Ep #49: Changing the Habit with Rachel Hart

By: Dr. Sherry Price
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Drink Less Lifestyle with Dr. Sherry Price | Changing the Habit with Rachel Hart

I’m thrilled to have Rachel Hart on the podcast this week!  Rachel’s a friend, leader, teacher, coach, and an advocate in helping women stop overdrinking by changing their relationship with alcohol.

She’s has been a huge inspiration to me and her work in the world is awesome.

Join us for our discussion on some of common issues we see come up for women when they’re cutting back on alcohol, particularly around sleep, their identity, and reasons that block them from seeking help when they decide to cut back.

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Are you ready to ditch your drinking habit and create a amazing life you love where you don’t want overdrink to numb from it?  If yes, I invite you to check out Drink Less Lifestyle by clicking here.

You can download my free guide How to Effectively Break the Overdrinking Habit.

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What You’ll Learn in this Episode:

  • How our language changes our behavior around alcohol
  • What to do if you’re beating yourself up for overdrinking
  • How thoughts lead to your decision to pick up a drink

Featured on the Show:

Full Episode Transcript:

You are listening to the Drink Less Lifestyle Podcast with Dr. Sherry Price, episode number 49.

Welcome to Drink Less Lifestyle, a podcast for successful women who want to change their relationship with alcohol. If you want to drink less, feel healthier and start loving life again you’re in the right place. Please remember that the information in this podcast does not constitute medical advice. Now, here’s your host, Dr. Sherry Price.

Well, hello my lovely friends. Today I am so excited to bring Rachel Hart onto the podcast. And I will let Rachel tell you a little bit more about her and her amazingness in a minute. But I just want to first say that she’s a leader, a teacher, a coach and an advocate in this space of helping women stop overdrinking by changing their relationship with alcohol where they just don’t desire it. And Rachel is near and dear to my heart as she has been an early mentor of mine long before she even knew it.

And I’ve been very inspired by the work and all that she’s putting out into the world and changing so many lives of women and helping them get over this relationship where they feel attached to alcohol. So, I really wanted to bring her on the show and talk about some issues that I hear a lot in my clients, a lot in the women who have these concerns about cutting back on drinking. And so welcome to the show Rachel.

Rachel: Thanks so much for having me.

Sherry: Alright, as we begin, Rachel, I’d love for you to share with my audience about your drinking journey and how it all began. Will you tell us about that?

Rachel: Oh Jeeze, how it all began. Well, it all began a long, long time ago when I was 17. Yeah, no, I started drinking when I first got to college so I was 17. And it’s funny, I think I talk about this in my book. I talk about going to my first college party and literally just looking for an exit. How can I get out of this place as quickly as possible? I was just kind of crawling out of my skin, I had so much anxiety. I didn’t know how to hold my body. I remember looking at some of my new friends, this was really people I had just met.

I was looking at some of the other women that I was with and I was like how do they hold themselves? What do you do with your hands? It just felt so palpable to me, this discomfort. And someone handed me one of those solo cups, those red solo cups with some sort of I’m sure it was Hawaiian punch and green alcohol, so disgusting. And I just immediately had this kind of I think I feel better. I think I can stay here. I don’t need to run for the exits.

And so drinking and social anxiety for me was really hand in hand for a really long time. And the problem is when you think you’ve found the magic solution to your anxiety it just turns out that the only solution is to kind of escape yourself. It turns out it just doesn’t really work in a long term way. And so, I kind of went through college and then went through my 20s. And just feeling for so much I love drinking. Drinking is this thing that lets me be more of me, more of Rachel. That’s what I really told myself for a long time. This is how the funny, silly, goofy, carefree part of myself gets to shine.

And I was desperate for that. We all want that. We all want to be that person that’s just like, yeah, hey, here I am and I’m not worried about what you think and I feel totally comfortable in my skin. So, I really believed that having a buzz and getting drunk was the way to that. And at the same time, I was like something about this does not feel right. Something about this – sometimes it was I didn’t like how I behaved. But sometimes it was just that sense of I feel I need it too much. I feel if I don’t have the drink I can’t feel like myself. I can’t go into these social situations.

