Why Emotional Sobriety Is Key To Navigating An Alcohol-Free Life

When I was drinking, I used alcohol to check out after a hard day, numb out from irritation and  resentment, make the monotony of adulting less boring and as a reward to look forward to for getting through another week.

And when drinking left me with too many hangovers, sleepless nights and crushing anxiety I finally decided that I didn’t want to feel that way anymore and (slowly) pieced together 30, 60, 100, 180+ days alcohol-free. 

It’s not easy, but it is pretty clear how to do the “sobriety” thing. When you don’t drink, you’re sober!

But in order to “stay” sober, learning how to practice emotional sobriety can keep you balanced and happy in an alcohol-free life.

What is emotional sobriety and why do you need it?

Emotional sobriety is all about handling your emotions in a healthy, balanced way without turning to alcohol to cope with life’s challenges. 

It’s really important for long-term recovery because ignoring your mental and emotional health can get you in a place where it’s really attractive to escape with alcohol.

What are red flags that your emotional sobriety is in danger?

If you’re not taking care of your emotional sobriety, you might find yourself falling into old patterns of negative thinking or self-doubt. You could feel overwhelmed, anxious, hopeless, angry or resentful.

Often, your emotional sobriety is in danger when you’re taking care of everyone around you and not taking care of yourself.

If you feel like you’re in danger of going back to drinking, you need to get yourself back to an emotional “green zone” as quickly as possible. 

It’s time to take really good care of yourself. So you might want to start practicing meditation and journaling, up your exercise, go to therapy, get a coach, get outdoors in nature or talk to a doctor about antianxiety or depression medications.

🎙️ I asked Teri Macgilbert, founder of the THRIVE Sober online community and host of the Sober Stories From Everyday People podcast, to help me unpack how to practice emotional sobriety.

In this episode, Teri and I dive into:

Emotional Awareness and Self-Care: Why being in tune with your emotions and practicing self-care is key to staying sober long-term

Early Sobriety Challenges: The tough emotions like guilt, anger, resentment and irritation that pop up early on, and tips for managing your expectations and embracing discomfort
Struggles in Your 40s: Why many women in their 40s might turn to alcohol due to perimenopause and life pressures, and how these factors affect your sobriety
People-Pleasing Pitfalls: How trying to please everyone can sabotage your sobriety, and the importance of setting boundaries and getting professional support
ADHD and Impulsivity: How ADHD can lead to impulsive drinking, and the need for healthier ways to handle dopamine cravings
Shame and Guilt: How to understand and overcome these feelings through self-compassion, journaling, and reframing your thoughts
Managing Cravings: Practical tips for handling alcohol cravings, like deep breathing, visualization, and connecting with supportive communities, plus the importance of daily sobriety practices
Evolving Friendships: How friendships change as you get older and stay sober, why it’s important to prioritize yourself, connect with like-minded people, and set boundaries with people who trigger you to drink

Finding ways to maintain emotional sobriety can help you navigate life with more ease, less stress and protect you from going back to drinking in difficult times.  


Practicing emotional sobriety can help you

1️⃣ Handle Stress Without Alcohol

💗 When you first quit drinking, overwhelm can be a big trigger and it’s important to find new and healthier ways to deal with stress. Emotional sobriety teaches you to handle stress through practices like deep breathing, meditation, and reaching out for support and connection.

2️⃣ Understand and Manage Your Emotions

💗 Quitting alcohol often brings a flood of emotions; anger, resentment, sadness, joy, fear and boredom. Don’t worry, they pass and it’s part of healing and discovering what you want to change in your life. But during this process, understanding your emotions and satisfying your needs is important. You need to set boundaries, manage expectations, and make time for activities that make you feel good

3️⃣ Reduce the Risk of Relapse and Drinking Setbacks

💗 By addressing the underlying emotional issues that contributed to your drinking, you reduce the likelihood of relapse. This means you’re less likely to turn to alcohol when things get tough.

4️⃣ Build Resilience and Navigate Life’s Challenges

💗 Emotional sobriety helps you face life’s challenges head-on and develop the strength to get through them and grow from them. Building resilience is about facing tough emotions and growing stronger from them without diving into a bottle of wine.

5️⃣ Improve Your Mental Health and Overall Well-Being

💗 Managing your emotions in a healthy way can reduce depression and anxiety. Once you stop drinking you’ll be able to finally see what your mental health and happiness looks like without alcohol adding a depressant. When you tune in to your true emotional state you can finally take good care of your mental health and get professional help if you need it.

6️⃣ Improve Your Relationships

💗 It’s hard to maintain strong relationships when you’re drinking and hungover. And once you stop drinking, emotional sobriety will help you build and maintain healthier relationships, set boundaries, have patience with and communicate clearly with the people in your life.

7️⃣ Find Fulfillment And Contentment

💗 Maintaining emotional sobriety will help you find a deeper sense of fulfillment and contentment. You’ll experience joy and satisfaction without needing alcohol to feel good.

8️⃣ Increase Self Awareness

💗 Early sobriety is a period of self-discovery. You get to feel and experience life without checking out and you might find that your interests have changed or you’re less tolerant of things you let go when you were drinking. Emotional sobriety will help you tap into your emotions and prioritize your needs.

9️⃣ Take Control

💗 Emotional sobriety is empowering. You get to take control of your life and make decisions that align with your values and well-being.

Emotional sobriety is really important for navigating life alcohol-free and maintaining long term sobriety

It’s about more than just quitting drinking; it’s about building a life that feels fulfilling and manageable without relying on substances. 

Tune in to learn more about these topics and get practical advice to support your journey to emotional sobriety and a fulfilling, alcohol-free life!

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

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Connect with Teri Macgilbert

Otherwise known as sassysobermum on instagram. Teri is the founder of the THRIVE Sober online community and the podcast host of her own show called Sober Stories From Everyday People.

She lives on the south coast of England with my husband and 3 daughters. 

Teri decided to quit drinking in 2019, after too many years of drinking more than she wanted to. 

Teri specializes in emotional sobriety, which is the key to long term sober success. She’s also the host of the  Sober Stories from Everyday People podcast.

Learn more about Teri and the work she does at www.thrivesobercoaching.com

Follow Teri on Instagram @sassysobermum

Listen to Sober Stories From Everyday People Podcast

Connect with Casey McGuire Davidson

To find out more about Casey and her coaching programs, head over to www.hellosomedaycoaching.com

Want to read the full transcript of this podcast episode? Scroll down on this page.


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

Host Casey McGuire Davidson, a certified life and sobriety coach and creator of The 30-Day Guide to Quitting Drinking and The Sobriety Starter Kit Sober Coaching Course, brings together her experience of quitting drinking while navigating work and motherhood, along with the voices of experts in personal development, self-care, addiction and recovery and self-improvement. 

