Smashing Shame + Why You Don’t Need To Ask Yourself “Am I An Alcoholic?”

I was drawn to my guest today immediately because of a powerful post, she wrote about why she doesn’t identify with the label of being an alcoholic. 

I don’t identify as an alcoholic either. I don’t feel like that label serves me or explains my personal experience and unless they prefer it I don’t use that label to describe the women I work with.

Here’s what Beth wrote that spoke to me. 


The other day, someone called me an “alcoholic.” They were just making conversation, talking about things I’m interested in (which I super appreciate!)…⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

… but I don’t identify as an alcoholic—it’s a label that doesn’t explain my personal experience with leaving behind the booze.

I don’t struggle with not-drinking anymore.

I don’t feel like I’m powerless over alcohol.

I don’t align with the 12-steps.

I don’t personally identify with the disease model of addiction.⠀⠀⠀

Even when I was still drinking, the black and white dichotomy of either being someone who drank or being an “alcoholic” kept me drinking longer than I should have. I thought those were my only choices

And then I discovered this beautiful corner of the internet full of people who don’t drink alcohol, who call themselves all sorts of things:






Or… nothing at all.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

I’ve learned a few things from my experience:

1️⃣ Words matter, and labels can be a significant barrier for folks removing harmful habits from their lives. (And the mental health field needs an update on this. ☝?)⠀⠀⠀⠀

2️⃣ You are the author of your own story, and only YOU get to define yourself.

3️⃣ Figuring out what you align with, where your AF identity lives? It’s magic. ✨ It’s freedom, fulfillment, and all the good squishy feelings.

The beauty of deciding that alcohol is no longer working in your life is that YOU get to decide how to think about your decision to stop drinking and how you tell your story – with a label or without one. 

What do I say about why I’m living my life without alcohol? 

I say I quit drinking. I used to drink and I don’t anymore because I feel better without it. 

I sleep better. I have more energy. I’m more confident and better able to follow through with things and go after my goals and dreams. I have less anxiety and deeper relationships. I feel more at peace and more proud of myself. 

And I also say that  it was hard to quit, not only because I loved drinking and it was a big part of my identity as a ‘red wine girl’, but also because alcohol is an addictive substance.
It’s literally designed to make you drink more and more often. And I believe that anyone with enough exposure to alcohol is likely to become habitually, emotionally or physically addicted to it.  

I don’t know if I was ‘bad enough to have to quit’ but I do know that my life is better without it. 

In this episode, Beth and I discuss how women can smash shame in sobriety.

And we dive into: 

  • Why you don’t need to ask yourself ‘Am I an alcoholic?’

  • How labels can stigmatize and shame people who have decided to live a healthy, happy, alcohol-free life instead of celebrating their decision to make a healthy life choice
  • How to find a beautiful supportive online community of people living life without alcohol on Instagram
  • Why old shame experiences might be keeping you stuck and how shame resilience work can help you heal

  • The 4 steps to working through shame 
    • Identifying shame
    • Contextualize it
    • Connection
    • Sharing the shame out loud
  • The freedom we’ve found since giving up alcohol

About Beth Bowen

Beth is a licensed social worker with three years of sobriety, who helps alcohol free women reclaim their power and build kick ass lives in sobriety. Beth is a mom of two, a wife and a sober women’s coach who lives outside of Austin, Texas.

Connect with Beth Bowen

To find out more information about Beth and read about her sobriety journey, check out her blog

Follow Beth on Instagram @bethbowen_

Do you have old shame stories holding you back from the kickass life you know you’re meant for? Check out Beth’s free workshop about Shame Resilience in Sobriety

Connect with Casey McGuire Davidson

Drink Less + Live More today with The Sobriety Starter Kit. The private, on-demand coaching course you need to break out of the drinking cycle – without white-knuckling it or hating the process.

Grab the Free 30-Day Guide To Quitting Drinking, 30 Tips For Your First Month Alcohol-Free

Find out more about Casey and her coaching programs, head over to her website,

Connect with Casey

Take a screenshot of your favorite episode, post it on your Instagram and tag me @caseymdavidson and tell me your biggest takeaway!

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


Smashing Shame + Why You Don’t Need To Ask Yourself “Am I An Alcoholic?” With Beth Bowen


drinking, quit, shame, alcohol, people, sobriety, feel, women, life, quit, sober, step, alcoholic, living, good, experience, big, work, called, story, struggling, Licensed Social Worker, alcohol free women, reclaim their power, build kick ass lives, Sober Women’s Coach, connected through Instagram, alcoholic, label, worship, smashing shame in sobriety, resilience, podcast, it’s such an honor, part of a growing movement, helping women lead, female centric versions of life without alcohol, powerful, uncover, positive, proactive, identities, alcohol isn’t out constant companion, modern version, living alcohol free, modern recovery, more accessible, makes people feel really empowered, healthy choice, when people realize, their story really does matter, not something to be ashamed of, invested, storytelling, inspired out loud, amazing, ripple effect, passionate about not needing to put a label on it, barrier, folks choosing to remove alcohol form their life, conversation, words matter, explain my personal experience, struggle, teetotaler, alcohol free, nondrinker, sober curious, removing harmful habits, mental health field, you are the author of your own story, you get to define yourself, figuring out, what you align with, magic, freedom, fulfillment, all the good squishy feelings, framework, 12 steps, millennial, growing up, getting our own footing, parents, generation, unspoken information, quit drinking, wine tasting, bunco, A.A., personality, benefit from changing the relationship with alcohol, doing a Dry January, black and white dichotomy, entire wide of spectrum of ways, approaches, groups that you go to, invites more people into this positive lifestyle change, takes a stigma away, allow people to figure out what aligns with them, learning model, through the lens of habit change, break this habit of drinking, cues, cravings, responses, reward, dopamine, beliefs, reward system, physical environment, social environment, takes time and effort, positive life choice, positive association, hashtags, different communities, that operate their own little ecosystems, 1000 hours dry Wellness Challenge, wine mom, drinking culture, changes our perception of the world, start changing your feed, promoting, educating and working, alcohol-free space, change the way your brain perceives, make difficult choices, vulnerable, life experience, intelligent work, strong, self-directed and open to new things, expanded your mind, connect on a deep level, online connections, real life, relationship dynamic, struggled with being sober, chosen to remove alcohol, instant soul connection, resilient, learning about yourself, how you operate, what you need, what you cope with, inner learning, evolved people, we have to put in the work, figure out who the fuck we are without alcohol, enriched my life, mommy playdates, make new friends, family, work, discovering so much, fear, removed the bullshit, anxiety, panic attack, marriage, kids being tough, Clinical therapy, I was able to separate myself from the issue, core tenants of my program, move forward, trauma, Big T, little T, big shame for those acute shame experiences, manifest, ignites out fight flight freeze, central nervous system, parasympathetic nervous system, physical stress response, reliving old shame, step into personal development, Brené Brown, Queen of shame, done all of the research, created all these theories, given us the language, tools to be able to work through shame, the Shame Resilience Theory, Smashing Shame and Sobriety, identifying shame, self-awareness, pinpoint what shame feels like in our body, conducting a body scan, mindfulness, tune into your breath, notice how your body feels, guided meditation, where things are showing up in our body, skill we build, we learn over time, we practice, we get better at, shame resilience, 4-step framework, emotional health, contextualize, understand the context, expectations, religious frameworks, grateful, intellectualizing, internal feedback, living in secrecy, living in silence, loop of negative self-talk, we confirm, we spiral, getting outside of ourselves, understand on a broader scope, connecting with somebody, we are able to put words to it, I still love you, you’re still worthy, you’re still lovable, rewire the way your brain perceives this shame, who is allowed in your arena, finding your people, important that the container in which you share this shame story is going to be a safe one, trusted source, support and guidance, guilty, Life Coaching, codependency, develop all the coping skills, peel back the onion, deal with the stuff underneath, resources, workbook, journal prompts, patchwork of recovery, paths, Quit Lit books, yoga, running club, joyful, read blogs, holistic mind, body, spirit, you’re not alone, you’re not damaged, you’re not uniquely flawed, motherhood, guilt, wanting something better for yourself, be more free

SPEAKERS: Casey McGuire Davidson + Beth Bowen


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.

