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Resolving Internal Conflict and Restoring Harmony

Who’s driving your bus?

Resolving internal conflict and restoring harmony with Internal Family Systems Therapy (IFS)

  • Do you have an anxious, nervous part of yourself that seeks to control all the things in your life so you can feel safe?
  • A drill sergeant or an ‘inner mean girl’ who constantly drives you to do more? 
  • Do you feel like you don’t have time (or really don’t want to) sit still with yourself or be with your emotions?

A lot of us move through our day from being incredibly busy to immediately shutting down with wine, social media or TV, because we don’t want to sit with our busy minds, self-doubt, worry or sadness. 

If this sounds like you my guest on the podcast, Annika O’Melia, is here to help. 

Annika is a psychotherapist who specializes in Internal Family Systems Therapy (IFS) and in the treatment of anxiety, trauma, and perinatal mental health with adult women. 

Annika quit drinking over 9 years and has four kids under 10, including a set of twin four year olds. 

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • How perfectionism, overachieving, self- criticism can emerge as protective behaviors in our lives to stop us from feeling anxiety or worry 
  • Why many of us turn to a glass of wine, TV or social media at the end of the day to shut down and numb out when our overachieving ‘managers’ burn out from hustling
  • How both hustling and numbing out are protective coping behaviors we’ve turned to because we’re afraid of overwhelming ourselves with other thoughts and emotions. 
  • What is internal family systems therapy and how it can help you feel more compassion for yourself and live a more peaceful life
  • How to experience overwhelm, worry, negative self talk and other emotions without needing to be distracted or wanting to numb out
  • How to resolve internal conflicts within ourselves
  • What it means to restore harmony within yourself
  • What is EMDR and how can it help you in recovery

In this podcast episode Annika is going to introduce us to a type of therapy known as Internal Family Systems Therapy, which can help you resolve internal conflict and restore harmony. 

Annika’s work is based on the idea that we all have a self that is whole, complete and healthy. And that over the course of our lives as we experience different life situations or traumas, which could be that our parents divorced, childhood abuse, being bullied at school, issues with body image, anxiety, or mental health issues within our family or within ourselves that lead us to experience painful emotions such as anger or shame. 

Annika describes how often we try to protect ourselves from these painful emotions and experiences by using unhelpful coping mechanisms called (in IFS) ‘managers’ and ‘firefighters’.

These coping mechanisms can suppress negative emotions but also can stop us from healing. 

IFS focuses on healing the wounded parts and restoring mental balance and harmony by changing the dynamics that create discord among the sub-personalities and the Self.

About Annika O’Melia

Annika is a psychotherapist and owns her own private practice, Quad City Psychotherapy. She is a graduate of Northwestern University in Evanston and earned her Masters of Social Work from Washington University in St. Louis. Annika specializes in the treatment of anxiety, trauma, and perinatal mental health and works primarily with adult women. Annika has been sober for over 9 years and has four kids under 10, including a set of twin four year olds. 

Annika also hosts the podcast Mother Recovering, originally started to talk about the stigma of being a new mom with addiction issues, which she found even greater than the stigma of new mothers struggling with other mental health issues such as postpartum depression and anxiety. 

Connect with Annika O’Melia

To find out more information about Annika, visit www.annikaomelia.com

Head over to Instagram to follow Annika at @annikaomelia

Subscribe and listen to her podcast Mother Recovering

Connect with Casey McGuire Davidson

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Website: www.hellosomedaycoaching.com

Connect with Casey

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Want to read the full transcript of this podcast episode? Scroll down on this page.

READ THE TRANSCRIPT OF THIS PODCAST INTERVIEW

Who’s Driving The Bus? Resolving Internal Conflict + Restoring Harmony With Annika O’Melia

SUMMARY KEYWORDS

drinking, quit, feel, people, EMDR therapy, eye movement, desensitization and reprocessing, drinking, work, part, feelings, body, women, emerge, therapy, life, called, stop, manager, emotions, podcast, anxiety, move, hear, Mother Recovering Podcast, Psychotherapist, treatment, anxiety, trauma, perinatal mental health, adult women, quit drinking, mother, recovering, stigma, addiction, issues, mental health issues, postpartum depression, struggling, young children, Facebook group, Booze Free Brigade (BFB),quit drinking, alcohol-free, conversation, Therapy, Approach, Internal Family Systems Therapy, resolve, internal conflict, restore harmony, feel negative emotions, numb out, drink, sleep, control, overcompensate, manage our lives, emotions, personalities, authentic, true selves emerge, core, have a self that is whole, complete, healthy, parents getting divorced, childhood abuse, being bullied in school, issues with body image, family, cultural issues, life kind of happens, what’s accepted, social media, deal with very painful emotions, exiled parts, overwhelming, not lovable, not good enough, shameful feelings, protective parts, all parts are welcome, protectors, managers perfectionistic overachieving driven, self-critical, motivate, messaging, energized, firefighters, space, being present, kind of relaxed, safety, restore that balance, getting their needs met, characters body posture, motivations, constantly hustling, maintain your position, of being worthy, seeking belonging, part of the process, core beliefs, motivate, protect yourself from embarrassment, rejection, compensation, sadness, time, withdrawing from alcohol, physical kind of detoxing, inpatient detox, signals, distraction, self, 8 C’s of self, curious, calm, connected, sense of confidence, courage, creative, self-compassion, sitting, resting, life experience, safe, firefighter manager, driving the bus, women in early sobriety, what’s going on within myself, invite, notice, need my attention, pay attention, acknowledge, listen, iOS, 6 Fs, find, chest, stomach, squeeze throat, focus turn your attention to that sensation, flesh it out, feel, make friends, sergeant, supportive, trying to understand where it’s coming from, negative self-talk, inner critic, I wouldn’t be loved, I’d lose all my money, I wouldn’t have a home, i lose my job, to be engaged, connected to others, the self is whole, it’s healed, inner mean girl, developed it, nervous system, intense to numb, Polyvagal theory, idea that everybody has a resting state of resting and safety are being immobilized and safety, mother holding her child, milk coma, immobilized in fear, completely shut down, feelings of depression, being wiped out, vacation, away from, move on, seen heard, handle, contain, hold space for those feelings, self-healer, don’t be so sensitive, drinking a bottle of wine, self-blame, different stages in their journey, BFB, great future self-mod, awake to your life, my goal, for sure, jus the present, ingrained, work through, new perspectives, seek comfort, come out of it, red flag, resolved, bubble up, commitment, slog, recovery process, lifelong learner, opportunities, self-actualize, panic attack, COVID, kids, trying to figure our, out of the blue, I should know better, white flag, I’m giving up, layered story, training, skills, give myself permission, to let go, I need to make sure all the people are good all the time, spiritually, trying to let that go, their journey is their own in the universe, crying, so many barriers, internally, coming out, helpful, integrity threat, impactful, divorce, humiliation, betrayal, harmful to the system, it never happens again, incorporates all these things surrounding the trauma, snapshot, believing about yourself, in the moment, focus on the event, internal state, full of caffeine, recall, up front and center, consciousness, event gets put into the long-term memory, a lot to absorb, end goal is to function out of yourself more, have a lot of acceptance, minimize the negative symptoms. So maybe, I have less chest tightness, I can notice my reaction, and be an observer of it, get curious about it, the response I have in person is less damaging to myself and the people around me, progress not perfection, peace, capable, confident, hold you with compassion and non-judgment, wiring, I have a “self” that’s more evolved, tap into, daily practice, feel a little bit grounded, changing your habits and behaviors, tapping into your body and how you feel, help the self, cookie breathing, Bedtime Explorer Podcast, our children can be a window into our own healing, we can act out of intergenerational patterns of things, awesome, everybody a lot of love and luck as they go on their healing journeys

