• Cait Donovan

Casey Davidson: Alcohol Use, Overwork, and the Societally Accepted Addiction That Feeds Them Both


“Quitting drinking was literally my worst-case scenario in life,” says Casey Davidson. “I desperately loved red wine, and I didn’t want to give it up, but I knew it was an issue,” Casey explains that before she quit drinking, she was consuming more than a bottle of wine a night, seven days a week. She told herself that the wine was a necessity, that it was the only thing helping her cope with her stressful corporate job and being a mother to her two young children. But at a certain point, Casey realized her mental health was at stake, and so she cut wine out for good.


Now, Casey is a Certified Professional Life & Sobriety Coach, host of The Hello Someday Podcast and the creator of the Free Sober Girl’s Guide to Quitting Drinking. Casey specializes in working with busy, successful women who are ready to drink less and live more. She tells listeners that many of her clients come to her saying they want to quit drinking forever….and Casey stops them right in their tracks. Instead of setting a “forever” goal, Casey instead encourages clients to stop drinking for 100 days. This tangible number gives clients the opportunity to create space between themselves and their drinking, so they can better understand how healthy and fulfilled they can feel without alcohol.


Tune into today’s episode of FRIED. The Burnout Podcast for a tough, yet powerful conversation with Casey about alcohol and burnout. Learn about Casey’s own recovery journey, how to expand your social environment to promote sobriety, and the importance of adding sober treats into each and every day regardless of your relationship with alcohol.


Quotes

  • “I feel like burnout and over drinking are really tied together because drinking increases depression and anxiety and feeling like one extra thing is going to break the camel’s back and a lot of people drink as a coping mechanism, not even realizing that when you drink too much you wake up at 3am with crushing anxiety and a racing heart rate and just feeling like complete garbage.” (02:50-03:25)

  • “For so many women and I know for myself, I thought the alcohol was helping me. I thought my bottle of wine at night was my only reward, the thing that was holding me together.” (04:00-04:12)

  • “Alcohol is not the solution and it’s actually preventing you from really taking care of yourself, really setting boundaries, really digging into what your body needs, what your mind needs, what’s not working for you in your life.” (11:12-11:26)

  • “So many women are in this gray area of struggling with alcohol, trying to limit it, trying to moderate it, and nobody talks about it. But, if someone actually decides to take a period away from drinking or to look at their relationship with alcohol, they are a million times ahead of so many women. It is brave, it is something incredible that you’re doing. It’s like deciding to run a marathon.” (36:00-36:28)

  • “In the year I stopped drinking, I made more new friends that I’d made in the decade before.” (44:40-44:45)

  • “In my first month not drinking, I saved $550. In three months, I saved $1,650. And five and a half years later, I’ve saved $36,000 not poisoning my body.” (47:34-47:48)


Links

https://hellosomedaycoaching.com/

https://hellosomedaycoaching.com/podcast/

https://hellosomedaycoaching.com/30-day-sober-guide/


https://www.instagram.com/caseymdavidson/

https://www.linkedin.com/in/caseydavidson/


XOXO,

C


If you know that it’s time to actually DO something about the burnout cycle you’ve been in for too long - book your free consult today: bit.ly/callcait


Podcast production and show notes provided by HiveCast.fm


TRANSCRIPT


TRANSCRIPT


Caitlin Donovan

Hello, fried fans and welcome to season four of fried the burnout podcast. I'm your host Cait Donovan and my mission with fried is to hashtag end burnout culture. On this pod, we end burnout culture by sharing stories of people who have been through it all sharing expert tips from the best in the burnout field, sharing hashtag street from K episodes with my own expertise and some fun research now that I'm a student again, plus sharing actionable steps to help you end burnout starting today. If you're feeling burned out right now and you need personalized guidance, you can book a free breakthrough burnout call with me, you'll find the link Bitly backslash call Kate in the show notes. Also, if you love fried and want to be part of our community, we'd love to have you just head over to Facebook and type in fried the burnout podcast discussion, and click to join our group. It's a place for continued healing deeper conversations and connections with people who just get it. And now for this week's episode. Hello, fried fans and welcome back to another episode of fried the burnout podcast. This week we are going to be talking about bottles of wine and I said bottles plural, lots and lots of wine. And we're talking about lots of bottles of wine because I am here with Casey Davidson, who is a certified professional life coach, the creator of the sober Girl's Guide to quitting drinking. And the host of the Hello Sunday podcast, the podcast for busy women ready to drink less and live more. She's a wife and mom who spent 20 years climbing the corporate ladder, I feel tired just reading that statement while holding on tightly to her love of red wine. And I'm sure there are a couple of people out there that are cheering. As I read that sentence, Casey specializes in working with women with full calendars and overflowing to-do lists who are doing all the things and then coming home and drinking to forget about all the things.


Casey Davidson

Casey, thanks so much for being here. Welcome to the show.


Caitlin Donovan

Oh, thank you, I am so excited to be here. I love the topic of burnout.

