Quit Drinking and Get Your Power Back with Wynne Melland, Licensed Professional Counselor

Episode 156 March 13, 2024 00:44:57
Quit Drinking and Get Your Power Back with Wynne Melland, Licensed Professional Counselor
Alcohol Tipping Point
Quit Drinking and Get Your Power Back with Wynne Melland, Licensed Professional Counselor

Mar 13 2024 | 00:44:57


Hosted By

Deb Masner

Show Notes

Wynne Melland, a Licensed Professional Counselor with 17 years of experience, leverages her expertise in leading behavior change groups and her own personal journey. As the founder of Rising Sober, she offers a transformative 12-week sobriety challenge and a mindfulness course titled Zenful Mind. 

In this inspiring episode, Wynne shares her powerful story of quitting drinking, reclaiming her inner strength, and rediscovering her inherent worthiness.  

We chat about: 

Find Wynne: https://www.risingsober.com/  Instagram @rising_sober  

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Episode Transcript

[00:00:01] 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 own alcohol tipping point. 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. [00:00:35] Speaker B: Let's get started. Thanks for listening to this episode of Alcohol Tipping Point. Today we have Wynn Milan. She has 17 years of experience as a licensed professional counselor and she's been using her background in leading behavior change groups and her personal experience with drinking to help other people in her company called Rising Sober, where she offers a twelve week sobriety challenge as well as a mindfulness course called Zenful Mind. And she's on the show to share her story of how she quit drinking and got her power back. So welcome Wynn. How did I do with that intro? [00:01:19] Speaker C: Yes, very good. Thank you. Hi Deb, and thank you so much for having me. You pretty much summed it up. Yeah, I'm a licensed professional counselor. I'm based in Texas. As you mentioned, I've been licensed for about 17 years. To share a little bit about me, I started off my work in my early twenty s at a family violence prevention agency and I ran those behavioral change groups for women. And then I shifted gears to work at a rate crisis center. So mostly working with children and then in various community settings and most recently having a personal history with adoption. I worked as an adoption specialist for about twelve years, providing home studies for families wanting to adopt. And I did some brief counseling for birth parents wanting to make an adoption plan. And now I'm passionate about helping others break free from the alcohol trap. After questioning my own relationship with alcohol, I decided to quit drinking for good, a little over a year and a half now. [00:02:29] Speaker B: Awesome. Yeah. And I'm just delighted to have you on, especially as a therapist and someone who I really related with. What you had shared in your email to me just about kind of feeling stuck and that traditional picture of quote unquote an alcoholic and being in a helping profession, all of those things. So I think it would be helpful for people to hear your story and your experience with drinking and then how you escaped the trap and ended up. [00:03:05] Speaker C: The whole nine yards. Okay. [00:03:07] Speaker B: Yeah. [00:03:08] Speaker C: Like a lot of women who find themselves in similar situations, I started drinking, experimenting here and there as a teenager with alcohol. There was pretty much an attraction right away. And as I mentioned earlier, I drank for 20 plus years, and my drinking changed so much over the years. So just starting from the beginning, I think we have this notion that alcohol use disorder goes from mild to moderate to severe, but it's not always linear. So my drinking looked better over the years on the outside, but you can quit just because it isn't serving you anymore. Right. So childhood trauma did play a role in my story for the start of my drinking, but it doesn't have to be a part of anyone's story. It just was for me, as it is for so many. And trauma is very nuanced. So to backtrack a little bit, my biological mother had me when she was 16, and I lived with her until I was about five years old. And at that time, I went to live with my maternal grandmother and her husband, who raised me as my parents. I called them mom and dad growing up. And when we think of aces, which for any of your listeners who aren't familiar with the term, it stands for adverse childhood experiences, I had experienced a few by the age of five, and they can be important to consider because when we talk about brain development, I think the percentages are something. By age, 380 percent of your brain is wired and by age 590 percent is wired. And since I went into a home where all of my physical needs were provided, I think it was pretty easy to minimize the trauma that I had experienced in my very early years. And like I said, trauma is very nuanced. Right. So I think it's important for people to understand that trauma comes in all shapes and forms. So we often think of trauma as only the very obvious form. So extreme physical, sexual or emotional abuse or neglect. But it can also be a lot more subtle, and it's highly individual. My mother had some mental health issues and was dealing