncomfortable here I say, you know, I kind of I just say you can have a fake name and that’s the whole point of the anonymity of a but it’s hard for me now with the book coming out because even saying that I’m proud of my sobriety is saying, I couldn’t handle alcohol and I messed up and that’s hard for me to say publicly and that I needed people.
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, 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: Yeah, and we talked about vulnerability hangovers. You with the book and me with launching the podcast. I mean, you post it out there, because you know, it’s gonna help people and it is your truth and it is your story, and yet, you’re afraid that people are going to judge you for struggling with this. And you know, even when people are like, Oh, you had a drinking problem. And I’m sort of like, Well, I haven’t had a drink in four years. And you were drunk last weekend. So let’s be, you know, I’m not judging you, but come on. No, I, I actually don’t drink. So therefore, you know, I just don’t mess with it.
Amanda: I did say that when I spoke to my kids, because one of my sons said, Oh, can I read The Sober Lush? And I said, Sure. And then I thought, Ah, so I said, you know, let me talk to you a little bit about when I quit. And it was so wonderful to say the things I had struggled with, and then to end the story, at least today with and then I quit, and now I’m proud of myself. And that was incredible. Yeah. Because working through the shame was a lot of the pain of my beginning sobriety. And I think why I went back a few times while I went back out because when I quit, I’d had to say You know, yeah, when I was wasted at that event or whatever, that was not okay. And if I kept if I went back to drinking, it was like, oh, we’re all doing this, this is how it is, but I have to work through like, that wasn’t okay. I am ashamed of that. And I’m using that shame to fuel a new life.Yeah, that was hard.
Jardine: Yeah, it’s interesting, too. I think a lot of my shame overlaps with that. And then I had to identify another part of it, which was almost a shame about being sober, and being uptight and being a square and drawing attention to myself and what I’m doing and, and fearing so much that people might think that I feel that I’m superior that I almost didn’t do the thing that would be good for me. You know what I mean? Like, like,
Casey: Oh, God, like your mind is raising
Jardine: People pleasing cycles, and I’m like, how about I just do what I know is good for me. Take good care of myself, so that I can love people. You Even more like I thought it was in some way narcissistic to be sober or self indulgent and I’m like really? Eventually I came to the conclusion like what could be more selfish and getting wasted all the time and being useless for the whole next day? Like I’m better this isn’t this isn’t me being selfish to take care of my this was a huge reeducation for me to realize it’s not it’s not selfish to take care of yourself. You actually have more to give on the other end, you know?
Casey: And that’s part of it. You’re so worried… there are so many women who are worried about what other people are thinking of you. And I mean, that can get so twisted, right? Like if I quit drinking, or I’m going through life without drinking, people are going to think that I’m judging them for their drinking or that I’m boring or that I’m somehow superior and it’s crazy the way our minds work and how keep ourselves stuck for a long time, not based on what’s right for us, but what we perceive other people might be thinking. And my favorite quote is like, you know, don’t worry, stop worrying about what other people think of you. Most people don’t even know what they think of themselves.
Amanda: So true. And that’s, you know, and that’s a lot of what we came back around to with these chapters in The Sober Lush. It was sort of.. what do I want? I didn’t even know. I didn’t know who I was much less than I wanted. And so answering that question became key to staying sober. You know, I just couldn’t do the same things without wine. I was drinking because they weren’t the things I wanted to do.
Casey: Yeah. And the, like, if you need to drink to tolerate something, maybe you shouldn’t be doing that thing. Like that’s a mind blowing thing for me.
Amanda: Yeah, and we. So it’s interesting that Jardine and I met when she had been sober for a while, and I was newly sober. So I was learning it was okay to say no to everything. Like I just stayed home. No, no, no, no, no, not doing anything. And I thought that’s empowering. And that’s what I need. And then it was wonderful to see that Jardine was at a stage where she was saying, Okay, well how do I want to start venturing out in the world and getting wild and you know, making some more connections? And that was… I was terrified actually watching you do that. So I was like, why would anyone ever want to go out again?
