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#325: A New Way to Think About Addiction | Annie Grace


The stereotypical depiction of fighting addiction makes it seem highly unpleasant: White knuckling, sweating it out, detoxing, going cold turkey–you get the picture. This applies to classical addiction, and also to the less dangerous (but nonetheless nettlesome) unhealthy habits and compulsions that we all wrestle with. My guest today takes a very different approach. She aims to harness the pleasure centers of the brain as a way to handle addictive habits—and, controversially, she doesn’t believe you need to go cold turkey on alcohol, which is the main intoxicant she has targeted.

Her name is Annie Grace, and she is the author of a very popular book called This Naked Mind. (Shout out to my friend and colleague Steve Baker, the executive producer of Nightline, who has gotten a lot out of Annie’s work, and turned me on to her.)

This episode is the second in a two-part series we’re doing this week on addiction. If you missed it, go check out Monday’s episode with Buddhist teacher Kevin Griffin, who has worked to combine the dharma and the 12 steps. Speaking of the 12 steps, many people in the AA community are quite critical of Annie Grace, and she will address that in our conversation. We also cover: Her personal story, and why she now drinks as much alcohol as she wants to–which is none at all; the connection between her approach and Evelyn Tribole’s “intuitive eating”; and her thoughts on working with other addictions, including nicotine, gambling, shopping, pornography, and video games.

Also: We would appreciate it if you could take a few minutes to help us out by answering a new survey about your experience with this podcast. We want to hear about your experience with our show, because we care deeply, and we are always looking for ways to improve. Please go to https://www.tenpercent.com/survey. Thank you!

Full Shownotes: https://www.tenpercent.com/podcast-episode/annie-grace-325

This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
From ABC this the ten percent happier podcast Dan Harris again, stereotypical depiction of fighting addiction makes it seem deeply unpleasant widened killing sweating it out detoxified going called Turkey, you get the picture. This applies to classical addiction and also to the less dangerous, but none the less troublesome unhealthy habit sent compulsion that we all wrestle with. My guest today takes a very different approach. She aims to harness the pledge. Centres of the brain as a way to help us handle addictive habits and, controversially, she not believe you need to go cold, Turk, on alcohol, which is the main in toxic, and she has targeted her name
Annie grace, and she is the author of a very popular book. Called this naked mind shout out to my friend and colleague, Steve Baker. The executive producer of Nightline who's got my lot out of Amy's work and turn me onto her? Having mentioned Steve Beggar, who, as I said, is in charge of the Great ABC New showed Nightline. They just did on my line of big piece about our yesterday. Any grace- and I I recommend you to check it out. It's a nice compliment to this conversation will put a link to that story in the show notes. This episode is the second in a two part series we're doing this week on addiction because, during the pandemic, alcohol abuse and drug overdose deaths are way up. If you, MR, go check out Monday's episode with the Buddhist teacher Kevin Griffin, whose done to work to combine the Dharuma and the twelve steps, speaking of the twelve steps,
many people in the AA community are quite critical of Amy Grace and she will address that in our conversation, also cover in this conversation, her personal story, and why she now drinks as much as she wants do, which in her case turns out to be Nothing at all. We talk about the connection between her approach, Evelyn, trivialize intuitive eating, and we talk about her thoughts working with other addictions, including nicotine, gambling shopping pornography and video games. One other thing before we get to the episode we would really appreciate it if you could take a few minutes to help us out by answering a survey about your experience with this show we take the show really here, we require a lot about our listeners and we are always looking for ways to improve. So please go to ten percent Dotcom Ford, Slash survey,
to do us a solid. Thank you out here we go with any grace and grace thanks for coming on for shit. It here so happy to be here. So how would you describe your approach and how is it different from traditional air, twelve step work, sir, I think there's a few really cool. Differences, and one of those differences is that it is all about, down. Positive emotion, so when we want to do something when we actually change our desire for something. For instance, ever desire, something that you don't see has a benefit, and so of my work is like you empower through educate, and then you actually ginger desire and for whatever it is its alcohol or people apply. My worked, other sort of habits are addictions when you have a different desire, it becomes almost effortless now that in itself does take work to change your desire.
Course it doesn't happen instantaneously. You don't go from thinking. Drinking is the best thing in the world to be like now I never want to drink again, but that basically, the method of the approach and then I'd say, there's another interesting aspect, which is that it. Goes my mind. Everything in our society. We dont really approaches black or white, so you're, not a hundred percent successful or of you Miss one day of exercise, your failure. Yet in this conversation around, you know that, recovery. Sobriety conversation that tower approaching at its very black and white theirs, gray, which I think eliminate self compassion, and I'm such a firm believer that self compassion is the catalyst to change, so I don't know much about. I had my own struggles with substance abuse, but I never went to a or did the steps, so I'm here from a position of I'm gonna, admit it right now, like almost blotting out the sun level of ignorance,
but my understanding is unity, get up in the beginning and say I am an alcoholic can do you get a chip at a certain point and then You if you relapsed you gotta, have to give you a chip, and then you earn a new one or something like that. Your approach is more like no, you develop a dick relationship with the substance or the activity wherever the addiction is, you know alcohol shopping whatever, and there is some raw forever that you can never have a drink again or that you can never. You know it up, Bloomingdale's exactly and how the brain works, is such that when you give it, those rules or those ultimatums, it becomes rebellious suddenly says: hey. Will that thing you just I can't have guess what I want. I want that thing. You know it as you decide, you don't want french fries or aren't going to eat. Shouldn T french fries. All you can think about is french fries, and so it's actually
very counter intuitive to go and these rules about never again, not to mention you're, not gonna, knows you're successful until you're dead I mean that's a reality of it. If you SAM, never drinking again, when can you win that conversation? You really can't, and so I believe that its much more impact oh and empowering to actually be done things you can win so right, I'm gonna just have one glass of wine and see that goes, and then, if it doesn't work, that's hugely telling if it does work than that, something to celebrate but You can really start to get curious about will. Why doesn't it work, and I think that curiosity literally is probably the if there as a cornerstone to the approach. It would be curiosity getting curious about behavior. Instead of judging our behaviour allows for just this opening of hope and possibility and ha ok. But why am I doing this in the first
when we make so many judgments of herself and those judgments are mostly because society has said something or because our brains are telling us that we shutters and be doing something, but we never take the time to get really mindful and ok, we'll. Why am I doing this to begin with what happened, and why is this different? In my life I used to just be able to we'll take it or leave it, and now I feel like if I leave it, I feel bad for myself, I monopoly of despair. What gives what changed and that curiosity, I think, leads to all of the questions we need to ask to actually, as you change, the relationship with the substance? I think it might be helpful at this point to get pretty granular on how this works, and maybe of a good way in here, is to tell your story. He had left it so it's a growing about going back to be an increase, its kind of fascinating- and I know we have something in common in our background, but I was raised by a Jew, a jewish brunetta too, on the back of a mountain temples.