SPEAKERS: Casey McGuire Davidson + Annika O’Melia

00:02

Welcome to the Hello Someday Podcast, the podcast for busy women who are ready to drink less and live more. I’m Casey McGuire Davidson, ex-red wine girl turned life coach helping women create lives they love without alcohol. But it wasn’t that long ago that I was anxious, overwhelmed, and drinking a bottle of wine and night to unwind. I thought that wine was the glue, holding my life together, helping me cope with my kids, my stressful job and my busy life. I didn’t realize that my love affair with drinking was making me more anxious and less able to manage my responsibilities.

In this podcast, my goal is to teach you the tried and true secrets of creating and living a life you don’t want to escape from.

Each week, I’ll bring you tools, lessons and conversations to help you drink less and live more. I’ll teach you how to navigate our drinking obsessed culture without a bus, how to sit with your emotions, when you’re lonely or angry, frustrated or overwhelmed, how to self soothe without a drink, and how to turn the decision to stop drinking from your worst case scenario to the best decision of your life.

I am so glad you’re here. Now let’s get started.

Hi there. My guest today is Annika O’Melia. She’s a Psychotherapist who specializes in the treatment of anxiety, trauma, and perinatal mental health with adult women. Annika quit drinking over 9 years ago and has four kids under the age of 10, which is amazing, including a set of twin 4-year-olds.

 

She hosts the Mother Recovering Podcast, and originally started the podcast to talk about the stigma of being a new mom and having addiction issues. And I found that there was a greater stigma for mothers who were struggling with issues of addiction with a newborn, or a young child than women struggling with other mental health issues like postpartum depression and anxiety. So, in the Mother Recovering Podcast, she talked about the issues and with women struggling with addiction while still having young children. On again, I actually met through an online Facebook group, the Booze Free Brigade, which I’ve talked about before on our podcast, which is a secret private free Facebook group for women and some men who are wanting to quit drinking and go alcohol free.

 

And in this episode, I’m really excited to have this conversation, because we’re going to talk about a therapy approach Annika uses called Internal Family Systems Therapy, which helps women resolve internal conflict and restore harmony, since so many of us feel negative emotions, and then try to numb out or drink or sleep or use other methods to push those away, and then come back really strongly with trying to control and overcompensate and manage our lives and our emotions. So, Annika is going to explain it way better than I ever could. But I’m excited to bring you this conversation. So, Annika, welcome to the podcast.

 

03:21

Yeah, thank you so much for having me.

 

Great. Well, so just to start, I think I did not a great job of describing internal family systems therapy. But can you talk a little bit about it and how it works for women, especially women who either have quit drinking or have struggled with quitting drinking?

 

03:41

Yeah, so Internal Family Systems is a type of therapy. And it’s not referring to families. It’s almost this idea that within ourselves, we have a kind of a family system or what are called parts. And so, this doesn’t mean that you have multiple personalities or, you know, a disorder, we all every single human has different parts living within us or pieces of ourselves. And the goal of internal family systems is to resolve conflict between those parts, to have more unity within the system, and to let our more authentic, true selves emerge. So, at the core of internal family systems is this idea that we each have a self that is whole and complete and healthy, and kind of profoundly okay. And that over the course of our lives, different parts emerge to deal with life. So, if we have trauma, for example, and that can include things like our parents getting divorced, childhood abuse, or being bullied at school, issues with body image, anxiety, you know, mental health issues within our family or within ourselves. So, life kind of happens and also cultural issues.

 

If you think about everything, we see around what’s accepted and what’s not accepted, and for young people how broad that has gotten with social media and in the world, we have these parts that can kind of emerge over yourself to deal with very painful emotions. And so, in internal family systems, they call those really painful emotions, exiled parts. So, they’re like little parts of us that felt really overwhelming feelings. Those could be things like, I’m not lovable, I’m not good enough shameful feelings. I’m insignificant, I don’t matter, rejection, abandonment, and so these are emotional states and feelings that are very overwhelming for the system. And so, they just live in there, but they kind of get pushed to the side or push down. And what emerges are these protective parts. And so, in the internal family system, one of the ground rules for it is that all parts are welcome. And we’re trying to flesh out who these other parts are. And most of us have what are called protectors. So if you imagine that pain of feeling insignificant, or that you don’t matter, you might have a part emerge early on that says, Well prove your worth, you know, start to show the world that you have value and that you’re good and that you’re productive. And so that manager, the manager can become pretty perfectionistic, overachieving driven, is often very self-critical, and might motivate through messaging about not being good enough. But it’s energized. It’s like do do do. And it’s kind of got you on this course to, to avoid that core feeling of not mattering, or you know, it’s different for every single person. But what often happens, the manager is very driven, and it requires a whole lot of energy to maintain that. So, managers eventually kind of burnout, that might be at the end of every day, that might be in a cycle that happens every couple of weeks. But when the manager burns out, then often these other parts, and they’re called firefighters, they emerge, and they have the same goal as the manager, they don’t want to feel those painful feelings, but they’re more quick fixes, like the, you know, the building is burning down, I’m going to just quickly put out this fire. And so, if you think of that, as the feelings are coming up, you know, I’m sitting in my own skin feeling like I’m gonna burst, the firefighter engages in numbing tactics, because it’s trying to extinguish the immediate emotion. And so that is stuff like drinking, scrolling on Facebook,

 

07:49

zoning out shopping, that can have a lot to do with like food and some eating behaviors. But the firefighter and the manager are similar in their aim, that they’re trying to be protective, and just help the system from being overwhelmed with those intense, exiled feelings. And the goal of internal family systems therapy is to help the self, the part that is whole and complete, figure out who these parts are, hear them, meet their needs, restore balance, so that the manager and the firefighter aren’t just alternating, stepping in a major way. What that might feel like is feeling like you live with an on and off switch. So, wake up in the morning, and you’re on and you’re doing all the things and you’re productive, and you’re trying to go, go, go. And then at the end of the day, it’s almost like a flip switches and you feel like you’re off, and then it’s numbing out. But it becomes hard to kind of live in this space of being just present and kind of relaxed and safety and just being with yourself can feel pretty uncomfortable. And so, I Fs just really works at trying to restore that balance, making sure all the parts are getting their needs met, making space for them. They’re all welcome. So, does that, am I making sense?