with her own overwhelm, trying to parent me at such a young age. I was told that child protection services were called because of the way I was showing up at daycare, not necessarily properly clothed or fed. And before that, I know that I was hospitalized for failure to thrive around the age of one or two, but I don't really know the details about that. I just have some pictures of me in the hospital looking very thin and looking back. These weren't anything out of malice. My mother was just trying to do the best that she could with the tools that she had available at the time. But really, the separation from my biological mother probably had the most profound impact for me. Even though I went to a loving home and all my physical needs were cared for, like I said, I still loved my biological mom and I wanted to be with her. So this was an abandonment trauma. There wasn't a way to make sense of this as a kid. We just don't always have the mental capacity at a young age like that to make sense of some of these complex things. So I sort of stuffed it all down and likely internalized it as something that I did or I wasn't worthy at the time for her to keep me, when the reality was she didn't feel like she could take care of me properly at that point in her life. Anyway, all of this is to say that we now know that there's a strong correlation between childhood trauma and addiction, because trauma can lead to a dysregulated stress system, which can increase the likelihood of addiction, but it's not a cause and effect relationship. So I think it's important to mention that while trauma can lead to an increased risk of addiction, it doesn't always. In my case, I felt I was constantly hyper vigilant, and alcohol calmed that down for me immediately. But alcohol is addictive, and so anyone can become addicted to alcohol if they drink enough. If you drink to self medicate for any reason, your risk of addiction is just going to be a lot higher. When it comes to my own story, drinking alcohol calmed my nervous system at first, and I know some have described addiction as comfort seeking behavior, and that was true for me with alcohol and even food. I never got to the point where I was physically addicted to alcohol, at least severely physically addicted to alcohol, but I definitely had an emotional dependence, and alcohol was just my primary choice. So for some people, it's compulsive. Shopping or gambling, work, eating, whatever. And during my mid to late teens, things were starting to get more turbulent with my biological mother, who I had always maintained contact with, and she was pretty sick at the time. She was sick physically with an illness, and she also wasn't in a good mental place. And I felt really helpless, like I couldn't help her. Like I said, this was when I was mid teens, and we would go through periods where she would cut off contact with me and others. If I challenged her in some way, I'd be cut off for periods of time. And this isn't to speak negatively about her as a person. She was an incredible person and very smart. She was just at a very different mental place in her life. And there's more to the story, which is for another time. But I ended up moving out of my family home as a teenager, which caused a lot of stress on the family, and it also opened up my ability to drink as much as I wanted because I moved out on my own. So I continued experimenting with drinking because I thought it was cool, rebellious. I thought it helped with all of the things, anxiety, the need to fit in, because we had moved around a lot when I was a kid, so it helped me feel like an adult, and it helped that connection piece. And looking back, I realized that I felt like I had very little control over my life. And alcohol helped me feel at the time like I was somehow taking control of things. My biological mother really wasn't doing very well at this point. I was separated physically from my boyfriend, now husband, just because I had gone away to college in Boston. And so, of course, I started experimenting with binge drinking even more during that phase. I ended up dropping out of school and returning to Texas after just six months in Boston. And I think my family thought that I was a big disappointment at this point. There had always been a lot of pressure on me to succeed. I did re enroll in college in Texas, and when I was about 1819, my biological mother ended her life. I had been living on my own for a while by then, and my drinking just sort of skyrocketed, rocketed after that to cope with the grief. So I remember kind of looking back, I would go and buy one of those big 1.75 liter bottles of rum. That was my drink of choice back then, and it would be gone in a few days. So I was definitely damaging my body, and that was when my drinking was at its worst. So I actually had called a rehab place, but it was just a call, and then I changed my mind. And I remember getting really annoyed because they just kept calling me back, and I was determined to figure things out on my own, and I told them, hey, just stop calling me. I did receive some counseling on and off after that time, but of course, I never volunteered that. I was worried about my alcohol use. And we also didn't talk about alternate ways to get sober back then as a society, and