This week’s topic is: Living Joyfully Beyond Addictions with Dr. Rebecca Williams
I am so excited to have a very special guest, Dr. Rebecca Williams, who is an award-winning author, psychologist, and leader in the field of wellness and recovery from mental illness and addiction. Listen in as Rebecca shares the psychology around additions, where the line is drawn between illness versus anxiety and why it’s so important to identify with addictive behaviors for recovery to begin.
- The psychology around addiction…
- If we’re prone to addictive behaviors or more predisposed…
- Different reasons we get addicted to such different things in our lives…
- Rebecca shares her take on sugar cravings and what she would advise a patient on strategies around it…
- If it’s important to identify with what you’re going through at the moment you’re going through it…
- Why it’s so universal to suppress our feelings…
- We discuss affirmations and if they really work…
- Where the line is drawn between actually having an illness versus having anxiety or depression…
- Whether we can actually get to a place where we can enjoy some of what we were addicted to and not fall into that pattern…
About Dr. Rebecca Williams
For the past 20 years, Rebecca’s work has focused on building resilience and embracing emotional well-being. She has guided a generation of students preparing for demanding careers in mental health treatment. A life-long yoga enthusiast, Rebecca trained as a yoga instructor in Raja Yoga. She has always believed deeply in the mind-body connection, and returning to this connection when things feel out of balance. She was able to combine the ancient wisdom of yoga and mindfulness with the compassionate recovery from substance abuse in her books.
Rebecca has collaborated for over ten years with marriage and family therapist, Julie Kraft. Their first book together, “The Mindfulness Workbook for Addiction: A Guide to Coping with the Grief, Stress, and Anger that Trigger Addictive Behaviors” is popular with both therapists and recovering clients. The workbook is used in addiction recovery centers across the country.
I LOVE HEARING FROM YOU!
There are lots of ways to share your responses or questions about the podcast:
- Comment below
- Connect on Twitter: @_kimberlysnyder
- Follow the conversation on my Instagram
- Comment on my Facebook Page
- Ask a question: mysolluna.com/askkimberly
HOW TO SUBSCRIBE
You may be really intrigued by podcasts, but you may just know how to listen or subscribe. It’s very easy, I promise! To listen to more than one episode, and to have it all in a handier way, on your phone or tablet, it’s way better to subscribe so you never miss an episode!
Want to know what to expect from other episodes of the “Feel Good Podcast with Kimberly Snyder”? My passion is to inspire and empower you to be your most authentic and beautiful self. We offer interviews with top experts, my personal philosophies and experiences, as well as answers to community-based questions around topics such as health, beauty, nutrition, yoga, spirituality and personal growth.
The intention of the Feel Good Podcast is to well…help you really Feel Good in your body, mind and spirit! Feeling Good means feeling peaceful, energized, whole, uniquely beautiful, confident and joyful, right in the midst of your perfectly imperfect life. This podcast is as informative and full of practical tips and take-aways as it is inspirational. I am here to support you in being your very best! I have so much love and gratitude for you. Thank you for tuning in and being part of the community :).
LEAVE A REVIEW ON ITUNES
Listeners really respect the views of other listeners, so your response helps people find good material they are interested in! If you enjoyed the podcast, please tell your friends and give us a rating or review. Many thanks in advance.
[❤️ FAN OF THE WEEK]
[RESOURCES / INFORMATION]
- How to Harness the Power of Mindfulness
- Mindfulness and Sustainability
- When Emotions Get the Best of Us
- How to Make Positive Thinking Even More Powerful!
- Digestive Enzymes
- Feel Good Starter Kit
- FREE Gift: 7-Day Meditation Series (DIGITAL COURSE)
- Recipes For Your Perfectly Imperfect Life
- Be a part of the community Join the Feel Good Circle
- Kimberly Snyder’s Books
- Four Cornerstones FREE PDF: Text to 555888 + text the word: feelgood
- Additional resources in transcript
Other Podcasts you may enjoy!:
- How To Switch Your Mindset To Love Your Body More!
- Self-Love with Grace Sylke
- The Shame Game
- Improve Relationships with Carol Allen
Note: The following is the output of transcribing from an audio recording. Although the transcription is largely accurate, in some cases it is incomplete or inaccurate. This is due to inaudible passages or transcription errors. It is posted as an aid, but should not be treated as an authoritative record.
