April 9, 2022

E264: How alcohol impacts your future with Karolina Rzadkowolska | CPTSD and Trauma Coach

In this episode, I am joined by Karolina Rzadkowolska, and we talked about how alcohol impacts your future and its benefits. Karolina is a certified alcohol-free life coach who helps powerful women make alcohol insignificant in their lives.
See show notes at: https://www.thinkunbrokenpodcast.com/e264-how-alcohol-impacts-your-future-with-karolina-rzadkowolska-cptsd-and-trauma-coach/#show-notes

In this episode, I am joined by Karolina Rzadkowolska, and we talked about how alcohol impacts your future and its benefits.

Karolina is a certified alcohol-free life coach who helps powerful women make alcohol insignificant in their lives. She’s worked with thousands of clients through her online courses and coaching to change their drinking habits and unleash a new level of health, happiness, and potential to go after their biggest dreams.

This is such an amazing conversation.

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Michael: Hey! What's up, Unbroken Nation! Hope that you're doing well wherever you are in the world today. Super excited to be back with another episode of the Think Unbroken Podcast with my guess Karolina Rzadkowolska, she has a certified alcohol free life coach who helps empower women to make alcohol insignificant in their lives which I think is a beautiful mission. Welcome my friend, how are you today?

Karolina: Michael, it felt so good to be on your show, thank you for the gracious welcome, I'm super excited for our conversation today.

Michael: So I think about this all the time and I've had my own ebb flows with alcohol and most importantly what I think about is typically it starts off in this place where it's something that people lean in towards because of helps satiate, get rid of, hide mask, pain, right? However, it is that you wanna step into that. So I’m really curious before we go into too deep into this conversation today, tell us a little bit about your story and how you got tell where you are today.

Karolina: Yeah it's so interesting that you start there because like – we all are initiated into this alcohol, you know, living in the society we live in like unless you grow up in Saudi Arabia or places where literally consumption isn't normal like we all deal with this. It's all something that is brought to us in our younger years for myriad of different needs and reasons, right? Like we could start drinking to feel like we wanna fit in, we could start drinking to feel like we're independent or adult or rebellious or that it is helping masks and insecurities, it's a time within securities and just transitions in like when alcohol is introduced to us. And what I really find is that we pick up these habits when we're like seventeen, eighteen, twenty-one, doesn't matter and then we kind of don't really look at them ever again we're just drinkers to the rest of our lives so something really bad happens you know. And that's kind of not how my story went like a lot of times we hear about the very problem drinker the person who you know hits rock bottom, as a DUI is just severely severely severely over drinking and they really have to quit and therefore become an alcoholic and therefore go to AA and therefore be in recovery for the rest of their lives. And that's kind of the story that I always heard around alcohol, if that wasn't your story then you drink like if you weren't an alcoholic then you drink that's just what normal adults did.

So as I was trying to find myself in that kind of extreme between the two ends, I had a lot of just doubt and insecurities about my relationship with alcohol. I was someone who party a lot when I was younger when I was in college and grade school I had no boundaries around alcohol, I was drinking almost every day going out every night like it was just free for all. And then something happened to me though when I started to get older in my mid twenties. I wanted to settle down, I wanted to be or responsible, I wanted to be a healthy adult, I wanted to have boundaries around alcohol in my life and so I was really intentional about making those. I saved drinking for the weekend, so instead of being something I did on a Tuesday night with the bar scene you know it was okay I'll go to a dinner party on Saturday and maybe sushi knight like all these kind of normal drinking occasions that adults have. And I just figured that if I could make alcohol small enough, if I could just compartmentalize to the weekend there wouldn't be a problem with it in my life. And basically I lived in what I called this moderation illusion for years and so every Monday I woke up with the best intentions, I was like this is gonna be, the my best week, I'm gonna be so healthy, I'm going to eat so well, I'm gonna be super productive and I kind of live that pattern for a few days until obviously it was Thursday or Friday and then drinking came out you know and leaving me every Monday then feeling super depressed super physically unwell really like all the steps I've made forward with my productive week it was like I was now five steps backwards. I just couldn't quite figure it out, I was like wait a minute isn't this what everybody's doing? Isn't this like work hard play hard like the whole point? And I couldn't quite figure out what I was doing wrong with alcohol and I kept trying to drink less you know like if I could just get under this many drinks a week and if I could just, you know it doesn't matter like what I tried I still woke up feeling behind, so woke up feeling like it wasn't serving me but I just had these like I didn't have an examples of people deciding that just because something is normal for other people doesn't mean it like does serves , you know, I just had these extreme examples. But finally I heard a dry January and you know dry January is a month that many people elect to take a break from alcohol and obviously it's could be done out of health or all that kind of stuff and I was like there it is ; there's my excuse. I always wanted to take a break from alcohol but I felt like there's always a social occasion on my calendar that completely prevented it, you couldn't fathom them, going to the wedding or the dinner party and not drinking there because I thought that well that's going to mean something bad about me, you know, that's going to signal two people, some bad story that I didn't want them to think. But January was my excuse and so I tried it and I basically fell in love like I slept so well, so deeply, I just had so much more presence, I was healthier, I was playing a lot of board games with my husband, just doing kind of new things and getting really comfortable in my skin. And that February, I actually I did go back to drinking because I was like well I'm an adult, I can't just not drink like my brain could not compute that and so I drink a few times and it wasn't even that much but like the moment I had to drink my mood shifted like I was super appreciative and feeling a lot of gratitude in all and I wasn't drinking and just like one or two drinks in I'd get frustrated, cranky even start little fights with my husband and I was like holy shit this is not what I thought it was. Like I don't like this at all and I kind of that contrast really gave me the confidence to say like I don't want this anymore and it wasn't like a black and white decision at that point but I decided to take another break, it's gonna be another thirty day break. But four years later here I am and honestly my life exploded in the best possible ways. The confidence I got from like working on my achilles heel and smashing it every single day winning you know over this vice I had, it really we rebuilt myself esteem which was literally crumbled at that time because I always let myself down, I always broke promises to myself.