Hi there, my guest today is Beth Bowen. She’s a licensed Social Worker with 3 years of sobriety, who helps alcohol free women reclaim their power and build kick ass lives in sobriety. Beth is a mom of two, a wife and a Sober Women’s Coach who lives outside of Austin, Texas, Beth and I actually connected through Instagram. And I was drawn to her immediately because of a powerful post, she wrote about why she doesn’t identify with the label of being an alcoholic. I also don’t identify as an alcoholic. And I don’t use that term or that label to describe myself or the women I work with, or friends I have on this path for many of the reasons that Beth expressed so clearly in her post. So, we’re going to talk about all of that today. And then Beth shared a workshop she was working on, on shame, resilience. And I knew I needed to have her on the podcast to talk about smashing shame in sobriety. So, Beth, welcome to the podcast.



Thank you, Casey, I’m so excited to be here. It’s such an honor.


Casey McGuire Davidson 02:36

I’m so excited to have you. And I love the work you’re doing because you are part of a growing movement that I also consider myself a part of where we’re really helping women lead these modern, female centric versions of life without alcohol. And you always say that we’re powerful, not powerless. And I love that you’re helping women uncover in a really positive and proactive way their identities now that alcohol isn’t our constant companion.



I mean, I feel like you said what you said about this modern version of it is exactly it. I think that there’s such a growing movement of people who want a Newer Age version of sobriety or living alcohol free, or whatever it is they call it, because so many of the old ways weren’t necessarily a great fit for them. So, I think that’s exactly this. I like to call it modern recovery, because it’s just a different take on kind of the old ways of doing things that are the more accessible in a more kind of updated way that makes people feel really empowered.


Casey McGuire Davidson 03:46

Yeah, absolutely. And sort of changing that idea that you have to hit some kind of real dire bottom to decide that alcohol isn’t working for you. And to do it in a way where you’re not necessarily anonymous, or you’re not feeling like it’s something you shouldn’t talk about with other women or with other people in your life, because it’s really a healthy choice.



Yeah, I mean, and I think that’s what’s so important is when people realize that their story really does matter, and that their story is not something to be ashamed of. It’s something that they can share in a way that both empowers them, but also helps other people. I think I’m so invested in the storytelling and this kind of recovering out loud or being inspired out loud because it really does have an amazing ripple effect.



Yeah, absolutely. And one of the things that I found that kept me drinking for a long time, even when I knew it wasn’t really serving me and was causing issues is, of course, I couldn’t imagine my life without alcohol because I was such a big drinker and it was so much part of my socials circle. But I also didn’t know a single person who had used to love to drink and had chosen to stop. And was saying that life was better. Like, that just wasn’t available to me. I certainly knew people who drinking was never a big thing for them. Or, you know, I honestly thought people who didn’t drink were kind of weird. Because I was just such a big drinker. And I couldn’t imagine it. Well, not loving it. But I feel like having people you know, who used to drink, and now don’t and tell you, it’s better. That would have helped me long before I actually stopped.



Oh, totally. One, it’s like you and I have talked a little bit I feel really passionate about not needing to put a label on it. Because I think that that is a barrier to access for folks choosing to remove alcohol from their life, if they feel like they have to take on any sort of label that doesn’t fit with them.


Casey McGuire Davidson 05:59

Absolutely. So I actually, speaking of which, wanted to ask you to actually read what you wrote about what really drew me to like, reach out to you and be like, Oh, my God, we need to have this conversation, because that’s exactly what I feel. And it started with the phrase words matter. So, do you mind just reading that for us?



Yeah, absolutely. I’ll say the post that I had on Instagram a while ago. So again, like you said, it starts with words matter. The other day, someone calls me an alcoholic. They’re just making conversation talking about things that I’m interested in, which I do appreciate. But I don’t identify as an alcoholic as a label. But it doesn’t explain my personal experience with leaving behind foods. I don’t really struggle with not drinking anymore. I don’t feel like I’m powerless over alcohol. I don’t align with the 12 steps. I don’t personally identify with the disease model of addiction. And even when I was still drinking, the black and white dichotomy as either being someone who drink or being an alcoholic kept me drinking longer than I should have. I really thought those are my only two choices. And then I discovered this beautiful corner of the internet full of people who don’t drink alcohol, who call themselves all sorts of things. teetotaler, sober, alcohol free, nondrinker, sober curious, or nothing at all. I’ve learned a few things from my experience. The first is that words matter. And labels can be a significant barrier for folks removing harmful habits in their lives. And as a side note, the mental health field needs an update on this. Second, you are the author of your own story, and only you get to define yourself no one else. And then third, figuring out what you align with where your alcohol-free identity lives. His magic, it’s freedom, fulfillment and all the good squishy feelings.


Casey McGuire Davidson 07:48

Yeah, I absolutely love that. And there’s so much even within that, that I wanted to dig into. So, for example, I was curious whether the person who called you an alcoholic, you know, or described you as that, are they alcohol free?



She was not so interesting, I guess, kind of a bit of context for that is she is the child of an alcoholic. So, her father is in a identifies as an alcoholic is in recovery. But that is the framework within which she grew up in. And I think that that really belies the kind of the challenge here because so many people have grown up within this system, where really the only option was the 12 steps or was a and many people have amazing family experiences with that. So, they have a parent who is in recovery, who did get help through these 12 steps. But I feel like it’s a little bit of a generational shift as well. Because as those of us who are in like, I’m a I’m a millennial, I guess you would say I’m an elder millennial, but those of us that are growing up, and starting to have our own issues with alcohol and getting our own footing. I have a little bit of a different take on it, then perhaps our parents’ generation or our parents, parents’ generation. So, she was titled as a man who was an AIA, and that was really her only framework. So I think it’s just a learning, updating our language a little bit and understanding that there’s a much broader spectrum of people who choose to not drink or maybe can’t drink, or really need to change their habits with alcohol, who don’t necessarily fall in that same small box fit to the 12 steps. And I feel very, very strongly that I’m not anti-gay, I am Pro, whatever helps you recover. And so, if that is a That’s amazing, that’s incredible. It just wasn’t something that aligned with me. And for me, it really kept me drinking a lot longer than I should have when I thought that that was my only choice. And so, when I was talking to this woman, she just said it very casually. She doesn’t mean it as anything, but she was relating to me and with her experience with her father. I’m having this conversation, which I love. I love talking about these things. And I love recovering out loud as I say. But it was just, it’s really interesting when somebody puts a label on you that you’re like, Oh, that’s, that’s not me. That’s not who I am.