Whether you know you want to stop drinking and live an alcohol-free life, are sober curious, or are in recovery this is the best sobriety podcast for you.

A Top 100 Mental Health Podcast, ranked in the top 0.5% of podcasts globally with over 1.5 million downloads, The Hello Someday Podcast is the best sobriety podcast for women.

In each episode, Casey will share the tried and true secrets of how to drink less and live more.

Learn how to let go of alcohol as a coping mechanism, how to shift your mindset about sobriety and change your drinking habits, how to create healthy routines to cope with anxiety, people pleasing and perfectionism, the importance of self-care in early sobriety, and why you don’t need to be an alcoholic to live an alcohol-free life. 

Be sure to grab the Free 30-Day Guide To Quitting Drinking right here.

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What is Emotional Sobriety and Why Do You Need It? With Teri Macgilbert



drinking, alcohol, sobriety, life, sober, people, stop, emotions, good, emotional sobriety, talk, feel, friend, bit, early, learning, overwhelmed, ADHD, thought, women, sassy sober mum, thrive sober, sober stories, quit drinking, craving, disciplined, education, discomfort, journey, learning how to cope with life, creating, overwhelm, emotional, reward, process, expectations, milestones, feel stuck, change, take a break from alcohol, clarity, confidence, energy, shift, perimenopause, stress, brain fog, anxiety, burnout, mommy wine culture, people pleasing, people pleaser, boundaries, self-permission, boundary, feeling, shame, guilt, reframing, journaling


SPEAKERS: Casey McGuire Davidson + Teri Macgilbert


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


emotional sobriety what it is and why it matters.


My guest is known as, sassy sober mum. She’s the founder of Thrive Sober, the online community. And her name is Teri. She lives in the South coast of England with her husband and 3 daughters.


Teri decided to quit drinking in 2019, after too many years of drinking more than she wanted to. And she specializes in emotional sobriety, which is key to long term, sober success. You might have listened to her podcast, She’s the host of the sober stories from everyday people.


And welcome. I’m so excited to have you here.


Teri Macgilbert  02:09

Oh, thank you so much. I’m delighted to be here.


Casey McGuire Davidson  02:14

Yeah, and I reached out to you, because I saw that you specialize, and you do a ton of coaching around emotional sobriety. And it’s a topic that I touch on quite a bit. But I’ve never done an episode diving into why does matter? What is it specifically? What are the tools in the framework and best practices to incorporate it into your alcohol free life or using it to help you stop drinking?


Teri Macgilbert  02:48

Yeah, it’s the thing that I feel most passionate about. And I think having that lived experience myself of stopping drinking, I realized on the early parts of my journey that actually not drinking can be quite straightforward. If you’re very disciplined and you throw yourself into education, and you do all the things that a lot of us talk about, which are extremely helpful. But when things go wrong in life, which they do, or you know, the stress is calm, or just those challenges that you can face on a daily, on a weekly, on a on a monthly basis. That is when I think the craving to have a drink starts to escalate. And a lot of it is because of the discomfort that we’re feeling or that up for me, I was certainly feeling. And that’s what led me onto this journey of discovering this more emotional focused sobriety, which was essentially, the way that I describe it, in a very simple terms is, it’s learning how to cope with life on life’s terms.


And so, you know, that that covers a lot because, you know, we, when we’re adults, we have a lot of baggage by that point. You know, we’ve got the framework of the, the sort of the world that we were born into, you know, in terms of childhood and parenting stars and all the things that we grow up with from a very young child, then we go into teenage age, and you know, early 20s, and there are always these twists and turns in life.


And I think what I’ve noticed with a lot of the women especially that I work with, is that they’re using alcohol to help them cope. Helping life, help them cope with difficult feelings, help them cope with trauma, help them cope with stress and cope with parenting. And I just see that come up a lot.


And so, a lot of the emotional sobriety work that I focus on with people is about not just kind of putting the alcohol down, which is a very big part of it, especially in the beginning. But it’s also about looking at the area, looking at how you’ve set up your life and looking at the areas in your life that are creating, overwhelm, for example, that comes up a lot, you know, this overwhelm word comes up a lot. And it’s like, how do you recognize when you’re overwhelmed barometer is hitting a 10. And then when it gets to that 10, that’s tipping you over into, I need alcohol, because that’s what you’ve always done, you notice it’s kind of navigating that landscape, learning to recognize when that’s happening, having that awareness, and then using different appropriate tools to help.


I don’t know where this phrase came from, but I always use it,


how to learn how to hold your own hand through those moments and find a new way to cope, essentially, which is much healthier, and will then lead to long term sobriety.


Because you know, that if you can get through these different ups and downs that life throws at you without drinking, and you can build that momentum that that will help you like for the rest of your life.


Casey McGuire Davidson  06:40

Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I sort of use the phrase, like,


trying to keep yourself in the emotional green zone, so not getting too high or too low.


And especially in early sobriety, you can’t afford to get too angry, irritated, overwhelmed, stressed out lonely, sad. And if you are, you know, I felt rage in early sobriety, like it was crazy. I am not a rageful person. And it was just, I was angry, and I couldn’t figure out why. But, you know, whatever you’re angry about. I’m like, Okay, I’m going to let this go for two weeks, not because this is not a valid emotion, or this people person didn’t piss me off, but literally because I can’t afford it. Right.


Those are the emotions that you want to drink over.


Teri Macgilbert  07:38

Yeah, yeah. Yeah. And I think that at first, I know, certainly for myself speaking about my story. I didn’t really know how to feel properly. I think just that in itself was such a big revelation in early sobriety, like you whenever I felt something, I felt it magnified.


Casey McGuire Davidson  08:17

You know, so if I was annoyed, like, I really, I would feel rage or, or if I did something that I didn’t like, you know, maybe I don’t know if I lost my temper at one of my children so that I would feel enormous guilt and yeah, guilt, man guilt, this is the worst and then, you know, and it can still create challenges.


Teri Macgilbert  08:22

I mean, I think that’s the point it’s that when you stop drinking. It’s not this perfect rosy life. That’s just the beginning.


Putting the drink down, it’s just the beginning because you are then going to be able to tune in more to how you’re really feeling and that could be the first time that you do that in your adult life properly. So that feel very big to start with and overwhelming in itself. And even that can tip people back into drinking because it’s like all hang on, we just took the lid off and there’s too much like that’s too big that feeling.


Casey McGuire Davidson  09:07

Yeah, yeah, I think Glennon Doyle described it best. She, in her, one of her early books, Carry On, Warrior. She has this chapter called, To my friend, on her first day one, essentially. Have you ever read that book?


Teri Macgilbert  09:24

To do I’ve only recently found Glennon Doyle, and I think she’s amazing. Oh my gosh. Really like yeah, really like that, but I haven’t read, Carry On, Warrior.