Jardine: Chronicle those stages because you just have to go through them. There’s no way out but through you know, if I could tell my younger self saying it would be to relish those stages like love saying no, when you can, even though it’s not always going to be pleasant, or easy. Just know that it’s a piece of a journey and it’s not the end all be all and and yeah, I think a lot of times you have to make that little shell to protect yourself while you incubate a new life and then you don’t need the shell so much anymore and it can kind of fall away.
Casey: I love seeing that the phases that people go through are so common. And it’s so powerful to say, this is normal and trust the process like this, you will get to the other side. And I love that your book is about the other side. And I have to tell you, I loved so many chapters in the book and segments because every single one I wrote you guys, every single one resonated with me and brought up so many memories. My favorite one was What About Rome? Because traveling is my absolute favorite. And I went to Venice and Croatia at four months sober, and just it blew my mind. How can you go to Italy sober? And at the same time in your What About Rome? It’s so true. You wake up to so many things that you would just ignore when you were drinking and have a hangover. You know, my husband and I used to drink a crap ton of wine each at 3 in the afternoon. In Italy, you know, “go asleep, take a nap, pass out” is what it was. Wake up late, miss the whole afternoon and be hung over the next day. And so talk about what some of those experiences were, when you travel without drinking.
Jardine: I mean, some of my first experiences there, I think there I divide things into two categories. One, we’re going back to the old places where I only knew how to party. So by the time I got sober, I lived in Austin, but a lot of my heyday was spent in New York. So going back and getting acquainted with a whole new level of that city was fascinating and that’s such a great city to – of course, my mind the default was you can’t go back there. You don’t know. There’s nothing to do there have a party. It’s the city that stays up all night, etc. But the beauty is it’s the city that stays up 2/7, there’s so much to do there. So like, even though I lived in Brooklyn in Manhattan for 10 years, I never went to certain museums. I never walked across certain bridges. I never met certain people. I never hung out with certain friends very often. So it was kind of like a not a redo and that I erased the first version, but it was finding a new layer and dimension of this place. And then Amanda and I would talk a lot about more the vacation journey trip/traveling that I think we both agreed was really hard to figure out. But so what’s so exciting when we did that, do you want to talk about that a little bit?
Amanda: Yes, I’d love to. I mean, first of all, I wanted to say that I still see this on the BFB. Like, once a month, someone will say, Okay, I’m in for getting sober. But I can’t do it when I go on vacation like how it’s like they can’t conceive of the sober life because they have this trip coming up, whether it’s an all inclusive. That’s a big one. And also just places like Italy, exactly, where basically drinking seems to be a part of the menu. And Casey, when you’re talking, I was thinking about when I went to Cinque Terre during my last drinking year, which I’m kind of glad I did it that way. But I remember sitting at a beautiful cafe, having you know, the second bottle of wine with lunch and just crying and crying, because I can’t even remember now. And so it’s kind of great to look back and be like, Yeah, well, that was a waste of a day. I mean, that was like the ultimate waste of a day. And there’s so many trips. I remember my first sober trip was to Tulum and my husband and I were sitting in a restaurant on the beach and the waiter came and I ordered Perrier – And this is something Perrier, water. And this is something my husband and I have had to work through a lot because we both used to drink a lot. And I remember when he ordered Perrier as well, just feeling this ease in me like, we’re going to be okay. We’re going to connect and have a beautiful night. I’m doing this just kind of like we say this a lot to each other like we’re doing. It was it seemed revelatory. It sounds like not a big deal. Although it was like the craziest thing in the world to even conceive that we’d be away from the kids in Mexico, and we weren’t drinking constantly. And then I also went back to Italy sober and I just remember in Mexico City, booking a bike tour of the city, they close the streets once a week or something. And that was inconceivable. First of all, why would anyone want to get up and do a bike tour but I remember, you know, having an early dinner and then there was a little cafe that had hot chocolates and who were all these adults sipping wonderful hot chocolates at this cafe. And then in the morning we biked through the streets, you know, and the sun was shining and Mexico City and it was like, Yes, this is it. I’m back and so much better.
