Episode 6 - Better And Booze Free

podcast Sep 27, 2022
Do Divorce Right
Episode 6 - Better And Booze Free
27:17
 

The Do Divorce Right podcast is a new podcast dedicated to looking at the many different aspects of divorce,  interviews with women who have their own incredible divorce stories or those who can offer some great advice as you go through yours. Hosted by Becca Maxwell, a divorce coach and relational intelligence consultant, the focus here is to help you to find the strength and support to help you heal, feel lighter and in a better frame of mind to face the inevitable challenges of your divorce journey.

In this episode, hear from Emma Gilmour who studied counselling, psychotherapy, and emotionally intelligent parenting before building her successful business, Hope Rising Coaching where she helps women in midlife to reset their relationship with alcohol. Becca noticed that so many women who have thrived through their divorce have chosen to take a break from drinking. 

Hear Emma explain how it’s not necessarily about quitting drinking altogether or just dropping everything. Rather, it’s more about building a new relationship with alcohol.

You can find Emma at www.hoperisingcoaching.com

On Instagram at: @hoperisingcoaching

 

Audio Transcript

Becca 

Okay, today we're talking to Emma Gilmour which I’m very excited about.  

Emma left a senior corporate career in marketing, and then studied counselling and psychotherapy, and emotionally intelligent parenting - which I find fascinating - before finding This Naked Mind and being inspired to coach people around their relationship with alcohol, and has built a successful business, Hope Rising Coaching. 

And what I love about what you do, Emma is that there's so much around the ‘experiment’ of giving up alcohol, but it's not necessarily about “that's it, I'm done. I never want to drink booze again”. But like you say, the relationship with alcohol rather than just dropping everything. 

So, thank you so much for joining me. I've got loads of questions for you. Is there anything that I missed in that story about introducing you? Do you want to tell us anything more about yourself? Or why you felt drawn to coaching people in this relationship with alcohol?

Emma 

Yeah, absolutely. I'll just do a really quick overview of my journey with alcohol. So I stopped drinking in January 2020. And I did that using This Naked Mind, which many people will know is a book and a methodology of stopping drinking, and I suppose intended to stop for a year. And the reason that I did that was because I'd been for a couple of years, I think I'd been struggling with this concept of. 

So it was almost like I had two parts of me one part was like, I want to live my life in this way. And then other part of me was sort of really wanting to drink and party and be a big party, animal person, as well as known as another part. So it's like, I had these two parts of me that constantly conflicted. And I felt like I was in battle with myself, like, I'd have this sort of responsible part of me, and then I'd have this like, kind of wild, wild party. And then as I got a little bit older, and as I went through my experience of leaving the corporate marketing world, I think with the perimenopause coming on, as well. And I think I'd been working out like so many of us do, in our kind of formative years, just to really try and be everything to everybody. So the, you know, the corporate whiz kid, the great mom, that ladder, all of those things. And I felt like I was doing it all really badly. And my relationship with my husband was terrible. And it was just all seemed to be going wrong. And I kept thinking, I'm sure that if, if I could change this one thing,

Becca

it would all get better. But you didn't know at the time what it was.

Emma

I didn't know what it was. I kept trying all these different things that I was majorly. I was like meditating, running, doing yoga. And yet, I still kept waking up at three o'clock in the morning and beating myself up and just feeling so terrible about myself. And my anxiety started to go up. And I'd left corporate. So I was like, How come I'm still feeling crappy. And then it dawned on me, a few things happened. I had a situation after I was at a girlfriend's house where I tripped and fell into a rosebush. And the rose bush got stuck near my jugular. And I ended up going to hospital and my kid was with me, because we've just been a friendly evening around someone's house. And there was a few other things like that my eldest came into. I was putting her to bed, and it would have been after we'd had a big garden party in our house, and I was, I came in with a glass of wine. She said, Mum, please don't bring wine in when you're putting me to bed. It makes me feel really anxious. And those were the two elements. And I thought I'm gonna have this point. It was about 11.