 

09:09

Oh, you’re totally making sense. And when you were describing that cycle of sort of over functioning, the perfectionism, the doing, doing, doing, and then coming home and being sort of exhausted and wanting to immediately shut off. I mean, that completely describes the way I was living for 20 years when I was drinking. So, I would have these deep-seated sorts of anxieties, worries were, you know, the women in corporate world or actually in any world with imposter syndrome, sort of the idea that you’re not good enough. You’re not doing a good enough job. And then overcompensating trying to be perfect trying to produce everything and coming home and just wanting to shut off everything. So, for me, I would drink a bottle of wine. Wait up the next morning well at 3:00a.m. with anxiety and do it all again.

 

10:05

Yeah, yeah. And so if we thought about those parts, you know, if you if you came to therapy with me at the height of that, you might come into therapy saying, you know, there’s a part of me, well, you might not say it that way, but we’d frame it as there’s a part of me that when I’m at work, I feel like I’m not good enough. You know, and so we kind of flesh out that part. You know, when do you first remember that part being on board? And for moms, I always think about like a minivan. So, if you’ve got a minivan with all your parts in it, you start to flesh out these characters. So how old are they? What do they look like? What’s their body posture? What are their basic motivations, their basic fears? And so, we’d start to get to know the part of you that didn’t feel good enough. And for most people, they can kind of sense. You know, yeah, you’re in your corporate job right now. But if you float back to college, or to high school, or to an elementary school, when did that part emerge? That felt like, I’m not good enough.

 

Casey McGuire Davidson 11:10

Yeah, so like, the idea of constantly hustling to maintain your position of being worthy, or, or to be included, to be accepted to be, you know, have a seat at the table, that sort of idea.

 

11:25

Yeah, so there would be the part of you that felt not good enough or had that kind of difficult emotion. And then it sounds like you’re identifying another part that said, I need to hustle. And so that we kind of the hustler or the, you know, the motivated or seeking belonging, and these can kind of be fleshed out that’s part of the process of the therapy is to identify the hustler. And how, how old? Was that part of you that emerged? And what are its core beliefs? And how does it motivate you? And you know, what would it be wearing? And what would it look like, and you can almost arrange these characters in like a big bus. You know, if you think of a car or vehicle that’s taking you on this journey through life, you can almost start to sit these people in different seats. And that’s one kind of visual way to kind of get them outside of you so that you can take a look at them. And so, yeah, overachiever, approver a hustler. Sounds like that part showed up at some point on your journey. And there are so many parts, there can be kind of an anxious part like that, for me, I definitely have like a very nervous part of myself that really seeks to control so that I can feel safe. And so, looking at, you know, what does that little part of me look like. And I also have like a drill sergeant, that’s kind of like, you should be doing this, and this and this. And, you know, I can definitely sense this almost drill sergeant part of myself. And so, so I think it sounds kind of goofy. But it’s very effective, you know, to help people just start to take a step back and look at who’s in the driver’s seat right now. And is that the right person for what I’m facing. Because all the parts are welcome. And they’re all good, and they’re all protective. So, in some ways, they’re, you know, they’re helpful, it can be helpful to have that motivated, achieving part. But if it’s out of balance, if it’s the only one that’s getting to be driving, and everyone is like else’s, like, you know, trying to be, pretend like they’re not in the car, they don’t exist, it gets out of balance.

 

13:41

Somebody’s sad all sorts of fear based like trying to protect yourself from embarrassment, rejection, all those kinds of things are what’s typically the motivation to, you know, have the various parts driving the bus.

 

13:57

Yeah, so it’s a compensation for this, what they call an ifsm exiled part. And so the idea is that if you let shame, or deep sadness or rejection into the space, you know, that it would overwhelm the system and like the car would go off the cliff, you know, it’s, it’s that a lot of these things in our bodies are really overwhelming, and people can feel like they’re gonna jump out of their skin or they might feel panicky, they might feel deep sadness, and it’s hard for people to sit with their sadness. It’s it can it overwhelms people they think, well, if I let some of this sadness surface, like if I dip my toe in the pool of my own feelings, what if I get pulled under? You know, what if it drowns me What if I can’t come back? And so, there’s a lot of work and if you can’t really do this by yourself, you probably need some help with it. But there’s a lot of work within ifsc Okay, sadness, or whatever that feeling is, I want to be here with you. And that’s kind of the self-talking. I want to be here with you. Let’s spend some time together. But please don’t overwhelm me. So, I want to hear you, I want to see you, I want to know what you need, I want to really take care of you. But please don’t overwhelm me. And so, there’s a lot of work with, like, letting these parts emerge without feeling like they’re going to, like I said, drive the car off the cliff. And managers will sometimes interfere with that, they’ll say, we don’t have time for that, you know, we don’t have time to like, sit in our feelings or Okay, yeah, yeah, I’ll get to that someday. But the firefighter might come in and say, you know, I’ll feel that Monday. And I’m just gonna keep doing these quick fixes, to just get that feeling to go away for the rest of the night.

 

Casey McGuire Davidson 15:54

And so some of that you mentioned, could be drinking to not feel those emotions after Go going all day, or numbing out with TV, or Facebook or food or any kind of distraction?

 

16:08

Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely.

 

Casey McGuire Davidson 16:11

One thing you mentioned before we actually got on the podcast was that women, when they stopped drinking often feel like they want to jump out of their skin. And that really resonated with me, because I feel like when you stop drinking, in the beginning, you’re you feel like you’re walking around without your outer layer of skin, like everything is too loud, too sharp, you’re so sensitive. So, tell me about that. And how women can kind of manage that in the beginning so that they don’t stop and decide they can’t take it.

 

16:46

Right? Yeah, so there’s a couple things going on there. And it’s, again, different for everyone. Some people need help withdrawing from alcohol, because the physical kind of detoxing from that is so overwhelming to the system. So, you know, if someone was coming to me first, we’d make sure Do you need any assistance through detox, like an inpatient detox or working with your physician to make sure that you’re kind of stopping drinking in a safe way.

 

Casey McGuire Davidson 17:17

And then, also be, what are the signals that that would be true that you would actually need medical assistance to detox in a safe way, quantity of how much you’re drinking, and then the symptoms that kind of pop up, if you try to stop on your own, you know, so it would be things it could be things like sweating, shaking and tremors, some people will even have really odd thoughts. It could be like a shallow breathing or a rapid heart rate. And so, you know, that’s not the case for everyone. But in some cases, people do need some support with medication or IV liquids, you know, to stop drinking. And, yeah, and until you’ve kind of safely stopped drinking, it’s hard to explore some of us because you’re just, you need to be physically safe.

 

Mm hmm. And so, people who have just quit can just pay attention to that, sometimes, you know, the shame of having a, an addiction issue stops people from reaching out for help, when they really do need that help. And we’ve, you know, there have been stories about people who try to hide their quitting and end up hospitalized or even, you know, dying because they, they felt embarrassed that, that those deeply exiled parts of shame or rejection, or if people really know me, they won’t love me, can keep us from reaching out for the help that we need.

