The Podcast

Take a Break

Episode #225

A Songwriter’s Journey with Take a Break

When started doing this work, she thought that taking a break from drinking was all about losing weight. Since then, her relationship with alcohol has evolved in ways she never expected. 

Pippa’s journey with drinking sets a powerful example of what can happen when you stop listening to cookie-cutter advice and do what’s right for you.

Tune in today to hear Pippa’s story of taking a break from alcohol multiple times over the past few years and what these breaks have taught her about her songwriting. If you believe you can’t be creative without a drink in your hand, Pippa’s journey will inspire you to reconsider.

What You’ll Discover

Why people believe we need alcohol to be creative.

The problem with thinking your only options are to drink or not drink.

How group coaching helps remove the shame you feel around drinking.

Featured on the show

When you’re ready to take what you’re learning on the podcast to the next level, come check out my 30-day Take a Break Challenge.

Come hang out with me on Instagram

Transcript

You are listening to the Take A Break podcast with Rachel Hart, episode 225.

Welcome to the Take A Break podcast with Rachel Hart. If you’re an alcoholic or an addict, this is not the show for you. But if you are someone who has a highly functioning life, doing very well, but just drinking a bit too much and wants to take a break, then welcome to the show. Let’s get started.

Alright, so welcome everyone. We are doing things a little differently today on the podcast is I wanted to bring someone on who just is amazing in her own right. But I wanted her to come on so that you can really get the experience of hearing her journey and her story as she has been working to change the habit of drinking and her relationship with alcohol. Because I know all of you here, you hear from me and you hear about my story, but my story is just one.

So often I think we approach drinking too much as if it’s this cookie-cutter issue when in reality it’s not. It looks very different for different people. So my friend Pippa is here. Pippa is an amazing songwriter. In fact I think that actually we were just talking before we started recording and we’re going to share one of the songs that she actually put together around the work that she has been doing inside Take A Break and her work to change the habit. And her voice will just blow you away.

But I really am excited to have her here and just share a different perspective about what this journey can look like. So, welcome, Pippa.

                                                                                                                  

Pippa: Hi Rachel. It’s so good to be here.

Rachel: I am so happy, so happy to have you here. So there’s so many things that I want to talk to you about. But I think one thing that will be really interesting is to talk about how you first came to this work. So I know that you actually came to the tools that I teach and this idea of Taking A Break, you came to it because you wanted actually to lose weight. And you wanted, you know, it was more about food for you. So can you tell us a little bit about that?

Pippa: Yeah, absolutely. I mean I put on quite a lot of weight. I’m 34 now but from 23 to 29 I just kept kind of getting bigger. And I got to the point where I was like, you are super unhealthy now. I was in the dangerous zone. And I realized that alcohol was not helping. But I was very much like you are really unhealthy. The doctors are telling you. Your BMI is really bad. You’ve got to sort this out. Clearly, you’re going to need to stop drinking to help. And I had struggled with that. So I came at it from a very simple kind of, well, you’re unhealthy so get rid of the booze. This shouldn’t be too difficult.

I didn’t realize at that point that it would impact the other areas of my life, anxiety, depression, all my fears about stuff, my ambitions, my goals, my drive, all of the stuff you talk about. I kind of just wanted to lose weight. And then I struggled to lose weight and gradually, gradually, gradually through your work I got there. But it was four and a half years ago I think when I first found your work and it’s been a long old journey. But I have lost a lot of weight now and I’m doing things very, very differently.

I mean I used to say, “I’ll get to a point where suddenly everything will be perfect.” And now I know that it’s always going to be a bit of a journey. It’s always going to be something to work on, so yeah.

Rachel: Yeah. I think, I mean there’s so many things that I want to talk to you about there. I think one is this idea that it was just like, yeah, it should just be simple to not drink. This should be a piece of cake.

Pippa: Yeah. I definitely didn’t think at the time, you have a huge – I knew I drank a bit too much, but a lot of my friends did. It was more, well, the fact that when you drink you tend to always eat more and then you might eat more the next day. So it’s more like this is just not helping rather than let’s look at your relationship with alcohol. I didn’t do any of that. I was just like, “This is getting in the way, let’s fix it”, kind of thing.