And so, I really struggled with that. And I will tell you, it was a very internal struggle. I didn’t want to talk to anyone about it. I really felt – I mean the name of my book is Why Can’t I Drink Like Everyone Else? That was really the belief that I operated under for so long is everyone else has this figured out and I don’t. And so, it really was this very internal struggle from the time that I was 17 until my early 30s. And constantly just trying to figure out why don’t I want to call it quits? Why do I have so much desire? Why do I drink so much faster than a lot of my friends?

I remember I would watch some of my friends and we’d go to a restaurant in my mid 20s and order a glass of wine. And I’d watch some of my friends, oh my God, how are they drinking that slowly? I don’t understand what’s going on here. So, I just – I desired it and wanted it and thought that it unlocked this part of myself that I really wanted to unlock. I wanted to be kind of carefree and not have anxieties and not have worries. And then I also just felt, God, this isn’t working. And that was a very internal struggle for me for a really long time.

I felt everything out there in the world about if you drink too much you’re an alcoholic and you need to do 12 steps. And the only solution is to never drink again. And you have to admit your defects of character. All of that didn’t resonate with me. And I also felt even the label ‘alcohol’ didn’t resonate with me. But I also deep inside felt like this relationship that I have with drinking, it felt like a bad boyfriend. It felt like my bad boyfriend that I’m like I don’t think he treats me that well but I don’t really want to break up with him.

And so that was just a journey for me for a very long time. And when I finally did figure it out, and part of that I will say was really starting to question myself, how was drinking helping me? I think for so long I was like when I really felt in my lowest moments and was like, oh God, I’ve got to change this. I can’t believe I did that or I can’t believe I’m so hungover. I said I was going to go out with colleagues and just have one drink. And how was it two in the morning?

In those lowest moments I would often be like, “You’re so dumb, why can’t you learn your lesson? Why can’t you figure this out?” And what I was failing to realize I think was how it was helping me. And the fact that I didn’t want to give something up that I felt had these benefits. And so that really sent me down this journey of starting to see maybe this habit that I have is not just me being stupid and me not being able to learn my lesson. Maybe it’s actually trying to point me in this direction.

I talk about kind of an invitation to really meet yourself and meet yourself in those moments when you feel uncomfortable and you just want the drink, or you watch your friend drinking so slowly and you’re like, “Oh my God, can we just order another round?” That was an invitation for me to really meet myself. And then I ended up as a coach. I ended up really learning a lot about we don’t just have desire. Alcohol doesn’t just create our desire, really paying attention to the thoughts that I was having and how a lot of that helped explain to me why my drinking was so unpredictable.

I started to really understand this is about learning about my mind and learning about how my brain works. And understanding that I’m always making a decision even in that moment when it feels like no decision is being made. So that’s the bite size version of how I got here.

Sherry: Yeah. And I think so many women particularly can relate and even men, awkward stages, 17, 18, college. Who am I? What adult am I becoming? Am I on the right path? Is this the right career? How do I fit in with these new people? A lot of us go away off to college and it’s like I want people to like me but I feel awkward. And I’m still growing. And my brain’s still transforming and I’ve got all these emotions. I don’t know what to do with them. Nobody’s taught me how to handle them. And so, this anxiety and we just become more self-aware and self-critical.

And yes, it does provide us such a relief and escape, and a way to like you said, people call it liquid courage or just feeling at ease with yourself. Or I even have some clients that say, “It’s my way to let loose. I don’t know how to let loose any other way.”

Rachel: It’s my way to rebel. That was a big thing for me that in life I so often – in real life it was like I was showing up and I was perfect. And I got all the A’s and did all the things. And I was the best employee. And it’s exhausting to try to kind of be perfect all the time. And for me it was like going out to a bar was my time to like I don’t have to be perfect anymore and I don’t have to follow all the rules. It was my little way to rebel.

I will say the other thing that really started to shift things for me is really understanding well before I started drinking I had a relationship with food that I didn’t realize at the time. But from a much younger age that food was my way to kind of okay, you’re not feeling good, you’re unhappy about something, go have a treat, go have a cookie, go have something sweet to eat. And so, I had this relationship with food that I also for a long time I didn’t recognize the parallels with alcohol.

