For many years of my life drinking wine was my favorite hobby.
I loved the way drinking made me feel.
I used it to celebrate, commiserate, fuel conversations, treat myself, gloss over awkwardness, numb anger, work through the evenings and alleviate boredom.
- I loved opening the bottle of wine before dinner.
- I loved going to a wine bar and ordering a glass of red.
- I loved getting under a blanket on my couch and turning on a movie with my wine glass on the side table next to me.
I used to think about drinking a lot, and I made a lot of rules for myself about when, how much or how often I would drink.
I cared so much about drinking I decided to moderate it proactively so that I would never have to give it up completely.
In this episode, I want to tell you more about my story and who I am.
Both before I quit drinking, and after.
I saw quitting drinking as my absolute worst case scenario.
But now – having done the work – I consider my decision to walk away from the wine bottle as foundational to helping me achieve everything I want in my life.
- It’s something I’m really proud of.
- It’s made me more honest and more real.
- It’s helped me develop better and healthier coping mechanisms.
- It’s made me more courageous and less fearful about changing In my life, and it’s made me closer with my husband and my kids, my friends and my family.
It turns out that my worst case scenario has actually helped me lead a better life.
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I thought quitting drinking was my ABSOLUTE worst case scenario.
It turned out to be the best decision of my life.
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Why I Quit Drinking
drinking, quit, backstory, realizations, coping, skills, choosing, kindness to self, resonate
SPEAKERS: Casey McGuire Davidson
Welcome to the Hello Someday Podcast, the podcast for busy women who are ready to drink less and live more. I’m Casey McGuire Davidson, ex-red wine girl turned life coach helping women create lives they love without alcohol. But it wasn’t that long ago that I was anxious, overwhelmed, and drinking a bottle of wine and night to unwind. I thought that wine was the glue, holding my life together, helping me cope with my kids, my stressful job and my busy life. I didn’t realize that my love affair with drinking was making me more anxious and less able to manage my responsibilities.
In this podcast, my goal is to teach you the tried and true secrets of creating and living a life you don’t want to escape from.
Each week, I’ll bring you tools, lessons and conversations to help you drink less and live more. I’ll teach you how to navigate our drinking obsessed culture without a 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.
In this episode, I wanted to introduce myself. To tell you a little bit about who I am, and my story, both before I quit drinking, and after. Now, I would say that the fact that I no longer drink anymore, and I used to drink a lot, and went through the process of questioning my drinking and deciding that it didn’t work in my life anymore, is an important part of my life, but it doesn’t define who I am. It’s something that I’ve resisted for a really long time. I saw quitting drinking as my absolute worst case scenario.
And now having done the work, I consider it something that is foundational to helping me achieve everything I want in my life. It’s something I’m really proud of. It’s made me more honest and more real. It’s helped me develop better and healthier coping mechanisms. It’s made me more courageous and less fearful about changes In my life, and it’s made me closer with my husband and my kids, my friends and my family.
My worst case scenario really helped me lead a better life. But before I go any further, I want to tell you a little bit about who I’ve been and who I am today.
So I’m Casey McGuire Davidson. I’m a Life Coach, a wife, a mom, I’m a practical dreamer. I’m a homebody and I love to travel. I worked in the corporate world for 20 years as a Digital Marketing leader in both big Fortune 500 Companies and small startups. I’m working on being a retired people pleaser, and I am an ex red wine drinker. I live in the Seattle area with my husband Mike, and our two kids, Hank and Laila. I’m originally from Washington DC, but my parents worked in the Foreign Service. So I grew up all over the world. I went to boarding school on the East Coast and went to college in Maine. I moved to Seattle after college, and throughout my life, I used to think about drinking a lot.
