How To Get Unstuck from the Groundhog Day Cycle of Drinking Shame with Carolyn Robistow

Episode 149 January 24, 2024 00:50:28
How To Get Unstuck from the Groundhog Day Cycle of Drinking Shame with Carolyn Robistow
Alcohol Tipping Point
How To Get Unstuck from the Groundhog Day Cycle of Drinking Shame with Carolyn Robistow

Jan 24 2024 | 00:50:28


Hosted By

Deb Masner

Show Notes

If you’ve ever found yourself caught in the shame cycle of drinking, detoxing, and then drinking again despite your best intentions, I recommend listening to this episode. On the show is Carolyn Robistow, host of Brain Unblocked: The Brainspotting Podcast, therapist, habit change specialist, and former gray area drinker. Carolyn helps high-achieving, health-minded perfectionists squelch brain blocks and unhelpful habits. Learn how to go from Groundhog Day Drinking to Alcohol Free Badassing.  

We talk about: 

Find Carolyn: @carolynrobistow (IG, FB) 

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Episode Transcript

[00:00:00] Speaker A: Welcome to the Alcohol Tipping Point podcast. I'm your host, Deb Maisner. I'm a registered nurse, health coach, and alcohol free badass. I have found that there's more than one way to address drinking. If you've ever asked yourself if drinking is taking more than it's giving, or if you've found that you're drinking more than usual, you may have reached your. [00:00:19] Speaker B: Own alcohol tipping point. [00:00:21] Speaker A: The alcohol tipping point is a podcast for you to find tips, tools, and thoughts to change your drinking. Whether you're ready to quit forever or a week, this is the place for you. You are not stuck, and you can change. Let's get started. [00:00:38] Speaker B: Welcome back to the Alcohol Tipping Point podcast. Today on the show, I have Carolyn Robusto. She is the host of the Brain Unblocked, the Brain Spotting podcast. She's a former gray area drinker and a habit change specialist, and I am delighted to have her on the show from her house boat. So welcome to the show, Carolyn. Can you give a little bit of an intro about you, who you are, and what you do? Yeah. [00:01:10] Speaker C: Thank you. I am so excited to be here because I'll tell you, and I'll just share with everyone, here's something about my personality straight off the bat. I found you and immediately emailed you this kind of squirrely email. In hindsight, I was like, there's a lot of very informal squirreliness in this email. So I just was thrilled that you weren't like, okay, weirdo. And you couldn't delete that you were even interested enough that we could get together and have this conversation. Because if there's one thing I feel like I could talk about ad nauseam for all time, it would be this idea of Groundhog Day drinking, which I know we'll get into. And so I think, like you and I were kind of discussing preshow, it'll be a bit to reel me in. Maybe that's your task force to keep me on point with some questions that you think that your listeners would really benefit from. Like you mentioned, I am a former gray area drinker myself. I'm also a licensed therapist, although I'm not currently practicing. I'm only doing the habit coaching right now because, as you also mentioned, we now live on a boat and keeping up with state licensing and things like that and still doing therapy was just not a viable option that I wanted to keep doing. And so I switched over into the coaching. So now I can just serve people all over while I'm going all over. And I work mostly with similar to you, just the really high performing folks who don't identify as any sort of substance use disorder. They just are kind of, like, sick of it or they want to be sick of it. I think it may be like they just want it to be easier to not drink the way they're drinking. [00:02:51] Speaker B: Absolutely. Well, I'm so glad that you're here. And I loved your email. I was like, oh, she fun. I like weird and squirrely and all of that. [00:03:03] Speaker C: We find each other. [00:03:05] Speaker B: Exactly. Well, then what was your experience with drinking and how did you get out of your own groundhog Day. [00:03:13] Speaker C: Yeah, great question. So my experience was that everyone was doing it. It was the way we celebrated socialize, get together, social lubricant, all of the terms that we're really familiar with. And I had been just kind of cruising along, drinking, like the people around me, maybe a little bit more from time to time. But for the most part, I wasn't, like, the only person with an extra bottle of wine in case we ran out or whatever. But I did start to feel like the only person who thought, I'm not sure that I want to keep doing this. And I wasn't sure that I would be able to still participate in my life without it. And that was what was scary. I remember one time we were on our way to a friend's birthday dinner in our friend group. Like, we love birthdays. We get together all the time for all the birthdays. And we were in the car on the way there, and I was also, while I would tell my husband, like, yeah, I'm just not going to drink tonight or I'm going to try and take a break for a couple of days, I was not very upfront with him about it early on. I was very casual about it when inside it was really, like, eating me up. I Just felt like there was something wrong with me. And I remember telling him in the car that I was really nervous about the night. And it wasn't because I was nervous I was going to drink. It was because I was nervous that I would not be able to relate to these people any other way. And what I think comes up for a lot of people is, well, what if people don't like me as much if I'm not drinking? And I had that, but I also had this really sobering thought of, oh, my gosh, what happens if I don't like them when I'm not drinking? And here I've built, and it turns out I did. I love them all. They are people. Whether I'm drinking or not. But it was a fear that no one had ever really talked to me. I'd never