But I think once I started to see it as this is just me trying to escape myself and escape how I’m feeling. And not knowing a healthy way how to cope with my emotions. That was really powerful for me because I was like this actually really isn’t about alcohol. I think that’s where I spun for so long, why can’t I drink like everyone else? And why do I have this relationship with alcohol where I have all this desire? And I realized it’s not really about alcohol.

That was a very freeing thing for me to see no, this is something bigger. This is my desire to want to kind of escape how I’m feeling so often. And sometimes how I was feeling was just I want more. And I didn’t want to feel deprived. I felt I said no to myself so often in life. And I didn’t want to feel deprived. And that was true when it came to food. It was true when it came to alcohol. And so yeah, that was a very powerful thing for me to understand.

I think a lot of times when we talk about drinking we put it kind of in its own little silo. It’s just that’s something different. And it doesn’t relate to these other things. And when I work with people I like to help them see, maybe you have very similar patterns with food, or with overwork, or with smoking, or with incessantly organizing. So, it’s just all the ways in which we try to kind of escape ourselves.

Sherry: Yeah. And a lot of times we think alcohol and food bring us together. And yes, they bring people together. But when you have too much of them it’s a way to disconnect from yourself and you’re not present, you’re not remembering the conversations specifically with too much alcohol. There are a lot of downsides to it. I wanted to transition a little bit. You mentioned some of the 12 step kind of things. But I really wanted you to talk because I’ve heard you talk about this before but specifically around this issue of morality.

I think we are trained to go after alcohol free days and if I just get to a certain number then I’m good enough. Or if I fall off and I have a relapse I am a bad person for relapsing and not staying on my plan. Or we just make this alcohol to be a bad thing. And when we ingest too much of it we turn into a bad person.

Rachel: Yeah. I mean there’s so many layers here. So even from the language of I’ve been so good this week, I haven’t had a drink. Or I was so bad on Saturday. I went totally overboard. So, we talk about it and as if abstaining makes us good and drinking too much makes us bad. I think we also – you alluded to this a little bit, the idea of – I work with clients a lot who will say, “Well, I’ve just finally realized that it’s a poison. It’s a toxin and it’s bad for me.” And listen, we don’t just do this around wine, and beer, and vodka.

I hear people do the same thing around processed food and sugar and any kind of ice-cream or chocolate. Things become it’s the poison and it’s toxic for my body. The problem is, is that alcohol has been with humans, it’s been on Earth before there were humans. Things can grow, and things can die, and things can ferment. And humans did learn how to harness the fermentation process so that we could make it on a larger scale. But alcohol has always been here. And I think it’s part of being alive.

And so, I think that’s the first thing is that this idea that – I don’t know, I think it’s kind of we’re not going around labeling trees as good or bad. It’s just trees have been here. So, I think that’s a part of it. And then part of this also is this kind of longstanding belief that so many of us have been taught from a very young age is if I just feel bad enough about something. If I just feel bad about my behavior then I will change. The problem is I felt terrible for a very long time. I was an expert at beating myself up. And it just didn’t seem to be working.

No matter how much I told myself, God, you were such an idiot last night. Why can’t you learn your lesson? Why can’t you be more responsible? It just didn’t seem that that was creating the result. And I think it’s really important to separate all this kind of good and bad, and right and wrong including feeling virtuous for not drinking. In many ways I think that that can be as much of a problem to be like, well, I’ve been so good. Well, what happens when you turn out to be human and you drink, then what?

Or what happens when you’re like I’m so good, I’ve only been having a glass, what happens when you polish off the bottle, then you become bad? It’s trying to use alcohol in this way to kind of define whether or not we are good people. Alcohol has no moral value. And whether or not we drink it and how much we drink, and whether or not we do things the next day that we’re, “I wish I hadn’t said that or done that.” That also doesn’t have moral value on us. And I think that piece is really important to try to help people start to see.

Because the paradigm of I’m just going to shame myself into change, I mean a lot of people subscribe to that. And I just don’t think it works in the long run.