I loved wine. It was my absolute favorite. I used it to celebrate and commiserate, to fuel conversations, to treat myself, to gloss over awkwardness, to numb anger and to alleviate boredom. I started drinking a lot in college. I was on the Women’s rugby team, and we spent every night that we were not in the library pretty much hanging out around a keg. After college, beer parties transitioned to wine and dancing in Washington DC. I felt like I was an adult and I remember distinctly in my little basement apartment, making mac and cheese and opening a bottle of red wine and thinking that I was such a grown up. When my husband And I moved out to Seattle, drinking turned into post work happy hours at the bar across the street from my office. My husband and I would go out to dinner and work on picking the “right bottle of wine”. And once we bought our house, we started hosting great dinner parties with friends, where everybody would bring a bottle of wine and we’d sit around talking all night. At different times, over the years, I would tell myself that I would only drink at home. Or maybe I would only drink when I was out with friends. I would make a rule that I would only drink on weekends, or only drink two drinks a night at home, or only drink three times a week. I would take a month off to prove that I could go without drinking or I would stop drinking to achieve a specific goal like training for a race or losing 10 pounds But managing and moderating my drinking, while trying to keep up my commitments to my work and my family, my kids, my home and fitness. It took a lot of focus. And it meant there wasn’t much energy left for the other dreams and goals in my life.
As the years went on, my kids started growing up, we sold one house and bought another. I was climbing the corporate ladder, getting promoted, and reorganized, and laid off, and promoted again. And I would start to cringe in the morning. As I put on eyeliner and looked into my eyes, they weren’t glassy, and they were bloodshot. I would drive my kids to daycare and turns towards my office with a headache and a hangover. For a long time, I drank about a bottle of wine a night, every night, seven days a week, 365 days a year. As the years went on, drinking became more and more important in my life.
I would be wondering if I could get to the grocery store to pick up a bottle of wine before my son’s daycare closed. So That I would have enough at home for the night. I started not remembering the end of movies I watched the night before. Sometimes, my husband couldn’t wake me up on the couch to come up to bed. I, one time, forgot to replace my son’s tooth under his pillow with money from the tooth fairy. And on Christmas Eve one year, I drank a lot and I don’t remember going to bed. I woke up Christmas morning horrified to find that I hadn’t filled the family stockings, yet most of the time my drinking went sort of unnoticed. It was just a part of my relationship with my husband, that I loved my red wine. I would always have a bottle of wine at night at dinner, I’d come home and open the bottle and have a glass when I started cooking dinner. Another glass had dinner or when I was doing the dishes. I’d get the kids to bed and then I’d come down and finish the bottle. I was watching TV or working on my computer at night. I was pretty foggy at the end of the night and yet I would get up, sometimes work out early in the morning, get showered, drop my kids off and walk into my office desperate for Starbucks and a breakfast sandwich. Because I was actually pretty hung over.
I would wander into work, wondering how I could ingest that much alcohol and wondering in my own head, did I just have an alcohol problem? Did I just abuse it? Or was I actually an alcoholic, which seems so foreign to my mind that I couldn’t even imagine it?
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.
I was a Director. I had a ton of friends. Everyone I knew drank. And yet, why couldn’t I cut back when I tried to? Why was it almost impossible for me to ever have just one glass of wine? Why did I need to get three glasses in me? And then it just seemed inevitable that I would finish the bottle. It was something that I couldn’t get a handle on. And step by step, little and bigger things were starting to slip. I found myself getting less optimistic, getting more anxiety in my life, feeling like I couldn’t cope with my job and my kids, my schedule and my marriage. And in actuality, my life was pretty good. I had a nice house, I had a good job, I had great coworkers, my boss was pretty good.
And in the back of my mind, I knew, I knew that it was somehow related to my drinking. I knew that the way I was drinking was unsustainable. I knew that alcohol was contributing to all of the difficult aspects of my life. I felt like I was just waiting for the other shoe to drop. And yet I’d also known this for years and felt this way. I had been worried about my drinking and waking up and promising that I would take a break for a long time. And then I would look around, and I would think about my life without wine. I would wonder how I would relax. And I would tell myself that this wasn’t actually a big deal that so many women drank like I did. That, this was just a part of being a modern woman in the world.
And to be honest, I was scared. I had no idea what my life would look like without alcohol. Since college, I never dealt with life and relationships and joy and vacations and fun and stress without drinking. And I really had a lot of limiting beliefs and negative assumptions about what my life would look like without alcohol. I thought I would be bored. I thought I would be sad. I thought that I would never have fun again. I thought that I’d never be able to hang out with my friends, or go to Europe, or have dinner parties, or if I did that, I would be miserable. I wondered what my life with my husband would be like, if I didn’t drink. I wondered what people would think of me. What my kids’, friends’ parents would think of me if I stopped drinking.
What’s crazy is that I was drinking really heavily and was terrified that if I stopped drinking, people would think that I had a problem. I thought that if I stopped drinking, people at work would think that I had a problem, that it would affect my career if I stopped drinking.
