Today author and therapist Amanda E. White joins me on the pod! Amanda is the author of the must-read book “Not Drinking Tonight: A Guide to Creating a Sober Life You Love”, and she is a fountain of knowledge on how to navigate your sober lifestyle.
Tune in for a wide ranging chat on the hell that is moderation, the fallacy of the ‘normal’ drinker, and the people that AA leaves behind. Plus, get Amanda’s great tips for how to navigate your relationship if your partner is still drinking.
Get your copy of “Not Drinking Tonight” here! (Affiliate links)
Also, check out the fantastic “Not Drinking Tonight” workbook:
Connect with Amanda on Instagram at @therapyforwomen.
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Speaker 1 (00:04):
Hi, welcome to the Sober Mom Life podcast. I’m your host Suzanne of my kind of suite and the sober mom life on Instagram. If you are a mama who has questioned your relationship with alcohol at times, if you’re wondering if maybe it’s making motherhood harder, this is for you. I will be having candid, honest, funny conversations with other moms who have also thought, Hmm, maybe motherhood is better without alcohol. Is it possible? We’ll chat and we’ll talk about all things sobriety and how we’ve found freedom in sobriety. I don’t consider myself an alcoholic. You don’t have to either. And maybe life is brighter without alcohol. I hope you will join us on this journey, and I’m so excited to get started.
Hi guys. This is probably the sixth time I have tried to record this intro. Can we just normalize, like screwing up over and over and over and just continuing to try again? I mean, I had mic issues and then it wasn’t plugged in, and then my mic was muted, and then I just couldn’t get my words out and then I was like, coughing. It’s just been a shit show. So let’s just normalize the shit show. You are hearing the polished, edited version, but just know behind the scenes it is not that. Um, but thank you for coming back to the podcast. If you are trying out dry January for the first time or trying to figure out this sober lifestyle and what it is, and if it’s for you, go back and listen to last week’s episode. That is a, a kind of a guide to dry January.
I give my tips and tricks and maybe a way that will even change your perspective on it. And then we’ll revisit. I’ll do another solo episode at the end of the month and talk about kind of how to think about your relationship with alcohol going forward after dry January. If you were just here just listening for Dry January, we’ll talk through that too. But today, I’m so excited. I have Amanda E. White here today. She’s the author of Not Drinking Tonight, A Guide to Creating a Sober Life You Love. She’s also a licensed therapist and she runs the popular Instagram account Therapy for Women. If you have not checked it out, do so immediately. I love following her. She shares really great practical mental health tips that are geared for women. And I don’t know about you guys, but especially after The Pandemic, I think that we need focus on mental health now more than ever.
I loved this conversation. I love how Amanda talks about sobriety. She’s sober herself and she shares a little bit bit about her story. We also talk about her book, and I highly recommend this book, if you Like, this Naked Mind by Annie Grace, and that kind of helped you change how you think about alcohol in the knowledge problem way. If you had a knowledge problem about alcohol, this is a great book to follow that up with because I think that this book helps us deal with what we’re left when we say, okay, alcohol is shit. It’s, it’s ethanol. It will ruin everything. And now I see it for what it is. But there are still big gaps in our lives when alcohol is gone and we need to learn how to cope and feel and be uncomfortable, set boundaries, all of these things that we probably have never had to deal with because we just were drinking and we didn’t even realize how we were using alcohol to cope.
So I just love this book so much. I think it’s, it should be required reading for anyone who is starting off on a, on a path to sobriety because it’s so much about our mental health, and that’s really what sobriety brings up in us, is ways that we need to cope. Because our old ways, guys, they, that just wasn’t working anymore. Go follow her therapy for women. So she’s also a founder and director of Therapy for Women’s Center, a group practice in Philadelphia with therapists across the country. She’s been featured in the Washington Post Forbes Shape, women’s Health Magazine and more. I adore her. She’s just so relatable and kind, and she really speaks about sobriety in such a positive and encouraging way. I think you guys will really enjoy her. And before that, I wanna tell you about, so make sure that you are in our sober Mom life group on Facebook, you guys, we are up to like over 5,000 moms and it remains the most supportive and kindest place.
I’ve never been in a group of women that large and seen this much support and like there’s no, there’s no bullshit in there. And if there is, I delete it and I block the person. So I really take pride in making sure that space remains super supportive for you and for everyone who’s in it. So if you are seeking community and sobriety, that is one of the things that is of the utmost importance. And I know it can be hard to find, especially at first. Go there, come and join us. We also have a free zoom meeting every Tuesday at 11:00 AM central time. My mom and I host it. It’s just, it’s just whoever wants to be there. If you wanna talk, you can. You don’t have to turn on your camera, you can just sit and listen. And it’s really just us supporting each other.
It’s sharing, it’s sharing accomplishments and successes, but also sharing struggles. And I, oh man, you guys, I love it. And I l Tuesdays can be a blah day. I don’t know why. I love a Monday. I love a new week, but then by Tuesday I’m like, oh, right, we’re really in this now. We’re really in the week now. And so Tuesday at 11 is just a perfect time for me and I, ugh, you guys, I love it. So you get to that through the group and then also come and follow me. So I’ve decided, starting in the new year, I’m going to start sharing more of the sobriety kind of lifestyle and health and wellness lifestyle on my kind of suite. That is where I started the sober mom life on Instagram is still there. And that will support the podcast. And that will, it will still be all of all sobriety, but if you want to dig deeper into sobriety in health and wellness and okay, alcohol is gone.
Now what? That’s where my kind of suite is gonna meet you. And so be sure to follow me on there too. What else guys? I had one more. Oh, that’s right, Patreon. So I’ve kept this space ad free, which is really important to me, but in order to keep it going and keep the lights on over here, I created a Patreon. And that is bonus content. So we have mental health moments with my mom. There’s at least one bonus episode a week. You also get to see the video episodes of each podcast episode. So you, and they’re unedited. So you get to see when my dog comes in and when my five-year-old comes in and you get to see what we edit out. So come and join. The lowest here is $5 that will give you the bonus episodes and all of the bonus content. So come and join us over there. And I think that’s it guys. I think that’s my spiel. So I really hope you love this episode. I know I do. I will be listening to it a few times because Amanda just, she has gems and I love the way she talks about sobriety. So, okay guys, enjoy Amanda E. White.