Kimberly: Hey Beauties, welcome back to our Monday interview podcast. I am super excited for our wonderful guest today. Her name is Dr. Rebecca Williams. She is an award winning author and a leader in the field of wellness and recovery from addiction and mental illness. In our world today, as we all know, there’s all sorts of things we get addicted to, whether it’s substances, foods, forms of entertainment and so on. We get a lot of questions about this topic, so I cannot wait to dig in with Rebecca.
Fan Of The Week
Kimberly: But before we get there, I just want to give a quick shout out to our beloved Fan of the Week. Her name is andrea magz, and she writes, “I am so grateful for Kimberly and subscribing to this podcast. You can feel the love, energy, and hard work put into each show, and that makes me want to continue to do better for myself. I appreciate all of Kimberly’s wisdom that she shares with the community. I can honestly say it has truly changed my life.”
Share The Podcast and Leave a Review on Itunes
Kimberly: Well, andrea magz, I am so grateful for you. Thank you so much for being part of our community. I don’t know where you are in the world, but I send you a huge virtual hug. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Sending you, again, so much love. Hopefully one day we can meet in person at one of our Solluna circles or events. And Beauties, for your chance to also be shouted out as our fan of the week, and for me to read your beautiful words, please leave us a review on iTunes, which is super easy and fast. It could be one sentence, or two. But it’s just a great way to support the show. We all know how important reviews are these days, so it’s just a great energy exchange, and I thank you so much in advance.
Kimberly: While you’re at it, you could also hit the subscribe button, and that way you don’t miss out on any of these interview podcasts, or Q&A podcasts that are on Thursdays. It’s a great source of ongoing inspiration and positivity in your inbox, which we all need. We all need these little daily steps and tools to keep us aligned. So, I highly recommend that you guys subscribe.
Interview with Dr. Rebecca Williams
Kimberly: All right. All that being said, we have Dr. Williams on the line, and she has asked me to call her Rebecca, which I love. So, Rebecca, thank you so much for being here with us today.
Rebecca: Thank you so much for having me, Kimberly. I’m excited to talk about this.
Kimberly: Now, I know you’ve written quite a lot of books about addiction, and I’m wondering if you could give us a little bit of an overview of it, because we hear about addiction, and I know my mind goes to substances, drugs, alcohol. But then we get so many questions about food addictions, and food cravings, and I just think about people I know, and people in my life, and myself, where we also get addicted to habit, and ways to distract ourselves, whether it’s being on Instagram, getting addicted to social media, so on and so forth. Can you tell a little bit about just the overall psychology around addiction, and does your work … Addiction is addiction, are there different kinds of addiction? I’m just interested in the topic overall.
The psychology around addiction
Rebecca: Yeah, thank you so much for the intro. I-
Kimberly: That was 20 questions.
Rebecca: Yeah, I think I can answer one question. Certainly one at a time. That’s the thing about addiction, your brain just goes on overdrive.
Rebecca: And you have so many thoughts going through. And that’s normal. The brain wants to and should be thinking, and that’s excellent. So, your brain’s working really well. Thank you, brain, for thinking and working. What I think of addiction is like your brain is hijacked by either, like you said, food, substances, or alcohol, or social media, or for some people it’s work or gambling-
Rebecca: For me, I was addicted to sleeping pills because I couldn’t sleep. So, I do think we all have something that we’re trying to recover from.
Kimberly: So, it can be anything that makes us feel hijacked, like you said. Some things are … have more of a negative connotation. Oh, you’re addicted to cocaine, obviously more people will judge you than saying oh, I work so much. But it’s still addiction.
Rebecca: Exactly. It’s when you really are losing your ability to cope, and the thing about mindfulness that we’re going to get into is it just recharges the battery enough so that you are able to cope with any emotional problems or overthinking things. It gives you a soft place to land when you do feel overwhelmed with addiction.
Kimberly: Do you think that we’re all prone to addictive behaviors, or do you think there’s something that some of us are more predisposed [inaudible 00:05:25] a genetic component? Like if our parents were … They talk about if our parents were alcoholics, or maybe our parents had strong addictive tendencies.