Casey McGuire Davidson  09:36

I’ve got a book. Describes the process of getting sober, like recovering from frostbite, and she talks about how we’ve been numb for so long. And once you’ve stopped drinking, the emotions start to feel like tingles and then they become daggers you know, loneliness, boredom, resentment. Anger, sadness, you know, even the good ones, joy, you know all these emotions, and you’re overwhelmed by them because you’re not used to feeling them, right? We used to drink to numb out at the very first sign of an emotion we didn’t want to feel especially. And then, I think when you wake up with a brutal hangover, you turn all that anger, irritation, resentment on yourself, like you blame yourself because it’s almost more comfortable than being angry at your spouse, your boss, your mother, whoever it is, right?


Teri Macgilbert  10:41

Yeah. Yeah. And I certainly see a lot of people, you know, when they it’s like the onion, isn’t it, you peel back the layers of the onion, and it’s up to, you start to really get to know who you are, which I always found quite crazy that I was.


I stopped drinking at 40. Well, I don’t know about you. But I was 41. And it was only really kind of 41, 42 I started to really learn about myself and who I really was and what I really liked. I found that I really enjoyed that part of the process. If I’m being honest, you know that, for me, that was a reward in sobriety I quite liked, although sometimes it felt strange, because I always thought that I was this big extrovert. And I always thought that I, you know, just was all these things. That was actually what I now realized was just the drinking version of me.


Yeah. See, I who would go subtypes. You’d be talking about that alter ego, and always makes me laugh when I hear people talking about it like that. Because I think yeah, it is like having an alter ego there. Or before drinking or whatever. It just comes out and starts being more reckless and bit mad.


But when I started to get to know who I really was, I just felt much more connected with myself. But still, even though that’s really positive. Still, there were many situations that were cropping up for me. And, you know, many kind of areas in my life that I that I hadn’t got a good handle on lawn, I think, and parenting is a big one for me, because, you know, I found parenting, young family, I find it quite triggering, actually, because I did have a period where I was a single mom for a while. And I had two very young children. And I was still drinking then, and I found it quite difficult to be a single parent in that situation.


But even when I stopped drinking, and then you sort of feel like, oh, okay, I’ll stop drinking and, and so this is all going to get better. And then it doesn’t get. It’s like stop following the sort of the expectations that I had placed on my sobriety that I didn’t realize, and then I wasn’t able to meet those expectations. And then I was having to sort of like, constantly manage this disappointment that I wasn’t hitting all these almost imaginary milestones, like being extremely patient and being less than bit. And so, for me, you know, emotional sobriety is such a, it’s such a big field of things.


But I think that expectations piece is another really big one is learning and recognizing when you’re trying to set expectations and trying to just move away from doing that. Because if you set an expectation, and it’s probably quite unlikely that you’re going to hit it, number one, because you can’t predict the future and you can’t predict how your sober journey it’s going to be, you can only hope that you just get better and stronger. And you know that it gets you get more joy and all the things that a lot of people talk about.

But that expectations piece was a big thing for me. I learned a lot about expectations through my own journey. And I work quite a lot with my clients on trying to get them to do their own expectations.


You know, like, I’ve hit data to, why don’t I feel great? It’s like, Well, okay, why did we start? but you know, it’s that sort of thing.


I think sometimes people can almost set themselves up for failure. But I love my favorite phrase is


Lean into discomfort because if you get really comfortable with leaning into discomfort, you are going to make the journey. It’s going to be half easier, just being able to do that. Just being able to not be afraid of leaning into the really difficult parts, and almost treating it like an opportunity, you know, what can you gain from this?


Casey McGuire Davidson  15:08

Ya know, I had so many thoughts as you were going through that.


The first one is, I quit drinking when I was 40. And I had 2 young kids. My son was 8, my daughter was 2. And I don’t know about you with your clients. But I would say, you know, a disproportionate amount of the women I work with are somewhere around their 40s when they decide to stop drinking, and I don’t know exactly why that is, it’s possibly just because I stopped drinking at that age.


That’s a lot of what the women who reach out to me, but I think it’s also to the point where this is what I see. Women have done everything, right, I work with a lot of high achieving women who have done the job and often gotten married and have kids and have the house and do all the things and they’re drinking because at a sort of base level, they’re not happy. And their life has sort of shrunk to a whole lot of responsibilities. And they, you know, it’s this combination of, they’re unhappy, so they drink in them because they drink they’re unhappy because of the fiscal impacts of, of alcohol and increasing anxiety and depression. But something about getting, you know, I know, when I turned 40, I was just like, I can’t do this anymore. I can’t wake up with a hangover anymore. I can’t go through life feeling like any new thing is going to break me.


You know, I literally was like, why am I angry? Why am I unhappy? My life should be good. And there’s so much in there.


Number one, we want to be happy all the time. And when we’re not, we think something’s wrong. We think we need to fix it. We think we should be grateful for everything in our lives. And we’re bad people if we’re not, which is totally untrue.


And then, it’s also the idea that we feel so stuck. We feel like we can’t change things in our lives, like, Oh, I’ve signed up for this. I’m stuck. I’m supposed to like grit my teeth and put my head down. And that’s not true either.


Like, you should change things. If you’re not happy. Like, the first thing to change is take a break from alcohol and see how you feel because that’ll give you the clarity and the confidence and the energy to shift of other things in your life. I mean, have you seen that with the women you work with?


Teri Macgilbert  17:54

Yeah, very, very much.


So, I’m the same as you. I definitely see most clients between late 30s And yeah, mid to late 40s. And I think the things that come up for me are, I know that perimenopause is a thing that people might start to feel in that age range.


And I think that alcohol is like throwing gas on that fire on that perimenopause.

We’re already feeling anxiety and stress and brain fog and burnout. And just like, you can’t keep your head above water, I think then the alcohol just makes all of that 10 times worse. And so, that definitely comes up for me.


I definitely think with the mommy wine culture, you know, people having children a bit sometimes quite often later in life, and your life dramatically changes. Right?


And I don’t know about you, but I was really shocked about motherhood. When I so badly craved it. I really, really wanted it I had trouble with my first pregnancies. And so, you know, I struggled to actually get a baby. And when I had the baby, I was happy, but I just kind of wasn’t quite as fulfilled as if we’d pay and I felt guilty for that. Because lots of people don’t get to conceive and you know, there’s just a lot of unnecessary guilt. I think in that process. You know, you get told all your life, be careful, we’ll be careful, you can get pregnant so quickly, and then it’s like, right, ready to try and no, it’s not happening. Like, hang on, this is supposed to be easy, and it’s not.