Hi Amanda. I am so glad to meet you on the screen. Finally. Yes, in real time. <laugh>. Yes, in real time. Thank you so much for being here. I have been wanting to talk to you since your book came out. I didn’t even have a podcast then, so I didn’t even know how that would be possible. But I clearly remember. So your book Not Drinking Tonight, A Guide to Creating a Sober Life You Love. I clearly remember, I think I pre-ordered it like I was, I was first in line, I was ready. So I think I had been, did it come out last January? Yes. Okay. Exactly. Okay. So I had probably two years of sobriety under my belt. I devoured mm-hmm. <affirmative> all of the quit lit that was out and ever published. And then there was a stall in there where there wasn’t a lot new happening. And when yours came out, you’re a therapist first of all. And yeah, so I really think of your book. We’re just gonna dive right into it because I think of your book as, yeah, picking Up where This Naked Mind left Off. So I love this Naked Mind and I, I loved kind of the unbrainwashing and the, if it’s a knowledge problem, if we don’t know what alcohol is and what it does to us, this Naked mind clears that all up. But then what’s left?
Speaker 2 (09:35):
Speaker 1 (09:36):
And I really think your book is the place to go when you’re in sobriety and you’re like, okay, I get it. I get it. Alcohol is shit. It’s a highly addictive toxin. It’s horrible. And the more we drink it, the more we want it and all of that shit. But then also, okay, I can know that, but then what’s underneath that? And your book for me was huge in that, in answering and helping me answer that.
Speaker 2 (10:00):
Oh, thank you.
Speaker 1 (10:01):
Speaker 2 (10:02):
Thank you. That’s, that’s such a compliment. That was exactly my goal of how do I meet people wherever they are on the spectrum and provide value for them. That was where I saw there was a gap in the market that I felt like, you know, there are a lot of books written, there are a lot of memoirs, there’s, you know, Annie Grace’s book, but most of the books written by therapists are very technical and only focused on addiction. And they don’t talk to kind of, you know, someone who is just questioning the relationship with alcohol or maybe doesn’t fit criteria or call themselves an alcoholic.
Speaker 1 (10:39):
Yeah, exactly. And I think that that’s most people I know just from the people that the moms that I talk to on here and thousands in my Facebook group, like we are the word, the term alcoholic scares us. I think for me, the term alcoholic kept me drinking and kept me in the loop with alcohol. And I know, so in your book, you go into your story a little bit and your story really resonated with me in that you are in that moderation. Hell yes. I mean, is there a hell, like trying to moderate alcohol, like I think that is the fresh hell on Earth
Speaker 2 (11:21):
<laugh>. I totally agree. It’s, you know, some people are, I guess some people, you know, I have some clients who it, it does work for them, but I think for most people it is hell, it’s exhausting. Okay.
Speaker 1 (11:33):
Does it really tell me? Yeah, yeah, yeah. Tell
Speaker 2 (11:37):
Me. I think it works for them in the sense of they’ve decided that it’s worth it for them. You know? I think that it still is difficult for them to do. I think it’s, I think it only really works if someone genuinely gives up the idea that, that they’ll be able to get drunk. Because once you lose control, you’ve lost all control <laugh>. So I think that’s a big misconception that people have to give up. Like, you gotta, you gotta really, like the, the taste of alcohol. You’ve gotta decide that you will use a lot of willpower and you also have to be fine with just like having one or two drinks and, and that’s it. And I think for most of us, if we drink more than that, right? There was a reason
Speaker 1 (12:22):
<laugh>, right? So you go into your moderation story in the book and all of the rules that you set because Mo that’s what it is, right? It’s like, yes. Trying to control this very hard to control highly addictive substance. So yeah, you’re kind of set up for failure right there. So what are, what were some of your rules? I, I totally resonated with that cuz there are so many rules.
Speaker 2 (12:45):
Yes, yes. Some of mine were, um, I, I did a lot of thinking that the type of alcohol was the problem. You know, like I wasn’t, I was gonna only drink beer cause I didn’t like beer <laugh>, I was gonna only, you know, I wasn’t gonna take shots. I wasn’t gonna drink liquor. I was only gonna drink wine for a while. I had this really crazy rule where I was only gonna drink shots, which I thought would be helpful in measuring somehow <laugh>, I went <laugh>,
Speaker 1 (13:15):
I went through that too. I went through that in college. I was like, okay, we’re just gonna do only shot Wednesdays. Yeah. On Wednesdays. Like, we’re gonna see how this plays out. It’s like, of course I, we know how that played out. Yeah. I mean <laugh>.
Speaker 2 (13:28):
Exactly. Exactly. None of it worked.
Speaker 1 (13:30):
Yeah. And so when did you get to the point where you, like, what made you realize, okay, wait, this might be a losing game. One thing you mentioned was that you lost a sentimental piece of jewelry.
Speaker 2 (13:44):
Speaker 1 (13:45):
And that for me, I, I lost, I mean, and I didn’t stop drinking right after this, but I lost a necklace that my grandma gave me that was hers. And it was my most prized, I I still think about it in my heartbreaks 12 years later. Yeah. And losing that, there was so much shame and guilt or I had around losing that mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And so when you said that you lost a piece of jewelry, I was like, oh my god. Yeah,
Speaker 2 (14:13):
Yeah, yeah. I mean, and I didn’t stop drinking after that, that either, and that’s where I think the whole idea of rock bottoms can really hurt people because you have to time it perfectly, right. Where you hit this rock bottom and then immediately you stopped drinking and Right. There were many rock bottoms that I had and it just, you know, it happened that one of them I decided to stop drinking. But yeah, for me it was really, I was in therapy at the time and I thankfully had a really, really great therapist who was really great about, you know, like subtly pushing me and, and showing me things, but also not pressuring me or telling me I had to call myself an alcoholic. And one of the things she had me experiment with was, she was like, cuz I also, I wasn’t drinking every day, so I had a lot of excuses of why I wasn’t, you know, I didn’t have a problem. And she was like, well, why don’t you take 30 days and try not to drink for 30 days? And I was like, I can easily do that. And, you know, like, I’m gonna show you,
Speaker 1 (15:19):
You’re like, done.