If we’re prone to addictive behaviors or more predisposed
Rebecca: Right, and I really liked your podcast Alternatives to Alcohol, which is, I think, number 417. That really got me jazzed because you talk a lot about the brain and how the brain gets hooked into, say for example, alcohol. So yes, there’s a combination of nature and nurture. I’m sure everybody’s heard those terms bandied about. But nature is your environment, and your DNA, and nurture is how you’re being treated in your household. A lot of people grow up with … They’re sensitive kids, and they grow up with a lot of turmoil, and chaos, and possibly trauma, and that can fuel addictive behavior to just basically try to cope with the disorganization that may be in people’s early home life.
Kimberly: Nature versus nurture, what we’re exposed to, like you said, our home life, as a recovering perfectionist myself, I think about being addicted to approval, and having straight A’s, and getting compliments, I don’t know if that’s … I think that’s a form of addiction, just wanting to … Look at my grades, look at me. Do you think different personality types would be attracted to different addictions? Again, that’s … Like people could say oh, that’s great you’re getting good grades, but back to your definition of feeling hijacked, feeling like I had to … It was like a hamster wheel [inaudible 00:07:10] do that to be loved versus someone that maybe numbs and gets addicted to alcohol. What are the different reasons we get addicted to such different things in our lives?
Different reasons we get addicted to such different things in our lives
Rebecca: Yeah, I think the foundation that I’ve experienced over being a psychologist for 23 years is that people are emotional beings, and that’s a good thing. It’s just that when the emotions aren’t able to be soothed, calmed down, if there’s no ability for a child to learn how to calm down on their own, then there’s that need for approval that happens, that you experienced. For other kids, there’s going to be the addiction to social media, and it’s going to be a trajectory over … which does, unfortunately, lead to other behavioral problems when there’s those early addictions.
Rebecca: What we talk about in our first book, Mindfulness Workbook for Addiction, the other thing we noticed that was happening, my co-author Julie and I, noticed that loss was a huge component to addictive behavior that no, I hadn’t read it anywhere, I hadn’t … I’d seen it in clients, but I’d never read about it before, which is why we started 10 years ago working on the Mindfulness Workbook for Addiction to focus on loss and grief, and try to help manage that, which is … It could be a whole conversation just talking about loss. It was pretty powerful to go down that pathway and talk about that.
Kimberly: So, you mean loss as far as obviously someone passing away, or maybe going through a hard breakup?
Kimberly: And then you get addicted to ice cream for a while?
Kimberly: Not to be facetious, but that’s … There’s a correlation between this is so difficult to deal with, and then the addiction gives you something to soothe yourself.
Rebecca: Exactly. That’s exactly it. It’s a soother, and we all need soothing, clearly, especially now more than ever. But I think that-
Rebecca: I think that basically just really understanding that there could be, if you dig a little bit, there could be a significant loss in a person’s life that they are not able to cope with, or aren’t getting soothed by parents or whatever, or not … may have their own loss and not able to soothe. So that’s what happened for me, is that my mother had a huge loss, wasn’t able to soothe herself or me, and then what happened is she decided to turn to drugs and … mostly alcohol. That was what I learned, and that was my pathway, which was very difficult, which is why I’m in the business. I needed to understand and learn about what was going on that … For example, she had this pathway that was … She was not able to soothe herself, and therefore, I was pushed along into this also. That’s how it all unfolded for me. I do think it’s a huge issue, though.
Kimberly: Thank you for sharing that. I love to hear how many healers are working to heal themselves first, and that’s the pathway that they’re drawn in. For you to become this author and psychologist and work in this field, and for you to have gone through that, then try to figure out. Rebecca, I have shared I had a lot of different eating disorders in high school, and issues with food, and I think that’s one of the reasons I became drawn to initially becoming a nutritionist and working in wellness is I was trying to heal myself, quite frankly.
Rebecca: Exactly. Exactly.
Kimberly: Then it expands. Then once you want to work with other people, you want to help them, but it’s really beautiful. Okay, so going back to … In our community, there’s a lot of questions around sugar cravings.
Rebecca: Mm-hmm (affirmative), yeah.
