Slayer's Arch Nemesis the "Wine Wench" made an appearance this week inspiring this episode about the impact of alcohol on weight loss and understanding her mind. Whatever you are doing "too much" of...you are surely not alone as Slayer shares in this episode. Whatever it is you are over-doing there is so much to learn from and you are definitely not alone. Slayer shares in this journey how starting to become the impartial observer of your ego self will charter your course for that future self you desire.
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Welcome to the Heartsing Podcast! As always, I like to share what I am learning in the moment and also relate it to my weight loss quest turned spiritual adventure. This episode is as much for me as it is for you because I need some focus here this week.
Today I’m going to regal you with tales about my battle with the Wine Wench today—and drinking and the relation to the habit cycle and weight loss in general. I haven’t been drinking much in the past year and I had some drinks this week and I want to share about this with you while I’m in the moment —my journey with drinking, my soul discovery, habits and weight loss.
I tell anyone who will listen that after meditation, learning how to deal with urges around wine was the 2nd most important thing I did for me and was a critical part of my journey of slaying these 110 pounds and it continues to be so.
There was always this little voice inside that would say, “you know, if you would just stop drinking on the weekends the weight would fall off.” Or when I would do an exercise about what my future self looked like it there was a voice in there that suggested it was without alcohol.
When I first started really getting into the mind work behind my weight loss quest—after I had learned to meditate and before I had found magic pages and became a master planner…in this space where I had started to understand I was creating it and if I was REALLY committed to weight loss, what would I need to do to make it happen?
I think I wanted to lose like 10 pounds in a month and I said, “What would I need to do?” And I wrote “not drink.” And I wanted to erase it. I didn’t want to admit that it was holding my progress on the scale up, but I knew it was. I would do great all week, lose weight and then get to the weekend and cut loose to celebrate and take a break with some wine at my local watering hole and then I would eat like crap…and then wake up and not feel great and not do all the fabulous things that I had talked about doing at the bar the night before.
I call this cocktail dream napkins…I used to have a lot of those. Now I live my dreams.
Now that I know how GOOD my body feels when it’s clean—when it is free of sugar, flour and alcohol it FEELS good.
And, it’s in this focus on the feeling GOOD not how shitty I would feel the next day that has been a game changer on this journey for sure, therefore all the future focus. If we focus on how shitty we feel, we will just feel more shitty.
You may find it interesting to know that I had started a private Facebook group called the Booze Slayers at one point because I am so passionate about this topic and the effect of attacking my habit I had created with alcohol had on my entire life—and not just because of being more radiant sober, which surely I am, but also because of my deep understanding of the Habit cycle and the power of our brains now!
I thought originally that helping women retrain their brains around wine might have been my focus as a leader, but as passionate as I am about slaying a booze habit, once I understood about habits and the brain I realized, for me it’s really the weight loss and overall health that is my passion—but to be clear, the alcohol still has a roll in this quest of mine and so many other women I meet!
I think many times we don’t realize HOW big of a roll it plays because for many of us it had become part of a lifestyle. It rears it’s head for me when I have weeks like this—as awesome as this week has been and I’m going to share with you my current analysis of this as well.
Rest assured this episode will apply to you even if wine isn’t your thing like it was mine—you can sub in whatever you are the queen or king of over-doing. Over-eating, over netflixing, over use of your phone, whatever you are over-doing and don’t like it’s affects on your life —just sub it in anywhere I say “wine” and you are good to go because your brain gets pleasurable dopamine hits from all of those things too!
My future self has not drank for well over a year, maybe longer, while my current, present moment human has let it in and out as I move forward on my quest for better health and to live as my highest self. My future self does not see alcohol in our future because we know we are just not quite as shiny and radiant and I want to be a RADIATOR full of heartsing. I see clearly that the Wine Wench dulls my shine…even after just a couple of drinks.
My current self chose to drink this week, and now that I have such increased awareness I totally see why and how it came on. I want to share my journey with you and in the book this will be an entire chapter: the Wine Wench.