Five hundred feet in a tiny little log cabin. So there is no running water, no electricity. We had to snow. Bill to get there in the winter. It was solar panels and in outhouse all sorts of stuff. Like that and my parents to drink at and so I didn't really have this cautionary tale around alcohol identity to college- and I was just take it or leave it. You know somebody offered me a drink. Maybe I have one. Maybe I wouldn't, but it wasn't. A big deal moved to New York City I remember my first day and the job I worked for a bank and they all took me out for drinks afterwards and I didn't want to order so. But I'd watch lot of sex in the city says like a famine order, order cosmopolitan, which apparently wasn't actually the drink in vogue in real life, but they just humored me and ordered my cosmopolitan. I got the bill and it was twenty five dollars and act like this is ridiculous. I'm twenty six years old, I'm just add a college to drinks- is fifty bucks, I'm not we more, and so I just didn't, go out to the happy hours and actually got didn't. I had a boss. Take me aside.
They hate any. Why aren't you showing up at these happy hours- and I was like? Oh- I just don't- really drink Oh no! No, no, that's not what it's about it's, not about drinking! It's about networking! It's about showcasing! Your ideas were all too busy during the day and has a great so actually went in with literally a method. I said, oh commented: do this right, I'm not! I was very ambitious, very concerned about my career. I am going to a glass of wine and then a pint of water and I'm gonna just switch back and forth. Try never get tipsy. If I ever got two tipsy, I would go and sneak into the bathroom throw up the last glass of wine just so that I could keep drinking so that I was never ever drunk and in fact, and I stopped drinking people will you weren't the one I was worried about? We never saw you drunk because I was so intentional about it. But alcohol is something that as much as you want to be intentional, its literally addictive so fast,
for it had come home from work. My apartment in Brooklyn. I'd. Look at my ten issues. I look at the bottle of wine. I'd be like that's easier to relieve my stress after a hard day and ten years later, you boys at home, travelling all around the world. I been promoted to global had of marketing and I was drinking literally two bottles of wine pretty much every single night and if I had to have a day off, it was sad eyes bad for myself. I had the sense of self pity I was trying to make rules too during class. Breaking those rules really losing trust with myself, and I was actually coming back from London, I was in the airport in the bowels of Heathrow just had got off a train, I was very upset with myself because it would have been a very busy week. I was bringing the worst to myself back to my family. They deserve so much better. I was in tears and something enemy? Justice, I had to ask another question. I literally been asking the question: what's wrong with me: do I have a problem
and mine, alcoholic and those questions were so terrifying and so shaming that I just drink more to avoid the pain of evening answer. Those questions- and so I I myself am like. Why is this different? Why did I used to be able to take leave it you know, have a drink, not have a drink. Who cares what changed, and so I went ahead. I made a lesson every single reason I drank, and I made myself to promises. I was going to treatment compassion, no matter how much I was drinking, so I literally made a decision to keep drinking yet treat myself. Action and curiosity and then to find out why I was gonna dig it. Every single one of my reasons from relax me to help me Louis up the bedroom to it was good for my sales career all of these things, and I ask you to find out if they were true and that journey, Tell me about thirteen months and I had this huge list of. All of this data that science, you can just go and download scientific reports at this day and age was brilliant. It was so bold
over by, and I remember, walk out of my office. Wendy, look at me it's been a being like. Ok. Well, if you wanna, get drunk with me again tonight's, the night, because after this I don't drink anymore by desire had changed. I didn't want the substance anymore: and so we did. We spent a bottle of wine and, aside from from one little experiment, which I'm happy to tell you about. That was it that was six years ago, and I had all this data and eyes like, while other people need this. I just made this very day a pdf figured out how to post in some chat rooms and twenty thousand, I downloaded it in two weeks and I started getting letters from all over the world. People say hey, thus helped me to, and you should make this a buck and like okay. So, you're too, had a self publish and then eventually became traditionally published because it did so well tell me, but the title yesterday. It is this naked mind and it was superfine. And I was reading your book then during this entire journey.
The way so you are in the acknowledgement of my book, which is this is just the coolest thing to be done, life just to say it. But when I was reading ten sent happier, and I had this horrible perception of meditation that I, failing at it that it was awful because my parents did it so much. I tried to learn at a young age, yet when I was, into this whole journey and becoming really mindful of things. I was in the Guardia Airport and I saw the book just in the window of the bookstore, and I like hence like it was so realistic that title says yes and I picked it up not even know it was about meditation so's brilliant in that way too, because I wouldn't have picked it up, but these sorts of things started to happen and I was in your book and one morning I was reading the back of my cereal, and it was bare naked granola and had no preservatives no chemicals and
that's what I want like. I want my mind to be naked, like I want it to be, as if it was born. I want to set the reset button on all of these bad habits that I put into it all of these false beliefs of these things, our driving my show that are really subconscious level. I believe that alcohol relax me like, I believe the sky was blue. I was never even questioning it and I just felt I wanted reset, I wanted to go back to how it used to be, and so this naked mind was really that common, section of the house was born. Didn't need alcohol to relax, didn't even alcohol tax funded a birthday party wasn't even thinking about alcohol and just right. Living in this pure way of how my mind was meant to be and that kind of all came together in the title got it still going back to the thirteen month. Research for checked Q say more about what it was you were taken. An inventory your own mind, questioning your assent,
It is about what alcohol did for you and then testing in the real world. It sounds like, meanwhile, looking at all the studies around alcohol addiction- and it feels pretty serve neat and tight Thirteen months later you came out, and she said your husband are at this is my last night and then you were, with the exception of the experiment that will talk about. You know it's kind of good to go. I guess I need to hear a little bit more about how exact that happened. So it was neat and tidy after six years of a big fat mess, and I like to actually talk about that a little bit, because our perception, especially when somebody comes out and like I've, made this change, and this is using, we don't know the history that went into that moment of change and although change I think does happen in a moment. There is this moment where the shoe drops in Europe. Have this new awareness and things do shift before that. There was so much pain and much suffering, and so some of that suffering was me saying.