Kimberly: I actually covered this in my third book, which is called Beauty, Detox, Power. The different food cravings, and it’s really interesting when you start to dig in. I have always found that when I’m craving sugar, when people are craving sugar, there very much is that feeling of soothing, as you talked about, and reward, and maybe things are stressful. Does this come up a lot in your work, sugar? Because we live in an age now where so many people are addicted to sugar and are seeking that external treat, and it’s easy to grab and reach for a cookie or something. Can you tell us a little bit about not only your take on sugar cravings, but what you would advise a patient on strategies around it?
Rebecca shares her take on sugar cravings and what she would advise a patient on strategies around it
Rebecca: Yeah. Another thing I love about your website, MySolluna, is you have these amazing recipes that, for the most part, don’t have that intense sugar in them, so I think having some basic ways to turn to figure out how to have alternatives to sugar, and drugs and alcohol, it’s kind of the same thing, is going to be the first step. Starting the process, I think, 10% at a time, it doesn’t have to be huge, like going cold turkey off of sugar. It’s very difficult. But if you go 10% at a time, start integrating some of the recipes that you’ve got and other folks have is great. But yeah, the sugar mood connection is intense, and part of mindfulness is being able to slow your body down, calm down, and be able to stop, pause, before you reach for, like you said, that cookie, that piece of cake, that ice cream. We’ve all been there. I certainly have, too. So, slow down, pause, and I do think being aware of your environment, being aware of your mind, being aware of who you’re around, just the awareness, the self awareness, is going to be incredibly helpful.
Rebecca: People who are recovering from alcohol and drugs also have poor nutrition, and they have for many, many years. So the other part of the alcohol and drug and nutrition piece, which is a huge important piece, is to understand that when you’re getting off alcohol and drugs, you’re going to be wanting to … you’re [inaudible 00:13:32] other sugars, because alcohol is a sugar. And so you’ve got to slow down and learn other ways to eat, almost starting from scratch to how to eat properly as you recover from alcohol. Nutrition and addiction is a huge … a very, very challenging piece of the puzzle. But once you get it, and you learn how to eat properly in recovery, you actually feel so, so much better. Just day to day, sleeping better, everything starts to improve once you understand the relationship between addiction and sugar.
Kimberly: Mm-hmm (affirmative), mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah, it’s not just oh, have a stronger will, but actually, like you were saying, Rebecca, your body is used to that sugar, and your microbiome is probably in full dysbiosis. There’s a lot of imbalance going on. So you have to nurture that foundation to fully get through.
Rebecca: Exactly. And have a bit of self compassion.
Rebecca: I do think this recovery is challenging, and if you have compassion … I loved your green smoothie. Maybe we can-
Kimberly: Oh, good.
Rebecca: Yeah, we can call the next one the self compassion smoothie. Just the ability to drink self compassion in the morning, have something that nourishes you at the very beginning of the day that is not just junk food in the morning, or a bagel, is really going to mentally and physically help. Just understanding self compassion-
Kimberly: I love that. Yeah, it’s the GGS. We call it GGS for short, which is Glowing Green Smoothie®, and then we could say GGS self compassion. Because there is that real active self love. They’re making it, it’s got fiber, it’s nurturing, and it sets the tone for your day, I feel like, when you start off on that foot. Even if you’re not perfect, you’ve gone in that direction, at least.
Rebecca: Exactly. And what if everybody added the self compassion in that direction?
Rebecca: The combo, I think that would be pretty cool.
Kimberly: Mm-hmm (affirmative), mm-hmm (affirmative). Let’s go back to a little bit about what you were saying about mindfulness. I know you are also a student of yoga, which I love to combine that work. Let’s say you start feeling that … whatever you want to call it, hijacked feeling, or out of control feeling, like oh my gosh, I need to eat that cookie, I need to … whatever, need to have another drink. How important is it … Let’s say you pause. How important is it to identify what you’re going through? Like oh, I’m feeling really anxious. Do you have to call it out, what you’re feeling, or are you saying just to breathe and just feel your body, or do you have to actually create more tangible awareness? Does that make sense?