Speaker 2 (15:20):
Exactly <laugh>. And I like completely fudged it where I was like, well, this weekend leading up to it doesn’t count. And this is like the 4th of July, so that doesn’t count. And like the last
Speaker 1 (15:34):
Yeah. Obviously that’s off the table.
Speaker 2 (15:36):
Right. And, you know, through kind of the process of, of doing all of that, that was a big thing in me realizing how hard it was for me to control my drinking or not even be able to take a break for 30 days. And how hard it, like, the fact that I had to, I was like, well, I can take a break from alcohol, but I can’t do anything. I, there can’t be a holiday and there can’t be a social event planned. I can’t go on a date, I can’t see any friends. I
Speaker 1 (16:07):
Just like in a vacuum, I’m fine. Yes.
Speaker 2 (16:09):
Yes. Exactly. And I really thought, well that makes sense <laugh>, you know.
Speaker 1 (16:15):
Right, right. It’s not gonna be fun, but I’m gonna do it.
Speaker 2 (16:18):
Right, exactly. And through that, you know, I kind of, some of the denial started, I think to shed. And the other big thing that I really worked on with my therapist that made a big difference for me was we were doing a lot of values work. She was having me, you know, look at what my values were, what was important to me. And one of those big things was friendship. And it was really hard because then I would get drunk and I would just get into these terrible fights with people, or I would say that I wanted to mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you know, not sleep with people on the first date. And then I, that would totally go out the window when I drank. And I really had Yeah. No control. And it felt so disorienting to be like, well, these are my values. This is what I want out of my life, but the second I drink I can’t control it and I become a different person and this is killing my self-esteem.
Speaker 1 (17:11):
Yes. Yeah. And your idea of who you are, I, I always think that that’s why moderation for me was so hard. It wasn’t this, it wasn’t this giant rock bottom where I lost everything and there were DUIs and I cheated. It wasn’t that, it was a slow chipping away at who I thought I was and who I really was and in my heart and what I was doing. And when those didn’t add up and those didn’t line up, it was so much shame. It was just, and then the shame spiral starts and then that is just, ugh. And I think every woman listening to this knows that feeling. And I don’t think there’s a worse feeling.
Speaker 2 (17:58):
I totally agree. I, the shame kept me stuck for so, so long. And it, you know, the shame became something, it was like, I, I drank because I needed to escape the feeling of shame, but then I would do things when I drank, which then caused more shame. So it just was this vicious cycle.
Speaker 1 (18:18):
Yeah. And I think where we sit and like where I sit and when I hear from women and when I hear from moms and they’re talking about, they’re most shameful moments as moms, whether that’s their kids seeing them drink or their kids holding their hair as they’re throwing up, or just these deeply just shameful moments. It’s, it’s so clear to me that it’s the alcohol <laugh>. It’s just so clear when you hear somebody’s story, even when you were telling me your story and it’s just so clear to me, it, if not for the alcohol, then that wouldn’t happen. And so then it’s just clear, okay, alcohol is the problem, but when it’s our story and when it’s our life and we’re, it’s, it feels like we are the problem. Like there’s a problem with us and we, it takes so much longer to connect the dots to alcohol or it did for me.
Speaker 2 (19:20):
No, I totally agree. I think there is something about when it’s happening to you and, you know, alcohol is weird where you do feel like you’re in control until you’re not. And I think there’s also like this misconception with society, right? That like when you get drunk or you loosen your expectations and stuff, you are your real self that I think they’re, it can perpetuate this fear, right? That this is who I really am. Like that idea that like, do you wanna know the truth? Ask someone when they’re drunk or something like that where
Speaker 1 (19:53):
Yes. Like a truth serum or some bullshit. I
Speaker 2 (19:55):
Like lied and said ridiculous things when I was drunk that I did not mean at
Speaker 1 (20:00):
All. I, oh my God, I slept with men, I would never have slept this. Yes. That, that is not my truth. <laugh>. Yeah. That is not my truth. Yeah. And it’s all this shameful stuff and it’s all I, that’s what I love about your book is it kind of opens up this space to, even if you’re not, even if sobriety isn’t the goal mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you’re just giving women a space to question it and to examine it. Because I think this, when you have an unexamined relationship with alcohol, then you are giving up control. Yeah. Then y then you’re, you’re not even in the equation anymore cuz alcohol will, it’ll take over if you let it, it’ll take
Speaker 2 (20:47):
Over. Yeah, absolutely. And I think that, you know, it’s interesting as a therapist, because I can talk about so many different things with people. We examine their relationship with their partners, with their kids, with their families, with sleeping, with eating, with exercise. Right. And when it comes to alcohol, it is just so often a hard stop of I’m not an alcoholic. And it’s like, in our society, we’ve decided you either are an alcoholic or you should never question your relationship with alcohol. We don’t do that with anything else.
Speaker 1 (21:24):
I know. And that’s so, it’s, oh, it’s so, it’s just so harmful because you see so many women struggling with that and then they think that something’s wrong with them. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And I’m here to tell you, nothing’s wrong with you. Nothing’s wrong with you. Yeah. If you can’t handle a highly addictive toxin, that’s you guys. That’s just science, that’s chemistry. Absolutely. That’s biology. I don’t know much about science, but I’m pretty sure that’s what that is. <laugh>. And so,
Speaker 2 (21:55):
Well, same with like cigarettes. Yes. If you look right, like yes, there are those random people who can like, have a cigarette once in a while, <laugh>, but
Speaker 1 (22:03):
Speaker 2 (22:04):
Most people become smokers. <laugh>. Okay.
Speaker 1 (22:06):
Exactly. And so this is, this is what I’ve been thinking a lot about lately is this idea of a normal drinker and like, well, I wish I could just drink normally. And what I’m seeing, and I wonder if you see this too, is if we talk about normal as typical and what most people are doing, in my eyes, a normal drinker is one who is, has questioned her relationship with alcohol, has struggled with it, has taken a break, has drank too much, has maybe blacked out, has gotten drunk. Ha has this really toured relationship with alcohol. Like that is normal.