 

Yeah, but if you, you know, if you’ve quit, and you’re not feeling too many symptoms, and it’s, you know, in the early days, it’s kind of okay to recognize the protectiveness of the firefighter. So maybe you’re saying I don’t want to drink anymore. I’m gonna try not to do that. But I really still need distraction, I still need the Facebook scrolling, I still need to be able to like watch 17 hours of Netflix a day or eat chocolate or, because if you just try to, like remove all these protective parts at once, it’s not. It’s not pretty, it will overwhelm you. So, it’s okay to still not make too many changes to still function, relatively how you have been, you’re just removing one protector, which is the drinking. So, it’s okay to replace that protector with something else in the short term. And then to start to just so the self, you know, this field whole thing, beneath all these behaviors, they talk about the 8 C’s of the self. So, the self is curious. It’s calm, it’s connected. It has a sense of confidence, it has courage, it’s creative, and it has a lot of self-compassion. So, if you look up the 8 C’s in ifms, you could find that. Um, so if you’re sitting still just like resting, and you’re feeling those things, like, Oh, I, myself, that’s me, and I’m curious about my life experience, I feel relatively calm and safe. So, if you’re, if you don’t feel that, that means that a part might be at work, you know, that means that a firefighter manager or some other part has taken is driving the bus at that point. And so, women, even in early sobriety, can just try to recognize those even if it’s only for 15 minutes at a time. And I, you know, we could do a little exercise that would give someone some insight into how to notice that or how to,

 

Casey McGuire Davidson 20:55

I love that, let’s definitely do that.

 

20:59

Okay, so if you wanted to recognize a part, you would just kind of sit somewhere where you feel relatively safe, and that’s quiet, and you, you know, put your feet on the ground and just take some slow breaths. And you would just say that, you know, all parts of me are welcome. All parts of me are welcome. And I want to be curious about what’s going on within myself. And you would just kind of invite or notice, are there any parts here who need my attention? Because the stuff that we need to kind of heal is the stuff we’re always trying to not pay attention to, to not acknowledge to not listen to.

 

21:41

And so, what kind of things would you notice? Typically, would it just be sort of an anxious inability to sit still? Would it be negative thoughts or something else?

 

And it’s really different for everybody. But there’s an iOS, there are the 6 F’s, okay? So, they do a lot of this, like, you know, the 8 C’s and the success. So, you would first the first F is to find, so you would sit and try to find the part in or around your body? So, you’d say who needs my attention? And where do you notice it. So, if I just kind of tried to sit still and notice what comes up, you know, a lot of my stuff is chest related. I’m definitely like a squeezy chest person. Other people, it’s its stomach, other people get like a squeezy throat. And so, you would just try to breathe and just feel some of that in your body and say, I welcome you, you know, I welcome you to let me know what you need. So that would be the F is just to find it in your body. And then you kind of try to focus on it, you turn your attention to that sensation. And that’s where you might need help. Some people will try to say, I feel this thing in my chest. And it’s, it feels like a big cloud of black smoke. And it’s, it’s cold, and it you know, is gripping. And so, you’re just trying to flesh that out. But the idea is that you’re separate from it. So, yourself is separate from that overwhelming feeling. And if it starts to feel overwhelming, you might even say to it, you know, I want to be here for you. But if you’re if you overwhelm me, I’m going to have to take a break, I won’t leave you forever, but I’m gonna have to, you know, go watch a movie or go call a friend on the phone. But I’ll come back to you. So, you’re, you’re finding it, you’re focusing on it, and then you try to flesh it out, which again, is can you see it? You know, what does it feel like? How do you experience it? How close is it to you? Does it even feel like it is you can you get distance from it? And then you try to ask yourself how you feel toward the part. So, once you would recognize that, you’d say like, how do I feel about this thing? And your answer is going to give you some clues about how healed, how much healing needs to happen there. So, if you say, I can’t stand it, I hate this. I hate this feeling. can’t stand it. Never want to feel this again. There’s a lot of work to do. If you say, Well, I know it’s a part of me. I’m curious about it. And I have a lot of compassion for where it’s coming from what it thinks it’s doing for me, then you’re a little bit further along on that journey. And so, the next step there, after you feel it, see how you react to it, to befriend it. So, you are kind of trying to make friends with that part. Even if it’s a really challenging one, like the drill sergeant, you know, to say, you know, there’s space for you here. I know that you’re here to try to be supportive. Try trying to understand where it’s coming from. How did it get this job? how effective is the job? How you know, how old is the drill sergeant, you as are yourself as. And then you want to look at, what is that? part fear? So, the drill sergeant, for example, what does it want for you? And what would happen if it had to stop doing that job? You know, so the drill sergeant, for example, what does it want for me It wants me to be, it wants me to feel good and to be successful, whatever that means, like, probably someone else’s definition. What does society think is successful? What are my parents think is successful? You know, that’s probably what it wants for me. And what would happen if it stopped doing that job? Maybe I’d be insignificant, maybe I would lay on the ground and never get back up. You know, it’s afraid that if it stops doing that something bad is gonna happen to me.

 

Casey McGuire Davidson 25:50

If you’re listening to this episode and have been trying to take a break from drinking, but keep starting and stopping and starting again, I want to invite you to take a look at my on demand coaching course, The Sobriety Starter Kit. The Sobriety Starter Kit is an online self study, sober coaching course that will help you quit drinking and build a life you love without alcohol without white knuckling it or hating the process. The course includes the exact step-by-step coaching framework I work through with my private coaching clients, but at a much more affordable price than one-on-one coaching. And The Sobriety Starter Kit is ready, waiting and available to support you anytime you need it, when it fits into your schedule.  You don’t need to work your life around group meetings or classes at a specific day or time. This course is not a 30 day challenge, or a one day at a time approach. Instead, it’s a step-by-step formula for changing your relationship with alcohol. The course will help you turn the decision to stop drinking from your worst case scenario to the best decision of your life. You will sleep better and have more energy, you’ll look better and feel better, you’ll have more patience and less anxiety. And with my approach you won’t feel deprived or isolated in the process. So if you’re interested in learning more about all the details, please go to www.sobrietystarterkit.com. You can start at any time and I would love to see you in the course.

 

I hear that all the time when I talk with clients who have this like super negative self-talk inner critic, and I’m like what would happen if you let that go? And they’re like, I don’t know, I’d lose all my money and I wouldn’t be loved, and I wouldn’t have a home and I lose my job. And I’m like, Okay, how likely is that to actually happen? But when you talked about that, it made so much sense to me, right? The idea of, you know, the drill sergeant and what it’s trying to do

 

28:25

Yeah, right. Whereas the self is compassionate, it’s creative, it actually has more energy, to be creative, to be curious to be engaged and connected to others. And so, the idea is that as you get to know these parts, eventually you would unburden the drill sergeant. So, you would kind of deeply see it and know it, think it for what it tried to do. And then kind of let it return to whatever state it was in before it did that. You know, it’s an unburdening. It’s in the self, can do that. The self is whole, it’s healed. You know, the self can keep you employed, and relatively accepted by your friends. Without the drill sergeant being so prominent, and I’m just calling it the drill sergeant. Everyone could some women talk about their inner mean girl.

 

Casey McGuire Davidson 29:17

Mm hmm. Yeah.