I rebuilt that self esteem, I got that confidence and I was like holy shit if I could do this, I could do anything like what else have have been telling myself I can't do? And so in a really short time in just a few months, I completely got out of my comfort zone, I launched a business. I never thought I could be an entrepreneur. I was like an entrepreneur is like a white guy from the Silicon Valley who's like a tech genius, right? Who gets like venture capital money like I was like the shy foreign kid like I just in my mind, I never thought I could do something like that.

So, I launched a business, I always wanted to be an author, I was always wanted right books but I never wrote basically I just didn't have the discipline or the courage to do it. I wrote the first draft of my book in that year, I pushed my body to like new limits, I ran a half marathon believing literally that if I ever ran that far in my life my heart would stop. And so it was just this defiance of all these limiting beliefs I previously put on myself that I was like no like literally anything is possible for my life and it was so incredible and so like so much growth that I had in that year that like I just became obsessed with sharing that message with other people. Because my story is really not that a typical like I have now worked and encountered hundreds of not thousands of people who have done the same thing, they made this one change – one change where they remove the thing that's not serving them in their life and like their dream lines come cascading towards them obviously there's a lot of work involved but it's just this incredible lever I think that we can push. And I don't think we really talk about alcohol on our society enough and so that's kind of my backstory and why I do what I do because this isn't like just for people who identify with having a severe problem like alcohol is a presence in our world no matter who you are you know what I mean and being able to be really insightful and curious about it, I can it's one of the healthiest things you could do for your growth and your health and so it's kind of where I come from and that's where this message lands on.

Michael: Yeah, I resonate with a lot of that. I think particularly what comes to mind is looking back on my own journey and alcohol was it's everywhere and look, everyone knows I talk about in the show, I'm not a drinker I just don't drink frequently like even right now I woke up weeks and weeks or I'm just not gonna drink, I don't know, tell when, I don't know doesn't matter right? It's about making the choice and decision for yourself. But I recall being in my mid twenties working in corporate America, being in this position where I just had access to really do whatever I wanted and alcohol just being like such a precursor for all activity, all friendship, and all interaction, all community, literally all every like I go back now it's well over a decade ago I'm getting older but I go back to them and I just sit and I think and I'm like shit like when was alcohol not a part of my experience from thirteen until basically twenty six years old, dove to like my first legitimate break and I sat down one day and I calculated which this you wanna really get fucked up. Calculate how much money you spend on alcohol and blow your mind and I recognized in this calculation I spent like over a hundred and fifty thousand dollars on alcohol, right? Think about how much your life changes with a hundred and fifty thousand dollars and that led me to this place in my life, I was like oh interesting, I've gotta to navigate this from another direction. But so much of it you know in the beginning there's was push back. People like don't do this, don't do that, you know if you come to bar just drink, do a shot, it's fine man, it's cool and I just like nah I'm good. And I watched the dis anticipation of relationships, of friendships, of social contracts, right? And what I'm curious about from your perspective is you know how do you navigate your social life especially with confidence without drinking while having this idea of you know fear of missing out, of being the outsider kid, of judgment, of shame, of guilt, all the things that come along with making that choice?