Speaker 2 (22:42):
Yeah. I would say the same. I mean, I don’t know if everyone questions it, but I think that there, yes, there is.
Speaker 1 (22:50):
Do you think they do deep down? Do you think that
Speaker 2 (22:55):
I think sometimes.
Speaker 1 (22:57):
Yeah. What do you think about as a therapist? Yeah,
Speaker 2 (23:00):
<laugh>, I mean, denial. Denial runs deep. So yes, while I think there is some questioning that happens, I don’t think you would ever know that. Maybe yes. Because it’s not something they say out loud or share with someone else or even really admit to themselves.
Speaker 1 (23:19):
Right. Which then just furthers the stigma of, see she’s not questioning it. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> when really probably like in her innermost self, when she has drank too much, I think there is a little questioning that’s happening.
Speaker 2 (23:37):
I think that, I mean, yeah, I think there wouldn’t be this idea of someone being a f like a lot of times Right. Like when you tell someone you’re not drinking, people fear, you’re judging them. Yes. And I think that wouldn’t happen if someone was a hundred percent secure in their relationship with alcohol.
Speaker 1 (23:55):
So true. So true. And that’s such an important thing to remember, especially, you know, just with women when we are and, and with moms when we want to belong, we want to connect and yeah. When someone’s kind of pushing you and like, okay, why aren’t you drinking? Why aren’t you drinking? What, what do you say to that? I mean, you have been sober for a long time.
Speaker 2 (24:19):
Yeah, it’s been eight, eight years now. Um, wow. So yeah, it’s been, you know, different points of my life. And at this point a lot of people know that I don’t drink. Yeah. It depends on the person, it depends on the circumstance. But I often am kind of a fan of just keeping it pretty simple and saying I don’t drink anymore. It didn’t like work well with my personality. It, it just wasn’t something, you know, it just like stopped being fun and I couldn’t do it in a way that felt good for me.
Speaker 1 (24:50):
Speaker 2 (24:52):
So, yeah, I mean, definitely earlier in my life and things like that, I would be, you know, I called myself an alcoholic for a bit when I was trying to figure out the right thing to do and I felt like I had to. Yeah. Um, and it wasn’t until four or five years into my sobriety that I felt like I was allowed to not, and I was allowed to Yeah. Admit that maybe I wouldn’t die <laugh> if I kept drinking <laugh>. Right. That maybe it’s just that I didn’t like the consequences and it didn’t work in my life.
Speaker 1 (25:24):
Yeah. And this term, alcoholic, you talk about that a lot in your book and how you don’t consider yourself an alcoholic. And actually that’s not even a part of the, my mom’s a therapist and she would the dsm, is that what it’s called? The dsm? Yeah. Okay. That, that’s not even a thing. Right,
Speaker 2 (25:42):
Exactly. No. When I was doing research for my book, I was like, is there even an agreed upon term for this? And I, I had a lot of research that probably wasn’t super interesting to everyone. So some of my editors cut it out of the book, but I had this whole thing like charting the difference in the term and stuff. And there is no agreed upon definition, different countries and organizations say different things. It’s not in the D s m it hasn’t been since the first edition came out when they thought it was like a moral disease.
Speaker 1 (26:17):
So this, when was that a moral disease? Ugh. When
Speaker 2 (26:21):
Was that? In like the fir the one of the first editions of the D S M, which I think came out in like the early 19 hundreds.
Speaker 1 (26:28):
Oh, okay. A long time ago. Long
Speaker 2 (26:30):
Time ago. Yeah.
Speaker 1 (26:31):
Yeah. Yeah. My god. Wow. And so it’s really, I mean, it is that AA has capitalized on this market and it’s either you’re, you’re sober.
Speaker 2 (26:40):
Well, AA came first, which is so interesting because before AA people were just locked up in asylums and it was just considered, you had like a moral deficit. Wow. And AA was revolutionary in that it said, this isn’t a moral deficit, this is a disease. And, and it, it was like really revolutionary. The problem is, is that the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, the first rehabs, they all just followed a’s blueprint. They’ve came afterwards so they didn’t create their own. So it is very skewed in that it wasn’t, you know, it, it was highly influenced by AA and what had already been created. And even addiction medicine as a field is very reliant on a’s terms and usage and things like that.
Speaker 1 (27:34):
That’s so interesting. And, and AA has been around since what, the thirties, I mean. Yep. It’s, I guess the, the question is, is is AA evolving? I mean, is is it <laugh>, is there a change?
Speaker 2 (27:48):
I think there’s, I mean there was a big change that happened I think in the fifties or sixties because when it was first founded, women weren’t allowed, people of color were not allowed. So there was a big change that happened with that mm-hmm. <affirmative>, but not much has really changed since then. And I think that is the issue with AA and my critique is just that it hasn’t caught up with modern times with technology, things like that.
Speaker 1 (28:20):
Right. It does seem, I, I don’t know about you, but you have a, a giant audience on Instagram. And do you get pushback from people in AA when you talk about, you know, not calling yourself an alcoholic and kind of this newer way to think about sobriety and living alcohol free. Do you get pushback?
Speaker 2 (28:43):
Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. <laugh>
Speaker 1 (28:45):
Speaker 2 (28:46):
Yes, absolutely. You know, people saying that I’m dangerous and, and yes, people are gonna die and all of these things. And I mean, I think that I’m fairly good at handling it just because I was in AA for quite a few years. So I really do understand the nuance of it, and I understand where those people are coming from because for the people that it really works for it, it does feel like, or it is life and death for them. Yes.
Speaker 1 (29:16):
Speaker 2 (29:17):
But my big, what I always kind of do is I just say like, you get to have your experience. The people that it works for has their experience. I’m not trying to come against AA or take it down by any means. We just have to look at the millions of people that are being left out of the conversation. And that’s who I’m talking to.
Speaker 1 (29:37):
Yeah, that’s, I think that’s right. I, I think that it does seem like there’s just a barrier. Like they’re kind of bound and determined, and I’m not saying everybody in aa. Right. Um, but the people, cuz I get, you know, they tend to be white men, um, yes. Who come after me. It, it just seems like they’re bound and determined to not to see this newer way of catching people along the way before they get to aa. And so then it’s just like, okay, well if you’re bound and determined not to, you know, see what I’m doing, then that’s fine. I’m gonna let you <laugh>. I’m not gonna try, I’m not like proselytizing and being like, right, this is better than aa. It’s just, I know from me and my story, I think the idea of going to AA and calling myself an alcoholic and being forever powerless to alcohol mm-hmm. <affirmative> was terrifying and kept me drinking.