 

29:19

You know, so that mean girl, what is she doing? Where’d she come from? How old were you and she got onboard? Because, again, all parts are welcome. However, that developed it. Thought that within the system, it was keeping balance. It feels like it has an important job to do. And until the parts start talking and kind of relaxing and, you know, getting to know each other better. The self cannot emerge to be like, hey, I’ve got this. You guys can, you know, chill out? Yeah, yeah. And you can see how those parts that are managing like so intensely, then get totally wiped out. out. And then these firefighter parts have to come in and are also protective. You know?

 

Casey McGuire Davidson 30:06

Does it throw up your whole nervous system when you’re going from like, intense to numb? and back again?

 

30:16

It does. Yeah, it does. I mean, our bodies really want to rest in. And we talked a little bit about this Polyvagal theory, it’s people can Google it, it’s really heady and kind of boring to read about. But it’s this idea that everybody has a resting state of resting and safety are being immobilized and safety. And you can even think about like a mother holding their child. And that baby is just like, in a milk coma, and just completely safe and cared for that our bodies really like to feel that way. Like socially connected, safe, protected, but that we so that’s green, a yellow state where our sympathetic nervous systems really engaged is like fight or flight, stress responses, you know, gearing up so it that kind of feels like why dies, like breathing faster, those shallow breaths, your you know, shoulders are in your ears, your body feels tense all over, that’s kind of an activated state. And then, if you go beyond that into red, red is almost this immobilized in fear, or kind of completely shut down, where you just, basically, you are kind of turning off, and it leads to feelings of depression and just being wiped out. And, and a lot of American women and women all around the world, but we kind of just go from, you know, yellow, to red, to yellow, to red to yellow to red.

 

31:47

Yeah, absolutely.

 

31:49

Yeah, and don’t have a lot of opportunities to just rest in safety. And if we start to rest, some of these exiled parts come up, like, for women with physical trauma, whether that sexual assault or childhood abuse, just resting feels overwhelming, because there’s safety stuff going on. You know, and so there’s an avoidance of the thing we need the most, which is just resting and safety, like, you know, just being able to sit on our couch and stare off and be like, Ah, you know. I feel like a lot of us do that, is when we’re on vacation, to some extent you’re away from your house, you’re away from your to do list, you’re away from work, and email and everything like that. And of course, when you’re drinking heavily on vacation, you never get to experience that either, right, because you’re always like, getting the super high of numbed out and then the super low of physically recovering and, and, you know, I can imagine it can be really hard for you, your body to live in that sort of chronic stress of sort of, yellow, red, yellow, red for years.

 

33:12

Yeah, and all the input we just have coming from our TV screens and our, in our social media feeds. You know, as humans were only supposed to roam around for most of our evolutionary, you know, time on this world with groups of one to 200 people. And so, there was a lot more time to return to resting. Today, we’re kind of trying to absorb threats and things that activate our nervous system, almost 24, seven things that are happening across the country across the world, you know, it’s, it’s too much, and so we should probably be doing more than ever to get ourselves into that resting state. And it’s harder, there’s less time less room for that less appreciation of that, culturally, than there ever has been before.

 

And so, you know, and to get to that resting state, sometimes you have to get through these layers of protectors, and I totally interrupted you. So, we were in the point of like, feeling and befriending and then what happens after that in, in the exercise.

 

34:19

So that is just trying to help you differentiate the, the protectors or the parts of yourself from you. So that’s kind of just an initial step. Once you get to know them, it’s really that befriending process of sitting in your body and being curious of just what do you need from me? What do you think about an argument in your family or with your partner where you have a feeling and they want to move on, you know, they want to blow past that and get into like, well, how are we going to solve this? And what you really want is to be seen and heard and acknowledged, and it’s almost like you’re doing that for yourself. So, there’s a difficult emotion in there, you know, you need to see it and hear it and acknowledge it and just spend time on that.

 

And, and I see women all the time, women who have been through really, really overwhelming things, the feeling will start to come up of that was really hard. Or they’re trying to see for themselves that a thing they went through is really hard. And all of a sudden, they’re like, but other people go through so much, so much worse than I, I’ve been through. And so, this kind of protector shows up to minimize it, because that feeling is difficult. So, it’s like, well, that that doesn’t matter. Let’s not stay in that space. And it’s so important to come back to that with support. You know, some, some people are not some people’s pain is so deep that they really need a third party to help them with this. But to just say, Okay, I hear that there’s a part of you that wants to, that wants to leave this space, and start going into compassion for others. There’s a part of you that wants to minimize, okay, but can we just have permission to stay with the part for a moment, that felt like what they experienced was really hard. And we do not give yourself the chance very often to do that.

 

Casey McGuire Davidson 36:15

I didn’t, I had something similar happen. I was doing EMDR therapy. And I was definitely in the mode of you know, but my, but I had so many good things. But my parents, you know, my parents were there. We had money, we did XYZ and, you know, so it’s not a problem. I don’t know why I’m feeling this way. I don’t know what’s wrong with me that I can’t cope. And my therapist had to be like, that is actual trauma. Imagine if that happened to your three-year-old, or your seven-year-old. And, of course, you feel this way. And it was the first time that I sort of, yeah, gave myself understanding and compassion for like, there’s nothing wrong with me that I can’t cope with life. It’s just that these feelings are coming up. You know, they’re being triggered. And of course, they are because that was real. That wasn’t something that I should be like, it was no problem move through it. There’s nothing to see here. Just get over it, which I think is what a lot of us do.

 

37:18

Yeah, the manager wants to make you impervious to your own feelings. You know, it wants to make you be able to just brush yourself off and move on, pull yourself up by your bootstraps. You know, it was together to do just get it together. Yeah, girl wash your face.

 

Casey McGuire Davidson 37:36

Yeah. Like, girl wash your face and move on calm, whatever, that you know. Yeah, really, really what that exiled part, whatever happened to you, if you go back and imagine you at that age, in some clothes, you remember how little you would have been. And that’s why being a mom can be healing, because we’ll see our kids go through things. And we’re like, oh, my god, you’re just a baby, you know, you’re just a baby. And we then can have some of that compassion for ourselves like, and if we have. So, we experienced something, we had all that emotion, we probably have parents who are similar to us. So, they might have also not been able to handle or contain or hold space for those feelings. They might have also said, You’re okay, everything’s fine. Just move on. Yeah, you know, so as a self-healer, the self is trying to come. And so other activities will do an if else is like, you could imagine that that part of you is at the end of a dock, sitting on at the end of a dock looking out at some water, and yourself would come and sit next to it. And just hear its experience, just let it unburden itself to you without, you know, without judging it without saying that’s not important or move on. Just let it on burden itself. And then the self can kind of say, like, what did that part need? What does that part need, and the self can do that, for that part. can say to that part, gosh, that must have been really difficult. And you should have felt alone with these feelings for a long time. And that if you even try to bring them up, the whole system is like, basically telling you to shut up and go away. Yeah, and, you know, you belong here. You can’t kick anybody out of the bus. So, like, you belong in this system, and we’re gonna find a way to have balance so that your needs can get met. And that actually, like settles down some of that stuff. That’s screaming to be heard and acknowledged. And,

 

Casey McGuire Davidson 39:33

yeah, I can see that because I think what a lot of us do is, you know, we tell ourselves like, don’t be so sensitive. Just get over it, just move on, you know, and try to stuff that down. And then and part of the way we stuff it down is by drinking a bottle of wine or whatever it is. And then we just turn that on ourselves, right? We turn the anger, the sadness, the freshness. on like, self-blame for drinking, and you never it just keeps coming up.