I'm not gonna drink until Friday night. Just on the weekends then not being able to keep that promise or I'm not gonna have more than two glasses of wine and then waking- but three in the morning and just panicked the count humming glasses. I had the night before and being unable to count them and wondering what did I say? What did I do? Who did I say, to what happened. Having these moments of gray in my memory and through all of that, having this very deep cognitive dissonance so this desire both to drink more because I believed it was the key relaxing, I believed it was the cute having fun and to drink last week, I looked around me and I'm like this is a problem. I am not feeling good. I feel hung over my head, wondering what's happening with me. I am holes in my memory of Eid, didn't said stuff that I don't recall, and so these can Acting sort of desires inside me existed for about six years, and it is so painful, and I think you can
overcome that inner conflict and inner conflict is so interesting me you know they were walking down the street and we see it, fighting across the street. It's going to cost the body response for us we're gonna, be, like all intents we're gonna, feel it right. If we are in our own home and fighting with someone we love working to feel it all the more but most humans. Most of the time are fighting. Themselves in their own mind, yet we don't even register that that's a problem and I think that that problem is one of the biggest most painful problems Any action is those wanting to do more and less or something at the same time- and I had this all messy history and then through the research. I had done to really make things? I ended that in inner conflict, because I said hey, you know I'm in a drink as much as I want. Whenever I want and I'm just gonna, let me
I'll drink. But I'm gonna make that commitment to myself that I'm gonna, let myself off the hook and em an alert and thy through that process are things that were so mind blowing. So, for instance, one of them was alcohol, is both a depressing and a stimulant. That's really unique for a substance. What first will talk about the fact that it stimulate its a stimulant when you drink at and your blood alcohol content rises, and that creates all of these very nice euphoric feelings your body in that's kind of like the buzz that everybody drinks for you, feel good. You feel relax. You feel kind of anew, he's on life now that lasts for about twenty minutes and I've had so many people. I timed it that so many people, time at eighteen, Twenty two minutes is about how long that lass, that's when airport because rising deadlier blood, alcohol peaks and it becomes the depress it It starts to leave your body, and when you're alcohol is purging your body or leaving. First of all, it last two to three hours, but second of all, that's very uncomfortable.
Feel uneasy. You feel tired, you feel anxious, you don't feel getting your own skin. And so all of these really negative emotions. Your body is starting to release cortisol during this period, which is distress home on you. Exchanging twenty minutes for two to three hours. No, you don't really know this because as soon as that, twenty minutes is up we're like how where's my ex drink, and so we sort of go for another drink after we finish the last one and we can keep that going for a few hours but then or sleeping off really the most depressant part of it, but overall cumulatively it adding stress into our lives, and so when you see something like that, it's really hard to reach for a glass of wine too relaxed me after I know, that's true I've just the magic there are people listening to this a community and thinking, I was too caught the twelve steps. You know helpless in the face of this substance, no matter how much education you gave me, I could not have a health,
relationship with the substance is in no way one drink leads to blackout yeah, and I think that that is really worth meant. And, according to the CDC said, the centres for disease control. Ten per cent of excessive drinkers our chemically addicted, and that is, if you think, If it's ten per cent of excessive drinkers, it's a very small percentage of the overall population, but it is probably the percentage of the population that we think of as getting over and in recovery, and yes, don't mess with that there's no amount of probably learning that is going to overcome a physics chemical addiction. But ninety percent of excessive drinkers are experiencing. What I was I mean I could stop drinking for days weeks at a time when no physical withdrawals whatsoever because I wasn't chemically dependent on the substance and yet I was emotionally very dependent because I believe If that it was so key to relax
we're having a good time, or anything that I was doing really. I mean I had this mantra. That was what's the point. If I can't have a drink and I dont trust people who don't drink, I was so entrenched in drinking culture that I really thought that not drinking was Naturally, I thought it was just horrible to exist. That and why would anybody do that? Yet I was miserable in other ways. I was waking up at three in the morning my sleep was being disrupted. I was wondering what I said or did the night before I was harming my relationships. I had a instance said so heartbreaking to me, where my four year old son I say: hey come here, come sit on my lap and he came over You got on my lap and then he looked at me and he got right off and it goes no mom gross, you smell in your teeth are purple just like oh gosh, but I wasn't chemically addicted. So,
I Didn'T- have to quote- get sober and never drink again, but what what Therefore, me there's this huge grey area that we're just not talking to, and I think another way to think about this is right now. If you are worried about your drinking, so I would talk to my doctor and I'd be like in. I am I I'm drinking too much and because my doctor, what asked me what. But you drink Anna. You know few glasses of wine a night, sometimes a bottle, and he was drinking the same amount. So it was no no I think, you're fine. As long as you're you know not suffering withdrawals and go ahead and leave and if he did give me advice was to go to and so to go to a just a walk in the door. You have to say I'm an alcoholic, as you alluded to earlier, which is this label that most people aren't jumping joy to label themselves with, and so the bear here. Entry into that conversation that I'm an alcoholic that I have to get sober is so huge that little
We in some ways was a conversation I was unwilling to have, and it kept me from exploring and one of the things that I most passionate about is yet. This is not for the ten percent chemically addictive. It might help you with some of your thinking, but it certainly not going to help you when you need a detox. Situation or impatient rehab situation. Absolutely not, however, for most of US nine percent of people who are drinking excessively we're not chemically addicted, and so who approach it. With this black and white narrative that you have to get sober forever and you have to declare yours alcohol it can take on a label. It's really counter productive to anybody. Just wanting to change Their drinking or their relationship with alcohol as ever the ninety percent you're, saying one option is to do what you did, which is an he'll trying to rub my head around exact, How worked, but it seems like you really got curious. What are my assumptions about