Becca

Wow, that's really emotionally intelligent.

Emma

It was really interesting, wasn't it? Yeah, that's right. They surprise you. The kids don't like it. And it was at that point that I thought I'd been doing dry July, sober October, but I always wanted to go back to drinking. I was always like, desperately desperate for it to finish and then I did the January alcohol experiment, which is what I coach now. And within two weeks, I was like, this is this. There's something magical about this. I need to share this specific methodology, right? There's no specific methodology. It's all about self compassion and kindness and right awareness without judgement and looking at what's happening with regards to alcohol and yourself.

Becca

 And just like awareness without judgement might be a tattoo that we're all required to get something we should just be like imprinted.

Emma

awareness without judgement, awareness. And externally, yes. And that was with literally within two weeks, I was like, I want to add this to my counselling and psychotherapy, Arsenal, Arsenal so that I can really specialise in this particularly for for women, and particularly for women in midlife. So that's how I found myself doing.

Becca

That's amazing, the reason I wanted to talk to you was because in my role as a divorce coach, I see people at all different stages of divorce and separation. So, you know, I speak to people who have been separated and gone on to build their life in a very healthy way, I talked to people who are right in the moment of, you know, just packed the bags or you know, we're living apart and he's, he's moving into another house, or whatever it is. But the common thread that I observed in those that managed to look back on that period, or, or go through that period with some element of success or feeling good about themselves, were those that said, I chose not to drink. And I just thought, what is that? What is that about? And I thought, Who better to ask you? If I didn't know the answer, and I'm not actually advocating, I'm not telling any of my clients, you must give up drinking. But I found that a really interesting, common thread. So that surprised me. What do you think that what would be your hypothesis around that? Why are these women having a more, more successful divorce and separation when they give up drinking?

Emma

Yeah, what are your thoughts on that? Really great question. And I love I love to answer it, anything to do with women. And drinking is really, really interesting, because the reasons why we drink has so many are very, very rarely about the actual alcohol itself, very often about what's going on for us how we're feeling and what alcohol does to us when we are drinking. And again, I'm not advocating for abstinence of drinking, it's, you know, we're all adults, we choose to drink how we want. It's just the it's in person. I think that people understand the risks that they take when they're drinking. But one of the big things that alcohol does is it floods our bodies with adrenaline and cortisol. And that increases our anxiety. And so often, you know, when people talk about anxiety, and you're waking up in the morning, and you're like, I used to wake up at three o'clock in the morning, and you're kind of tearing yourself up over the coals for all the things you've did. And the fact that you drunk on the day when you said you weren't going to and all this stuff. It actually and I think Huberman labs just come out with a podcast talking about this, that overall alcohol reduces our resilience. Every day that

Becca

I was about to talk about, I was going to talk about resilience. We don't need to but yeah, you're absolutely right. When you mentioned that alcohol increases anxiety, and anxiety is is chipping away at our resilience. It's that's really interesting to see that Yeah.

Emma

Yeah. All right. And it very much feels like part of my journey was that in corporate as well was that I was so brittle from drinking alcohol, caffeine, the adrenaline of kind of trying to be everything to everybody, which so many women find themselves in that situation, that when the shit hit the fan, I broke because I was that brutal. And I think that's true. For many of us. It's like, if we, if we're having a really hard time, it's like putting gasoline on a fire. You know, we're exacerbating everything that's happening for us it, it just makes everything that little bit harder. And it makes us much more the one thing I would say from my clients and myself is the beauty of taking a break from examining your relationship with alcohol is the get a slight amount of distance between your thoughts and your feelings and your reaction. And I think when you're drinking, we just get so caught up in our thoughts and our feelings, don't we? It's like they're running the show and 100% and we're being welled around by them. And you no longer act but you react. Yes, exactly right. And then that just makes everything worse. Don't everybody so I can see why women choose when they're going through tough stuff. and they really need to have their, you know, they wish to be able to be grounded and be at home with themselves, that choosing to stop drinking for a period of time would be an absolute no brainer.