 

40:07

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. And, and people are at different stages in their journey. So sometimes on the BFB, or in a group, it’ll be like, be here be present for all of it, you know, it’s this great future self-mode of like, just feel all the things and be really awake to your life and, and you know, that’s my goal for sure. But some people aren’t, haven’t untangled some of this. So, it’s like, it’s like, if you, if someone had been in a dark room with no light, and then you just push them out into the bright sun light, it would hurt. I mean, they need some sunglasses on, or they need something else first, before they’re at this place where it’s like, just be present.

 

40:56

Yeah, like, their stuff that they need to work through that, you know, as opposed to just being like, just feel all your feelings and, and be okay, like that self-protection is so ingrained.

 

41:11

Yeah, yeah, and even body work, you know, if you tell someone to close their eyes to meditate, for people who have a lot of stuff, it can be overwhelming.

 

Mm hmm. So, it’s like, do a walking meditation with your eyes open, because gives you a little bit of distraction or protection, while you’re working toward being with the feelings. So, there’s no one size fits all. And there’s, you know, it’s definitely a process of getting to know what’s going on within you, and maybe needing some help with that, a third person to sit with you. So that if it does feel overwhelming, they can help you pause and re-center and ground yourself and then, you know, try to go back in there and get to know that part again, the next week or the next, you know, yeah, but this is this is work that can be really healing for people.

 

42:03

I mean, I loved therapy, and early sobriety, and I think I’ve done therapy throughout the years, who, when I was drinking, shocker, it to really work that well. But once I quit drinking, I think I hit four months, and had a major anxiety, panic, like sort of low moment, and, you know, found a therapist and basically was like, I am not going back to drinking, but I can’t feel this way anymore. Like I did want to jump out of my own skin. I just felt like I couldn’t, could barely get through the day. And it helped so much, to work through that and bring in new perspectives and have a safe place to, you know, come out of it and be like, I actually feel okay, now, you know, I feel like I I can stay with myself and not jump out of my own skin and have more compassion for myself. And, you know, when you’re tired rest and when you’re sad, seek comfort and when you’re lonely reach out and, and all the things whereas before you’re like, you know, when you’re angry, allow yourself to be angry and feel like there’s a reason for it. It’s a red flag that something needs to be resolved, as opposed to trying to push everything down and like, double down on doing and achieving and moving and, and, and never feel that way cause it does bubble up eventually.

 

43:29

Absolutely. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. And, and, and ever evolving. You know, when I was doing the podcast, I said, parenting is a lot like recovery, because it’s this daily commitment we make to show up, and to kind of put in the work and, you know, stay connected and keep it’s a slog sometimes. And the recovery process for me has been kind of like a like you’re a lifelong learner, or, you know, you’re constantly being presented with opportunities to understand “self” better and to try to self-actualize to be more of that healed self. And it never stops. I mean, I had a panic attack this summer during all the COVID and kids and trying to figure out and I had a loved one who was really struggling with some mental health issues, and I haven’t I hadn’t had a panic attack in 20 years. And it hit me out of the blue. And I immediately found myself being frustrated like, why am I having a panic attack? I’m a therapist. I help people who have panic attacks. I should know better, like that. This way. Yeah. And that part of me that was scared about a lot of things needed. Needed to be seen and heard and acknowledged and, and I wasn’t doing that I was just go, go, go, like, gotta figure this out with I run my own business. I have four kids. You know, I, it was just me. My family member was in trouble. And I was trying to manage that. So, my manager was so strong for about 3 months, that I don’t think I acknowledged any of my own fear, or just sense of unsafety. Or, you know, it was, so then my body was just like, we will make you have a huge panic attack in the middle of your story.

 

Casey McGuire Davidson 45:22

Yeah. So how did you work through that? Like, when your body said, okay, red flag, your white flag, like I’m giving up? I can’t do this anymore. What did you do next?

 

45:36

Well, I mean, when it happened, I was so disconnected that I just was like, Oh, I’m having a heart attack. And I’m now dying in the furniture store. So, I literally went by ambulance, to an emergency room.

 

Casey McGuire Davidson 45:49

I’m sorry.

 

45:50

Yes, it was an it’s very like layered story. It was fast. So, what did I do? So, I, I think within 24 hours of it happening, I did recognize that it was a panic attack. So, I am so lucky to have my background. I had them in college. So, I recognize that and I started to just sit with it, like, wow, I am really, I’ve really been ignoring myself and my body is here to show me that I need to, I need to address some of these fears that I’m having, and things that really helped me or body work. Because I’ll tend to try to like make sense of everything and get really intellectual. And oftentimes, it’s I need to calm down my body. And so, after that day, I had waves of panic, but I was able to, like do my breathing thing and say, like you’re having this is, wants to be a panic attack, like you’re having a lot of anxiety right now. And so, I just have a lot of training in that. And I’ve been through it before, so I just used those skills, and but it took about 6 weeks for me to stop feeling a low-level panic in general.

 

You know, I had to give myself permission to let go of some of the management of loved ones that were having a hard time that like their journey is their own. And I love them so much. But I’m not responsible for what I feel a lot of responsibility of a very responsible part that’s like, yeah, I need to, I need to make sure all the people are good all the time. And so just spiritually, trying to let that go, like their, their journey is their own in the universe. And I can show it to love them. But that’s all, you know. So, some of that stuff. And then I went to a therapist, because I’ve done EMDR before, and I was like, I think I need to do some EMDR on this. And this is a total side story. But I had something really scary happened to me in college. And when I was in this furniture store, I was by all the leather chairs. And when the thing that happened to me in college happened, I was in on a leather seat. And so, I went to this therapist, and they were like, Oh, you know, it totally clicked for me that polyvagal theory that read, I was having like a scent memory of a really scary event. Plus, link that up with all the stress I was under I just had a super duper panic attack like military veterans do or rape people who have been raped you were like a sensory thing throws your body into a complete, like physical response that you really have no control over. So that was fascinating to in the aftermath. I was like, Oh, yeah, it was by all the leather chairs smelling all the leather. So that’s a whole side story.

 

Casey McGuire Davidson 48:38

No, that’s super. I mean, I did EMDR for the first time again, when I was 4 months over. And I thought it was really helpful because I have a lot of trouble. Like, I don’t cry, I’m pretty. I do a lot of the like, I shouldn’t feel this way. I’m going to move on. Like even when I was crying, I was like, I don’t know why I’m crying. I was trying so hard. So hard to stop. When I was doing EMDR It was weird. So, I thought it was very, very helpful because I had trouble going down to that space. Like I had so many barriers internally trying to stop any of that from coming out. It was helpful.