If it’s important to identify with what you’re going through at the moment you’re going through it
Rebecca: Yeah, that does make sense. It’s a both/and. I think you have to number one, breathe, a hundred percent. Every yogi will tell you that. That’s not new information. It’s 4,000 years old. So, breathe first, identify the feeling, and for people in recovery, identifying feelings is extremely difficult. In fact, in one of our books we have a list of feeling words because for so long, like you said, folks have numbed out, and they haven’t figured out what their feelings are. They just numb them, and then they get wasted and move on. However, once you don’t have alcohol or drugs to numb out, you’ve got to start … Again, you’re in kindergarten when it comes to feelings, all over again. You’ve got to say, okay, this is the happy, this is sad. This is frustration, this is anger. This is rage. You’re right.
Rebecca: Identifying the feeling, and then what we talk about a lot in mindfulness is acknowledging the feeling and then letting it go like a leaf down a stream. The idea of putting that feeling, rage, anger, frustration, sadness, on a leaf, and just noticing it move down a stream so you don’t have to keep holding onto it. You can say what it is, label it, and then let it go. Not always easy. It’s always … There’s going to be judgment and challenge along every journey, so that’s normal. Just using some skills and techniques that we’ve written up in the book The Gift of Recovery. There’s a ton, there’s 52 skills, mindfulness skills, that people can use along the way. Keep in mind that feelings are temporary.
Rebecca: Newsflash. Yeah, right? Feelings are temporary. They’re not going to be a permanent thing, and once you understand that concept, your life opens up. It really does change.
Kimberly: I have to say that’s one thing I’ve really learned from my three year old is he’ll have the biggest feelings and tantrum, and then he processes it, and then 10 minutes later he’s on to something else, and he’s happy as could be, and he doesn’t have resentment. He just lets it go.
Kimberly: It’s really amusing.
Rebecca: That is the healthiest thing I’ve ever heard, just the ability to be like a three year old and just have the feeling, stomp your feet, and then let it go.
Kimberly: Wow. What is it that we learn to not do that? Because it seems almost like a universal adult concept. Cross culturally, women and men. Do you think it’s just the way our society is, or do you think our brains at a certain point … We’re led to believe that we can’t express our feelings, there’s something wrong? Why is it so universal to suppress our feelings, do you think?
Why it’s so universal to suppress our feelings
Rebecca: Yeah, suppress them and put them on this well-worn pathway of just every time you feel anger, you yell kind of thing. So, I think that my experience in working is that you’re right, there is that sense of if you hold it, then it’s yours, then you’re right, you have to be right.
Kimberly: I see.
Rebecca: And you know what? So you’re not right, so what? It’s not that big of a deal, ultimately. But we get so locked in. That’s why for me, yoga has been extremely important to be able to have more flexibility of mind and body. Does that make sense? Yeah.
Kimberly: Yes. Yes.
Rebecca: I’ve been doing yoga before it was cool, so I was doing it in the 80s. And now it’s super cool. But everybody’s in it, which is great. But at the beginning, as most people, I was really stiff, and I felt it was just uncomfortable. I didn’t ever want to go back. That whole thing, all the negative thoughts. Then something shifted and I became more flexible physically, and I also became more flexible emotionally. You know how in yoga you have these aha moment?
Rebecca: Come about every couple years, and you’re going huh, I’m actually more emotionally flexible. That’s pretty cool. Therefore, I don’t have to hold onto all these intense feelings. I can be … My mind can be flexible. I can move around. It doesn’t have to stay. A lot of that is just practice.
Kimberly: Mm-hmm (affirmative), mm-hmm (affirmative). I had similar experiences, especially when I started, and I was doing deeper and deeper backbends. I was really surprised to see how emotional I would get sometimes, and I would cry. Then I started reading about, you know they talk about the knots that can be around your heart chakra, and how much emotion is held up there. So, I do think working on the physical level-
Kimberly: Really helps as well.
Rebecca: Absolutely. A hundred percent agree with that. In recovery especially, you have to work on the physical level. That’s why they’ve added yoga classes into almost every recovery center across the country, especially out where you are in L.A.
Rebecca: I’m in the south. It’s not quite as robust here. I think hopefully it will be soon. But most recovery centers have some sort of physicality, and art, and music, and just other ways to make your brain more elastic so you don’t hook in so tight to these negative emotions.