Speaker 2 (30:34):
Speaker 1 (30:36):
And it reminds me, so in your book, I, I love how you kind of present three women and you say there it’s a mix of all of the clients that you see and the, the themes that you see in your practice. And one of the women is Brianna. And I think, I think the moms listening to this will really see themselves in her story, which is like she’s, you know, she’s gone two years without alcohol. She’s been pregnant, she’s breastfed without alcohol, and so she has been able to stop drinking alcohol. Yeah. She realizes though that life could be better without alcohol. And so her kind of struggle is staying stopped. Yeah. And so she’s like, why can I stop sometimes for two and a half years and then now when I wanna stop, I can’t. And does that point to the fact that I don’t need to?
Speaker 2 (31:30):
Yes. That’s a very common, very tricky thing I think that can happen where we can feel like, well maybe I’m making too big of a deal out of this mm-hmm. <affirmative> and if I just relaxed, you know, it would be fine. And things like that. And to me that’s where, I mean the conversation is, you deserve to live the life that you want to live without being in this struggle. Just because it feels harder in different moments because you want it more, doesn’t mean it’s not possible and doesn’t mean like you can stop drinking for a long period of time. And that doesn’t mean though, that it’s not negatively impacting your life. Right. And I think that’s the really important thing. And that’s where I came up with the term also of like disordered drinking because I think it really speaks to there, there can be different periods in our life where we go through different things and our drinking may be more disordered and our drinking may be more like controlled, but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t still question it, right? Mm-hmm. <affirmative> just because we can go through periods in our life with our partner where we have a stronger relationship or a less strong relationship, but it doesn’t mean that we should stop inquiring about what could be better or what we want or setting boundaries or whatever, just because we’ve had times where it wasn’t a struggle.
Speaker 1 (33:00):
Yes. That makes so much sense. And I, I love in the book when Brianna was like, you know, I, I don’t even know if I need to stop now. Like I, I don’t even know, like maybe it wasn’t a problem and I, I think I’m fine. And the way you kind of took her back too, why did you want to stop mm-hmm. <affirmative> because at some point you wanted to stop, right? And you saw that alcohol was a problem and then like, kind of bringing her back to that, it, it felt so powerful in such a simple way to say no. What’s, what’s your why mm-hmm. <affirmative>, like, you have whys for drinking, but what, what’s your why for sobriety? Yeah,
Speaker 2 (33:38):
Yeah. It’s easy to lose track of that I think sometimes in those moments.
Speaker 1 (33:42):
Oh my god. Yeah. Especially when I think, I mean, I know I’m guilty of it, I I do try to glamorize sobriety because I think dude, there are enough people, especially mommy bloggers, uh, glamorizing alcohol. And so like, I’m not glamorize the hell outta sobriety because if one is more glamorous, it is sobriety <laugh>. Um, that said, it’s not easy. Yeah. I mean it’s, it’s sure. It’s, it’s, I think that it’s easier than living a life numbing yourself and constantly kind of trying to escape and then feeling with the physical effects of alcohol and all of that guilt and shame and all that bullshit. But that doesn’t mean that that once sobriety feels hard that it’s not the right choice.
Speaker 2 (34:31):
Yeah. I often talk about, it’s kind of to me like, choose your hard
Speaker 1 (34:36):
Yes. My mom, you therapists, I’m telling you, you therapists love that. Cuz my mom, I, I swear she had that, she has like a huge chalkboard door, you know, like in her hall. Yeah. And she had that written on her door, like huge black letters for like a year. And I’m like, mom, I get it. <laugh>. It’s, it’s so true though. So funny.
Speaker 2 (34:57):
Yeah. It’s like, right, like life is gonna be hard regardless. So you get to choose whether the hard you want is being sober and having to face what’s happening and face your emotions and not have an easy button to kind of tap out. Yes. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> or your heart is gonna be dealing with hangovers and dealing with like cleaning up when you say things that are like, you know, you didn’t mean to say or getting into those dumb arguments with your partner or being more irritable around your kids. Like
Speaker 1 (35:28):
Speaker 2 (35:28):
Both are gonna be hard. So you have to choose which one’s worth it.
Speaker 1 (35:32):
Totally. And it does feel like, it does feel like in one instance you’re putting more of the hard in your rear view mirror. That doesn’t mean that you’re not gonna deal with the shit that comes up because, and we’ll talk about that, we’ll talk about all the shit that comes up in sobriety. That doesn’t mean that you’re not gonna have to deal with that, but it feels like most of the hard is gonna be behind you. You’re gonna move forward through it. Yeah. Whereas with alcohol that hard is, is out in front of you. I mean, you’re going to, you’re heading toward it. Yeah.
Speaker 2 (36:09):
You’re gonna constantly be like cleaning stuff up <laugh> Yeah. For lack of a better term.
Speaker 1 (36:14):
Oh, exactly. And so let’s talk about like, what do you see as a common theme? I know it’s, it’s hard to generalize, but when people, when women come into your office mm-hmm. <affirmative> and they’re newly sober and they’re struggling, what are some things that come up that, that they probably didn’t even realize that they were drinking to numb?
Speaker 2 (36:39):
So, yeah, I think, I mean, I think for moms, I think guilt is a huge, huge, huge one. I think that, um, you know, just feeling like you’re not a good enough parent. You don’t have enough time, you’re not doing it right. I think there’s so much pressure on moms to be perfect or live up to what other moms are doing and things like that. And it’s a common, that’s a common thing. And I think another thing with moms is it’s like a ritual or a thing that, you know, you do at the end of the day to turn off to A lot of moms will tell me it actually makes me a better parent because it like extends my fuse at the end of the day if I like, have a glass of wine and things like that. And, um
Speaker 1 (37:25):
Speaker 2 (37:26):
You know, I think it’s, again, it’s maybe temporarily it can extend your fuse and hope a little bit.