Sherry: Yeah, like a character flaw or a character defect that they think they have.

Rachel: Yeah. I mean so I think one of the reasons for me when I was kind of – I wasn’t talking to anyone about this. I was secretly Googling. And even then, oh, God, I don’t even want to Google these things. When I would look at a lot of the kind of approach of 12 step which is about the way to solve this, it’s not just say no for the rest of your life. It’s to work at being a better person. It was like that was not super appealing for me because I already inside had so much judgment. I already inside was beating myself up so much.

So, the idea of okay, so now I’m just going to talk about all my defects of character and all of the wrongs that I did. I was doing that already to myself all the time. I didn’t need more of that. And it’s a lovely goal to say, “I want to be the best version of myself.” That’s not the way to change a habit. And I think the problem is that we have enmeshed these two things together as if self-improvement and being a better person is going to change a habit. It’s like they’re on two totally different tracks.

And you can pursue that. I like trying to be the best version of myself. It just has nothing to do with whether or not I reach for the wine glass, or I reach for the ice-cream, or whatever the kind of habit is that I’m working on. The two things they don’t actually have anything to do with each other.

Sherry: Right. And habits are just an action that you take that you repeat over, and over, and over. And we have good ones, we have bad ones. And we get to define if they’re good or bad or society will define those for us too. But it’s also what are the actions I want to be taking? And what’s going to propel that and not make me feel terrible in the process. I mean if you can do this in a way where you feel better, everybody’s going to choose the way to feel better to gain that different process or different way of acting.

Rachel: Yeah. And I think it’s really important to kind of back up and be like I would explain my drinking before I had the kind of perspective that I have now. I would explain, okay, Rachel, why did you drink too much last night? And I was like, I don’t know. I think I’m wired this way. I think I just always overdo it. I don’t just overdo it with alcohol. I overdo it with food. Maybe it runs in my family. I’m just an all or nothing person. I just can’t learn my lesson.

These were all of the kind of kneejerk explanations that I often gave to myself the next day for why it was I drank, however much I drank the night before. Now, the problem with that is that well, what was I supposed to do with it? What are you supposed to do with this is just who I am? It’s just in my DNA. It’s just I just happen to be an all or nothing person. There’s no path there. I also just think that’s not the explanation.

The explanation, it was so powerful for me to really just start to slow down and go back and really understand. Okay, what was the thought that originally created the desire? If we look at that glass of wine, it’s just sitting there. It didn’t whisper anything in your ear. It’s not persuading you to pick it up. What was that thought? So that’s one of the things that I really first have people start to look at. And it sounds so basic but I think when we have these explanations of I don’t know, I’m just an all or nothing person. I just always overdo it. We don’t even slow down to go there.

And then it’s like a lot of my clients will say, “Okay fine, so I had a thought that created desire and that’s why I picked it up. But then once I started drinking, once you start you can’t stop.” And so, for me it was also I couldn’t figure out why my drinking was unpredictable. I didn’t get drunk every time. I didn’t polish off the bottle every time but sometimes I did. And to me it was so difficult because I was like it’s just mystery, who knows what, is tonight going to be the night when I’m responsible and I call it quits? Or is tonight going to be the night when I end up at the food truck at 2:00am?

Like, even eating a falafel while I’m drunk. To me I was like who knows? But part of that was really starting to slow it down and yeah, you’re still making decisions, Rachel. You’re still having thoughts even after you take that first step, even after you finish that first glass. We’re still making decisions. And the problem was I couldn’t see it, partly because it was so unconscious, but partly because I had come up with this kind of explanation for why I overdid it, which was well, it’s just who I am.

I’m just one of those people that, you know, it’s just like – to me it was I explained it almost as this is how I came out of the womb. And that’s like no, not so much. You taught yourself to have this desire and you learned it from people around you, and you learned it from TV, and you learned it through books, and movies. And you learned it through friends. I learned it all around me. I was absorbing all these messages about alcohol. And then the more that you act on them the more that you kind of perpetuate that desire and that desire grows. I just didn’t realize that I was an active participant in it.