Kimberly: I see another one of the strategies that you talk about is affirmations, which I really love, and something that my yoga guru, Paramahansa Yogananda, has always talked about. Sometimes we hear people say oh, affirmations don’t really work because you can be saying yeah right the whole time. And I always say you want to get into that clear mindset. It’s helpful to meditate first. You conjure up a clear space or positive space. Can you tell about your perspective, your technique of affirmations a little bit, and what you would say to those people that say affirmations don’t work? Because I, personally, am a huge believer, and I actually do say them every day.
We discuss affirmations and if they really work
Rebecca: Oh, good. I’m so glad you’re into affirmations. I am so-
Rebecca: Yeah. For me, and the book The Gift of Recover has seven affirmations a week, one for every day. We recommend you put them in your phone, put them on Post It notes on the door, because the brain naturally goes to negativity, and what we’re trying to do, and what you’re trying to do in your work is we’re slowly switching the brain back over. It’s like a pendulum slow … It’s heavy, but we’re slowly switching it back over to positive ways to reclaim the cells in the body, the brain, your body, your functioning, and it takes practice. It takes every day. Literally, every day it takes effort to say a positive thought. For example, one of our ones that we like is cravings are not commands. That’s a positive affirmation, and it helps people reengage to the fact that a craving is a craving. It is not a command to use drugs or alcohol, or whatever the behavior is. And look at that three, or four, to five times a day. It does help over time.
Kimberly: So, just by seeing a Post It note, even if you don’t say it out loud, your brain, on some level, is registering it?
Rebecca: Absolutely. We do recommend-
Rebecca: You say it into your phone, you say it out loud. You listen to your own voice recording back, which is, as you can guess, real powerful to hear your own voice say cravings are not commands.
Rebecca: I could say it all day long. But if you personally say it to yourself, or any of the other 365 affirmations that we’ve got written down, hey, give it a try. Right?
Kimberly: Well, you know how they say oh, your mind thinks in pictures, and you’ve got all those vision boards and things?
Rebecca: Mm-hmm (affirmative), mm-hmm (affirmative).
Kimberly: If it’s written, is it a different part of your brain that’s processing those words, or when you’re seeing it, you’re kind of saying it to yourself? How does the Post … Tell me a little bit more about the Post It notes, because I love that, and I actually do the Post It notes. I love it.
Rebecca: Oh, do you? Okay, good. Me too.
Kimberly: Yeah, I do, I really do.
Kimberly: Different colors, different places on my desk.
Rebecca: Yep. Well, that’s why you’re successful. Let’s face it. It really does hit the part of the brain that is … It helps the part of the brain slow down enough to actually read the words, say the words out loud, and clam yourself down. So it’s like a mini meditation. Every Post It note is a mini meditation. I use them, too. I have zen notes, and all sorts of little notes around. I have things that … Right now, I have on my desk, “You don’t have to fix anything today.” You know, hey. So, it just helps me calm down for that very moment, and you just add those moments together, and you’ve got a different brain. Your brain starts to change physically.
Rebecca: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Kimberly: That’s amazing. Now, Rebecca, I want to switch for a minute. We’ve been talking a lot about addiction, and I know your work also involves mental illness. Today, we here so much about the growing numbers of depression and anxiety. When you hear mental illness, I think the average person is like oh, I’m not mentally ill, and they don’t really want that label. But where does the line get drawn between I actually have an illness versus my anxiety is not in the healthy realm, or I actually do have depression?
Where the line is drawn between actually having an illness versus having anxiety or depression
Rebecca: Well, yeah. I did listen to your other podcast with Dr. Stuart Eisendrath, which was interesting.
Rebecca: He’s a psychiatrist, and he, as your listeners will learn when they listen, will … He talks a lot about the illness, and I was trained that way also. However, my basic foundation is about wellness and recovery if you are having a rough patch. There is such thing as recovery, so you don’t have to be depressed or anxious forever.
Rebecca: It is something that maybe all of us have felt now and again, and changing slowly, 10%, changing the way you think about yourself, your thoughts, your nutrition, your sleep, your exercise, in my mind, based on my experience, it is the way to manage these harder problems. I worked at a hospital in San Diego, and they’re slowly bringing in mindfulness classes, meditation classes, yoga classes, for folks who are very … according to them, very ill. According to me, they need an environment that is more healing. They’re now having quiet areas, quiet rooms, quiet hallways. Hospitals are slowly having nature, music, things like that, to help the brain heal, not just medication. Some people will need medication, obviously, according to what their doctors are saying. And I think what you and Dr. Stewart said last time, how can we incorporate other alternative ways to be well aside from medication?