And it goes so well with alcohol, to be frank, and we have not talked about it yet on the podcast. And I can't believe that and you and I connected ages ago and somehow we got lost in each other's mixes. I don't know, just because the interwebs sucked away from our information. And then you reached out again recently, and I was like, I cannot believe that we've done 120 or so episodes of fried. And we have not talked about a bottle of red wine that so many of us are hugging at night. And so I was really excited to have this conversation. But as we always start fried, we will start with your burnout story. So I will give you the stage. Take the time and space you need. And we'll use that for the rest of our conversation.


Casey Davidson

Great. Well, I mean, I feel like burnout and overdrinking are really tied together. Because drinking increases depression and anxiety and feeling like one extra thing is going to break the camel's back. And a lot of people drink as a coping mechanism not even realizing that when you drink too much you wake up at 3am with just crushing anxiety and a racing heart rate and you know just feeling like complete garbage. So it's really tied together. And I think that for the longest time, I was at the beginning completely, blissfully unaware of the impact physically and psychologically that drinking was having on me. And later it was really hard to separate right? was it? Was it that I was drinking too much? Was it that I have anxiety and panic issues? Was it that I have depression, or was it just that my life was too busy and it was crushing me? You know, and all those things get mixed up together. And for so many women and I know for myself I thought the alcohol was helping me. I thought my bottle of wine at night was my only reward, the thing that was holding me together. And you know as you said in my intro, I spent 20 years climbing the corporate ladder. I moved between small startups which are stressful in their own particular way. I always worked at technology startups, and then big fortune 500 corporations with their bureaucracy and their deadlines and they're constantly like let's increase your output, output, and cut costs. I was the typical combination of these people pleaser overachievers. So really not wanting to disappoint anyone, especially my boss, I felt any expectation at work of any goal, however unreasonable it was something that was sort of on my shoulders, and I needed to deliver it. And so I was constantly hustling and yet feeling inadequate. So I used to, you know, literally question myself like, Why can everyone else cope with life? Why is this happening to me? What is wrong with me? And at the same time, you know, drinking works for a reason, right? The minute you have a glass of wine, it hits your bloodstream, it's, it's this crazy combination of both a depressant, and a stimulant. And so that sometimes drinking gives you energy, I mean, I used to, I would always drink so I would drink, you know, by the last 10 years or so, which sounds crazy. So by the time I was 30, I would pretty much drink three glasses, four glasses, a bottle of wine and night, my last two years, many days, one bottle wasn't quite enough, I would open the second to have a glass or two. I know that sounds crazy. It is not that unusual. I think you would be surprised how many 1000s and 1000s of women who look like they have it all together, also drank close to a bottle of wine a night or more. It is super common in the corporate world. It's also really common among the mommy wine culture. mothers who drink wine, and you know, depending on your work schedule, it can start earlier and earlier, I somewhat consider myself lucky that I had work and had trouble leaving the office before 6 pm. And then I would rush to get my kids at daycare, and then I would get home because it kind of compressed my drinking time between sort of 6:30 pm and 10 pm when I would fall asleep because I'm using quote marks fall asleep on my couch because life was so stressful, which really was passing out.


Casey Davidson

So you know, at various points in my career, I felt burned out. Like I definitely remember, I always thought it was related to work, but just feeling like anything would break my back. Like anything, any change in expectations, or a deadline or a surprise business trip would be crushing to me because my nerves were so shot. And you know, the first couple times it happened, I was just like, let me go to my psychiatrist. Let me get on medication. I need anti-anxiety meds, I need Ambien to sleep. I'm so stressed out. And I think for a lot of women, you never actually tell your doctor, your therapist, how much you drink. You know, whenever anyone asks the standard answer for any I coach, lots and lots of women, the standard answer is a couple drinks a couple times a week. Now, for many women, that means for drinks seven nights a week or I binge on the weekends, right? I drink all weekend. And then the weekend starts on Thursday and goes through Sunday because everybody likes the Sunday blues because they don't want to go back to work on Monday. And I never told my therapist how much I drank. So you know waking up at 3am Well, obviously, you need to sleep med. Feeling this crushing anxiety and sort of tingling throughout the day. Obviously, you need an anti-anxiety medication. And the last time I quit drinking, so I quit drinking. Five now five and a half years ago was the last time my son was eight, my daughter was two. The first time I decided I needed to stop drinking. My son was five years old. So it was three years before and I went to a therapist because I just felt unable to cope with my life. I particularly chose him because he specialized in anxiety and addiction because I was worried about my drinking. You know quitting drinking was literally my worst-case scenario in life like I desperately loved red wine. And I didn't want to give it up but I knew it was an issue. I mean I would wake up in the morning and say oh god get it together. Why did you drink too much again, I would put on my eyeliner and my eyes were bloodshot and watery. I would constantly wake up a little bit shaky. And yet, nobody knew. I mean my husband would give me that passive-aggressive How are you feeling this morning, or I couldn't wake you up on the couch last night but Even he didn't really say anything at all. You know, he was like, why don't you just have two glasses of wine. But it was just such a part of our relationship. It was such a part of our friend group, that it sort of was the elephant in the room that we could both rationalize and dismiss. Because I was so competent in other areas of my life. So, you know, I was feeling terrible. After I stopped drinking, the first time, I went to my therapist and said, My boss is stressed. My husband doesn't help me enough. I have a five year old, I'm the primary breadwinner. And I drink a bottle of wine at night. And he was like, let's talk about your drinking. And I was like, No, let's talk about all the stress in my life. And he was like, No, no, let's talk about your drinking, which, by the way, is what I say now to women, right? I'm like, Yes, all these issues are real. And your burnout is real. And this is serious things that you were coping with that needs solutions. But alcohol is not the solution. And it's actually preventing you from really taking care of yourself, really setting boundaries, really digging into what your body needs, what your mind needs, what's not working for you in your life. So he encouraged me to stop drinking, I got a ton of research about alcohol, I found these amazing secret Facebook groups filled with women just like me who were also giving up alcohol or struggling with it.


