The Midsters Podcast

22. Midlife Reset: Change Your Relationship with Alcohol with Susan Joy

October 12, 2022 Tish, Ellen and Susan Joy Season 1 Episode 22
The Midsters Podcast
22. Midlife Reset: Change Your Relationship with Alcohol with Susan Joy
Show Notes Transcript

This week Ellen and Tish dive into an in-depth converation with guest Susan Joy on the 'whys' and 'hows' that midlife women can change their relationship with alcohol.  

Susan share's her story and how it led to her opening a practice as an alchol-free and sober-curious coach for women at midlife.  She brings her background in counseling, a alcohol tracking life coach certification from The Naked Mind Insitute and a health coaching certificate to her practice.  

 We chat about what it means to be alcohol-free, sober-curious, and other ways to redefine alcohol use and how you can lead an inspired and healthy life free from alcohol.

Obsessions:
Tish - volunteering and The Montel Williams Miliary Makeover
Ellen - OPI Midnight In Moscow and Yes, My Condor Can nail polish for fall

Resources:
This Naked Mind, Annie Grace
Quit Like a Woman,  Holly Whitaker
We are the Luckiest, Laura McGowen
Journaling with Susan Joy
Susan Joy Consulting


Want to start podcasting?  Click here to let Buzzsprout know we sent you, this gets you a $20 Amazon gift card if you sign up for a paid plan, and help support our show

Ellen Gustafson:

Welcome back to the Midsters Podcast. I'm Ellen with my co-host Tish, and today's episode is all about exploring the role alcohol plays in women's lives with our special guest, Susan joy. And it's no surprise that at midlife, many of us are

Tish Woods:

Ellen, I am so glad we are talking about this today. examining our priorities to create happier and healthier As we both know, this is a very touchy subject, alcohol. And the lives. And Susan shares with us why this is THE time for many of us to redefine our relationship with alcohol. You know, during pandemic didn't help us at all. We all have friends and family periods of stress are our big life transitions. Drinking even moderately can be a slippery slope for women. And you don't who are just maybe drinking too much. And I've really started to need to be a daily drinker for alcohol to be interfering with your life either. You know, we have so many transitions here at midlife. I know we talk about them each week, Tish, but we notice that for some reason, women who are at midlife, this know women are particularly at risk here. 50 to 70 seem to be more likely than younger women to consume alcohol at levels that exceed guidelines, maybe like more than they ever had when they were younger. On Susan's practice focusing on alcohol free, or sober, curious coaching for women, is something that I think we all need to learn about. Because if it doesn't affect us directly, you know, it affects somebody in our circle.

Ellen Gustafson:

Mm hmm. So true. Tish. All right. Before we get dive in, and we meet Susan, let's get to our obsessions. What do you have for me this week?

Tish Woods:

Okay, so my obsession this week, I had the privilege of being able to volunteer on the Montel Williams military makeover show. And I was just so obsessed about being able to go over there. The recipient of the makeover, he had, was awarded two Purple Hearts, Meritorious Service Medal, and a Bronze Star. So definitely somebody who was, you know, so so worthy. And it was such a feel good moment. And I had said earlier in the year, I said, you know, I had all these things planned for most of the year. And I said, by the end of the year, I want to make sure that I'm making more of an effort on volunteering. And this really just kick started me in where do I want to start putting my time, and it was such a fantastic, give back, you know, something for somebody else moment. So that's my obsession right now is volunteerism. And I know we're going to be doing a show not too long from now, that really focuses on volunteering. So that was my obsession this week.

Ellen Gustafson:

Wow. Well, I know we posted a picture already of you with Montel, but we'll have more to come on our social pages on that. And you know, it makes my obsession this week seem a little frivolous, but I am obsessed with these dark OPT shades for the winter, and the fall for your nails. What can I say?

Tish Woods:

we all we all put put up our nails on camera because we do our recording on Zoom so we can see each other. And we all held up our hands with our dark shades. I love the dark shades. I love you tell me what your favorite is? Well,

Ellen Gustafson:

I'm gonna shout out two shades one is calle.... and I love their names. That brand has such fun names. One is called Midnight in Moscow. That's what I've got on here. And the other one is called Yes, my Condor Can. Anyway, there's something about changing up your you know, your mani pedi for the fall. And every time I look at it this week, it's kind of just making me happy. So shout out to the kind of dark plum nails for the fall.