Casey McGuire Davidson 10:16

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 You can start at any time and I would love to see you in the course.


I think that if it is helpful for you, if it helps you take it off the table to say I’m an alcoholic. That’s great. I mean, I think anything that helps people who drink problematically or become addicted to it because it’s addictive and helps them stop is positive. But I also know from all the women I work with, and for myself as well, that that was a real barrier to entry. Because the idea is that no one would stop drinking unless they’re an alcoholic. I mean, that’s sort of the unspoken information. It’s also this dividing line, I had a similar experience with the “word” at work where a friend of mine, who I’m pretty close with who knew I quit drinking, said casually at work when we were talking about something she’s like, oh, but you chose to stop drinking. It’s not like you’re an alcoholic. And that made me sort of took me aback too, because I was just like, why is it? You know, on the flip side? Why is it so important to you to separate me from them? Right, isn’t it because I’m really similar to you and how you used to drink? And I was just like, Well, yes, I chose to drink. And also, it’s addictive. And it’s really hard to quit just being like there’s not you know, cause she also is a big drinker. And she’s was always going to wine tasting and you know, saying she was hung over and going to bunco nights, which I’ve never played. I don’t even know what that is. But apparently, it’s a thing near where I live for a lot of women with kids, they go to bunco. And they drink a shitload. But I was like, yeah, it was just something that like, put me off. Even though I have a lot of friends who identify with the term “cult” like, I also have a lot of friends who’ve recovered through A.A. and I also went to a for about 4 months, couple years before I finally quit. And one of the reasons that I went back to drinking was the idea of like, I don’t want this I don’t want this to my life. I don’t want this to be my label. I really didn’t like going in there and feeling all the pressure to say, Casey, I’m an alcoholic, like it just turned my stomach. And if you didn’t say that you got a lot of feedback that you’re in denial and right have an ego and this is gonna you know, and so that was really hard for me to but on flip side Separating me from, “alcoholics” because I’m like, What the fuck? I also was like, you don’t know what you’re talking about? Like, kind of, I was like, let’s not, you know, you’re not, you’re not informed enough to leave on this.



I think that’s such a good point. Because really, the definition of an alcoholic is kind of vague. And you know, we have technical definitions of alcohol use disorder and all of these different so when you say like, Are you an alcoholic? Or are you, not so many people have? I have done those late night Googles it’s like me? an alcoholic? I don’t know, like, what’s the barrier here. And there’s really just no concrete definition. And I’ve learned it’s really much more like he said, like an identifier is that something that you identify with is that kind of a personality that you take on, I guess. And like I said, I think that’s just a really big barrier for folks. Because in two ways, you can go and have this gut feeling that you’re like, I need to change something, I don’t feel good about my relationship with alcohol. But I’m not an alcoholic, like, I guess I can’t stop. So, the barrier and the first way, but I think it also helps people justify continuing to drink in problematic ways. They’re like, Well, I’m not an alcoholic. So, what I’m doing is fine. And there’s just such this middle ground of folks who really could benefit from changing the relationship with alcohol and taking it off the table or, you know, doing a Dry January, or whatever it is, and could really benefit from this. But having this black and white dichotomy makes it just to where all those people in the middle get lost. And I think that it does a disservice to people who could really benefit from the change, to just have option A and option B, when there’s really like this entire wide spectrum of ways you can be a person who doesn’t drink alcohol and identities that you can take on and approaches to it and you know, groups that you go to. And I think that it just invites more people into this positive lifestyle change. Yeah, that takes a stigma away from it, allow people to define themselves and allow people to figure out what aligns with them. Because once you do once you figure it out, and once you’re like, Okay, this is really good to say, I’m just alcohol free, or it feels really good to say I’m sober, whatever it is that you find and then feeling really good. And it feels like something that you can jive with, that’s when it gets fun, that’s when you don’t feel like you’re losing out on things that when that’s when you like, get to this place of empowerment and less of a place of just not being able to drink. And I think that that was one of the pieces of A.A. and the 12 steps that was tricky for me is I don’t really identify with the disease model. I don’t feel like now that I’m 3 over 3 years sober, I don’t feel like I’m in constant recovery. I don’t feel like I’m one day away from throwing it all away. It doesn’t feel as hard for me now. And I think I identify much more with the learning model of addiction, which says that we learn these habits, and just as we learn them, then we can unlearn them. And I think that once people see that there are there are different ways to approach it. I think it just gives people more access to it.


Casey McGuire Davidson 18:18

Yeah, I love that. Because I also like I approach, quitting drinking through the lens of habit change. And how do you break this habit of drinking? Like what are your cues, cravings, responses and reward in terms of why you drink and obviously, it’s addictive, like in the same way that cigarettes are addictive. it you know, physically makes you want to drink more and more often, and you clearly go into withdrawal, when you don’t drink. And when you do drink, you get this huge dopamine. So, like there are definite, you know, physical reasons that it becomes habitual as well. But it’s also your beliefs about it and your reward system. And you know, your physical environment and your social environment and how it’s set up. Which is not to say that you need to change your whole social environment. But it is to say that it is a habit that takes time and effort to break. But I love that you say that you don’t struggle with not drinking anymore, because I don’t feel like I do either. I actually quit 5 years ago, in two or three weeks, I think when this episode comes out, it’d be the week before I hit 5 years.


Exciting. Yeah, I don’t struggle with it. And I haven’t for years, I’m just like, and I’m super proud of the fact that I used to drink. And I stopped and it was really hard to do. And it was a positive life choice for me. You know, when you said and we’re talking about words matter. I also don’t say it doesn’t bother me as much as the term alcoholic, but I don’t really say I’m in recovery. And I know a lot of people have a positive association with that. Right? That there are women living in recovery. And I love that. And I also don’t, if someone identifies as an alcoholic, I think that’s great and wonderful and fine. I just know for me it was a barrier. But I don’t say I’m in recovery in my mind. I’m just living. And when I was drinking, I was recovering every day, like that was living in a withdrawal and recovery and withdrawal and recover, man. Yeah, that’s so true. Well, so the other thing that I kind of wanted to dig into that you said, from this post, is that you said that you discovered this whole corner of the internet? That was amazing. And I’m wondering, how did you find that?