Casey: Yeah, I remember. So when I went to Venice, it was so hard because I, you know, my husband and I like to drink together and it was just an entire, you know, and I was in early sobriety like 12 weeks since quitting drinking. But I got up early in the morning, I love to take photographs, and walked around Venice at like 6 in the morning before everyone was up taking all these incredible deserted photographs of the canals. And to me that was like, Wow, this is so beautiful. I also started this since quitting drinking. I take in my own mind all the money I used to spend on alcohol and I buy myself incredible jewelry everywhere. I go. Go. And that’s amazing because, you know, I just love it. So just amazing necklaces, and I also took a bike tour in Amsterdam. And that was, again, just beautiful and wonderful and so much fun, you know, all those memories that you just missed.
Amanda: And the other piece that I just wanted to mention is that you don’t have to know how you’ll do Rome when you first get sober. You know, I kind of let that question linger. I think I sort of thought, Well, you know, in Rome, I’m gonna drink. And then it wasn’t till I got there, as they say one day at a time and I thought, no, I’m not going to do that. You know, and it was okay to leave that question hanging, you could still get sober. Yeah, and not know what you were going to do at your college reunion in 6 months. You know, there was and you literally hear people saying, well, I’ll quit after that college reunion.
Jardine: Definitely that’s the way to look toward people that are always hiding in plain sight like friends that I wasn’t paying attention to, What they were doing, how they traveled. Like, I definitely have a class of friends that I call born moderates who just never like alcohol is just not they don’t care. You know, they’ll have a half a glass of something because it tastes good and leave it on the table. I’m like, oh my god. Yeah, your space alien.
Casey: We call them normies. Do you call them normies?
Jardine: Normies. Yeah. Yeah, and I think a lot of what again, I wish I could have done younger or earlier in sobriety, is look to see what certain people were doing. How they went to Rome as opposed to I not only would drink through a trip, I used to think it was necessary to drink the whole night before a trip. So like every single airport experience I had until the age of 40 was like missing the flight. You know, going to the wrong airport, you name it or like barely family getting to the destination. I don’t know why. And a version of looking around to see what other people are doing is the dorky practice of Airbnb experiences. I’m sure one day we’ll get to travel again. But in the meantime, I just dream of the bike tours and I would sign up the last time we went to Mexico City. I signed up for like three different Airbnb experiences like private. Art Gallery designers, and you just lean on other people and say, Show me your city or show me how to do this. Like, I think we often think we’re gonna have to figure out Rome on our own and there’s, there’s a lot of help out there if we look in the right places.
Amanda: And at home, I mean, I remember when we would go out on a double date Jardine and, and I could, especially at the beginning, I could not sit at a great restaurant for hours without drinking. So remember, we met at a diner opening with our partners and you know, talked about the art and looked at the city and then went for a reasonably, you know, an hour long dinner, instead of spending four hours at the table. We spent two at the Art Museum beforehand and wandering around and I knew I was a virgin reinvasion where you live?
Jardine: What do these nights used to be made out of? Like, I want a long, meandering night, you know, I want to feel like instead of meeting a couple for like, a half an hour at Chipotle, you know, you have like a long, grand, rich night. So instead of that being one restaurant and 6 bottles of wine, let’s figure out how to still make it long and meandering and it involves an art opening.
Amanda: And you and Neil walk places, right? Like I remember meeting you for dinner, and my husband and I could not believe when Jardine and her partner would show up having walked over an hour, but what a wonderful way to get there. It was really hot though.
Jardine: I don’t want to give up long beautiful nights. You know, I want them to still have like a big kind of unmeasured, uncontained feeling sometimes, you know, I don’t want them to just be quick Let’s go have a cup of tea and we’re done.