Tish Woods:

You know, OPI was the first company that I remember that came up with these crazy like, you gotta love them names. And they sold me on. I'm not really a waitress. That was one of their big first colors. And everybody could wear that color. I'm not really a waitress and they still have it still one of the more popular ones but yeah,

Ellen Gustafson:

All right. So Susan, we are so honored to have you here today to share your story. And I wanted to let our listeners know that Susan and I grew up together. for a very short few years in Massachusetts, but they were so fun. Our parents were great friends, and, gosh, so many laughs and funny memories of of our neighborhood back back then. But my family moved away. And our parents did stay in touch, which was great. But last year, when I saw Susan's post on on, I think it was Facebook, announcing her new practice that focuses on women and our relationships with alcohol. I knew I wanted to know more. And so we're so happy you're here with us today season.

Susan J:

Thanks, Ellen. Thanks. Thanks for having me. I'm excited to be here and share this with your listeners. Because I just think it's a conversation that's so important to have. Yeah. So I can start off by telling you a little bit about my own story with alcohol to give you some perspective. And as as you said, Alan, we grew up really like an idyllic small suburban Massachusetts. And, you know, I consider my childhood really normal, happy, our parents drank. And back then it was that nightly 5pm Manhattan. Yep. And it was a routine, but I never saw my parents drunk. I never saw them abusing alcohol in any way. But being Irish Catholic, I grew up with really all of my family drinking, it was there at all the celebrations that all the events. And I remember being a young child and my parents making me my own kitty cocktail, that Shirley Temple, the little maraschino cherries and bringing me my plate of cheese and crackers. So it was always there. And I was just a pretty average kid growing up high school, I think I had my first drink, like many of us do. Like it was sophomore, junior year of high school, you know, trying that beer thinking doesn't taste that great. And, you know, experimenting, like so many other teenagers do and the same, went to college in Connecticut, and we all drank on the weekends. And there were always people that you would look at that were just drinking way more than I was. So I never thought I had any sort of issue with alcohol. Then shortly after college, I got married young, I was only 22. And alcohol slowly started to creep in, be on the weekends, where I would pour that glass of wine while cooking dinner. And this was at the time of really the rise of that mummy wine culture, right. I didn't have my children till seven years after I was married. But it was that that start of, I'm going to have a glass of wine while I'm preparing dinner because it's my treat. It's my after I was working as a therapist, after a long day seeing clients, that's my off switch. And there were times when I say, you know, you set those guidelines, like I don't want to drink every day. So I'm going to take Monday through Thursday off, and then you find yourself on Tuesday night, like feeling deprived, or feeling like I'm missing something here while I'm cooking. And I mean, that continued for many years without any consequences at all, and had my two children and was really, again, using alcohol the way other mothers did that at that time, I was a stay at home mom. And it was the like adult treat at the end of the day. It's a something for me. And you know, 5pm would come and I remember them watching like little PBS show. And you know, I'd have my glass of wine, it was always wine for me, I just, you know, that was my drink of choice. And then fast forward to really my kids were growing older. I'm approaching my early 40s. And I started to have, like many people do at midlife, some issues in my relationship. My marriage wasn't good. And it was at that point that I see. Now looking back that I began to use alcohol, really to give it a job of numbing what I didn't want to look at. Growing up Catholic, you know, the whole idea of divorce of what's going to happen with the kids, how's this gonna affect my family? It all seemed insurmountable. And that's when I really felt like my drinking started to shift and maybe increase a bit more. And people will always ask me like, well, what level were you drink? They want to know how much because people love to compare themselves to see that's something we can talk about two, but I would never finish a bottle of wine. It was always one or two glasses, but then it would creep up when I was having these problems to almost finishing the book. at all, but I had this stupid little rule where I would always put the bottle back in the fridge with I'm talking like this month, right? Because that didn't want to be that person that would drink a bottle a day. I never switched over to the box wine, which I hear many clients say they did, because they don't want to open that second bottle. Right? Right. That's really the level I was drinking at. But at that time, too, I started playing tennis again, and going out more socially, and I was playing usta tennis, traveling to different clubs. And I know maybe some of your listeners are tennis or golf participants, and there's so much drinking involved in that culture after matches, you know, on the golf course. And I just fell into that. And I experienced, and I want to share this with your readers because it's hard to share. But it's important to know that this can really happen to anybody. I was leaving a tennis match after playing with friends, something I always did. And we had gone out drinking after and we had one of the club, we went out for appetizers after. And the weather was terrible. And I was in a really bad car accident. And I was hurt and the other driver was hurt. And we were both taken to the hospital. And my blood was tested for level of alcohol. And I was over that point oh eight. So I had a rock bottom, which anyone would consider a huge rock bottom. Yes. But it hit me out of the blue. And it was just a life changing moment that I never saw coming. And by the grace of God, both of us were okay. But I was you know, the next day in an attorney's office after I got out of the hospital, looking at facing charges of vehicular assault because someone else was injured. And the first thing he said to me was, you need to get yourself into a Alcoholics Anonymous.