Yeah. So, I think there’s a lot of for me. There was quite a bit of trauma wrapped up in my journey to become a mother and so yeah, that’d be nice. Things come up a lot for me, but the thing that really, really sticks out for me and again, it’s something that I do relate to personally as well. And it is the people pleasing element. For whatever reason. The women that I work with most of the women that I know in my community, so many of them, like myself included, have issues with pleasing other people before ourselves. And that’s just either something that has come from childhood, or, you know, for me, fundamentally, I think it came from a root of not feeling good enough for all sorts of different reasons. But I know that mine stemmed from, I’m not good enough. And I need to work really hard to make sure people like me. And a lot of my thinking came from that energy, you know, a lot of my drinking and even actually, when I stopped drinking, that people pleasing thing was one of the biggest areas of discomfort for me. And I see that all the time.


And it is for the people that I work with, it’s, you know, people really struggle with the concept that they are allowed to give themselves permission to change and to say, No, this is not right for me anymore. It might have been right for me then whether that’s friendships or jobs or partners or anything, but that people pleasing, and that self-permission thing fuels a lot of overdrinking, in my opinion. And it’s only when again, under that umbrella of emotional sobriety, facing those things head on learning how to implement boundaries, leaning into how challenging that feels at first, right? Because you’ll notice like me that when you put those boundaries in place you start to get when you practice it, you start to get really good at it. To the point where I’m really I struggled to say yes to things. Like no, no, no, thank you.


So, I actually sometimes have to remind myself, Teri say yes to some things, you know, to say no to everything. But yeah, it’s a big part of it. I think that people pleasing.


Casey McGuire Davidson  22:14

Oh, definitely. I mean, I absolutely describe myself now as a recovering people pleaser. And I, actually, I was smiling because my episode that I was just editing that comes out Thursday. So, when you’re listening to this 2 weeks ago, was with a Codependent, people pleasing and Boundary Coach who’s good friend of mine, on how to stop people pleasing. I’ve done a couple on it, because it’s such a big topic, as is perimenopause.


All of these topics sort of intertwine it to all the reasons we drink and all the challenges that you finally get to deal with.

When you stop drinking, right, you’re able to piece apart the impact of alcohol versus the impact of the emotional work that you need to do, and also the physical symptoms of perimenopause and get help for that as well.


Teri Macgilbert  23:17

Yeah, yeah. And there’s, you know, interestingly, there’s another branch that comes up for me as well. And I don’t know about whether you’re seeing this.


But ADHD is really coming up at the moment. And it’s actually something that I’ve realized. So, I’m currently going through the process of being diagnosed for ADHD, because I also kind of 99% sure, and, through the initial findings, working with someone will show that I have ADHD. And so, that also is really coming up a lot in my community. A lot of the guests that I’ve had on my podcast, have got ADHD all been diagnosed over 40 all been over drinkers.


And so, for me when I think about, you know, the, the kind of over drinking the sort of impulsive nature, you know, taking risk recreational drugs, and, I mean, I would just get involved in everything, you know, that was kind of like, yeah, if it’s shiny, and I’m there with Bill. And so, I think that, you know, I’ve spent a lot of years when I was a drinker, I’ve spent a lot of those years waking up thinking what’s wrong with me?


Casey McGuire Davidson  24:39

Why am I, God? That was my most common thought, like, I would wake up and be like, What is wrong with me?


Teri Macgilbert  24:46

Like, why? Why is everyone else really enjoying this? Or why are they managing to go to bed at three o’clock in the morning and I’ve got to stay up and try and force everyone to do more, have more drinks or until gone? 7am You know, why? Why can’t I be normal? What’s wrong with me? So, these questions just, I mean, you know, big phrases, think about how many of those thoughts I’ve had in the 27 year that I’ve been drinking.


So, part of this ADHD thing for me, has been eye opening, because it’s like, okay, no, to be honest, I can understand why anyone can get addicted to alcohol, it’s highly addictive, it does a lot a great job of switching off the noise. It definitely makes the stress go away, you know, it does all those things, right. That’s what it’s designed to do. That’s why it’s so difficult to put down and stop it because it does a really good job of taking the problem away temporarily. Right.


And obviously, there’s all the downsides that that’s why we end up stopping but essentially, it you know, can see why anyone gets involved in alcohol. But for me, thinking about the ADHD, the damage dopamine receptors, that you know, that dopamine seeking behavior, yeah, I tick all those boxes, and it helps me to understand, right, that’s, you know, not what was wrong with me, but that’s why I probably did that.


Casey McGuire Davidson  26:14

Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And I found the same thing. I don’t have ADHD, but a lot of the women I work with, I’ve discovered that they are newly diagnosed, they had no idea they were dealing with this. And I think it was when we were kids, it really wasn’t a thing as much that people were aware of, you know, and certainly not a thing that people diagnosed in, in young girls. Right, it presented differently. And part of that not knowing that is a big challenge. About like, emotional sobriety.


I know, in reading your work, you talk about how it’s learning how to recognize and cope with your emotions, without relying on alcohol as a coping mechanism. Can you tell me what are some of the emotions, we’ve touched on it, but list the emotions of the women that you work with? That are the most common that need to be sort of dealt with and find new tools?


Teri Macgilbert  27:21

Yeah, okay. Good, really good question.


And I think probably one of the primary emotions that that comes up initially is shame. There is a lot of shame in drinking or over drinking. For women, there’s a lot of situations that people might have got themselves into, again, something that I relate to personally as well. And, you know, sometimes it’s, it’s that what we were talking about, as well, that feeling of like, what’s wrong with me? Like, why can’t I drink like everybody else. And so, you know, it’s multifaceted how I would approach that, but I think what’s important for people to try and connect with is that number one, you don’t really know how anybody else drinks, right? So do to look at somebody else, and to think that they’ve got their shit together, especially if they’ve got a shiny grid on Instagram. But ultimately, nobody knows anything. You don’t know what’s happening behind closed doors.


And, you know, I try to teach people about the stories that we create in our head. And learning to recognize when the stories are factual. So, you know, they’re true, and when the stories are not true, and therefore, there’s no evidence, and it’s about learning. So much of it comes from that, from that inner thought work. And so, I spend a lot of time helping people to, first of all, disconnect from their thoughts. Like, you’re not your thoughts. Just because you have thoughts doesn’t mean that that is exactly who you are, and that you have something like 60,000 thoughts a day, and a lot of them are the same things you had yesterday. And that, you know, not every single thought that comes up needs an action or needs to be believed you have a choice to see the thoughts and to put them into I like to put them into buckets. That’s a helpful bucket. I keep that thought. And that’s an unhelpful bucket. That’s not, that’s not a helpful thought. I’m going to acknowledge it and discarded.