Speaker 1 (37:34):
Speaker 2 (37:35):
But is it then impacting your sleep? Is it impacting, you know, that you say something to your child that you regret? Do you then get into a fight with your partner over, you know, dividing things up are then if you get bad sleep, are you more irritable the next day? Like, so it’s, yes. It may be an immediate thing that you can feel like, oh, this helps. But that’s the tricky thing about alcohol is most of the effects actually come the next day when you’re not necessarily conscious of them being connected to alcohol.
Speaker 1 (38:08):
Totally. Especially that anxiety that, I mean, oh man. I think, I mean, I always talk about moms in the pandemic and that like, we were asked to do the impossible. Yes. And we did it because we’re fucking superheroes, but at what cost? Yeah. And the cost a lot of the time was our mental health. Yeah. And I think, think moms, like, do you see that, you know, from pre pandemic and pandemic response to post pandemic response? And like how, how do you see moms are faring after that?
Speaker 2 (38:48):
Yeah, I mean, I think that you’re completely right. I think that moms were put in an impossible position. I think they did whatever they had to do to survive and make it through. And I think what’s really hard is there hasn’t been this like, clear demarcation that the pandemic is over. Right. So there hasn’t been this like, you know, if I think about it as a, as trauma, one of the things that’s really helpful with trauma is when there is like an end date to something where we can kind of like have a celebration or have like this ritual mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you know, it’s why funerals exist where we can have this, this thing that we do collectively to help tell ourselves that we can move forward. And I think that’s been so hard for parents where there, there hasn’t been that people are at different stages of their comfort and fear around, you know, the pandemic coming back or the flu season and things like that. I think that that keeps people really stuck in the cycle of, of feeling like, you know, the past few years have just been ongoing and there hasn’t been a, a clear start and end date to it.
Speaker 1 (40:01):
Oh God, that’s such a great point. And and for moms, you know, I, I know it’s, it’s so hard for us to ask for help mm-hmm. <affirmative> for a lot of us. Maybe our moms didn’t do that. Maybe we have this idea in our head that we’ve got it because we are generally, generally speaking, we are the center of our home. Yeah. And kind of if mom falls apart, um, everything falls apart. Yeah. And so we have this idea that we can’t fall apart because if we do mm-hmm. <affirmative> what’s gonna happen. Like my husband doesn’t know. He, I swear to God every single week he asked me, wait, now what days does Gray go to school?
Speaker 2 (40:47):
<laugh>? I’m like, oh
Speaker 1 (40:48):
My God, I have told you so many times. And it’s, you know, he’s, it’s, he’s just, they’re not wired that way. I don’t know. I’m generalizing, but still it’s, I I just constantly see these moms who are struggling and that’s why this mommy wine culture thing, I am like on a mission to just call it out because it’s just a big fucking trick. Yeah. I mean,
Speaker 2 (41:17):
Speaker 1 (41:18):
And, and it, and it’s not a weakness in moms that they’re falling prey to this genius marketing.
Speaker 2 (41:25):
Yeah, no, that’s exactly what it is, is it’s, it’s marketing. And I think if you look back to how, you know, know cigarettes were marketed and things like that, I mean, it’s not that people just, I mean, it’s insane how quickly, like the tide changed Right. With cigarettes being cool Yes. Versus not. And it is not that a bunch of people just woke up and like discovered cigarettes weren’t good. It was literally marketing changed. That’s it.
Speaker 1 (41:54):
Yes. Yes. And you talk about, so going back to the disordered drinking, cause this has me thinking about Instagram with the disordered mm-hmm. Eating. Mm-hmm. You see a lot of parallels Yes. With eating disorders and alcohol. So I, I try to like report <laugh>. I was a, I was an Instagram police, I’m like on a, on a tear. And there was this one creator, and I’ve talked about it on the podcast before, and she was talking about, she actually said the quiet part out loud, she said, if you’re a mom and you’re not an alcoholic, I don’t trust you. Ooh. And I was like, holy shit. Like, ugh, that is so dangerous. Yeah. And so I went in and tried to report it. Yeah. I was like, surely I can, you know, and there wasn’t an mm-hmm. <affirmative>, like there just wasn’t an option. Yeah. There was, however, and I saw, I think this is newer, that there was an option saying like promoting Yeah. Eating
Speaker 2 (42:49):
Disorders. Yeah. That is a new thing, I think.
Speaker 1 (42:51):
And I was like, that is right. I was like, okay. Wow. That’s, that’s new in the whenever since I’ve been a creator. Yeah. But I, I think it’s interesting that there, that you see a lot of parallels between disordered eating and what you call disordered
Speaker 2 (43:06):
Drinking. Yeah. And that’s really kind of where I came up with the term is because there is this gray area that’s nuanced that people recognize they can engage in disordered eating patterns and not have to admit that they have an eating disorder or they’re powerless over their food issues or things like that. Yeah. And that creates a lot more space as a therapist for me to help them explore their relationship, help them understand that they may go through different periods in their life where they may, you know, have different priorities and things might be more of a struggle. But I totally agree. I think what’s really hard is that people just, I think there’s a couple things. I mean, I think on both sides they get promoted. Like I think a lot of eating disorder accounts, it’s actually more common for them to end up kind of, sometimes they promote drinking and they will kind of classify
Speaker 1 (44:02):
Speaker 2 (44:03):
They will, will, at least in the circles that I run in, in like, so I’m very into like intuitive eating and health at every size and you know, like accepting, you know, body neutrality. Yeah. And I think unfortunately what happens is some dieticians or some creators can kind of be like, well no food is off limits, so drinking can’t be off limits. And it’s kind of that idea Oh, with like Brianna of, well maybe I’m trying so much to not drink that I’m causing this problem and if I just let myself drink as much as I wanted all day, every day, it would lose its power over me. And the huge difference is that alcohol is an addictive substance that you do not need to survive. It’s a poison, your body wants to get rid of it. Right. Your body needs food, it needs sugar, it need, like, you need to eat consistently. Yes. And that’s what’s, you know, that’s where it gets messy when it’s, it’s just not the same. And, and we can have a, you know, we can have, um, an unhealthy pattern or even end up with another, you know, people end up in addictive relationships or things like that. And it’s important Yeah. And should be worked on, but the solution isn’t like drinking where you can just say, I’m never gonna be in a relationship again or whatever. And abstinence is not the solution for everything <laugh>.