Yeah, that’s a great question. So I think I first accessed it through hashtags, just by looking and seeing what was being posted on the sober, curious hashtag, or on the alcohol free hashtag and kind of just dipping my toes into all of these different communities, because there are a ton of really cool communities within this little corner of the world, that, that operate their own little ecosystems. And I personally work with one called 1000 hours dry. So, 1000 hours dry is a wellness challenge. But it’s also based in promoting the alcohol-free lifestyle. And so that’s kind of how I dipped my toes into it. But it’s really just kind of a slow build of finding these communities. Because I know for me, what was so hard when I first removed alcohol is that I felt so alone. And I felt like I was the only person doing this. And I was the only person in my friend group for sure. Like he said, there were people who weren’t interested in drinking, and then just, you know, kind of put it away. But I like I had built a huge identity around being the wine mom, and there’s drinking culture, and that they felt so alone. And it was just like, I found one post, and then I found another post. And then I kind of went down that rabbit hole that saw who they were interacting with. And there’s really, I mean, there’s so many of us out there. And it really changes your perception of the world. And as what being a sober person or alcohol-free person is. When you start seeing so many people like you doing it like you and me like people give people so much access when they see somebody like you or somebody like me, and they feel like okay, I can see myself in her story. And that’s why I’m so passionate about sharing this, this is why I talked about this stuff to the internet, is because I talk to people every day who are like, wow, I found you I found this little sober curious, this, this alcohol free corner of the internet, I thought I was the only one. And once you kind of stumble into this, and you start kind of changing your feed, so you’re following more sober people, and you’re following more of these communities that are promoting and educating and working in this kind of alcohol free space, it really starts to slowly change that the way your brain perceives being a person who doesn’t drink because it goes from feeling so alone and feeling so isolated to seeing such a vibrant community of people doing this and living these amazing lives without alcohol. And it makes it fun.


Casey McGuire Davidson 23:12

Yeah, I love that. And I agree like, you know, you think that because you surround yourself with drinkers and you’ve drank your whole life that life without alcohol is boring. And you will never find people like you who also don’t drink. And what I found is women who don’t drink are the coolest, in my opinion, because they’ve gone through a hard thing. They’ve had to make difficult choices. They’re real vulnerable. They don’t talk about a lot of small talk, like they get deep right away. And also, they have life experience. They love to have fun; they’ve done some intelligent work about what they want in their lives. They’re proactive, because you have to be right to make this choice. You have to be strong. And, you know, just self-directed and open to new things. And you you’ve expanded your mind and your life experience. And so, I love women who don’t drink, and I found so many that I connect with on a really deep level.



Yeah, and I’ve even I’ve even lived several of these online connections into real life. So I’ve met several of these women in my town, and we’ve gone to yoga or we’ve gotten coffee and I agree completely with what you said it’s an entirely different relationship dynamic when you meet somebody who is also sober and especially those of us who have struggled with it and then chosen to remove it because you have this like instant soul connection where you have some understanding on some level even if you don’t know all the details of what they’ve been through and how resilient they are for coming on the other side because you’ve done it as well and you’ve done the work and like you said so much of not drinking is learning so much more about yourself and how you operate in what you need and what you cope with. And so much of this inner learning that comes from it that I, you know, I say that there were people are some of the most evolved people I know, because we have to put in all this work to figure out who the fuck we are without alcohol. But someone to the restaurant is not even bothering with because they’re too busy doing shots. So, I agree, it’s really, really neat to start building these relationships with other people who are sober and who are alcohol free, or whatever they call it. Because it’s a deeper connection. And it’s a deeper understanding of each other. And some of my closest friends or you know, my internet friends, or some of the ones that have gone from the internet to realize this, they’re here locally. Again, it’s just an entirely different dynamic then, and folks who drink and I still have plenty of friends who drink and actually most of my friends from, from my old days still drink, but it just is a really cool way to connect with somebody and something that has really enriched my life.


Casey McGuire Davidson 26:04

Absolutely, I still have a ton of friends who drank, obviously, you know, high school and college and for me 20 years of working and living in Seattle, and I was sort of the queen of the wine tasting weekends, and mommy playdates and you don’t lose all those people. I mean, if you have an actual friendship, you don’t. But my friendships my world of people I interact with, has gotten so much bigger, and I’ve made so many more deep friendships. And that’s actually really cool, because I quit drinking when I was 40. And in the years before that, it was really hard to make new friends, right? You had your family, you had work, you know, you went out for happy hour with colleagues, but you didn’t make these deep friendships that like you did in college or in your early 20s, where you’re, you’re going through so much in life and discovering so much and struggling with dating and struggling with, you know, who I am and how I’m going to make money and what I do for my career. And when you go through quitting drinking, and you know, it suddenly being isolated, and then needing to open up to other people. It just goes so much deeper. So, I agree. I went down to bend Oregon, and I have a couple friends who quit drinking down there. We went to a live music outdoor concert, which was really cool. And they had a kombucha bar. Yeah. Which was awesome. And they had brought down a couple people they met who also quit drinking who live in bed. And immediately it was like, oh, when did you quit drinking? Oh, 3 years ago, I’m almost5. And it was just this instant.



Yeah, yeah, I love that one. And something you said made me think is also really enriched the relationships that I still have from before I quit drinking. So like you said, you do lose some of those more superficial relationships where if your only connection was drinking mine is a playdate or going to brunch or going to happy hour, but the ones that really matter, quitting drinking and becoming a person who talks openly about sobriety and about struggle and mental health and things like this gave me almost a door to discussing these things with my close friends who maybe we had never really had those kind of conversations before. We’ve never really talked about, like, all of the things that make it really hard to be a person in the world. Even if we were really close, like some of my you know, my soul sisters, but we just never had kind of that foot in the door to have these deep, deep conversations. And it wasn’t overnight, it took some time to kind of step into these conversations. And it’s been interesting, because as you know, people can have really strong reactions when you quit drinking, because it makes them think about their own drinking. But the ones that were willing to kind of step in to learning about this, and learning more about my story, even though they still drink and even though alcohol is still part of their lives that really deep in some of those older friendships and some of the ones that really mattered because now we talk about these things. Now we talk about addiction and mental health and like our check ins are not just how are you doing? It’s like how’s your heart. So, I think that’s a big fear for people when they remove alcohol is that they’re just gonna lose everything, they’re gonna lose all their friends, they’re gonna lose all of the connections. And, you know, I’m pretty, pretty frank about the fact that you might lose some of them, but the ones that stay and the ones that stick around, just get so much deeper. When you remove the alcohol. I feel like you removed the bullshit, and you really get to the heart of the good stuff.



Yeah, I totally agree. Because, you know, everybody kind of struggles with something and even the people you talk to all the time, it’s very rare that you actually get into it. It’s, you might complain about tough times with your kids or maybe with your boss or maybe with your husband, but it’s your Rarely, and this is giving me so much anxiety and I’ve had a panic attack or I’m worried about my marriage or all the deep stuff, like I’m struggling with my kid versus my kids being tough. And, you know, even when I open up about quitting drinking and what it was like before and struggling and questioning it, and talking shit to myself and all the stuff, they open up about what they’re going through, because suddenly it’s a, you know, you’re vulnerable, and they, they want to connect, and they feel like they can be honest with you. And that really takes friendships to a different level. Yeah, I couldn’t agree more well, so that actually transfers really well. I mean, also the conversation about labels, I wanted to talk to you about smashing shame in sobriety, because I know that something that you work on really closely, as well as you have steps to work through to get through shame and sobriety. And can you talk to me about that?



