There is so much unnecessary suffering around overdrinking. People define themselves by their urges to drink, or strain against these urges so much that there isn’t much space left in their brain for anything else.
What if I told you your life could be genuinely better without drinking? That you could eliminate the desire for a drink altogether?
I know it sounds impossible. I used to think so too.
So many of us don’t think we need treatment or to stop drinking because we don’t have an addiction, it hasn’t had any negative effects on our health, or we don’t drink around our family. But I know a lot of you experience alcohol the same way I did. It wasn’t a social thing for me—it became my recovery from a long day of work or a particularly stressful situation. And it was happening every single day.
In today’s episode, Rachel Hart and I are talking all about the urge to drink, how and why we both stopped drinking alcohol, and why the key to changing your relationship with alcohol is learning to manage your mind. We also talk through some of the common obstacles people come up against when trying to take a break, and how to take a break from drinking that actually addresses the root causes of your desire.
Grab your copy of our new Wisdom From The Life Coach School Podcast book. It covers a decade worth of research, on life-changing topics from the podcast, distilled into only 200 pages. It’s the truest shortcut to self development we have ever created!
What you will discover
- Why do people drink alcohol?
- How overdrinking can be related to other issues in your life, like overeating or overworking yourself.
- Why it’s so hard for people to believe that their lives can actually be better without alcohol.
- What drinking used to do for us that made us want to keep doing it.
- How managing your mind can help reduce or eliminate the desire for a drink and open up your life in amazing ways.
- Why taking a short break from drinking can be so useful.
Featured on the show
Welcome to The Life Coach School Podcast, where it’s all about real clients, real problems and real coaching. And now your host, Master Coach Instructor, Brooke Castillo.
Brooke: Well hello my friends. We have a very special treat. My very favorite guest that I’ve ever, ever, ever had on the show. I do say that every time, but this time I really mean it. She is the best. I have Rachel Hart on with me today and she has a huge, very special place in my heart because she genuinely helped me quit drinking.
And right before we jumped on, we were just talking about how much better our lives are now that we’re not drinking, and so that’s what we want to talk about today. And I know you don’t believe us, those of you who are still drinking, but we’re going to convince you on this podcast today.
So welcome, Rachel. Why don’t you start by – you’ve been on the podcast a couple of times but just give us a short introduction about your worst drinking experience.
Rachel: My worst drinking experience? You want a short introduction to that? Oh, my goodness.
Brooke: Just tell us a little bit about your background.
Rachel: Sure. So I am a coach that helps women who want to change their relationship with alcohol and I do that by helping them take a break. I think that’s such a powerful way to do it. I started drinking when I was 17. It was my very first week at college and I pretty quickly had a love-hate relationship with it.
I pretty quickly was like, this is the best thing ever because it was the first time that I didn’t feel so awkward and insecure and have that kind of nagging voice in my head that’s like, you’re doing it wrong and you’re standing wrong and you’re talking wrong, and you’re just – everything is wrong.
So I kind of loved it for that reason, but then I also pretty quickly had a little bit of a hate relationship with it because my drinking was kind of unpredictable and I didn’t seem to have an off switch. So I would look at a lot of my friends and even in college, sometimes I was like, I seem to take it a little too far. What’s going on here? And I think it’s all funny in college. It was for me.
Brooke: You can get away with it in college.
Rachel: Yeah. I wasn’t the only one getting sloppy. But then I graduated and I moved to New York City, and I was like okay Rachel, time to be serious. Let’s rein it in. And my drinking was still really unpredictable. I didn’t get it.
Sometimes I would go out and it would be two glasses and it’d be fine and I’d go home, and sometimes I’d get drinks with coworkers for happy hour and it would turn into like, what? What happened here? And that – the fact that it was so unpredictable and I didn’t understand why, that kind of freaked me out.
And I just kind of teeter-tottered between who cares, I just want to have fun, I just want to have a break from life and not feel so caught in my head all the time and enjoy myself, to going to the opposite end, which was like no, you’ve got to be really restrictive and you can’t have it. And I just did that all throughout my 20s, which was super fun. Should have met me back then, Brooke.
Brooke: I bet.
Rachel: And I didn’t understand. I just thought that I was kind of this compulsive person because I struggled a lot with eating as well. So I had that kind of same compulsive relationship, although at the time I thought they were totally different. We didn’t know or I didn’t see it was like, just the model unfolding. Same thing with how unpredictable I thought my drinking was. It was just the model unfolding the whole time. I just had no idea.