I created the Wine Wench when I made my first course called the Superhero Incubator. Because, like naming our Neanderthal Brains, this is kind of a fun process. I still guide this process but now we call it the Alter Ego because some people weren’t jamming on the superhero theme. LOL. So we’ve evolved, but the process is the same and here’s why: making a fictional character out of your bad habits or your monkey brain makes it kind of fun and AND helps you remove yourself from the personal judgement that can roll out when you see yourself getting seduced by the Wine Wench or your monkey brain.
You can do this with whatever you decided you are over-doing or the you don’t like the habit because maybe you don’t like how it makes you feel, or how it shows up on the scale, or what it pulls you from. For example—if I get in a Netflix binge, I will not get to bed as early and then I won’t get up for my magical AM habit stack and it’s a ricochet from there of my day not being quite as radiant.
This Vilian might be called Netflix Nelly when she comes out and wants all the dope hits from just vegging out. Take a minute now and think about your arch nemesis…who is she? Fast Food Freida maybe? Ice Cream Agnes?
Once we have this awareness of our nemesis—think about this like Preya and Shreya from the story in the Upanishads that is about a boy on a quest to find the purpose of life. IN this story, The King of Death shares with the boy that we have two choices in each moment, we are at a crossroads and have the ability and power of intellect to make a discerning choice on if we go down the path of Preya that gives us the quick, short term rewards or if we choose Shreya being the healthier, longer term reward option that serves us so much more in the long run
Preya seduces us with all of her sexy talk. Ha!
We see this in the marketing of things like wine—we are shown those groups of women laughing and living as though they don’t have a care in the world. Life is just EASY and so much more so because they have that wine, on a yacht, at a party, out at girls night—smiling and laughing in their thin gorgeous bodies…it is part of our culture, or just “needing to take the edge off” and living a life of freedom—eating, drinking, watching whatever we want.
We don’t see morning after pictures right? We don’t see the less-than shiny woman that was too tired to get up to do the things that really make her radiant.
Our brains are trained through advertising and perhaps the environment you grew up in that this is the normal way to live.
How about before cigarette ads were banned? Remember how cool it was to smoke?
Preya also has rewards.
It’s good to realize these apparent benefits of the Preya choices so we can recognize them and realize them for what they are so if we make a choice to go down that path, at least we do so with awareness of Self.
Let’s take the Wine Wench for example…not only does she make everything seem more entertaining….like places I would be sober for a period of time. This came up recently with a concert. I was talking to a friend that is a Jimmy Buffet fan.
Personally, I’m like this with concerts—I’m good for like an hour and then I want to be on the move. Unless I’m like on my back on a blanket looking up at the stars or something maybe, but if it’s a concert like Buffet—I do not see that happening without alcohol. I would have zero draw to go unless it was to drink and act like a nut with a parrot on my head (no judgement from me—that does sound fun, but I would not think that was fun sober, necessarily. Although, I haven’t danced like a lunatic with a parrot on my head before, so many it would be, but not for longer than probably 5 minutes).
However…if I’m now looking to create life sober, and if that does not sound fun to me sober…is it REALLY fun? Can I better discerne what is truly fun to me and what isn’t when I am not numb to my emotions? You betcha! Also, now that I realize that I am FEEL like things are FUN because of something I’m thinking…I could literally make anything FUN if I chose to think about it that was I suppose…even dancing with a parrot on my head.
I gotta tell you, the more I write that the more fun that soundS and of course I am stone cold sober right now.
But these are the questions I started asking on my journey as my awareness increased around this habit and my thoughts, feelings and actions…
What am I drinking for?
Do I want a glass of wine because I’m uncomfortable or is it because I wouldn’t choose to be there? Once I eliminated the mood alterer—the Wine Wench I noticed all kinds of situations I was putting myself in that I just didn’t care to be at. I would never choose to do them sober. And then there were situations I would drink just because it was the social norm—I mean we all drank wine and champagne at an awards banquet, I mean who didn’t
I’ll get into this a bit later but let’s stay on the benefits of Preya—
Here is the big one you guys, and that will change everything on your health journey.
Well, this and meditating of course so you can meet your inner self more and more, but this one thing—
The Habit Cycle and Dopamine hits.
There are few things on this planet that reward your brain as quickly and brilliantly as alcohol.
