In this powerful podcast episode #207, I spotlight my awe inspiring client, Bonnie, as she comes full circle from being a listener of the show, to being an example of what's possible when you apply the tools in real time. As a mother of four, an entrepreneur, and a practitioner of yoga, her busy lifestyle led her to seek out support to help her manage her relationship with alcohol.
Bonnie shares that she first started drinking at the age of 14 as a way to numb the pain of big family transitions, grief and loss.
Sound that alcohol was always present in her adult life, and that it often consumed more of her mind than she wanted it to.
She shares that one of the biggest obstacles for her was asking for help, but that the disarming and supportive approach she gained from listening to the podcast, made her feel more open to trusting and letting go of her ego and pride.
Bonnie offers how the container provided by the coaching program helped her to let go and move forward quickly in her journey.
Bonnie has been one of my greatest sources of inspiration for what is truly possible with the five shifts and just how deep it can take you. Thank you Bonnie for your presence, bravery and warn heart!
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Do you ever feel like you're outgrowing alcohol, that you are longing for a deeper connection to life? If alcohol is keeping you playing small and feels like the one area, you just can't figure out you are in the right place. Hi, my name is Mary Wagstaff. I'm a Holistic alcohol coach who ended a 20 year relationship to alcohol without labels, counting days or ever making excuses. Now I help powerful women just like you eliminate their desire to drink on their own terms. In this podcast, we will explore the revolutionary approach of my proven five shifts process that gets alcohol out of your way by breaking all of the rules and the profound experience that it is to rediscover who you are on the other side of alcohol. I am so thrilled to be your guide. Welcome to your journey of awakening. Welcome back to the show my beautiful listeners. Thank you so much for being here for another episode, we are welcoming you welcoming you into our circle today. And oh my gosh, you are in for such a treat. Today, I have one of my most inspired clients here to share her amazing journey. And really, Bonnie, what I've seen from you is like your willingness to show up and really get what you came for. And like that, which meant like getting more than you came for and going beyond. So I just wanted to welcome to the show. Bonnie. Hi. Hi. Thanks, Mary. I'm so happy to be here. Yes, I am so thrilled that you're here to have this conversation with us. So Bonnie, if you want to just start by telling our listeners a little bit about yourself and what feels most relevant for you today in this moment. Yeah, so I, I think first of all, first and foremost, I'm a mother of four. That's been my primary role for nearly 18 years. That keeps me really busy. Of course, and I'm also an entrepreneur, I started my own business about 17 years ago, I like to have my hands in a lot of different pots. I have been a practitioner of yoga for the last 25 years. I also do a lot of volunteer work with our kids school and just kind of run our our household. So yes, you are busy. You got, you know, maybe not busy, but it's like you are intentionally doing a lot of things out in the world. And yeah, and I think that can probably a lot of people listening can probably relate to that women. And so we'll just start from the beginning, you know about your alcohol story, if you want to just take us back, and then how that could kind of bleed in to this really full life that you have for yourself. Right now. Yeah. So tell us about like, when you first remember starting to drink and how that worked? Yeah, well, um, I had a really wonderful and beautiful and loving childhood, where my mother was also stay at home. And she was just really there for my brother and I and our family. And she, I think, maybe pushed herself a little bit too hard, hard. She ended up getting really sick. And she had to leave our family and I was probably about 14 when that happened. And I was sort of left with this, like, all these feelings, all these emotions, this kind of break in a sense, and I didn't know how to deal with that stuff. I didn't have any real kind of like emotional support or any tools to lean on. I certainly had some family who was there, you know, for me, but my father, I think really was leaning into his kind of alcoholism and drinking a little bit more at that time, because of course, it was hard for him. So there was some observing of that, I think for me, and also as I came to find later in my life, just really kind of feeling that a little bit in my DNA and in my lineage. And so at about the age of 14, I would say and through my the next several years, I started experimenting with drinking and it was just kind of like made you know, my feelings numbed out, helped me, you know, connect with other people kind of like get into that party mentality, which was way easier than you know, dealing with the pain of the loss of my mother at that time. So I guess that's kind of how it started. And then I just have had been really off and on so probably For the age of about 17, I stopped drinking. I was like, Oh, this is not actually something that I want. I really I started kind of leaning into learning about yoga. And then really like, yeah, I would say it's been kind of present and then not present for the majority of my adult life. It was, oh, it was always it's always been part of my, you know, adult life, I would say, like, there have been times when I was not when I was kind of intentionally not drinking, like, just because I felt like it felt better in my body. But it was always something that I leaned on. And then of course, drink socially. Yeah, just seems to be sort of everywhere. So. Yeah, yeah. When did it feel like you it was consuming more of your, like your mind than you? Then you wanted it to? Or when you really noticed that it was more present for you than you had wanted it to be? Yeah, I think like often on I mean, it's interesting, because as a mother, there's like a lot of it's just sort of like a different type of stress, I guess. And then there's that, you know, mommy wine culture thing that happens. So I think it just felt just so natural to be drinking, but then there's, there just was always a struggle with me, it's just sort of thinking like, this is not, it's not serving me, and yet I'm doing it. So there was, I think, whenever, you know, whenever I was drinking, there was always a struggle there. And it would sort of build up, and then I would, you know, stop for a little while. And then I was just able to trickle back into my life. Yeah. Sneaky. Yeah. And I can totally relate to that, you know, as a you, I didn't know, you've been a yoga practitioner for that long, we should go do some yoga together. And I, you know, where it's like, you can tell like that you're out of alignment, right? It's just, it's work, especially from a yoga perspective. It's like, oh, my gosh, I'm so in alignment here. And then this, you know, this thing is just, I don't have access to my fullest, fullest self. And, you know, it might have been have been saying those words to yourself, but it's like, some feel, right. Yeah, so, um, you know, maybe, like, five years ago, or something, or four years ago, I sort of decided, on my own that, like, I was really gonna, you know, quit for good. Like, I didn't appreciate the control that it had over me, I think in my mind, and you're right, like, it was not in line with my sort of yoga values or values of like health. And I did a pretty good job. I'm saying, but then the pandemic hit, and my father got sick, and I was caring for him. There's all these circumstances, right. And at that time, like, I did not have the tools that I have now, after working with you to really, like, get through those challenging circumstances. I feel totally different about it now. But um, yeah, yes. Okay. So that is kind of the next question is, you know, what, what was