Casey Davidson

I, you know, quit for four or five months. And then I got pregnant with my daughter. And as soon as she was born, I was like, that was situational. I was in a stressful job, I'm better now. I can just drink on a date night with my husband. And over about a month, it was back to every night wine in the house, scaling up to a bottle plus and eight 365 days a year. And that entire time I knew too much, right? They say that recovery or learning about alcohol, learning about your body, observing yourself. It ruins you for drinking. And it does because after that, every 3am wake up, I knew it was the alcohol every time I couldn't remember the shows the night before I knew it was alcohol. Every time my anxiety was off the chart, I knew it was alcohol. And when I finally quit, I never had any big bottom. I never had a DUI, no one actually ever said anything to me. But I was worried about my mental health at the end, like I felt doomed. I felt like I was gonna screw up my marriage and my kids and my physical health and my mental health, and it would be my own fault. And I was like wanting to jump out of my skin. I wanted to run out of the office crying. And so I knew it was the alcohol. So I hired a sober coach that other people had recommended. She was like, let's do 100 days without alcohol, which at the time, I was struggling to go more than four days without grabbing a bottle of wine. And I thought four I'm like, well for days, that's twice a week, way better than seven nights a week. And yet, it was just perpetuating this like alcohol, alcohol withdrawal, you know, detox to retox cycle. So I started working with her and just put together a week and two weeks and 21 days and 30 days and on. And I felt so much better. And the work we did amazingly like removing the alcohol is one small piece of the puzzle. And I know you do this work with women going through burnout with alcohol or not with alcohol. There is so much underneath that is tied to your coping skills, your habits, your triggers, you know how you interact with people, boundaries, self care. So removing the alcohol is extremely hard because it's addictive and it surrounds you everywhere and it's tied to your identity. And then there's all the other stuff that makes you want to drink. And that's the hard work, but it's the good work. That's the stuff that I never did when I was 25 or 30 or 33 with a newborn. And so that's my burnout story. I got to the breaking point. And in retrospect, it was a gift because if I hadn't gotten to that break point, I never would have decided that alcohol wasn't serving me and done all the other good work that helped me feel really healthy. Yeah.


Caitlin Donovan

So the breaking point is interesting that you're talking about because you said, I got to that breaking point. But earlier you said you know, I didn't have any sort of really extreme scenario, which a lot of people do need to get to that extreme scenario. And there's this idea that two of my friends who both have learned hypnosis go to the same school, one of whom is a burnout coach, the other one and they both do functional medicine. They taught me this concept in hypnosis of threshold. And in order to be ready to make a change in your life, the premise is, and the I think the originator of this premise is Mike Mendell, the premise is that you need to reach threshold and threshold is there needs to be a change, it needs to be me, and it needs to be now the, when these three things come together, you can make a change. And sometimes that's made obvious because of an external circumstance. And sometimes it's made obvious because you have this internal tipping point that happens and I think, just for anybody who's listening who's like, I might need to do that someday, but it's not going to be today. Like it's okay if you're not at threshold today. And you don't need to necessarily have a disaster happened to be at threshold, and you don't need to beat yourself up until you get to threshold because you don't really control when threshold happens. It's like one of these phenomena that exists that you kind of sometimes have to wait for, which doesn't mean I'm discouraging people from reaching out if today is the day but there's this like kind of even in the burnout coaching world there's all this like shame on people like you could have called me sooner you could have done this sooner it's like that's not helpful like no you couldn't have called me sooner because you weren't at threshold you weren't ready to make that change at that time. So you felt concerned about all of those things and it brought you to threshold for whatever reason, you know, for because of previous experience because of maybe nobody said anything and but maybe subconsciously a few people gave you some weird looks in the office and you know, and you're like oh, maybe they're thinking they're talking about me or whatever it is, you know, so I just want to put that out there that that threshold matters. And knowledge helps threshold so if you're thinking about it, then getting some books and doing the reading and getting some info will push you toward Thresh towards threshold that's important. But one of the things that you said that I think is really important that I highlighted in your story that you sent over, were these two sentences. I have no emotional reserves or goodwill to handle changes. It feels like every new request will break me that combined with what you said earlier about being a people pleaser overachiever, which I just love the you know, alliteration of that people pleaser overachiever. First of all, it's so burnout. Second of all, it just rolls off the tongue. Your first step was breaking away from alcohol, which automatically increases your emotional reserves. Right? I mean, that that makes a big difference right away. But what happens with the people pleaser, overachiever after the alcohol was gone? Yeah,