honestly, we still don't. I didn't want to call myself an alcoholiday and go to aa, and I love that aa works for a lot of people. It just wasn't my particular path or what resonated with me. And at the same time, we didn't have as much knowledge as we do now, that there's more than one way to get sober. That was 20 years ago or so. So my drinking started to go down after reaching this more acute stage, but I still drank every evening. It was kind of like my little self dose of medication. I just didn't realize that it was prolonging the grieving process for me. So I continued on with school. I got my bachelor's degree in psychology and my master's in counseling. I had ditched the rum by then and told myself I was just a lot more sophisticated drinking wine, right? And what was so confusing for me was, like I said, my drinking was the worst it ever was between the ages of 18 or 22 or so. So I think the fact that my drinking actually improved over the years, or at least looked a lot more functional on the outside, gave me this false sense of security that I was moving in the right direction. I just needed to moderate my intake a little bit better. And both my husband and I drank every evening as we thought a sophisticated adult should. Right. We had both grown up watching our families do the exact same thing. And this isn't to say that it was necessarily their fault. They're part of the generation that was told drinking is healthy for them. They thought it was normal for them to drink every night if they ever thought it was a problem, they didn't know how to stop either. And it wasn't until my husband and I were well into adulthood that the problems drinking caused really started to become a lot more evident. His mother was eventually diagnosed with liver disease due to her drinking, and she ultimately died a few years ago. But still, my husband and I, we were not ready to give it up yet. So alcohol in the evenings drinking was just very much a lifestyle for us. It was the norm, considering that's how we were both raised. And we thought since our relationship was fine, we checked off all the boxes, like owning a house, maintaining jobs. We both had master's degrees. I was working out, eating healthily. We thought that we didn't have to quit yet, right? We had three kids over the years. I would stop drinking during every pregnancy, but then, slowly but surely, I'd get right back to a level of drinking that I wasn't comfortable with. And the demands of parenting are tough, right? I was drinking to cope with all the things now. So the demands of adulting, parenting, and still to calm my nervous system. So I think this was the underlying factor for me. As I mentioned, in school, I was taught that aud, it goes from mild to moderate to severe and then something horrible happens. But this wasn't what I felt like I was experiencing. There was no obvious repercussions on paper. We weren't at some crisis point that society implies we must be at to actually just stop drinking. And at the same time, I wasn't happy with my drinking for such a long time. I was drinking every evening, but because of tolerance, I wasn't falling down drunk or slurring my words. I was still waking up early in the mornings. It was just after having a really restless night's sleep. So I went through these ups and downs. I was really unhappy with my relationship with alcohol at some point. At some times. Then I'd go on yet another break, and then I'd go back to my wine thinking I was better this time. And the most painful part was the cognitive dissonance that was always there. I wasn't happy with alcoholiday, and at the same time I thought that I needed it. And this was a really painful place. I told myself I was okay enough to not have to stop completely. This was kind of the worst case scenario for me, and I just couldn't imagine giving up my beloved alcohol. I convinced myself for years that I just needed to moderate it better. And I'm sure that's a familiar story, right? The thing about alcohol is it seems like it's fun until it isn't, and it seems like it helps you cope until it just makes things worse. I mentioned earlier that I thought that alcohol propelled me into adulthood and was some sign of sophistication. But it got to the point where I wasn't feeling like it was very sophisticated. Sitting in the bath, drinking wine alone at night at 10:00 p.m. To wake up with a mild hangover the next day. I would break all the rules I would make for myself, like, no drinking after 09:00 p.m. And I was just done. It was taking up too much mental space, and there were times that I felt powerless over alcohol for sure. But deep down, I knew that my power wasn't gone. It did really scare me that each time I took a break from alcohol and went back to drinking, it was getting harder and harder to go on a break again. And that scared me. So I decided to take my power back and I stopped drinking. I had to get excited about the future. So I think I spent a lot of my life sort of subconsciously not feeling worthy or good enough. Removing alcohol wasn't a punishment, though. It turned out to be the greatest gift of self care. That I could give myself. I knew that stopping alcohol was going to be challenging, but staying the same was even scarier. So the famous Tony