Of course there is heroine…but maybe I should say “legal” things.
Your brain gets an immediate reward. It is really that simple.
What IF it’s this simple and it’s a friggin habit? That like, there is a cue in my environment I respond to and through the reward process of this dopamine hit to my brain I have trained myself. It’s that simple. I’m not broken. Nothing is “wrong” with me. If anything, my brain is uber efffience and sure has hell knows how it’s going to get it’s rewards!
I can tell you for me…this changed EVERYTHING on my journey.
Understanding my brain and habits AS I was awakening to my soul? Game Changer.
You know what else understanding your brain and that this Preya choice is a habit you have created does for you? It removes the shame.
Wow, you mean I’m not friggin broken and don’t have to walk around with another shadow about how I’m not good enough at something…and in this case to desire a drink.
That it was of course a natural process for me to desire to want a drink because of all the training my brain has had…and the physical response of course.
Depending on your arch nemesis, you may see this even more clearly or at least identify. If you are a smoker, you can relate to that really strong urge—on a physical and psychological level.
What about something like Netflix though? Can you see the reward you get with this?
You know what that perception shift did for me, and I want to offer this to you—it gave me POWER.
It took away the fear that I was this bad person, that I was broken and it put me in control of understanding that this is just my brain doing it’s Neanderthal job gathering rewards, making neuropathways and that I could train this B!
As I started to have this realization I started developing my healthy habits more and more too and worked on the future version of myself. I have stayed very future focused in this journey.
Look, our past is great to learn from, and I’m a big believer in Shadow work, uncovering your darkside, especially once you become the observer of your life.
When we can do this without judgement, or at least with awareness so you can see the judgement, then we have some learning moments.
So, let’s go back to my 300 pound ball of misery. I knew I was eating and drinking too much. I had always been a pretty heavy drinker—that’s how I was trained growing up actually. I just listened to one of Rachel Hart’s podcasts and she talked about this—about did any one ever teach you how TO drink?
Well, no, Rachel, they didn’t. They also didn’t teach me how to feel emotions or meditate.
However, people taught us how to get DRUNK. How to drink to lose your inhibitions a little bit and “let loose”. And that this is how we have fun!
Think about it…shots, keg parties, punch bowls…it was a part of my life and seemingly being “cool” growing up.
This is what we learned, at least my teenage and college years.
As I aged this turned into talk at work about “happy hours” and in my 20’s going out to night clubs to meet boys and such.
And we were taught…maybe not directly, but think about it…through ads, friends, watching other people how glamorous this fun LIFE is with our drink in hand dancing the night away.
Or out to a nice dinner with a glass of red.
On the beach with the cocktail with the umbrella.
Chips and Salsa? Margarita baby!
Want to be think like Bethanny? Drink some Skinny Girl! That’s the answer to everything!
Wine became my thing as I aged. This became “classier”. OH, Dahling, I’m just having a glass of wine after this long day as I cook dinner.
This idea that I “deserve” some wine because I’ve been working so hard. Or that I need wine to take the edge off. Or that sometimes as a reward to keep going. OMG—I had started to habit stack my wine! It looked like this—okay, after you finish this spreadsheet you can have some wine before you make dinner.
So, this was my training ground with booze, and my mindset.
All of this cultivated over a life time—think of all of those thoughts and beliefs in there?!
But now I had the power! I knew I was the observer—I had this understanding through my increased meditation—seeing that separation of self. From my ego being, Addie who was here in human form being all the things—mom, daughter, leader, employee, athlete…on and on. All the roles I was playing and then there was ME. My inner self that could see all of these thoughts and could observe what was happening.
Add to this power the understanding that heading the call of the Wine Wench…that sexy siren she is, was just the work of my brain and I could train her, just like I do with any other habit I want to create.
Taming the Wine Wench was when I first realized how I was getting Dopamine hits from my alerts on my phone…specifically with a Netflix alert.
I have to share a couple of stories with you from my journey for this to make sense.
Let’s time travel first back to Corporate Addie circa 2018.