Casey Davidson

I mean, that is hard to break out of right? Because that's sort of innately tied to your self worth and how you feel that you get love and acceptance and sort of how you find safety in work or in life. And that's tied to all the child's stuff about what happened, you know, when you were a kid, and how emotionally secure you felt and all that stuff. But my coach really helped me with this. She really did because sort of step by step, challenge by challenge. I actually did phone calls, coaching calls with her. She lived in Paris. I live in Seattle. She's Canadian, but I emailed her every day. So you know, I had a call, I had her on my podcast, and we actually exchanged over the course of two years 800 emails, which is insane. So she knew about my office happy hour, she knew when my boss was tough. She knew when I it sounds stupid, but got a flat tire like all these, you know, Death of 1000 cuts. And the whole way she sort of held my hand and reminded me, you got to lower the bar. It's important to avoid being overwhelmed. You don't need to say yes, how about you put that off. You don't actually We need to drive your daughter to swimming lessons like she's two years old, your son's eight, they don't, you know, if you are going to break over this, suck it up, like don't do it and you pushed me like go back to your doctor asked her medication self-advocate. So all of those things helped me actually let go of some of that people-pleasing over achieving pieces. They helped me realize that I need to take care of myself first. And that by the way, once I stopped drinking, once I get some of those emotional reserves back and actually sleep, I will be so much more productive than I ever was when I was running on fumes. So what I found was when I got further away from how burnt out I was, I was better at my job with less effort. I was just more present. I thought more clearly about all the good stuff. But you kind of needed to slow down to spring forward. Does that make sense?


Caitlin Donovan

Yes. 100% 100%? So was there a point during this? Did it happen during the 100 days? Did it happen after that you were like, Oh, I'm really done with this? Like, I can't go have that life again?


Casey Davidson

Yeah, I mean, I think it's a couple of things. Number one, any woman who comes to me, even if they say, I never want to drink again, right? I'm always like, that's great. I love that, you know that. Put that aside, your goal is 100 days. Because, you know, the truth is that almost no woman who absolutely loves to drink actually wants to stop drinking. I mean, it's incredibly Rick, what you want is to feel better. What you want is to stop worrying about what you said the night before. You want a lot of things, you don't actually want to stop drinking because it really gets a hold of you. And for most drinkers, they surround themselves with other drinkers. They romanticize drinking, they look at the drinking highlights. What if I go to Italy? What if, what about my girls nights, what about my next business trip. So I say don't think about it forever or never again, because it will just trip you up before you get started, you'll go to a restaurant, look at the wine menu, look at the person next to you and be like, Oh my god, I am never going to have that again. And so the crazy thing is you don't actually want to stop drinking, until you get further away from it. Like the poll gets so much less, and you start feeling so much better. And you start to see how much better you function and how crazy it was when you were just waking up. Barely coping with your day, basically holding on till five or 6pm when you can drink again, and then checking out for the rest of the night. You know, while most women are functioning, over-functioning, trying to do it all so that nobody will look too closely with them. So for me, I needed to take it piece by piece. I needed to get to 30 days, and that milestone can trip up a lot of women because they're like, Whoa, I did 30 days, I can just drink again and stop at any time. And then get to 60 days and then get to 80 and 100. And then move the goalposts right. So I got to 100 and I said, Oh my god, I feel so much better. I want to go for six whole months for 180 days and see how good I feel. And this does not happen for all women. But I lost 25 pounds in my first 100 days, which is insane. That does not happen for most people. But suddenly I was running. I was waking up or at 530 I was I did you know, morning boot camp. I ate healthier and I still drink all the milkshakes because I wasn't drinking the wine and ate the burgers. But I was just functioning on such a higher level and sleeping through the night for the first time in years, and was getting so much positive reinforcement that I was just like, oh my god, I was 40 pounds overweight when I stopped drinking. So it really is not about the weight, but it's about how much healthier I was. And so I was just like, if I feel this good at 100 days, I want to see how good I feel at six months. I kept moving the goalposts. It wasn't until I got to a year that I said you know what, I think I'm done. And the other thing that helped me is that I had stopped and started before I mentioned I did four months. So I got to a breaking point, a threshold, I stopped, because I was like, at the end of, you know, my emotional reserves, right? I stopped for four months, got pregnant with my daughter, had her, and then went back to drinking and got to my breaking point again. So it was sort of like, I had burned my hand on that hot stove enough to know where it took me to know it brought me to this really low place where I pretty much felt doomed and hopeless. And so that idea that I could drink sometimes, and it would all be okay. I had kind of disproven that enough to be like, if I go back, I am choosing to go back to that sort of mental health desperation. Yeah.


Caitlin Donovan

Did your husband stop drinking during that time to now?


Casey Davidson

Nope, I did. He's a regular drinker. I actually, you mentioned my podcast, the Hello, Sunday podcast. I just did two episodes with him about what it was like in our marriage when I was drinking and not drinking. And we sort of talked about this a lot. So he is a regular drinker, meaning he has a beer or two every night. But not like me. I mean, I was drinking a bottle or more. So you know, he's the kind of annoying person who likes to open a beer and wanders off to the couch. And it's on the kitchen table. And I'm like, dude, do you want this? Like, for me, that literally would never happen? Like the wine was always close to me. I knew where it was. So


Caitlin Donovan

His habit is opening the beer bottle.