Yeah, so like you mentioned in the introduction, my background is in social work. I mean, I have my master’s degree in social work and Clinical therapy. And it’s been a really interesting way to step into sobriety, because when I was practicing, I really had no handle on my problematic drinking. And so, I went to grad school, and I learned all those and I was trained, and I practiced for many years as a person who drink alcohol in very problematic ways. But I was able to separate myself from the issue because I was not the same as my, my clients and my patients, I looked different than them. But that experience in that training has really informed the what I do now. And now I work with alcohol free women. And one of the core tenants of my program and of the work that I do with these women is on shame, resilience. So, I know that’s kind of a, it’s not a very digestible word. But basically, working through shame because my ethos to approaching living alcohol free and living in sobriety is that one of the things that keeps us the most stuck, and the least able to move forward is shame, because so many of us in the alcohol free community have some of these really deep, deep shame stories. And that can be shamed from the big things for self, we racked up credit card debt, or we were unfaithful to a partner, or if we fell on the dance floor at a wedding and made a fool of ourselves. So, we have these kind of acute shame stories from when we were drinking. But we also have these, I like to compare it. Are you familiar with big T, little t trauma?




So I have, I like to say that we have big s shame and little lesson today, we have the big shame for those acute shame experiences. So for the ones that we just like made a fool of ourselves that we did something bad or we betrayed somebody else, then we also have these little shame stories from the way we just weren’t able to show up in the world, the way we want to, or if we didn’t feel like we added up as a mother when we were drinking, or if we didn’t feel like we were able to be the person that we want to be or the person that we feel we are in our hearts. So, we build these shame stories of who we were when we were drinking. And even if you are years into sobriety even if you’ve been alcohol free for years, if you haven’t worked through some of those shame stories, and you haven’t processed them, it keeps you stuck and it keeps you hiding and stagnant and where you’re still so slacking in the old days and the way you feel and you know, she manifests very viscerally it that full body feeling so when we are in a shame experience, it literally ignites our fight flight, freeze and swan. So that is our central nervous system, our parasympathetic nervous system. So that’s when your whole system start firing is where you get sweaty, it’s where your feet sweat, my feet sweat, when I feel shame, because that literally is a physical stress response. So, when we are living in shame, when we are reliving old shame, we are activating our bodies with this stress response, sometimes constantly. And that’s very, we know that that is very bad for our health, it has a lot of poor health outcomes if we have high levels of cortisol or if we have high levels of stress. And so, if we’re still living in the same experiences, it is making us unable to move forward. But it’s also really detrimental for help. So that is really the heart of the work I do is working through these same experiences because I believe once we’re able to work through them, then we can step into all the other stuff, then we can step into the personal development and that’s when we can start adding all of the good shit into sobriety because we have made the space for it. Yeah, I can’t claim that I have created this theory. It’s actually a theory that was made by Brené Brown, Dr. Brené Brown, who is like a personal hero. I


Casey McGuire Davidson  34:57

Absolutely love Brené Brown. Are you? A bunch of us went to see her and it was awesome.



Yeah, so she’s, you know, kind of the queen of shame. We say, she’s done all of the research and she’s created all these theories. And it’s really given us the language and the tools to be able to work through shame. And it’s, you know, she, it’s not a sexy word. It’s, it’s funny when people are, you know, they’re like, what do you do, and I’m like, Well, I’m a shame expert. And they’re like, Whoa, that’s kind of quite heavy. It’s not a sexy word. But I feel so strongly that it’s, it’s one of those things that once we can overcome, and when we can build the skills and tools to be able to process future shame better, we are so much more equipped to live life in a healthful and happy way. So like I said, this was created by Dr. Brené Brown, it’s called the Shame Resilience Theory. And it really does have four steps that we can work through. And this is kind of the heart of what I teach in my program, it’s got a couple of their components in it as well. But I love working through these sheets and experiences with my clients, because it just lifts the weight off of their shoulders, so that they can go forward and love being sober and find all like the good, juicy, fun parts of it, once they’ve worked through it. So, the very first piece of shame resilience is. And this is what I, you know, I have a webinar called Smashing Shame and Sobriety. So, a little bit of a tongue twister, but I teach this, and I would love to get this to your readers as well, I’ve got a recording of it.


Casey McGuire Davidson 36:27

That would be amazing. We can add it to the notes of this podcast episode. So, people come into it.



Yeah, so the very first step is, is just identifying shame, because so many of us lack the language and the self-awareness of being able to put a name to things to put it into experiences, and how it shows up in our body and what it feels like and even identifying the experience in the first place. So really, for able to pinpoint what shame feels like in our body for able to say, you know, I’m shame lives in my chest, and it feels really heavy, or, for me, shame feels hot, and it feels red if we can put these descriptors to it. So, what does it smell like? What does it taste like? What does it feel like? Does it have a color does it have a sound, so if we can put a name to how shame is showing up in our bodies, that’s the first step. And so if we’re able to say, I feel the shame experience in my body, when I think about a time that I drink too much at a wedding, and I settle on a dance floor, in this shame feels hot, and it feels angry, and you start to get this language and you start to be able to put a name to it. That’s step one. Because if we can’t do that, we can’t work through any of the rest of it. If we haven’t gained awareness for this, we can’t continue to move forward. And my favorite way to do this is conducting a body scan, which is a tool in mindfulness where you just tune into your breath, you dial into your breath, and then you just start to notice how your body feels. And you know, you start at the crown, you kind of work your way down. And just notice, if you feel any tension, if you feel any heat, if you feel anything in your body, it’s just a really accessible way to start dialing into the sensations in your body. So, a body scan can be 30 seconds, it can be 5 minutes, it can be a guided meditation, or it can just be a quick check in. This starts to get us more in tune with where things are showing up in our body. And again, this is just a skill we build. It’s something that we learn over time, and we practice, and we get better at because once we are able to kind of check in, that gives us more skills moving forward. So, if we feel a shame experience, because we often do feel it in our bodies before our brain checks into it, if we can feel it, we can stop it in its tracks. So, the first step is figuring out where it is where it lives, what it’s called, what it looks like. And again, my favorite way to do that is a body scan. And then once we are able to identify it, then the next step is to just identify the context of it.


Casey McGuire Davidson 39:06

Quick question, do you do the body scan when you’re feeling shame? Or do you do it sort of thinking back to previous shameful events?



That’s a really good question, because you can do it in a couple of different contexts. So, the work that I do with my clients is usually recalling past shame. So, we work through we recall the memory of it would usually initiate that shame response that usually initiate that parasympathetic nervous system. So even just thinking about an old shame experience can give you that physical sensation in your body. But the beauty of shame resilience in this, this 4-step framework is that once you get good at it, and once you start practicing it, you notice it in real time. So, if you are going forward and you experience something that is going to initiate one of those shame responses in your body, you can stop it and you can kind of cut it off before it ever internally. Isn’t your body so before it ever starts getting stuck? And before it ever starts manifesting in your behavior? And in your emotional health? Yeah, that’s a great question, you can really use this in three different settings. So, recalling past shame, but also in real time, the body scan is kind of the same, I guess, a body scan would be kind of real time, just a quick check in a true body scan, I like using for the past same experiences. And so, once you’ve kind of identified this, and once you found it and figured out where it lives and what it is, then the second step is to contextualize it. So, understand what context is around to the same experience that is making it shameful in the first place. Because you know, as we were brand new babies, and a brand-new world that had no culture that had no society that had no expectations of people, we wouldn’t experience shame. In the same way, if we did something that is now considered shameful, because there’s no context for it. But we live in a society that has expectations of what women look like expectations of what parents look like expectations of, you know, religious frameworks, or different cultures that we’ve grown up in. So for able to figure out what the context of the same experiences that gives us again, that language that helps us kind of step back and take a little bit of like 100 foot view, so that we’re better able to understand why it is raining a shame in the first place. So for example, the following on the dance floor, the wedding, or a better example is a smallest shame experience of feeling like I wasn’t a good mother, that was the way I was drinking, that is contextualized in what we expected mothers to be, and what we expect women to be, and what we consider acceptable and not acceptable for drinking behavior, especially within the context of motherhood. So, when you’re able to step back from it and give it more legs, that’s again, just another tool to help you remove the physical feeling of it a little bit and kind of start processing that in a way that makes more sense.