Ellen Gustafson:

Wow, that must have been shocking, especially because you know, your drinking seemed within the range of what everyone else you were around was doing.

Susan J:

Mm hmm. And so Susan, go ahead.

Tish Woods:

Your background is very unique about helping midlife women. And I think you know, kind of spawned from your experience. You have a Master's in Counseling Psychology. You are an alcohol tracking life coach from the Naked MIND Institute. You have a health coaching certification as well. So can you share with your listeners real specifically, like? How did how did your trajectory into your career come from that experience?

Susan J:

Well, really, after my accident, and the consequences I had to face, I was really thrown into Alcoholics Anonymous, and intensive outpatient treatment and the whole disease model 12 Step. You are powerless over alcohol and you can never drink again. And I was sober for, gosh, almost four years through that method. So I think my perspective is unique because I've given up alcohol, two entirely different ways. The first being that way. And when all my consequences were over, and I was done with all the programs, my mindset had not shifted. I didn't believe I was inherently flawed. I believed I had made a stupid decision to get behind the wheel of the car, and I would never drive again after drinking. But and I still have some shame saying that but back in 2014 when it was all over my main goal was I don't want anybody to find out about this. And I just want to be a quote unquote, normal, responsible, moderate drinker. And that is what I did for about four or five more years, but I'm approaching my mid 50s and hitting that age of menopause and started questioning for myself is this really what I want to be doing? And at the same time, Annie Grace, and this naked mind had come out the book, Holly Whitaker wrote quit like a woman, Laura McGowan wrote We are the luckiest and after one glass of wine to many back in October 2020 I had my daughter's last varsity High School All volleyball match. And I remember waking up that morning after about three glasses and thinking, I'm just sick and tired of feeling like this. I'm tired of going a hot yoga and half assing it through my practice. I'm healthy in every other way. Why don't I take a look at this, and I signed up for this naked minds, November live alcohol experiment back in 2020. And absolutely loved the program, it just really resonated for me, it was an entirely different way of looking at changing your mindset around alcohol. And when I finished that program, I think, then thinking about going back into doing therapy of some kind, or coaching, I just knew that's what I wanted to focus on. And that's what I decided to go through their training institute to become certified through them. And I also did my health coaching, certification, and some other things to get me up and ready to practice this with other woman. That's really I have found,

Tish Woods:

You know, talking with different guests, and just meeting different people, when we especially as women become so candid, and so vulnerable, about our, our biggest, you know, struggles or weaknesses or things that happened to us, is such a powerful experience for other people to be able to relate to us. And for us to be able to help them. You know, it's like we pull down our barriers, and let people in. And I thank you for that. Because to me, when people do that it's such a brave experience to watch somebody gets so vulnerable, because you open yourself up for criticism, you know, and judgment and whatnot. But how has doing that making yourself so vulnerable and building your practices around kind of some of your most difficult times that you've been through? How has this experience been for you?