Brooke: Yeah. I was just talking to one of my kid’s friends and you know, he’s a teenager and feels insecure and hates his life half the time, which he doesn’t realize is normal. Because he sees all the popular kids at school and thinks that they love their life all the time, which is not true.
But he said to me, and it was so fascinating to hear him say it, he’s like, “You know, I was drinking,” and he’d never been drinking before and told me, he’s like, “I went drinking and that just felt so good.” And it was just so interesting to hear him say that because I’m like, yeah, it does. There’s a reason why we all drink because it feels so good to drink.
And I think a lot of us forget that’s why we drink. And we make excuses. So we’re like, oh, I just really enjoy a glass of wine. Because it feels so good. It’s not because you like the taste, my friends. Come on. It’s not because you like the taste. It’s because you associate the taste with feeling so good.
So I think for me, and I just want to tell my story of how you helped me quit drinking because I was already looking into my drinking as part of my overeating class that I was teaching. I started seeing a lot of what you were saying, a lot of the similarities between the two.
So as I was helping my students stop overeating, I was noticing a lot of the same things going on with my drinking. Now, let’s be clear. I wasn’t drinking and getting drunk and sloppy. My drinking wasn’t causing acute problems in my life. Nobody was looking at me being like, hey sister, slow your roll. There was nothing like that happening.
And I think there’s so many people listening that think that in order for them to acknowledge that they want to drink less means that they have to have these terrible problems happening. So you don’t have to. I just want to give you permission that even if you think you’re just drinking a little bit too much, it’s worth addressing because of all the underlying things that are going on.
So what I realized was that I believed that my life would be terrible, not nearly as good if I gave up drinking because it felt so good. So in the evenings drinking just felt so good, and when I went out with my friends, it just felt so good. And so why would I want to give up something that felt so good? It made my life better.
Genuinely, that’s what most of you listening think. Because it feels so good to drink, you think it makes your life better in some way. And that’s legit because it does make you feel good. Makes sense, right? Makes you feel good. People always say why just enjoy a glass of wine? That’s what you mean.
So I was teaching a class and Rachel was one of my students in the class and she wasn’t talking about me at all. She was talking about her own experience with drinking and she said something like – I’ll never forget her saying this, she said, “My life is just so much better now that I don’t drink.” And I believed her. Like, for the first time.
Because I’d heard people say that before and I’m like well, it’s because you’re boring and dull and you don’t know what a good life is. Right? That’s what I thought. But when Rachel said it, I really believed her. I believed that she really enjoyed drinking and had a great time drinking, and then I also believed her when she said her life was better after she quit drinking.
So for me, I had to reconcile that that could be possible for me. Because if I believed what she was saying, why would it be different for her than it was for me? And after that moment, I wish I knew the time frame of that. I can visualize it in my mind but I want to know the day that happened.
Rachel: I can probably tell you the day because it was during when I was getting trained as a coach.
Brooke: Were you getting trained as a coach or a master coach?
Rachel: I was getting trained as a coach. So I think that it was spring of 2015.
Brooke: Okay, so that was a huge shift for me and Rachel says stuff like that all the time. Like, these a-ha moments when you’re around her, so you should listen to everything she says. It was such a profound thing. And in this case, she wasn’t even like, talking to me about me. She wasn’t coaching me. She was talking about herself.
And I started to believe that could be true for me. And that’s kind of what we want to talk about on this podcast today because that has been true for me. I can’t even begin to tell you how much better my life is now that I don’t drink at all, and I still acknowledge that drinking feels so good.
I think a lot of times, we try to throw the baby out with the bath water. We try and say like, drinking is terrible, awful, and you should never do it, and now my life is better. No. That’s not what I’m saying at all. I’m like, drinking is awesome, drinking feels good, being drunk is super fun. I even like being around drunk people sometimes, especially when I’m drunk.
I acknowledge that all of that is true and my life is better now. So do you see what I’m saying? Do you agree that sometimes people feel like they have to vilify drinking in order to not do it?
Rachel: 100%. I mean, I have this with clients all the time. Actually, someone posted this morning, they were saying like, wine is evil. It’s the thing that’s ruining everything. It’s like, wow, slow your roll here. Alcohol is a circumstance. We put it in the fact line of the model and I think sometimes when we get so kind of caught up in being like no, it’s bad, it’s a poison, it’s a toxin and it hurts me and it’s the root of all evil, we’re just actually increasing our desire even more. Because we’re trying to deny that part. We’re like, it’s kind of good.