apparent that the change, this change was inevitable for you? And I'll have you answer that. But. But what's so interesting and what, you know, this work really does using mindset, tool mindset, and mindfulness tools and emotional embodiment tools, is just that, that the cert no matter what the circumstance is, we can handle it. And as humans, one of our basic needs is certainty. But what we don't realize every single day is that we are living in uncertainty. And so what is so important and I think empowering, through the process of coaching in any area, but I really, you know, with holistic alcohol coaching, we really get to look at the whole person on a deeper level is that you create the certainty you create the certainty for the ever present changing circumstances. So it's that that ever, it's when the circumstance changes that now we think we're that something's uncertain. But when we when we continue to grow, and we continue to change, we continue to put ourselves in new situations, then we are always getting outside of our comfort zones a little bit. So that was a little bit of a route but I really, I really liked seeing that that point. And kind of exemplifying that for our listeners that this is the the ability to unconditionally being able to show up for yourself no matter what, like this is the process of learning that so for you, what was apparent that this change was inevitable? Because you had gone through that, obviously, that that was before you and I started working together, so yeah, yeah, it just kept. I think it kept like, so at a certain point after pandemic, or after the intense part of the pandemic, I just sort of said, Okay, I'm gonna, you know, recommit, I'm gonna do it again, I'm ready to like, let it go. And then, you know, some other circumstance came up, that was really challenging for me, and it just comes back in again. And finally, I was like, there's something else that I like, I need a little bit of help here, you know, and that's always and that in itself, was a little bit of something I had to overcome. Because I've always just been like getter, like, I've always been really independent, being able to kind of get through, you know, my problems and do do everything kind of independently and on my own. But this one just has, I think, had just kept coming up for me. And I realized that I needed something. Like, I needed my inner landscape to be more at the forefront of my mind, and to feel more solid. So it kind of comes back to the circumstances that you were just laying out. And then I'm talking about, I started to see that, like, the circumstances keep coming up, that are pulling me back into this old pattern. And what I need is to dive deeper, do something, but I wasn't really sure. Like, I knew I needed tools, but I wasn't sure what direction to go in. And I'm someone who really loves, like systems for growth. And I did not, I did not feel like I had a system for growth. And I started listening to your PI found you actually an Insight Timer, and then started listening to your to your podcast. And I was like, This is it. This is, you know, the support that I need. And it's just proven to be so true. Yeah. So So what did you hear in that that was like, this is the support I need. Um, I think it just, well, again, if there was like a system that you laid out, you know, when you talked about the five chips, and they all made so much sense, they were very much in line with sort of, like my, maybe philosophy of quitting drinking. But then it was like, okay, so how do I how do I put that philosophy into action? And I Yeah, working with you has, like, given me, even though they're sort of like tool, like mental tools, they're just they feel like something I can dig into, like, I can hold and just have the real in my life. And I've seen, like, the effects of those. Yeah, and then being so supported by you. It's been great. Yay. Yes. I mean, that piece of it, I think. And so well, let me back up. Because you had said, you know, that asking for help piece was something was a challenge, right? Like, in this in this way. So what? How did you overcome that obstacle in your mind? Um, I think it just felt very much like, like, an ego part of myself, like, my pride or Yeah, I guess I just felt so ready to, like, let go of that, to just let go of that part of myself, you know, and just allow, like, the help. But I would also say that, like, at the time when I was before I reached out to I'm listening to the podcast, there is something about you, Mary, that's very disarming. And just, I think, made me feel more open to do that kind of like, yeah, you just seemed like the right person to be able to like help me break that down or let go of that and just be really open to the trusting that there's, you know, stuff there that would help me on a much deeper level, you know, beyond my ego beyond I pray or whatever. Yeah, and I think that's one of the thank you for saying that. And I think that that's one of the biggest one of the really big struggle for so many people with this subject is because there's so many negative calm rotations like around of the rain, right? being broken, like I've got a problem or whatever it is. And I buy, like biggest mission is to express that this is such a gift, like this is such a gift of a journey of self inquiry and to like rewrite the story the like the the cultural narrative story, like on your own terms, because it is just a story. Like, you know, there was someone that made up something many, many years ago, and like, as the human evolves, our needs evolve, and like, the box is invisible, and we can decide to make up whatever story we want that serves us. So whatever this change, it is for you. Right, it can be one that I'm broken, and I have a problem. Or it can be one of like, oh my gosh, like, this is like, I'm fucking amazing, right? Like it can, like, that's, that's where I want to take you like, I think that this is all about empowerment and like, being, you know, just this very, like mature and wise, like, I see this journey as a journey of growing into your own, you know, another layer of your, your woman hood, right? Kind of traversing the archetypes. Yeah. And I think that you that that happened very quickly. For me, it was like I was in a place of holding on to this kind of superficial ego, pride thing. And then, and then when I, you know, switched over into just allowing that. Yeah, it just it like i i was propelled forward, like very quickly. I think I was just really ready for that, too. So it happened very quickly. And yeah, that's exactly you're like, that's how you that's how you see things. That's how you do things. And I was just ready for that. Yeah, so it's like in this and, and that's the thing. I mean, people come in, I just had a client yesterday. And she was like, why does this feel so easy right now. And I'm like, you know, you're gonna have ups and downs, like, you're gonna have cycles and rhythms, but it's because you finally gave yourself like this container was you allowing yourself to have permission to just let go and say, I'm ready for this, I'm ready to, to move on to the next phase. And, and that's why the container, I do feel like is so important. And it's not that you can't do it on your own, because we can do anything that we set our minds to. But I but I do believe that, it's, you're gonna be you're, it's gonna take a lot longer to get there, right. And it's like, we create this container to just let go. Explore the process be guided very intentionally. And because you've been, you know, it's like, think about what you said, like for the last 20 years, on and off, right? It's like, I don't really know. And, of course, divine timing, you come to something when you come to it. But, you know, for any, I think for any thing that you want to change in your life, when there's a system there, it's going to be much easier, like anything you're studying. And if you're studying yourself, which is really what this is about. Yeah, it just it did, like you said, it propelled you forward. So So I would love to hear a little bit about so it sounds like the challenges that you were