Karolina: Yeah that's such a good question. Because I think like that's where our biggest kind of objections come from. Like you're right, it's a social convention, it's a cultural norm, it's like the standard this is just what you do. If you live in this time, in place in the world and it's really hard to see outside of that box, it's kind of like unplugging from the matrix to see a bigger picture. But I really think it's kind of twofold you know one is really getting the confidence to socialize as the real you and two is to really get the confidence to also not worry about what other people think. And so personally like I'm an introvert, I grew pretty shy like English was not my first language and so when I first started drinking alcohol you know pretty regularly, I was in high school and I remember it being like this magical you know like oh this is the drink I drink and then I become bubbly and talkative and like a butterfly, like a social butterfly you know. And I absorbed that message that I needed alcohol to socialize like through the whole decade of my twenties you know. I never went anywhere with socializing where like drinking wasn't involved either you know what I mean like kind of you were sharing like, alcohol was always there and I felt really insecure kind of in myself and I felt also really insecure as a drinker too because it was like oh great well what did I say last night and did I have too many in front of them, did I have wine teeth. And so what I really realized with a lot of kind of introspection is that like I was telling my subconscious over and over and over again. You are not enough, you need to have a drink in order to be likable, to be relatable, to be interesting for people to want to talk to. And that was the message I was telling myself every single time, I felt in insecure and reached for a drink at a party like you are just as you are authentically, your spirit-your human is not enough you need a drink to be better. And I didn't understand all this, right? I didn't know that that's that was the deeper kind of core my motivation but I realized when I went alcohol free like learning how to be confident and comfortable in my own skin, as I am, no masks, no false artificial questions was paramount to my personal growth and it kept fell awkward at first obviously you know it can't feel awkward at first the first two times you do it. But there is like a real spirit inside of you that you just need to unleash and like really work on that personal growth challenge. I think the second thing is twofold is then it's like okay well it's not just about being confident without alcohol, we also then live in the world that expects you to drink when you go to these occasions you know and unfortunately we've put such a a divide between this idea of normal drinkers and problem drinkers that like if you want to be considered normal and you drink and if you want to be considered a problem you know that's the people who aren't drinking, right? Like that's the way we think of it so most of my clients will immediately think like well what are people gonna think of me? I work with a lot of health conscious women who are in a very similar boat to me like they're drinking maybe over drinking past the health guidelines but it's not like they have vodka hidden in their closet you know and they're scared that if they don't show up and drink at certain occasions that's what people will think, you know, that they were literally like cage from leaving Las Vegas and nobody wants people making up these horrible stories in their head. And we just have such a huge social pressure around it like everybody loves dogs, everybody has children and everybody drinks, right? You kind of go out of that now those little things we've all agreed on and you're kind of the rebel or the outcast. So obviously we do worry about what people think but as you know any entrepreneur anyone who's ever done anything risky their life or taking a different path like sometimes you have to take the road less traveled to be able to you know really achieve like your best self. And it's really interesting, I wrote a book about this and I did a lot of research on my kind of and motivations in the states and upwards of fifty two percent of all people actually want to drink less or not at all and around sixty percent of drinkers drink way above the health guidelines. So I'm sure the percentage of people who just drink even a little bit above the health guidelines combined with the way above the health guidelines we're talking like ninety percent of all drinkers. Most people aren't doing it, most people are over drinking and most people wish they weren't, right?

So when you go to a party and you're the one that's not drinking you are the one who's ordering a mock tail that night or getting sparkling water and wake up really feeling amazing, half the people in the room actually wish that they were doing what you were doing but they just don't have the bravery or the courage or the introspection to do it yet. And I think knowing that can be so powerful because you're no longer the outcast, you're the role model, you're the inspire, you're the leader like the greatest movers and shaker and our society don't drink or drink so infrequently like you it doesn't matter, you know what I mean? Tony Robbins doesn't drink, Deepak Chopra doesn't drink, Gabby Burns, Brenè Brown like the people who both of the presidents of the last eight years don't drink you know, whether side you're on like they became president for a reason, right? They're both non drinkers and so it's so interesting to me to really align it as this like power move and something that other people want that you're actually doing. And so when act poorly or they're controlling your want, it comes from such a deep insecurity and their own drinking that it's actually nothing to do with you, it really isn't and you're just holding up a mirror to other people's behavior. And I think as you continue growing as you have you know you find that like the people who think a bar until 2 A.M. is fun every night, they kinda start falling off your radar like you wanna be with the movers and the shaker of the world, the people who are really making an impact in doing and making a difference and it's really cool how you can start attracting more of those type of people into your spear if the other ones kind of aren't working anymore.