Susan J:

It's been it's really been amazing. And you're right, it's, it's probably only been a little over a year and a half that I started to share my story. And I could never have imagined doing it. But I I love Brene Brown, and she says often that vulnerability is the antidote to shame. And I think that is so important. And I coach now in some of the this naked mind groups, and to see those people on Zoom, share their story and get vulnerable. And that realization that you're not the only one having these thoughts of is my alcohol use normal? You know, why do I have trouble cutting back? Just it's okay to question your drinking. It's the one thing in society that we don't, we don't want to talk about with our friends at midlife, we'll talk about oh, I'm not gonna have that doughnut, or I'm staying away from sugar. But nobody sits and says, you know, at at the bar, oh, I'm not drinking because they're afraid of Oh, did you have a problem? And answering that question.

Ellen Gustafson:

And being labeled right and being likable. I think there's that labeling. And you know, I feel like there are so many cultural and social and just industry factors, things coming at us around alcohol and and women at midlife. It really, we're getting bombarded with it, whether it's the drink jour on social media, or, like you said, we're having more time we're going out we're socializing, perhaps with tennis or golf or pickleball. I think it's definitely something that is is really different at midlife, because when when we were younger, almost it was like, Oh, it's okay. It's the weekend or, you know, Bob's out of control. Or, you know, it seemed to be a big shift at midlife where some people could go one way and other people could go another way. Right. So I think there's something unique about women at midlife with this.

Susan J:

Yeah, we have so many transitions going on at this time with our hormones and sleep and weight. And the one thing we don't want to question or take out of the out of the equation is our, you know, nightly glass of wine. And it's so important to look at that and I think you're right with the alcohol industry and our culture. They've created a dichotomy of the normal responsible drinker and any alcoholic, when there's this huge area of what we call gray area drinkers, people that are not the type of drinker that has the glass of wine only at the wedding, or only once every two months, but they're not on the other end to the extreme, where we picture someone with a paper bag or living under a bridge, there's this huge spectrum and between

Tish Woods:

us and for me, it's like, I remember going to a doctor one time to help me with weight loss. And I think she'd never been over 100 pounds in her life. So it was really hard to take advice from her. But you're sharing your practice out of a real knowledge, you know, you had some negative impacts, you questioned your own, you know, use of alcohol and stuff like this. So how do you think your experiences like enhance your practice and your ability to help somebody go through these questions?

Susan J:

I just think coaching is so much it's different than therapy, in that I really share my own journey with my clients. When you meet with a therapist, they're not opening up and being vulnerable with you. But I'm able to bring my own experiences. And I'm really a guide in the process as they start to look at their relationship with alcohol. And I never use the term relapse, or there's no back to square one. This naked mind likes to call it data points, because those can be goldmines of information. Of Why are you picking up the drink? What is What are you hoping that drinks gonna give you? And is it truly mindful drinking? Is it truly providing the benefit, that we have these subconscious beliefs that are tied to so many different benefits of alcohol, it's just untangling all of that. And working alongside somebody and and holding them accountable if they want to take, take a break, and see what that's like experience it.

Tish Woods:

I love your explanation of the difference between therapy and coaching. And I think you've made it really crystal clear about sharing your own experiences. But here's my question. This is something I know Ellen and I talked a lot about when we were talking about this episode. So can you share with us a little bit? What's the difference between an alcohol dependency versus an alcoholic? You know, you know, there's a lot of terminology changing in the industry that describes the whole our whole relationship with alcohol. How do we frame this moving forward? What do you mean by sober curious, I think there's a lot of terms that are worth starting to use. And main, you know, in talking about alcohol, that I think we need some clarity around. Yeah,

Susan J:

it's so important the language, the language we use and the medical community now, in the psychiatric community with the DSM, it's all going to alcohol use disorder, sometimes known as a UD, an alcohol use disorder is really a spectrum. You know, there's not a clear line between normal and alcoholic. It's a spectrum of how you use alcohol. And people will still use the term alcoholic, I just look at that as someone that is on the severe side of alcohol use disorder.

Ellen Gustafson:

I do think Susan, that's new thinking for a lot of people, I think it was new thinking for Tish and myself. So I also like that without these labels of of yester year or whatever. There isn't as much shame around this. And I know we talked to it, like a lot of people just don't want to be labeled into a pigeon holed into something that is just you will never drink again.

Tish Woods:

I think it also has a lot of career implications, social implications, when you take on, you know, that extreme label. And so I love that we're starting to have this conversation that includes a spectrum. I love how you call it a spectrum, because I think a lot of people may not seek help, because they don't see themselves at the extreme. And and I love how you're starting this conversation. You and others are starting this conversation that includes a whole spectrum.