Casey Davidson

Yeah,


Caitlin Donovan

whereas I was finishing the mouth.


Casey Davidson

Yes. like I just, you know, for me, it was always Do I have enough, like that was cut and what is enough, like, I just wanted to get the buzz. But then I kept drinking, because I never wanted it to end that physical feeling, even though it made me feel like absolute garbage. So I did in my first 30 days, I told him, You know, I am doing this, it's really hard for me, I only told him it was a health kick, I did not tell him how worried I was about my drinking, or that I thought I needed to stop and thought it was a problem. But I said, I'm doing this, it's hard for me, you know, I love wine, especially on stressful days. So I need to have no wine in the house. And if you could not drink at home for the first 30 days, that would be huge. So he did that. And went out with his friends to have a beer or whatever. And then after 30 days, he started drinking at home again, but not my beverage of choice, right. And that was okay for me. It was, you know, hard at times. But, you know, I feel like having wine in the house. It's like the elephant in the room. I track it. I know where it is, at every moment and willpower will only last you so long. So it just makes it easier.


Caitlin Donovan

So then what happened to your friend groups and your girl's nights, and you're all of that? Yeah, something that people are really, really worried about. I'm not. I mean, I had my drinking years like in my 20s. But I'm not a big drinker. If I have a cocktail when I'm out, it's like already a deal and we don't really drink at home ever. So I don't have that kind of rhythm. So I hang out with people when I hang out with someone, I'm either making them dinner or we're going for a hike or something like oh yeah, I'll think together like we're doing some sort of activity. So that's how I spend my time with my friends. But almost everybody I know spends time with their friends by drinking. Yeah,


Casey Davidson

Yeah. I mean, I think it depends as you go along. So the first 30 days I really bubbled up, and my life didn't change that much in the very beginning because I had a two year old and an eight-year-old I worked full time. It was also February. So you know, February in Seattle is very dark and rainy. So pretty much I was going to work coming home, doing dinner, and kind of tucking in in my room afterward. Like I'd rock my daughter to sleep I'd listen to some sober podcasts with tips and tricks for quitting drinking and like toolboxes, box suggestions, and then I would go to bed early and wake up in the morning and workout. I didn't know I purposely didn't go to dinner parties. You know, I just was like, oh, not a great night for me. Let's check back in a week or two. And that was pretty good. I needed that bubble of knowledge. being asked if I wanted to drink or not having wine presented to me, because it would have been way too easy to be like, grab that I want to drink. And then you start the whole hard part over again, after 30 days or so I was much stronger. But you know, I did like with my friend group, start, you know, suggesting, hey, let's go to brunch, let's go on a walk. You know, let's go on a bike ride, let's go to yoga, instead of Let's meet for happy hour or at a restaurant or at someone's house, let's go to wine, tasting, anything like that. So you don't need to shift all your friends. But you do need to not put yourself in a situation where you're going to be miserable. Because you know, you want to dive across the table and drink wine, like you don't need to cause yourself that willpower strain. You can do different things with your friends now. And even like, four months later, I could go out to dinner and happy hour and be okay, because I was like, Yeah, I used to drink a lot. I loved it. But I feel so much better. But I like my life better. I like myself better without it. And everybody was like, Oh my God, your skin looks amazing. Look at you, I should run a 10k. Like, you're so healthy. And so I was getting that positive reinforcement even though all my friends drink. They were just like, yeah, I should do that, too. You know, in the same way, we're always like, Oh, yeah, I should work out every morning.


Caitlin Donovan

Yeah, so was there a point where you sat down with your friends? And you're like, Listen, I'm, I'm just not gonna drink when we go out? Or was it more gradual, you weren't drinking when you went out with them. So they just stopped asking.


Casey Davidson

I told everyone that I was doing this 100-day challenge, I was like I am doing a 100-day health kick. And that level of accountability really helped me because, you know, for anyone who's listening to this, alcohol is incredibly bad for you on a million levels. And we're not told that, because nobody wants us to know that. And we don't even want to admit it. Because we know, nobody wants your drug of choice questions. Plus, it is everywhere. But I mean, you know, the American Cancer Society for the first time, in eight years, you know, did not say, a glass of wine for women, or 2x times a week is good, they finally admitted that you should cut it out completely of one's diet because it is one of the most preventable breast cancer risk factors for cancer. And it prevents weight loss, not just because of the calories, but because it's a toxin to your body. And the minute it hits your bloodstream, your body sees it as a poison that wants to get rid of it will not process anything else. And a million other things in terms of anxiety, depression, stress, sleeping, in it is really bad for you. But so I told everyone, it was a health kick. And I was doing 100 days. And that really helped me because sometimes they were like, oh, when you hit your 100 days, we're gonna go out to this wine bar. But 90% of the time, I was like, Oh, I'm still doing my health challenge. I'm on day 22 or on day 45. And it's really hard for someone to say, Oh, God, just, you know, just have a drink when you're like, dude, I'm on day 45 like, I'm halfway there. I'm not going to have a drink tonight. So that accountability really helped me and it also gave me a reason that I wasn't drinking.