So, give me one more example of that, like the idea of what we expect from others. And feeling like you didn’t measure up to that. And then somehow, sort of it sounds like stepping back from it to its less personal and more intellectual. Is that what you do?



Yeah, exactly. And in one way, understand that for, you know, for me, when I was drinking, I would drink late into the night. And I would wake up early with my baby, and I would be useless from like, fiving him when he would wake up, I was useless. from five until noon, I laid on the couch. I watched the today show every morning, and I didn’t do anything. I let him play on the floor while I watch TV. And for me, that was not what a mother did. A mother got up and made breakfast and got her kids off to school. And, you know, they started tidying up the house and I just couldn’t show up in that way and fit this now is the I was a new mother I was


Casey McGuire Davidson 43:03

I actually quit drinking. I have an older son, he was 8, but my daughter was 2 years old when I was drinking so similar. And I also went to work so I had the whole 3:00a.m. wake up feel like absolute shit crushing and grateful. And then going to the bus stop feeling shaky with my eight-year-old and driving my daughter to daycare with like, trying to talk to her in the backseat with the bloodshot eyes. I mean, that was a big shame for me.



Yeah, so when you can contextualize like, we like mothers to be completely in tune to their children and 100% devoted and we expect mothers to be able to have their shit together and be able to show up for their children, then we deeply shame women and addicts and addiction, especially mothers and addiction and who are struggling with substances. And you know, that feeling of that hangover just really, really got me and not being able to be this mother in the morning. But none of that would have any context or any legs if we didn’t have expectations of motherhood if we didn’t have expectations of people who can and cannot handle alcohol. So, when we’re able to kind of figure out like you said, it is intellectualizing it and helps us understand that this has broader context and the whole part of shame. Resilience is getting out from our own internal feedback. Because what keeps us in shame is living in secrecy and living in silence and having the only person who confirms our shame experience to us is ourselves. And so, we get in this, this loop of negative self-talk, we confirm that negative self-talk to ourselves and then we spiral. So, when we contextualize this, that is part of getting outside of ourselves and getting outside of this inner feedback loop that we’ve developed and starting to understand it on a broader scope. So, the second step is to contextualize it, and then the third step, so this is really the heart of it. Shame Resilience. And this idea that shame is that shame cannot live in the light when it is spoken out loud when it is brought into connection is immediately stopped. So, the third step of shame, resilience is just connecting with somebody. And the third and fourth step are kind of intertwined. Because the fourth step is speaking this same aloud, because once we are able to put words to it, and when we are able to share it with somebody else, and then receive the May twos, or the I thought I was the only one, or, oh my gosh, me too, like I, you know, I thought nobody else felt this way. Or even if they can’t relate to experience, the, okay, but I still love you, or okay, but you’re still worthy, and you’re still lovable. And so, when you’re able to connect with somebody, and they can help you interrupt that feedback loop that you’ve created in yourself, then it immediately zaps the shame in its tracks, it immediately loses its potency. And it starts to kind of rewire the way your brain perceives this shame. So as soon as it’s been smashed by somebody else, by this connection with this other person, he still sees you as whole and worthy and lovable, then it starts having this power over you. This isn’t something that just stops overnight. It’s not an instant process, it’s working through these things in steps and really digging into the work, he can’t just smash in 15 minutes. But once we start being able to name it and identify it, and then we understand where it’s coming from what it’s rooted in. And then we connect with somebody and we share the shame. It’s this ongoing process that we can kind of do in this cyclical way that just over time builds our strength against that. And I think that’s just the heart of it. And that’s what’s so important. For me sharing my alcohol free story is, I get women in my DMS every day who tell me, Oh, my gosh, I thought the only person who feels the way you feel or I read your post, and it was like I wrote it myself. And even just being on the other side of that being somebody who reads my post, when they see themselves in my story that can help their shame cycle itself, that disrupts that feedback loop that tells them they’re a terrible person, they can see me and then they can see that I’m not a terrible person. They don’t think I’m a terrible person. But I’ve had the same experiences they have or have had similar experiences. And it really just roots in the importance of connection, the importance of connection and of community and of, you know, doing this with other people and letting yourself be seen and be known.


Casey McGuire Davidson 47:36

Yeah, I mean, I love I’m a member of a couple I not too many, but a couple secret private Facebook groups for people quitting drinking, and a lot of women quitting drinking. And that was huge for me not only to see other people share their story, and then have so many women, and some men, you know, jump on and say, It’s okay, me too. You’re a good person, this isn’t a big deal. But also, to share my own story. And that’s, that’s something that was really, really helpful and to be able, at some point to even laugh about it. And even, you know, get far enough away from it. Where you’re like, yeah, that was pretty fucked up. But like, just kind of be like, Whoa, what’s up with that one? So that’s really helpful. I do find though, and this is something to work through. And it’s, it’s fine. And you can do it. There is definitely this, what I call like, a vulnerability hangover after the fact. Yeah.


Yeah. And what do you say to women who feel that who share and then the next day, they have just this crushing anxiety?


You’re like, what did I do? And you know, yeah, and we know definitely is something that you get used to, that speaks to a very important part of who you are sharing this with. I am very, I create a space in my program that gives them a container to share with them that feels very safe, because we spend a lot of time getting to know each other, they can share with just me, I can be the first person they tell these things, too. But it’s very important to have the person who you are inviting into your story, be somebody who is safe, and it has to be you know, has to be a therapist or a partner who’s going to respond well, or best friend, because if it is somebody who is not going to respond well if it is somebody who is going to say Well, yeah, that’s pretty fucked up. That’s that, like, does that just gonna destroy all of the work that’s going to ingrain that shame experience? And that’s going to be like, Oh, well, yeah, I thought it was fucked up. And then they told I told me I was just Kansai guys, right? Yeah. So, it is really important that the container in which you share this story is going to be a safe one.


Casey McGuire Davidson 49:54

And Brené talks about that all the time, doesn’t she? I’ve done a couple of workshops with people Who are facilitators of her work. I did a 3-day workshop with like eight women, and it was, you know, 8 hours a day. And it was so deep and so good. But you know, I know she talks about who is allowed in your arena and finding your people. But can you talk about what that? You know how she contextualizes that?