Rachel: I don’t want to look at my relationship. Let’s just fix the problem.

Pippa: Let’s just fix it, yeah.

Rachel: Yeah. So I think that at least for me I would say my experience is that I had a lot of anxiety about well, what if it is hard for me to take a break? What does that mean about me? Does that mean that something’s wrong with me, that I have a really big problem? And so I think that that can bring up kind of like a lot of anxiety for people at first. And they’re like, “Yeah, this should just be like a piece of cake. No problem here.”

Pippa: Completely. And my gosh, I mean, and you worked this out very quickly when I did a couple of live coaching calls with you. You were like, “You really beat yourself up.” And I was like, “Yeah, but no more than anyone else. This is just standard.” And then it did take a while for me to realize, my goodness, I really do have huge expectations of you should be perfect. And you should be doing this. And you shouldn’t feel this. And this shouldn’t be a problem. And I did have to kind of pack that first before because it definitely held me back.

For the first year or so I think I just, every time I would do something wrong it would set me back a month or two because I’d just do the whole, oh well, you screwed up so you’re a failure. So you might as well be bad for another month before you address this again. It’s a really big thing for me that – it’s kind of the first thing I probably had to deal with before I then relaxed into it and actually did the work properly.

Rachel: Yeah. And I think when we’re telling ourselves this should be really easy and then we find it’s not as easy as I thought. And then what does that mean? And then it just kind of, it really kind of fuels that beating yourself up cycle because it’s like okay, well, you’ve really got to figure this out.

Pippa: Yeah. I was so afraid of discomfort. Every time something was hard, I would do the whole this shouldn’t be hard. Why have you got, you know, whether it’s playing the piano, or cooking something, or not cleaning the bath properly. I’d be like, “You really should be better at this.” All of this stuff. And you did a great episode on, what was it, accepting discomfort or living – the discomfort one. That really made me go, “So discomfort is a good thing and let’s embrace it, and let’s look at it head on.” And that was a real game changer for me.

And now when something is hard, I always go, “Hard is good. Hard takes you out of your comfort zone. You can only achieve good things in the world of hard.” It’s not even hard. It’s just a bit challenging. So that was another big kind of eye-opener, I guess.

Rachel: Yeah. I think one other thing too it’s just what your journey has looked like. So a lot of times I often get this question of, “Okay, so I’m supposed to stop drinking, right? I mean that’s what we’re doing here is ultimately we have to stop drinking?” And what I’m always telling people is, “You have to determine what’s right for you and what feels good for you.”

And again, I don’t think it should all be this kind of cookie-cutter approach then the only solution is abstinence for the rest of your life. Or the solution is if you are struggling you have to stop drinking right now and make that your decision. And so I’m just curious if you can talk a little bit about what that journey has looked like for you.

Pippa: So yeah, I mean I definitely decided I wanted to just kind of have a bit less. And then where I am now is I am still kind of working on my on/off relationship. So I’ll give it up for sort of three months. I’ve done your 30-day program a few times. And then I’ve kind of tried to bring it back in gradually. And sometimes it’s worked in the sense whereby I’ll always ask myself, “Did you like the results that you got?” And sometimes I do, I’ve had one or two, enjoyed the night, not had a negative. So I’ve been banking those and going, “Okay, so you can sometimes moderate.”

And then other times obviously it’s not gone to plan, and I’ve tried to go, “Gosh, is this really working?” And then I might give it up again for another couple of months. Right now I’m off it for a few more months. And it stressed me out a bit at the beginning because I was like, “You have to make a decision.” And my friends and family are so confused, they’re so confused. They’re like, “Are you drinking this month? Are you not drinking?” And I feel they really want me to just make a decision because it would be easier to just always make a decision.

But I’m kind of I don’t mind that it’s taking a long time. And maybe I will eventually just to decide not to drink. But I’m kind of much more chill about it because I’m just going through the process of seeing what works and what doesn’t. And sometimes it does work. Sometimes it doesn’t, but I’m kind of in control of it, if that makes sense. But it’s been basically, it’s been four years that I’ve been thinking about my relationship with alcohol and food. And I’m still not a 100% sure where I will be.