Casey: And like not knowing what might happen that was always like a reason to drink you felt like you were going to have a bigger adventure like anything could happen and you don’t need to drink to do that. And also, I didn’t remember a lot of nights like I don’t know if that happened to you guys, but I was the queen of like, pretending that I remembered part of the night and kind of being like shit, what did what did I say? Or I’d go to bed so early, because I started drinking so early and I miss half the night with my friends.
Amanda: I was the queen of like, getting extremely sick spending two hours talking to a random drunk. Especially if it was in Italy, it was like I’m communing with the locals because I talked to one guy and with bad, you know, translation wasted. You know why. And I would do that all the time and think I really got to know that random guy or woman and like the value of that it’s great to connect, you know, but it was conversations that were circuitous and just nonsensical. And once in a while, you know, I was about to say once in a while you’d keep in touch. Yeah, actually, never.
Casey: Now, one of the things I wanted to talk about was both of you, right, really, really vividly about how you felt in…before you quit drinking and early sobriety in addition to how great life is now. And I think that’s so important because a lot of women listening to this are not you know, they can’t imagine the joy that we feel because they’re still in that really painful place. And Jardine, I… I was wondering if you don’t mind if I read something that really jumped out at me that you wrote? You were talking about the morning after. And you said that you wrote it in sort of the third person, but the way she acted when drunk at parties wasn’t as disturbing as the way she would feel in the light of the morning. When she pulled herself out of a meager shuteye feeling like death itself. The doom was irrational, the result of a wrecked nervous system but it was powerful and she was always forced to realize you made yourself feel bad. Who would do that? You felt a vicious disdain towards yourself.
Jardine: I think that was my so you know in discussions about do we call ourselves alcoholics each person making their own choice about that? And I kept running up against this like after school special version of an alcoholic and telling myself I wasn’t that I hadn’t lost my job, yet. I haven’t crashed my car yet. And for me, it was realizing, you make yourself feel so bad. So Ill you know, not morally bad not necessarily even just emotionally bad but physically so ill so frequently, that, that is a dysfunction in and of itself, it almost reminded me of seeing something that to me is a concrete sign of distress. Like when people cut themselves, it was self abuse, it was hurting myself over and over and over again. And that’s what led me finally to say to my therapist, like I’m ready to go to an outpatient, I’m ready to cross over. I would wake up some mornings. And if I hadn’t known that I’d been drinking and doing drugs the night before, I would have gone to the hospital because I felt so bad that it was so alarming, but instead I was like, Oh, yeah, and I got used to feeling that level of bad. And that’s crazy. You know, that’s, I mean, the definition of doing the same thing and expecting to come. You know, it depends on everyone’s experience how we each arrive to that place that opens the door where you’re like enough, this is insane. But that for me was the mornings after.
Casey: Yeah, and the idea of just being sick and tired and hating..
Jardine: I was like, you don’t deserve to feel this bad. And then on top of it, you’re so mean to yourself about it. So it’s like, double punch every time.
Amanda: I remember reading somewhere when I was taking one of the 10,000 quizzes about if I was an alcoholic, starting when I was 15. And it said that that heavy, awful Doom what afterward is a symptom of an alcoholic. But I guess normies, even when they overdo it, don’t have that level of despair. But I have to say that keeps me sober. Believe that I will never feel that way again. Because it was so bad that I had this new thing. I like everything bad…
Casey: I felt Doom, I felt like I was really gonna fuck up my life and my kids and my marriage, and it was going to be my fault.
Amanda: Or I felt like I had but I wasn’t sure how yet. Even if I hadn’t blacked out, it was this feeling that something awful was looming. I didn’t know when or how or it happened or you know, and so I would. I actually was talking to my son about this last night. I would wake him up when he was probably eight or nine and say, Did I go any last night? Did I upset you? And that was more upsetting to him than anything I had done. Oh, I mean, I feel ashamed.
