(Disclaimer: This transcript was made using AI technology. Please excuse any errors.)
Adina Silvestri 0:00
Hello guys, it's Adina and we are actually on break from the Atheists in Recovery podcast. But I thought it would be fun to share some of my most popular episodes as well as my favorite episodes from year one. For me listening to some of these old episodes, I always pick up something new and learn something in addition to what I thought I already learned from the guests, and if it's a book review, I love going through book and reviewing the pages upon pages of highlights and sussing out my favorite ideas that I feel are worth sharing. So before you go, don't forget to sign up for the weekly newsletter where we talk about learning to identify patterns of dysfunctional thinking, changing the dysfunctional thinking to something more positive. And I throw in a little homework for good measure and you can find the link to sign up for the newsletter. in the show notes Okay guys, I hope you enjoy this encore episode.
Welcome to the atheist and recovery Podcast, where we talk about funding.
And now your host, Dr. Adina Silvestri,
Adina Silvestri 1:16
Hello Ladies and Gentlemen, and welcome to episode eight of the Atheists in Recovery Podcast. I am excited for you to meet my next guest, Dr. Elizabeth Bonet. And for today's episode, it was pretty enlightening. We talked about Dr. Bonet and her journey through recovery, how she started as a preacher's kid, a PK as she calls herself and went throughout many years as a atheist and then shuffled on into the spiritual world where she currently resides. And we talked about her journey and how identifying your higher power is incredibly important. And it really informs all of your recovery. And so, we look at that we look at, you know what it means to have a critical higher power, and how to turn your feelings over when you're struggling with thoughts of relapse. And that religion as you may have already figured out, it's not so black and white, you can be an atheist and still pray to God. So let's talk a little bit more about about our guest, Dr. Bonet. She is a winner of numerous awards, including the top 100 moms in business. Dr. Bonet has almost always worked for herself in one business or another whether it was selling door to door at the age of six programming and designing websites, freelance writing, yoga, or hypnosis. She sold her award winning business yoga Fairey prenatal yoga in 2016. to concentrate on her private practice that provides hypnotherapy, and hypnosis to people wanting a fast, easy way to transform. Dr. Bonet launch the podcast Hypnotize me in December of 2016. It's currently in its third season has over 160,000 downloads and has listened to in over 140 counties. Hypnotize me is about hypnosis, transformation, and healing. She records her podcasts from her loft in South Florida along with her dog, cat, husband and two kids who she asks to be quiet for just the half hour please. And for our listeners, Dr. Bonet has a free hypnosis file that you can get by listening to her podcast or Joining her newsletter, you can text the word hypnotized to 444999 to join or visit her website. She also has a free meditation on insight timer, the number one meditation app in the US. And if that was not impressive enough, she has written three books, one of which is on Amazon book number one, there goes the brainstem Tales from the trenches of early motherhood birth stories from yoga fairy real tales of birth from the yoga yoga fairy mamas, and your marriage can change overnight. Okay, let's get started. Dr. Elizabeth, Bonet welcome to the show.
Dr. Liz Bonet 4:42
Hi, I'm happy to be here.
Adina Silvestri 4:45
So I want to start our conversation today by inquiring about your spiritual background from childhood. Let's go down to this go back to the beginning.