Kimberly: You know, I was in New York a couple weeks ago, Rebecca, and I used to live in New York. Right? When you leave New York … I’ve been in L.A. now for over six years. Just the things you were just talking about, nature, and quiet time, it’s really hard to get it-
Kimberly: In urban, modern city life. I was running from appointment to appointment as I always do. I would go into a café, and the café would be blaring music. I was staying in Midtown, and I was so busy I didn’t have time to go to the park. So, this modern life doesn’t-
Kimberly: We really have to seek it out, don’t we? It doesn’t make it easy. To me, it’s no wonder that so many people have anxiety these days.
Rebecca: Exactly. Your book is Beauty Detox Solution. I actually did a career detox recently. That’s a whole thing we could talk about, career detoxing. However, I left beautiful San Diego for Savannah, Georgia because I needed nature. I needed-
Rebecca: I needed trees, I needed to bike to my yoga studio, versus run around in my car for 30 minutes every time I went out. I had to make a major shift to be well myself. And so, you’re right. New York, I’m originally from there, so I totally get that. There’s no trees.
Rebecca: Except if you go to Central Park, if you can make a minute to get there. I recommend for recovery from mental health problems or addiction that people literally go outside. Feel the sand, feel the grass, feel the breeze, feel the … Look at the trees, look at the flowers, plant some … If you’re in the city, plant some flowers, get a flower box, and start the process of reconnecting with nature, like you needed when you were in New York.
Kimberly: Oh yeah. This has gotten more … just so powerful and potent to me, Rebecca, over the years. And when I lost my mom a few years ago and went through a really hard time, I actually stopped my daily asana practice. I meditate every day, but my yoga practice shifted mostly to meditation, and I started doing beach walks every day-
Rebecca: Yep, yep.
Kimberly: Because I felt like I literally needed to ground. I needed to be barefoot. Then I named my company Solluna, which means the sun and the moon, and-
Rebecca: Mm-hmm (affirmative), mm-hmm (affirmative).
Kimberly: Just really going back to the perspective of connecting back in. Because like you said, when we go through grief, when we go through feeling so attached to these things, it’s a form of disconnection from our self, isn’t it?
Rebecca: Exactly. It’s a deep disconnect, and the way to get back to connecting is … In one of our books, we have a whole list of pleasant events that you do in recovery. So folks who have been using, or drinking, or whatever the behavior is that’s been … hijack the brain, they have been totally disconnected from nature, and art too, by the way. But as people recover, we recommend in our books that you go outside, and you definitely, like you’ve done, put your feet in the sand, and think of that as you’re outside feeling the sun, that this is part of your recovery journey. This is actually a prescription for recovery.
Rebecca: The other thing I did out here was going to music festivals, too, that I do recommend people go to museums, go to music, and really start getting their … using different parts of their brain to be well again.
Kimberly: What do you mean by that exactly? If people are very linear, just going to see more right brain stuff, or creative-
Kimberly: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Rebecca: Yeah. You said that you were crying in yoga. The same thing can happen with music where you actually release a lot of tension that’s built up when you are listening to music that’s healthy for you. I’ve gone to a concert, Deva Premal. I don’t know if you know.
Kimberly: Yes, I do.
Rebecca: Oh my gosh. Anyway, she’s all over the world. However, if folks can get to see a concert like that, that is very … It’s chants, and it’s very healing. It really does detoxify the system. It’s amazing.
Kimberly: I listen to a lot of chanting every day on my walks. My person is Krishna Das.
Kimberly: I don’t know if you’re familiar with him, but his voice-
Rebecca: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Oh my gosh.
Kimberly: It takes me to that place.
Rebecca: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Kimberly: Where I do feel like I’m really … It’s all energy, isn’t it? The vibration of music goes right through your whole-
Rebecca: Exactly. And what a wonderful way to reconnect with yourself is to actually get those vibrations from Krishna Das. And you know, you can go to Yoga Radio on Pandora, and there’s a boat load of just mellow music that is very deep. Yoga Workout Radio, I listen to sometimes, too. There’s a ton of different ones that I use on my walks when I go out there.