And actually I met up with a lovely friend who I met through a sort of a sober group on Facebook in real life yesterday for the first time which was another lovely thing about the community that you have. It made me think let’s find people where I am in the UK. And we had exactly the same conversation. She was like, “I don’t know yet. This might take some time. But you’re right, I think there’s a lot of pressure to decide that it has to be this and then if you don’t do it this way then you are broken”, and etc., etc. So yeah, still on the journey but loving the journey.

Rachel: Yeah. And I think that that, you know, so often I think people they think that there’s just only two buckets to be in. Either you drink or you don’t drink. And I think that there’s a lot more, I hear so much more now especially from people that are in health and wellness that they’re like, “Yeah, I just want to take time off because I know it just doesn’t feel good to drink all the time. It’s not good for my body. I want to do that kind of reset.” But so often we get stuck in that, okay, but are you drinking or are you not drinking?

I get this too a lot when people will want to know, “Okay, so do you drink, or do you not drink?” And I was just in the 30-day challenge teaching an exercise that I teach about drinking with zero distractions. And it’s like, I did that exercise, I had alcohol. But people are like, “Okay, but do you drink or do not drink?” It’s like we don’t have to have this kind of black and white approach to it. And I think that can be kind of very freeing for people when they realize that that’s possible.

Pippa: I 100% relate to that. And just to go off at a slight tangent. I’ve been dating a bit in the last year and there have been, especially that first date thing. Whether I’ve been drinking or not, I’ve always tried to do the first couple of dates sober all the time because I just think it’s so much better. But there have been some guys that really are like, “So you’re not drinking now, but you are going to drink again, right? How long is it for? Well why?” It just has been a real mix of reactions.

But some very, very personal questions really that actually I was like, “We don’t have to go into this, it’s the first date, why are you asking me about my in-depth relationship with alcohol? I’m just not drinking today, and can you not pry?” But it clearly is something that people they really want to box up in their head, she’s either a big drinker or she’s not. And I find that very frustrating because you wouldn’t do that if someone was like, “I’m not smoking today.” You wouldn’t be like, “Why?” What a bad choice.

Rachel: But I mean it’s so revealing because of course all the questions that we are posed with and like, “How long? But you’re going to start again. And why and how come?” It’s always so revealing because then it gives a window into someone else’s relationship with alcohol and their thoughts about it. But I am not dating any more, but I very much had that same experience of this is very revealing. And you know what? I just find that first dates where I wasn’t drinking, I just tended to make better decisions.

Pippa: Yeah. It’s just so much more efficient. It’s so much more efficient. I remember once drinking, meeting a guy thinking it went really well. And then meeting him three weeks later once I had again gone into one of my non-drinking phases and it was not so good. I was like, “Okay, you were a little bit drunk maybe and maybe he’s not actually as amazing as you remember.”

Rachel: No, we don’t click as much without the alcohol.

Pippa: Yeah, quite funny that isn’t it? It’s like raining on a Tuesday morning with no stimulants. And you’re not as interesting. So yeah, I definitely – it’s just, yeah, you’re not distracted by any kind of haze or any of that. But like you say, people – it was actually my brother who had the strongest reaction to the whole thing. He’s a heavy drinker and he wants me to find someone. And we’re quite close. And I said, “Yeah, I’m just giving it up for four months”, or whatever.

And he was like, “Oh gosh, but the kind of guys that you’re going to end up with are going to be so boring if you only go for, you know, and no one’s going to…” And again he went off on one and I was like, “This is about you. Let’s deal with me. Yeah, we’ll talk about that another day.” We’ll book in a session anyway.

Rachel: So one thing I wanted to touch on a little bit is the fact that you’re a songwriter, you’re incredibly creative. We are going to share one of Pippa’s songs at the end of this which is amazing. But we talked about kind of this idea that alcohol and creativity go hand-in-hand. And I just want to hear a little bit from you about what your experience has been like with that.