seen it before. I'd seen a lot of, who am I without it? How do I fit in without it? But for me to think, what if I actually secretly don't like these people? And now I've built a life full of people I don't like, and what would that mean for me? So, again, luckily, that did not happen. But so I say I spent about two years trying to have a different drinking habit. And the first year was free challenges, 30 day breaks. My friends and I would get together, and we were very into fitness and working out, and it was like, okay, we're doing, like, whole 30, and we're going to work out in this workout program, and we're going to not only drink wine on Wednesdays or whatever, and I always found an exception. And so then I was like, well, maybe I need to do a paid for challenge. And so the second year, I started doing the paid for challenges, and I did two of them and made it through them. And that was the first time I'd ever completed one of the challenges, but then wound up back where I started, which is kind of like the birthplace of this idea of Groundhog Day, is basically to say, and then we just wind up and it's like. It's like nothing has changed. And so at the same time, gosh, this is like a lengthy story. At the same time, I was starting my private practice. I was working in my private practice as a therapist and was getting trained in this modality called brain spotting. And I used it primarily with clients with anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder. And to use it with obsessive compulsive disorder, there was this component of helping a person embody and really know something that they intellectually already knew but were acting against, because that's effectively what obsessive compulsive disorder is. I know I've checked the lock, but everything in my body is screaming, I need to go check the lock again. And I thought, what if I tried this with alcohol? What if it works the same? I know intellectually that it's not doing me any favors. I know it's messing with my sleep, but everything in me was still saying, well, that's fine, then just pour a glass and then stop at one, which was never even if I had one. I was mad at myself for how hard it was just to have the one. So I tried the brain spotting thing, and it worked. And I don't drink anymore. [00:07:37] Speaker B: So then I had to go down. [00:07:38] Speaker C: This path of exploring, okay, how do I now figure out why the heck that worked and make it accessible? And it turns out there were already people using it for substance use disorder, so I was then able just to pull from them and modify it. So that's kind of a lengthy answer to that. [00:07:59] Speaker B: I mean, that's so interesting. You're talking about how brain spotting was for obsessive compulsive disorder. And I've heard also, like, addiction in general, being described as compulsive comfort seeking. And so it makes sense that you would take that method and use it for helping unwind your drinking and your thoughts about drinking, too. What is brain spotting for people who are like, what the heck? [00:08:31] Speaker C: Yeah. Well, so let me come at it from this angle, because sometimes I get a little bit geeked out on it, and then people fall asleep, and then they hit pause, and then they think, I'll listen to that later, but we'll try and keep it engaging. One thing that I know for sure is that people who drink moderately are not actively moderating their drinking. It's because they don't have to think, okay, I only want two, or I only want one, or I don't want any tonight. They just either want it or they don't. And that is an appropriate amount for them. Right? Like I would say for myself now, I just don't want it anymore. But when we come at it from this angle of moderation being kind of the gold standard, and I know you and I were just kind of talking about my moderation soap a minute ago, what ends up happening is we give people this misguided information about what healthy drinking looks like or a healthy relationship with alcohol, what that looks like. And the truth is so similar to obsessive compulsive disorder. Like you said, the truth is any sort of compulsive behavior. This is a grotesque oversimplification, but I used to be a kindergarten teacher, too, so I love simplifying things. Yeah. So if we just kind of separate our brain into a top and a bottom, the top is like the more adulty, logical language, action taking part of our brain. Like, it's like the tasker. It gets a message, and then it acts on the task, and it's the last part to develop, too, which is why it's the more adulty one, in my very scientific description. And the bottom part is just the more primitive part. So brain spotting is a technique that uses certain eye positions that are unique to every person. So it's not like, oh, if everyone listening, just look to the left and you'll feel this. It's very to every person. So you have to find your own brain spots, but so you use the connection of the eyes to that more primitive part of the brain to get to where the compulsion is living or where the information needs to be in order for it then to be what you act on instead of. So the top part of our brain acts about 23 times slower than the bottom part, which, in terms of how our brain works, it's the difference between 30 milliseconds and 0.7 seconds. Like, it's the difference between a blink and two blinks. But when we look at it as 23 times later, it's effectively saying, okay, your bottom brain is going to decide you want to drink, and it's going to be 23 times longer before your top brain has a chance to even go. Well, hold on. What are my strategies? I know I need to go for a walk, or I need to remember I have a mocktail or whatever it is. So it's a little bit like taking what we know about how the brain works. And I know you and I touched on this earlier, too. This is not something that lands with everybody, right? Like, some people are like, oh, I just took a 30 day break and I just didn't