facing. Were really just not feeling like you had the inner resourcing to meet life's ever demanding chat changes on your on your own. I mean, you know what, like meeting that, like stress relief or needing that buffer at the end of the day? Because the truth is, you were facing all of these challenges on your own. It was just resetting your nervous system, essentially, how would you say like, how would you say that? Yeah, no, that's so true. I mean, I, you know, like I said, have always like, had my hand in a lot of different pots and always like juggling a lot of things. And I love to be busy and have, you know, grow different projects and do different things. But that also, I think, felt like, a lot at times, it felt kind of overwhelming, stressful. But and then, you know, the alcohol at the end of the day, or maybe the end of the week or whatever, um, felt like a complete release, like, okay, I can just let it all go, like completely released that. And I think that was one thing that I was kind of worried about when it came to not drinking anymore. I was like, Well, how am I going to get that, like, release? You know, how am I going to get that? That ability to sort of let go of the stress or whatever. But yeah, there are so many tools now that I'm just using and it's not at the end of the day, and it's not once a week. It's like, integrated into my life now. So yeah, And like you said at the beginning, like, I am really motivated to, to do that. I just, I guess I feel like I didn't know, you know what the system was or what the right. But you know what the things were to do. And so knowing that and, and really putting those tools to use and has it has allowed me to I guess maybe not even let like the stress or whatever build up as much so I don't feel like I have to go, you know, drink a bottle of wine or whatever. Yes, yes. And that's, you know, and we'll talk about some of that too. But the, that what you're talking about is not having like that they're not tangible, right. And I think that that's why when I talk about some of the myths to quitting drinking, is we want to we want to replace or distract or avoid ourselves and, and pick up new habits, right, because we feel we have this need as humans for like, I need something it needs to feel tangible. And even the process of coaching, it's like, well, what am I what am I, you know, I'm investing in this thing, that's, that I can't hold in my hand. But what it is, I always think about this with yoga, I feel like I have this backpack on and with coaching tools, they all feel like one of the same to me, sometimes it's like I have this backpack that I can just literally take with me everywhere, this Invisible Backpack, and like, it's always there for me, and I just, I know, it feels so empowering to know that wherever I go in the world, that I have these tools to call my nervous system to move my body to you know, to integrate, to solve problems, were from a very neutral objective place, I might not get there right away. It's the you know, it's there. And so, I think that that's, it's just a different way than we're used to consuming in our, in our culture, and investing and, and all of those things. You know, because even when you go to school, say you go to university, it's like, at the end of it, there's like, this thing, it's like, you get this job or you get you know, like you have this degree or this certificate, maybe I should start giving people certificates. Well, it's so interesting, because like, we really do appreciate, like a physical thing. You know, when we talk about these tools, it's not they're not physical tools, like you said, it's a, it's like an Invisible Backpack, you know, and, and that really brings me to what I had to work on. And it wasn't you made it easy, but that is like trusting. So trusting you trusting the system trusting you know, the five shifts, trusting all of this. Because I didn't really feel it at the time. Like it wasn't like I had a physical thing to hold. It was like, but I knew that it was, you know, I knew that these tools would be helpful, I knew that these things would would, you know, provide what I needed. It's just that trust, that trust and being able to build up that trust, like with you and working with you. And you kind of just like, you know, helping me stay on on the path and interest was just huge. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. And so I remember I actually really remember when we first talked you asking me like, So what are these tools? And like, how do how does that even work? Right? Because it's yeah, it's not something that I hand you. But if you think about it in the way of learning any skill, right? It's It's mean, it is a process of learning how to use your brain in a different way. Essentially, how to use your, your emotions in a different way. And so when we cultivate the witness consciousness, it's being able to observe yourself and all these things that are happening, that we can't have access to, if we're not in the present moment. So the first part, the first step is stopping. You have to stop long enough and that's what you know, like our weekly meetings, give us an opportunity to stop to check in to and then to evaluate to, you know, to celebrate, like see what was working and all of those things. And you know, I think that when you start like that trust coming into that is the first big breakthrough, right, like making the decision to to do something pretty like radically different in your life has to be start the shifting of beliefs like you just come like you said trusting to come to the you know, to the consultation, and then the process of you know, investing in yourself which is really putting yourself first you know, putting making yourself a Priority making this change a priority for you. So tell me what that what that process was like for you to decide to, you know, make an investment in yourself financially, time frame energetically all of that? Yeah. Well, I mean, I think culturally, you know, mothers tend to not tend to sort of, you know, get this message that like, we shouldn't be centered, or we shouldn't be put first, everyone else, you know, we're like, serving everyone, all the time. But I have believed for a long time that it's really important to fill our own cups, and then we can give much more to others. So I think like, with my yoga practice, and different things I've been able to do, throughout the years have really helped like to ground me and to fill up my cup. Um, so I do believe that that is really important. But at the same time, I did struggle, a little bit with like, yeah, with making the space for myself and saying, like, I'm really gonna, I think, like, the commitment in the very beginning was a little bit tricky for me. Um, I just thought, how could I find the time for this? How can I commit to this? And then, of course, I think it was even in our first call, you had you had me, like, do an ETA on my life. And it was around like, the commitment and then around, you know, of course, the financial commitment as well. So that was an interesting kind of introduction to the ETA. And, but that right there, I thought, Well, if that, if that can work for for these ideas. What could it do? You know, for me down the road. So I guess it just, I had to sit with it for a little while, but it just felt like it kept calling me it was so important. That, you know, as I had to make sure I could do it. And as soon as I, I decided that, yes, I can do it. And I was able to so it was a little bit of a process in terms of really kind of jumping in. And yeah, like anything, any growth that you're going to do, it's going to require, you know, creating some space in your life, which maybe, at first you might not feel like you have, but yeah, yeah. And so when you talk about because I think this is really important. A lot of times people kind of just have this knee jerk reaction to, it won't work, right, we go right into like this black and white thinking and something that because that's just it's just as habitual as alcohol, right, the ways that we think about, like you said, your schedule, your time, money, all