So, I think that process and that’s not really overly related to shame, I’ve digressed a bit here. But that process can be extremely enlightening for people because when they realize They’re not their thoughts, and they actually, they can take a step back from their thoughts. And then they can decide they can choose what thoughts are helpful and what thoughts are not helpful and therefore can get rid of that is just very empowering. Number one. But yeah, shame comes up a lot. And I, one thing about shame as well is, is, again, it’s sort of detaching yourself from the drinking or the addiction to drink or because, you know, when you understand the brain, the physiology and the brain and the way that it works with alcohol, which probably, you know, most talk about on your show, you realize that it isn’t your fault that you’re in this situation.


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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Casey McGuire Davidson  30:48

And so, you know, I really liked that, quote,


It isn’t your fault, but it is your responsibility to change. ~ Laura McKowan


Yes, brilliant.


Teri Macgilbert  30:51

Yeah. And but it’s so true, isn’t it, because you can see, just like I was saying earlier, you know, alcohol is designed to be addictive. Number one, let’s just call it this. It’s an addictive substance. And it’s very, very good at alleviating the stress or, you know, the brain starts to love it, because it essentially helps you to have pleasure and avoid pain, which is the brains two jobs in life, the brain doesn’t care that you’re happy, doesn’t care that you’re satisfied at work. It wants to, you know, have pleasure. And it wants to avoid pain. And alcohol does that really well. So when you could sort of break it down in that way, and see the sort of structure of alcohol and how it fits in and why, if you have drunk for all the things for 10 years, or 20 years, you’ve essentially trained yourself to drink and to rely on it, your brain now thinks that it needs alcohol for survival, that’s how important it is, it’s easy, and for you to kind of look at that in isolation and have a little bit more compassion, grow a little bit of compassion for yourself that look, all you’re trying to do as a human being is feel better, or cope. But a lot of coping is trying to feel better with what you’re what you’ve been dealt with, or what you’re dealing with.


So, you’re not a bad person for wanting to feel better. Unfortunately, you just got unhealthy coping mechanisms. So, it’s just again, it’s that sort of trying to, it’s, it’s understanding that narrative around, you know, you and the alcohol and just trying to alleviate that shame a little bit. And also, I think, when it comes to shame, one of the things that really helped me was that I learned that the person who I am with that alcohol is the real me. And the person that I was when I was drinking is the drinking version of me. And that version of me, under the influence of alcohol made bad choices, like we all understand science, made bad choices. So that is not who I am fundamentally, like I wouldn’t do a lot of those behaviors ever sober. Like I just wouldn’t have done the things the shameful things that are in my past, I just wouldn’t have done them.


If I was so bad, I know that I would only have done them under the influence. So sometimes I encourage clients to journal a bit about this and to try and get some of that, being able to like, the thoughts on paper, see it for what it is kind of explore or the feelings that come up. But then reframe it and look at it through that lens of more compassion that, you know, at the end of the day, that same quote, you know, it’s not your fault, but it’s your responsibility. So that’s shame. That’s, that’s kind of the one of the biggest emotions that I think comes up for people.


Initially, I think part of that is guilt. Guilt comes up as well. Lots of people will feel guilt that they drank throughout their children’s childhoods or that they, you know, made certain mistakes or that they didn’t stop sooner, and that they feel like they wasted their life. So sometimes that can be something then of people that give up a bit later in life that can come up. And I think also, sometimes what happens is, people when they stopped drinking, and they see things for what they really are, they realized that they may be not happy. Maybe they’re not happy in their relationships. You know, their marriage is not right for them. Maybe it never was right. And it’s that sort of stuff that I think it’s big stuff. You know, it’s kind of like it feels like a mountain that type of stuff like how do you really handle that stuff, but you know that that’s a longer process. I think and sometimes that involves some therapy as well, to navigate those sorts of things.


But yeah, I think those probably, I can’t think of any other things that come up. But one of the best things in that process is that is when people start to see the joy that people feel the empowerment that people feel when they start to be able to recognize that when they do do things without alcohol, that they can thrive, and they do thrive and feel it. And then they realize, Oh, my God, like actually, maybe because it’s the first time they’ve ever done it without drinking, they realize, oh, I can actually do this.


Casey McGuire Davidson  35:39

Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I love when you were talking about sort of the underlying stuff, because I think that that’s sort of the second phase of work. And I always talked about how there sort of two types of problems that you’ve solved for when you’ve stopped drinking. I mean, the first is like, the aftermath problems, which are pretty immediately solved when you’ve stopped drinking, right? The 3am wakeups, the hangovers the crushing anxiety, you might still have anxiety, but it’s, it’s less the embarrassment, the guilt, like those kinds of things go away decently quickly when you stop. But then you’re left with all the reasons drinking worked for you in the first place. And while drinking escalated, and for me, the question that gets to the heart of that is, what do you not have to think about when you drink? What do you get to check out of, and you’re right, for some people, it’s your marriage, your relationship with your, with your kids, the fact that Parenting is hard. Parents, for me, it was work, I think I was in the wrong career and unhappy but felt a little bit trapped. All those things that you’re like, when I drink, I can check out from this. And you get to, and you have to deal with that once you get sober, because you got to find new coping mechanisms. And I wanted to ask you about that. You talk about building a reliable, resourceful, large, you know, sort of emotional toolkit, and how do you do that?


Teri Macgilbert  37:38

Yeah, so I think there’s so many things in this, but I think a lot of it depends on the person. Because some people kind of, you know, they have a natural flair for not putting limitations on themselves, for example, they just they feel positive about the journey, they feel strong, they’re very open. And they might just need to know what types of things to do when ravings come up, or when difficult things show up. And so that, like there’s so for example, there’s something like, called the 5 Hoops, which is a challenge that people have to create this essentially five hoops that they have to jump through, they’re like five steps.


So, this is much more in, I would say probably the first few months of getting sober. When people are in situations where they might feel triggered like parties or weddings or holidays or things like that. And so, it the five hooks is about, you can have the drink, but you need to go through these five steps.

First, you know, or do or do these five processes first, and you have to do them with 100% intention. So it might be for example that.


Step number one is, you have to go into a different room and take 10 breaths, deep breaths.

Step number two might be, look or create a folder on your phone with you know, great quotes or really inspiring sobriety stuff.


Casey McGuire Davidson  39:25

But God, I did that. I had like, I just took screenshots or saved images from things that I saw. And I have to this day. Have my like 100 days, images, inspiring people, quotes. Like, it’s so helpful.


Teri Macgilbert  39:41

Yes. Yeah, it is. And it’s an important part of, you know, trying to anchor you in the moment and seeing something or hearing something positive, it can just it can just reset you. You know, it could just taking 10 deep breaths and just stopping, pausing in a room can just reset you, if that doesn’t reset you, you can go to step two, which is look at the quotes.