go back. And it was great, and I am so happy for them. And then there are the people like me who we tried, and it's like, why doesn't that work? And it creates shame. And that's nothing wrong the industry is doing. It's just there are some of us that need a little bit of extra oomph, I guess, but so that's what brain spotting is. It's using eye positions to get into the part of the brain that this stuff is living in is kind of the best way to describe it. What questions do you have now that I've gone down that rabbit hole? [00:12:18] Speaker B: Well, I feel like we could do a whole other podcast on that, but I just think the brain is fascinating. I describe it as the brain being a mullet, and so it's business in the front, party in the back. But I think it's so cool how things like EMDR and this brain spotting are recognizing we can change our brain. And I just think the vision tie in is so amazing. And I remember Huberman talking. Know, he's Stanford neuroscientist and studies vision is his main thing. But he talks about our eyes being just part of our brain. They're just the outside part of our brain. So we're recognizing how we could use things like brain spotting and EMDR to change our thinking. And that's fascinating. [00:13:15] Speaker C: My favorite thing. Oh, sorry, go ahead. [00:13:17] Speaker B: Well, I wanted to hear your favorite thing. [00:13:20] Speaker C: My favorite thing about. So I get that you do get a lot of questions about brain spotting and EMDR and where are they the same and where are they different? And there is overlap and there are really critical differences. But my favorite thing is that brain Spotting is something that as long as it's not a clinical issue, we can learn as a self practice. And so that's what I do with people, is we do it in a group or we do it one on one. And I give people these guided audios, and you learn how to do it yourself so that then you can start to apply it to other things. Because those of us who have found a healthy relationship with alcohol, we know, like, that's not it. That's just the first domino that falls, and then we're ready to show up and look at how to optimize other areas of our life. Right. And so the idea that we can learn this skill, I call brain spotting the last habit you'll ever need. Like, if I can make brain spotting a habit, then I can manage all my other habits through it. [00:14:20] Speaker B: Yeah. That is so cool. Well, we'll have to do another episode on brain spotting or do that. Sounds like you kind of need video to do brain spotting. Okay, I have ideas, but let's talk about the people that are stuck. So the Groundhog day, as you say, what are Groundhog Day drinkers? [00:14:46] Speaker C: Okay, let's think about it in terms of kind of the standard approach for how to get out of your drinking habit. Right. Because I think that there's some missed arrows that are pointing one way, and I want us to point them a different way. Right. Where what tends to happen is we think of it as like a stair step or a pyramid is how we get presented this information. And it's, okay, we're going to take a break, right? We're going to go 30 days without it, and then the next level of the pyramid is we kind of then have this understanding that, and then I'm going to feel so good that I'm not going to want it as much. So I'm just going to only have it in these healthy amounts. So effectively, I'm going to take it out completely and then I'm going to add it back in at a moderate level. And the expectation is then at some point we reach this top of the pyramid, which is I have a healthy relationship with alcohol or I'm happy with my drinking habit, and that's going to look different for everybody. For some of us Now I'm at zero. And for some of us, it's whatever. Well, we'll get into the types in a minute and then that'll kind of spell out what it is. For some of us. There's nowhere else in the world that I can think of or that anyone has been able to present me with yet where the solution to something is to get rid of it completely and then bring it back a little. Like we don't go weed our garden and then plant a couple of weeds for balance. We get the weeds at the pool, you know what I mean? And so it's just like when we look at that pyramid, if we could look at it in this different way, and I'll describe this way, if we see Groundhog Day as this great nod to the 1993 Jiggle Murray Andy McDowell movie where Bill Murray wakes up again and again and again and relives the same day. So Groundhog Day effectively is just in a Groundhog Day drinker is a person who wakes up and no matter how long it's been since they had that experience that morning is the same where it's, I just wish I had, whether it's, oh, I said I was going to have only one and I ended up having the whole bottle, or it's, oh, I said I was going to have none and I still had one. Like, whatever it is, it's waking up repeatedly with that. I just am reliving this feeling of, why did I even do that? Why did I do that? That's Groundhog Day. And so we think about that as the bottom of the pyramid. And then the next level we talked about is the abstinence challenges, right? And there are people who come in and they'll do like the alcoholiday day, right. And they embrace all of the support there and the support and all of the tools and techniques that you're providing, right. It wraps them up in a warm blanket and makes it so that they can get through this. So it's not just the abstinence that's the thing, but there's this idea that the abstinence itself is the magic pill. And it's like, even with the alcoholiday, the fact that people are taking a holiday from it is not the magic pill. It's the things that are built in around that experience that are the magic pIll. Right. And so I call these my white knuckling avoiders. They're the people who are like, as long as I can go 30 days and not drink, that's the point. And so they're just, like, gripping on counting the calendars, they're counting