of those things. It's like, Nope, we don't even like consider it. And one of the things that I think coaching really lends itself to and that you have to be able to do with alcohol is we have to get resourceful with our brain and get like, is wildly even sometimes like over the top dramatic about possibility. Because once we say it won't work, then we've stopped our opportunity or potential for change, right. And like, What I know is that anything's possible. And we just have to be willing to be more flexible with the how that we get there. And the ego doesn't want to be flexible, but in the end, it wants the same result. Right, it wants the same result as your higher self, but your higher self, if you give it a chance to show up, when that's why we use the eta, we use the eta as an opportunity to be let your like, let the ego and the habitual brain be neutral for a minute, like just be like, we're just gonna be cute like, right, we're going to be curious, we're going to see how this might work. Not we're going to do anything, just chill out. And so that was something that I saw you do even before we started coaching, was actually not making it black and white, but looking at how can I make this work, like actually looking at your finances, like taking your time to see how this might fit in? To my schedule, right? Absolutely. And I think one thing that I was able to do was just sort of like, widen my thinking around it, like step back a little bit and say, like, in terms of time, let's say like, Okay, I could probably be a little more efficient with this area of my life, and then free up time here, or, you know, be more flexible with something or drop something else in order to create the space because it's a priority, and it's really important. And again, I'm trusting that this thing, even though part of me thinks oh, I'm hesitant towards it, I'm trusting that it is something that my higher self wants and is something that's really going to end up serving me in the end. And I started thinking about like the financial piece like that as well. It's like well, this is An investment I'm putting in now, but I trust that it's going to, you know, come back to me in ways that are I have no idea about right now, you know, but just being able to kind of think about it. Yeah, not that black and white thinking but broader, wider. Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And that's the thing about, you know, well, and what I, you know, one of the things I would say is the reason you think you can't as a reason you need to so how has your relationship with time changed? In the way you're spending your time? Oh, yeah, um, I would say it's gotten more, like, more efficient, but also more relaxed. It's interesting. Because the time that I'm spending, let's say, doing a meditation, in like, the middle of the day for 15 minutes, or something like that, it frees up more time later, like, I would spend the day getting really, you know, wound up being busy this man. And then I would, you know, six o'clock, just kind of check out because I was drinking wine or whatever. And then there's the whole evening, you know, that's a lot of time that I could actually be doing. Not being not being more productive, but like just doing the tools or doing different things that were helping me in the Yeah, in the longer term. So yeah, exactly. Right. It's like you're priming yourself to not to not need that by busy, you know, being busy all day, or whatever. It's like giving yourself the 15 minutes. That's what I always have been talking about this a lot this week as the humans. And this is kind of what we've been taught to, to change something we it's like, take more action, take more action, it's not working, we feel away, take an action, change it. But at the end, if we can take five minutes to present ourselves and in breathe in, just lay down for five minutes, and really come into the body relax. And now what happens was when we reset our nervous system, we get access to, to just more clarity of thinking to higher states of thinking, and you're like, oh, that thing that I thought was such a problem. Oh, I know how to solve it in this way. Like, you've become so much more efficient in your brain when you're not. In that, like kind of survival mode, just like go go go where, you know, it's like, you're just like, going from one thing to the next all day. So yeah, I love that, like the little bit of time during the day saves you so much time at night, talk about the time, like, what kind of time investment did this really take like, where your brain is how you like, I have to fit all of this stuff in? Like, what did that what did that really look like? On a practical level? Yeah, I mean, so I started doing like setting aside some time for writing. And I actually put it on my calendar, because it's like one of those things that I always wanted to make sure that I did. And then it was, like, that's part of this program, therefore, I'm going to now actually do it. So, um, yeah, spending a little bit of time in the morning writing and then the day, so that's not a whole lot of time. Um, but that's maybe, you know, half an hour or something like that, um, and then there was a lot of listening to different things in the program. And I listened to that was walking the dog. So like, already, you know, or, you know, if I had to pick the kids up from school, they can play at the playground, and I could, you know, walk around or something like that, and just have in, though, have my earbuds in and, and do that. So I think there are like, ways I had to be pretty creative with ways to free up my time, but like, it was multitasking a lot of the time and but it wasn't, you know, again, I guess the time commitment just didn't feel or doesn't feel that big. I think in the beginning, it's like course, you're learning something new. So it's going to be but it was also very expansive. So yeah, yeah, I just made it work into my life, you know, because it was important to me. Yeah. And tell me a little bit about, you know, and I would say, Bonnie is like a star student, for sure. She just, you know, like, Bonnie, really, you know, we're taking and applying the tool so quickly, that it kind of felt like there. What happens when we procrastinate and we don't do something is because we haven't created the belief that it's going to matter that it's going to work, right? That's why we put things off because if we No, wow, I see this getting me the result. And so it was like, the more you were seeing this changes happening. Now you have the the proof the evidence of what? Setting this like that this setting this time aside for yourself was actually creating the results that you wanted? Oh, absolutely, yeah, I just felt like the ones I really committed and jumped in, it just propelled and went, you know, I was able to get deeper, a lot quicker. But again, it was, you know, I was really ready for that. So yeah. But yeah, seeing the results, and then even that's even built into the program like this, there are certain ways to like, check your results, you know, like, just helps. Yeah, helps me it's helped me to be to sort of propel forward. Yeah. And I think that that piece of it, because the way I designed the program is to be able to learn through different modalities, which is our time together. And that's really the only I would say, there's any requirement, it's our one on one time, once a week, right, which is an hour, and I feel like most people can fit figure out how to fit that in. But it's like, as deep as you want to go. And you can propel yourself forward so quickly, when you decide this is how I'm going to do it. And you can also get coached around that too. Right? Like, how can I how can I make the time or why, you know, like, why am I you know, not doing this? Or how can I fit it in? And we get to see, and you did that pretty quickly, I think for yourself, where you decided how I was going to I'm going to make this make this happen? When you you know, when you're like nervous at the beginning, right? Of what are these tools? And how do I use them? And it's like, how did you use? I mean, how are