Yeah, and I mean, I think I think it’s really just, for me, the vulnerability hangovers really show up. When I share in a broader space, I used to get them a lot what I, the first time I ever shared about my sobriety, and was, I was two years sober. So, I had, I had been sober for a long time, but I had never really shared about it. And I wrote an Instagram post on a whim, one day about how I woke up, it was my third alcohol free New Year’s Day. And I wrote that post and I threw my phone across the floor of the room, I was like, I don’t want to look at the responses, I don’t want to see it. Like, I can’t do this. And then I spent the whole day having this anxiety hangover. So, don’t really recommend telling all of Instagram as the first, the first time that you ever share any of your stories, because that does yield quite the vulnerability hangover. But yeah, it’s very many different containers that you can have access to and that you can build that are going to be this safer space. So obviously, that is why my program is what my program is.



well, how many people are in your program at a time, like how does it work about that?



So, my program is a 12-week mentorship, and 12 people. And right now, we have 7 in it. And so, I do conduct interviews to make sure everyone’s a good fit, but it is going to be a safe space for the other group of people. And I’m very intentional about creating that safe space and who does and does not do the program. Because I do, we do hard work, we do heart work, you know, we go through this, this shame resilience in real time. And we work through these real shame stories. We have it in my current cohort is 7 women. So, we have this really intimate group of women in where we do a lot of other work before we even get to the same work. So, they have a foundation with each other. And so that there is this community, and I still leave the expectations pretty open. So, if you don’t feel like you are called to share in this group setting, they also have access to you one on one so they can use that. But this is something that it doesn’t happen overnight. You don’t feel like I mean, on the other hand, you never feel like you’re ready for it. But if you walk into a setting where you’re not certain that it’s going to be well received or you don’t feel safe in that can certainly exaggerate the shame feelings, and that can make it worse. So, this, it’s so important for it to be a trusted source, the person that you are kind of opening up to.


Casey McGuire Davidson 52:46

Yeah. And so, I’m curious, I know you work with women in sobriety, are the women in your group? Usually they have quit drinking, and now they’re working through shame that they have, or do you have women who are still drinking problematically you’re drinking, but they think that they should stop like how does that work?



Yeah, that’s a great question. So, I very intentionally made the program for after years of quit drinking, you know, kind of what my tagline is, is you’ve quit drinking. Now what? Because when I, what I found what I had quit drinking, quit drinking was quitting. Drinking was really hard. Removing alcohol from my life was really hard. But I found almost the harder part was everything that came after all of the figuring out who I was without alcohol. figuring out where my place in this community was, if I had a place in the community, how do I share my story? How do I make this fun? How do I feel like I’ve gained things instead of just feeling deprived? And so, I did intentionally make this program as something for women after they have already removed alcohol. So, we’ve got kind of a wide spectrum. I’ve got some gals who started to Dry January and are committing to living alcohol free, I do make the caveat that it’s not a program to help you quit drinking. So, if you are an active addiction, if you are, you know struggling with alcohol regularly, it’s probably not a good fit. But if you are newly sober and you feel like you’re not in active addiction, it’s great for that I’ve got some women who have celebrated a year sober, kind of a wide spectrum, but really it is because when I was first, alcohol free, you know, there are a lot of programs out there to help you quit drinking, and a lot of resources for that. And so, I didn’t feel like I wanted to step into that because there’s so many women like, I, like you, you have an amazing framework for your clients and the way you work with your clients. And it felt like for me, I wanted to create something as the next step for as the next thing to go into. So, once they’ve learned how to change their habits and whether they’ve learned how to remove alcohol, I’m going to help them build all the good juicy shred.


Casey McGuire Davidson 54:54

Yeah, I mean, I love that because I you’re right I do work with women who want to quit drinking, they’ve tried to moderate before they’ve decided it doesn’t work for them. But they realize they need support and guidance and a framework of like, what to do the first week and what to do the second week and what to expect and how to make it. Okay, and how to shape your beliefs around it. And one of the things one of the reasons I asked that question is because, you know, unlike my experience in a I actually feel like in the beginning, when you’re trying to get traction when you’re trying to quit drinking, it’s actually not the right time to go back. Now, with all the shit that you’re not proud of, or you’re not happy of like, I really feel like in the beginning, you need to be built up, you need to be loved. You need to be like, Oh, my God, you did 7 days. You’re a fucking bad ass. You know? Yeah, not through your craving. You are incredible. This is a positive step. You are a good person. And by the way, we’re all good people. But I always women are like, Okay, I’m feeling all this stuff. I’m, I’m feeling so guilty. And I’m like, Yes. And let’s put that aside for right now. Because you need to take care of your emotions. And there’s plenty of time once you have a little bit of distance, to dig into that. And I also like I do Life Coaching for women after they quit drinking, like when we get to sort of 40,50,60 days, where it’s like, okay, now, what do you want, but I feel like coaching doesn’t work. When you’re in the addiction cycle. When you’re in the drinking cycle. You just need to get out of that until you get the mind space and the emotional space to be like, okay, now what do you want? Because drinking and try not to drink and drinking again, it takes up so much.



Oh, yeah. Yeah. So, I think it’s great that you’re doing it after I quit drinking it. When I first quit drinking, it was all hands-on deck, like it was just not drinking that day. So, I completely agree. I think the hard the deep work that you kind of get into in longer term sobriety is not something that should be even touched in the first, however, however long.


Yeah, I totally agree with that. And I mean, I talked to women all the time. They’re like, Oh, my gosh, how do I quit sugar? And I’m like, Oh, baby leaves, like, eat all the sugar you want? Yes. Can you give yourself this grace, because that is such a less important thing than just not drinking? Like, I went on a quest for the ultimate chocolate chip cookie recipe in my first year of sobriety, like, I’m not going to tell you to quit the sugar because it’s better than a glass of wine. And so, it’s Yeah, like he said, I think in that early, those early days, in early sobriety, it really is just not drinking, and just getting out of that cycle, and just taking a look at your habits and kind of stepping back from the act of addiction. And yeah, I would not recommend,


Casey McGuire Davidson 57:55

yeah, no, that’s great. I think I mean, I think once you stop drinking, there is all the reasons we drank, right? whether it’s social anxiety, or whether it’s being an overachiever and having this racing mind, or whether you have this shame, or bad coping skills, or are highly sensitive, or whatever it is, like, I think for every single person, it’s different, or a relationship that’s problematic, or what codependency I mean, there are all the reasons, but you really can’t figure that out while you’re drinking. You have to get away from that. And then you develop all the coping skills for like, okay, now, let me peel back the onion, and deal with that stuff underneath. So, tell me what resources I know you have a ton of resources you have. But if women are listening to this, and they’re like, Yes, I want to do this deeper work. This will really help me be free and navigate the world without alcohol with confidence and pride and joy. Like what can they do to tap into some of those resources you have?


Yeah, I would love to share my webinar recording with them. I’ve got a smashing shame in sobriety workshop. It’s been an hour-long workshop and it has a workbook that goes with it. So just in journal prompts, that be able to identify that shame but also start to work through what it might feel like sharing shame and things like that.


Casey McGuire Davidson 59:25

That would be so awesome. I know a lot of women are going to want to tap into it. Tell you what, give me the link for where they can access it. And I’ll put it in the show notes of this episode. So, anyone listening, you can go to This episode with Beth on Smashing Shame and Sobriety will be right there. You can click on it in the notes. You’ll find the link.



Great and they can also in my link in my bio on Instagram has a link for it as well if they can’t find it there. I love it. Connecting with folks in the DMS. I love talking with people and hearing their story. So, I’m pretty, pretty much an open book over on Instagram. And my handle is @bethbowen_, I’ve been trying to try to get the app backbone for a while, but it is currently taken.