Ellen Gustafson:

Yeah, and maybe Susan, I know we threw out the word sober. are curious and alcohol free? Can you share a little bit about those? Also?

Susan J:

Yeah, the sober, curious movement really grew out of the United Kingdom and their use of dry January is where it all started with. So sober, curious really means people that are experimenting with taking a break from alcohol or drugs for a period of time to see how is this impacting my mental and physical health? I'm interested in my thinking around my drinking and why I'm doing this, I'm willing to question it. And more and more younger people are doing that, that people have said the millennials are see alcohol more as their parents choice of drug. And it's just yeah, it's so it's so interesting. And with the term, alcohol alcoholic, that people don't want to take on that label. They also look at it as there's something about that person that they're inherently flawed. And I don't have this flaw, where now the medical community is looking at it more as alcohol is an addictive substance. The alcohol industry doesn't want us to look at it like this. But it's addictive to humans, all humans. And some people Yes, may be more susceptible based on genetics based on environment, based on the job they're giving alcohol, whether it's for self medication based on past trauma, there's so many inter woven factors that affect how fast someone travels along that spectrum. But anybody can really become addicted to the substance.

Ellen Gustafson:

Think this is like such new thinking for me. And so I am so happy that you know that you're sharing it. And I really, I do know a lot of people who do the sober January, right, but I've never kind of framed it in that sober curious. And I just really liked that term, because curiosity means you're really wanting to know more about something. And I really like that, you know, you list six things on your websites, you said that are benefits of changing if somebody changes their relationship with alcohol. I know we've mentioned sleep, weight loss, healthier interpersonal relationships, reduced anxiety, more money, all of these things are so important. I think you've said too at mid life for women. Could you give us a little more about each of those?

Susan J:

Sure. Sleep is so important to our well being. And I think as women at midlife, we know how that can be disrupted, and alcohol really disrupts your sleep. And what it's doing from a science perspective, is when you have a good night's sleep, you're supposed to cycle through six or seven cycles of rapid eye movement sleep REM sleep, which you've probably heard about, and that alternates with deep sleep. Well what alcohol does is Alcohol is a depressant to our system. And our body always wants to maintain a level of homeostasis. So alcohol can really and you've probably noticed this in your own life, it can really assist you in falling asleep, and people will think I need it to fall asleep. It does do that. But the depressant effects of alcohol start to wear off and what our body does to counteract those depressant effects to maintain that homeostasis is it releases stimulants, adrenaline and cortisol, which are the stress hormones. So that is why when you drink at times, you wake up at two, three o'clock in the morning and all of a sudden you're wide awake, going, why can't I sleep? And you're going Why did I have one more glass of wine, it's that those stimulants are waking you up. So when you take alcohol out of the picture, you are getting back to how you slept as a child and that has been the case for me. 100% And you're also when you're using alcohol at night, you're taking away your body, your body naturally puts off some hormones and chemicals to say we're getting ready for bed. It's getting dark outside. When you've used alcohol for that for so long. Your body stops doing it it relies on what's easier. I don't

Ellen Gustafson:

I have to say sleep is the hardest thing for me hear it mid life, and I'm obsessed with it. So this makes a lot of sense.

Susan J:

Yeah and weight loss. It's just really our body looks at alcohol is a toxin and say in our liver says we need to process this before we do anything else. I call it sort of selfish calories. We need to take care of this problem. Before we burn the fat that you've eaten with dinner the car hydrates, so it puts everything else on hold as you are drinking. And, you know, that's one factor. The other factor is that alcohol, you know, pretty much takes our prefrontal cortex offline. So your decision making ability is gone. So that dessert looks better sticking to that diet becomes harder. You make poor decisions. And then there's the whole next day after you've been drinking where you skip the workout, then there and the greasy. You know, Chick fil A, it looks great.

Ellen Gustafson:

Yes, it took French fries, fronting french fries.

Susan J:

Right. So yeah, and I just think people look at everything. I mean, I remember that South Beach diet, Atkins. You do all of it. But you say, Wait, I'm not supposed to drink? No, maybe I'll switch to vodka because there's no carbs and vodka, or tequila.