Caitlin Donovan

Yeah, and it was accountability and vulnerability at the same time, because you told everybody like, Listen, this is important to me, and I'm doing this thing. Yeah, a lot of people are embarrassed to say,


Casey Davidson

Yeah, and I, I, I wonder why. Because you know, when you tell someone, you're doing a health challenge, versus I think I have an issue with alcohol, or I think I shouldn't drink, right? Those are very different. And one thing that happens is, I noticed that a lot of people were like, Oh, I should do that, too. I probably should cut back. I noticed I've been drinking more like it sort of opens it up is that like, Oh yeah, that's something versus Oh my god, you deserve a glass of wine. But the other thing that happens is, everybody likes to talk about their health kick or what they used to do or that at one point, they did a triathlon seven years ago, right. So you mentioned cutting out alcohol as a health kick, and suddenly they're all talking out there, peloton, right? It shifts the focus off you pretty quickly. So I think it's how you get it straight in your own mind. And whether you see it as a positive, proactive choice you're proud of, versus something that you're like, shame about God, I hope no one thinks worse of me. Because I'm not drinking or think I have a problem.


Caitlin Donovan

Yeah, but it does bring up a lot of shame.


Casey Davidson

Yeah, it does. But one of the things I do as a coach and on my podcast is a shift that to like, you should be incredibly proud of yourself for doing this. This is something that so many people in the population, probably three out of 10, women, maybe more have an issue with drinking, right, the idea that like, I wish I could drink like a normal quote-unquote, person, it is very rare for someone literally to be able to take or leave alcohol. And so many women are in this great area of struggling with alcohol, trying to limit it, trying to moderate it, and nobody talks about it. But if someone actually decides to take a period away from drinking, or to look at their relationship with alcohol, they are like a million times ahead of so many women, it is brave. It is something incredible that you're doing. It's like deciding to run a marathon, you know, everyone in their mother puts that sticker on their carb 26.2 if they ever do that. So I mean, part of this is you should be proud of even thinking about it. You should also be proud of four days, 10 days, 21 days, those are the hardest ones you're ever going to do. And the benefits are just exponential.


Caitlin Donovan

Yeah. So one of the things that I just learned recently, I was just looking down at my phone cuz I was trying to find the woman's name. I was listening to the Huberman Lab podcast. And because I love him, I love everything he does. And he had Dr. Anna Lemke on and she just wrote a book about the whole world being flushed by dopamine because of our phones, and how that's sort of like really fucking with us, basically. And one of the things that she said, and this is because she's an addiction specialist, that's, she's treated addiction for, you know, 30 years, 35 years. And she said that there's this amazing reconnection that happens in your brain. When you're truthful about something. When you stop and say, when you say out loud, listen, I'm doing this health kick, alcohol is a part of it. Even if you're not telling people the whole story, I'm really worried but the background just saying those things out loud actually changes your brain chemistry in the way that your brain talks to itself and makes it easier for you to stay on that like you were talking about how motivation you know, and willpower sort of decline it's related to decision fatigue it's related to your prefrontal cortex well in addiction the front of your brain and your animal brain they don't connect very well there they don't they're not having a great conversation and truth-telling is one of the ways to reconnect to them. So there's an interesting I think piece of just sort of making sure you're saying out loud doesn't again doesn't have to be the whole story. But making sure you're saying out loud Listen, this is something that I'm doing. This is important to me and then wherever people take it people take it but you saying it out loud actually physically helps makes the whole process easier for you which I just think is fascinating.


Casey Davidson

Yeah, I mean I completely agree that accountability is important right? It is very hard to just quote-unquote Try not to drink when alcohol is around you when everybody is used to you drinking like I drank every night of the week so like for me to go to a dinner party a bar a gathering, and not drink like there was no one who was going to not notice like they were like, you're pregnant, or I don't know what there was no other option. So I needed to say something. It wasn't going to fly under the radar with the people I hung out with. But I you know, very similarly I'm a huge fan in the habit approach to alcohol. Meaning that it is a learned habit with dopamine as the reward, right? It's a conditioned response, both from the physical properties of alcohol which set you into withdrawal but just habitual to wanting to consume it more and more often. And with behavior change. One of the most powerful ways to change your behavior is to adopt the new behavior as an identity-based habit. Like, James clear writes about this so clearly in atomic habits, so, you know, just by telling people you're not drinking for this period of time, you are basically casting a vote for your identity as a non-drinker, as someone who doesn't need to drink to have a good time to cope to, to move through life in the evenings. And so every time you do something like you're stressed out, and you go for a walk, instead of opening the bottle of wine, or instead of getting fuzzy on the couch, you go up to your bedroom, and, you know, put on an essential oil diffuser and, and, you know, read something on your book on your Kindle, you are casting a vote for your new identity as a healthy person who does healthy things. And it builds up over time and sort of wasting that and being open and honest about that is incredibly important.


Caitlin Donovan

Do you think that that's why I'm to think that this is making me think of is like, people that go keto, or go vegan, and they're like, I'm a vegan, and I do keto, like, I wonder if the reason that it's so proclaimed, is because that sense of identity really makes the whole thing? Yeah, easier.