Casey: Yeah, like eight or nine that you’re kind of asked you’re, you’re worried enough that you’re asking a kid about that.
Amanda: And I will call friends after parties, even in college like, Did I say anything that upset you? Because even when I didn’t block out, I remembered everything. And I hadn’t done anything. And yet I felt like there was something I had done that I couldn’t place.
Oh, it’s so nice not to feel that way!
Casey: And it’s that walking on eggshells, right?
Amanda: And I still have people like there’s a babysitter and a few other people that I still feel uncomfortable around, because I feel like I’ve done something I don’t remember.
Casey: Oh, me too, and like trying to pay the babysitter and like, did I overpay her? Did I stiffer?
Amanda: Like, I would overpay, I would see checks.
Jardine: Somewhere in the seven and a half years that I’ve been sober. Like occasionally I’ll get the flu or jet lag. And both of those things can kind of create that Doom again because I associate those physical feelings with this like mega existential dread and anxiety and it’s enough to remind me what it used to feel like to feel that way. And it’s, and it’s so interesting that it’s the soul and the body kind of operating in tandem. And it’s not, it’s not logical, necessarily, like you just said, you didn’t do anything wrong the night before, necessarily. It’s just, it’s almost like a phenomenon. And during this quarantine, I fought a million times, like if I was drinking now, I, that plus what’s happening out in the world, I would fall to pieces, you know, it would be too much. It’s, I’m so grateful now to have this kind of sturdier, more reliable, you know, central nervous system to process the things that are naturally anxiety inducing. I don’t have to have this other massive anxiety that I can’t name, in addition.
Casey: Well, I wanted to ask you guys. I mean, there are a lot of women out there who may be listening to this who are drinking a ton in quarantine, and they are drinking because they want to escape their lives, which is why we do it. We want to speed up the night we want to make it go away. And the huge worries about the health, and the financial stability, and everything else. So what would you say to those women who are at that really painful place right now?
Amanda: So one of the chapters that I probably wrote the most of is called the arsenic hour, and which is what my Savanna relatives used to call the hour that you’re feeding the kids and you know, there’s bad time and you just want to leave and you can’t. And so what I learned is that you can. And even in quarantine, you can go outside, you know you could say looking at all the ingredients laid out on the counter for dinner you can say, pardon my language, like, fuck this. I’m not I’m not making this dinner. We have cereal in the cupboard. I’m going upstairs and getting in bed, that you can do. And that is an escape, you know, walk down the block. I mean, my husband and I, the other night I just said, Daddy and I are going for a walk. And my daughter said, Oh, can I come? And I said, No.
Casey: I love that.
Amanda: No, I just need an hour where I’m not charging somebody, you know. And that’s what I needed. I never would have said that. And if I had said it, I would have felt terribly guilty. So I would have wanted to get out and I would have poured another glass of wine and stayed right there. And so, that’s one thing I would say, that you are allowed to escape in any way you find possible.
Jardine: I was just thinking, you know, the conversation yesterday. And we might have already touched on this a little bit, but there is no good time to quit. There’s no good time to write a book. There’s no good time to have a baby. These are things that love always said, you know, and I know it might seem like it’s a… it’s a really doubly hard time to do in quarantine. But it might ultimately make this easier and enable more growth from this and enable greater survival to try even just a 30 day break. And I just love you know, in talking about the new library of materials that people and women can go to. There’s so much stuff now that you can get in your home you know, people that you can connect with, through podcasts, through online groups through books. Through virtual alcohol free happy hours that cool bars like listen bar and getaway and sandbar throwing. There’s a lot of stuff happening that you can get literally from your living room. So it seems like a hard time and yet, it might be worth thinking about. It might be more of a lifeline to be sober now.
