EP #129

Using Meditation to Change Your Drinking with Rory Kinsella

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In this episode of the Alcohol Minimalist Podcast, Molly emphasizes the role of science in shattering past patterns and eliminating excuses. The episode features a testimonial from a listener who found solace and community in Molly’s podcast, highlighting the relatable and likable voice that makes it feel like a conversation with a trusted friend. Molly introduces a meditation expert, Rory Kinsella, who shares the Wise Monkey Way, a meditation practice designed to help people change their relationship with alcohol. The episode encourages listeners to find personalized strategies for transforming their lives and prioritizing mental well-being. The conversation with Rory delves into the benefits of meditation, its impact on coping with life’s challenges, and the Wise Monkey Way’s approach to reducing dependence on alcohol.

Hey, it’s Molly from alcohol minimalist. What do you do in this October? I would love to have you join me in my more sober October challenge. What do I mean by more sober October, it simply means that we’re going to add in more alcohol free days than you currently been doing, whether that’s one or two or 31. It’s up to you, you get to set your own goal and that’s why it’s more sober October. You can check it out and learn more at get got sunnyside.co/molly It’s totally free. I’ve got prizes, I’m going to be going live every week to announce the prize winners, and it’s just going to be an awesome event. So I would love to have you join me. You can learn more at get.sunnyside.co/molly and you can get registered today. Welcome to the alcohol minimalist podcast. I’m your host Molly watts. If you want to change your drinking habits and create a peaceful relationship with alcohol, you’re in the right place. This podcast explores the strategies I use to overcome a lifetime of family alcohol abuse, more than 30 years of anxiety and worry about my own drinking and what felt like an unbreakable daily drinking habit. Becoming an alcohol minimalist means removing excess alcohol from your life. So it doesn’t remove you from life. It means being able to take alcohol or leave it without feeling deprived. It means to live peacefully, being able to enjoy a glass of wine without feeling guilty and without needing to finish the bottle. With Science on our side will shatter your past patterns and eliminate your excuses. Changing your relationship with alcohol is possible. I’m here to help you do it. Let’s start now. Well hello and welcome or welcome back to the alcohol minimalist podcast with me your host Molly Watts coming to you from well, it’s a little gray. It’s a little cloudy, it’s a little rainy, it’s a little Haley. It’s a little everything around Oregon this last few days. On Sunday, we had a tornado touchdown just just south of us. Not a big one, but a little one and A waterspout it’s just been some crazy cold air front. I guess that is causing some weird weather around here. But the weather forecast tells me that in honor of summer officially starting here in the next day or so we are back to sunny weather and 80 degrees. I am very much looking forward to that. Hey, I have just a couple of housekeeping notes here. Before we jump into this week’s episode. First and foremost, I want to invite you to join me on my more dry July challenge that’s more dry July. It isn’t doesn’t have to be a full 31 days dry. It doesn’t have to be anything other than what you’re doing right now. I just want you to add in a few more alcohol free days. I want it to make it more dry than you normally do. All right. And you can join me and you can get 60 days free on Sunnyside. Sunnyside is the mindful drinking app that I that I work with that i Many of my clients use and it’s just a great tool for helping you plan ahead making that doable drink plan and also for tracking your progress and also some just motivation along the way. And 60 days free with no credit card required. You can join me at get sunnyside.co/molly That’s get sunnyside.co/molly to join me for the more dry July challenge. Do it do it today. All right. Other thing is you may have heard me mentioned a few weeks ago that I was trying to get up to 100 reviews of the podcast on Apple podcasts specifically and typically I have a prize winner every other week for some alcohol minimalist swag this week I have to because I have my regular winner and then I have my honorary 100th episode or 100th podcast review on Apple podcast. So first and foremost, the winner of my just regular alcohol minimalist swag this week comes to me from Audible. Yes, you can you can review on Audible and I will be added into the mix. This is Chris Daly. This is what Chris had to say. before discovering her book I discovered Molly’s podcast. One could say that I discovered Mali at just the right time in my life like many during the pandemic I noticed my wine consumption had been creeping up. Some of the case was the crazy time we were and tunic sent are still living through, although not everything. What worked for me was picking up Molly’s podcast from the most recent episode whilst going back and listening to all of her podcasts until both the beginning and the end of the series came together. Since I have a somewhat eclectic palette of mostly southern hemisphere reds, I knew I did not want to totally quit. Although I knew I was consuming more than I thought I should. Listening to Molly’s podcast and using other resources, I thankfully realized I am not alone, and have sort of found a large community of similar people. Through the alcohol minimalist podcast, I have learned many totally doable strategies and Molly backs everything was science, all