Pippa: Yeah. So liberating, I 100% fell into the camp of I can’t write a good song unless I’ve had a drink or two. I work full-time nearly being a songwriter. So sometimes I have to write songs at 11:00am on a Thursday. I did that today. And of course I’m able to do it. But it’s like your Rolodex of excuses. As soon as it hit kind of five and I was still working, I’d be like, “Well, you’re flagging a bit. Your best work is yet to come. Have a drink.”

And of course in my 20s when I was meeting all the kind of creatives that I work with now and just in theater in general which is where I work, there’s a very big drinking culture and kind of getting together and writing together. And it’s the same as going to a party but it’s kind of work. So it’s very dangerous in that respect because the lines are very blurred. It’s not a social thing but it is a social thing. And so yeah, I definitely would drink to try and get inspiration. And in the last few years obviously I’ve not and just proved that I really don’t need it to write a good song.

I guess, and it’s the same with me with my creativity, when I’ve done something I don’t like I’m very quick to be like, “You’re so bad. You’ve lost it. Your talent has gone.” And when I was drinking, I could quiet that down, so I felt better about myself. So there’s definitely been more kind of sharp, this really isn’t good. But now I’m just like, “Okay, so why don’t we like it? How do we make it better?” So it’s an ongoing thing. But I would say 95% of the people I work with would say that they need a drink in certain situations to do their job which is very depressing really.

Rachel: Yeah. I mean I think it’s really interesting because it’s like is alcohol actually giving me access to inspiration? Or is it just the way that we know how to kind of quiet that inner critic that’s like, “That’s no good. This is crap. This is garbage. You’re not going to figure it out.” I mean I think we often kind of don’t realize, the same way I talk about on the podcast, I talk about that inner critic not showing up, being creative, which it would of course. But showing up like when I was socializing. But it’s like that same mechanism is happening there.

Pippa: It’s the same thing. And this is obviously a really specific example. But because when I’m scatting, when I’m writing in a room with some writers, I’m at the piano. If I want to try an idea, it’s audible. I’m at the piano, I’m singing, I’m probably scatting random words that don’t make sense in front of people. And there are writers I still don’t feel comfortable enough doing that with, but you have to be vulnerable. So you have to basically be putting out into the room at least absolutely awful things.

And whereas maybe a novelist or a playwright they can kind of type away for half a day until they get to the point where they want to share that stuff with their collaborators. Whereas for me I’m always literally putting out the first things unfiltered to the people who I’m working with. And therefore yeah, you’re very worried about being vulnerable and that they’re going to think it’s awful, they’re going to think it’s bad. And so when you’re drinking, you’re much less inhibited and everyone’s just kind of throwing ideas into the room and everyone’s a lot more free.

So I think that’s why in creative fields people do go to it because you are putting yourself in a really vulnerable position when it comes to music because it has to be in the room basically. And I think that’s quite a specific example. But it’s great as well because now I’m, you know, I’m the kind of person that I will sing on the train. I have no embarrassment factor at all. Yeah, there’s upsides, upsides.

Rachel: But I think it is one of those things, so how do I learn how to be vulnerable and show my really raw ideas and show my really raw self, my unvarnished self and just say, “Okay, hi, this is me. This is who I am and is that okay and are you going to accept me? And am I going to fit in here? And are people going to like this?” It’s like how do we learn how to show up? And I love that, you know, I love how you talked about yeah, part of it is just learning that discomfort is okay. And it’s not something that I need to run from.

Pippa: Yeah. But we think that we do. We really want things to be easy. And that’s another thing I really took from your podcast is noticing in my life, I really want this to be easy. And then going, “Well, why would it be easy? You haven’t done this thing for nine years. And you expect to just do it again and find it easy. You haven’t spoken Italian since you lived in Italy 15 years ago. Funnily enough it’s not going to come to you.” So I think yeah, the discomfort thing is a real eye-opener and it’s definitely something that I try to embrace more now but I’m still working on it.

Rachel: Yeah. I mean you and me both. And I think that’s the other thing when you talk about, you were kind of, initially like, “Okay, let’s get the fix here.” And it’s become more of a journey for you. I still feel like I’m on the exact same journey. Everything that I teach about when it comes to how do I allow that urge? Alright, I might not have urges around alcohol but I sure as hell have urges around a lot of other things. And so it’s like, how do I apply these skills? And how do I keep moving towards discomfort when I want to hide? And how do I keep being vulnerable and showing up?