alcohol. How is the practice of drinking at this level actually showing up in my life? What is the science say and through thirteen months of careful king you kind of landed at what might seem like a need and tidy conclusion It was actually hard won the exactly and again we do something we don't believe provides a benefit so through that research which I wouldn't have been able to undertake if I was still in that very painful cognitive dissonance play of beating myself up using these weapons of shame and blame against myself. Judging myself from my behavior there's no way, I would have had the mental freedom or capacity to even ask these questions, and so one of the key is was to stop trying to stop drinking and
let myself off the hook, which is so radical, I certainly here about that up that regular basis, and I think that that was so vital. Because I would have had the mental capacity to get curious if I were still stuck in that shame and blame, but at the end of the day, every single reason that I said I drink for the taste I drink to relax. I drink does it make things more fun? And I show myself through this, really compelling scientific research that those things were actually true, so didn't desire it anymore and at the end of the day, human beings. We do what we feel like doing there. Some really great research out by Doktor be J Fog, about positive emotion and about how it's not time that creates habits and those things are correlative, but there are not causal. It is actually emotion.
It creates habits, and when you can create positive emotion- and I I would consider curiosity, a positive emotion, hope, obviously determination. Those it's a thing, so it's not positive, as in the raw raw- let's everybody be happy, but just that opening for This isn't doom and gloom. Those things are shown scientifically to be more productive in creating change, and so that was my process of just examining all these very logical, very conscious reasons that I was drinking and showing myself that that was true, and so then, when my desire change, it was needed tidy, even though it was very hard won, because it was really like I really don't want to do this anymore. You said before that you are right go stance if I'm not gonna tell myself, I need to give this up forever. You said you hear about this all the time, meaning what you ve got, critics who say: no, you got it wrong yeah.
Yeah. I have people letting me know that I'm gonna kill people and that By saying that they can make their own, decisions- and I firmly believe that we're all adults, if I tell you never drink again or I dont tell you to never drink again. You're gonna make your own choice, that's not on me and for me to just say it just for lip service. I don't think so. So they serving anything so I'd, rather just tell you the truth, which is that a lot of people can change our relationship with alcohol without getting sober, and that's actually a good thing, because the more people know that and no that's a possibility that more people are gonna, be cured. About the conversation before they have to quote get sober or go into recovery, which is with you is that you gatherings wouldn't call yourself sober. You don't drink anymore, I don't drink anymore, but I wouldn't call myself sober and there's if you reasons for that- I just generally
anti label, no matter what, because a label just guess somebody permission to judge you based on their set of criteria and, of course, the label alcoholic that is again clear. The same thing and also I do think, although its much less now, but I do think that. If I was going to tell my brain, oh you can never ever drink again. My brain would we're about to some degree, I dont know six years in that that's happening as much, but certainly in the early days, and so now I don't call myself sobered I drink, Much as I want. Whenever I want, I just haven't, wanted to have a drink, two years now get Europe, your work reminds me a little bit of your familiar with this person summoned his kind of an important person in my life Evelyn AAA, who Is that one of the co creators of funding intuitive eating an ass Are you familiar with this? I love intuitive eating do you see maybe could talk a little bit about why you love and whether you think there's an overlap here. Absolutely so discover
intuitive eating for me was pivotal in my life and I had pretty much stable way for most of my life until I had my third child at age. Thirty, nine- and I could not just get back in trolls. I set right, I'm done having babies so the first time in my whole life, I decided to diet, Gonna do the Kido Diet and I did the Kyoto Diet for three months and I lost twenty pounds, It was great. I was really excited until her second birth, a party where I had a piece of cake and the floodgates open I just started eating normally Gunnar what I considered normally, I was still a pretty healthy eater and I just gave all that weight plus ten more pounds within two or three months? And so my body completely rebelled from that sense of deprivation, and then I struggled for two years after that, Try to you know maintained this. I just got really discouraged. I felt like what is wrong. Why can't what happened and when I picked up her book
and read it. It was someone lightning, and it was so in sync, because when we create a sense of I can't the body you says, but why, when we create the centre, especially with food starvation the by is undernourished, and so of course it believes, I'm gonna fight for its author. Eat everything in sight, and so it's been a journey Fermi, certainly as it is for everybody to get back in touch with that intuitive sure, but I would have considered myself an intuitive eater for most of my adult life until I started dieting and I think dieting was one of the you know. I'm glad I did it in hindsight, because I really am happy to have the clarity around it that there is some sort of quick fix wait for me, because, if you Not gonna maintained something like Kido for the rest of your life. It's just not going to work and some people are super happy to maintain it, and I think that it becomes a lifestyle. That's a whole different conversation, and usually I would argue that those people happy to maintain it have created some sort of past
determined emotion around it in order to sustain that. But for me it? Wasn't that way. I was doing this space quickly in order to lose weight very superficially- and there was not- positive emotion around it, I was feeling deprived every time you somebody was having something carbohydrate filled and I was unable to, and so it rebounded in a big way. So fine, her work was just huge for me, do you see overlap with your work? Yes, because it's the, I wouldn't say the exact same approach, but her book is riddled with science. I mean I think she has shown in twenty some studies about why this works. Our brains are so suggestive, but there's so much more suggestive when we have quote proof- and if you can say These studies make their true. It is so much more helpful for specifically, are subconscious, believes to be, valuable and change, and so the book is so filled with