Ellen Gustafson:

Tequila. Exactly. Just right. But tequila shot, right. No carbs.

Susan J:

Yeah. And that's actually increased move people along that spectrum faster. Yeah. Yeah. So that's some of the things and just with interpersonal relationships, I mean, instead of numbing problems, you're addressing them.

Tish Woods:

And or with alcohol, you say things that Oh, yes, should have filtered. And now you have some issues to clean. Why did you say that? That the conversations the next morning? Ah, what did I say? What did I do?

Susan J:

Yeah, yeah. And I work with women a lot when they've given up alcohol and are moving into a new part of their life of what they worry about what their relationships gonna be like, with their significant other if that person still drinking? Or what are their friends gonna think. So, there's so much to explore around that. And that's a conversation is happening more and more, which is a good thing.

Tish Woods:

So you said earlier that you are certified from the naked MIND Institute. And that reading that book by Annie grace, really was that aha moment for years? Can you share a little bit about what their methodology and why did that appeal to you? More than, you know, that standard AAA format? You know, in particular, how does it impact middle life women, specifically,

Susan J:

I just really love the book, the first time I read it, it comes from a place of, you don't have to say you're powerless, we have complete power to look at our thinking at our behavior. And it's really science based on digging into all the subconscious beliefs we hold about alcohol, and beginning to unravel those and bring them to the forefront. Because really, a lot of women at midlife experience what any Grace calls cognitive dissonance around their alcohol drinking, it's when we know in our minds, we should cut back, we should drink less. But all our conditioning, all our beliefs, growing up from friends from society, from movies, says that alcohol provides huge benefit in terms of relaxation, sleep, socializing, whatever we whatever it may be, and it's in unwinding these beliefs, that you start to change how you feel about alcohol. And when you feel differently about something and your emotion changes, then you don't, you don't want to do it. So there's really three pillars of change. You know, there's action, there's emotion, and there's knowledge. So many times people start like dry January with the action, I can not drink. So you white knuckle through it with willpower. And you get to the end of January, and you're like, Okay, I did it. I'm not an alcoholic, bring it on. But this naked mind, it's more we don't start with the action. Even in her book. She says you don't have to stop drinking yet. We start with knowledge with changing how you feel about it. Because as humans, we're not going to do something that we don't desire. So it's truly changing your desire for alcohol. And I just I love the approach. I love the fact that you're not relying on willpower, which we know that's exhaustible after a tough day at work, you know, so I just I never say that. I'm never going to drink again. I just look at every day as I drink whatever I want. And right now it's water. After this. It may be a cup of coffee, but I just don't have a desire to drink alcohol. I don't really see And the benefit of it after that first 15 minute 20 minute dopamine hit, no benefit.

Ellen Gustafson:

I think this is really new thinking for me. And I really liked this kind of continuum from knowledge, to emotion to action. And I do think a lot of women at midlife don't want to look at this, because other methods are, so if I should say kind of severe, or like, you will never drink again, and it will start today. And and so I think this is a more relatable way for a lot of people to think about their alcohol use. And we can post the link to Annie Grace's book in our show notes to Susan, I think that would be helpful to some of our listeners. So let's just go do if one of our listeners is finding this conversation, really hitting home, we've we've really talked about something that is is you know, at the top of their mind, and they really want to look at changing their relationship with alcohol. And to said earlier, and I think we both said, especially after the pandemic, people are still continuing some of those pandemic habits. But, you know, when does someone know that alcohol is playing too big of a role in their life? Is it when you do you have to have shame and guilt in the morning? Or can it just be part of a healthy reset? Like we've said.

Susan J:

it can be what ever anybody wants the question, I think you need to ask yourself, if you're questioning your drinking the question because not is, Am I an alcoholic? It doesn't have to be that it? Is my life good enough now, the way it is, or couldn't be better without alcohol? What if I got curious and took a little break and see what it's like? I just think it's so important to enter the conversation sooner rather than later.

Tish Woods:

So what would you say are some of the first steps that somebody would start with? When they're thinking about maybe adjusting their relationship with alcohol? Where do they start?