Michael: Yeah and I think a lot about that also is like recognizing alignment with who it is that you are and this is indoctrination not drinking and it's not you know it's not violence against drinkers that's not what this conversation is. But it's about looking at and contemplating the impact that it has on your life if you're this person who's sitting in the room on the other side looking at the non drinker and going man, I wish I could figure out how to navigate that, right? That's what this is about because I think about being in these positions where man, I would drink be on this space of like black out because I blacked out that one time and all of drinking it was the first time I drank to tequila, I was nineteen years old, I did like three or four shots anna margarita because I was like I assume this is how you do this, right? Because I'd only ever drink like fucking wine coolers and beer up to that point because I never have access to anything else and I never knew what to get at the store when it's in the store except for E&J which was a disgusting brandy. And so in this position all have that moment that experience and then I started thinking about okay cool, I'm gonna party in a way that I can just be drunk for extended periods of time and never get to the moment in which I forget anything and that's how I existed in that scope for probably the next six years and you talk about looking at it from a health perspective I was exhausted, I couldn't think straight, I was making poor decisions across the board and all avenues of my life and I was using this drinking as an excuse for when I would do something really fucking dumb which I assure you I've done a lot of fucking dumb things. And now I look at it as whether it's a celebration or a glass of wine here or there it's a part of my experience still. I think one of the things is because it is so catalyze in this idea that if you drink and you stop or you move in a different direction you're probably an addict or you need AA or whatever that thing may be you know that stigma carries with it a tremendous amount of weigh. And I think the thing that people don't understand which is what I did not understand at the time which now I do of course is that I was leveraging drinking as a coping mechanism, it was there for stress, it was for the upheaval of the chaos of my life and had I had other things like journal and meditation whatever, maybe we had a different story. If you're this person and you're on the other side of the room and you're like I wish I have the bravery or courage with your words there about being able to step into tapping into sobriety to see what it feels like because I've been so removed from it for so long but I know that drinking seems to be my coping mechanism. How else do you deal with stress? How else do you find something healthy as an alternative?

Karolina: Yeah that's a good question. And you know what I share that statistic about the percentage of people who wanna plus or not at all and and whoever drink not to be like look at these you know, these people don't have figured out but more so like this is everyone's problem, this is we grow up to think that alcohol only affects a few people negatively and most people just drink normally like that's not what any studies or any statistics really show us about this, right? This is how most people feel about alcohol like feeling like you can't figure out or can't get it right or don't know the elusive balance of alcohol in your life to feel productive and healthy that is everyone who drinks like that is what they experience. And I really love to get down to the science of alcohol because it's not you that's the problem, it's not you that can't figure it out, it's not you that's doing it wrong is literally how alcohol functions on the human brain and the body. And what you mentioned here is really great because like we do I mean there's such a culture around it that we have such stressful lives, we have such stressful days and then alcohol is like the release at the end of the day it's the way you can relax, it's the way you can kind of like go and turn off and that has been so ingrained our culture we have like obviously cocktail hour, now it's called mommy juice for mon like it is this pervasive thing that alcohol relaxes you at the end of the day. And the thing is that like when you look at it you know, I believe that too like I believe that alcohol call the signal to my brain to relax and so when you really look into the science of it though. When it comes to alcohol effect on the human body, it's a depress. So it slows down our neurons, it slows down the way that our brain can function, it kind of numb our experience and so we take that as a signal of relaxation but at the same time our body is this like really delicate machine and it has a process to counteract that. So alcohol will actually then induce the release of your own body's mechanism of releasing stress hormones. So you'll release cortisol, adrenaline and another chemical called diamorphine, anytime you drink. Diamorphine know it's kind of like the opposite of endorphins and makes you feel pretty low and depressed. And this happens usually a few hours after drinking you feel it the most that's why most people have those like three or four A.M. wake up calls like they literally got shot with the adrenaline and like your sleep is super fragmented it's hard to fall asleep. And then obviously a lot of people feel the next day even if you didn't drink that much like it's like this hanging anxiety over you; you can't think very clearly, you feel a little bit lower, you feel like you have more stress in your life. So physiological, alcohols actually tied to anxiety on a molecular level in the human body it is did not relax it does not actually you know relax that human body at all. I'm kind of learning that really helped me understand like oh my gosh, it's like turning my brain off for a second it's like going into a coma but it's not actually anything you know what I mean? And I think it's such an interesting conversation because we have this such a strong idea that alcohol relaxes us and yet physiological it's just doing the complete opposite to our bodies it produces more anxiety, it produces more rumination, like thoughts of recommendations just like the monkey mine goes crazy you know after night of drinking really and so like how is any of that relaxing. And when I first took my break I really had to learn like okay it's not about taking away your treat it's not about like you know you don't deserve to turn off at the end of the day it's about finding stuff that actually works and that you like a lot better and that isn't maybe as fast with the immediate gratification but it's like planting a seed, you learn to meditate or you learn to work out or you learn to journal and process your feelings.