you using them? What what does that look like and an example of the way that your your mindset or your or your mindfulness is coming into play into, into life into a circumstance that maybe would have been different before? Yeah, I think I'm, well the eta is have been really huge for me. So being able to, like, have a new thought, and be able to being able to be creative, you know, curious, and being able to be, like, creating that witness consciousness has been huge. So I again, just like, didn't really think too, or create the time or the space, to start thinking about myself like self concept. And witnessing myself, I just wasn't doing that I was always just in go mode, you know. So being able to do that pause, to take a look at my self concept. And that has felt really empowering for me. And then being able to also like, pause and witness my thoughts, and then create these e TAs. And then like, I just feel so much more measured and calm. When I'm thinking about like my, or I'm doing I'm having an emotion, not you know, intentionally and, and a thought intentionally. So all of those things put together I think they've been they've been really incredible tools. So when you're you one of the things that you had mentioned, you know, is taking these pauses during the middle of the day for yourself. That's transitioning your, the way you're spending your evening and it sounds like you know why a big what everyone wants to know too is how, how did you transition from those times when you would drink to not drinking? And what did that process look like for you? And you know how you're using like you said, how you're using these throughout your day. So what what Bonnie is talking about is she's what happens is we I've talked about this on the show is that the eta is a process that we use to create new emotions and new thinking and a new mindset from our old habitual patterns. And so when you're kind of using this tool throughout the day, we're you're also resetting your nervous system throughout the day because you're not building up the stress that sometimes you need that relief that release for at the end of the day. So we really work from the outside in we want to work on the urgent the firsthand urges and triggers that are going to happen on a habitual basis. You know, in the evening, Bonnie mentioned, like six o'clock or a Friday. So we work on those. But the other there's there's two layers. There's the habitual urge in the alcohol present in your body that your body's kind of expecting for more of a cognitive standpoint, behavioral standpoint, but then there's all of the things that, you know, you may tell yourself, like, oh, I need a drink just that alone, or I can't handle this anymore, and I need to relax. But when you're, when you're solving for your stress or your problems or your overwhelm, throughout the day, in every other area of your life that build up, isn't going to be there, because so the need to drink becomes less. Would you say that? That's true for you, Barney? Oh, absolutely. Yeah. And if you even think about it, as from just a, you know, physiological perspective, like, it is just an it's a nervous system, reset, right? It's just not being calmer. And so how do you get there, there will be, there's all these tools to get there. One thing that I really, that was really helpful for me is just like, knowing that these tools are reliable, like, I can go to, I can go to those, and especially in sort of the beginning, I just felt more, you know, free on the idea of not drinking, just because it was such a habit, and something that I, like I said, I utilized so often to just relax and let go. But these tools have, you know, allowed me to do that to create that relaxation state. And it's like, I'm excited to go do those things, you know, and to, and to be like, Okay, I recognize that I, that things are building a little bit, and they need a little bit of a release, I'm not allowing things to get, you know, kind of out of hand in that regard. So I don't feel like I, I just don't feel like I need to drink. And of course, that ties into my belief goal, and, you know, knowing that it's just not something that I want. So, you know, in my mind, that's not something that I want. So, to be able to, to, to live that has been pretty profound. I love that it's not something that I want. Right? So when you have that, and that's, I think, where that, you know, that inner conflict comes in, is like, you know, is this something I don't want and then at a point, you know, six o'clock on a Friday, your, your brain is telling you something different? So tell me about some of those first, you know, couple of weeks, maybe that, that that was present for you that your your body and your brain? Were kind of offering you a different, a different opinion. Yeah, um, hey, there were a couple of times when I think I emailed this to her, I was like, Can I just text you? A moment, you know? Yeah. So it was, yeah, just I think in the very beginning, like being able to, really to kind of lean on you a little bit more reaching out to you a little bit more. And then, again, that kind of process of trusting that it will integrate, like, I will not have so much of a conflict going on, the conflict being I don't want to drink but I do want to drink. So, yeah, and then, and then just kind of like making these tools into ritual and making these tools into something that I've just, even if I didn't feel like it, or I didn't know the result, like from experience, or I didn't have the evidence just yet. It was that trust, like, Okay, I'm just gonna keep doing it. I'm just gonna keep putting one foot in front of the other. And eventually, I trust that it will feel much more integrated. And I'm super happy to say that it. It does. Yes. And it didn't take like, that's the thing. It's like, you know, you've been drinking, like we've been drinking for 20 3040 years, right? And think about how integrated that is where, you know, I always say I, for me, it was a decision that was already made. I never even asked myself, do you want a drink? It was just I was always always having one, right? So that became so integrated. And that's one of the biggest things that I tell people is like, sometimes when we start to slow down and you're intentionally doing this work, and you're, you're becoming curious about your thinking and your decisions, just taking that shift of perspective. It's like, oh, I can choose to not have this and I really don't even want it right now. And so this, the human brain can learn anything, and it but there has to be a willingness to want it to work to want it for you saying I it's you want it to believe all of the time. It's something you know, like, it's not something that I want. Like that was your thought that it's not something I want. And I want to be able to believe that all the time because if you look for evidence to the contrary, you're gonna find it. So it's this, like willingness to want to believe new things and about yourself concept. Can you tell tell us specifically, like, honestly, like what happened on a Friday night when you felt like, this isn't something I want, but your body was telling you, this is something I want? Like, what did you specifically do? That was when I would kind of almost have to just physically remove myself from whatever I was doing at the time, which I think was another piece that I was telling myself was such a challenge. Because I'm home with the, you know, the kids, and we're just like, I'm always there with them, like the drinking. kind of worked. Right? Like with that, you know, with my life or whatever. But because I didn't want it to any more. In the beginning. Yeah, I think I just had to, like, remove myself from that situation. And, you know, calm myself down, not feel so frustrated, not feel so, you know, reset my, my nervous system at that time. So yeah, for me, it was it was a physical removal so that I could have the space these days, I would say, and with the tools and everything, I don't even like I know how to create the space while still being, you know, in us in whatever the stress situation or circumstance. Yes, yes. And