Now, I know this sounds crazy to me and may sound crazy to you that my friendships and the respect of my peers and the respect of strangers and my career trajectory could be hurt by not consuming alcohol, not over drinking, not being hungover. But that’s how much my head was messed up about alcohol, and what it contributed to my life and the ways in which society would view me if I stopped.
And I didn’t realize that what I needed to do is develop better coping skills. My coping mechanisms were keeping busy and plowing through life and work. Keeping my head down and managing any anxiety or overwhelmed with to do lists and deliverables with projects and initiatives and planning so many activities outside of work that would surely keep me happy and make me a better person, make me more productive and fitter, and more interesting and have more friends or at the very least distract me from myself and from the worries I had about myself.
I needed to develop a coping skill that wasn’t going until the minute I stopped and then immediately, always, as quickly as humanly possible, shutting down my mind and any worries or any anxieties or fears I have with lots and lots of lovely red wine. I had been doing this for 20 years. And it seemed to work until it stopped working. And it had gotten worse. But I would get up. I would go to work. I would produce, and meet, and deliver, and make up lists. And then I go out to happy hour with friends and a date with my husband. Or much more likely drive home and make dinner and watch TV and read books and talk and pour a generous glass of red wine. The second I walked in the door that would be refilled many times that night. And it worked until I started waking up at 3:00am in a panic every night, which started at least seven years before I quit drinking. I went to a psychiatrist for Ambien and anti anxiety meds.
And for a long time, never once in my own mind winked that panic, and that anxiety and those wake ups. I never linked it to my drinking. Drinking works, until you realize that you’re waking up with a hangover each and every morning and you’re avoiding your husband’s eyes, and the unstated implications behind his question of “how are you feeling?” It works until your husband starts telling you, he couldn’t wake you up last night to get you off the couch and come to bed. And you wake up at 2:00am or 3:00am or 5:00am and stagger up to bed embarrassed and trying to pretend that this is no big deal.
Drinking work until it becomes obvious that you can’t remember the conversations or the interactions you’ve had with people just the night before. It works until you’re out at a restaurant and realize that you can’t actually focus on your friends until the waitress brings you the next glass of wine. It works until you realize that you’ve been waking up hungover every day for a year, kicking yourself for why you do this to yourself. Doing something over and over again, that makes you feel like crap every day. And then you plow through another workday with a dull headache and slight nausea. And then you start the cycle again, the minute you walk in the front door.
So I started the rocky path of moving from not just worrying about my drinking, and thinking that I may have a problem and researching the health implications of drinking and reading novels about people who quit drinking, to actually stopping. And in the beginning, the progress was fit and starts not drinking for 10 days and feeling proud of myself and sleeping better than I had in years. Being honest with my husband about my struggles with drinking, and my conflicted feeling about it. And revealing that I fear that I shouldn’t drink anymore. And feeling like our relationship was actually improving and feeling more connected to him than I had in a long time.
And after a while, the day started to add up, I got support, I added resources, I decided to give myself the opportunity to see how good I could feel with a period of time without alcohol. I knew what daily drinking felt like. I didn’t actually know what a period of time without alcohol might feel like.
So I stopped. For two weeks, and then 30 days, 60 days and 100 days, six months, one whole year, four whole years, and then magically, life got better. Day by day, it got clearer and more optimistic and less stressful. My life became full of deep sleep and rested mornings. I feared that my life would become smaller. But it became so much bigger, full of so many more friends and so many more adventures. I felt more love and more kindness for myself, my husband, my kids, my friends and people I barely knew. I felt like my days were being filled. With more gratitude, and more pride and more accomplishments. I actually felt like my life was significantly less stressful. I felt like I couldn’t move forward and get out of the groundhog day, but I’ve been stuck in for so long. I stopped blaming myself consciously or subconsciously, for every aggravation and setback in my life.
Choosing to put down the wineglass has been the foundation for being able to finally feel and experience everything I want in my life. And today, I feel happy and proud. I feel like anything in my life is possible. Because it’s not all about putting down the wineglass. It’s not all about sitting through your evenings not drinking. It really is about building a life you don’t want to escape from. So if my story resonates with you, please let me know.
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.
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.
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 SOBER GIRL’S GUIDE TO QUITTING DRINKING right here.
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