while delivering the information with a very relatable, likable voice such that the podcast feels more like a touch base with a trusted friend or accountability partner. Thank you, Molly, for all the people whose lives you have touched in such a positive way. Ah, thanks, Chris. Thank you so so very much. Email me, Molly at Molly watts.com. Let me know that you heard this and that you are the regular alcohol minimalist swag winner. And the other person is Remy Kelly. Remy Kelly, you left a review on Apple podcasts. And you were number 100. So Remy Kelly, if you are listening, email me, Molly at Molly watts.com. And I will send you out your big prize, which is a whole set of my five for life planners. I’ll explain it to you more in that email. But it’s a full year’s worth of planners and journals that you can use because we talk all about writing things down all the time around here. So give me an email me and I will send that out to you as well. All right, that is all I’ve got for housekeeping. We are now on to this week’s show. And I have a special guest today. This is a interview that I recorded with Rory Ken Sela, and Rory is a writer and Vedic meditation teacher based in Sydney, Australia. He also was a former very hard drinking musician and journalist. And he quit drinking back in 2017. And he now teaches and he has created something called the wise monkey way. And basically, he helps people change their relationship with alcohol through meditation. And he teaches this in a way that is really effortless using a mantra and helps people move past right thoughts to a place of stillness within that’s what he says in his in his stuff. So it’s called the wise monkey way. And this is the thing I just want you to know, I bring guests on the show that have their own programs that do their own thing that that, that you could go explore outside of me, right? Because what’s most important to me is that I want you to find what works for you to change your relationship with alcohol. So whether that’s my programs, whether that’s my coaching, whether that’s my podcast, or someone else that’s doing great work. That’s what I want you to know about. And so, you’re gonna hear from people that do things, you know, like, like Rory, who someone would say, well, he competes with you. Well, yeah, of course. But it does. He really. I mean, he does things completely differently than me. And I think it’s great. And if this works for you, that I want you to know about it. So please enjoy my conversation with Rory Kinsella. Make it a great day, everyone, and I’ll see you next week. Hey, Rory, thank you so much for being here. And being a guest on the alcohol minimalist podcast. I cannot wait to share the wise monkey way with my listeners. Thank you very much, Molly, lovely to be here. And I’m looking forward to our chat. Yeah, yeah. lovely to be here. And let’s just get this out of the way here is not anywhere near me. Or any typically like Well, I do have quite a few listeners over there in Australia. So we are recording this word 17 something, I think 17 hours parts, something like that. So it’s been a little bit of a challenge to get us on the same time page. Give me a little bit about you, and how you ended up in this particular space. And before we get going, folks, the wise monkey way is a meditation practice that is designed to help people change their relationship with alcohol, kind of like I talked about, but specifically not just for completely stopping drinking, though. That’s what you do. And but for people that are like me that may just want to cut back or reduce the amount that they’re drinking in their lives as well. Right? Yeah, so well hello from tomorrow. It’s the day after me. I’m in. I’m in Sydney. Australia. I’m originally from the UK, if anyone’s getting confused about my accent, but yeah, my thing is that I bring meditation to people who want to drink less. And whether that is to drink, and not every day or to drink less, or to only drink on social occasions, or whether it is to not drink anything. I show them how to use meditation as a tool to help them get there. And this is really answering a job that many people assigned to alcohol, which is to relax me to stop my mind, my busy mind thinking, so I, and I’ll talk about my experience and what led me to do this. But But yeah, my thing is that I teach people how to meditate specifically for the purpose of reducing their dependence on alcohol or their need to their habitual need to drink regularly, so that they can live no more full, more happy lives with better sleep with, you know, more creativity and all the benefits that meditation brings. Because, guess what meditation brings lots of benefits. Yeah. Right. And so really like how it gets people from, you know, the reason they might come to Why is one key way is to reduce their, their alcohol or to stop drinking, but then they often they’re like, hey, you know, meditation does all these other things. It’s a proper spiritual journey. And, you know, they find people find themselves developing in all these other areas of their life, which, you know, I think, sets me apart from some other programs. It just doesn’t It doesn’t stop with the alcohol stopping is what meditation will open up all these other doors. Yeah, oh, I can’t wait. Yeah, because meditation is one of those tools, in my opinion, that we can all benefit from, whether we’re drinking or not, right, because just to your point, it is something that has been shown over and over and over again, to have so many therapeutic elements, so many beneficial things. It improves longevity, folks, it actually literally has been scientifically proven to increase longevity. So there’s excellent reasons to practice meditation. And I know you’re