Step three might be, if you can, it would be go for a 10 minute walk, or maybe do some stretching or, you know, maybe do guided meditation, that’s your favorite like five minute guided meditation.


So, you’ve got these little sort of tools around you.


Step four, might be connect with communities that might be go on cyber, Instagram, or go on to your sober group. You know, for me, obviously, I’ve got the Thrive group, as well. So, a lot of women check in on there, when they’re in there, five hoops to sort of just reach out and get that little bit of support.


And number five might be you know, have something nice, have a tree, have a snack, have your favorite alcohol free drink, or favorite chocolate bar, or, you know, just something or just so that the five hoops is just about how can we get you out of that. Kind of almost like that threat state where you’re feeling anxious, and you’re just, you’re just wanting to drink. And you just give yourself a nap, give yourself a set of activities that can help you to feel more regulated. But that could also just reset you mentally in that moment. So that’s, you know, that’s one kind of practical tool, if you like, and obviously we’ve got other tools like this, play it forward that you know, is it is well known, really useful tool in this situation. But really taking people through the process of describing how that plate forward works, that that movie of what happens.


Reframing is another really great tool as well. So just kind of like learning how to see a situation, let yourself have your gut feeling reaction, which might be an emotion of feeling distressed, frustrated, annoyed, everyone’s having a drink in the park or being the son or missing out. Right? Let yourself feel that that’s okay. Tech, how else can we look at the situation like that would be helpful in what’s really happening? Or what are they getting that you think you’re missing out on? But actually, is that true? And what are you actually gaining by not having now alcohol and just shopping, and all of those things that and putting those things into perspective, daily practice is another thing that I really encourage for everyone, I talk about it on my feed in my group with my clients, it’s doing something every day for your sobriety for yourself, it’s carving out that half an hour, making that non-negotiable. Because I think in the earlier days, you do just have to throw a lot at it, you have to do education, and you have to learn everything that you can.


And you have to start in a like we talked about earlier with the onion, start peeling those layers. And I think about it like it’s like your sobriety insurance, you know, every day that you do that you put a little bit of credit in the bank insurer insurance, because if you take your eye off the ball, especially too early, and you think that’s it, I’m fixed, you know, then you’ve got complacency to worry about. And fading effect bias, which is, you know, looking back and thinking was that bad? No, maybe we couldn’t log out now. And all that stuff that creeps in. So, it’s about just keeping that consistency, taking that small action every day.


And then, for me, a big one is around the journaling. And I love to journaling because the way that I like to work with clients is I’m interested in what comes up for them. And if they are recording that in a journal, we can talk through that and unpick it in each session. And I find those real time reasons or thoughts or challenges or experiences, that’s where the gold is for me, because that’s, that’s really coming up. And that’s the stuff that they need to work through in their world.


So, whilst I have this sort of set of tools and strategies, but all these different bits and pieces like mindful drinking, and people are still trying to work, how can they moderate then there’s the mindful drinking piece that we would do, which is asking certain questions and rating drinks out of 10 and all that. But that aside, for me, it’s about getting into the skin of the person like what is going on for you what is what is showing up in your life? What are you not saying no to? Or what are you saying yes to that you don’t really want to say yes to and why are you doing and why are you doing that? And like you said, you know when you’re feeling a craving or when you’re feeling strong pull to drink You know what else is going on? Really for you in that moment, because the alcohol is just covering something, there is a need in there. And it’s kind of trying to get the person to connect back with their own internal voice and get them to listen. Really listen, and stop being guided by that.


Casey McGuire Davidson  45:24

Yeah, no, I love that. I think that I love the practical tips. And I think that everything you’ve said, is a great way to go about it. Because when you’re in a trigger, you just, you’re like, I freaking want to drink. And it’s a lot more helpful to be like, Alright, do this, do that. Do this. I mean, for me, it’s always step one, eat something. Are you hungry, eat something with protein, like before you go to a party before you go to a dinner, eat something so you’re not hungry. Because that low blood sugar really does, you know, make it hard to resist drinking. And then, it’s trying to figure out why you want to drink like, what emotion are you having that you want to get away from or amplify? That is making you want to drink because then you can solve for it. But you’re right. I mean, breathwork even just taking deep breaths is huge. I love Walks. Like you’re also just trying to distract yourself, because most cravings, right that last 20 minutes. And when you get through that, typically you’re so proud, you didn’t play.


And also, you get the experience of seeing what happens when you don’t drink. Like, I work with women where they’re like the minute a craving hits, I feel like it’s over. Like, I’m just going to drink because I don’t I haven’t gotten past it before. And the truth is that that is where you learn something, right? Like just experiment with it. Because I was amazed at you know, when we’re talking about emotional sobriety, I was, you know, mad at my boss hurt, upset, whatever, overwhelmed, whatever it is. I did all my tools, right, which for me was like raging talking to a girlfriend sitting up at the top of my Hill going for a walk, whatever it was. And then,  I was amazed that it hast I didn’t drink. And then I got to like, move on with my night as opposed to drinking stewing, waking up hungover, you know, the anger is still there, like you don’t get to process it.


Teri Macgilbert  47:55

Yeah, that’s so true. I think that it is so eye opening, when you realize that actually that craving is 10 minutes, 15 minutes, 20 minutes, or whether it’s might not be a craving because I do think that cravings are quite an early sobriety thing. And then it moves into discomfort. It’s like, this thing is just really uncomfortable. And that, you know, just that feels overwhelming. And you may or may not feel like god of wine would really take this away. But it’s just that process, isn’t it of having to deal with something that’s, that’s, that’s very uncomfortable. But sometimes, you know, for me, I and I’ve learned this really well now, but it is practice. And I think that’s one of the things I try to get across to people is that no, you don’t get this stuff overnight, you know, but also don’t let that put you off, because it is a really, really good journey to go on. You know, trying to discover what things make you feel, you know, make you feel anxious, make you feel uncomfortable, trying to understand what’s underneath that what the real thing is that’s going on, I think I you know, see a lot of women doing things that they don’t want to do, but they do them because you know going back to the people pleasing thing to do them because there is an expectation that they will do it or they feel like they need to do it to make other people happy.