And also just having a lot of fun and having a lot of pleasure because ultimately that’s what I want. And that’s what I want for everyone. It’s so funny, I think that’s why I’ve often not connected with the word ‘sober’ because for me it’s like…

Pippa: It doesn’t sound fun, does it?

Rachel: It doesn’t sound fun, and I want to have a lot of fun. I want to feel like I am not embarrassed ever or that I can just dance like a crazy person. And I don’t need to have a buzz in order to do it. And I think that’s the thing ultimately. The more that I want to create more pleasure in my life the more I often have to meet my vulnerable self.

Pippa: Yeah, 100%. And I’ve been having so many great chats with friends and family over the four years and obviously everybody is different. And you said something really pertinent about, “Don’t try and convert people, or don’t try and preach.” But still the thing about people believing that you have to have it to have fun or that you can’t loosen up. And now I call that out. I’m like, “That is just not true. Whatever your relationship with alcohol you just need to know that that’s not true.”

And learning to have fun without it, it’s been one of the best things because it is so liberating. It’s so, so liberating. And it’s so simple as well. But I remember the first, you know, in the four years, holiday, I went on a ski holiday and didn’t drink, which I was petrified about doing. And it was challenging. And I was so happy at the end of it. And I remember looking back and going, “This was one of the best ski holidays. This was so much better.” And I’m sure not drinking had to do with it.

Then I went to a wedding, all these things, like you say, dating, you do all these things for the first time and you’re convinced that they’re going to be awful. And they are difficult for the first time. But they’re actually better and that really blew my mind a little bit.

Rachel: Yeah. And I think that you come away – I know so many times in my life, I have come away and I just, I feel so proud of myself. I feel so exhilarated because what’s happening is you’re proving your brain wrong. Your brain really wants you to believe you’re not going to be able to do this. It’s not going to be as fun. It’s going to be too awkward. It’s going to be too uncomfortable. And it doesn’t matter if it’s in the realm of alcohol, or the realm of food, or the realm of anything. Whenever you prove your brain wrong it’s so amazing.

And you’ll be like, “I guess I don’t need to listen to you all the time.” You might not be the gospel here.

Pippa: I just always believed my thoughts. And I mean the other one that was the huge one for me was I would drink to get through my to do list. I work from home and there’s always stuff to do. And because my life is less structured, sometimes I won’t have much going on, on a Tuesday but I’ll work through the weekend. There’s very little routine. So putting on those kind of borders for, okay, we’re stopping work now and the evening is starting very rarely happens.

So I just would keep working into the evening and get stressed out because I was probably behind or whatever. And I just felt like I had to have a drink and I would keep working through it. And of course my work wasn’t that brilliant by the time it got late into the night and I’d had a few drinks. But I absolutely believed that was the only way I was going to get through this huge list of things. And there’s no way I could have done it without because it was such a stressful list and this perpetuating cycle really kept me stuck for a very, very long time. Yeah, that was illuminating, definitely.

Rachel: Yeah. I think the number of people that I talk to that just say, “It’s not always about unwinding at the end of the day. Sometimes it’s about keeping pushing.”

Pippa: Yeah, for me that’s 100% what it is, yeah, definitely.

Rachel: Yeah, and it’s like I actually am really tired, I’m really exhausted but this to do list is taking over me. And if I open up the bottle of wine it’s going to be easier for me to push through. And again this is why it’s not cookie-cutter because someone will listen and say, “No, I use it to relax and that’s when I can put my feet up.” And someone else will say, “No, I’ve got this to do list going on and I’m go, go, go.” So you have to understand how it really works in your unique situation.

Pippa: Yeah, it’s really personal, isn’t it? Yeah.

Rachel: I want to talk about the songwriting piece for a second because one of the things that I talk about a lot is the think, feel, act cycle and writing it down, and getting words on paper, and how important it is to see your thoughts. And that doesn’t really work for you. And so I wanted to talk about that for a second and talk about how we can use this work and find ways that just resonate with us and feel good for us. So tell us a little bit about that.