the days, and it all becomes about, I just have to get through this 30 days, and it's basically this hellish experience just for the sake of saying, okay, I made it in 30 days, right? And so I call those my white knuckling avoiders. The next thing that we get told to do is this Moderate amount, right? And so I actually break this into two categories. So the first type of Groundhog Day drinker is the white knuckling avoider. The second type is the rule creating moderator. And we tend to see this on Literal Groundhog Day, right, which is right after dry January. It's two days after dry January, and we are actually on Groundhog Day. And although Groundhog Day in this context can happen at any time, I do love how the synchronicity of it being right after dry January. And so a rule creating moderator is the Person who then says, oh, I'm only going to have drinks at restaurants, or I'll only drink on the weekends, or I'm going to have one, and then I'm going to have water in between, whatever it is. There are these rules around the moderation aspect, and that's where I go back to, like we said in the beginning, like, moderate drinkers don't do that. They're not doing that. They're just drinking what they want and then stopping when they've had enough. But we mistakenly assume that these rules are the Way we moderate successfully. So we've got our rule creating moderators. Those are our Second ones I spent, for the record, so much time in all three of these types, and you can go between them all throughout the cycles for a Year. But, so the third type is the special Occasion Slipper. And these are My Sweet, sweet friends who pretty much don't drink anymore. But then the holidays come up or a birthday or a wedding or, and this is an important distinction, a special event that is not something we would historically think of as enjoyable, like a loss or a death or a relocation where it's grief, but it is kind of a once in a long time experience. So that's what makes it a quote unquote special occasion. And they just think, oh, well, it's just this one occasion or it's this one circumstance. And then the next day they wake up and think, well, this is what I call the people who make it, like, they'll go 100 days and then be like, oh, well, now I'll just have one. And then it's just like, boost back in slippery slope. Or they just wake up and they think, oh, why did I even do that? I just wish I. So you can see how with all three types, it really exists on a spectrum. But what is common for all of them is that Groundhog Day experience, that this is not what I wanted to have happen. Does that make sense? Yeah. [00:21:02] Speaker B: Well, I mean, I totally get the Groundhog Day and not just going back to moderating, because what I see a lot of people discover, like, in the alcoholiday, is they're going in and they don't know if they're done with drinking or not. Right. And so they're exploring their relationship with alcohol. And then I think where it becomes really difficult and people become stuck is when they know that they are done with drinking, but they keep going to it. So again, that logical part of your brain, the business part, is done with drinking and wants to divorce it, but keeps going back to it. Yeah, I was definitely falled into all these categories and in and out, and I chased that magical moderation pill forever until I could let it go. It's funny, you use Groundhog Day, another movie that I really relate to that is similar to Groundhog Day but in a more intense way. [00:22:09] Speaker C: Is it the Ryan Reynolds one? Because I love that one, too. [00:22:13] Speaker B: Well, it's edge of tomorrow with Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt. [00:22:18] Speaker C: Yes. [00:22:19] Speaker B: That's one where he's repeating the same day over and over again until he gets it right. He goes and he is fighting aliens, and it's an action movie. And I think the aliens are like alcohol, and you just keep going again and again until you figure it out. Then you finally get. But anyway, so, yeah, the Ryan Reynolds. [00:22:42] Speaker C: One is that free guy movie, and it's the same where he's the video games and it's the same day. But I think there's something to be said for why Hollywood catches on to what a living hell that can be. This idea of, why do I have to keep experiencing this? Yeah. [00:23:00] Speaker B: Again and again. Okay, so how do we get out of that? We've decided we know what it is. We keep repeating it. How do we change it? [00:23:15] Speaker C: Yeah, great question. So the first kind of big Aha. Moment that a lot of people need to have is to see that. Oh, yeah. These stages are not a pyramid. I'm climbing with a point at the top. It's a cycle I'm stuck in and it goes around and around. So it's like we go from Groundhog Day to white knuckling avoider to rule creating moderator to special Flipper, and then we're back on Groundhog Day again. And so the great thing about seeing it as a circle or a cycle, and I just call it the Groundhog Day drinking cycle of shame, is if it's a circle, we don't have to stay on it to reach the goal, which I just call optimized AF. It's not the top of a pyramid that we have to climb through these levels to get to. We got to get off the circle. Optimized AF is not even on this circle. If we're going around and around in the circle, we're never going to reach it. So that's kind of the first big thing, is we just kind of have to go, okay, I have to look it through this new lens or a different lens. And then the way that I have sorted it out for my clients and myself was this trifecta of change. Aside from being a former kindergarten teacher, I also was an English teacher. So I love work. I taught 7th and 8th grade English language arts at an all boys school. So that was a lot of fun. But I break it down into three pillars because I did like we said in the beginning, I had to go back and go, okay, what just happened? Why did that work? Because it could not