 

49:19

Yeah, so I do EMDR as well. Yeah, I’m an EMDR provider as a Clinician, and I love EMDR because there’s so much we can figure out with our big brains, you know, there’s so much talk going on up there and trying to figure stuff out EMDR as well as ifms helps people connect to the body sensations, to the, to the stuff that our body carries. That our mind is constantly trying to say doesn’t matter or that we shouldn’t go there or so EMDR is a very helpful therapy to and as often parts work or if S is often used With EMDR. So, I realize that some people may not know what EMDR even is or what it stands for.

 

Casey McGuire Davidson  50:07

So, can you quickly give us the high level of what that is?

 

50:12

Yeah, so EMDR stands for eye movement, desensitization and reprocessing. And so, the idea is that when we have something traumatic happened to us, and there are big traumas, like watching someone die violence to your own body, you know, some physical or kind of integrity threat, and, and there are smaller traumas, but they’re also very impactful, like divorce, humiliation, betrayal. So those things, that when something like that happens, it’s so basically harmful to the system, that our brain wants to keep it all front and center, so that it never happens again. And it incorporates all these things surrounding that trauma into this little snapshot of the thing that the body never wants to happen again. So, what did you see? What did you smell? What did you hear? What were you believing about yourself? What was your internal state like, so if the bad thing happened, and you were full of caffeine, you know, that could be a recall and that, and it just stores it as this up front and center thing that’s always in your consciousness and kind of, in your day to day in a very, for many people a very bothersome way. So, what EMDR does is you actually focus on the event. And you think about what you believed about yourself in the moment, what your body was feeling like, and you stimulate both sides of the brain in about 32nd intervals, while you think through this content, and just let yourself process it. So, it’s kind of a processing helper. And what people find is that when they do EMDR, that event gets put into your long-term memory. So instead of being like up front and center all the time, it just can feel more like one thing that happened in your life with a whole bunch of other things, instead of being so present. And there’s research, like even if you’re dreaming, your eyes go back and forth. So, a lot of EMDR is done with this eye movement. And it really is like your supercomputer trying to put things away. And there’s something about that. Some people do the eye movement, some people tap on both sides of the body. And that is, I guess, kind of scientifically proven to help with processing of really difficult or overwhelming material. Yeah, does that make sense?

 

Casey McGuire Davidson 52:31

It totally makes sense to me. And we’ll put a link to some descriptions of EMDR and Internal Family Systems so that if anyone wants to read more about it, hopefully they can in the show notes of this episode, because I know it’s a lot to absorb. But what’s the end goal of doing some of this work, like how should people feel afterwards versus going, you know, the yellow read the firefighter, to the managers and back again, so that they never have to sort of stay with these negative emotions.

 

53:11

So, I would say that the end goal is to function out of yourself more, you know, where you feel compassion towards yourself, where you feel that you can be creative, you can feel connected to other humans, and to kind of have a lot of acceptance around like, this is the work of being a human being. And it’s okay. You know, I don’t expect that I’ll ever be like, free from human suffering. But my relationship with my own suffering can feel held and compassion and acceptance. And that minimizes a lot of them, you know, you want to minimize the negative symptoms. So maybe, I have less chest tightness, I can notice my reaction, and be an observer of it, get curious about it. And then the response I have in person is less damaging to myself and the people around me. It’s kind of like a progress, not perfection type of thing, where the goal is just to keep on a path of trying to progress as a self-actualized human knowing that you’ll never be in a perfect state of bliss, or that you don’t like arrive at a moment where it all clicks, and you’re just good. Like, you’re just, you know, just be good from now here on out, but it can feel better, and you can feel more held and more able to deal with the stuff that comes up. Just feeling more balanced in it. Peace and yeah, capable and confident.

 

54:44

Yeah, and recognizing that if the self is like the sun, that clouds move, it’s like the weather like a cloud can move in. So, if you’re someone with a history of depression, for example, you can do a lot of great work, but that doesn’t mean you’ll never feel depressed. Again, what it does mean is when the depression moves in your orientation toward it can be like, okay, like, Hello, old friend, you’re here, this is how I know you’re here, I’m going to try to hold you with some compassion and non-judgment, you know, and, and you’ll move out, we can have a lot of resistance to our own issues, like, we never want to feel anxious, or we never want to feel sad again. But that, I would say, is a part of you that is seeking, not you, but like, is a part of the person that is seeking perfection. Like, we’re not going to feel these bad things. Again, if we just do this, and this and this, and this, you know? So, it’s how do you feel about the part of you that has some depression? Or how do you feel about like, I have a very anxious part of me, I don’t think that’s ever really going away. So how I deal with that now, as I kind of tried to think it like, thinks, you know, I see that you’re trying to alert me to some stuff going on, and I get where you’re coming from. And I know the value of that. And you’re basically like, as a human, like just a cave person. And so, this is all wiring involved and safety. And thank you, I see you, but I have a “self” that’s more evolved. And I’m going to try to have that person drive the bus today that my, you know, if I let my anxiety drive the bus, it’s making decisions out of fear, it’s reacting in a way that’s really heavy on the control. And I, I just, I know it’s there, but I don’t want it driving my bus. And so, I feel like therapy can help you have more. feel like you have more agency like, Okay, I’m just going to move you to the passenger seat or to the back of the bus for a little while. You’re welcome here, you’re not going anywhere. I hear you. I see you, but you don’t get to drive.

 

Casey McGuire Davidson 56:55

So, I’m curious when you talked about that exercise of being with your body in the seven F’s? How often does someone do that? Like, what? How would they tap into that? Or is that like a daily practice? Or weekly? I’m just curious how that sort of gets implemented.

 

57:16

So, if you’re in if you’re in weekly therapy, you’re probably doing it with your therapist, and then you’re trying to do some exercises in between, and then bringing back the information. But I would say everybody, I mean, people in early sobriety could do that for five minutes a day, around that really challenging time of the day. You know, they could just sit down and say, like, take some deep breaths, kind of feel a little bit grounded and just say, I want to get to know my, I want to get to know this better. What do I feel in my body? And you’re, you’re trying to separate a little bit. So, feelings in your body are just feelings in your body. They’re not you. And so you’re just what do I feel, and you could write it down, I feel squeezing in my throat, I feel like my arms are on fire, you know, and you just try to breathe through it, you’re just noticing it, you’re curious about it. And you might just ask, like, what needs my attention here. You know, and you might get something. But you don’t want to overwhelm yourself. So, you don’t need to figure this all out in a day. If it starts to feel overwhelming. You just take a breath and say, thank you. That’s all the time I can spend the day. See you tomorrow, you know, I’m going to go watch some, some Bridgerton or something. Yeah. So, I’d say even five minutes a day. Yeah, that’s great.