Becca

Yeah, yeah, it's funny. I mean, I have my own story around that. So I gave up drinking, I'm not sure how I can align it with timing with regards to the divorce. But I do remember, I was already separated, I gave up drinking a lot got in great shape was fit and healthy and wonderful. And then I met my current partner, he's amazing. We were drinking again. And then I needed to take a break, right. So I gave up drinking for in the end, it was 10 month period. And in that period, I was running ultra marathons, running like running races on the Great Wall of China and ultra mountain marathons in Vietnam. And I was just doing extremely well with work. Just at the peak, like everything was doing extremely well, right. Like, literally winning medals. Giving a nice pat on the back. My ex husband was drinking quite a lot. Now he was in a terrible position, he lost his job, he was suffering from anxiety and depression, he clearly had no control of the alcohol at all. And I remember at one point, my son who must have been nine or 10, at the time had said, I'm never drinking, I'm never never, never drinking. And I thought, Oh, this is concerning, actually. Because he's got one parent who is in a really bad place in his drinking. And he sees the other parent, you know, succeeding at life and doing all these incredible things and not drinking. And I actually, counter intuitively decided to start drinking again, in order to provide a healthy role model for my children. So, so that, you know, they would see that it's okay to have a glass of wine with a meal. Yeah, you know, it's okay that, you know, mommy will sometimes say yes to the gin and tonic, I can still run an ultra marathon, I can still make sure that our family functions and is close and and I'm not going to end up unemployed and depressed and anxious. Yes, yeah. Just because I've got a glass of wine. I felt like they needed to be role modelled something healthy. Yeah, that makes sense. It turns out I've given up again now. But who knows how long that will be for? It's not? For me, it's about that relationship is a you know, it's not about a yes or no, for me. It's not binary. I don't have to drink and things are okay. It's about not letting it control. That's right. My habits. And yes, yeah, yes. Yeah.

Yeah. Fabulous.

Becca

Do you think it's possible to have a balanced? Do you think it's possible to be drinking, but not much? Or do you think there has to be an operon?

Emma

I mean, absolutely. Some people have a very healthy relationship with alcohol, I would say it's, from my experience, it's probably, you know, a smaller percentage than one would think that can have a healthy relationship with alcohol. But I think that, from my experience, what you do, like where you say, Okay, it's starting to take over a little bit, I'm going to back it off again, because I don't want you that's the way to do it. And I always say to my clients, because most clients come to me wanting to look into moderate is generally what people want to do. And I always say you absolutely can moderate people with moderate all the time. The important thing is that you know, that it's always going to be a little bit of a battle, because chemically, alcohol is an addictive substance. And it the way it works in your body is it makes you want more. And so you have to constantly be putting those guardrails in yourself and saying, actually, you know, this is these are my non negotiables. This is how I do alcohol. And if I start to sort of, if it starts to creep up a bit, or it starts to sort of, you know, start taking over in ways that I don't want it to, then I need to take another break. Yeah, and go from there. That's exactly how I found myself getting to the end of the day thinking, oh, when can I have that glass of wine when that's okay, once or twice a week. It's not okay. That's every day and then I'm alright, now it's time to take a break. Got to stop. It's got too much control over me and I don't like giving anything that much control over me.

Becca

Good on you. Good on you. Yeah,

Becca

so I've got some other questions for you. What do you think people find hardest about giving up? A decision.