I’m going to be honest with you guys—I enjoyed drinking. A lot. It was my release—it had been involved in most things I considered fun in my life for years. Not that I didn’t and couldn’t be fun sober, for sure I am now and did when I was younger, but as an adult I didn’t want to give it up and I couldn’t imagine giving it
As you know, I was realizing to really make the big changes to see the results on the scale that I wanted to commit to drinking less. I couldn’t yet imagine ever saying that my future self doesn’t drink. Rachel Hart talked about a 5 day break. Of course I can do that. I go weeks without drinking some times. Of course it’s when I plan something my rebel rears her head, but I was like, I can do this, I’m going to do the work and just see what happens.
I did this 5 day break with Rachel Hart and uncovered all kinds of things about my brain! One of the days was focusing on urges and what the feeling REALLY feels like in your body.
I can see this clear as day—I was scheduled to go to yoga and was early. My brain immediately went to thoughts of happy hour. I got this vision of myself at some outside bar with some acquaintance from the neighborhood enjoying a margarita on that fine spring day. Just enjoying the breeze and the sunshine. Then the thoughts rolled in “You will have to wait for yoga for 30 minutes, you could be at the bar by then.” Or “You never get done this early. You can reschedule yoga tomorrow and go enjoy this beautiful weather.”
I saw the car start to drive itself past the yoga studio!
I muscled the car into a parking lot to observe this urge I was having, as this was the assignment. I was just learning to become an observer and this was a great exercise. Do this for yourself some time. When you see an urge come—that craving or desire to either eat something not on your plan, or watch Netflix instead of finishing a project you had to do—when you see that desire come STOP.
Pause and notice exactly what feelings were in your body.
I still can describe this feeling to you now and I would call it anticipation or excitement. In my body I noticed my stomach got little butterflies of excitement, my heart got a little warm, my brain relaxed—I could almost taste it. I think I salivated.
I realized in thinking of the alcohol my brain was already feeling happy…a relief of sorts. I was getting a dope hit and I wasn’t even there, but I was so excited by this vision of peace and relaxation my brain had cooked up I was already there.
My brain WANTS that dope hit man, I tell you!!!
And of course—alcohol goes straight to the brain—BOOM straight to the reward center! And I had trained this brain to want this…couple that with my image of this little cabana like I don’t have a care in the world.
I did some breathing and drove to yoga and waited for class.
I felt so POWERFUL.
And, this awareness has helped me ever since. I know that feeling now. I have also learned to cultivate it with Shreya choices –the healthier choices with my mind and this has helped me make better choices longer term understanding this power.
But first, let’s talk about that Netflix alert where I saw the same response! I was actually practicing Mindfully eating. This is another great tool to increase your awareness.
You plate your food, and get this—sit in absolutely stillness while you eat it. No phone, no TV, people. Nothing but you and the FOOD. You realize quickly a lot of things—how much we eat mindlessly, eat for entertainment, eat for boredom, eat passed foods. The idea is to notice when you get distracted and want to do something else—you are probably full.
So, I was working on this because these are the things you do and I still do to increase my awareness—try them! If you have done this before and it’s been awhile—try it again, even if you don’t have weight to lose, see what comes up!
Okay, so I’m mindfully eating and all of a sudden DING! On my phone happens! You know that sound—an incoming alert that you only have set for those rare special things…and in this case it took me a second to realize it was an alert for a show on Netflix and it must be one I really like because I don’t even watch it all that much—but I got this feeling come over me…
JUST LIKE When I sat in the parking lot with my urge to go drink. The same anticipation. The same reward to my brain. That feel good excitement of this relief to come.
I was mind blown…this sent me on a tangent of understanding dopamine and what are other ways you can get it, because if I can create this feeling, this reward I’m liking around things that serve ME, around the Shreya decisions…then, that might just solve my problems!
In the process of looking up how to get dopamine hits there were all kinds of different ways—doing puzzles or something artsy like that—probably why those games on our phones are so addicting, and trying new things was another way.
This is when I married the everyday bucket list with things that would help me not want to go to happy hour— like booking an appointment to try a float spa, or a new hike, trying aerial yoga, maybe going to an art class…dopamine kicks in because it is NEW.
On this journey of trying new things, and learning to manage my mind. Which is also what meditation helps us do.
Meditation is nothing but a practice in urges.