Brooke: Kind of feels nice.
Rachel: It kind of felt nice.
Brooke: In the evenings.
Rachel: Yeah. I liked that.
Brooke: Maybe I do like the evil thing. And then the shame just increases. Yeah, so interesting.
Rachel: So much. I mean, I really work with my clients to let’s just get it all out there. Let’s see it because it truly is neutral and you don’t have to vilify it, you don’t have to make it like, it’s this bad thing. Because here’s the other thing; I had the experience at times in my life of trying to be like well, I’m obviously morally superior because I’m not drinking.
I was trying to get all this virtue and obviously I’m a good person because I’m making these good choices. And then you’re really screwed. Then of course I would go back and be like, I’m terrible. I always say it’s not virtuous to not drink. That to me is really important. And it’s also not something bad and alcohol isn’t something bad. Let’s just look at the results and do you like the results that you’re getting, and if you don’t, okay, well maybe we can figure out how to change it.
Brooke: So genius. You just said that so quickly but that’s the key. Drinking isn’t bad or good but do you like the results it’s producing in your life? Period. And so I want to acknowledge that I really enjoyed drinking and I really liked the effect of it on my body. I liked the escape button that it provided for me. I liked that it turned my thought volume down.
So I couldn’t imagine that I could have a life that would be better than that, without it, until I really started to understand what drinking did for me that made my life appear better. And what it did is it really did give me an escape from my own brain. And so I started thinking about – especially when I was working with my clients on food, I started thinking about well wait, if I had a brain that I didn’t need an escape button from, maybe that would be amazing.
If I didn’t need an escape hatch because I wasn’t in prison, maybe that would be better than being in prison with an escape hatch. So think about this. I’m like no, I have to hold on to this, I have to hold on to this because I’m in prison, or maybe just walk out the front door, the gate of the prison, and then you never need it again.
And that is truly what happened to me is when your life has some stuff in it that needs cleaning up, drinking does make it better because it lets you escape from those things. But when you clean up your life of those things, you just genuinely don’t need it. And your life is better for not needing it because you can handle it so much quicker and without so many negative side effects.
Rachel: Right. You’re not always trying to run away from your brain. That’s what I was trying to do all the time. I had no idea – I didn’t know how to manage it. I didn’t know you could manage it. I just thought like well, I guess I got the crappy brain in the brain lottery. I don’t know why that happened.
Brooke: Most of us don’t even know – when I started drinking I didn’t know it was my brain I was trying to escape from. I had no idea. I didn’t even know what was going on. I just knew that it made me feel better. And that didn’t seem like a bad thing at all until I started getting all these negative consequences from it.
So I think that’s kind of to your point. If we could drink and have zero negative consequences for it, it might be okay, but here’s the problem with even that is it doesn’t allow you to access what isn’t working that you can fix, that you can change, that you can make better.
So right before we got on this call, I said to Rachel, I’m like, no, I genuinely want them to know that my life is better since I quit drinking and look at the explosion in my life and what I’ve been able to contribute and participate in and create since I stopped drinking. People ask me this all the time. Do you think there’s a time when you quit drinking and your success, do you think they’re related?
Of course I do. 100% I do because all the time I was spending trying to get away from myself, I’ve now done the complete opposite. And it turns out that is way more fun than drinking. Okay, so let’s talk about this. Most people don’t believe us. Why? Why don’t they believe us?
Rachel: I think most people don’t believe us because we’re sold a pretty strong story that alcohol is a way to have fun, and the experience is okay, when I drink, I feel better, so that story is correct. I am having fun. And I think also, there are people out there who don’t drink and used to drink and aren’t a lot of fun.
Brooke: Oh, that’s interesting.
Rachel: I, for a long time, when I was doing all this flip-flopping, before I understood how the model worked and how to manage my brain, I was kind of like okay, well I’m very virtuous and I’m not hungover, but I wasn’t exactly fun at a party.
Brooke: Oh my gosh, that is so true and so funny. It’s like I do all this work with overeating too. So it’s like those people who are skinny but you just want them to have a sandwich. You’re like listen…
Rachel: It’s completely like that.
Brooke: I think a snack is in order.
Rachel: Have a drink. What’s wrong with you?