Amanda: Yeah. The other thing I want to say is that to anyone who’s contemplating. That it is.. that it is very hard for the first few days. It’s very hard, but it is so sweet on the other side. you know you are having a really rough first few weeks at least first week, but then it is so worth it and I think I was told that but the more you can hear it the better. Yeah, it is a miracle on the other side.
Casey: Just hold on, you know, hold on to the miracle happens, but also just hold on through the crappy stuff. And as you see that more women are out there who are talking like we’re talking like your book, talking about the joys and the adventures of life without alcohol. At the very least, you know, not waking up feeling like crap and hating yourself every morning. Just trust us enough to reach out for support to get through those first couple weeks. So, question for yo, because I know a lot of women. I wonder this like, at what point do you turn that corner? And can you remember either a specific sobriety milestone or a specific event where you saw that first glimpse of the good stuff?
Jardine: Funny, I’ve had different experiences. So I think the beginning can be really hard. And yet I’ve also had the first few weeks be, you know, the kind of cloud phenomenon the, the real fluffy lightness of Oh my God, I’m not sick, everything is novel and new. There’s been a million milestones for me though, the first time I went to a dinner party and didn’t worry about what everyone else was drinking like that finally happens, you know, I stopped the bandwidth that whether or not I can drink or not and whether or not I can handle things sober. It just takes up less and less space in my mind. So that was a beautiful one for me. The first time I went out and I was sitting at the table, realizing you never once worried about what everyone was going to think about you not drinking here. And, and, and worry about the whole cycle that we already discussed like, are they wondering if I’m thinking that they’re drinking too, etc, etc I was just free of it. So that was a beautiful one.
Amanda: I think for me finding the community with the BFB finding Jardine, I built this life and I stayed sober, you know, just day to day. And then I’m gonna get a little teary talking about this. One of the hardest parts for me was changing my marriage. And I think for me, the biggest change came the day that I had enough strength and community behind me to sit down with my husband and say, This is how it’s gonna be. You know, I really am done, and I need not to have boobs around. Most of the time. That’s the life I want. Period. And that’s, that’s a non negotiable because I was terrified about what would happen after that conversation. And my husband said, I love you. Yep. Okay. And I, I get I haven’t really talked about this, so.. But yeah, now we have this life that I just never knew existed growing up, I never knew was possible, and so thankful for every day and I really had to walk through the fire to get it. But every night when we’re just he has a fake beer. I have a ginger beer and I think I cannot believe this. I cannot believe I did that.
Casey: I love that. I feel like that’s a perfect place to end this. I would say I love your book. I love all the chapters. I mean, so many resonated with me from picnics to talking about like I Dream of Jeannie and Halloween to the drunk girl at the picnic. So I would recommend anyone listening to this podcast, please go get it. It’s called The Sober Lush. I’m sure it’s on Amazon and a million other places. And if people want to get in touch with you, how, how would they best do that or follow you or anything else?
Amanda: My website is https://www.amandaward.com/ and @amandaeyreward on Instagram and Twitter and all those.
Jardine: And I’m at http://jardinelibaire.com/ and Instagram is @jardinelibaireprojects.
Casey: Perfect. And I’ll put all those links and the books you mentioned and everything in the show notes of this episode.
Amanda: and the sober lash Instagram (@thesoberlush), because I, we just started it. I think we have three followers, so Hey, come on over.
Casey: I’m gonna follow it right after that.
Amanda: Oh, thank you, then we’ll have four.
Casey: Well, thank you guys so much. This has been an awesome conversation. I know it’s helped so many women.
Jardine: Thank you so much. Thank you for doing this.
Amanda: Thank you, Casey.
So thank you for coming on here. I couldn’t appreciate it more.
Thank you for listening to this episode of The Hello Someday Podcast. If you’re interested in learning more about me or the work I do or accessing free resources and guides to help you build a life you love without alcohol, please visit hellosomedaycoaching.com. And I would be so grateful if you would take a few minutes to rate and review this podcast so that more women can find it and join the conversation about drinking less and living more.