Think about it….the biggest reason people state we struggle with meditation is because of the distractions from our thoughts…this is where all urges start, with our thought process…that are born from our beliefs, history, experiences. As we practice meditation and learn on an even deeper level that we are not these thoughts and create a greater separation, it assists us in dealing with these urges as well.
Once I combined this awareness of thoughts and started implementing tools to help me retrain my brain….that was such a game changer!!!
I started to be able to think of these Shreya choices—the choices that serve me. Like getting up to hike the mountain and meditate. To write my magic pages and make a plan…when I started to apply my mind to making these choices it changed everything.
It looks like this you guys…
When happy hour would want to come calling, I would think about my mountain top hike and HOW GOOD IT FEELs…like really see myself there and allow myself to day dream about how magnificent that feeling is. I would think about how much better my day is when I am up early, before the rest of the early and I get my heartsinging.
Again, it’s law of attraction.
Instead of thinking about what I didn’t want the next day—like a hang over and feeling shitty….I would think about what I DID want and those good feelings would take me to those choices.
Over and over again.
Honestly this is why I stopped doing the Booze Slayers group so much because I realized when I was talking about it it was like I was giving it power. Not that I wanted to ignore my thoughts, but because I was spending time talking about a place I wasn’t any longer and a place I no longer desired to be.
I wanted to take that energy and build my future how I want it to look…not staying stagnant in analyzing thoughts I already had done. It was part of the journey—this Urge work and understanding the habit cycle and my brain better, but it wasn’t THE journey.
The Journey is about how I live my best life each and every day and that happens when I stay future focused, and live now.
When I see my future now, I know that alcohol is not in it—future Namaslayer doesn’t drink. She is way to LIT for that.
So what happened this week? Why am I not yet this future version I’ve been working on for a year?
Oh, we could have a field day analyzing this one and all of the thoughts I had that led to a night out with my daughter where drinks were involved!
There are many things that have attributed to this that I’m aware of and there are probably many I have not.
My biggest take away was again Corporate Addie mode. This energy of when I am in high creation like I have been this week. I’m doing things I LOVE. Creating content and course material to help women evolve on their journies too. I get REALLY wrapped up in this energy. I worked until 2 in the morning the other night because of this energy. It’s like that part of the old self sneaks in in this mode. When I don’t take the time to BREAK and take care of me in the middle of it. Yes, just like I teach. When you do shadow work they say look at the advice you give other people…it all comes right back to you.
I think this is no different for coaches. We are in this situation because we have BEEN there. It’s continual advice we are giving ourselves too…and as the situation changes, maybe the solutions do to, and there will be another part to evolve on this journey.
Here’s where I am at with this journey.
The wine doesn’t have the stigma or hold the fear in it that it used to for me. Does this make sense? Like I am going to slip back into Corporate Addie 2018.
There is no way that is happening. I am way to aware. Also, I have promised to eternally tell you about everything and so as things like this happen, I’m taking it out and looking at it. I’m making a podcast episode about it because I am working on this version of me and I’m giving myself advice in the process.
The fear around drinking wine—like I couldn’t have one drink or it would be right back to the Wine Wench knocking all the time….it doesn’t have that power. The alcohol is neutral. It’s like I ate a piece of pizza and felt like crap.
Why did I do that? How can I set myself up for success going forward?
This is a HUGE jump you guys. I remember during my first 90 day break a couple of years ago that I felt like a different being not drinking.
Now I feel like a different being when I do drink.
Where ever you are on your path with your nemesis, know this—that YOU hold the power. You can cultivate this superpower of awareness and be free of judgement of yourself and others. You can increase your skills as an observer of your mind, body and soul.
You can learn how to create habits and what is happening in your mind. You can start this process one little urge at a time. One journaling session at a time. One dip into meditation.
One step at a time putting YOU first so you can stop, breath and notice your experience in this world, right now and then use your brain to focus on what you want it to LOOK like. Not all the things you did to jack it up—how do you want it to BE and what do we focus on to get there.
And do this without judgement.
Step away from perfectionism and know that awareness is your superpower.
Now, go light this B up like the badasss witches and bitches that you are!
One little habit at a time….let’s change this world!