Pippa: Yeah. So I’m actually visually impaired. So I can see but not as well as the average person. So it’s just that tiny little bit more challenging for me to write things down, it takes a little bit longer. I have a huge, big screen at home but when I’m out and about I have to look at my phone quite closely. And I remember even we talked a couple of years ago just telling you how much I was really struggling with doing the models. And that’s probably just because I was struggling anyway. I’m not blaming it on my bad eyesight. But it was just another kind of like, got to get the phone out, it’s quite small.

And where did I put the attachment in the email with the thing? And because yeah, my sight is hindered, and my work colleagues have said that I have a really good musical ear in terms of I can hear something, and I can play it. And I developed that at a very early age partly because I couldn’t read music very well. So they often say when one sense is dampened a bit, something else comes up a bit. And I think that definitely happened with my musical ear. So I use my ear to pick up messages and embed kind of hooks and things like that.

So for your messages and your kind of podcasts I would sometimes just in my head make a little hook. And I think there’s another one, I’ve actually got think, feel, act. And sometimes it does literally – I’ll do that one for you another time. And it sometimes literally pops into my head. And that’s why I wrote this song about depravation because that’s the one that both you and Reece have identified as why are you so afraid of depravation.

That’s the one I’m working on is my relationship with depravation because it just really stresses me out when I feel it. Because I feel I ought to be in a place after four years where I really shouldn’t be feeling this by now. So I wrote a little song about it just to welcome in depravation. But yeah, I suppose it’s saying that people are different. For me I need to hear things to kind of remember things and log things. I struggle a bit more to write things down and journal and things like that because looking at the page is that bit harder. So yeah, it’s a bit different.

Rachel: Yeah. No, I mean I will tell you. I remember very early on when I was still working with people one-on-one. I was working with a woman and she drew a picture of the urge. And that was for her like drawing what she thought the urge looked like. That was a really powerful thing, but I mean just I think goes to show you that you just find the way that it works for you, if it’s art, if it’s song, if it’s journaling, if it’s something else, if it’s movement. But just there’s so many ways into this work.

You don’t need to be limited because I think a lot of people will say, “I don’t like writing things down or I’ve never been big at journaling.” And so it’s just find the way for you to connect with, okay, so how do I want to handle an urge? Do I want to think of it? I remember she drew it almost as this kind of – I don’t know if you know what an ugly doll is. But they are these kind of funny looking stuffed animals. But she drew it a little bit like; it was like this little furry funny looking stuffed animal. It was like that’s not that big of a deal when I think of the urge that way.

So if it’s visual, if it’s through your hearing, if it’s through the written word, there’s just so many ways that you can connect with this work.

Pippa: Yeah. And I’ve listened to your – your meditations are for me the number one thing if I’m needing to allow an urge and I am in a place where I can put my earphones in quickly. Because again I can close my eyes and just listen to your voice, your lovely voice. And it’s so much more effective than me trying to find a paragraph of kind of talk that I might have written down earlier. So yeah, I think you’ve got to find your own whatever works for you basically.

Rachel: Yeah. So the last thing that I wanted to talk about, I know you’re inside Take A Break right now, so you participate in the live calls. And so you see other people that are talking about this. And I’m just curious to hear from you what is that like to watch other people get coached and just to take part? I think that’s a very big intimidation factor for a lot of people. And it’s like well, I just need to deal with this on my own. I don’t want to talk about it or share it. What has that been like for you?

Pippa: It’s so important, so, so important. I mean I definitely for the first few or two, didn’t discuss this with anybody ever. And you’ve created a community basically with those live coaching calls. And as soon as you hear other people saying something that you might have thought the same day. All of that judgment comes away and you’re like, “No, there are other people that struggle with this.” And I really resonated with when you would say on some of your shows, “It’s just me.”

And I certainly have that with weight as well, why am I having to spend so much time and effort thinking about my food planning and my exercise when everyone else around is me just naturally skinny, and healthy, and seems to do it easily? Now, I’m sure that’s not the case but my brain is, “God.” So it’s really brilliant. And often people do mention something that is exactly what you’re going through. And often it’s as you say completely the opposite. And that’s really liberating too because it’s like no, everyone has their own thing.