Dr. Liz Bonet 4:58
Okay, we're gonna go to the beginning now, right Wonderful. So I was raised in a very religious household. My dad was a minister, Methodist minister. And both my parents were very involved in the church. And then my mom was like a national speaker, national level speaker to you MW which is United Methodist Women. And then after my dad died, he died when I was about 18. My mom actually became a minister herself, ordained, okay, so she already had a master's degree, but she went back to school to get a masters and then eventually a doctorate in divinity to become ordained herself. And then she traveled the world. Yeah, doing doing ministry type of stuff. Now they actually did that together. When I was younger, so I am the youngest of four. And they lived in Central Africa, Zaire Zambia for a decade, hey, but there's about nine years between my brother and myself. And so he was hitting his teen years, and I was Itsy Bitsy, and they decided to come back to the US until the baseball, the kids are out of school. So he he died my senior year of high school when they were getting their passports together and getting ready to go back through the Methodist Church again, when he passed away. So my mother went on this journey and became ordained herself and tried to be in churches in I grew up in Texas, so in the Dallas area and playing outside of Dallas. So she tried to be in the US churches, but it just didn't work for her. She felt like there was so much sex I'm going on as a female minister. So she decided to go abroad again. So she went to Nepal for about five years. And then South Korea for no seven, about seven years. And she would come home in between, you know, for a little bit help take care of my nephew for a little while, that type of thing. So I grew up in an extremely religious household. I cannot remember even one time seeing my parents drink. They never did drugs.
Yeah. Is prayer at dinner? church on Sunday, youth groups Sunday night thing? No.
Adina Silvestri 7:41
Interesting. I definitely think that, you know, this, you could have this formative background or meal you have I have identity and, and that, that kind of cultivates that support and belonging, but also it can cultivate a sense of loss and so How has that changed for you? Throughout the years? Well,
Dr. Liz Bonet 8:06
when I went into college, I began questioning. And my mother was really convinced it was about grief. You know, like, my dad passed away and I was angry at God and all this stuff. But I honestly didn't feel like it was about grief. I had begun questioning in my teens, but, you know, that's pretty typical, right? It's also pretty hard to do as like a PK a preacher's kid. Hey, because you're expected to believe in God. Right? Train up a child in the ways of the Lord and I don't remember the second half, but they will eventually come back to it, right. So, as I went through my college years, and then into grad school, I really became an atheist. I felt like I didn't believe And God, not an agnostic. Oh, there's a couple of my friends will argue that I was agnostic, because I did have this belief that there are things beyond our knowledge. Okay, so it wasn't a patriarchal God, I didn't believe in God anymore or Jesus. I mean, Jesus is a historical figure, yes, but not as a religious figure for me. But on the other hand, you know, I was going to church youth group because that was a good place to make friends at college, right and have support and they fed you on Sunday nights when the dorms were closed the cafeteria. So, David Jones Sunday night and my I met my boyfriend through the church youth group in college, like all this stuff, but I continue to question and by the time I graduated college, I was pretty much identified as atheist. Because I really didn't believe in the patriarchal God I grew up with. Now, some freaky stuff had happened after my Dad died, to where I felt like, there were things to be honest, we didn't really understand. But I did not have the belief that that was the patriarchal God. Hey, and I was always fascinated by reading about near death experiences. And so for me, I still read them, I still recommend them to clients, I work with anxiety, anxiety specialist, and I still recommend them if they're open to them. Like, for me, it's almost impossible to not feel better without reading near death experiences because they all come back. And they're all we have a meaning here on this planet, you know, like we there's filled with a sense of meaning in life in significant ways. They don't. The ones I've read don't often identify a god per se as an in terms of religious God that many of our religions are putting forth more just a sense of being filled with profound love and in spirituality. So I continue to read those even through my atheist years, I would say, and I met my ex husband in graduate school, he wasn't in grad school, but I was in grad school during those years. And he was a theist. So for a good solid 20 years, I would say, I was atheist, Aries my children, atheists, pretty much. I mean, I grew up with childhood songs that were religious right? would wake them up with those I would change the words. You know, it was this sort of this sense like that rise and shine song. I don't know if you know it. They were singing it the other day in the kitchen with my daughter. She had some friends over some of her friends and she's the only one he didn't really know the words. all her friends did because they've been to church, right? But it's like Rise and shine. give God the glory, glory. Except they would change it to like, give the earth the Glory, glory, you know, like them up. So it was sort of with you Sure, yeah. Is this mixture because the songs were what I knew about mothering, but also they did give me comfort. So yeah, and my second child went to a Jewish preschool because it was one of the best ones around. And I love their philosophy of their preschool philosophy of it was more nurturing and creative. And, you know, it wasn't homework driven, which is just sort of crazy that some preschools are homework driven. Yes. But yeah, they weren't. So they're all about play, and learning and learning through play. So she would come home. And really, she had a more of a religious base. Then my other daughter who never went to preschool. I stayed home with her during those years. I was still sitting at home with my second, but I decided that I really didn't want to be insane. So I sent her to a preschool. Right?