And you know, I spoke to a client today, who had been away to a wedding. Had to take a plane to go to this wedding and it was like three or four days and she was really unsure about it and we really picked it apart and we talked about all the opportunities and how she could prepare herself you know that she was allowed to walk away and take regular breaks like just again, it’s like giving Need self-permission, you don’t have to sit in a wedding for 12 hours and be chained to the, you know, if you can get up and go and have a walk or, you know, go and take 10 minutes, and you can go up to a hotel room or you can do all these other things. So, it’s about just having those ideas and having that confidence to navigate that. And really focusing on focusing in on what she could gain from that which was getting up and running and nice lunches, nice food, going shopping. It was a city that she wasn’t used to. And it was a beautiful city and, and then when she came back, it was like, right now I’ve got this thing with a group of girlfriends. And she knew it was going to be boozy, because they were old friends. And she was kind of feeling anxious about it. And you know, your favorite question, my favorite question, and the situation is, do you have to go? Do you really have to go, and the, you know, people will sit there, and you can see it kind of processing over their head, they know that actually they don’t have to go. But then quickly the story comes, you know, of why they think they have to go and it’s like, no, no, no, let’s, let’s worry about the story in a minute. Like, actually, do you have to go to that thing? Do you have to do it? And nine times out of 10, maybe even 10 Times up dead? That’s a no, you don’t have to. And then when they sort of feel like that might be a possibility for them that they might be able to say no to that thing. It’s about like, right, how do we do that? And have confidence to say that? No, I don’t want to do this. Not right. It’s not aligned with what I want to be right now. And actually, if that blows up and goes wrong for you, then that’s information for you as well. That, you know, perhaps these sorts of friendships aren’t the friendships that are the ones that are necessarily going to move you forward.


So, I don’t know. There’s just like, that can be a revelation. That stuff, you know, and I think people take, I think once you’ve taken a few steps like that, and prioritize yourself becomes a bit addictive.


Casey McGuire Davidson  52:21

That feeling of putting yourself first and that’s in my eyes. That’s only a good thing. Because Oh, yeah, you have to prioritize yourself. Yeah.


And I think that, you know, you mentioned that cravings are an early sobriety thing, which, you know, they do feel really, really strong in early sobriety. But so is the need to build your sober bubble and opt out of social engagements like that will not last forever. I mean, one of the big fears women have is, I’ll never be able to go out with my friends, again, I’ll never be able to do X, Y, Z, or I have to be able to live my life. And so, they put them in the situations that are set up for self-sabotage, as opposed to give yourself the opportunity to heal a little bit, and then you can feel fine. I mean, you know, I’m sure you do too. But like, I go to bars, I go to parties, I go to weddings, by friends who always drink still drink. But I do have better boundaries, like in my mind, if, if it won’t be any fun. If I’m not drinking, it’s just not fun. And just even having the confidence to being like, hey, you know, I actually can’t make it to XYZ. How about we have lunch together? Or can I take you out to do x? Or what if we meet up for you know, these things? And just seeing that the world didn’t end? I mean, I have clients who are like, I’m going on this vacation, and I’m really worried that my friend is going to be incredibly bummed. If I don’t drink that she’ll be mad at me that I’ll ruin her time.


Yeah, and I’m just like, that’s not a very good friend. Like she may wish that you guys did the things you did, you know, in the past, but you’re allowed to do something different and why is it the end of the world if they have an alcoholic beverage and you have a non-alcoholic beverage? Or if instead of going to the bar till 2am, you get up and do a hike and go to yoga? You know what I mean? Like let’s evolve as people and with our interests.


Teri Macgilbert  54:44

Yeah, That’s so true. And I think that it again, it comes down to that permission, isn’t it? Give yourself permission to change to evolve to grow? Nope, no But it stays the same, nothing stays the same. But yet, we’re quite often in this situation where we might have been a certain person, especially with friend friendship groups, we’ve been a certain person. And that worked well, in that time, you know, when everybody was drinking heavily, and it was all fun, blah, blah, blah. And, you know, yeah, there was, I felt like that there were consequences of that. But for me, I’ve, I’ve just, I’ve just worked out what I enjoy and what I don’t. And actually, I think, one of the emotions that comes up to sort of, you know, thinking about it, when you were asking earlier is that sadness, I think that women are, yeah, into sadness, that they’re not going to be in that kind of in that gang or part of that crew or having those kinds of wild, you know, seemingly euphoric times, of course, which we realized that actually, they’re just an illusion that it’s, it’s the people the place. And you know, it’s not the alcohol, but the alcohol sales or credit for all of that stuff in those situations.


Casey McGuire Davidson  56:10

Fire, right. It’s higher up. I’m still young, I’m still hip, I’m still XYZ. And you can still have those good times. They’re, they’re just different. They don’t result in a blackout or hangover. And, you know, one thing I discovered when I stopped drinking is that I was really the person pushing a lot of the huge alcohol consumptions. And so when I stopped, I was like, Oh, you guys aren’t opening another bottle of wine as soon as we finish one, or, I mean, I was the one opening another bottle on pouring extra, you know? Yeah, all that stuff.


Teri Macgilbert  56:52

Yeah, I was that person, we would have been a nightmare thing together. I was that person to always begging people to have the extra drink. But yeah, I think I think that, um, I think this thing, there’s sadness around friendships changing. And I think there’s two things here, there’s, you get to a stage in your life where I think you do want to grow up, like for me, I loved 20s 30s Hardcore drinking, but then I had kids in my 30s. And it conflicted with that. And I do wonder if in that sort of 30s to 40s, or 30s, to 50s. phase in your life timeline, those friendships just change anyway, whether there’s a string or not, I do think that sometimes, you know, your, your, your life has different seasons, and different chapters and the friends that you had, when you were drinking hard at 25. They don’t have to be your friend all your life like, friends to come and go. So, think sometimes as those changes are challenging to navigate, but sometimes I think, there are some friends that we probably have, and we might be guilty of this as well. But that where there is almost that there is that conditional kind of thing at play that can always conditional, we like you if you’re like this, like cars, like doing what we always do. And actually, it’s about in sobriety, I think this is such a great opportunity.


When you do change, evolve, grow, you get the opportunity to meet other people find new connections that are more like minded that are, you know, I’ve met people in sobriety that I’ve, I’ve got a great friend on Instagram, straightaway, we get straight into the nitty gritty about our lives, and we went over it, you know, and we’d be up every now and then. And this person is a really good friend. But having known her very long, I don’t see her a lot, we audio on the phone all the time and chat on the phone all the time. But we go straight into the deep stuff, you know, there’s like, it’s no small base, we don’t care about the weather, you know, it’s like, what’s going on with your ADHD and what was your biggest priority? And I think that, I think that’s helped me to realize that you can have new friends and very deep connections straightaway with people. And actually, some of those older connections, if they’re big drinking connections, you can still be in some of those social situations, or you can pull away as well. And I’ve done that a little bit. I think I’ve pulled away a lot from some of those older friends. That a steal, maybe not kind of drinking. Yeah, you know, it’s for me, that’s not. I don’t enjoy that time anymore. And I’ve learned that that’s okay.


Casey McGuire Davidson  59:40

Yeah, yeah. I mean, you get to a point where you realize that hanging out with people who are drunk is actually decently annoying, you know, or I go and I stay for a little while if they’re huge drinking crowd and then I leave right they start repeating themselves, they get really loud, they don’t really Remember what you said, you know, they’re honestly a little embarrassing, depending on the moment, and you’re just like cringe. Okay, I’m ready to go.