gonna get there, because one of the things that I’m really excited to, to hear from you on is, this is meditation that is supposed to be geared for people that think they’re too busy. Their brain is too active, that that literally, meditation feels like, oh, there’s no possible way I like cannot sit still and not do anything for 10 minutes. Like that sounds like, you know, just torture to me, or that’s what they think. And right. Is that is that? Am I Am I correct in that? Yeah. So this is one of the main misconceptions that people have about meditations, and it’s my, my day to day job to be like, Hey, don’t worry about it. No, it doesn’t have to be that way. But it’s this, this perception that is, you know, permeated through through our society that meditation is about clearing your mind. And that if you can’t instantly clear your mind, even though you’ve never done this thing before, then you’re a failure. And you might as well give up and, you know, there’s some special special people who can do it and and other people who can’t. So what I like to do is really bust those myths around meditation say, Well, look, we don’t meditate so that we can instantly clear our minds we meditate so that we can allow all that crap, that’s theirs that’s in there, to run around and let off steam so that we feel calmer and more in control afterwards. And this is why meditation. So it’s about teaching people that you sitting down having lots of thoughts isn’t isn’t a sign that you can’t meditate. It’s actually a symptom that meditation is something that you need. It’s like people who say, hey, look, I’m way too unfit to exercise. It’s like, that doesn’t make sense, right? If you’ve got a busy mind, that’s like, hey, well, what, what could you do about that, and a simple Google search will show that ways to deal with an overactive or over busy mind is to meditate. Now, it just means that you have to get through that. That uncomfortable sensation of not being able to control something. So it’s really about realigning people’s expectations about what meditation is supposed to be like. And if you manage to sit there for 15 minutes is my standard amount for people starting out. You sit there for 15 minutes. Despite what happens in your mind. You will feel calm afterwards. And in my experience from my participants, you will be less likely to need a drink. So specifically by putting that meditation so meditation, you can do it in the morning. You can do it in the afternoon. I tend to recommend people if they’re just doing one a day to do it in that witching hour. end of the workday time. and say, Well, look, this was this may have been your habit before safer daily drinkers where the working day is over or, you know, a chunk of the day is over and you’re about to, you know, go right I’ve earned to put my feet up and have a glass of wine, I would say, Well, hey, before doing that, why don’t you meditate. And that is going to give you what and just experiment, see if that if that does give you what you want, which is the reward you want is to stop thinking about working to sit and not do anything, or to not be looking after your screaming children or whatever it might be. So to say, look, we meditate to improve our lives, we don’t meditate to, you know, master a certain experience within the meditation. So I just say, Well, look, sit down, take judgment off yourself, don’t you know, don’t no one’s marking, you know, and saying, Hey, no, Molly’s really rubbish at this, she should give up. Like, no one’s there looking over your shoulder going, No, no, you did that wrong, you did that wrong, which is different to say, if I was learning to play golf, or tennis, for example, people would be able to see me but this is an internal thing that we’re doing, we just need to, we need to practice it. And it’s this lovely word it’s embedded in this technique is that it’s a practice and no one ever masters this. I’ve been meditating twice a day for the last nine years, and I haven’t mastered it, I still practice it every day and part of practicing it is being forgiving myself for that for my mind wandering. But what I benefit from allowing my mind to wander and having this quiet time in my day, is that whatever my day throws at me, I’m more able to cope with it. So the concept that we talk about in meditation is adaptation, energy. And adaptation, energy is a product of how rested you are. So if you get a good night’s sleep, you’re, you’re on a you’re on a good footing. But as the day goes through, and you know, different things happen, then you’re going to lose that adaptation energy. And the way that I see that in terms of people who drink is that once you’re out of that adaptation, energy, then you’re moving to your coping mechanism, which, you know, in this example, is drinking. And what meditation does is it tops that adaptation energy back up, which means that you can then cope with more things. So your net, you’re less needing of those kind of crutches. I love this, I’m so excited to I, again, I’m this is just such a powerful tool in so many ways for the people that are listening to to this show, because we talk about all the time about this, the idea that what you’re actually looking for is not the drink in the bottle, but you’re looking for whatever feeling you think you’re going to get out of that, right. So when you’re looking for relaxed, this is another alternative. And because that’s one of the things we need, we actually need something if you take away the coping mechanism that you’ve used for years and years and years, and don’t have something to replace it with. That is more beneficial. You will you know, you could potentially turn to something else that’s equally not as good for you. Right? So you could do