So, we would have conversations about this sometimes. And she now identifies as atheist. But in the back of my mind, I'm like, well, she has a base and spiritualities how I see it, like very early learning base and spirituality. And my other daughter. Well, I'm skipping ahead. So let me go back. I, I almost feel like you know, the, the attachment interviews, where they ask you to tell about your childhood and how somebody tells about their childhood is really important, more so than even what they're saying. And so sometimes when I talk about my childhood, that stuff comes up. I'm like, Oh my God, I've transferred from the past to the present all of a sudden looks like I did not have a secure attachment to my
Adina Silvestri 13:59
everything's coming out live. Really just you and I.
Dr. Liz Bonet 14:06
Yes, yes, exactly right. The thousands of people eventually Listen to this. Oh, I'm so I would say 20 years atheist. And then in there I got divorced. And at some point, after divorce, I started looking at various recovery programs. So I've never been addicted to alcohol or drugs. But I had other stuff going on overeating under earning, definitely some love addiction, I would say. So I begin attending these groups walking in as an atheist, and not even really realizing that this is a spiritual program. I mean, they say it in the steps, right? They, they say they do. I had no idea. I didn't even really realize for a couple of years. Like, I think I just blanked it out, but the, you know, they would stand around at the end, and often hold hands and say the Serenity Prayer. And I just thought, Well, you know, God, I'll just ignore that part. Basically, and also my my home group that I identified with the most had a couple of atheists in it. So that group, by chance tended to be very supportive of truly the concept of finding your own higher power instead of really calling that God. So I think I got lucky in that. I know other people have not had that experience when they walked into 12 step and that they couldn't take the religion and that that really varies also from group to group and sometimes program to program. So as a To begin to work the steps and be more involved in that community. I would say it took about a year or so, but then I began to develop my own sense of what my, our higher power is. And that and I always say it's, it's a freaky deaky my woowoo physical now you have to explain that. I yes. Well, I it was not the patriarchal God of my childhood. Okay, absolutely not. It was more this, like Indian goddess kind of image, somewhat like Lakshmi, and I saw her as loving and kind and really there to help me. So that's who I began to picture or image when I would pray. And I do a lot of praying during those years. Now, I do have to say even when I was an atheist As a mother,
Adina Silvestri 17:02
I would often pray so interesting. You're not the first person to say that, especially as a mother. That phrase right there.
Dr. Liz Bonet 17:09
Yes, I would get so frustrated and overwhelmed and I had severe PPD with both of them. And those toddler years are really hard for me. And so I find myself being like, Oh my god, like, please, somebody helped me. I don't know who's up there. But please, somebody helped me. It was a definite prayer. So definitely in the recovery years, I began to pray all the time, though. And when I remember walking in, when people say they would, they would pray all the time, I'd be like, Oh my god, I just roll my eyes. You know? Like, that's nuts. That's just nuts. But as I began to find my own sense of spirituality, that did become a daily reality for me. Like, okay, if nothing else, I still do this gratefulness, of like something really wonderful happens or I'm just walking the dog. I'm walking along and looking at the beautiful trees and say, you know, thank you so much. I'm so grateful for these wonderful trees. And it's more like a heartfelt prayer to the universe than any particular You know, one deity, I would say. So, my concept of my freaky deaky woowoo, higher power also changed, I would say in the last year or two. So that became more of a sense of me have to edit this very long pause out or you can keep it to you.