it's about why it works in the first place and then the core premise that actually getting to peace, actually feeling good. About what you're doing and enjoying your food. In my case, of course, you can just stop drinking alcohol if you ve done want to drink alcohol. You can't stop eating food, so it's different, but enjoying their food, and that's one of the quartet into intuitive eating is, is actually enjoying it and being mind love it I think, is very very similar, because it's no longer this sense of, dieting or I'm not to allow myself that now. I do think it's a journey because you kind of go through this rebound phase of okay. Well, now that I've allowed myself not to be under strict diet, mentality, eminently everything I mean I like Lhasa, cookie, two of which was she's, does eat the foods that are most tempting to you and cook it over my one. It's like kryptonite, so a lot of cookies, but eventually cookie, don't stopped being tempting us. While this is amazing and
I'll tell about the experiment that I alluded to earlier, because I think that this is really one of the places that It is very in line with intuitive eating so about forty five. Is sixty days. I don't remember exactly after I kind of had that swap at my office. I'm done drinking, I don't feel like I wanna drink again, Thirty two get really curious because thing had changed. I looked round me on my friends, we're still drinking. Everybody was still having much fun with alcohol and I started to think ok Overreacted. I ever thought this. This is actually fun. There must be something good here. Maybe I something else? I just started to get this really deep sense of curiosity there so many things in our experience that are completely coupled with drinking. So if you go to sporting event, its coupled with drinking and
say: what's he gonna be fine to go to a football game unless I'm having a few beers? Well, how do you know, because you haven't gone to a football game in your adult life without having a few beers, though so many things were coupled with drinkings, I knew I didn't want to just have a drink at an occasion. I was having fun at anyway and I was like that wouldn't be fair test. So what I did as I locked myself in my bedroom with my I found and two bottles of wine. I set up my Iphone on a tripod and I felt myself getting drunk over the course of like four hours and I wasn't b social. I wasn't. I think I let myself listen to music or something, but I wasn't gonna be doing things. That would be otherwise the whole point was. I was gonna record, and tell myself in the camera how it felt to get drunk was this actually fun? Was I actually enjoying this experience and I can't watch the videos for years. I do watched him now actually share them in my free challenge on the twentieth day of the challenge, but there was
nothing there. It was not actually inherently fun to get drunk, I remember the room kind. I've got a little bit. Fuzzy things got weird around the edges. I had that little few minutes of euphoria that quickly went away and then in the videos you see me starting to stop at my kids. I search get mad at the dog whose barking the background or the like, those are my eyes. I start to make jokes that I think are funny and aren't out funny. It was really difficult for me to watch and I think that that experience just to equated to the cookie dough she encourages you to actually eat it and now this and when you're not depriving yourself or something and before I was like trying to get out to hold down as quickly as possible, because there is a big part of my brain saying, you shouldn't be doing this you're. Doing this too much. This guilt, and I just get it in, so that I would assuage the guilt- and I know my brain a little bit and I'd feel better about it and all of a sudden, I'm I wouldn't understand how this feels with the cookie Udo on it. Does this really taste good
is it really worth eating ten tablespoons of cut no in a row does it really makes me feel good, and so, when you start to get curious, mindful which I guess I just believe pay so much, and ten percent happier and all your work you get really conscious to the reality I bet you dont have to convince yourself anymore, and I think that one of the things that now through my intuitive eating journey. I look round and I can eat if I want, but I dont always want it and that's ok, too, I don't feel this sense of honor. I better have it because I'm not going it later or I'm gonna make a rule for myself and it's gonna all kind of blow up. In my face at that, that doesn't exist in my mind anymore and say with alcohol. I feel like if I wanted to have a drink, I have it, but I dont want it because I'm sure so present to the reality of it funny the intuitive eating from me. The
maybe I'm not as far along. I still am very tempted by a bowl of ice cream error any? I mean the bunch of cookies or whenever I made a big. In that I don't hold off, because I think it's gonna like not look good on me. You know that I'm gonna somehow gain weight. I'm not much more relaxed space. There Stop me is often what I've heard described as before mental self, compassionate question, which is what do I need right now or, as Evelyn would say, he's the kind move from my body, and I know that if I have a bunch of this the other night I kind of lost contact with I was kind of eating without really paying attention one. My specialities around the house I make for the kids and some of the parents is vanilla, ice cream rushed up Orioles in it and
was eating ETA Macao. I wasn't paying attention I had more than that. I really actually unwanted and then I was kind of topped up for a few hours feel good and didn't feel greatly. Next day and because I was just like my dotage- have become quite sensitive to ever it s, a long way of saying for me, it's not so much that I'm not tempted it's that the self compassion kicks in when I'm always what I'm awake and said. Yeah you're, not gonna, feel good. If you have this here, I think that's very similar For me I mean there is certainly sometimes but there's this instance of I would describe it. Okay. This is kind of a difficult thing to put into words, but had walk into the pantry and or whatever the case was whatever the temptation was walk into the pantry and just before
Our thinking have ingested, you know a few handfuls of if it was potato chips and I think what the curiosity most introduced this moment of ha do I really want this, and often I decide yes blessed often than before, but it was that moment of- that little window of even having the ability to question it wasn't there before in general, and I think that this kind of what you're saying of asking that really great question of, do I really want that having that moment to question it where, before it was just a hurry up and put this in mind because I don't want to question it because then the there might be no or I might feel guilt, and I think that so much of the rebound experience is the guilt if a behavior is completely coupled with guilt. We're just gonna, try to do it as quickly as possible and then
almost not think about it, because we're so afraid of the beating ourselves up, which I think was exactly where I was with alcohol. So, much self loathing and shame and brow, beating and wire you're doing this, and I got there were food as well I think that her work is really help me there have that little moment of. If I'm gonna do this decide to do it and then I'm not gonna chase it with two hours of guilt, So what is the role of self compassion? in your work? It is the number one thing, although you use a curious, but he was so either way, many thereby tied forever. What yeah that's fair? There died for number one. I think curiosity awakens of compassion, because when we stop long enough to stay why am I doing this we realise that we are doing often the best we can with the?