Sherry: Yeah. And what you said is so true. It just becomes automatic. It’s so in your subconscious that you’re just not aware, you’re just completely not aware of how you give away your power, of how it just keeps recreating. You keep recreating the binge even if it’s not every night but it’s unpredictable, like you said, your drinking. It’s just because you gave your power away by staying subconscious or unconscious to it.

Rachel: Yeah. And the beauty of being human, the human brain has the ability to bring conscious awareness to habits, to our unconscious. That’s why we are able to change habits on our own and animals can’t do that. Because we have the ability to observe ourselves and observe our brain and make what is hidden and just feels like I don’t know, it just happened. That was my response for so long. “I don’t know why I drank too much, it just happened. It’s just who I am.” We have the ability to start to shine a light on it and understand it.

And that’s one of the things that I really teach my clients all the time is your actions don’t just happen. There was a feeling. There was a thought. Think, feel, act, this is what I’m helping people start to pay attention to all the time. And it’s really amazing how much we can bring awareness to these things that it’s just no, I had no idea there was any thought or any feeling, it just happened.

Sherry: Right, that awareness is so key because you can’t change what you’re not aware of.

Rachel: Absolutely.

Sherry: Yeah. I also wanted to ask you, changing paths a bit again is I know there’s a lot of barriers to people getting help, women reaching out, thinking they can do it on their own. But what do you think in the work that you’re doing and seeing, what do you think one of the biggest barriers is for women to get help?

Rachel: Well, I mean I think this is for both men and women. I think first there is the shame. And so, like I said, I didn’t want to talk about this with anyone because I thought that this was a weakness. I thought this did reflect on my character even though I also pushed against it. So funny, I was like, “I don’t want to see this as a character defect.” And yet at the same time I was kind of thinking, well, if you were a better person you wouldn’t do this, Rachel. So, I had bought into all of that narrative. So, I didn’t want to talk to people about it.

I thought that it was a sign that something was wrong with me, that normal people can just drink and put down the glass. And so, if normal people can do that I must be abnormal. I think the other thing is people will attempt a lot of things on their own. I attempted a lot of things on my own even though I was never talking to people about it.

And when I wouldn’t have success or when it would work a little bit and then wouldn’t work. I would make those moments of failure mean a whole host of terrible things. I’m never going to figure this out. Maybe something really is wrong with me. And so, I was very practiced at making failure mean something about my future and mean something about me.

I was talking to someone yesterday who was saying, “You know what, Rachel, I’ve been listening to you for a year. And I finally signed up to do the 30 day challenge and the thing that’s been holding me back is I’ve been afraid of failing.”

And what I talk to people about all the time is, “Listen, those moments when you said you’re not going to drink and then you drank, or you said that you’re only going to have one and you have the bottle. Those are the moments that actually can offer you insight into the habit. Those are the moments when you can actually learn at a deeper level how the habit is unfolding if you’re willing to not make it mean, oh God, I’m such a screw up. I’m never going to figure this out.”

Another woman was saying to me, she was like, “I just feel like it’s my destiny. I just feel like this is just who I am and I’m not just someone who can succeed.” And it’s like if we could actually just go back and kind of rewind the tape and just look at, okay, what can we learn from last night? And I think that’s what held me back. I thought, I truly believed I’ve tried so many things. I’ve tried so many things and I still can’t figure it out.

What I didn’t understand is yeah, I had tried a lot of things. I had tried saying, “Okay, only one drink an hour or pacing myself with a friend. Or we’re going to alternate a cocktail with water. Or I’m going to switch to something I don’t really like drinking. No more gin and tonics, I’m going to try whiskey. I’m not going to drink on the weekdays, only drink on the weekends.” I had tried a lot of things but what I didn’t realize is I was actually practicing the same thing over  and over again, which was when my attempts didn’t work I made it mean something terrible.

I couldn’t learn from it. I used it as a way to be just like, “Yeah, you’re never going to figure this out.” And I think that that holds people back from change because they’re like, “God, I don’t want to fail again.” They don’t understand, I didn’t understand for a long time that you’re not having a setback when you don’t follow your plan. You’re not having a setback when you drink when you said that you wouldn’t. It’s a stepping stone. It’s actually the thing that can teach you so much if you’re willing and if you have the tools to start to reframe it and look at it in a different light.