that's what's so cool is that you learn how to be able to do it in any environment. And so you're taking a pause, you're taking intentional pause, I'm gonna just remove myself and, and, you know, it's like, how long is this happening for when you're removing yourself? Yeah, I mean, I wouldn't say not really even that long. Like, it could be five minutes, or it could be, ideally, it would be longer. But it doesn't take Yeah, it doesn't take that long, right. And that's what's so interesting to think about, like, I can still be with my kids and like, shift my brain while I'm drinking, right. And so, so what'd you learn to do is to be able to still do that without the alcohol? Yeah, and if that's ours, I didn't really think that was possible. But yes, it's incredibly empowering. Yes. It's so amazing. And it's because you're you are becoming aware of the sensations in your body telling you something, you're not going into panic mode, because you know, what, you know exactly what to do you know, exactly what's happening, right? Like, very logically, from a neutral place, you're like, Yep, I know, this is this week, you know, we talk about planning ahead of time. So it's like, you know, I wasn't prepared that this could happen, and I know exactly what to do. And I go do it. And then that, you know, I allow whatever, you know, sensations are there to be present, and to observe them, and then they they shift, and now I can be super present with my kids. Yeah, right. Just different than just kind of putting them aside. Right, like, sitting with them and allowing them I know, for me, you know, is maybe something that I, I do in some areas, but there are definitely are certain areas that that I don't don't do that with and are having, you know, and I think that's where the drinking came in, and sort of, quote, unquote, fixed that for me, but to not have to do that. And then to just yeah, just kind of do the maintenance. Right? Well, and when we look at that specific example, with, you know, kind of using an ETA, the brain is telling you, well, I don't have time to, you know, step away. So I'm gonna stay but I'm going to, I'm gonna drink and then what's happening with your mind when you drink, it's stepping away, really, right in some way. So you love it. It's like, it's like it takes as long as going to the bathroom, right? So it's like, all right, remember, Bonnie's got four kids. There's stuff happening. So it's like you're going taking a break from you know, and stepping away and then you come back, and you are all they're all of you. So it's really it's like this inverted. I always call it the inverted truth. It's when it's with alcohol. It's like our brain is telling us this inverted truth because the opposite of what you were able to do and as possible was what you really got the result that you are wanting, which was to be there with your kids in a bigger way? Absolutely. Yeah. I mean, there wasn't like the next day feeling, you know, tired or kind of out of it or whatever it was, like, I just dealt with that, you know, at that moment, and then was able to clear out clear up and be be available and have energy and, you know, keep up with everybody. Right? Yeah. Like you said, those evening hours, they're there, there's a different experience. And I know, I think about like, how did I fit in alcohol? I have no clue, I have no clue how to fit in alcohol. Um, that's something that you had mentioned before, was your self concept. And tell me a little bit about, you know, how that shifted even around alcohol. You know, before we started talking at all, you know, what you thought life might be like, without alcohol, or what alcohol meant, and then how you were able to change your self concept in relationship to alcohol. I guess we could start there. Yeah, I'm in relationship to alcohol, I think it was a little bit of an identity that I had around, you know, again, kind of that like mommy and wine, you know, thing going together. And then also just being out and being social. Just feeling like that was what I did, you know, but at the same time, like really did numb out my ability to kind of have that witness consciousness and look at myself, and what my true gifts are, how, you know, I can be the best mother that I can be. I think I'm a pretty good mother. But, you know, there's certainly there's always like, being able to take it to the next level. And alcohol was definitely getting in my way there. So yeah, I've been able to just have the time and the space to start looking at myself. And not not kind of numbing that out. Yeah, so one of the things we do is we do, essentially a values assessment on what your values are, and how you want to integrate that more into your life and how alcohol really is in conflict with our values. And so if you can live into those more, like you said, you're building this confidence of the strength in the person that you that you want to be in the identity that you you really do is inside of you, and that you really do believe in, you see how much alcohol really is in is not in alignment with that. And so when you start to focus on integrating those parts of you, intentionally in a bigger way, it's almost like the alcohol falls away, because you're not identifying you anymore, you know, with in that way, because you're focused more on these really positive things in these things that actually create, like, real meaning and satisfaction in your life. Yeah, yeah. Tell me a little bit about some of like, the social parts of it did in how that how that fell in your in your brain. And I mean, I never really experienced from you that there was any shame or embarrassment, we, we didn't really talk about it that much. And maybe it's just like, the people that you're hanging out with, but I know for so many people there, you know, people are so worried about what are other people going to think if I'm not drinking, right? How did that play out for you? Yeah, well, I think because I've been kind of off and on with alcohol for a long time, a good amount of my adult life. And I have had kind of a relationship with myself around just being okay with whatever people think about it. Um, but that did take some time to, to work out, you know, and I think more than anything, it's just sort of a matter of like, again, looking back on the evidence for that, like, I have shown up in places without drinking where everyone else is, and I've been okay. And so yeah, that evidence has been really, really huge, I would say, but then also like, kind of choosing maybe to not go to certain social events. If I felt like that was kind of the only reason that I was gonna go, you know, is because we're just gonna be drinking like that was the main thing. Right? Yeah. So being able to Choose that and kind of just decide, like on purpose and be more conscious about where, and how I spend my time socially? Yeah. When How do you feel about yourself in relationship to, you know, I mean, not other people, but just being able to still to do whatever you want like, and to me that that's something that we talk about too is you really uncover your real preferences. And I say to people, and then you know, of course, we coach, we could coach on, you know, people pleasing and obligatory things. That's another piece of it. But it's, it's like you uncovered your real preferences and gave yourself permission to say no to something that yet, like you said, you may have only done because it was like the social thing around alcohol, and there wasn't really something more for you there necessarily. But then there's the things that you still did that, you know, alcohol was present, and how do you how do you feel about yourself when you're in those environments? Without alcohol? Yeah, the first thing that comes to mind is that I feel at ease, which I think it was, would it probably be like a, something that felt surprising, like a long time ago, it would have been surprising that I would feel at ease, you know, without drinking, but that is how I feel and feel confident and comfortable, you know, just kind of being myself and like, knowing that I can just bring, you know, bring my full