once we have, we just may have been given the wrong tools and so through self compassion, if you put and those weapons of blame and shame and guilt You are in so much more of a present place to be curious, so I do think that they go hand in hand, one of them first things that you learn picking up my book is that actually your brain, doing exactly what it was meant to do and the brain is responding to stress, in a way that trying to relieve stress and substances like high from just corn syrup or gambling or alcohol create artificially high dopamine response of the brain. Dopamine is the learning molecule encourages us to do that thing again and by the way, that thing again in order to survive and that's kind of the all that it has sorts linked. All of the things that we find pleasurable. But when it's over stimulated our brain creates a false association of. I need to do that. And in order to survive, and that thing is the addiction
whatever that addiction is, and so, when you learn that you're not broken you're, not morally flawed. You really have just fallen into this trap, where your brains is due. This thing again in order to survive- and you awaken sense of self compassion saying wait. I have responsibility here, but blaming myself going to be incredibly helpful. And when you put that blame, I think, that's the doorway. That is the place where we can walk through and say. Okay now that I've, down that blame. I have. The capacity see to learn some other things that I, can learn in order to change my relationship and it can be really helpful to because I would imagine budget speak mount experience when you're trying to regulate your relationship with moderate or modify or make
healthy your relationship with any substance or behaviour that has the potential to be objective. It probably not going to be without ups and downs, and so, if you make the downs worse through jurists Unremitting self laceration, it's gonna, be a bumpy ride. He I'd like to talk about tonight. I dont know exactly how this works at the computer, but I like to give this analogy of how computers learn to play chess, which, basically, that their programme with the basic rules and they just start making moves and the vast much many of those moves are incorrect, but you don't hear the computer saying how I got your so stupid. I can't believe you moved that way and they're not beating themselves out for that incorrect move. They understand that the incorrect moves are part of the journey. So just varies.
Typically in that delicious sounding vanilla, ice, cream and Orioles, your awareness now and your level Oh, my gosh, I didn't make me feel good because hopefully it's too with minimal guilt actually fast. Illustrates the wellness journey going forward, whereas, if you just separated yourself from that or beat yourself up or made it such a painful experience. I think that in my expire is that actually makes do more of the behavior. We don't want to be doing yes, yes, so I used to be- and when I say used to it is not that long ago, six to twelve months oh I would overdo it on dessert or salty snacks or whatever, and because I can be pretty sensitive to things, it might mess up my sleep Then I feel awful the whole next day and I were triple down on the awful by beating myself and then I might self medicate the awful by doing the same thing again, the next night,
now I can look at it and take some sort of inner gentle cajoling to get there, but kind of look at it again. You have you ve learned something here: what I do. Last night there was probably a little misstep that I might now be able to teach myself not to do as I start paying attention. What I was eating, deserted and aid more than I was actually looking at my phone which, as you know, totally disconnected from the experience added ended up having too much in it had some mildly deleterious results is is how you would describe your overall of good we're talking now about into intuitive eating, but is this What I am describing, how you would talk about, or operational lies the vis naked mind approach to alcohol to shop to all the sorts of addictions at you apply your approach to Yasser. A community, and this make him a community. We actually talk about it as a data point. So it's
a relapse? It's not follow. You have the wagon, it's a data point and its celebrated to some degree of ok cool. Well now. What did you learn and the whole community, I would say, rallies around and so don't be yourself up. It's totally ok, you're here and the first thing we celebrate is that people come back. I dont have first hand it sperience with air? I went till one meeting before I publish my book just to verify you know the things that I was saying. I do discuss ay ay as it was the approach that most known to this problem, but I dont personally have experience with it. But I have people who have told me that off then when somebody disappears from meetings, then you know that they are relapsing, because it is the one drink creates alive, Shame and, like you said earlier, I believe you lose your chip and so yours, Drake s broken and it is in scientific,
terms. They actually call it the what the hell a fact which means okay. Well, I've had once I'm gonna go ahead and have a maybe the animal today Bender and I don't feel like- I can show my face again in that community when The community and the south compassion in the great for yourself and the additional does of curiosity is why it happened in the first This is exactly what you need so the first thing that Hence, as we just celebrate people showing back up and theirs, never a sense of oh you shut up or why didn't you or you should know better and because think people have read the book before they are in in this community is just a facebook group. They all speak sort of this language around this. As these data point should really be celebrated and be jumping off place, over and over it doesn't matter how many times I mean we ve heard people have said. One again posted sixty, many times and then now therefore years alcohol, free and just couldn't be happier, but it took that and that wouldn't,
be welcomed. I think another environments much more of my. Conversely, with Annie Grace read after this car max, is taking carbine competence to the next level with their new love your car guarantee. Now you can take your time to make sure you found the perfect car for you, starting with a twenty four hour test. Dr drive it to work to school and to the grocery store before you buy, and if it feels right, you ve got a full month and fifteen hundred miles to keep on driving with their new thirty day money back guarantee its the new love. Your car.
