I used to think about drinking a lot, and make a lot of rules for myself around when, how much or how often I would drink. I loved wine. It was my favorite. I used it to celebrate, commiserate, fuel conversations, treat myself, gloss over awkwardness, numb anger and alleviate boredom.
I started drinking a lot in college—when we spent every night that we were not in the library hanging out around a keg. After college, beer parties transitioned to wine and dancing in Washington D.C. in my early 20s.
When I moved to Seattle, drinking turned into post-work happy hours at the bar across the street from the office with co-workers, picking the ‘right’ bottle of wine at a new restaurant with my boyfriend, and long dinner parties with good food, drinks and friends as newlyweds.
Working alone at a wine bar.
At different times over the years I would tell myself that I would only drink at home, or (alternatively) only drink when out with friends. I would make a rule that I would only drink on weekends, only drink 2 drinks a night at home, or only drink 3 times a week.
I would take a month off to prove that I could go without drinking or stop drinking to achieve a specific goal like training for a race or losing 10 pounds.
Managing and moderating my drinking –while trying to keep up my commitments to work, family, kids, home and fitness—took a lot focus.
That meant there wasn’t much energy left for the other dreams and goals in my life.
If you want to quit drinking you need to take care of yourself - first.
You can't afford to get overwhelmed, resentful, angry, tired, too hungry, too lonely.
You can't afford to start thinking "this is all too hard".
And that means you have to slow down and start some serious self care. Today.
You need to...
- Give yourself a break, take a night off and ask for help.
- Go for a walk at work, get yourself the latte, buy yourself flowers.
- Get the massage, hire a babysitter, say no to the volunteering opportunity.
- Take a nap and a bubble bath and go to bed early.
- Get takeout, let the kids watch TV, read a book.
- Be alone, let things go, do something that makes you happy.
I promise it won't always be this way. but it is for now. And it's Ok.
you officially have permission to give yourself a break.
You won't be able to quit drinking if you don't change the way you've been operating when you were drinking to get through the day.
When you take on too much and over schedule yourself and do things you don’t want to do - you will feel that you need to drink to tolerate it all.
Flowers are better self care than wine. With zero headaches.
Make Yourself Happy. Without A Bottle.
I would cringe in the morning as I put on eyeliner and looked into my glassy and bloodshot eyes. I’d drive my kids to daycare and turn towards my office with a headache and a hangover.
And although I didn’t want to admit it, little and big things were starting to slip—
- I wouldn’t remember the ending of movies I watched the night before.
- My husband couldn’t wake me up on the couch to come up to bed.
- I forgot to replace my son’s tooth under his pillow with money from the tooth fairy.
- One Christmas Eve I drank a lot and don’t remember going to bed. I woke up on Christmas morning horrified to find that I hadn’t filled the family stockings – despite gathering the perfect stocking stuffers for each person carefully for months.
- Day by day drinking was taking a larger and more important role in my daily life and plans.
These were my drinking low lights—and I tried my best to ignore them.
Drinking messes with your mind, your memories and your emotions.
As I continued to celebrate “my wine” at the end of another day I was increasingly feeling more lost, anxious and hopeless. I was less confident and optimistic than I used to be. I was more fearful, negative and defensive.
I gained more weight and had trouble finding the motivation for the morning workouts I used to love. I was unhappy and couldn’t figure out why I was unhappy. I felt righteous and indignant and put upon—despite by all measures having a pretty great life–and I couldn’t shake those feelings.
At some point I got sick and tired of feeling sick and tired. Weeks and months and years were flying by and I was still treading water in the same sad cycle.
I had tried to drink less on my own. I’d tried to take a break and stop drinking relying on sheer willpower. It didn’t work. Nothing was changing.
It was time to bring in reinforcements.
Trying to quit drinking on my own, trying harder and failing over and over again, was exhausting and demoralizing.
I finally found a coach to work with one-on-one, to get out of my own head and find support, feedback and new tools to get out of the cycle I was in.
And it helped. A lot.
Choosing to work with a coach to stop drinking was the kindest thing I had done for myself in years.
On the day I stopped drinking my coach said to me:
No one wants to quit drinking. You want to feel better.
And you have to trust me that if you quit drinking you are going to feel better.
She was right.
A few years after I quit drinking I decided to become a Certified Professional Life Coach to support other women in opening up space in their lives for true happiness and the energy to achieve their dreams.
If you drink too much or too often, finding a coach to support you in stopping is the first and most important step you’ll take in designing a LIFE YOU LOVE.
Since I’ve quit drinking I have travelled to Venice and Croatia and jumped off the roof of a boat to swim in the Adriatic Sea.
I’ve slept in a yurt with my best friend on a yoga retreat in the Gulf Coast Islands.
I’ve hosted dinner parties and holiday celebrations and summer BBQs.
I’ve done the Wanderlust Mindful Triathlon 3 times.
Life these days. Hanging out with my kids, without a headache.
I’ve gone to dance parties and watched the sunrise on the coast of Mexico.
I’ve laid on Laguna Beach with my husband and talked for hours.
And I’ve done it all with a clear memory and without a single hangover.
Your life doesn’t end when you decide to stop drinking. It’s actually just the start of a beautiful new beginning.
If you’re interested in learning more about how coaching can support you in quitting drinking, I’d love to talk to you!
Working with a coach, you’ll take practical, joyful and empowering steps to turn the focus of your life from drinking (and not drinking) to making your other dreams a reality.
You’ll have help in letting go of previous patterns to create new rituals that will fill you up and bring you joy and peace.
You’ll be able to reframe quitting drinking to be a positive and powerful choice you are making to improve your life, health, relationships and happiness.
You’re going to exchange headaches + hangovers for joy, peace + pride.
About The Author
I’m Casey McGuire Davidson, a certified life coach who works with successful women who are ready to get out of overwhelm and create lives they love.
I also work with women who are reevaluating their relationship with alcohol and have decided that drinking isn't working in their lives anymore.
You can find more about my work and private coaching, as well as additional support resources at hellosomedaycoaching.com.