Sherry: Exactly. And that’s exactly what I teach as well is that this is not a setback. This is a learning opportunity. What other skills do you need to learn? What other things do we need to pay attention to from a thought feeling perspective so that we don’t keep taking that same action? And if we don’t have that insight we won’t get to the root of the problem, we won’t be able to change it. We’ll just be fighting ourselves.

Rachel: We’re just fighting ourselves and I think that’s the other thing is it’s so often people try to change the habit simply by focusing on the action. And what I mean by that is okay, so I’m drinking too much so then the solution is to say no. But when you don’t understand that your actions are part of the cycle, they are connected to thoughts and feelings, they don’t just arise. It’s not just a reflex. When you don’t understand that and you’re just trying to change an action by taking a new action, you’re neglecting a whole part of the puzzle.

I mean that’s why just say no is it’s really kind of useless advice. Because it’s like but I don’t really understand why I’m saying yes. And I don’t really understand in the moment when I told myself, okay, I’m not going to drink, I’m not going to drink. Or I’m going to be good tonight. I don’t understand why I didn’t follow through. And so, we have to look at a habit not just from the surface level. What we all see is the surface of the habit like did you reach for the glass of wine or did you not? But you have to be willing to go underneath it and see what is actually fueling the habit and driving the habit.

And that’s what’s happening in your mind, that’s the feelings in your body. And unless you start to do that deeper work you’re just going to be stuck at the surface level of okay, just say no, just say no, just be good, just be good. And it’s exhausting.

Sherry: Yeah. And it’s needing that willpower and that eventually fatigues over time.

Rachel: Yeah. I mean willpower can take you so far and then at some point, again, it just brings us back to what I was saying, when people are like, “I’m being so good. I’m being so good, I’m being so good, I’m not drinking, I’m being so good.” And then you get to a point where you’re like, “I’ve had a really shitty day, I’d like to be bad. And if being good was saying no then your brain immediately knows the way to be bad. It’s to go to the grocery store and go to the wine aisle and grab the bottle. And I’m going to take it home and I’m going to be bad because I’ve been so good and I deserve it.

Sherry: Yeah, so interesting and so well said. I have a private Facebook page and I see a lot of the comments of the women writing in and talking about challenges for them. And one of the challenges that I hear from a lot of women on cutting back is when they first start cutting back they feel that their sleep is so disrupted. They’ve been telling themselves they need alcohol to fall asleep. They need alcohol to sleep. They have insomnia. Have you experienced this with your clients and what advice do you give to them?

Rachel: It’s huge. I mean I think that the sleep piece, it’s a really big hurdle for a lot of people. And this is the beauty of thought work and why it can be so powerful, because when you’re learning how to change a habit, you’re really learning how your mind works, not just in the area of alcohol. You’re just learning how your mind works in general. And so, one of the things that I really help people work on is there’s all this stuff we can do for sleep hygiene. And again, this is trying to deal with the surface level.

We can lower the temperature and get blackout shades and turn off our devices two hours before. We all know the sleep hygiene things. And I’m not saying that they can’t be helpful. But if you’re lying in bed awake when you think that you should be asleep and your brain is fixating, this is what I will see happen a lot. And, “Oh my God, I have got to get to sleep. I have such a big day tomorrow.” And you’re producing all this anxiety about the fact that you’re awake. It’s going to be so much harder to fall asleep.

And so, part of it is it’s the skill that you can take from observing your mind when you have that urge or that desire, you can bring that skill to, okay, so what happens when you’re lying awake in bed? Or what used to happen to me is I didn’t have problems falling asleep but I would wake up at 2:30, 3:00 in the morning and I was just wide awake.

Sherry: Yes, exactly the same.

Rachel: Right. And then it’s just okay, it’s 2:30, 3:00 in the morning, and my brain just did not hang out in a happy place in those moments. And so, it’s like can we then bring those tools? Can we actually learn how to turn down the anxiety and watch where your brain goes? And watch – so many of my clients will say, “But you don’t understand. I have so much I need to get done. I can’t afford not to sleep.” And so, it really is starting to unpack the beliefs that we have about how much sleep or what it means to be sleepless, or ability to get things done the next day.