Casey Davidson

Yeah. And one of the things that James clear also talks about is your, your physical environment, meaning, don't have your beverage of choice, staring you in the face on your kitchen counter, right, it's like trying to grow upstream versus putting your canoe in the river going the direction you want to go, it's so much easier. So they're setting up your physical environment for success and not self-sabotage. There's also expanding your social environment. So this is why working with a coach or joining, you know, groups of people who want to go alcohol-free, or are alcohol-free, is so important, because then the behavior that you're trying to adopt is the behavior that is celebrated and reinforced. So you know, and then you get to do the habit stacking aspect of it. So it's like when people who, you know, go go to CrossFit, right, they join a CrossFit group, and suddenly they're also going keto, and talking about XYZ and doing all these things. It's because they're surrounding themselves with people who constantly are like, Oh, I'm doing that too good for you. I got X number of workouts in a week. And it's really important to add to your social circle, people who are encouraging the new behavior you want versus the people being like that's why not Are you done yet? You know, all that kind of thing. Because you do deserve that. That positive hit of approval and encouragement as you go through that.


Caitlin Donovan

Yeah. So you said earlier that you didn't really like lose friends because you shifted the things that you were inviting people to do. And but did you gain? Did you lose some friends? And did you gain some friends?


Casey Davidson

I think you know, I had a very core group of friends that I've had for like 15 years, and we were all in the mommy wine culture, but they were also incredibly good friends, so I did not lose them. Although, you know, I used to be the queen of arranging wine tasting weekends, you know, in the area and renting an Airbnb for five of our friends did not do that anymore. I did find that like so for example, with work people. We used to go out to drink a lot. And I definitely was like, I don't really like hanging out with you that much. Like it was sort of like there were some toxic people in there. There was a lot of gossiping, and I was just like, yeah, you know, I remember very clearly telling my husband like, I don't even like hanging out with these people that much it works so I don't know why go out after work to hang out with them and not drink while they're all drinking. So there definitely were, you know, people and things that the question that I had to ask myself is, is it not fun? Because you're not drinking? Or is it just not fun? And you were drinking to make it fun? tolerable, make it fun, and so you definitely cut out that piece of it. The other thing that happened, which I was incredibly surprised at is that in the year I stopped drinking, I made more new friends than I'd made in the decade before, which is weird be for someone who always if someone else didn't drink like I just didn't think they were that interesting. You know what I mean? Like I had a friend who didn't Drink best friends with, with my, my son's best friend. And she was very nice. She also was a working mom, they live near me. And they'd invite us over for dinner.


And I'd be like, I mean, I'd occasionally go, but they didn't drink, you know, for whatever reasons, not because they used to and didn't stop. They just had a healthy, lifestyle, whatever decision they didn't drink, and I was like, Oh my god, I'm going to sit through dinner and not have wine. And so, my world, the people that I found interesting, expanded. I also vividly remember, in early, you know, the early days, like, say, my first 30 days, I was driving across the bridge to Seattle at seven in the morning. And it was a gorgeous, sunny day. And there were just teams of people biking and running across this bridge on this lake in the sunshine. And I was like, Oh my god, do they do this every weekend? Like, there is an entire universe of people out here that I have not experienced because I'm like, you know, basically like, not up or telling my daughter like, Don't jump mommy doesn't feel so good. Like not making it to 10am Yoga. And so I you know, like I said, I trained for 10k I did the you know, this mindful wander less mindful triathlon, where you did, you know, a 5k. And the triathlon was meditation and yoga, and a dance party, in this incredible field with like, hundreds of women. And like, there was just my universe open so much, where I realized that drinking actually made my world very, very small. You know, the people I drank with me on the couch, having a party by myself on a Tuesday, you know, the same restaurants, the same bars, like, it was not a very big world now that I look back on it.


Caitlin Donovan

And I'm thinking restaurants and bars, like, Did you ever think about how much money you saved?


Casey Davidson

Oh, my God, my husband is like you are the cheapest date. And we've been together since we were 23. And you know, it was a very expensive date. But I actually have an app, one of my favorite things, it's called, I've done drinking, and you go in there, and you plug in a sort of what you drank, how much it cost, you know, drinks per week, whatever. So in my first month, not drinking, I saved $550. In three months, I saved 1650. And five and a half years later, I've saved $36,000 not poisoning my body. Whole wish


Caitlin Donovan

I was expecting the number to be, significant, but you just said $36,000 that's an entire year of undergrad for your children. Yeah.


Casey Davidson

I mean, it's and you know, trust me, I've spent on other things, not all of it. But you know, I've spent it on yoga retreats, and I've spent it on trips to Greece and Amsterdam and Croatia, and, you know, therapy and acupuncture-like good things. And you know now like I went to Venice, when I was four months sober, which was hard, but incredible, but Italy is not drinking red wine for a girl. You know, I plan the trip before I quit drinking. But instead of doing my wine crawls throughout the country, I bought myself the most incredible jewelry like Venetian glass over the top because I was like, I had my app of all how much money I was saving. And so I spent the money on jewelry. I did ice cream, you know, gelato crawls throughout Italy with my eight-year-old son because I used to always save my calories for wine. And so I just thought I was the coolest mom ever. He was like you're awesome. I woke up at seven in the morning where I usually would be pretty hung over. And I love photography. I got up and I walked through Venice when it was just so quiet and only the locals were up and took these incredible photographs of you know, the canals and the buildings with no tourists around. So there were so many benefits to making this change. And honestly, you just need to look for them. You just need to be like this is because I stopped drinking to do this.