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and even live chat sessions plus its more affordable than in person therapy. But just as effective see if it's for you, this podcast sponsored by better help and ten percent happier listeners get ten percent off their first month at better help, dot com, slash happier, that's better h, P, l, p, dot com slash happier by here from deep Kashmir, whose producing this episode- and he talk you before we did this interview. Just do a pre interview dj sent me a little note beforehand to prep me for the interview in one of the things you mentioned is that you are actually increasingly interested in working on the actions that don't involve alcohol
aside I've just submitted to my agent, the first draft of this snake in mind for nicotine, I dont have a tobacco story. Myself saw partnered with a co author, who has that story to adapt the approach, and I'm really excited about it, I think that it's going to be financed. Offer. People who struggle with they being we talk a lot of raping and tobacco and would love to do other things taken minus so much based on my own story. I really do feel as if that story element is important to normalize the behaviour and help see. Yourself in somebody else's experience, so I wouldn't want to write any of these books with out water for things that I have not struggled with, but yeah from really excited the nicotine and then I do hope to move it into other approaches, are also doing efficacy studies where the early results just phenomenon. I mean it's really working for people and I knew that anecdotally because of the responses I get. But this
idea of and this hence Baxter Self Compassion, scientific. It is one of the cornerstones to lasting change. So when you approach it with self compassion. Positive emotion, curiosity these, of elements. The only you can really to fail at. It is by giving up and leaving and because it facilitates staying in the conversation until staying in the change you wanna make until an because The goal is unnecessary sobriety. I dont know about tobacco, I assume that it would be pretty difficult to just smoke a cigarette on occasion, but people do certainly drink a glass line on occasion and consider themselves very happily free. Because the goal is freedom. However, you personally defined
and so I am really excited about these other approaches beyond alcohol. How do you apply to nicotine? As you just said, you don't think somebody can just like a randomly smoke, a cigarette once in a while. So I guess you do have to tell people you gotta go call Turkey. I don't actually tell anybody they ever have to go for Turkey as much as it is a very compelling argument of all of the facts around why you think you like to see, and what is really happening. So you think you like the taste of a cigarette and then that gets very thoroughly deconstructed and encouraged to actually test it yourself, and so having your own experience with it or you think that its Relaxing it. One of the key things about nicotine, that's fascinating. Is that
we have that smoke. You have that increasing the euphoric feeling instead of twenty minutes like for a drink, that's maybe two to three minutes, in its depleting out of your body for the next hour or so so most. Your desire for another cigarette is actually just predicated on the cigarette you had before and that's why change smoke can be so quick. And so, when somebody knows all this information there's no ultimate, because again, I dont think that that's helpful for people, but you understand that you know with alcohol. The best way to control it is not to do it because every time you do it just like sugar every time you have sugar for me, five a little bit of sugar. I want a lot of sugar. If I stay away from it entirely, there desire there, but if I have a little a little too, and a little more in a little more and then eventually, I'm kind of back where I used to be, and so it is much more. There is some elements, and I realise this that complicated there is some element of here
You might want to stay away from it, but not from a place of because you shudder because there's a rule but from a place of I understand. Why understand that if I have one drink as soon as the blood, alcohol content is decreasing and substances leaving my system. My body is going to want drink? Whether my mind does not anyone stay on that- it is much easier to away from that first drink or that first smoke or whatever it is cause you're working in this is right back to the Buddha you're working through the pleasure centres of the brain you're saying instead of wagging your finger and telling somebody give up something they desperately feel in their marrow that they need your sank check it out see if really need it yeah If you really like that feeling that tasted Let's see how long the feeling really last and what does it feel like after the two to three minutes of nicotine? exhilaration wears off, etc as much more serve experience
and shawl, driven by positive emotion, rather than puritanical renunciation exactly and it is by now only understanding what that next thing might do you, also understanding the second order consequence. So if I have this wondering, I might feel good for twenty minutes, feel bad for two to three hours, but it will definitely make me boy, another drink. If I have this one smoke, it will awaken a desire for another one and then making a decision with all the information. One of the thing that's kind of mind. Boggling to me is that, although we have- disclaimers on cigarettes. We don't have any disclaimer on alcohol at all whatsoever, and I'm not, I don't believe in necessarily prohibition and I'm not into changing the laws or anything like that. But I do feel that we know more generally, about the side effects of advocate, for instance, than we do about the side effects of alcohol collectively is a society were not looking into
and so I am not against drinking. I just believe that I wish, in my experience I knew more before I just like right. My careers important summit to start drinking multiple glasses of wine every single night. If I had summoned decay, no kind of the second or third order. Consequence of that decision. I might have made a different choice. I might not have but I think my job is never to police, but rather to educate, sounds like there are some addictions where we don't have to come. Lily renounce food, for example you, A completely renounce alcohol, you're saying it's possible to have a drink once in awhile and feel free. And there are those where, like eighteen teen where we made there may not be a healthy relationship with a substance like that, and we Where does something like gamble or shopping fit well. First of all,
on the third thing, I will say in my own experience my journey with food spend been so much more complicated and fraud. Then my journey without and I dont know that I would ever feel qualify. To write a book on food because it is There is so much more nuanced because you do have to do food. You can't not so just throw that out there. It is by far I think, the most complicated relationship that we have, but in terms of gambling and shopping and even I'd, throw pornography into this for people struggling with that the really fascinating thing about those addictions. They work mostly the same way, however, there isn't a toxin that you're ingesting that is putting the brakes on. So, if you drink too much alcohol, you will puke pupil, throw up or your pass out and you actually physically can't ingest anymore
So there's breaks same with any drug, any substance at your and externally ingesting. However, even with the first person shooter videogame, you can get that dopamine hit boom boom boom boom over and over and over stained with gambling pulling the slot machine clicking through which is on the internet, whatever it is, and there's no external substance that is toxic, That's telling your body not to do this, so there's no external breaks so often the addiction can happen faster and it can a little bit harder to unwind, because that relationship a dove mean say: hey that thing you just did do that again by the way in order to survive. Happening at a much more frequent basis. If you look at first person, shooter video games, for instance back when we were in gathering A target was a huge rush of dopamine, but you'd hit a target one. Ten times and you'd have to go and gather your
arrows or your knives or whatever the case was now. You can just hit the target in hundreds of times in a minute and how quickly that happens is staggering compared to when you actually have breaks, often with alcohol. This libraries up there are some people who fall into it right away, and there are some aspects around this of self medication when we're self medicating for something it does become a much faster slide. But when you're just drinking Socially? It takes a very long time to actually develop some sort of a day and because there is some very nice trot breaks you drink too much. You're gonna feel bad, and we all know that, whereas with shopping gambling, things like that, you don't actually have that physical element. So where does that leave, you then can you give when you're talking to work, with people who are addicted to shopping
gambling video games porn Can you create this sort of healthy moderation that you can with alcohol, or is it more like nicotine words like no there's just no healthy dosage? I think most people who crane any healthy sort of moderation, even without a hall do so after a period of abstinence. It's very difficult, I think with any sense. And to go directly from being a regular. User to being an occasional user, and so does it. ES stories that I've had it with alcohol are, after six, nine twelve months of not drinking going back and dabbling one of methods that I use is what I call the non negotiable and lengthening strategy. So nonnegotiable are ok if I do this again- here's alliance that I refuse to cross and maybe one of those lines, as I refused to have my memories.