Susan J:

I would say a person could start even with just mindful drinking, to question like, when they're having a drink, why am I picking up this drink right now? What benefit in my am I hoping this drink will provide? And then drinking that drink mindfully? And I've even had my clients do an experiment where they'll have one drink mindfully and then wait an hour journal during that time to feel the effects. Because when it feels good when that blood alcohol levels rising, but when it starts to fall, what do we want to do? We want to grab that second drink. That's just the nature of alcohol. So really, to experience things mindfully to begin with? And to question you know, I think people know in their gut when they're questioning their relationship with alcohol, and maybe need to take or not need, or should take the opportunity. I'd rather reframe it as to take a little break. Through this naked mind the alcohol experiment, there's an app now, it's always it's always free, where you can get those videos and take a break. There's so many different programs that do like a dry January, but see what it's like for you. And oftentimes, like I think it's funny, some people will say, I'm just gonna take it or leave it drinker. And I always want to ask when was the last time you've left it. Sometimes when you decide to leave it, that's when you find it has a little bit more of a grip on you than you thought. And you're left feeling deprived. I don't want anybody to feel you don't have to feel deprived. I feel deprived. And in a way, it's not alcohols, not that forbidden fruit anymore.

Ellen Gustafson:

I really liked this idea to have the resources that you just talked about, either in app or some of the books or some videos where, you know, women can really just be curious about being curious, right and take the opportunity to to read things or to watch things or to have a short and small experiment on on drinking. Maybe Susan, you can tell us a little bit too about your counseling practice in general. I noticed journaling was something that was listed and maybe you can share a little bit about how How important that is for women at midlife.

Unknown:

Yeah, I just think as you explore your relationship with alcohol journaling is a wonderful tool to accompany mindful drinking, and it's a tool to tap into those beliefs you have about alcohol, and really start to question them. Like, I used to believe alcohol relaxed me, like I believed the sky was blue. I mean, I just never questioned it. But I work with women in my practice going through that, in a technique we call the ACT technique, which is awareness, clarity and turnaround. And awareness is just simply stating the belief you may have and then clarity is diving into the story of growing up, where did that belief come from with others in your life? How did it develop? Is it really true questioning it? You know, how is alcohol helping me relax, if it's releasing adrenaline and cortisol? You know, what is true relaxation? What are other ways I could nourish my nervous system? Because it's important to to replace some of what we're taking away with alcohol, we can put in habits at midlife that nourish us nourish our nervous systems. Yeah, so all that the different journaling prompts are on my website and more information about my practice and how I work with women. I typically do six to 12 sessions with women, and they come to me some are already alcohol free. And others are know that there's an issue, and just want to begin taking a look at it. Yeah.

Ellen Gustafson:

That's great. Susan, thank you so much for sharing your story. First of all, which I think your vulnerability, as Tish said, really makes such a difference. And really giving our listeners a lot they can examine to redefine or reframe or adjust the relationship with alcohol. Really to make this midlife Chapter The best I think our podcast we just we really want people to be having in living their best lives. So we know alcohol is something that touches everyone's lives here, globally. And whether it's a friend, a family member, a co worker, you know, you've shared some really great insight and some excellent resources. So we'll post a link in our show notes to all of these, that you've mentioned, and your practice and the journaling notes. And we just like to say thank you.

Susan J:

Thank you for having me. Such a good conversation.

Tish Woods:

I want to thank you, too. I love starting this conversation. That relationship with alcohol is a spectrum. I think that is one of the biggest takeaways I'm hearing today. And as we are going into big holiday seasons, there's going to be lots of opportunities, and lots of social things that you're you know, people are coming together. And this I think is a great time to start questioning, what is our relationship with alcohol journaling about it. And if you're going to kind of, you know, pull back from alcohol, become sober, curious. Have a plan in place, we're always big about having plans. So have a plan in place. I know at one point when I was going through like a really strict diet, and I couldn't celebrate with any, you know, alcohol. I made sure I had a busy seltzer drink with fruit and everything like that. So I didn't feel left out. There are strategies and stuff you can put into place. But if this is something that affects you, you know, definitely delve into it a little bit. Thank you so much, Susan, for bringing this awareness bringing you know, new terms and you know, about this subject matter to all of us. Thank you so much and for sharing your story.

Susan J:

Thanks. Thanks for having me.

Ellen Gustafson:

So til next time.

Tish Woods:

Til Next next week. Have a great week.