And I think that it’s an area for people to see, if you’re not adding more anxiety and more overwhelm to the moment when you’re lying awake in bed, not only does it feel better in the moment. It is actually easier to fall asleep. And we talk about sleeplessness as if sleeplessness is the problem when in reality it’s, I think the emotion that’s attached to sleeplessness. And if it’s a problem it’s the negative emotion.

When we’re wide awake when we’re little kids because tomorrow is Christmas morning, we’re not unhappy in that moment. We’re like yeah, okay, it’s going to be amazing. I can’t wait. I’m so excited.”

Sherry: How many more hours? This is going to be awesome.”

Rachel: Yeah. It’s what is your emotional state while you’re lying there? That is the real problem.

Sherry: Yeah. And I don’t think a lot of women know how to change that or taught how to change that. And that they can either ramp up their own anxiety or tone down their own anxiety. And I think a lot of us look to outside sources, whether it’s alcohol, whether it’s melatonin, whether, whatever it is. But we have the ability to change the neural chemicals that come out of our brain that contribute or lessen the anxiety that we feel. And like you said, this mind work, this brain work that we do, helps you in so many areas of your life, so many areas.

Rachel: Yeah. I really see it as, look, I’m all for sleep hygiene. I’m all for the benefits of exercise. I do think that there are a lot of things that we can do. I think that healthy eating is great. But I think that there’s a lot that we can do. But if we don’t pay attention to our mind, if we don’t learn how to actually exercise that muscle, I like to think of it as a muscle. And it’s something that we have to exercise and it’s something that needs our attention just like you don’t think that you can go to the gym once in your life and okay, I’m going to be physically fit, my body’s great.

We know I have to keep moving my body. Well, we have to keep moving the muscle of your mind. And when we have habits, not just the habit of drinking, the mind, it leans towards let’s not move, let’s just keep what I’ve been doing in the past. Let’s just keep it on autopilot. If you’re not moving that muscle you’re not exercising your mind. And that’s where I certainly didn’t know how to do that. No one taught me anything about my brain. No one taught me anything about how to handle emotions, or even where emotions came from, or why I did the things I did, or why I had habits.

And that to me, it’s an education that I think almost everyone has missed out on and we all need if we want to have the kind of wellbeing that we’re after. So, it’s, I think a lot of times also for your listeners, I want them to know, sometimes we think, if I just figure out my drinking, whatever that means for them, whether it is cutting back. Maybe some people are like, I don’t know, maybe I’m just kind of done with it. People think if I just figure out my drinking then everything’s going to fall into place. You’re still going to have the human experience.

And I think that was a really part of my own journey as well to really understand, I’m still me. I still have these emotions, even though I’ve ‘figured out my drinking’, now I have me to deal with. And how am I going to do that in a way that feels good? And how am I going to have a relationship with myself, and my emotions, and my body, and my mind as one that serves me?

And I always think the work that you do to change your relationship with alcohol, it really is leading you down the path of just changing your relationship with yourself. And that to me is what is so powerful. Learning these tools, learning about the think, feel, act cycle, learning how the brain works, yes, it helped me change my drinking. But more importantly it helped me change my life. These are really tools that you can apply to anything and everything in your life.

Sherry: Absolutely. So well said. Well, Rachel, thank you so much for coming on the podcast today. And I know my listeners would love to hear, where can they find you if they want to work with you?

Rachel: Yeah. You can go to rachelhart.com, R-A-C-H-E-L-H-A-R-T. I have a 30 day challenge where I teach these tools. And you also check out my podcast, Take A Break From Drinking.

Sherry: Wonderful. Well, I’ll link it all in the show notes, and Rachel, again, such a pleasure to talk with you today, thank you.

Rachel: Thank you.

Thanks for listening to the Drink Less Lifestyle. If you’re ready to change your relationship with alcohol, check out my free guide, How to Effectively Break the Overdrinking Habit at sherryprice.com/startnow. That’s sherryprice.com/startnow. I’ll see you next week.

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