Speaker 1 (45:26):
Yeah. Like, that’s not an option for eating.
Speaker 2 (45:28):
Right. Right. Exactly.
Speaker 1 (45:29):
Yeah. That’s so interesting.
Speaker 2 (45:31):
Yeah. And then on the other side, sometimes I think that like, I think especially when it gets into like AA or people that are very like abstinence only, it can be like, you have to look at every single thing in your life and cut out anything that is not perfectly healthy. And that can be obsessive where people get obsessed with clean eating, they become obsessed with being perfect and they have perfectionism, they become obsessed with their body or working out or no toxins at all. And, and that can create a whole different issue.
Speaker 1 (46:05):
Totally. Oh man, I, yeah. That would just be a rabbit hole you guys, if, if you are newly sober and you’re what is newly sober, I don’t know, even a couple of years. Yeah. Like I am just now at almost three years sober, starting to just take a teeny tiny peak into my sugar intake
Speaker 2 (46:24):
Speaker 1 (46:25):
Like literally, I’m just starting to maybe think about taking a peak into it. So yeah, that’s the idea of taking everything on is just, uh, terrifying and
Speaker 2 (46:36):
Brutal. Way too overwhelming. Start with, you know, start with the biggest problem and go from there.
Speaker 1 (46:42):
<laugh>. Yes. I, I get, I get this cause I drink a lot of coffee. Yeah. Um, because I mean, I just, I just don’t ever wanna work at, um, that Yeah. You know, I get it. That’s just something I’m never gonna look at. Yeah. And so I’ll get these, you know, if I share like a coffee reel and it’s about sobriety, I will always 100% of the time get a comment like, well, you could be talking about caffeine. It’s just as bad. And it’s like, dude, I have never, I’ve, I’ve drank a lot of coffee, I’ve never blacked out from coffee, from too much coffee and I’ve never known a single person who has lost her family over too much coffee.
Speaker 2 (47:20):
Speaker 1 (47:20):
It’s a, you know, I’m willing completely, I’m willing to continue my, my coffee.
Speaker 2 (47:24):
Yeah. There aren’t studies that link coffee <laugh> substantially to cancer and things like that either. Like they are, they are different and Right. Like someone can choose to not engage in caffeine and that’s totally fine. But I agree. I think, and I think Right. Acting like everything is the same diminishes Yes. How different and important it is that we talk about alcohol
Speaker 1 (47:52):
Yeah. And how dangerous alcohol is. Yeah. I I wanna talk quickly about boundaries. Yeah. Which is that I, I know it’s not a quick subject.
Speaker 2 (48:01):
Speaker 1 (48:03):
Probably what I see most in my group is wives who have decided to stop drinking mm-hmm. <affirmative>, but their partners continue. Yes. And they’re really struggling with that. So what, what would you say to someone in your office if that is, that’s kind of hindering them in their sobriety?
Speaker 2 (48:27):
I mean it’s really common. I think it’s really hard in general. I think that it’s important to recognize and it’s hard when you live with someone, right? Like if you live by yourself Yeah. And your partner drinks, you cannot keep alcohol in your house. You can do certain things mm-hmm. <affirmative> that work for you. But when you live with someone else, there does have to be some negotiation on some level. And that’s where I really believe in like the concept kind of of, you know, people can say that boundaries are really black and white. And I think that there’s like a middle ground with, with boundaries and negotiating. And I think that’s where you may need to talk to your partner about what are the things that trigger you and what are the things that are important to them and come up with something Yeah. That works. Like maybe they keep less alcohol in the house or maybe they don’t keep certain types of alcohol in the house. Yeah. Or maybe they drink not in front of you, you know, they can drink mm-hmm. When you’re not home or out somewhere or, um, things like that. Cuz I think it can be also be really hard when someone stops drinking and they’re excited and they’re like, you know, full of life and then they’re on a date with their partner and they watch their partner, you know, mentally check out Yeah. As they drink. Yeah.
Speaker 1 (49:47):
You could get resentful pretty quickly. <laugh>
Speaker 2 (49:50):
Absolutely. Absolutely. And my, I mean, my husband drinks and we’ve had to navigate different things with that. And I think remembering too, you can advocate for like maybe you guys, you know, every other date night your partner doesn’t drink or things like that. So that you like, I think it’s really important to find what your triggers are, find what the things are that bother you, communicate them and come up with a compromise that works.
Speaker 1 (50:17):
Yeah. And I think even just finding what your triggers are and what bothers you takes time.
Speaker 2 (50:23):
It does. It does. And cha it can change too. Yes.
Speaker 1 (50:27):
Yeah. Like sometimes I’m like, I’m pissed off, but I, I don’t know why I am triggered by this, but I don’t like this, you know, I don’t like that you came home. Yeah. Like for me it’s the smell mm-hmm. <affirmative> a lot of the times. Like, oh, okay, I don’t like this smell. What, you know, what’s different, what changed? And I think just being able to listen to yourself is new in sobriety too. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Like it’s, it’s a, it’s almost like a new language we have to learn. Yeah. Like we have to become fluent in ourself and our gut and our intuition because I know for me, like I, that was new
Speaker 2 (51:03):
Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Yeah. I didn’t
Speaker 1 (51:06):
Know what I needed or what I wanted or Yeah. Because I just wasn’t, I wasn’t in tune with, I was like, how do I even
Speaker 2 (51:13):
Well we didn’t have to Yeah. Because you could just drink to deal with that irritation or discomfort or whatever. Right.