Robbins quote, it goes, something like, change happens when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change, right? And I could identify with this so much. I would look back over old journal entries. I could see the mental space that it was taking. I would think about it all the time. I would quit drinking, then go back, try to moderate my drinking, write about my drinking, and I could just see on paper that I was living my life at half mast all the time. And my inner self always knew this. But I finally acknowledged out loud to myself in my brain, I guess, that this was not living a quality life. It wasn't the way I wanted to live my life. And at the same time, I felt like I needed alcohol. And so this is where tackling the cognitive dissonance played a huge role. At this point, I should mention that my biological mother, who had raised me as a mom, had been diagnosed with dementia. And I had grown up watching her drink close to a bottle of wine a night. And I learned that, of course, alcohol is one of the leading causes of dementia. And so here I was, taking care of her, paying her bills, taking her to her doctor's appointments, buying her groceries, but doing the same exact thing all along and drinking about a bottle of wine. And I say about a bottle of wine because I eventually got to the point where I didn't want my kids to see me drinking wine like I saw as a kid. So here's an example of cognitive dissonance, right? I didn't want to pass along that value. So then I would buy those hard seltzers, right? Because I could pour it into a glass and it looked like water. So I was hiding it, right? And I just wasn't being honest with myself about that. And when it comes to my biological grandmother, we'll never know if her drinking directly caused her dementia, but I know that it couldn't have helped it. And I had to ask myself if I was diagnosed with some sort of incurable disease at the age of 40 or was told if I was on my deathbed, what would matter the most. And my kids and all the missed memories were what flooded into my mind, front and center, so, not alcohol. And I realized that if I kept on drinking, I would repeat the exact same pattern for my own children, but that I could stop. And I didn't want them to think that drinking alcohol every night was normal. That's what my husband and I had watched growing up, and we realized that we could break the cycle. So this kind of leads into what became my why. I knew that I had been drinking too much for 20 plus years. I knew that if I continued to drink in this way, I would eventually encounter some sort of acute situation that I could not escape from, whether that's cancer, liver failure, or dementia, whatever it was. And I realized that I didn't need to wait for some big moment to make a change. I didn't have to wait for a rock bottom. As I've mentioned, I had taken many breaks over the years, but in total, aside from pregnancies, I had taken two extended breaks from alcohol. The first was for about three months, several years before I quit, and the second break was leading up to my final quitting date. And having this second prolonged period or break was really empowering because it affirmed that I didn't need alcohol to have fun or enjoy or cope with life or even wind down at the end of the day. This second break was in January of 2022. It started off as a new year's resolution, so I was going to take a year off of alcohol, I told myself. And the break lasted for about four months. During those four months, I was doing all the things I was running, reading, meditating, eating well. I felt so good that I thought it was okay to go back to drinking. I was finally just ready to moderate better. And it worked for a little while. But pretty soon, as we all know how it goes, my drinking got to a level I wasn't happy with. Again, nothing major happened right when I went back to drinking. I just felt unsteady and pretty quickly. I was no longer running. I was eating poorly. I remember reading a journal entry that I was pushing through my 07:00 a.m. Pilates class, feeling just tired and kind of like a wellness phony, quite frankly. So, yes, for those of you in the back, you can be a therapist going to 07:00 a.m. Pilates classes and still have an emotional dependence on alcohol. And that's why I'm so passionate about breaking the stigma of addiction, because it can happen to anyone. And I started researching therapists because all therapists still need therapists. And I finally found one that I liked and said, I'm 100% motivated to stop drinking alcohol this time, and I want to do everything in my power to set myself up for success. I had to get over my feelings of shame that this was all my fault and that I should have known better, especially as a therapist. And it helped to reach out to a fellow therapist who wasn't going to judge me or wasn't going to make me subscribe to a label that I wasn't comfortable with. And it wasn't my fault, but it was my responsibility. And I had removed the problem of drinking, but it didn't solve everything. So there were still some things that needed to be addressed. I went to talk therapy for about six months, and we did some EMDR therapy for some memories that needed to be reprocessed, and that was really helpful. I participated in