other things. So this is why meditation this example is so awesome. You got here because of what so how did you end up becoming a Vedic meditation teacher and somebody that also is 100% alcohol free? Right? Yeah, so it was a very natural process. For me, it kind of unfolded organically, but I guess my drinking story starts with, you know, being a teenager in the UK and they let people in the pubs quite early. Yeah. You Brits like to get your your drink on pretty early, don’t you? Oh, yeah. Sorry. Sorry, everybody that’s listening over there. But this is this is a long standing story that I hear from my, from my UK clients. Who Yeah, so I mean, I was drinking at 12 1314 Australian pubs at 15, you know, with my fake ID. And it was it’s very normalized, and it’s very kind of encouraged in the Brits, you know, like Aussies, as well, and kiwis and many other nationalities and you know, obviously parts of the US there is this culture of binge drinking and drinking to access so that was my, my, my thing and I was at school and at university or university is like a, it’s like boarding school with a cheap bar. So I drank all the way through there and it’s very normal and and when I left university, I was I ended up falling into multiple industries where alcohol is very common, and the more I work in this space, the more I realized that, you know, so many industries that like oh engineers, all big drinkers, lawyers, yeah, all big drinkers, doctors all over the world. So I was, I was a, I was a musician. So I was a kind of semi semi professional musician and bands touring around the UK. And in Europe, this is in the early 2000s. I was a DJ and club promoter. And then when I had to get a proper job, I was a music journalist, which isn’t really a proper job, but we’re still in that sphere of, you know, interviewing famous people. And, you know, it’s not just accepted that people drink. It’s kind of encouraged. It’s, it’s, it’s lionized, like, you’re cool. If you stumble into work, when I used to work in London, stumbling to work at midday, you know, they kind of pretending that they’re annoyed with you. But it’s like, yeah, you’re, you’re, you’re doing. So that was that was my whole 20s. And then I moved to Australia, when I was 31. I’m still working in the media. And I got to a point when I hit 35, when I had what I call my early midlife crisis, where the, I guess, as we were saying before, this using alcohol as a tool, so I used it as a tool to relax and I use it as a tool to be more outgoing, I’m naturally an introvert. And what I found is that it was not doing that as successfully, like, I’d be getting super drunk to this to the state where I’d go mute. So I’d be drinking, so I could be all sociable, and, you know, chat to girls and everything like that. And I’d be so wasted that I couldn’t speak. And you know, we would be partying and doing doing recreational drugs and all that. So I reached this point on my 35th birthday, where I was like, I can’t carry on like this, I don’t want to be a 65 year old DJ playing in bars on a Friday night. So that was when I started making changes. And I, I decided that the main culprit was DJing. So I gave up DJing, and smoking. And I didn’t even you know, start thinking about alcohol for for a couple of years after that, they started making some changes, because because I could see that, you know, this was a bit of a midpoint. And I didn’t want to continue doing this, and I was getting less, I wasn’t enjoying it. So I was getting less of that return on investment for these huge nights out that I was having, that would cost me four days of recovery, you know, I’d be still there Thursday going, Oh, my God, this is so painful. I was like, I can’t keep doing this. So from that point, on my 35th birthday, I started making a few changes, like I started getting fit, and I became a marathon runner. And I started looking into different things like I did all the personality tests you can do at work, and I didn’t Neuro Linguistic Programming course. And I was like dabbling in all these self help type areas. And then a mentor I had at work suggested meditation. So I was like, Okay, that sounds cool. This is I’m wanting to change myself, I don’t really know what I’m changing myself into, but I know I don’t want to be that Party Monster anymore. That’s not sustainable. So I, I started looking around at meditation, I tried different techniques. And, you know, as, as any of your listeners would know, if they’ve looked out there, there are lots of different styles. And I’d actually be put off meditation from about 10 years earlier, when we’ve done this. My old boss at one of my music journalism jobs, was this crazy hippie dude who in the morning, he would be like, right, everyone, we are going to meditate and he wouldn’t give us any instruction. But he would just say, close your eyes and meditate. So with no instruction, I was following the what any anyone in the street would do, which is try and clear my mind. Which is like, Okay, I’m supposed to not think and I’d be like thinking, what’s, you know, who am I going to call after this? What’s what’s, you know, what’s for dinner tonight? You know, what’s on TV, thinking all these crazy thoughts with no instruction of what I was supposed to do. So I concluded, as many people do, when they don’t learn properly, that I was no good at this, my mind was too busy to meditate. And you can imagine the scene there’s lots of like these sales guys hanging around who aren’t really paying attention to this rolling joints or throwing paper airplanes at each other. So from that, I was like, right, this isn’t for me, I can’t do this. So that kind of put me off a little bit. But then when 10 years later, I was like, okay, look, I’m gonna give