I don’t struggle with chocolate or sugar at all, and I had a big weight problem. For me it was bread, and pizza, and spaghetti. And other people were saying, “No, it’s all about the sugar. You’ve got to do this.” So it just goes to show that everyone is really different. And actually now I’ve just made a really great friend in the UK who’s in a pretty similar place with her drinking to me, and I’ve just introduced her to you by the way, she loves it. And I was like, “This is so important because we can talk about all of this stuff judgment free.”

And I do talk about it with my family and friends, but I don’t necessarily want to tell them everything. Whereas with your life coaching calls, there’s that slight sense of anonymity whereby you can just be completely free with it and you know that no one’s going to judge you for it because we’re all here for the same reason. That’s really important, yeah.

Rachel: Yeah. The thing that always makes me laugh is I can’t even tell you the number of times that I will coach someone and then the next person will come on and she’ll be like, “That just answered my question.” But it will be a totally different scenario. But it’s just recognizing, I think there is something that really does dissolve away the shame. I told myself for so long, “You’re the only person that’s going through this. You’re the only person that can’t figure this out. Something is wrong with you.” And so I just had built up all this shame.

And it was so powerful for me to hear other people literally saying words that I thought only I think this or only I struggle with this. And that in and of itself helped wash away shame for me in a way that I don’t know any amount of thought work really could do it the same way.

Pippa: Yeah, and so for me it was the same thing because the shame thing was such a big one for me. That really needed to go, that really, really needed to come down. And now I’m part of lots of Facebook groups and I talk about it so much more openly.

And I have new relationships with some friends who are also wanting to cut back or quit. It just opens this whole new thing whereas definitely for such a long time I was in this place of you are such a failure and you might have a problem. But we won’t think about it too much because if we think about it too much then we’re going to have to address it and oh dear, that’s just going to be such a nightmare, so we won’t address it. And that kept me stuck for such a long time, so yeah.

Rachel: Yeah, I mean that’s why I really do, it’s why I think it’s so important to take the labels away from this and also to stop treating alcohol as if it is this kind of unique situation, that nothing else can apply. I think it’s actually very powerful to see wait a minute, why is my drinking and my eating, why does it look similar in ways? And that’s what so many people discover when they do the 30-day challenge. And they’re like, “I thought this was only alcohol and now I see that it can connect to overworking, it can connect to not letting go of your to do list.”

Things that you’d be like, “That has nothing to do with alcohol.” And to me that’s so freeing because then it’s like it’s all just one habit. And the habit is just not wanting to feel how we feel and looking for a way not to feel it, whether it is pour a glass of rosé or check everything off on my to do list and then believe that I’ll feel better.

Pippa: And like you say when you are in the program and you know you’re not drinking but you still have that frustration, or anxiety, or whatever. And then you do reach for something else and it’s interesting to go, “Am I wanting food at this moment or is it I’m watching a lot of romantic comedies all of sudden, or I’m lying in a lot.” And it’s making me aware of okay, so we’re still looking for something here. We’re needing relief in some way, what are we going towards? And it’s not always the same thing, often it is of course food but it’s not always the same.

And that makes me question the different scenarios and what to do in each separate situation. And you can’t get that until it has been a good few weeks off, I think, because it takes a while to kind of acclimatize.

Rachel: Yeah. That’s a good way to put it, acclimatize. Alright, Pippa, thank you so much, we’re going to play your song at the end. It’s amazing. I will tell you, my team…

Pippa: Happy to do a Take A Break album, Rachel, whenever you want.

Rachel: We were so excited when you sent it in because Pippa sent it in after getting coached on a live call.

Pippa: I was so excited by what you said I had to write it down.

Rachel: I know, but I think you sent it in minutes after the call or something, it was so quickly. I was like how did she put together a song this quickly? But we loved it and so I’m so happy that you’re letting us share it with everyone.

Pippa: No. I hope you get something from it. Thank you so much, Rachel.

Rachel: Thanks Pippa.

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