Emma

Yeah, I would say sitting with their feelings sitting with discomfort. So many women drink too much I'm kind of ignore things that are making them unhappy. And to escape from difficult, strong, big emotions to numb and to cope with overwhelm. So that's, and also there's a lot of women as well who drink because that's the only way they can give themselves permission to sit down. And they could stop what's going on in their head, you know, all the to do's everything I need to do. It's so interesting when you when you talk about women and alcohol, it's so much more complex than you'd imagine, because there's a lot of it that's to do with kind of our social. You know, the way that yeah, and our culture and, you know, having to give out to everybody all the time being completely exhausted perfectionism. So I think the hardest thing is learning how do you manage those things? And probably the hardest thing of all, is prioritising yourself, and loving yourself. And I think that's the thing that people find the hardest of everything is like having compassion for yourself. Understanding you can only do so much, and prioritising your own health and well being. We find I had

Becca

a it's so true. Last week, I was talking to a business coach, and I'd said, you know, we were talking about what what worked well, last month, what didn't work well. And I said, well, what didn't work well was I've got my to do list is so big, and I feel like I can't make any impact. You know, I just can't get through it all. And she said, What you need is to reconnect with yourself and take a break. And I needed that permission actually to step away from my computer, go for a walk on the beach, and I came back so much more reenergized. It was you know, this counterintuitive? To put yourself first it was the oxygen mask analogy, right? I needed to put my own oxygen mask on. And I teach people this all the time. With me,

Emma

no, I'm just saying we all do it.

Becca

Yeah, we do. Sometimes you need that nudge. So if there's anything you do is this is your reminder, go and take that break. Sit down quietly with a glass of sparkling water and just look at the whatever the artwork in your house or view in the distance, just take a break. So important percent 100% I found that interesting what you said, finding it hardest, one of the hardest things about giving up is sitting with those feelings and discomfort. I've heard this analogy that I really love around pushing feelings away is like pushing an inflatable beach ball and the water swimming pool or whatever under the water. And you're pushing it down keeping it you know, keeping it down until it just wants to come back up. Yeah, so you're fighting a losing battle until you sit with those feelings of discomfort. That's exactly right. Now it's gone. But we do need to do it. Okay, what's what's the best time to experiment with not drinking? If you want to give it a go, you've decided okay, I'm not the best version of myself. It has a little bit more control over me when's the best time to try it?

Emma

I think when you know that you you something really needs to change. I think when you feel it's almost like it's not a it should it's a it must. I think that's a really went on, or things are getting a bit out of control. I'm not feeling very proud of myself anymore. I'm, you know, waking up, like I say my sleeps being disturbed. It's really a very personal level. But I think if you are feeling that alcohol starting to take more than it gives, and you're feeling that you need to make a change. That's the time to listen to that. Listen to your intuition, because it usually knows.

Becca

What about if someone was to say to you, I'd love to, but now's not the right time. Now's a really difficult time to give up. I've got birthdays and Christmas or you know, too much going on in my life. And I don't have the strength of character to make it through. Would you say to someone, then

Emma

I would 100% percent say you know yourself better than anybody else does. And my recommendation then would be to just start with that mindful drinking pace where we start to become really aware of when we're drinking, how we're drinking, why we're drinking, and just really monitor that because if you're not ready yet, there's a great way to start doing the work start realising how much you're drinking, what your triggers are. Generally, what are you running away from what are you running towards? And then just different things like when in when in the day do you start thinking about it? What what does it feel like when you have that first drink? What's it feel like in your mouth? What does it feel like in your head? What does it feel like in your body? And just going through that process? Without, again, awareness? No judgement? No. Literally, I when I stopped when I stopped drinking, for the first time I did before I did the apple experiment I did about three months where I just let myself drink. And I just observed what I was doing. And I started to understand what my triggers were. And when you then do decide to take a break, it's so much easier because you've got the data to work on. Yeah, and you know, ya know, what's going on with you? Yeah,

Becca

I was gonna ask them if you wanted to give up? How do you scaffold but I think you've just given us the beginning of that scaffolding is Is there anything more to do with holding begins with mindfulness and understand learning, then? What might come next?