this another go. I dived into it and learn that there are lots of these different techniques. I sampled as many years I could like I did a mindfulness course. And I did, staring at a candle meditation and I did the compassion meditation where I brought my beloved cat to mind and then sent all this love to myself and into my enemies and all these these different techniques. And I started to feel different. I started to have more energy, but I hadn’t found a technique that I really loved until about six months later, I found Vedic herbs. Teaching which is the technique that I now teach and the difference with Vedic meditation, I kind of felt right away. And it was more of a visceral thing where I felt myself relax. And I felt Oh, wow, this just this this is doing if I was looking for, say alcohol to do this job of relax me and make me feel comfortable in my skin, I got that kind of instantly with Vedic meditation and the way Vedic meditation works differently to say, mindfulness. So for those who don’t know much about meditation, if you’ve come across any it’s probably mindfulness. So this is breath meditation. So like the calm app, or the headspace app, and this is where you generally bring your awareness to your breath. There are other techniques, but the main one is the breath. And, and you often sit upright, and you’re often taught by monks, it’s from a monastic tradition. And that the headspace guy, for example, was a monk for 10 years. I’ve heard his story before he’s pretty. That’s pretty crazy. It’s pretty crazy, isn’t it? Yeah. Right. Yeah. He’s, someone told me the other night that my voice sounds like we’re both from the same hometown. Yeah, you do so? Well, what I discovered with Vedic meditation is that, you know, on a different lineage to that mindfulness, Buddhist tradition, there was another tradition which was characterized by being they call it a householder tradition. So if one is a monastic tradition, where you’re often taught by monks, and it’s designed for monks, this other tradition is for householders householders and householders, being, people with jobs and relationships and worldly ambitions, who aren’t, you know, tending their monastery garden all day. And I really liked how this was, was described. And rather than, you know, sitting in Lotus Pose, not that you have to sit in lotus pose for mindfulness, but it’s more of the idea of sitting up straight and using concentration and focus. With Vedic meditation, it was it’s designed to be we describe it as effortless. Now effortless, it’s easier said than done. But this is, this is what sounds good. We’re aiming at. And you know, like, you’re sitting back in your office chair, I’ve, I’ve got back on my chair, here, too. And this is what we do is we sit much more like we would to watch Netflix or read a book. And you know, you can quite reply, you don’t have your head resting back. But apart from that you super chilled. And then you rather than using the breath, we use what we call a mantra. So a mantra is a word or sound that we repeat silently in our heads, to bring us to a place of stillness. So you know, not a million miles away from the breath. So in all of these techniques, we’re basically saying, I don’t want to be in my head going, what’s going to happen at that meeting tomorrow, am I going to get fired, you know, all these things that might be going through your head and making you anxious? Now, we often speculate about the future, which is not going to be it’s not gonna be relaxing for us to speculate about, about things that haven’t happened or to ruminate on things that have happened in the past. So in all, all meditation techniques, we say, Well, look, I want to put my mind on something neutral. So the breath being something neutral. What I preferred about the mantra technique is it just seemed it seemed to work more easily for me. And it was, it was like with the breath, you can go, I can focus on my belly rising and falling, I can focus on my chest, or I can focus on the breath going in and out of my nostrils, I found that there was too many things that I could be thinking about for that. And I can also quite successfully carry on a conversation while paying attention to my breath. And I was a smoker for 20 years. So I was thinking, Oh, what is in my lungs anyways, it’s going to be all black. So what I found the mantra much more soothing. And it had much more of a, an immediate effect bringing me to this place of stillness. And the other thing with a difference between the two is that mindfulness, it takes you out of your head into your body, which is which is relaxing for you, because you’re not speculating and working yourself up. What the householder techniques like Vedic meditation do is they take you into the match of that and the match will lead you to this place of ultimate stillness inside where you what we call transcend. So you move beyond thinking into a place of pure inner stillness, which sounds pretty cool. And what the benefit of doing that and or at least even moving towards that, is that when we come out of meditation We are, we are more able to cope with things. So right we’ve we’ve instead of sitting there worrying about what might happen tomorrow instead we’ve we’ve relaxed our bodies more deeply even than when we’re sleeping. So this is a really cool fact about meditation is that the body rests in terms of its metabolic rate. So the amount you’re breathing is lower in meditation than when you’re sleeping. Which means that your body can rest that much more deeply, so that you can then be rejuvenated and top up that rest that maybe you didn’t get, because you didn’t sleep amazingly, for whatever reason, which means you can then cope with your day, much better, which means that then