One for me, so grey areas in my memory from the night before I refuse to ever, throw up again because of drinking. I refuse to ever be drunk again that some people's non negotiable and if I do, that I met, I put myself in a time out, another period of assets for certain of time in order to kind of reset body, because there is that physical component and its we want holding yourself very gently. Should you break that? None gosh ball or that period of abstinence. You have to hold yourself very gently and realise that is just the data point and you are learning from it in the brain is super complicated when it comes to this stuff and it will convince you things are a good idea that aren't a good idea because of these you know, Mitchell patterns that we have, and I think that that is a great approach to doing it. But I would also say is very, very difficult. Go from regular use to never again use that's a very difficult transition to make so the balance there
as you have non negotiable, but you don't want to make it so punitive that the what the hell mode kicks him exactly so, but just getting there, two things like shopping in gambling. After a period of abstinence, you find that people can develop healthy relationships with those activities. Yes, and often it's because they ve made the activity mean something different so usually when somebody is escaping into something like shopping you're going to shop and whether to crochet. Isn't then you're does overdoing it. You know in the grocery store you need to buy stuff. Most people are buying things, but when you are making it mean that this is my me time, this is self care. This is escape and even if that's a subconscious, meaning that you ve given that behaviour, it creates a completely different experience with it. The key aspect of this that we haven't kind of covered yet is
That, when somebody false deep into addiction, there are things that they are medicating or numbing or escaping from and Usually, people don't fall really deep into problems. Social during as example, I usually happens when somebody is trying, escape from some aspect of their life. So unless you do that, work on the things that you're trying to escape, from which just to say, you're, books and and happy or so pivotal for me in that work of making my brain a place that I actually wanted to exist in without running away from and actually could have peace within you don't do that work. All the rest of this stuff will probably creek back in you do that work and then the shopping doesn't mean this escape, and this solace and the shopping is just shopping yeah. Of course, you can start to do it but you have to do this underlying work at some level. You mentioned ethical, he said before his Ernie any to support this naked mind approach.
So the data hasn't been peer reviewed yet, but we have a free challenge of call it. The alcohol experiment, which is just a free, thirty day, challenge where you go through the mines that chef, that's everybody, loves a challenge and seventy five percent, action in alcohol for the average user, which is that the only real status we have so far, but I've been working with a researcher and university out of Australia to do a lot more efficacy. Studies on this and its really pay I say I mean I think, one thing that will never be able to study very effectively, but that I know at a got level is that people are willing to enter this conversation and explore their relationship with alcohol, where there are not willing to enter a conversation that centred on sobriety are there things that I should have asked but didn't of the frames that I think would clarify things because,
I want to make things clear, and I realized that that is important is in this naked mind, approach. We focus on three layers of belief and some of these beliefs are conscious and some of them are subconscious. And the beliefs are the layer of substance. So what you actually believe about the substance? So I believe that alcohol is going to relax me. I if that shopping is my escape whatever. That belief is about the thing that doing an amusing substance, but we could throw gambling and shopping in there because it is still having the same mechanisms in the brain and then there's a belief about society. So dick to alcohol. Those bully sound like. I'm not going to fit in at this dinner part Without a drink, I'm not gonna be able to be even in marriages. People feel like their marriage has been based on drinking from the very first day
and so they are very concerned about how is this going to go in my intimate partnership relationship without drinking, and so these are the police about society that we need to unravel We're come go through the process and then, of course it is the deepest layer, beliefs and those are the least about self and those did for me, like I'm, not going to be able to make it through the day with my three kids without drinking, or I don't confident enough in my own body to loosen up in the bedroom. Until I have a few glass the flying, because I had these deep beliefs about myself in my worthiness and unless you take off three of those layers and kind of deconstruct them. You're still gonna find yourself not in a place of total freedom. So a lot of the work as well. In the alcohol experiment is very much about the substance once you know that the thing that you is: relaxing you isn't relaxing you, you don't wanna. Do it anymore? That's not that difficult, but if you were also drinking to escape a key aspect of your life,
and you are feeling that deep level of pain that you wanted to Numb, and you don't fix that alcohol will numb you they used to use it in surgery, so you would reach for a drink. Even though consciously and logically you're like I know this- isn't gonna fix it in the long term, but I just need this call effects of escaping this emotion in the moment and if you dont kind of handle all three levels of beliefs. I mean this taken. Mind is really about awakening this compassion and curiosity to appoint where you are willing to go into all of your beliefs around the substance around how you work. Society if you're not doing it and yourself and then I think on the other that. If that, which is, I would say, that very we said but I would say messy thirteen months of my own journey and then previous six years is. I did that work and then it was clean because all of that work has been done. But people enter at all different points in the journey and then need to assess
ok. Where am I and what do I need to work on, but once you ve, network you dont desire it because you see that its futile, if you dont, want that anyway, so just a sum that up the these are not behavioral hacks. This is deep work deportee us. Yes, those are very helpful clarification. Any thank you so much doing this really appreciate it now. Thank you for having me such an honor, so much fun, big thanks Any grace, as I mentioned in the intro Nightline. My colleagues at my line just did a big story on any as well. So we put linking the shone out. If you wanna go see her on video and learn more about what she's up to they show, is made by Samuel Johnson Dj Kashmir, Maria were tell and Jan Point with audio engineering by ultra violet audio and as always, big. Thank you
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Transcript generated on 2021-03-10.