Brooke: So that is super interesting. So when people try to stop drinking or take a break from drinking in a way that isn’t solving the problem. So let’s go back to our metaphor. You’re in prison and you’re like, I’m not going to go out the escape hatch. I will sit in prison and I will try to enjoy prison. I will make prison a lovely place to be.
Rachel: I’ll feel very virtuous while I’m doing it.
Brooke: And I will think I’m a very good person and I’ll feel like I’m doing my life right. And listen, I took a break from drinking in that way where I just used willpower and I just was like, I’m going to tough this out. My life won’t be as good but I will just be stoic about it and I will demand myself not do it.
And I think a lot of people build up all these structures and all these systems around not allowing themselves to drink, but all the desire is still there to drink. So they want to drink but they’re forcing themselves not to. I think that’s a great point, that those people do not sell not drinking very well.
Rachel: I would be like a crazy person sometimes. I’d be like, I’m not drinking, I’m not drinking, I’m not drinking, and then everybody’s drinking and you’re like the crazy person in your head just like okay, no, no, no, no, don’t do it, don’t do it, don’t do it. You do not show up very fun on the outside. I was not…
Brooke: And then you kind of want to be mad at other people that are drinking and you’re like, it’s poison, it’s toxic, it’s not good.
Rachel: You just don’t know what you’re doing to your body. I’m very healthy over here.
Rachel: I’m super healthy with all my anxiety coursing through my veins.
Brooke: I’m really enjoying not drinking.
Rachel: This is great. I think that that is a part of it. So people will have that experience of okay, I wasn’t drinking and then I didn’t have as much fun. I didn’t enjoy myself. And also, a lot of times, people will – especially at first, they’ll try to prove something to themselves. It’s like okay, I want to prove that I can do it. I want to prove that I don’t need to.
Brooke: Or that I’m not an alcoholic.
Rachel: Exactly. And it’s just like okay, but you’re just totally missing the point. Because when you’re just focusing on I’m going to prove that I’m not an alcoholic and I’m going to prove that I don’t need it, all you’re focusing is on the no. Can I just say no over and over again?
And you’re not understanding why you’re saying yes. You’re not understanding what’s connected to the habit or what’s fueling it. And people I think come out of that and they’re like, well, I know how not to drink. I’ve done it before, and it was just terrible so I’m right. I’m just going to continue.
Brooke: That’s so true. So I’m not going to go out of the escape hatch but I am going to stay in prison and force myself to do that just so I can see that I’m not an alcoholic or whatever, versus genuinely and truthfully not wanting it. And that was the huge shift that I had for me is – and I think this is why taking a break the way Rachel teaches it is just to give yourself a taste of not desiring it.
We’re not having you take a break from alcohol and teaching you how to will your desire away in terms of tucking it into the corner and recesses of your mind. We want you to get a taste of what it’s like to not even want it. Because if you don’t want to drink alcohol, you don’t have to do anything. You don’t have to work at it, you don’t have to struggle against it.
I used to come up with all these crazy excuses why I couldn’t drink. I’d be like, I’m on medication or I have to drive today or I have this big thing tomorrow. You couldn’t just say I don’t want it because it wasn’t even in the realm of possibility of understanding.
So I think now, I go out with people that are drinking and like, there’s not even one part of me that wants any of it. Sometimes I want a sip just because they’re like, it’s so delicious. I’m like okay, let me verify. And it never is. It never is delicious. Because it’s not – we think it tastes good but it’s really the association how we feel that makes it taste good.
Rachel: Of course. I think this is what is so hard for people to wrap their brains around because a lot of people have not had that experience of desiring something so much. They’re like, I can’t wait until I get home and I’m off work and I get to go to the kitchen and uncork the bottle of wine.
You want something so much to then truly being indifferent to it and not in a it’s poison, it’s terrible, don’t have it, that – I think learning that I could do that is what has been so transformative for me. Just like oh, it really is possible to teach your brain anything new, including this. Including this thing that I was like, this is the best thing ever, nothing will ever beat this.
Brooke: And I can never have it again. So this is how I want to describe it when people say that they can’t even imagine not wanting it. I like the example that most people have this experience – some of you don’t, but most of you can relate to this where you had that first boyfriend or the first girlfriend that you couldn’t imagine living without.
You couldn’t imagine if they didn’t call you within the next 10 minutes, and the desire was just so off the hook. And now when you think about that person, how much desire do you have? Now, some of you may have a little. It’s okay. But a lot of us are like, ew, no.