you’re less likely to go and grab a drink. So I learned this technique, and this was in 2014. And it really helped me cope with my life better, and started opening up different possibilities to me. And although I didn’t quit drinking, for another three years, after that, I immediately noticed a change where I didn’t have to drink. Now it was much more of a choice. And I used to be very much a people pleaser, rubber arm drinker, like if anyone wanted to go out on a Wednesday and have drinks for no reason I would be there, they wanted to do shots of you know, patrol, and I was there. And, you know, I prided myself on being the last man standing often. And I found that, you know, even because I kept a journal at the time, even the week after I learned to meditate, I was saying, A No, I’m not going to come to that, or I’m going to come I’m gonna have to soft drinks, because it’s a Wednesday, and I’ve gotten work tomorrow. And I know that I’m not going to stop at two drinks, like other people would stop at two drinks. And I’d find myself at the casino at three in the morning, because it was the only place open the drink so that that meant I was able to reduce some of that drinking. And that’s that for me. That was That was great. And that’s why I how I introduce it as a first step to people it’s like, Well, look, I’m not, you know, it’s don’t want to scare you off and say, Look, you need to quit drinking immediately. It’s like, well, let’s get rid of the drinking, that you’re not getting any benefit from, you know, let’s, let’s let’s say that people are getting benefit from some of their drinking. There’ll be some that they’re not like that midweek, up half or whole bottle of wine, which is just automatic while watching the TV. We’re going to get rid of that crappy drinking, because we’re going to give you a different tool for that. And we’re going to give you more mental clarity, because what does meditation do? It clears out all the stress in your mind. So that you are more able to take in more information, you’re more able to see the clear lay of the land, which for me meant that I was like, Well, I like this, I’m going to learn more and more about this technique. And two years later, I was like, Well, this is something I’m really passionate about. I’m not this passionate about my job. So let me let me learn how to teach it. So I learned how to teach it. And I was still drinking at this point. But I kind of cut it down to only occasionally so I might drink every two weeks. But because all of my friends are many of my friends are Brits here, too. They’re all binges. So I found it very hard to moderate. I could moderate the number of times that I drank. But I found it hard to moderate how much I drank on a night out because the the environment was very, let’s do shots with my one of my best friends is called Dr. Tequila. So his prescription was always tequila. So, so I cut down and while while I was learning to teach this technique, and then once I qualified as a teacher, I was finding ways to excite people about meditation and what I realized after I started it’s what actually no, let me let me skip back. So so a year and a half into that I then went on a meditation retreat, which was in Mexico, it was it was the year of my 40th. And I was single and I was like what to single people with a bit of money from work due on the year I was like, I’m gonna go on a meditation retreat in Mexico. So I went on this went on this retreat, and I ended up in a room, a shared room with three other guys who are all 40 That year, all single all who had this idea of let’s go and meditate, but, but what I got from that week of intense Vedic meditation was this this kind of big step change of clarity where I went, Hey, I could just not drink that would make things so much easier. And there wasn’t there was a yoga teacher on that trip. Lady called Claire Robbie, who’s who’s a kiwi Eat. And she provided the first example to me of someone who was like normal, but had chosen not to drink. So she’d given up a year before. And I was like, oh, because I didn’t have any examples of that around me like none of my friends had given up and I guess I I had the idea of you’re either an alcoholic in the gutter and then you have to give up or you just you know, knuckle down and keep going and grit and grit. Grit your teeth through those hangovers. You all know I’m a science girl and that is why I am so proud of my partnership with Sunnyside. Sunnyside has great data based on their user experience and they also have great science techniques behind what drives the program in the first place. Users of Sunnyside in their first 30 days experience on average a 29% reduction in drinks. They avoid 1500 calories and they’ve saved over $50 each month. This is because there is science behind the program. Sunnyside helps you reach your goals and stick with them long term by focusing on three scientifically proven superpowers. One is pre commitment, you intentionally make a plan ahead of time and we talk about making a plan all the time here on the podcast. Number two is conscious interference. And you’ll learn that the habit of tracking each drink helps you decide about it. Number three is positivity. We know this is not easy sometimes right? And we all need a little boost. I tried to be a boost and Sunnyside is a great boost via text message or email to keep you motivated. So if you haven’t already checked it out, I invite you www.sunnyside.co/molly To get started on a free 15 day trial today. So we had this week of not drinking and this was in New Year in 2017 2018. And then I got back to Sydney. And I was like, Okay, well, I could easily just go back into my normal drinking here. But I’m just going to try not drinking for a few more