Casey McGuire Davidson 1:00:14

That’s awesome. Cool. Well, we’ll link to that as well. I also, before we wrap up, I wanted to ask you, so how did you quit drinking, because we always talk about this patchwork of recovery, many paths, especially modern recovery, that there is so much more out there, other than the 12 steps. And if you want to choose the 12 steps, that’s amazing. And I know so many women who have found alcohol free living in sobriety through that and are very happy. But I personally worked with a Sober Coach, that was my path, 1-on-1. And then I read all the Quit Lit books, and I had, you know, online support through my favorite, you know, free private Facebook groups, but what was your path?



So, a great question. I love sharing this because there’s somebody who’s now 3 years sober, it feels so inaccessible for folks who are just trying to move alcohol. I was sober curious, where I knew I needed to change my relationship with alcohol for probably at least 8 months before I actually quit alcohol. So, my introduction to it was googling yoga to quit drinking at like 10 o’clock at night, a bottle of wine in because I was like those yoga people look like they got there.


Casey McGuire Davidson 1:01:31

So, you were in yoga before you were just like, that’s gonna be my path, like I tried to run. Yeah, I was like, I’m gonna join a running club, because it’s it. You know, we met at night after work. And I was like, and then I won’t drink. But that’s awesome. I always am, like, those yoga people seem so centered.



Right. And so, I didn’t I practice quite a bit of yoga now. But I didn’t at the time. And I was like that they got their shit together, maybe that’ll be my path. And I actually found a blog at the time of a woman who was living this alcohol-free life and a more Holistic Mind, Body spirit, kind of way. And I really connected with her story. And the way that she was, “recovering and living this alcohol-free” life. And it was the first time I ever saw myself in somebody else’s story and saw a type of sobriety and living alcohol free, that felt joyful, and very exciting to me. And so, I read those blogs and I connected with all the Instagram accounts for probably 8 months, and you know, trying to DIY sobriety myself and waking up and saying I wasn’t going to drink and then drinking again that night. And then I did a group coaching program. And that was really what made it click just finding this community and building these connections with other people. And yeah, just really learning more about like the neuroscience really helped me understand and kind of remove some of the blame from myself. Because once I understood the science of addiction it made it makes so much more sense than it needed to be like, well, no doubt that I yeah, hooked on it.


Casey McGuire Davidson  1:03:06

I feel that way too. I mean, that like anyone with enough continued exposure to alcohol. And by the way, in our society, it is almost impossible to not have enough can get will go down that path. And I always tell women, there are so many more women out there struggling with this. People, you know, women, you know, I’m convinced that from all the women I talked to, like there are so many women out there struggling with this question, struggling with their drinking, telling themselves, they’re going to moderate not do it, that just aren’t sharing this. So, like the woman and I feel together, she’s struggling with something too. And that means that you’re not alone and you’re not damaged, and you’re not uniquely flawed.



Well, and I feel it could be a whole another podcast episode. But I feel very strongly that that increasing alcohol use is the women’s health crisis that no one’s talking about. So, I completely agree with you, but to kind of, I guess, concisely answer your first question. In some ways, death by 1000 cuts is how I quit drinking just one little piece of information after another. But part of me wishes I had done a group program or a Coaching Program sooner because that was really what solidified it and really helped me lock it in.


Casey McGuire Davidson 1:04:26

I’m like, oh my gosh, you only questioned you’re drinking and we’re super curious for 8months. I feel like for me, it was like eight years. I mean, I was questioning it when my son was six months old. I saw an article about you know, this woman who was had written a bunch of books about Stephanie Wilder Taylor and she had written these books like sippy cups are not for Chardonnay and naptime is the new happier. She was sort of Queen of the cocktail, mommy wine culture. Of course. I bought all those books. When I had My son had the first time. And then when he was six months old, I read an article, it was on the front page of a paper when I was down in the cafeteria of my office getting a cup of coffee that said, basically Queen of the cocktail, you know, mommy happy hour, go sober. And she had written that, and I was just, I mean, I clipped that article. And I saved it. And I worried about it. And then I read drinking a love story. And that was eight years before I finally quit drinking. So, eight months, like you are a rock star, man, you are on the like, fast track.



To be clear, I had problematic drinking for many years. But it really, you know, young motherhood was really when I was like, Nah, I gotta, I gotta get a handle on this now or else I’m never gonna survive.


Casey McGuire Davidson 1:05:49

Yeah. So, and that’s it, right? You’re like, yes, there’s guilt and shame. And also, I want to feel better. And I love that you, you know, we’re like, oh, yoga for quitting drinking, I kind of I want that. I want to feel the way that looks. Because I think it’s so important when you’re quitting drinking, not to say I have, you know, this is bad. And I’m going down a bad path. And, you know, I can’t keep doing this anymore. Because I feel like those negative, you know, willpower shitty thoughts will only take you so far. And what’s going to bring you forward continuously is wanting something more and better for yourself and feeling excited and curious, that life is big and beautiful and better on the other side. So, you need that, like, yes, there’s a reason you want to stop. And you keep going, because you’re like, I think that’s gonna feel amazing. And I want that. Yeah.



Yeah, no, absolutely. And I think, you know, as sober folks, you and I wish we could scream this from the rooftops because life is so big and beautiful when you don’t drink alcohol. But I think you’re right, you have to, you have to get to the point where you’re going for something greater rather than just punishing yourself for removing something because it really is this big, beautiful life. And once you can grasp that, and that’s why I connected with that blog. So deeply was this big, beautiful life alcohol free that she wasn’t. I know, women are gonna be curious.



Hello, okay. It’s kind of the queen of sobriety. It has an amazing Quit Lit book called Quit Like A Woman, which is kind of my sober Bible. But yeah, I just I really connected with her story. And being able to read both beautiful ways.



Yeah, that is awesome. And I do feel like, life gets a lot bigger when you quit drinking. And richer and more wonderful. And you just don’t have every evening slipping through your fingertips. And every morning kind of feeling like crap, you just have so much more energy to do more things. And by the way, it’s okay, if women who are drinking right now are trying to quit. If you don’t know what that is, if you don’t know what it is you would possibly do in your life without drinking. Because you’re going to figure it out, like you’re going to, you’re going to leave the drinking behind, and then suddenly get curious and get interested and take steps towards things. So, don’t let thinking I don’t know what I even like more than wine. stop you from starting to feel better.



Yeah, I’ve got like a big smile on my face as you say that because I could not agree more. It feels like it’s impossible to know what will fill the gap. But there’s just so much goodness on the other side.


Casey McGuire Davidson 1:08:43

Yeah. Awesome. Well, thank you so much, Beth, for coming on. I’ve loved this conversation. And I know so many women are going to resonate with both your story and also find the tools about how to get shame, resilience, and how to move past some of the things they’ve done or experience that are holding them down how to let that kind of slide off their shoulders and be more free.


Yeah, thank you so much for having me. It’s been such a pleasure.


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 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. 


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 Free 30-Day Guide to Quitting Drinking – 30 Tips For Your First Month Alcohol-Free, 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 30-Day Guide To Quitting Drinking right here.


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