 

Casey McGuire Davidson 58:37

Well, and I think that the inclination is, especially when you’re in the drinking cycle, you’re trying to get out of it, you start feeling that way. And you’re like, I mean, I used to say I’d come home and basically knock my self unconscious with a bottle of wine over my head, like, as quickly as possible, shut everything down until 3:00a.m., until 7:00a.m., or whatever it is. And so, it’s hard to feel that flood of emotions, that craving want to numb out and to stay with it. So, I think that’s really helpful, in addition to changing your habits and your behaviors and some sort of distraction to get through it, but also to be like, yeah, tapping into your body and how you feel.

 

59:26

Yeah, there’s a little, if I could draw it, it would be like a like a graph that is your norm. And then there’d be like a roller coaster going up and down over that graph. And you’d have like hyper arousal and hypo arousal, and we have kind of a window of tolerance, and how much can we tolerate before we need to allow a protector to come in and help us you know, help the Self. Help the system calm down, and it’s important to know what that level is. So ,you know, if you’re afraid of spiders, you’re not going to jump into a pit of spiders on your first day, you might look at pictures of spiders, you might watch a movie about spiders, but you’re not going to like jump into a spider pit. And that’s what our feelings can feel like. And so, it’s being able to expose yourself to those feelings in manageable chunks over time, often with help. And then being able to bring yourself back to safety. And things that like things that convince your body, you’re safe, no matter what your brain things, I mean, the best one is just breathing. Best way to do that cheapest best. And there’s a breathing called cookie breathing, where you pretend like you’re smelling a warm cookie, and then you’re blowing on it. And that really relaxes your nervous system. So, you read the cookie and for 4 and then you want to blow out longer, so like for 6 or 8, and you just blow on it. And you just do that again for like a minute. And that actually tells you, so if your body’s in yellow or red, the breathing like that is going to tell your body you’re actually in green. And so, it’s going to send no matter how your body’s feeling or what your brain is saying. If you can get ahold of your breathing and slow it down, it’s going to send a message back that like, Oh, wait, but my body’s telling me I’m safe right now. But my body’s telling me that I’m okay. And so, you know, some breathing, if you’re feeling hyper aroused. Or like you can’t stand the way that you feel breathing is great. Listening to other people’s voices or going into some sort of a group. You know, a doesn’t work for everybody. But one of the probably most profound parts of AI is that at the end, everybody holds hands and they say the same thing. There’s a lot of evidence that that’s really settling for our nervous systems, like humming, singing, eye contact with a safe person, all that stuff helps you get back to green. And so if you’re trying to do some of this work, and you’re like, I’m too activated, you know, you can do some things like that, to try to get your body back into a state of like, as safe as it can be.

 

1:02:05

Yeah, I love that thing about the breathing. I hadn’t heard the cookie, but I do it with my daughter sometimes. But it really helps me we always are like, smell the roses like breathing in, blow up the candles, smell the roses, blow up the candles. So, it’s sort of similar, but it definitely is when she, sort of hyperventilating or really angry or you know, all the emotions. Yeah, do that with her.

 

1:02:31

Yeah, one of my favorite podcasts is called Bedtime Explorer. Have you ever heard that before?

 

Casey McGuire Davidson 1:02:36

I haven’t.

 

1:02:38

So, it’s for kids. And it’s all about like, all the strategies you can use to make your body feel safe and what your emotions are. And so, I listened to that with my kids. But like, I love it, like I use all the tricks. And I’m like, Oh, that’s awesome.

 

1:02:53

I’m gonna link to it too, in this episode, because I want to check it out as well. And I know, a lot of women who listen, have kids, and I feel like trying to help my daughter, Laila, who’s six and a half, manage her emotions, which are so big and overwhelming really helped me too, because sometimes when I’m feeling this way, and my therapist even said this to me, I was like, feeling totally overwhelmed. And like, I couldn’t cope with my job. And it was really stressing me out. But I was like, I just got to grit my teeth and suck it up and get through it and not ask for help. And she was like, would you tell Laila that if she came to you and said she was feeling all these things? Would you just be like, suck it up, get on the bus, go back to school and deal? Now it’s like, probably not, I would probably try to soften that, for her offer her support or help change some things, you know, versus like, you’ve been feeling this way for three weeks, but I just want you to, you know, grit your teeth and go back again.

 

1:03:57

Yeah, yeah, our children can be a window into our own healing. Yeah. And you know, and we can act out of intergenerational patterns of things. And I just, like, randomly kind of restarted this podcast, but I’m more talking to my kids and my parents and kind of talked to my girls in the episode just I have a lot of impatience. You know, I can get really snappy on them and like, impatient, and if I’m stressed, or I’m in fear, I just die thinking of like watching myself playback. What I just said, or you know, and so, some of that is like understanding that for myself, and how do I, in moments of intense stress, not get barking at them? I have to be careful about like perfectionism and trying to have these like, super high standards as a mom like I should be the perfect mom and have all the perfect things to say. But I think those are parts, you know, that angry part like why does it feel like it has to come out so loud and what does it need? And can it get what, what it needs in a different way? And thinking about what’s modeled for you when you were a child? And it’s also interesting, there’s so much work to be done.

 

Casey McGuire Davidson 1:05:11

Yeah. Well, so I’m curious, how can women who want to learn more about this get in touch with you?

 

1:05:19

So, I have a website. It’s just my first and last name.com.

 

Casey McGuire Davidson 1:05:25

Yeah, I have all your links. I will share how to get in touch with you and all that stuff.

 

1:05:32

Yeah, so if they go on, I think if they go on there, they can just like send me a message. Okay. I think somewhere on like a contact very cool. The way I’m on Instagram, who, you know, that’s another way.

 

1:05:44

Yeah. Well, thank you so much for coming on. This has been really interesting. And the way you describe it makes so much sense to me and, and I know a lot of women are going to get a ton out of this and have a lot to think about.

 

1:06:00

Yeah, awesome. Well, I’m so happy to be here. And I just wish everybody a lot of love and luck as they go on their healing journeys.

 

So thank you for coming on here. I couldn’t appreciate it more. 

Thank you for listening to this episode of The Hello Someday Podcast. If you’re interested in learning more about me or the work I do or accessing free resources and guides to help you build a life you love without alcohol, please visit hellosomedaycoaching.com. And I would be so grateful if you would take a few minutes to rate and review this podcast so that more women can find it and join the conversation about drinking less and living more. 

ABOUT THE HELLO SOMEDAY PODCAST

The Hello Someday Podcast helps busy and successful women build a life they love without alcohol. Host Casey McGuire Davidson, a certified life coach and creator of The Sober Girl’s Guide to Quitting Drinking, brings together her experience of quitting drinking while navigating work and motherhood, along with the voices of experts in personal development, self-care, addiction and recovery and self-improvement. 

Whether you know you want to stop drinking and live an alcohol free life, are sober curious, or are in recovery this podcast is for you.

In each episode Casey will share the tried and true secrets of how to drink less and live more. 

Learn how to let go of alcohol as a coping mechanism, how to shift your mindset about sobriety and change your drinking habits, how to create healthy routines to cope with anxiety, people pleasing and perfectionism, the importance of self-care in early sobriety, and why you don’t need to be an alcoholic to live an alcohol free life. 

Be sure to grab the Free Sober Girl’s Guide To Quitting Drinking right here.

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