The thing is like for me most of the reasons why I wanted to drink after work was like if felt pretty stressed, I just wanted to turn off and I always couldn't wait for the weekend you know and I didn't realize that these feelings I had of restless frustration, stress boredom kept drinking over them right, I never got to heal them process them and understand what they're really trying to teach me. When I took my break from alcohol you know obviously some of these feelings were still there and I had to lean it and like I had to process them, I had to understand okay, what is this restless trying to teach me and I really fundamentally recognized like I'm not fulfilled with my career, I don't feel like I'm doing what I was meant to do on this planet. I'm bored; I'm literally bored, I might be super stressed doing a ton of stuff that I don't care about, right? And so that emotion of actually letting myself feel boredom, I'm letting myself feel restless or stress let me shift my life in ways that really aligned with my values and my vision.

I think the emotions really work like that for us like they come up for us to teach us something, to show us where we need to make a shift in our lives, to show us what needs to be healed and what needs to be processed not for something to just like squash down to keep pushing down, to keep distracting over or numbing over. You know there's a a writer Deputy Ford she passed a few years ago but she's used to have this analogy that like all our lives you know we're told not to feel our emotions like don't cry, don't make a scene you know, don't get excited like this is stuff we hear in our childhood and obviously whenever even taught healthy coping mechanisms for most of us and so we do that we like push them down and it's almost like we're treading water in this like in this ocean and we have these giant beach balls that were trying to keep submerged under the water and we're trying to tread the water and keep the beach balls you know underwater and maybe we have the energy to do it like in our twenties maybe even up until our thirties but eventually like we will tire out. And it's like this beautiful process like what if you just let those beach balls go, what if you just let them come to your surface, process them heal them, and let them go and if there's incredible shifts that might happen in your life as a result of it like what a beautiful thing. If you feel frustrated for example every single day because your partner doesn't do enough around the house and you take care of the kids and you have the job and you know like that emotion should not be distracted or numb away that that emotion is telling you like okay we need a boundary here, we need a conversation like things need to change, right? And I think it's so easy to just want to just distract like I said the uncomfortable but it's the most uncomfortable emotions that help us really process. So you know journaling like you mentioned is such a great tool to get into that you know and really uncover like; why do I have a craving? why do I have a need to just like turn off at this moment? And really kind of uncover what the underlying feeling is there meditation, exercise really good. I love personally also like watching a sunset like such a beautiful ritual for me it's the evening like it totally tells my brain like you know be alive, just be alive to the beauty of the world every day, there's miracles like nothing petty that happened today matters, you know what I mean? Like watch this beautiful sunset.

And also lastly there are thousand upon thousands of alternate drinks now on the market like there's so many cool crafty drinks that don't have alcohol in them whether it's alcohol free like wines or like soft cocktails with ginger and pineapple and there's stuff with new topics, their stuff with adaptive, there's so many things. So you still decompress over a drink, you can still signal the end of the workday with a drink you know like wanting something to treat yourself or something special in the form of a beverage isn't like a wrong desire just choose something without ethanol all in it you know and see how that works because oftentimes we have a placebo effect anyways you know still being able to treat yourself at the end of a long day. It's like not about deprivation here whatsoever it's about really finding something that works and then obviously too you don't away of feelings and wake up feeling worse aware, you actually did something proactive about it or are you really relaxed your body be able to handle it later. So those are some of the coping mechanisms I love in use and like I said alternate drinks are I love even just like a spin drift I'm not sure if you're familiar with those but I love those and it's again not about deprivation just being like really curious about like leaning into my feelings and even with taking a break from alcohol it's not forever, it's not black and white thing like if this speaks your interest ready when listening like just try it, just experiment with it, just see what it feels like for a little bit.