in my mind, and no research is going to back. Could not be that I brain spotted one time and that just magically changed my relationship with alcohol. There had to be more to it, right? And that's not to say that that couldn't happen for someone, but I wanted to create something that had better odds of success. I didn't want to just be like, well, let's sure hope it works great. [00:25:10] Speaker B: For you the way it did for me. [00:25:12] Speaker C: So the first pillar of this trifecta of change, which is to answer your question of what do we do? How do we get off this cycle is personalized daily support. And this, I think, is something that, like I said, with the alcoholiday a day, I hear you bringing that in in a really special way, right? Where what makes me able to step. [00:25:36] Speaker B: Away from a craving or a drink. [00:25:38] Speaker C: Is not the same as what makes you able to step away from a craving or a drink. And I remember this. One of the paid for challenges I did was one. And I'm not naming names because they were all really good. They just weren't what I needed. But one of them was really into, you have to pick this really great fitness goal, and it's going to be such a great fitness goal that you're going to realize that alcohol is only holding you back. And the thing is, I was in decent shape, and I was riding my peloton six times a week, and I could go out and do a five K. That did not do it. It was like, okay. And I thought, well, this will be perfect because I'm already into this, so it'll be really aligned. And it wasn't like they'd be like, well, if you really want to drink, just go for a run. And I'm like, I would go for a run and then drink. That didn't work. And so it started to be clear to me that it's not that going for a run isn't a good substitute. It's that it wasn't what I needed. And that can feel really overwhelming and inundated. Like, people feel inundated with options. And it's like, well, what do I do? Do I go for a walk? Do I write a letter to a friend? Do I journal about it? Do I do some meditation? Do I go to church? Which thing is the thing? And so I just created a real easy step by step process for getting an individualized plan for, here are the things that you specifically are going to be able to reach for if and when you do want to drink. And we put that one in first because it's the easiest and it addresses. Sometimes in the early days, people are still, like, on the fence about, am I drinking or am I not? But I call it a values based nurture plan. We base it on personal value systems, and by the time we're done with it, there's a daily component where it's like, okay, you're going to do these couple of things every day for prevention. And I say, we don't need those five things to take any more than, like, ten to 30 minutes stops. And then you've got this whole backup list for, okay, but if that's not enough on a certain day and you just need a little bit more of, like, a pillow wrapped around you, here is your personalized list of pillows you can wrap around yourself. So that's the first pillar in this trifecta of change. And then the thing we bring in next is the brain spotting piece. And that's the part where we take. I feel like I'm nerding out a little bit, so stop me. [00:28:13] Speaker B: I love it. [00:28:14] Speaker C: Okay, that's the piece where we say, well, how do cravings and habits work in the brain. And the truth is, and I actually do have, like, a free training I can share with anybody who just reach out. They can reach out to me and just say, like, hey, I heard you on alcohol tipping point. I want the free drinking. But the truth is, with alcohol and the consequences of alcohol, they are delayed, right? Like, immediately, there's the feel goods, and then later we've got Groundhog Day. And one thing that's pretty standard kind of vernacular these days is that neurons that fire together wire together, right? So when two things happen simultaneously, our brain goes, oh, those go together. And so the problem is never in the history of ever, with few exceptions, I'm sure, because I can't say for everything, but very rarely does one of us have an experience where we take our first sip of alcohol and immediately feel hungover and wish we hadn't had that sip. And so we have to do this process where we bring those two experiences, the now experience and the later experience, and put them in the same file. So when our brain goes, oh, do I want to drink? It gets the whole picture. And so the closest thing that exists to this, outside of more bottom brain work, is like the play the tape forward strategy that I know a lot of people use. That's the closest thing most people have experienced to it. What we're doing with this particular method is we're saying, you don't have to play the tape forward. The tape is already in the right spot. You just have to remember the tape is there, like, oh, that's right. It becomes effortless to remind yourself that you don't want a drink. And then the third pillar is where we take, like we talked about earlier, the information, like the stuff we know. Like, I know alcohol is not good for me. I know that it makes my sleep terrible. I know that it does whatever. And then we embody that. Also, using a brain spotting technique, we get that down into the body so that it's like, you know, it's the difference between knowing something and believing it with all your beat. [00:30:39] Speaker B: Right? [00:30:39] Speaker C: That was a lot of information. [00:30:41] Speaker B: No, that's good. I'm going to go back over it. I had some thoughts. The first of your trifecta changed is personalized daily support. And I like how you're talking about how running or that fitness goal, it wasn't appropriate for you. So finding something that is a good alternative for you, and that's going to be different for everybody. So some people love journaling or meditating or replacement drinks or whatever that looks like. Like finding what