Yes. The other thing I wanted to sort of say, before we wrap up is one of the reasons that I really wanted to have this conversation is, I did an episode on sort of the 3 stages of relapse. And I actually hate that word. So, 3 stages of what could lead you back to drinking, which you worked really hard to get away from, and a link to it in the show notes. But the three phases were emotional, mental, and physical. And emotional was really the first thing to work on.


I always say like, if you are in a really good place, emotionally, you’re feeling good, you’re taking care of yourself, you’re happy, having someone hand you a drink, that is much less dangerous than if you were feeling sad, overwhelmed, anxious, hopeless, you know, all those things, like someone may not hand you a drink, but it is a lot more dangerous in terms of deciding to go back to that unhealthy coping mechanism. And the way to recognize it is you start feeling those emotions, right, you fall into negative or pessimistic thinking, you have self-doubt, you feel overwhelmed, anxious, hope, Lis angry, resentful. You’re taking care of everyone else, and not taking care of yourself. And the way my coach described it, to me, as you know, in the simplest terms, was just the thought, this is all too hard. Right? Like that is just that one sentence. That if you start thinking of any version of that, in my mind, that’s like a canary in the coal mine. And when you get to that phase, it’s really important to focus on taking really good care of yourself with these emotional sobriety tools that we’re talking about. You know, sometimes, if it goes on for a while, it’s like, go to your doctor, go to a therapist, think about medication, like I went on medication when I was four months, alcohol-free for anxiety slash depression.


You get to a point where you sort of see what your baseline emotions are. And then or you know, something really hard happens, then you rely on your friends more you take things off your plate, you set up boundaries, you discuss what is bothering you, all of that stuff. But if you don’t let yourself get to that point, where this is all too hard, I can’t take this. Why does nobody do XYZ? Why do I always whatever, it’s not as big a deal. It’s sort of this emotional, like daily calibration, to keep yourself in the green zone like, wow, I’m exhausted? The answer isn’t, go have a drink? The answer is, take a freaking nap. You know what I mean? If you’re tired sleep, if you’re hungry, eat if you’re overwhelmed, ask for help take things off your list, whatever it is, what do you think when I say all that?


Teri Macgilbert  1:03:32

Gosh, there’s so much that comes up there. But I 100% agree there’s a few things for me.


I think that learning to listen to your internal voice, your body always knows what it needs. It’s always telling you. I think always telling you what it needs. It’s always giving you like nudges guidance. And that might be in the form of I’m feeling tired. You know, listening, listening to what your body needs, I think is so important. Because when you don’t listen to what your body needs, when you don’t listen to the voice that saying no, I don’t really want to go to the trip with those people. I don’t really want to go to that party. I don’t really want to be here. Now I want to go home. It’s 10 o’clock. I’ve had enough. If you don’t listen to that voice, you’re going to get to that emotional overwhelm. Yeah. 100%.


So that really comes up for me, but also, similar thing to what you were saying. I always treat it a bit like when you have those thoughts of oh, you know, because I think sometimes it definitely the big emotions can trigger those types of reactions, which could then lead to drinking. I don’t love the word relapse either. So, we’re kind of we’re twinning on that same place there.


Yeah, we’re in the same place. But sometimes it’s romanticism and fake glamour that catches people out. It’s taking your eye off the daily practice, taking your eye off the ball with a daily practice, for example, we like not putting in those daily insurance kind of credits if you like in the bank, and then you coast along happily for a few months, a summer starts to come. Maybe you meet a new partner, or you meet a new friend who quite likes the idea of a glass of Rosé in the pub, and you start to think, perhaps I could moderate. So that’s not really coming from any place of big, you know, necessarily negative emotion that’s coming from a place of I think I’m fixed, and maybe I wasn’t, you know, it’s like this feeling of picked boys. Oh, yeah. Maybe I’m not as bad as I thought I could probably have a Rosé, be fine. And so, I think that, if you’re having those thoughts, you know, I love that quote, that your thoughts become your results, if you’re having thoughts that, you know, actually, when I go on holiday, maybe I might try and have a drink, you know, it’s like, it’s like a warning light on your sober dashboard. That’s, that’s what I refer to it as that is that needs nipping in the bud. Because that thought if left unchecked, which if you’re taking your eye off the ball with a daily practice, and you’re not doing, you’re not working on himself, or trying to absorb that information, it’s going to be really helping to strip that narrative of alcohol’s amazing, then that thoughts going to grow. And before you know it, you’re on that airplane with a gin and tonic in your hand. Because you’ve kind of convinced yourself slowly over two weeks that you’re going to be able to moderate again. And then you just kind of waste that holiday. Because we all know that if you’re an over drinker, you pretty much always going to be an over drinker, like the very, very small percentage of people that managed to go back to very moderate.


Yeah, it’s a very tiny percent 2% of people, most people go back to the same kind of drinking or bigger drinking, and nothing really changes.


So, I think that yeah, any type of thought that comes up that’s even contemplating allowing yourself alcohol, whether that’s coming up, because it’s a big emotional stress reaction, whether that’s linked to deeper anxiety or depression, or whether that’s just because he kind of taking your eye off the ball, you’re not really been doing a lot of sober practice or sober daily work. And he just kind of thinking moderation looks cool.


Again, these are all reasons to, I think, ramp up that focus and intention and get back connected with your wives. Why are you doing this? Why is it important? Read some more of the books that you’ve you know, perhaps not got through or reread the books that you loved in the beginning. Listen to the podcast, start journaling, really challenge yourself on why that’s coming up. Why did you even go on this journey in the first place? Get back into that energy before it gets out of control?


Casey McGuire Davidson  1:08:06

Yes, exactly. I think that’s the perfect place to leave this. Thank you so much for all the information and advice and inspiration you’ve you brought here. Will you tell people where they can find you and follow you and work with you?


Teri Macgilbert  1:08:23

Yeah, of course. Yeah.


So, I’m on Instagram @sassysobermum and I got a website, which is also sassysobermum.com. And I’ve also got thrivesobercoaching.com. And through both websites, you can access me, and you can understand more about my coaching about my podcast, which is sober stories from everyday people. It’s available in all podcast apps and directly on my website. And yeah, that’s it. That’s how to add me.


Casey McGuire Davidson  1:09:02

Awesome. Thank you so much. It’s been really cool getting to know you.


Teri Macgilbert  1:09:07

Oh, thank you. It’s been really lovely. I really enjoyed this chat. It’s been a bit different to you know, the other chats and I like that.


That’s nice. It’s nice to talk about emotional sobriety in more depth.


So, thanks for the opportunity to do that.


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

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


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