a breath group workshop that she had, and I love that. And thankfully, this time around, I gained a lot more self acceptance and compassion. So I started leaning more heavily on ways to regulate my nervous system in better ways. So I think I had mentioned earlier, regulating my nervous system was kind of the underlying theme for me. That was what I was trying to achieve with alcohol, but it wasn't doing me any favors in the long run. It was making everything worse. And so I started leaning more heavily on better ways, like I said, like breathing, mindful meditation, and really just walking. I realized that even though I didn't have a rock bottom, it's okay to just say, I don't want to do this anymore. I didn't have to wait for the other shoe to drop. And I think my fear of change was keeping me small over the years. And I could look back at my fear of change, though, with compassion, because it was keeping me safe. But at the same time, I could look towards the future and reclaim my power. I knew it would take time, but that I could do it. And I think the extended breaks really helped because it affirmed that I could do it. And this knowledge and trust in myself was so empowering. So I mentioned that one year break. I did go back to drinking after four months, but pretty quickly, it took about six weeks. I realized, hey, life really was better on the other side, so I'm going to get back over there. And that was August 15 or so. And my husband. I know it doesn't happen this way all the time, but we both quit together, which was great. We had had lots of breaks or periods of sobriety separately when the other person just wasn't ready yet. But this time around, we did it together. And I now proudly talk about sobriety. I don't want to keep quiet about it because too many people struggle with their relationship with alcohol, and too many people are dying from it. We just lost my brother in law to addiction and mental health seven months ago. He also took his own life. And I'm thankful that my husband feels really passionate about sobriety, too. Losing his brother was really hard on him, of course, but he never questioned his sobriety during this time. If anything, it just reaffirmed why he's doing this and is a way to honor his brother. [00:28:24] Speaker B: Yeah. Wow. What a powerful story, to use your words again, like, taking your power back. And thank you for sharing and just sharing about how those breaks helped you discover, like, oh, I do feel better with alcohol, and I think that's important for people who it's hard to get to the point you were talking about change, and change is scary. And so I think people really need some safe places to practice not drinking before they can come to their own realization. Like, okay, I really am done with this. But like you said, in modern day treatment, there aren't a lot of places to practice. It's kind of like it's that black and white thinking. [00:29:18] Speaker C: And you're exactly right, and it doesn't have to be forever. That concept, I think, keeps people stuck from even trying it right. For me, I would take little breaks. And then, like you said, I realized, hey, this actually isn't so scary. And if anything, it's much, much better. But I didn't share. When I sought out my own therapy, the first therapist I called, and I had found her online, and she specialized in addiction and trauma. And the very first question she asked me was, well, are you an alcoholic? And it was really kind of off putting because, no, I don't call myself an alcoholic, but this is kind of my drinking history, and I've been concerned about my drinking for years, and I'm finally ready. I just really want to make sure I have all the tools in my toolbox to really support me in my play. And she couldn't get over that. Needing to label myself an alcoholic. It was like, well, is a family member an alcoholic? Maybe you need to go to Al Anon. And it was just, I felt so frustrated when I got off the phone with her, because at that point, I was secure enough. I had been doing my own research that I was secure enough in what I thought. But I thought, geez, if somebody had called this counselor wanting help and received that response, they might not have gotten the help that they needed. And I think, like I mentioned, I did have to get over the shame of being a therapist. But the more I've been in the sober space, there's so many therapists that have struggled with their relationship with alcoholiday. There's so many nurses, there's so many doctors and teachers, and it really does impact everybody that we should be empowered, that we recognized what our thing was, right, and decided to do something about it, because so many people have a thing, whether that's what I mentioned earlier, whether that's shopping or working too much or escaping in some way. And how cool is that, that we recognized what our thing was and are willing to try to take steps to address it. Right. But, yeah, that was an interesting little piece of my story. So that's why I said it took me a little while to find a therapist that I felt like would be a good fit. And that's also something I like to mention to anybody, even your listeners that are interested in therapy. It's okay to shop around. Right? Not every person is going to be the best