weeks. Like I felt so good. I felt amazing after this weekend, just this idea of having a possibility of not having to have those four day hangovers. And I was also feeling it was a little bit incompatible with my new kind of meditation teacher vibe to be like, yeah, sometimes I get battered. And I stay up till eight in the morning. It’s like it didn’t it didn’t align with with what I was doing. So So I guess it had given me this clarity to break out of these old habits. And then I had this role model of this lady Claire, who was a normal person who just decided not to because she preferred it and she had more energy. So I did a dry January in 2018, which is a bit of a weird thing to do in Australia because it was the middle of the summer. Yeah, right. It’s yeah, you guys usually do dry July or think that there’s more the Yeah, try to like so we did try January and that. In that month I saw I did a dry genuine. We have Australia Day here, which I guess is like Fourth of July, which is a big boozy thing. I also had a wedding that I went to in New Zealand at the end of that month, I was like, Okay, well, I’ve done these big, what would have been drinking things and I got through them. And I just decided to push it on. And then that next month, I had a few other things like I went on a ski holiday in, in Japan and it was like karaoke, and these, you know, big boozy nights, I got through all of those. And I was like, well hang on, if I can do all these things like specifically those Australia Day, a wedding and a ski holiday, I can get through those. And I enjoyed them when I didn’t, you know, I didn’t ruin myself from drinking, that really inspired me to keep going. And then through that process of stopping I was writing about writing about my journey because I’ve had been journalist so and I found that people were really interested, much more interested in like giving up drinking story than they had been in just a pure meditation thing because there’s a certain amount of people who would be interested in pure meditation, but when I tied it in with, with drinking and how it helped me, you know, up in, you know, some of those jobs that went to alcohol could now be done with with meditation. I got lots of interest around that and decided to, to start presenting meditation in this way and it’s like, people will get all these other benefits from meditation, but it’s a way of getting people in so as meditation teachers were always like, you know, if If I’m in a corporate thing, I’ll be like, you know, this is good for helping you see clearly how the business is performing, performing. Or if I’m speaking for athletes, it’s like, well, this is your way of getting a competitive edge over your competitors. So there’s always like a way, in that, then everyone will get all the benefits of meditation. So over the last five years, since I quit, I’ve been building a program around this where it’s meditation is at the foundation of it. And, you know, giving other people other ways of looking at drinking and moderating and thinking about their limiting beliefs and all those those other psychological ways of looking at drinking. But having is why because I was like, Well look, as a meditation teacher, what what am I? What’s my speciality? And if we think of experts, being people who’ve got 10,000 hours, experience, I was like, I’ve definitely got 10,000 hours of drinking experience. I’m an expert. I can relate to that. Yeah, I definitely had that. That number. Yeah. So that really made me think that, you know, I can I can offer real value here by, you know, using meditation as a way to to help people change their relationship with alcohol. And since doing that I’ve run, I have a recorded version of my course that, you know, 1000s of people have done and then I also do live online groups, which then brings into play the whole community aspect, which, you know, many other programs have shown the value of that of people going on the same journey, but I guess, yeah, my speciality is saying, Look, all those things are great community works, thinking about your why all of those things work, we will do all of those. But we will say look, we’re going to get you meditate as well, because that’s going to really make it so much easier for you. So if we, if we’re changing our thinking, we could think of that as being that’s a software update, if we want to give like a computer analogy, whereas meditation is going to give you a hardware update as well. And, you know, so there’s been many studies into meditation, but the one that I liked the most is this 2012 study from Harvard, where this, this professor called Sarah Lazar, she had all these kind of yoga friends who were talking about, you know, anecdotally talking about the benefits of meditation, yoga, and meditation. And and she was like, yes, but is it actually doing anything, physically? So she wanted, she’s a neuroscientist. So she wanted to look at the brain, and to say, Well, look, is it just a placebo? Or are you just, you know, making yourself feel better by by ticking this box. And what she found over eight weeks of people meditating was that there were these distinct changes in the brain, which links to what I’m talking about hardware changes. And those, you know, I’m not a neuroscientist, I’m not going to describe this perfectly. But in a very simple way, two parts of the brain changed. One of which is that the prefrontal cortex, which is the part of the top of your cortex around here, all the time, we see, you know, I’m talking about so with, with the meditators, they, they, their prefrontal cortex got thicker. So more more neurons, like we’re making that wise part of our brain thicker, we’re empowering that part. And we’re upgrading the hardware