You had so much desire for that person at that time and now you have zero desire for them. Think about a lot of you who are divorced or you broke up with someone, think about the desire that you had at the beginning of that relationship and now you have zero desire for that person. It’s because of your thoughts and your brain and the way that you approach the whole thing.
That person is still that person. Alcohol is still going to be alcohol. You just lose your desire for it. So you don’t have to give yourself a restraining order against the person. You’re good. You just genuinely don’t want them. And so I think that understanding that that is possible, you may not know how to do it, you may not have experienced that yet, but that is possible if you go through this process where you wouldn’t have desire.
And I don’t know if you ask your clients this but sometimes I ask them, do you want to not desire it? And a lot of people are like, but it’s alcohol. But I like it.
Rachel: I want to.
Brooke: And it’s just such an interesting question for you all to contemplate. But if you didn’t want it, would you want to want it? Think about the struggle that you’re having with it. Is there a reason to want it? I can’t come up with one good one. What do you think people will say about that? Because they can come up with lots of good ones. What will they say?
Rachel: Well, I think a lot of times people say well, I do want to want it. I just want to want it the right amount.
Brooke: Exactly. The right amount, which – but why? Why do they want to want it the right amount?
Rachel: Because they think that their life is generally not going to be as good.
Brooke: And their friends do it. They want to feel part of the culture, right? Talk about that a little bit.
Rachel: I mean, I was definitely like listen, you can’t be a normal person and not drink. Come on.
Brooke: Right. Because everyone’s like, what do you want to drink? You want to go get some drinks? What are you guys drinking? Why aren’t you drinking?
Rachel: I was like this all the time if I wasn’t drinking because it was like, I can’t let people know that I’m not drinking because I want them to see me as normal and I want to think that I’m normal. And that’s the only way to keep up this normal facade.
There’s so much fear there. And I think that’s because we’re working off a paradigm that is so antiquated when it comes to alcohol and why people drink too much. And a lot of it is like, well, you’re just powerless. And who wants to be that? Who wants to assume that label? I sure didn’t.
Brooke: Well, and it’s the only thing that if you don’t do it, there’s something wrong with you. Well, the only reason you wouldn’t drink is if you’re an alcoholic or you’re super boring. Or your religion won’t let you. No one will willingly not drink and be cool.
And I think that sums it up. So I think we are still pretty cool and I think we still have fun, and I still go get drinks and I still hang out and I go out to dinner and I hang out with the most fun people. Some of them drink, some of them don’t. So how do we do that now? Describe it to the people. How is that possible?
Rachel: I mean, I think because we want to be in our brain. I think that’s how it’s possible. Because when I wasn’t having fun before, it was because I was constantly with people and I just couldn’t stop thinking about myself. And that was part of the problem. I was always comparing myself and comparing myself negatively, and oh, I don’t have something to say or judging the other people really harshly because of course, I was judging myself so harshly.
It’s like yeah, I can have fun now and I can go out and I can not have that desire because I genuinely like being with myself now. That is the change. And I think that’s also the other thing. I’m not moving through this world of like, well, I only am friends with people who don’t drink and never go to a bar.
Brooke: Or have to stay away from it completely. Exactly. I think that’s super important. I was just hanging out with a friend of mine who drinks. Doesn’t drink a lot, but we’re in a situation where there was a lot of drinking happening and she was telling me stories and we were talking and we spent probably like three hours talking.
And she was drinking, I wasn’t. And then towards the end, there was some slurring happening. I’m like, I’m out. Once the slurring happens, I’m like, I’m out. No judgment or anything. I’m just like, not interested. And then the next day we were hanging out and she had forgotten that she had told me all those stories already.
So she was telling me them again. And I was like, oh right, you weren’t even here. I was here. I experienced that, but she wasn’t even there. She wasn’t even aware. And I wondered, she forgot, she told me those stories, does she remember anything that I told her in that moment?
And I am not saying this to judge her at all. I thought it was hilarious. But here is the thing that I want us to notice in our own brain. We think we’re having fun but we’re not there. We’re just in the matrix. We’re in the alcohol haze that’s telling us that we’re having fun but we’re not really having fun because we’re not even really there.
So when I go out with my friends and I’m sober, which is such a terrible word, it might as well be like – what’s the word where you don’t have sex? Celibate. You might as well just say I’m celibate. Sober. That sounds terrible. No smiling allowed.