self or bring parts of myself that I want to share again, on, you know, on purpose and just with ease. Tell me about what has awakened in you through this process that you That was unexpected. Oh my gosh, so many. Because you come here everyone, right. And like, it's amazing like that, that hearing like the I was so evil, I would this was like, I was so comfortable in my body, I was so comfortable being in this situation, right, that I didn't think was possible. And it's like, you come here for one reason, it's like to get alcohol out of your way. But you know, through the journey of awakening, it's like, it's so much more than that. You get so much more than that. So tell me just tell me what's come first comes to your mind. That was unexpected. Yeah, I think what is first coming to mind is, like my connection to nature, and to, like a spiritual side of myself that was maybe a little bit more dormant than I wanted it to be. I mean, it's, for me, it's always been there. But there I think has been some numbing out of that. And so really kind of tapping into my inner landscape and feeling really grounded in that through this process has really opened up a more like a more spiritual life. And, and again, hand in hand connecting with nature and the spirit of the natural world as well. Yeah, yeah. And that's something that I probably will start talking a little bit more about. In my work is what I see that as is the, the awakening of I mean, you could say is like the goddess awakening, but it's really the wild woman. It's, it's this, this really this part of us that exists without conditioning. Right, like how do we relate to our life as organic beings, right animals, essentially, how do we relate to this world? As nature, when we're not overt when it's culture isn't overlaid over us? Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I feel like there's, and this was one of my kind of intentions in the beginning was to just create a clear channel, underneath all of my conditioning and underneath all of my stories, just like what is this pure, you know, self, right. And, and being able to connect that to, you know, to to nature in a in a way and be able to channel all that and absorb it and allow it and yeah, so alcohol was was so much getting in the way of that. Yeah. Yeah. And that's, and you know, because when you feel that connection, there is, you know, I feel like it is there's a wholeness, you experience your wholeness in those moments. Right. And this is the opportune because there's not, we, you know, you have to go out and seek these things sometimes intentionally. And there's not necessarily like the opportunities for engagement in our, in our modern world don't really lend themselves to this experience, I do think that practice of yoga is one of them. And, you know, it's the I talk about ecstatic dance and, and being in circle with women and these kinds of things. But in being in nature, but when you go through the journey of awakening, which is a never ending journey, but when you are awakening to these, these layers of you that that you might not have ever that may have never been expressed, you have access to engaging with that part of you that wholeness whenever you want, right, like you can tune into that. Yeah, so do you do is that true for you? Like, do you feel like you are able to tune into that wholeness that you're, that's created when you're say in nature engaging in that way, in your, in your own self? Kind of, like, whenever you want to? Yeah, I feel like I can, it's almost feels like a dropping down or dropping in to kind of like away from the, the ego mind or the habitual thinking or whatever. And again, in the beginning, I think there was some resistance to that, because I felt like, well, how can I get to the point where I can just drop in really fast, or really quickly or easily. Because I think I was just, there were so many layers that I have had to get through. But again, those you know, those have happened. somewhat easy with, with a certain sense of ease. Yeah. So it's been, you know, some work and having to really kind of do the work. But, um, but now I do feel like with those layers, you know, sort of revealed and pulled off. And this Clear Channel, to me, it's much easier to drop in, at any time. And really, to kind of have this awareness of, Oh, I'm just gonna focus on, you know, the, the rain falling down, or whatever the thing is, you know, or focus even on something in my physical body, my breath, that just can kind of ground me and just pull me into that place, like at any moment. And for me, that's, that's just huge. And it's so much in that right, there is so much more satisfying to me. I think it's maybe one of those things that I was looking for in a drink. Yes. But you know, it wasn't the drink wasn't as satisfying, as satisfying as being able to drop into that kind of self and infinite connection. Yeah, yeah. I'm so glad that you said that. Because I do feel like, I always come back to this inverted truth. If there is this moment where when you have that drink, especially when you know, there's that relief of that pressure valve, which I you know, that goes away pretty quickly once you're not actually drinking, because half of it is just the alcohol serving itself. So there is this moment where like, I do think that it's a synthesized or a sinister, not synthesized synthetic version of dropping in. And then But then then, then it takes you away. So it's like, you drop into the present moment. And there's that like, Ha, that relief. And then that takes you away. And I think that's the piece that people are like, How will I ever get that feeling? And the truth is, is that it's not going to be the same because it's there's not going to be alcohol there and your needs, the desire that your body and your mind have for alcohol will be eliminated. But that deep catharsis, of and I love that term dropping in, like you said, it's so much more satisfying. It's all of you, and you don't have to chase it. You don't have to really like it's yours to keep. Yeah, yeah. Yeah, it's just so comes right from, you know, inside of me, and, and I'm always with myself, right? Yes. But what you were saying about, like, just a minute ago about drinking and and then feeling like it's there, but then it takes you away, you know, and I think part of the work and the part that's challenging but so gratifying is you know, going going inward, but then moving through, right. So through the feeling that urge the trigger, whatever, and then like allowing it to kind of complete its cycle, and then to be able to release it and and let it go. And I feel like when I would drink again, I'd have that maybe for a little while a similar feeling of like, dropping in or ease or whatever. But then it was almost like disrupting or interrupting the natural cycle of have a feeling or an urge or a trigger. So that feels pretty odd to to just allow those feelings, things to have their their natural cycle and completion. Yes, yes. And that. And when you when you know you're saying it, it's it was, it was easier to drop in and figure that out than I thought it might be. And the reason is, is because the the conflict that you and everyone listening has with alcohol is part of your heart, have you a deep, deep part of you calling you. And when you say yes to making this change, and you decide to not stay the same, and to be brave enough to potentially fail, you get to experience this natural state that your body and your being is longing for it is longing to drop in, in this natural way. It wants it so bad. But you have to give yourself permission to do it. That's the truth. Yes. And but once you're there, and it's like, you know, I was talking to Barney about this, before we got on the call and started recording was, you know, it is a choice, it's a choice to stay the same? Absolutely. But when you give yourself permission to fail, and what a lot of people make failure mean is that I did something wrong. And in this process and this journey of awakening, when we have a moment that maybe is a setback, or it didn't work out the way you wanted it to, you're still in the