Michael: Yeah. Here's what I think about a lot of that it's like you're going against your own programming, your own conditioning, there is nothing more effect in the world than alcohol marketing because it's literally everywhere all the time and all circumstances and when you understand that and that you've been effectively programmed into it can you argue against that conditioning? It's the same as a placebo effect, you go through, you do the same thing as all the other people you have the assumption that thing is happening, there's actually been studies that prove you can get from a placebo effect drunk, like it is can happen, right? And so you know drunk with them one the contacts that exist. One of the things that you hit on that that I wanna dive in a little bit deeper as in these moments of sobriety is you get to understand and know yourself better, you get to have this closer view and vision into who you are, there is clarity that comes with just stepping away whether you're sober for a week a month, a year of the rest of your life, I don't think it matters. What I do think is interesting is that there's clarity to be had in that moment and in that moment is yes it is uncomfortable and yes, it awkward and yes, you're gonna learn things about yourself and I've had the experiences in my own personal life and people I have coach where they're like man, I was sober for x amount of time and I started having these things called feelings and emotions and responses and I stopped being reactive and I started being proactive and more importantly I started thinking about what it was that I wanted to create in my life, what I wanted to build, what I wanna do, who I wanna be, how I wanna be it because I had clarity and fore thought and insight to myself that was not cloud. Because look at the end of the day, one of the things you have to recognize like alcohol is poison like any vice that you have in your life there is an aspect of poisoning happening from a biological standpoint maybe; maybe not it depends on what you're into but ultimately through that you get cleared, right? You step away from it and boom it's you're cleansing yourself effectively that's what I think about, that's how I step into it.

One of the big reasons that before the nights before recording podcast, being on stage, if I'm writing, if I'm deep into something emotional I'm not drinking, I’m not touching it, it's not even on the table and more so if I'm in a phase of building like I am right now not gonna happen for months when it does, I don't know maybe it'll be a celebration after a milestone who knows that's up to me to figure out. But in that one of the things that I'm really curious about that I know that you talk about is how removing alcohol from your life can actually help you achieve your goals? I'd love to know more insight about that.

Karolina: Yeah. I think you described it really well. It's like this clarity that you get is really key. So alcohol is like a chemical cocktail in our brain and it's so interesting because like this just isn't common knowledge it's not anything I knew before but alcohol can really twist our feelings and emotions it actually like completely lowers your happiness neurotransmitters in your brain and then it's pumping up those stress hormones that I was talking about earlier like cortisol and adrenaline so like your feelings aren't like necessarily even when you're drinking. And a lot of the thoughts that come with it to it it just it harbors a lot more room for that inner critic and just like negative thinking it really can. So you remove that from your life and you know personally I'd drink every weekend since I was eighteen like without any exception I had no idea what my natural state felt like so when I removed alcohol out of my life all of a sudden I'm getting this like natural joy because my neurotransmitters are rebalancing, like my dopamine, my serotonin, my gap is going up and then all those stress hormones are going down. I have so much more clarity because of that like I can really lean into things I have presence, I have patience, I have just so much more or awake in alive to my life. And I think there's something to be said also with your intuition that really comes into play because I think for many of us you know when we are engaging in the vice when we're definitely like doing something for too long or too much that we know like isn't serving us like we get this voice coming from our intuition like you're made for more or like you are bigger than this or you deserve to live life better than this or whatever that voice is telling you; it's telling you there's more there's more than this mary ground you're playing this small that's happening right now and we get so good at ignoring that voice we're just like no, not today don't bother me here. And it's so loud in the early morning it's like after a night of drinking that's when it's like really loud like come on Karolina, like we deserve better. And for so long, I was just ignoring that voice and so just the active finally listening to that voice just taking a shot at listening to that deep knowing that noon that wisdom that new that this would exclude my life in the best possible way, it strengthen this really cool connection with my intuition so I listened to it, right? And then what was really cool after that it started speaking to me more and I started hearing more messages, more signs. Like I told you go my idea of an entrepreneur was like a tech genius valley guy, I didn't even imagine ever launching a business myself you know and even if I were to contemplate it like I didn't know what it would be or what I would do and like I had this flash of inspiration just like something hit me from somewhere else like the divine it was crazy I never thought about it before. And all of a sudden one afternoon I created a website, I had actually my entire book like outlined like what the chapters would be that are now coming out four years later, I had this entire vision that just struck me from somewhere and it was such this like this belief that not only is it the clarity, not only is it the intuition, not only is it your creativity that really starts coming out because like a lot of the drink out of boredom it's like what you do in the evening you're on the weekends and when you actually allow yourself; you allow yourself to get creative, you allowed yourself to innovate to do new things, create something to build something and I think lastly you get this confidence because you can go after your achilles heel like you can smash it every single day and and especially when you start going longer stretches that you've never done before. If you've never drink if you've never not drinking on the weekend the first time you do that you're like I did it, I'm a badass you know and then you do like two weekends or you do a month or you do fifty days and you're like who is this person like this is so incredible it's kind of like running you know like the first time you run a mile or two you're like, yeah I got this and then you run five miles and you're like well I'm not like an athlete now look at me and then you run a half marathon and you're like holy shit I'm like super woman. So it's the same kind of cascading of confidence I think that goes to show you like if I can do this, anything is possible. So you kind of take that mix of all these your gifts in your life and it really helps you know what you want most because trust me at the end of it the day we don't want a glass of alcohol as the biggest most important thing in our life like it's just a beverage, it is not the most important thing we want such deeper things in our life. We want to fulfill our purpose and our destiny we wanna have meaning, we wanna have connection, we wanna have impact, we want those things and sometimes we don't know what we want until we really go on this personal growth journey to kind of take away the distraction, take away the things that we're occupying our time before and really give us the space to discover what we want most. And then honestly it comes becomes easy because for me it's like you know fermented beverage at the end of the day versus my biggest unit's coming true like I know which one I'm gonna pick, right? And it's not just me like this has happened to so many people where they either remove alcohol or like their drinking identity like just like not really a thing anymore and could be occasional it could be whatever it is. But it's not the sole focus of their identity anymore and like magic happens in their life.