It’s just like when I’m having fun, I’m genuinely having fun and it’s never because of some external thing that I need in order to have a good time. And a lot of times people think I am drunk. I had someone tell me, I think you’ve had enough to drink. I’m like, yeah, for a couple lifetimes, but not today.
Rachel: This is just me.
Brooke: This is just how I am today. And so I want to get super good at sales. I’m always studying sales literature so I can sell people on the idea that you don’t need alcohol to have a fun life and you don’t need alcohol or food to be with yourself and have a relationship with yourself. You don’t need an escape button.
Rachel: Yeah, I mean, not even you don’t need it to have a fun life, but your life can be more fun. It can be bigger. It can be better. That’s the piece that I think really people have a hard time understanding is that things can open up for you in a way. Because I mean, I always tell my clients, when you learn how to change your desire around alcohol, that’s amazing. Everything pales in comparison.
Brooke: Right. I think that’s a great point. That’s hard to do because it requires that you develop some self-awareness. It requires that you are able to look inside your own brain and that you’re able to process negative emotion and that you’re able to tell yourself the truth. But all of the skills that are so hard-earned to do that make the rest of your life exponential.
Just makes everything else take off so well. So it’s like if I can quit, it’s kind of like doing work on your mother. If you can quit drinking and quit overeating and do work on your mother, there’s nothing you can’t bring it. There’s nothing you can’t do. And then you’re like wow, what’s possible for my life? Is it getting drinks at five or is it changing the world? Genuinely.
So let’s give them – I’m putting you on the spot here but maybe you can come up with something. Give me an example of something that is like, so much better now that you don’t drink. And it’s because you don’t drink that it’s better.
Rachel: I had so much body shame. I couldn’t really be fully present when I was having sex because I didn’t really want to be present with myself because I was just judging myself the entire time. And so alcohol was something I definitely used as a way to be able to not be stuck in that prison.
I mean, my ability to actually be present and enjoy sex is off the charts now. I wasn’t there before a lot and I didn’t want to be there because I had so much hatred of my body.
Brooke: That’s so awesome. Yeah, the other thing that I have is Saturday morning, Sunday morning, Monday morning. Mornings are amazing to me now. Mornings used to always just be ugh. And I wasn’t hungover, throwing up, non-functional. Sometimes I was, but most of the time it was like, I just feel a little bit like ass today.
And then it was kind of every day. I just felt a little bit like this. And I think there’s something to mornings for me because I want – and I have access to my own ideas, I have access to my own creativity, access to my own brain in the morning when it’s the freshest. And what I didn’t realize is that I was destroying that with having a couple glasses of wine at night.
I was destroying access to my own potential. And that seems like, so dramatic but that is genuinely what I was doing because then I started waking up and I had so many ideas that I didn’t even know that I had.
Rachel: Because you created all this space in your brain. It’s like all of a sudden you have all this white space to work with where before, your brains is just thinking all the time, it was beating yourself up over your drinking or thinking about when you’re going to be drinking. You create all this space.
I have so many clients that will say, you know, alcohol doesn’t affect me. I don’t have any side effects from it. I just don’t like that it’s become a habit, or I just don’t like the example that I’m setting for my kids. But this isn’t like a physical thing. And then they come back to me and they’re like oh my god, I had no idea that I was feeling as bad as I was because it was just their new norm.
Their new norm became this baseline of I kind of wake up every morning and don’t feel that great and don’t ever feel like I get a good night’s sleep and don’t have that much energy and always have a slum and can’t ever get off the last couple pounds. That’s just how it is. And they explain it away by saying well, you know, you’re just getting older. So they have this explanation so the brain doesn’t have to look any further.
Brooke: Yeah, it’s exactly like what you’re saying. It’s like, if you’re in prison and you have an escape button from prison where you get to go out and have fun at night, and then you just end up back in prison, prison becomes tolerable. Because at least you get to escape sometimes. It makes it so well, I’m not going to try and escape or figure out how to get out of here because I have this escape button.
And when you remove the escape button and you don’t try to steel it out, you just try and question what’s left, it’s like, why am I in prison? Why am I in this space? And people are like, well, my life isn’t a prison. But in some ways, it might be because you need an escape button. What is the reason why you need that?