Yes, for drama,
but it became more of a sense that there is there are spirits that way. There is an afterlife, okay, so I always believed in reincarnation. But he couldn't figure out like this whole timeline in my head. Hey, like I had dated this guy. Right after my divorce. I didn't date for like a year after my divorce because I was still nursing. But once a nursing was done, it's like the date again. And this guide had a brain tumor like my father did. And there was just so many similarities there. But he would have been born before my father died, so I couldn't, I couldn't work it out in my mind. And then I got trained in hypnosis about five years ago, maybe six by now. And when you step into the hypnosis world, there's the clinical side of hypnosis, which helps all kinds of problems and there's all kinds of medical research that goes on for those problems in the hypnosis and how it works. But there's also the spiritual side of hypnosis. That is pretty strong, where people are looking for answers from their childhood. They're looking for past life regressions and then also sometimes going to some kind of spiritual place. So I, somebody recommended this book to me. And I began to read about this. And then it began to pop up in my sessions, regardless of whether I wanted it to or not, regardless of whether I believed in it, in fact, three or four years ago when I told you I didn't believe in it,
actually, that's not true, because I had a past life regression myself, and that was probably 20 13 million now. 2019 Yeah, that's about five years ago, right? I'm so bad at math. Yeah, five or six years ago, okay. So I had a past life regression myself, but I did not enjoy it. I did not like it. I did find some answers. Through it though, but it was not doing it myself. So because it's somewhat of a specialty area in hypnosis, but my clients begin to go there without prompting. And so I was like, okay, you there's something to this. And then I ran across this book that talked about this spiritual place in between lives, and that we send part of our energy stays in that spiritual place to continue learning and we send part of our energy back into somebody, like a body we pick. Hey. So finally, that made sense to me. I was like, Oh, this is how those timelines work. Because people will say, like, you know, if our children picked us, like, how does that work? If we weren't even born yet? You know what I'm saying? Like, how did they decide to have a relationship with us? I don't know. It's just it's sort of freaky. Right? But at the same time, I'd had some experiences through The years that were sort of freaky. So there was this time where we are driving along in the car, myself and my daughters and they are smaller. They're like elementary school age and they are frustrated with their dad about something in not my best parenting moment, but I said to them, Well, look, you picked us, you picked him. And, and they said, We have not really talked about reincarnation or any of that during those years. Those were my atheist years. But this popped out of my mouth because they did believe in reincarnation. And they said, We picked you. You picked him. I was like, Whoa, okay. Okay. So some of these things would happen along the way, where I was like, you know, perhaps there's something else out there. And now I really firmly believe that the There is more than there's not one deity, you don't believe that I do believe there's sort of this collective that, that helps guide Yeah.
Adina Silvestri 23:10
Yeah. And I, you know, in the practice I receive whenever I ask the question because I have to include spirituality and in everything that I do now, and because it's such a big part of people's recovery journey, and so I'll say, you know, who is your higher power slash, why self slash? And, you know, however, the thing is, or the person is that you identify with and, you know, even on a weekly basis, my clients would give me different answers. Well, today it's this or, you know, into next week might be somebody else. And so, um, you know, I don't know that I it really matters to me. Um, as long as they have something, you know, something that can give them support When they're not with me and when they're not when they're by themselves, you know, so maybe you could talk a little bit about that, about, you know, how you were able to use your spirituality
Dr. Liz Bonet 24:14
to recover, and what that looked like. Okay. So I, for me, it became a really important part of my recovery. So and I don't know, there's a couple of steps that talk about your higher power and how to identify that and there was a worksheet I did at some point with my sponsor around like, what were the lessons from my childhood around authority? Because the concept on that worksheet, just trying to remember it's been a couple of years was we often internalize that as our higher power. So if you had a really critical, Father Mother, let's say, right or a teacher that was awful to you or you were abused in some way, then sometimes you internalize that as a very critical higher power, not a supportive one. So this was really interesting to me as I began to explore it. And I have no idea how accurate that was. Or that is, I just know that that was what the worksheet was getting at that this is how that belief develops. So once I begin to identify my own as a very supportive one because I did see the God of my childhood is as critical as very much a judging as
Just always like watching out for Bad things you're gonna do sort of like Santa, you know, you've been naughty or nice, right?