And so I just think that's why I do what I do like I don't care what people drink at the end of the day, you know, I'm not like here preaching about alcohol or not like I just want people to be alive and awake to the profound of their one life and for some reason when it comes to alcohol like I've just seen the most incredible transformations. You remove that one thing, you experiment with a break, you try it and like miracles happen on the other side.

Michael: Yeah and that is so much, again to not harp on it, because of clarity because you can have these intuitive conversations with yourself, because you can write down goals and face the things that are on the other side of your fear and you can step in the greatness and there's space here like do you live your life like that's what it's about at the end of the day. You have to make your decision for yourself but I think about this often about the consideration like can you just consider this, right? Nobody's saying right or wrong, fuck, I don't know, I don't know anything about anything I always say that but I do know this like I'm willing to see what's on the other side of challenging myself and on the other side of that challenge you don't know what's gonna happen and it's easy for people to I'll say this… if you and I were having this conversation ten years ago I would dismiss this entire thing like you're out fucking mind like whatever you don't know anything, I'm gonna go party with my friends. And then you discover something really interesting in that which is that like that lifestyle, if that's the lifestyle you wanna have; you have to take into consideration what you're giving up like there are an ebb flow to life, there is a sacrifice for everything that you gain you must be willing to give something up. And I think about it like this, it's like the snooze button, when you hit the snooze button in the morning and someone told me this and it was very profound said you're snoozing on your dreams. I think that applies to drinking to an extent like if you wanna go out and party on Friday and Saturday nights instead of building the business and the dream that you have, instead of time with the kids, instead of all the other things that you could be doing that have a massive amount of alignment with the future that you want to create, you have to ask yourself am I willing to give that up? Because if you are, fine. I mean I'm not here to argue with that and I don't think neither of us are here to convince you of what you should or should not be doing it's it's very much red pill – blue pill. And so in that there's literally green pin on my desk gonna cut. So red pill blue pill and when you think about that and you look at that and you go like is this drinking keeping me in the matrix like am I in this thing right now that's not what I wanna create because I tap back into it and I put myself in this position where I'm not being successful and that's even subconscious to an point where you're just like I just wanna hang with my friends, you can hang out with your friends and not drink or get drunk or drive home and be like oh, I shouldn't and drove home last night.

I'll never forget this one time, the one and only time I ever drunk drove, I was nineteen, I had five of my best friends in the car with me and we went the wrong side up the road for two and a half miles before anyone realized what was happening. And in that moment, I was like oh okay cool that's gonna be the rest of my life if I don't think about what's happening and I'll be happy to say like I never drunk drove again after that but I mean that you talk about getting super fucking lucky, like we wouldn't be having this conversation without a little bit of luck in that circumstance, right?

And so when you think about the context of what's next in your life you do have to ask like are you willing to sacrifice your future for what you get right now and an immediate pleasure which actually is a hindrance to you when you understand the biological ramifications which you just laid out. And so I thank you for that, I think this a really profound conversation I know people are gonna push back and like fuck you guys I'm gonna go get a drunk. Good go lives your life like, okay we're not trying to you anything, as I said I still will drink I'll have a glass of wine here and there fine so be it. Do what is best for you but follow your gut just don't let it be the thing that's in the way of your future. My friend this has been an amazing conversation before I ask you my last question can you please tell everyone where they can find you?