It may be a very subtle thing that’s easy to change, but for me, it was just like oh right, when I take out the alcohol, what I reveal is what a small game I’m playing in my life. That’s what happened for me is I realized I was holding my ambition down literally. And when I took that away and I looked at that, I’m like, oh, I don’t even need to be in this. I just stepped out.
And then I no longer needed the escape button because I was living outside of that self-restriction. And I think so many of us do that, especially as women. We restrict ourselves in ways that we’re not even aware of. We take away the alcohol and the reason for drinking the alcohol, then what’s left?
Rachel: I always say like, you guys have no idea what your untapped potential is inside of you. People will say to me a lot, how do you come up with ideas for your podcast? I’m always like, how do you not? There’s so much to think about. I have so many ideas. And I didn’t for the period in my life where I was just constantly at war with myself.
And it wasn’t just alcohol for me. It was food for me as well, it was all these things there I felt so compulsive. And when that was what my day in, day out struggle was like, you don’t have a lot of room for thinking and for ideas and for your brain to make these kinds of connections. But when you clean all that up, it really is. You start to see, oh my god, we all have so much potential.
It’s not because you and I are special. It’s because we have been able to access something that I think is really hard to access when you’re constantly just like, I ate too much, I drank too much, spending too much, hate my job. You got to get out of that prison.
Brooke: So I think we can – we’ll leave you guys with this cool question that I ask to my clients sometimes and I think is super powerful. What would have to happen in your life that would make drinking irrelevant? How good would your life need to be where drinking would pale in comparison?
Let yourself kind of even just fantasize about that. For me now, like you were saying, I have so many ideas and so many tools and so many things I want to give my clients. I feel like alcohol would steal them from me. I wouldn’t go back to drinking for all the money in the world. Never.
Only because I’m like, what? Then all of a sudden, I’m fuzzy and I don’t feel good and I think I’m having fun when I’m really not. It feels like plugging myself into the matrix. And yes, I would enjoy that. I’m not saying that I wouldn’t, but I wouldn’t enjoy it as much as my life.
And when alcohol is better than your real life, the answer is fixing your real life. Not drinking more alcohol. So I just want to speak to all of you who get that high-pitched voice with us and you’re like well, it’s not really that bad. Listen, you don’t have to convince us. But when you hear yourself justifying something that’s clearly causing you pain because you’re coming to us and asking for help with it, just notice that.
Just notice that and just be like, what if I didn’t do that? And what if I didn’t resist alcohol and push away from it and think it’s evil but explore my desire to have it and what would my life need to be where that wouldn’t even compare?
Rachel: And what if you believed that your life could get better? I think that’s where I was stuck for so long because I didn’t have any tools. I didn’t know how to do it. And so I was just constantly chasing after approval and chasing after the next thing on my resume. I didn’t actually believe that it was possible but it is. That’s what the model teaches you. That’s why the model is so amazing.
Brooke: Yeah. And so in your program, you help people who want to take a break, which is so lovely. They don’t have to quit. We’re all so thankful. I don’t want to quit. But let’s talk about why you think taking a break is useful. And taking a break in the way that you recommend. Not in the way that…
Rachel: Yeah, that really is the big difference. So for women who want to take a break, but it’s not just about willpower and learning all the ways that alcohol is really evil and poisonous and harmful to your body, but let’s actually understand what’s happening in your brain. Let’s understand what’s going on with the habit.
I think so much of this is the idea like, can you feel peaceful saying no? Can you learn how to allow an urge and not be like the crazy person at the table? I was the crazy person at the table for a long time.
Brooke: Me too. I’m like, no, no, no, okay, if you make me. I’ll have 20 glasses but only because you insisted.
Rachel: Just learning you can do that. Because learning how to feel peaceful with your urges, I mean, that’s going to help you with all of your urges. Again, this is why the work is so powerful because we treat all of our problems in life as if they are separate. But it’s like, when you can be peaceful with the urge to drink, you can be peaceful with the urge to eat. You can be peaceful with the urge not to follow your calendar. You can be peaceful with all of the urges that are getting in the way of the life that you want to have.
And so that’s the deeper work. That’s what you’re learning in there over the 30 days is how to start to learn how to really manage your mind and understand what is actually at the root cause. It’s not a crash diet. A lot of people take a break from drinking like it’s a crash diet. And maybe you have a little bit of success. Maybe you feel a little bit healthier. Maybe you drop some pounds.
But people are so confused why they go right back to the habit once the break is over. And it’s because you didn’t actually learn anything. You didn’t actually get to the root cause of what was going on.