And that didn't sit well with me. So I began to develop this other
concept of a loving supportive higher power. who happened to initially take a female form, which is interesting, because I did not have the best mother, but somehow, this was my good mom and my head, right, the female form. And my sponsor was female, and I loved her. And so I think it became a sense of if I was struggling in my recovery. Yeah. That became really important for me, because it was a sense of, okay, perhaps you reach out to a couple of people and nobody picks up the phone, right or you do all of your
all of your list of soothing activities, although that'd be pretty hard to do. All them but let's say you do a couple
things that you that are supposed to calm you down or stop you from binge eating or stopping this or whatever you try those. Well then asking for help from my higher power was really a way that I would help myself. So it'd be like, please help me here, you know, please help me or please take away these feelings. Or please have somebody pick up the phone or whatever that was.
Adina Silvestri 27:35
Yeah, I'm going to give this to you to hold on to Yes.
Dr. Liz Bonet 27:39
Yeah. And the whole concept of turn it over like cheese when I first walked into recovery had no idea what that was. I say these people are nuts. How do you turn something over? You know, like,
how exactly do you do that?
And I see that in anxious clients. See you even now right like they cannot let go. Have it. And I think it is harder if they don't have a sense of spirituality, a sense of, well, you can hand this over to your higher power or God, whatever you want to call that person. Right? And, and trust that things are going to get better that there's some hope that they're going to handle it that they're going to have it for a little while you don't have to carry it alone. So that did become really important to me in that process of turning it over. And really being able to not worry about it at that point. So not just turning over, let's say feelings I was struggling with, or thoughts of relapse or whatever that is, but turning over all kinds of stuff. So I used to say my ex husband is a big, used to be a big source of pain in my life not so much anymore. But I would say like either take him or take these feelings away. Right? Like, not a great prayer, okay? Like me.
every woman, every
Adina Silvestri 29:11
woman, I was gonna
Dr. Liz Bonet 29:12
say that yet every person who's been divorced will understand that, you know, like, I pee these feelings
away because they're so difficult
or somehow remove him from my life which I don't really want to happen because now he's good for my kids. But it is what it was that obviously the higher power was gonna take the feelings away, right? Because he's still here, you know? So.
Adina Silvestri 29:37
And yeah, so we're glad that he's still. Yes, relatively.
Dr. Liz Bonet 29:42
Oh, yeah. It was that sense though, of I had almost a mantra I could say in really hard times. And then that became easier and easier for me in it became instead of a cry for help at times It really became more of a sense of comfort. And on a daily basis, like when I do my gratefulness and list or when I'm walking the dog, like I was saying before, or just this sense of feeling like my life is wonderful. And thank you so much are manifesting. No, I, I get more into manifesting too. In the last couple of years. I used to roll my eyes at the secret as well would be like, you know,
Adina Silvestri 30:30
can you tell? Can you tell us what manifesting is? I cannot.
Dr. Liz Bonet 30:34
I can't give you a good explanation.
No idea. No one's ever asked me that. But I guess I would say I've had to give it a shot that it's a really bringing into reality, your dreams and desires. Okay, that's what I would say. And so I was pretty good at that as an atheist too. You know? ran a successful business and huge on goal setting absolutely major goal setter in breaking those down even keeping even keeping a. Like I would keep track of those and look back at them. Because I knew even before I really read about manifesting I felt like I was such a good goal setter, because they would it would always happen. And I had to be careful about what I wrote down even because it would come true. Not always the way I thought it would. But when I would look back, like let's say I wrote them at the beginning of the year, and I would look back a year or two later and I would be like, Oh my god, I didn't remember writing that. And now it came true. Or I used to do what we call the dream journal, which was really like art. It's not dreams that you have at night. It's more
art and collage and
You know, writing around your goals, or you could say what you want to manifest, right? But manifesting to me has more of like the spiritual component to it. For some reason, it feels a little bit different than goal setting. And when I think about it that way, it's, it's more like sometimes I'll just put these thoughts out to the world, and that will happen. I don't know how it's gonna happen, but it will happen. So it's less plus the dry breaking it down, you know, step one, step two, how are you going to get to that goal? You know, a more like, I don't know. naming the big thing.