fit. So if you sense any of those red flags or you feel like it isn't working for you, it's okay to see another therapist, because there's lots of different paths. There's no one size fits all, and there's people out there that can help. [00:32:21] Speaker B: Thank you for pointing that out. And that just kind of makes me mad that it made me so bad to. [00:32:27] Speaker C: Yes. [00:32:29] Speaker B: Well, I think for so long, what we see in the medical community is like, okay, you're either a normal drinker, you're an alcoholic. If you're an alcoholic, you need to go to aa, you need to stop drinking. But if you check all the boxes, like you were saying, you and your husband, you have a house, you have jobs, you have kids, you're functioning like. [00:32:54] Speaker C: A whole middle ground, which I think is where that term gray area drinking has really been popularized. And I think, as we know, alcoholic isn't a clinical term anymore. But I think when people was. But I think when people use the word alcoholic, what they're meaning is somebody who has severe alcohol use disorder. And if you don't fit into that box, it's easy to think, okay, well, I just need to learn how to moderate it better. God forbid we just give up this toxic substance that is not making us feel good. Right. It's actually really easy to qualify for mild aud or even moderate. And it's okay to get off the train anytime. If alcohol isn't serving you, you qualify. Right. And I always say this on Instagram, sober. And I resonated with something you said earlier in a podcast where it seems like there's all these little camps, and it's like we don't have to conflict with each other. We all have the same goal. Right. And that's to live a happy life free from feeling controlled by alcohol or being consumed by your thoughts or whatever it is. But we all have the same goal, right? That sober just means not affected by alcohol. Not drunk. Right. Anybody can call themselves sober. You don't have to qualify. So, like I said, if it's not serving you, that's enough. You can make a change. And for me, I just held on to this idea for so long. Like I said, it was kind of worst case scenario to give up alcohol, because deep down, I thought that it still helped me in some ways. And so when it comes to sort of tips in terms of, for people wanting to stop drinking, first and foremost, that's one of the biggest tips, right? We have to have awareness, so we have to recognize that there's a problem, even if that's just to say, hey, this isn't working, or, I don't want to feel like this anymore. We don't have to say, am I an alcoholic or not, right? We can just ask, is this working or not? And at the same time, give yourself some self compassion. Most of us who have become addicted or emotionally dependent on Alcohol, we've used alcohol to cope with something or to self soothe. And alcohol is an addictive substance. Right. So we can give ourselves permission to say, oh, of course, I got addicted. But then we can ask, okay, so now what am I going to do about it? Right? [00:35:50] Speaker B: Yeah, that's really helpful. What are some of your other tips for someone who's changing their drinking? [00:35:58] Speaker C: To identify what your why is and even write it down so you can refer to it as often as needed. If you have trouble with this, I find it really helpful to ask, okay, if I keep drinking, what will things look like in five years? And really sit and envision it in all of the realms, all of the areas of your life. Right. My relationship with my kids, work, health, career, whatever it is. What about ten years? What about 20 years? And I think it's helpful when creating your why instead of only focusing on past regrets. I don't want this. I don't want that. Really focus on how you want to feel. We're not going to make a change unless we really want to. And so it's helpful to identify what's the light at the end of the tunnel, what am I working towards? And as we work towards something, we have to be willing to take some new steps, and it means we might even experience some initial discomfort. But I think it's easy to confuse those first ten days of sobriety or whatever it is with sobriety. That's not sobriety, right? It's just the initial discomfort growth stage. But in this phase, it helps to learn everything about alcohol that you can. This can be through quit lit, taking an online course, listening to podcasts. It can be helpful to get connected with some sort of community. As we said, one size doesn't fit all. So AA wasn't my path. But if it's yours, go to meetings, right? There's lots of other online local meetings that aren't based on AA as well. I think that we have to get really curious because usually alcohol was serving us in some way, even if it was harmful overall. And we don't have to have all the answers overnight. But curiosity can help clue us into some inner work that maybe might need to be addressed or something else that's not working for you in your life, whether that's stress management, boundaries, whatever it is, right. It helps to anticipate the little things. So I like to say, plan what you're going to do during the witching hour or whenever it was that you used to drink. Drink lots of water. Don't go hungry. Try to incorporate some sort of movement