Emma

Definitely. For me, when I'm working with people ongoing, the scaffolding we have is we have we set our intention for the week or the month. So how do we want to feel everything's about how you want to feel rather than specific goals, because we know that that's a much more exciting thing to move towards as a human being then 50 Press ups are

Emma

much less bleak. But it's very much about how am I going to love myself, you know, so how am I going to nourish myself this week? How am I going to be mindful and increase my mindfulness? Because that really helps, particularly with cravings? But also with how do I how do I get that connection between that's a primitive part of my brain, that's the reactionary part and the sort of thinking part of my brain and it's the thinking part of your brain that's gonna say, No, it's not the right time to for you to drink right now. But the the unconscious, the sort of more primitive part of your brain is going I've had a really bad day, I need to have a drink. So mindfulness, because that's exactly right. So mindfulness is a great practice just a daily, five minutes a day, even just something as simple as just going for a walk and, you know, naming the things that you see, especially for women with very busy minds, because a lot of that's a lot of the reason women drink is to get away from all the thoughts and the To Do lists and all the concerns and the ruminations and all the things that they should have done, and they haven't done and what their mother in law said on the phone earlier. Whatever.

Becca

What is the ex husband said or done to trigger it? Yeah. Exactly. And catastrophizing, bending everything, yeah. Imagining that that comment might lead to a particular action on that side. And then you start catastrophizing, oh my God, what's he gonna do? What's gonna happen? And then I need a drink, with or down?

Emma

Absolutely, absolutely. And it's that learning, learning that learning different ways to work with your mind, so that you can not have to use alcohol, as the only way that you can make it stop, you know, so you start to develop some of the tools, whatever they might be, everyone's different. Everyone's nervous system is different. But you know, for some people, it's dancing, some people, it's walking, some people, it's breath work. It's always through the body, though. Whatever it is. It's all okay.

Becca

That's it. Yeah. You can't I do a lot of work in training your mind and training those thoughts? Yes. But I do a lot less in the body. Yes, I can see why you need to get out.

Emma

Great circuit breaker for them. Like even just getting in the shower is a great way of like, Yes, that's true. That's true. Yeah,

Becca

yeah. Nice. Amazing. Mr. X, why don't you tell us a little bit about how people can work with you. You've spoken about some of your one on one coaching. But tell me a little bit more. And I'll put everything in the show notes about how they can connect with you to find out more. I think already you've shared so much. That's super helpful in understanding why we drink starting to, you know, take the steps towards making that choice that you feel it's the right thing to do. And then if somebody wanted to come and work with you, what would that look like?

Emma

Yes. So as you said, I do my one to one coaching, and then I also run an alcohol experiment at the moment. I run them four times a year. And they are like you said, Rebecca, they're basically you come in to an experiment. And so you without any kind of, I've, I've got to stop drinking for 30 days. It's like I'm going into find out about alcohol what it does to my body, and I'm also going into find out about me, and how, what thoughts and beliefs I've got about alcohol,

Becca

if I can get Is that they might be exactly right. Exactly right.

Emma

And whether or not those things are true, or are they just something that we've incorporated from society, from the media, from our cultural upbringing and that just lasts for 30 days. And it's a really intense group programme co everyday coaching it Yeah. I love it. It's so energising for me because people, people have a really good time when we're on it as well. We have a lot of fun supporting each other and hurting each other. Yeah, yeah. And then after that, I run a membership programme. So if you've done my alcohol experiment, or any alcohol experiment, or had any connection with this naked mind, then I do a membership programme, which I open after the alcohol experiment four times a year.

Becca

 And how long does that membership is that like, people's a

Emma

12 month, but you can pay as you pay as you go and stop whenever you want to? That's totally fine.

Becca

Amazing. Emma, thank you so much. I'm gonna put your contact details in the show notes so that people can stay connected with you. I think you've shared so much value here and I really, really appreciate it.

Emma

Thank you so much for having me. Really appreciate it too.

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