Speaker 1 (51:20):
Yeah. You didn’t have to. Exactly. And so yeah, that definitely takes kind, I’ve found like with my husband and the boundary that I set and mine for him is like two beers. I feel good. Yeah. Yeah. I feel good with two beers. Like that feels, I don’t feel unsafe. Yeah. I, I I feel comfortable. It’s not the smell like that I, hard alcohol is what I’ve discovered for me. I don’t like that stale smell. And so, and, and also I, I think it’s important to remember like, I set that boundary, but that doesn’t mean it’s not like I can set it, but he can break it <laugh>. Yeah. And that doesn’t e he’s a great husband and even if he’s not meaning to break it, this is new for him too. Yeah. And so if he breaks it, we talk about it. Like, I’m like, right. Oh right, okay. So this feels really shitty and scary and I’m scared mm-hmm. <affirmative> because I set this and now I see that you, you know, and so that’s a hard conversation to have, but I guess it’s just this ongoing conversation, right. It’s not like a sitting down one time
Speaker 2 (52:25):
Speaker 1 (52:27):
Right. And that could be scary.
Speaker 2 (52:30):
Yeah. I think that’s one of the biggest misconceptions with boundaries is that people think that they’re gonna say this one time and it’ll be done. Yeah. And it’ll be hard. And boundaries are like an ongoing communication. Yeah. Always. Because we change, they change. Life changes, things happen, people break their word. Yes. And it’s really more about ma like boundary maintenance I would say is even more impound important than boundary setting.
Speaker 1 (52:59):
Yeah. That’s so good. I love that boundary maintenance. It’s so true. Um, so this is gonna come out in January, so we probably have a lot of dry January. People, people who are just starting to think about their relationship with alcohol and examine it. What would be your biggest tip to somebody who is just starting on their sober, sober, curious, dry January journey?
Speaker 2 (53:28):
Um, I think my biggest tip would be to give yourself space to like expl. I mean, I guess number one, don’t lie to yourself about <laugh>. How long you’re doing the dry January for
Speaker 1 (53:40):
<laugh>. Yeah. Oh my god. Yeah.
Speaker 2 (53:42):
<laugh>. Because I think people do do that sometimes. Yes. Right. They’ll, they’ll do kind of what I was talking about and start late or cut it off early.
Speaker 1 (53:50):
Right. <laugh> no loopholes, but
Speaker 2 (53:53):
I think Yeah. But I think also just like there can be so much pressure. I think if you tell people you’re like doing a dry January of people being like, well, are you gonna never drink again? What does this mean? What are you gonna do? I hate. Good question. And you don’t have to answer that question. No. And you don’t even have to know. Like no, you can say to people, I don’t know, I’m just doing this thing and I’ll see how I feel. Yeah. And taking some of that pressure off because it’s gonna change how it’s gonna impact how much you get out of it. If you’re putting this like pressure on yourself either way, either to never drink again or to stop the second, you know, it’s February 1st. Like give your spouse yourself genuine space to explore what it is like and what comes up for you. And it’s data. Like I think that’s the best to look at it as an experiment. Look at it as data that you’re gathering. Look at like it’s good data, whether you continue to drink or not, to know that you struggle to like, you know, deal with your anger without drinking. Yeah. Yeah. It’s good data to know that, you know, you’re sleeping better without alcohol. It’s all just data.
Speaker 1 (55:04):
Totally. Yeah. I love the, I love the curiosity component because it is, rather than looking at it like I am going to live, you know, without alcohol for these 30 days and then on February 1st I’m gonna count down and it’s like you’re looking through it as a lens of like not being able to drink alcohol that does cloud it then Yeah. Then you’re not, you don’t get to realize what sobriety can be and that like alcohol probably isn’t making things more fun.
Speaker 2 (55:37):
Yeah, yeah. Absolutely. I also think maybe trying some mocktails, um, if they don’t trigger you can be a fun thing to do some find something you’re excited to drink. Yes. Or try. I think that can make a difference too in dry January.
Speaker 1 (55:53):
Yes. What’s your fav what’s your go-to mocktail? What’s your
Speaker 2 (55:57):
Favorite? I love seed lip, which
Speaker 1 (56:00):
Is, wait, what is this? Tell me.
Speaker 2 (56:02):
It is, it’s like it replaces liquor, like one to one, but they make it really helps with like, um, like I love making margaritas with seed lip. Yeah. Or mojitos with seed lip. I’m not into the ones that are meant to mimic the, you know, like fake rum or fake to the fake tequila or things. Yeah. So I love seed lip. I also really love the brand. Groovy.
Speaker 1 (56:25):
Oh, me too. I just did a part
Speaker 2 (56:27):
Seed. I love their rose. So that’s, that’s always in my
Speaker 1 (56:30):
Speaker 2 (56:31):
It’s so good. I think it’s so good too. Yes,
Speaker 1 (56:33):
It really is. And now they’re at Target guys hashtag ad.
Speaker 2 (56:36):
Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh. This is very exciting. I
Speaker 1 (56:39):
Know. It’s like, it’s like a limited run. I don’t know. Go check. I’ll, I’ll, when this airs, I’m gonna drop the link where you can check to see if it’s at your local target because it is. Okay. One thing that I thought was weird is it is in the alcohol department, so it was at a super target and it’s next to the alcohol, which I was like, huh. I mean, I guess I get it, but then I, I could see that also feeling triggering to somebody going into that alcohol department. So just
Speaker 2 (57:08):
Yeah. I’ve gotten it before at like my local beer distributor, which Yeah, it is, right. Yeah. With all of the, the alcohol, which I get, but it’s all, yeah. It’s kind of weird, but
Speaker 1 (57:18):
I know and it’s like, well that’s probably the best place for it. Right.
Speaker 2 (57:21):
Speaker 1 (57:22):
Also maybe just order it online and then you don’t have to go Yes. Order it totally like Instacart it and then Yeah.
Speaker 2 (57:28):
Speaker 1 (57:29):
Ugh. Well I love this conversation so much. I, I just, I love that you’re, you’re just creating space and making it possible for women to feel comfortable to question their relationship with alcohol and also not, not just alcohol. Like, I follow you on Instagram. You guys go to therapy for women on Instagram and you just give really great, um, just bite size mental health morsels that like can help reframe my entire day. So I, I really thank you for that.
Speaker 2 (58:07):
Yeah, thanks so much.
Speaker 1 (58:10):
Thank you so much for listening to this episode of the Silver Mom Life. If You loved it. Please rate and review it wherever you listen. Five stars is amazing. Also, follow me on Instagram at the silver Mom life. Okay, I’ll see you next week. I’m gonna go reheat my coffee. Bye.
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