journey, you're never starting over, right? failure means you're trying you're in it, you're you're showing up. And you know, because I do it all the time I react to, you know, to people that I love the most in ways that I don't want to, but I'm not starting over, I figure out how do I want to do this next time? What was the thought that I was thinking where we're at do or did I have expectations of other people instead of taking personal responsibility for myself and my own results. And like your being is at the point, like that's the signal of why you're here. And I really truly believe that. So that dropping into that natural state is just so important. And we have access to that forever, like giving yourself that gift of learning to be in that place whenever you need to be. Like, it's priceless. Yeah, it absolutely is. And I think what you were talking about failure, like, so often that can be interpreted as like, Okay, I'm gonna quit. We, you know, then it's kind of like that. It's a little bit like what alcohol does like that interruption, rather than, like, failing, quote, unquote, and then seeing that as part of the whole cycle, and the whole journey like it needs, you know, you almost just need to do that. And then what's going to happen at the, at the other side of that, you know, rather than just saying I'm going to quit, or I'm going to drink or whatever. I'm just seeing, like, what what happens next, like being curious what what happens next? And there's a really beautiful thing on the other side of that. Moving through that. Yeah, yes, there as well. And that's the thing, it's like you you decide to fail ahead of time is really what that is, by never trying and just saying that said I'm going to just throw the towel and you know, it's like you, you you fail ahead of time and you quit on yourself before you even give yourself a chance. So how would you and we can like kind of wrap start to wrap up our conversation here a little bit like, what advice would you give to someone who's considering, you know, joining the program, but hesitant to take the first step? We'll start there. I would say that it is so worth it and trust that sort of quiet voice inside of yourself. That's telling you that moving forward and jumping in is exactly what you need is exactly what you need. Yes, I love that this is exactly what you need. And how would you describe? I mean, you talked about the dropping in. But how would you describe the other side of your bill, like getting to the other side of feeling like alcohol was an important part of your life to where you are now? Like, how would you describe that other side? The other side for me, feels like emotional freedom and empowerment over my mind. Really? Yes. That's a great place. To Yes, of course, like when there's emotional stuff, that's like coming up, because it's not going to not come up. Knowing that I, I am empowered, right, and I know how to, like, work with that and move through it. You know, I don't mean emotional freedom, like, I am free of emotion. Right? These are like, challenges are not going to come up. But, um, but just to know, you know, how to be on the other side of it and, and feel free of that and not like, quite as wrapped up or quite as attached. As I would say, I've been at times in my life. I mean, that's what I think people like, that's what I call it, too. It's like emotional freedom from alcohol, emotional freedom for me to like, be free to feel too, right. And I'm gonna fight I want to ask you this question. Because this is like, the dreaded question that get keeps everyone stuck is for ever they think about this forever. Oh, my God, what could I really not drink for ever? Where are you in the spectrum of like, just that concept? And how has that shifted for you? Yeah, I mean, I think of course, that's a daunting idea, and probably for anything to be for her. Because, you know, really, in the end, everything's always changing, right? And I think that just feels more comfortable for us to know that, right. But I know that right now. I don't have any desire to drink. And I feel like I have the tools for you know, for a lifetime of feeling this same way about alcohol. So as long as I'm utilizing these tools, and coming back to these tools, I don't really see that changing I guess, it's just like working so well. Despite circumstances, right, that circumstances that have maybe in the past, like thrown me into having another drink, like circumstances are still happening, you know, and I have these these tools I just don't have any desire for it. And I think it's just best like with anything to just, you know, take your life one step at a time. Yeah, and like you said, right, you know, one of the first things you said was and right now, right like and that's what I you know, that's what I always tell people is like, Well, how do you feel right now? Right, like, you'll know and you know, and the truth is is like at this point, like you said, I don't have any desire for it. And what I know about me personally is the that dropping in like you explained, explained it as feeling so grounded that dropping out like like anything else would feel like dropping out and it feels very ungrounded and feels very anxiety producing now because I'm so used to being in trust me my mind takes me on amazing journeys of overwhelm like I'm definitely you know, human still, but that dropping in like in my body, there is no there's nothing that that feels so safe for me even in like, deep like depression or turmoil like and to take myself away from that connection now feels really unsafe. Yeah, I couldn't really I couldn't imagine doing that and again, just because it's like, this way is just so much more satisfying and yeah, like you said, safe and comforting and like all the things that that I guess I've needed and that I think maybe I thought Alcohol was it's doing Yeah. It's so good. Yeah. Tell tell our Do you have any final words for our audience today? Um, I guess I just think this is just so worth it this journey if you're feeling like you love the podcast, you love what Mary's and bow and you resonate with her words. I think this is the this is the program for you. So I would say there's no need to hesitate anymore. It's just yeah, just go for it. Yes, go for it. I know. That's, it's amazing. Bonnie, I just want to say thank you so much watching your transition and your journey and being a part of it has been so inspiring. And really, you know, the more I do this work, I see like the the clients that I have, show me what's possible, with the five shifts. And with my, you know, of course, I'm growing all the time, too. And it's just like it, you were you were an example of what was possible that I didn't even the I didn't even know with the program. And so it was so inspiring for me to make sure that I continue to show up and my best version to you know, because to share this with people to have this experience of these tools that they can meet any changing circumstance and actually solve it and deal with it and work through it and go deeper into their own bodies and their own experience and connect with in alignment with their values and what the future holds for them. And it's just so inspiring. So I'm so grateful. Oh my gosh, Mary, I'm so grateful for you too, and, and your gift that you are just embracing and bringing to the world. So thank you so much. Thank you for having me today as well. Yes, thank you. And thank you everyone for listening and have an amazing week everyone. Hi, it's Mary Wagstaff. I want to personally invite you to spend one hour with me one on one. Because you deserve to know what's holding you back is your time, alcohol has had its fair share. We're going to talk about possibilities about how to align your thoughts and actions with your dreams and what matters most to you about why alcohol is no longer suited for the life you want to live. How you can get on the fast track to freedom from alcohol and stay there without deprivation. Follow the link in the show notes or on my website Mary Wagstaff coach.com To schedule your complimentary call and get a new perspective on an old habit.