Caitlin Donovan

I'm just gonna go backward for about two and a half minutes and say $36,000 Yes. Yeah, that's 7000 $1,000 a year is a lot of money, right?


Casey Davidson

I'm telling you $550 a month. And so one of the things I recommend to women is to when you stop drinking, take that money, or some portion of it and invest it in what I call sober treats you in the beginning, need a sober treat every single day for not drinking, because your brain will tell you, when you stop drinking, this is deprivation. I have nothing good wine was my only treat at the end of a long day when I worked. And when I deal with the kids and I handle the schedule, and I do all the things. And the truth is that there is a universe of incredible things out there that are not in a bottle that'll give you a headache, and you just haven't been looking for them. So, you know, Friday nights, I would schedule a massage and get takeout sushi. I would go for a walk to Starbucks and you sit in the sunshine for an extra 30 minutes where I used to rush back to my desk and work at my desk. I mean, you need to actually plan things that will make you happy every single day.


Caitlin Donovan

I think that's a good piece of advice for life in general, for burnout, recovery in general. Add pleasure and joy every single day. Yeah, every day. Yeah, I love that.


Casey Davidson

I think it's so important because you're not meant to put your head down and you know, no stare and stone and basically grit your teeth through a decade of your life.


Caitlin Donovan

Or more or more. I love that. So if there's somebody that's just listened to this and is like, Oh shit, I just reached the threshold. How do they find you?


Casey Davidson

Yeah, well, you know, you can find me at hello, someday coaching.com, or the Hello someday podcast, which is a podcast all about tools to take a break from alcohol mindset shifts, also on anxiety and coping tools, and people-pleasing. And Caitlin's coming to talk about burnout, which I'm so excited about. Because it's such an important topic. So hello, someday coaching, calm, the Hello Sunday podcast. And I have a free guide with 30 tips for your first 30 days of going without alcohol literally, step by step what you should expect on day four and day seven and free resources that you can tap into that you may not be aware of to help you on this journey.


Caitlin Donovan

I think that is so fabulous. And I'm so grateful to have had this conversation. I'm so glad that you brought it up again, even though we connected, disconnected and reconnected because I really think that this is an important conversation. And it's not something that really came into my thought process because it's not part of my world, either. Instead, during this entire conversation, I substituted sugar for the word alcohol. And so now you have me thinking about, you know, maybe I'm close to the threshold there.


Casey Davidson

Yeah, I mean, it's the other thing I would say. And I absolutely love the concept of threshold, and I do agree with it. Just don't if you feel like alcohol is an issue for you. If you are, you know, making rules for yourself telling yourself you'll only have two drinks or you'll switch what you're drinking so you won't consume as much or trying to limit yourself to certain days of the week and aren't able to keep sort of going over it. Just try an experiment for an extended period of time without alcohol. And don't ask yourself like, is this bad enough to quit? But rather ask yourself, is this good enough to keep going? Am I happy enough with my life and the way I'm functioning and my overall level of joy to keep doing this? Because like, the wine will always be there, right? You take three months off, it's not like the wind is going to go away. And you're never going to have the opportunity again like it's there. But you know, for me, I drank for 20 years other than when I was pregnant, really consistently so I literally knew what my life looked like when I was drinking every season. Every weekend. I knew the highs, the drinking highlights, and the lows, right which the lows increasingly were like 70-80% of my life. And the highs were 20 to 30%. But I did not know who I would be, what my life would be like, how I would feel about my habits, my friendships if I took a period of time without drinking. And so if any of this is speaking to you, you don't have to decide that you have a problem with drinking or that you're an alcoholic. Like I don't call myself an alcoholic. That word is not required. You simply have to decide that the way things are going isn't good enough like the drawbacks outweigh the benefits and do an experiment.


Caitlin Donovan

I think doing an experiment is a great idea and using your guide will make that possible. All right, well, fried fans, serious topic today. And I know that there are people out there that are sweating right now, possibly having night sweats at 3am because you drank too much last night. And also just a weird side note, 3am is liver time in Chinese medicine. So it's really normal to wake up at that time when you're drinking. So I read you said that a few times. And I kept thinking to myself, Oh, liver time liver.


Casey Davidson

I did not know that. I just said Wow. Okay, that is fascinating.


Caitlin Donovan

It's funny, right? Its liver, liver time is between one and three. So it's really common to wake up during this time. If you're drinking and have slight night sweats, a little bit of a headache a little you know, kind of all of this stuff. It's when your liver is supposed to be detoxing you from a normal, healthy day. And it's overworked because it's got all this stuff to do with all this extra work to do so. It's just an interesting little like, that's fascinating, interesting little attachment. But I'm so grateful for you. I'm so glad that you were here. I can't wait to talk to you again. And I think that wraps us up for the day. Awesome.


Casey Davidson

Thank you so much.


Caitlin Donovan

Alright, everybody. Until next time,



60 views0 comments