works for you and then having a go to list of just alternative things you can do instead of drinking. [00:31:23] Speaker C: Right. Yes. And eliminating, too. Like, part of the importance in that, too, is eliminating the. We use the value set to eliminate the intense trial and error phase of, well, I don't know. Try going for a run, see if it works. It's more like, well, let's just figure out what's going to be most likely for you to work and put that on your list. Let's skip the trial and error phase. There's still some trial and error to it, but it's a little more dialed in from the start so that we don't have that sense of, like, how come what's working for everybody else isn't working for me? Because that's a really isolating and guilt inducing, shame inducing feeling. [00:32:01] Speaker B: Yeah, definitely. And thank you for pointing that out. And then your second thing was tying about how habits and cravings work and tying it into brain spotting. And just pointing out that we are creatures who are hardwired for instant gratification. Right. Our brain is moving us towards pleasure and away from pain in the fastest way possible. And it's true, you don't get the effects of alcohol, the bad effects, until the next day. And I think that's why, like, antibuse, people take the medication antibuse, so that they do get the bad side effects of alcohol right away. And if people are wondering what that is, I call that the old school medication that you take. Anytime you have alcohol, anything with alcohol in it, you get violently ill right away. And so people start to associate alcohol with a negative experience instead of the positive experience. Because your brain forgets. And it's hardwired to forget negative events. [00:33:16] Speaker C: Or it blames the waking up for the negative event. It's like, what happened right when I felt this crappy feeling? Oh, I woke up. And so then it's like, oh, I hate the morning. Oh, I'm not a morning person. Oh, I dread my alarm clock. Because your brain is linking Matt to the way you feel when the alarm clock is not what made you feel crappy. It was 12 hours ago. That's making you feel crappy. So, yeah, it is effectively a similar process of going, well, let's get your brain to link the junkie part with the actual intake. Except we don't have to go through the experience of getting violently ill. Yeah, that's nice. [00:33:55] Speaker B: And then the third part of the trifecta was tying the head and the heart. [00:34:03] Speaker C: Yeah. [00:34:05] Speaker B: What we logically know with what we feel like in our coRe. [00:34:10] Speaker C: Yeah, exactly. Embodying the information. I used to call it being an informed decision maker. And then I realized, no, it's embodying the decision making where it puts the decision on autopilot without you having to think, well, what do I know? I remember. So when I was teaching at this all boys school, we would do all of these professional developments on how boys brains and girls brains and how things learn differently. And this particular study was not. And I wish I had ever bookmarked it. I've since tried to go back and find it, and I start to gaslight myself. Like, maybe this isn't an actual study, but for all intents and purposes, we'll call it a study. And this was just junior high brains in general. It was not necessarily gender specific, but it was just junior high brains. And so they would flash these cards in front of adults and then in front of these junior high people, and it was as simple as good idea, bad idea, just flash the card. Is it a good idea or a bad idea? That would be things like eating your vegetables and swimming with a shark when you have an open cut bleeding on you. Like, things that we, as adults, it feels easier to be like, bad idea. But it's because we've had an experience where we have embodied that understanding. Like, oh, yeah, even I have a visceral reaction of, like, oh, God, even the thought of getting in the water with sharks and having blood on me is very, like, freaking me out right now, because we have that and because our brain is more fully developed. The junior high kids would see stuff like that, and they would still arrive at that idea, but it took, like, seven times as long for them to arrive at the idea. And so I think of that, like I said earlier, between our top brain and our bottom brain, our bottom brain is like, that rapid, like, good idea, bad idea, good idea, bad idea. And then our top brain, though, is like, well, what do I know about sharks? What do I know about blood? And then it makes the decision, right? [00:36:13] Speaker B: So we want to speed that process. [00:36:16] Speaker C: We want to get to the quick, automatic response of bad idea. [00:36:22] Speaker B: Yeah. It's so interesting because now, like you said, that fast forward button for me is so quick. I'm like, oh, that looks like a headache in a bottle when I see the wine, but it takes some time to get there. What do you think are some of the common mistakes that people keep making when they're trying to change their drinking? [00:36:45] Speaker C: Yeah. Oh, great question. One of the more common mistakes and I use the word mistake, but a lot of times what I mean is, it's an impartial solution. So it's not that this thing necessarily is bad. It's that it's not the ticket to. It's not the golden ticket to Willy Wonka, right? It looks like it is, but it's not. So the very first thing that I try to get people to understand, and this again, is something from that free training, it's one of the three main mistakes, is we assume that the mat has anything to do with success. And by that, I mean we start to count our days, or we start to count how many drinks is appropriate and what is enough and what is not enough. And we look at it as a numbers game. And so the analogy I give to people is, well, let's look at it this way. Let's say that you had a friend who you love, right? Like, just think of your best friend in the whole world, that