Karolina: Absolutely. So you know if this piqued your interest and what it really is to me is permission because for so long I was living in the lie in this trap that I cannot change anything here, I'm not allowed to, I'm not following into some stereotype therefore I am not allowed to change I have to keep up with appearances, I have to stay in the status quo, I have to be mediocre, I can't do anything different and that was this lie. I was really telling myself and so for me you know this alcohol free lifestyle is really about curiosity experimentation like I knew what I felt like as a drinker I live that life, I would for a decade I knew how it fell every single day, I knew what it was I was capable of wasn't very much you know and to me there's this excitement to see like well when my capable is an un drinker you know like let's take an apples to oranges approach because if you only had apples you're whole if you no idea how much you might love oranges that's really where the curiosity lies. But we peaked your interest you know my new book is called Euphoric Ditch Alcohol and happier and more confident you and it's a really amazing tool to just kinda dive in and basically you'll learn about an incredible benefits of what happens if you take a break from alcohol, notice I say take a break not go out free necessarily because you know you gotta start somewhere and just taking a week or two off could make really crazy transformations in your life already. So it goes over all the health benefits you can go, you can expect it goes over the mindset benefits and the mental kind of redeveloping positive beliefs about yourself because of this change also kind of the soul things the deep things that we yearning infer as humans like more connection, more gratitude, more peace and how all of those built are built into our lives without alcohol and also gives you a guide so you'll also have an eight week plan to guide you through you know your first break or whatever break it is from alcohol that you really not just will power your way through it and just change the habit but you actually change the mindset so that you lose your desires for alcohol to begin with and get hungry on chasing those bigger goals and dreams that are really calling to you. So you can find us at euphoricaf.com and we have pre orders available right now and there's a lot of cool free gifts you can get with that, got a free mock tail ebook you can get, we got fifty things to instead of drinking and also a thirty one day guide. So that's euphoricaf.com and if you want the gift euphoricaf.com/gift is where you can find it. And then if anyone's interested in just you know working with me or looking into you know some other free resources like my blog, my podcast you can find at euphoricaf.com.

Michael: Awesome! Thank you so much my friend and thank you for being here, obviously we'll put all the notes and all the links in the show notes. My last question for you is what does it mean to you to be unbroken?

Karolina: It's a good one. You know, I felt so alone, I felt so isolated, I felt like I didn't know how to do life right but everyone else knew, everyone else had it all figured out, right? And that somehow I was the only one struggling and what a funny thing to believe that we all kind of believe that to some extent and we believe that we're broken and we believe that we're unworthy and that we're not good enough, we're not capable, we're not lovable or not pretty enough, you know whatever enough and I think there's such beauty into like leaning into conversations like this to personal growth and recognizing that, you know what? That feeling early the human condition and everybody feels that way and we were never broken to begin with, you know like this is the things, that challenges, the tribulation, the things we bent through have been there for us to grow from and it deepens our sense of emotional capacity and our ability to love and there's just so much growth that can happen from the experiences that we have. And so to me it's knowing that it was never broken I was like living a true hero's journey you know.

Michael: I love it. Absolutely! Thank you so much my friend; thank you for being here.

Unbroken Nation, thank you for listening.

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My friends, Be Unbroken.

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Karolina RzadkowolskaProfile Photo

Karolina Rzadkowolska

Author and Coach

Karolina Rzadkowolska is a certified alcohol-free life coach who helps powerful women make alcohol insignificant in their lives. She’s worked with thousands of clients through her online courses and coaching to change their drinking habit and unleash a new level of health, happiness, and potential to go after their biggest dreams. Her book Euphoric: Ditch Alcohol and Gain a Happier, More Confident You (HarperCollins and featured in Target) will be out on bookshelves on January 4th. She’s the host of Euphoric the Podcast, founder of Euphoric Alcohol-Free, and her work has been featured in the Huffington Post, Popsugar, Authority Magazine, Greatist, and Elite Daily. Karolina’s passionate about helping you discover what really makes you happy outside of a beverage and design a life you love. She would love to hear from you at www.euphoricaf.com.

Michael UnbrokenProfile Photo

Michael Unbroken


Michael is an entrepreneur, best-selling author, speaker, coach, and advocate for adult survivors of childhood trauma.