there. And the other part that changed was the amygdala, which is the fight or flight part of the brain, part of the lizard brain, which is more the Instant Gratification Monkey. So I talk about the wise monkey and the Instant Gratification Monkey that got smaller. So over that eight, eight week period, people were changing their brains to have more of that part of the brain that helps them make good decisions and think about future consequences. And things like that, and less of that instant gratification, survival instinct part of their brain. So that if you lay that on top of a desire to drink less, you’re going to be much more empowered to do that. Plus, you know, the software update of changing your limiting beliefs and having your why and having the community is a real, really powerful package to help people on their way. Yeah, this is awesome. Yeah, I agree. I mean, we do that’s kind of what I talk about all the time over here is that software update, but also that yeah, we have to be able to improve the, the hardware the the brain itself, and we can actually do that by doing things like meditation, doing other positive, you know, I talk about positive brain health, all sorts of different ways. Whether it’s taking walks outside because honestly, there’s there’s, again, science that shows that the power of being outside and sunlight is really good for us. All of these kinds of things. Exercise. We talked about, you talked about fitness. I mean, again, it’s one of those things cardio, it’s good for your heart. It’s good for your brain. Right? So, all of this, it matters. And tell people Rory, where they can find you? Where’s the easiest place to connect with where I can sell it? Yeah, so the first place to start is wise monkey way. dot.com. So just check wise monkey weighing Google and you will find everything I offer. Yeah, and you can also find me on Instagram. There’s Rory Kinsler meditation, I have some free trial things you can go for. So if you go to wise monkey, where I do a mini masterclass, which is three meditations to let you try this. And part of the first one is to say, look, allow yourself to be bad at this, like, I wouldn’t turn up golf range and expect to be amazing. They want it’s like it’s giving yourself permission to be bad. Like, you’re, you’re going to be new at this. So allow yourself to be bad, because that helps you progress. And the way we judge success is not through whether you could get some idealized version of what you think meditation is, but how did it make you feel afterwards? Like the when people do their first class with me, I also teach in person here in Sydney. Is that Well, how do you feel? How do you feel after and they will was I feel great, I feel really calm, so great. You can feel like that much more often. Let’s put one of those in the morning and one of those in the evening. That’s the ideal way to do it, and then see how your life changes, you know, set intentions around drinking. But number one is prioritize meditation, that’s going to make a huge difference, because it’s just not compatible. Those those kinds of behaviors aren’t compatible with the kind of consciousness that you generate. Through meditating regularly, like, it’s very rare that you would see a long term meditator who was a heavy drinker, or smoker, or had, you know, lots of other bad habits, because it’s just not compatible, because you can see too clearly. So, if we prioritize daily meditation, we’re going to get to that, but to get people in the door, so we’ll just try it, you know, see, see how it makes you feel you can put your feet up, you can, you know, practice this effortless technique where you’re not judging yourself for how you’re performing. But you’re saying, Well, look, did I feel calm afterwards? And on your I think it may be on your main website, I saw it to you actually, you actually have like a hangover meditation. So if people have not gotten to that point yet where they’re needing a little bit of help with over drinking still, there, there’s a resource for that, too. Yeah, yeah. So you can, it’s on YouTube, you can just type in hangover meditation or anxiety, meditation, that was one of my, one of my early breakthroughs that that made me think Well, hey, people are interested in this. Like, it’s got 60,000 views or something. And it actually got picked up all over the world by various media organizations, because ice, it was like, it was kind of who’s this stupid meditation teacher saying that you can cure your hangover in 11 minutes, I was like, Well, I didn’t say you could completely cure it. Like, if you’re feeling sick, you’re still going to feel sick, but it’s going to make you feel a lot better. And going to remove the guilt and the shame that you might be feeling and start to, you know, remove those some of those psychological aspects and make you feel calmer. It’s not going to stop. Your liver will still have to process what it’s got. If you can still get that yeah, that’s good. This has been a blast. Rory, thank you so much for being here. And I know that many of my my listeners are going to check you out and check out the wise monkey way. I will link everything in the show notes, folks. So no worries. And Rory can sell I have a great afternoon evening, I think right? Yeah. Thank you very much. It’s been a pleasure talking to you. Thank you for listening to the alcohol minimalist podcast. This podcast is dedicated to helping you change your drinking habits and to create a peaceful relationship with alcohol. Use something you learned in today’s episode and apply it to your life this week. Transformation is possible. You have the power to change your relationship with alcohol. Now, for more information, please visit me at www dot Molly watts.com