person who no matter how long it's been or how often you talk to them, you always just pick right back up where you left off, right? Which in friendship is a great thing. With drinking, that's Groundhog Day. But with that friend, can you imagine getting on the phone every Sunday and saying, okay, pull out your calendar. It looks like on Friday we're both going to be at that birthday party, and that's going to be about 4 hours. And what we have been told is that the Healthy amount of time for us to spend together is because we're women, 7 hours a week. So let's not talk the first four days of the week so that we have banked up enough to talk at this birthday party for all 4 hours. That is insane. We just don't do that. But for some reason, that's how we treat alcoholiday. Like, okay, there's this number that is like that. There's a whole soapbox with this number anyways. But for all intents and purposes, we've got this number, and then we assume that if we can stick with that number, that's somehow healthy. Hold on. My train kind of derailed the way you would actually find out if you had a healthy relationship with someone. And this is true. Like working as a therapist, right? Like, we work on toxic relationships, abusive relationships, things like that. And we have to say, okay, well, let's look at this relationship in three different scenarios, and we'll decide if it's healthy or not. First of all, how do you feel when you're actively engaging with this person? Which is to say, like, you and I are actively engaging right now, or you and your best friend are on the phone or hanging out together. And then the next situation is, how do you feel when you're sharing space but not actively engaging? So that would be maybe you all are at a social function but not talking to each other. You're in separate conversations with someone else. And then how do you feel when you're away from the person? You know you're not going to see them, maybe they've left town or something. How do you feel about that? And then the fourth question is, how do you feel about your answers? So we apply this to alcohol, and we say, well, how do you feel when you're actively drinking? Well, how do you feel? And those answers can range from, oh, I feel great, or I'm in my head. I feel stressed because I'm in my head thinking, well, how much longer? Or how much is left in the bottle? And then the second question is, well, how do you feel when you're sharing space but not actively engaged, which is maybe I'm at a party and others around me are drinking, but I'm not. And that, again, can range from, I feel so empowered to, oh, I feel miserable and I just want to go home. And how do you feel when you're away from it? Are you missing it? Are you thinking about when you get to be by it again? Do you feel relieved that it's not around? Or do you feel great that it's not around? These are all questions that we can ask ourselves about alcoholiday and get a much clearer picture of where we stand with it and what our next step should be. Rather than how many days have you gone? Or can you go without it? So I know you asked for three mistakes, and I know we're running close up to time. We may have to. I can send people the video. I do have the pretraining. We're all going through all three, too, so I don't want people to feel shortchanged because I get wordy. [00:41:26] Speaker B: Oh, no, go ahead. I mean, that's really interesting. So the number one mistake you were talking about was how we measure our relationship with alcohol. Usually when we're changing it, we're counting days or we're counting drinks or whatever. We're doing a lot of math. [00:41:47] Speaker C: A lot of math, yeah. [00:41:49] Speaker B: And then you had those four questions to ask yourself. And can you go over those four questions again? Or just real quick, what are the four questions? [00:41:59] Speaker C: Absolutely. It's how do you feel with it? How do you feel around it, how do you feel away from it, and how do you feel about your answers to those three questions? [00:42:11] Speaker B: And I could see that always changing, too. And then what are the other two common mistakes that people make? [00:42:21] Speaker C: So, in a nutshell, and again, I go so much more, but in a nutshell, one of them is, let me wrap my head around this real quick, because I'm trying to cram things in my brain right now. We make the mistake of using a 30 day challenge as just the 30 days. And I liken this to. And we don't build in these other supports. Right. It's not that the 30 days is bad. It's just it by itself is not the thing we've got to build in these other support. And that I liken to. If you have, like, a pile of dirty clothes, I call it, like, your stinky workout clothes, and then you put it in the closet for 30 days, and it's like, great. And your room smells fresh and your body is clean and the clothes you're wearing smell great. And then at the end of the 30 days, you pick out those clothes and put them back on your body as though, well, it's been 30 days, so I can just put them back on now. But that you've not done anything with the clothes. You have to do something with the clothes in order for that to be a complete process. Right. So, like I said, with alcoholiday and the optimized Af academy, which is the one that I run, we're giving people, let's do the laundry during this 30 days. Let's not shove the laundry in the corner for 30 days. Let's do the laundry during the 30 days. So at the end of the 30 days, you've got clean clothes. [00:43:52] Speaker B: Right. So it's not just removing the alcohol, it's doing the other personal, gross things and bigger, deeper dives into wire drinking and all of that. Okay, that makes sense. And then the third mistake is. [00:44:09] Speaker C: What is the third mistake? I'm going to space on it now because I'm feeling like I don't want. [00:44:15] Speaker B: Us to run long because I want. [00:44:16] Speaker C: To respect your time. [00:44:17] Speaker