Kimberly: Now, when someone is addicted to alcohol, we often hear that if they have one drop, or they have one glass, it puts them back into that spiral. It’s harder with food addictions, let’s say. You can’t just avoid sugar forever, right? I guess you could, but I always say a healthy body should be able to process healthy food. So you go back to bananas, and fruit, and there’s sugar, and maybe that triggers something. But do you find in your work, Rebecca, that … Is that a blanket statement, all alcoholics should … they can never touch alcohol again, or do you think that’s a personality type? Do you think there’s a range where you can actually get to a place where you can enjoy some of what you were addicted to and not fall into that pattern? Or do you think there’s different sorts of people, a range?
Whether we can actually get to a place where we can enjoy some of what we were addicted to and not fall into that pattern
Rebecca: Very good question. There is a school of thought on harm reduction where people can drink a little bit. That’s not the school of thought I come from, but that’s certainly something folks can look up if they need answers to those particular questions. For me, and what I’ve seen, is really … and this is key, in my opinion, is putting your hand on your heart and forgiving yourself. If you take a drink, or you indulge in sugar, or you gamble, or whatever the … really, the tough behaviors are that you’re working on. There is an important part of the soul that requires forgiveness, and I believe in that. So, folks can forgive themselves for the transgression of whatever that is, and get back on track. Using the skills in the book, or your beautiful recipes, or whatever it is to get back on track. I know Deepak Chopra said in his book, which I love, you’re either busy healing or you’re busy celebrating. I love that, and that’s what people … should maybe ask themselves. Are you busy healing right now, or are you busy celebrating in a healthy way? That helps me stay on track.
Kimberly: Yeah. I can say for myself as someone that overcame bulimia, I used to eat something and then want to eat a lot of it to feel grounded, and then I would binge, and binge, and then I would purge. Now, years later, I am able to enjoy some of those foods, and I don’t feel that I need to binge. So, I can say from personal experience, it is possible to balance where you can, dip your toe in. But again, I guess everybody has different experiences, and maybe … obviously drugs, it’s better just to stay away from that full stop.
Rebecca: Absolutely. You can’t dip yourself back into opiates again, or-
Rebecca: You know, cocaine. I do think each person needs to have their own personal meeting with themselves and say, “What am I doing to heal today?” I think what you said really a minute ago, really resonated with me, and that’s the idea of feeling grounded. If that’s the issue, where a person is not feeling grounded, then what do you need to feel grounded? That’s a personal question that requires a personal answer. But I love that idea of needing to feel grounded. That’s very important, I think.
Kimberly: Mm-hmm (affirmative), mm-hmm (affirmative). Well, Rebecca, thank you so much for sharing so much of your amazing wisdom with us today. I could ask you questions forever.
Rebecca: [inaudible 00:38:24]
Kimberly: But I’m very glad that you have all these different books that you offer us to go deeper into your work, which we will link to in our show notes, Beauties, so please check them out at mysolluna.com. I’m also going to link to Rebecca’s website, which is MindfulnessWorkbook.com. On that site, Rebecca, I assume we can find more information about you, and also find more about the books on there.
Rebecca: Absolutely, Kimberly. Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Kimberly: Amazing. Well, thank you again, Rebecca. I love that you’re really incorporating your western training with yoga, and mindfulness, and nature, and really teaching about a holistic approach to addiction, and mental illness. Thank you again, so much, for sharing so much with us.
Rebecca: Thank you for having me, Kimberly. It was fun.
Kimberly: Mm-hmm (affirmative). And Beauties, thank you again for tuning in. Check out our show notes. We will be back here on Thursday for our next Q&A podcast. Until then, remember, we have tons of resources for you over on the website. As Rebecca mentioned, the recipes, and also the free meditations, the weekly vlogs. It’s thousands, literally now thousands of articles. We’re also on social media for daily inspiration, which is @_kimberlysnyder. Again, thank you so much, Beauty. Take great care of yourself, and we’ll see you back here on Thursday.
The post Living Joyfully Beyond Addictions with Dr. Rebecca Williams [Episode #463] appeared first on Solluna by Kimberly Snyder.