every day, whether that's walking or yoga. I walked personally every single day, and this is when I would listen to audiobooks, podcasts, or just talk on the phone. Also, it's important to enjoy everyday pleasures. So treat yourself with the little things and talk to others as you feel comfortable. Of course, about not drinking. People aren't mind readers. So in terms of your household, let your household members know or your partner how they can support you. And we have to allow ourselves to feel the things, and we have to practice being present with ourselves non judgmentally. And this is where mindfulness can really come in. I find that alcohol takes us away from ourselves, whereas mindfulness allows us to get back in touch with ourselves. So some mindfulness techniques, like deep breathing, can help calm our nervous system. This was really helpful for me. And at the end of the day, if you're considering sobriety, pat yourself on the back, right? It helps to ask, where have I been courageous before? We can look at our past without staying stuck in it, and we can create a narrative that really gives us power. So, kind of reflecting on my own life story, I felt like I didn't have a lot of self agency or power as a child, and I thought that drinking was somehow taking my power back. But I realize now that drinking was really just giving my power away, and quitting drinking was what gave me my power back. So we have to be prepared to flip the script a little bit. [00:40:34] Speaker B: Those are great tips. Thank you. [00:40:36] Speaker C: Those are all my tips. [00:40:38] Speaker B: Those are wonderful. Yeah. Well, then you decided to start rising sober, and so can you talk a little bit about that and how you're helping people now? [00:40:50] Speaker C: Yeah, definitely. Thank you for asking. My goal is really to show people questioning their relationship with alcoholiday that they can live a more joyful, mindful life. There's no label required. I chose the length of my twelve week sobriety challenge because like I said, those two extended breaks were what were most helpful for me. I think that length of time, you really get to experiment going through even just social situations or functions. There's probably going to be a holiday in there and it gives you kind of a bigger picture. When I would go on breaks, as I said, I was kind of the queen of breaks. I would go on 30 day breaks. I would spend kind of the first two weeks white knuckling my way through it, and then I would spend the second two weeks just kind of counting down the days. That's not really a proper break in terms of really learning how to live life without alcohol and experiment and get curious. And I feel like that length of time really allows you to do that. And so my program, it really emphasizes behavior change. And then even my mindfulness course really emphasizes the cognitive side of change. And my mindfulness course is a great addition to anybody who's maybe doing the twelve week sobriety challenge, but it's open to anybody. So I recognize that my path with alcohol isn't necessarily universally the path for everybody, and so everybody is welcome for the course. I cover a lot of life skills topics in both courses. So emotional regulation, stress management, boundaries. It's important to mention in my courses they're not a substitute for therapy, but they can really help propel people into taking that next step in their lives if there is something that's keeping them stuck. Yeah, I started my Instagram account actually anonymously at first. So part of that joining some sort of support community that was one of mine. I also joined the I am sober app. And then the more I was posting on Instagram, there's just a great supportive community on there. And then gradually I kind of came out and it's kind of evolved over time. And I thought, I feel like I could maybe help others by creating these self paced courses. It just gives people more options who maybe don't desire to go to an in person meeting. Right. It's just another tool, sort of for the toolbox, but yeah, for your listeners who might want to connect with me on there. My handle is at risingsober so rising sober and my website is risingsober.com. [00:43:45] Speaker B: Perfect. And I'll put those links in the show notes too. [00:43:49] Speaker C: Awesome. [00:43:50] Speaker B: Yeah. Well, thank you so much for sharing your story and your perspective as a therapist and for helping people and just being open and honest. And we need more people like you. [00:44:03] Speaker C: Thank you so much for having me, Deb. I really enjoyed this talk with you and I hope that we can chat again. [00:44:11] Speaker A: Thank you so much for listening to this episode of the Alcoholiday 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 alcoholtippingpoint.com for free resources and help. No matter where you are on your drinking journey, I want encourage you to just keep practicing. Keep going. I promise you are not alone and you are worth it. Every day you practice not drinking is. [00:44:44] Speaker B: A day you can learn from. [00:44:45] Speaker A: I hope you can use these tips we talked about for the rest of your week and until then, talk to you next time.

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