B: The third mistake, I'm good on time. [00:44:20] Speaker C: Oh. The third mistake is the piece. We actually already talked about this one a little bit, which is the idea that neurons that fire together, wire together, and we're not getting that information into the right spot in our brain. We're just kind of learning about it and we're understanding it, but we're not embodying it, if that makes sense. We read up and I am such a nerd. I will read all the information and give me all of the studies and all of the podcasts. And that Huberman Lab podcast is a big one that I swear, everyone under the sun forwards me all the time, and I'm always so appreciative because they're like, this makes me think of you because it's all of the data, right. But we then assume that knowing it is enough and we have to know it. We have to get it in our body where that fast acting part of our, we have to do the experiment where when someone flashes the shark card, we go, bad idea. [00:45:18] Speaker B: Yeah, that makes sense. I think we could get into that analysis paralysis. I think podcasts, of course, and books and everything are amazing, but it's kind of like if you're going to bake a cake, you don't just get out all the tools and ingredients and then not actually bake the cake. Like, you got to do some work, and some of the work is connecting the Head and the heart again. Yeah, this is so interesting. Well, I want to have you back to talk some more Just because I think you have a lot to share, and I really appreciate it. What would you say to someone who's listening and they feel stuck in their own Groundhog Day, and what would you have to say to them? [00:46:10] Speaker C: Yeah, that's a great question. I would say that the first thing to do is to figure out, are you on this Groundhog Day cycle of shame? Right? Is that what you're experiencing? Because if it is, like I said, we just step off, and there are tools and strategies for exactly how to step off, but kind of we can't step off it if we don't know we're on it. So that's where I would say, well, go back and listen to the different types of Groundhog Day drinkers and see if something resonates with you or not. I have another free video I can Email people where I Just Go through the types and I Actually talk about the strengths and the struggles of each type so that once you know which one you are, you know, okay, WEll, here's what's already going to be easier for Me, and I can build on that. And here's where I'm going to have a harder Time, and I'm going to need to look for those Tools. I'm just very big into individualized everything. But, yeah, so I think that's what I would say. I would say that if you can start to recognize whether or not that's the Actual problem is that you're on this GroundHog Day cycle of shame. Then you automatically know, oh, okay, then I need to Change My Marching Orders. I need to try this Other more whole brain body Based Plan, which could be the alcoholiday a day. Did I say that? That word came out kind of Weird when I said it. Or it could be optimized AF academy or any of the number of other Things people are doing. BuT at the end of the Day, the answer is not Just try to go another 30 days and See what happens. [00:47:49] Speaker B: Yeah. [00:47:49] Speaker C: If you're on this cycle of shame, that's not going to work for you. [00:47:53] Speaker B: And I think just to offer people hope, even in those movies, Groundhog Day and Edge of tomorrow, they figure it out and they get out of it. And so can you. Carolyn and I have gotten out of it, and I've seen other people who get unstuck and it is possible. And you can change. [00:48:16] Speaker C: Yeah. And it's actually not that complicated. It's just taking the step, like, they're not hard steps. [00:48:24] Speaker B: Yeah. Well, how can people find you? [00:48:27] Speaker C: Oh, yeah. Great question. So the easiest and most all encompassing way is Instagram. I'm just at Carolyn Robusto and everything in there has links to whatever. Or if you don't find what you want, just DM me because I am a real live human being and just say, hey, I heard about the free training or whatever and I'll send it to you. And then, like you mentioned, I do have the Brain Unblocked podcast for the people who are not quite ready to reach out yet, and they're a little bit like, that's kind of weird. I don't want to message a stranger on Instagram and they want to kind of stalk me a little bit first. That's totally fine. I'm the same way. I will binge someone's content for a little while just to get a feel for them before I feel ready to reach out. So either of those ways is good, but I would love for people just to reach out. [00:49:11] Speaker B: Oh, thank you for sharing that. Say, me too. We're just real people. I'm just like a mom in Boise, Idaho. You're just a gal on a houseboat. [00:49:23] Speaker C: I sure am. [00:49:24] Speaker B: Yeah. Well, thank you. Thank you so much for coming on the show. I'm looking forward to future conversations. [00:49:32] Speaker C: I really am too. Thank you so much. Even for opening my squirrely email. This has been so much fun. I really appreciate it. Awesome. [00:49:43] Speaker A: Thank you so much for listening to this episode of the Alcohol Tipping Point podcast. Please share and review the show so you can help other people too. I want you to know I'm always here for you, so please reach out and talk to me on Instagram at alcoholiday Tipping Point and check out my website, for free resources and help. No matter where you are on your drinking journey, I want to encourage you to just keep practicing. Keep going. I promise you are not alone and. [00:50:11] Speaker B: You are worth it. [00:50:13] Speaker A: Every day you practice not drinking is a day you can learn from. I hope you can use these tips we talked about for the rest of your week. And until then, talk to you next. [00:50:22] Speaker B: Time you you close.

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