Brooke: Right. And so I think that’s important. You guys go check out Rachel’s material, but don’t do this – oh, well I’ll join her thing January 1, or I’ll join her thing next month. That’s not how it’s set up and that’s not how we’re doing it because as soon as you hear yourself say that, you know that you’re setting yourself up for willpower.
You’re like, I don’t want to stop today. But it’s not about – joining a program isn’t about okay, you can’t ever drink again and we’re watching you. That’s now how it is. It’s just being able to explore that as an option.
Rachel: And not be on autopilot. I think that’s what a lot of people feel like, they’re on autopilot with their drinking. And that does not feel good. I have been on autopilot with my drinking too. And it’s to go from that to can you actually just make a considered choice that you like?
And you don’t just like in the moment when people say yeah, I do like the results. No, not just the moment. Do you like it in the long term? Do you like it the next day? Going from autopilot to the considered choice, that’s everything.
Brooke: And that autopilot is pretty aggressive, right? If you think about a pilot on a plane, if the autopilot was as aggressive as the drinking autopilot is, just takes over, like I got this at five o clock, that feels terrible. Feeling out of control feels terrible, and I think just exploring that that’s something we’re creating for ourselves and that we haven’t opt out of that, we don’t have to feel that way is unbelievable in some ways but it truly is possible.
And I think your program and what you teach and the model and all of it gives people a taste that that is possible, and sometimes that’s all we need is just a little taste of that belief. So how can they find you and get a hold of you and tell us a little bit about it.
Rachel: Yeah, so if you’re a woman who’s interested in the Take A Break program, all you have to do is go to rachelhart.com/join and you can learn all about it there. You can start, like you said, at any time because we have to stop telling ourselves that there’s a magical day. That it’s January 1st or the 1st of the month or Monday morning. Really just start any time.
You can really do this work to transform your life and it’s going to teach you everything that you need to know so that you’re not just using willpower and gritting your teeth. You get to work with me directly, so you get to have someone on your side the entire time, which I think is a really important thing too.
A lot of people – because they’ll have shame around this, they try to not drink or take a break but they just do it in secret and they feel like they can’t tell anyone and nobody can relate. And so it’s really a chance for you to have the support that you need while you’re exploring this for yourself.
Brooke: Yeah. And like we said, it’s not like as soon as you join you have to quit drinking that second. It’s nothing like that. It’s nothing like other groups where you’re forbidden to touch or look at alcohol ever again. This is more about you exploring your own mind and your own heart and what you want for your life.
And Rachel and I feel so strongly about this because there’s so much unnecessary suffering. I look at how much I suffered and how unnecessary that was. And I’m like hey, we got to tell the people.
Rachel: Yeah. I mean, that’s why I became a coach. I was like, I can’t keep this to myself. It’s so transformative. And we have such an antiquated way of understanding why people have this habit and how to change it and it just creates so much freedom for so many of the women that I work with. And that alone to me was just worth it, to say like yeah, this is what I’m going to do. I’m going to change the world with this.
Brooke: And it’s so true. And once you understand this and you reduce or completely eliminate your desire for alcohol, it really is behind you. You don’t define yourself by it. You aren’t defining yourself by someone who doesn’t drink, just like I don’t define myself as someone who doesn’t do heroin or doesn’t smoke cigarettes.
You don’t define yourself that way. You just genuinely release it and never think about it again. That is true freedom and that’s what we’re talking about and that’s what our process that we do stop overdrinking in Scholars, and that’s the process that Rachel works with people live with is the same process.
It’s making it so it’s no longer relevant. It’s just not a part of your life and you’re totally excited that it isn’t. Period. That’s it. So thank you Rachel for coming on. This is fun. We could talk for three hours about this.
Rachel: We could.
Brooke: We totally could. We’re both so enthusiastic about this. If you have questions, if you want to check this out, Rachel’s program is very affordable. It’s designed for anyone who is even curious – what do they call it? Sober-curious. Anyone who’s curious about just – or taking a break curious. Anyone that just wants to hey, maybe this could work for me. Maybe I could try this out.
Notice your attitude if it’s super negative. Don’t let that get in the way of exploring this as an option for you. If you struggle at all with your drinking, please for yourself, just check it out. Alright my friend, thank you for coming. I will talk to you all next week. Have a good week. Talk to you soon.
Rachel: Bye everybody.
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