Does that make sense? Yeah.
Adina Silvestri 32:49
Yeah, it's sort of it's, it's like, how do you how do you eat an elephant like one step at a time?
Dr. Liz Bonet 32:56
Yes. And I said yes. And if it was like, You I mean, you could say I'm gonna eat an elephant this year, right? And then forget about it, and then find yourself six months later. Well, hopefully nobody eats an elephant. But we're just going with this metaphor. Find yourself six months later in the savanna having dinner, and they're serving the elephant and you're like, Oh my god, I said, I was gonna eat an elephant, right? versus, like, I'm going to eat an elephant. Okay, well, where are you going to find the elephant? Well, maybe I can trip plan a trip to Africa, you know, or India. Right. Okay. And then what are you going to do? Well, then I'm going to find a restaurant who actually serves elephant. It's like breaking it down. Versus Actually, I'm just gonna write this down and let it go. Exactly. So I do both. You know, I have my weekly list with everything broken down. But I definitely have those. Those goals I just sort of think about and let go or write down and then let go.
Adina Silvestri 33:57
Yeah. Yeah. Good. Um, so definitely sounds like you had many you have many pathways that you utilize. When you're working on your recovery. It's it's not just looking at one spiritual being or deity, it's, it's a combination of different things. And so I think that's really a point that I want to highlight. And then also, I'm wondering if you could find that worksheet. I think that might be helpful, too. Oh, yeah, I could like, show notes. I
Dr. Liz Bonet 34:28
know, I have it in my file somewhere.
Adina Silvestri 34:31
Okay, yeah. Yeah. That'd be awesome.
Dr. Liz Bonet 34:33
Yeah, I'll send it to you.
And I would, I would say that recovery for me just opened me up more to spirituality. So these different methods, like I no longer had to roll my eyes. Now, I could say, Okay, let me look at that. That looks interesting. You know, it's a sense of, of this process, that was started there. And I can I don't know if it's always supported there, like I don't do a really active recovery right now. Meaning I felt like that was a chunk of my life. And I got what I needed. And then I moved on. So I don't, I'll attend a meeting here and there. But it's not like a regular, you know, used to go two or three times a week, right, and then phone meetings, and then 90 and 90 and several different programs. And, you know, that's a very active recovery in terms of 12.
I still work on it in different ways, but I would say outside of the 12 step model, so the 12 step model, I think was a jumping off point for me. But eventually, I became this open to how a sense of spirit Reality is good for my life. And then I feel like I've internalized that and in that I'll carry with me the rest of my life. I may forget what you know, I will never forget what Step four is, but I forget Step seven or something. I don't know. But, you know, this sense of spirituality, something you can take with you?
Adina Silvestri 36:24
Yes, yeah, I completely agree. Well, I think that's probably a good place to stop. And I really appreciate you coming on and for all the wisdom that you shared with us today. What are some some of the best ways to find you and all the awesome Okay,
Dr. Liz Bonet 36:41
well, first, I want to say it was my pleasure. It's a really interesting podcast. From the beginning when I heard the idea I was like, that's a great idea. So thank you for having me on. And people can find me through my website Dr. Liz hypnosis calm with Dr. Li z. Hypnosis calm. I do work all over the world because we can these days through phone or zoom or Skype, they can listen to my podcast, hypnotize me. And they can find that on any podcast player it's going on. It's we're in the middle of the third year. Now, we're almost done with the third year. There's no me. It's me. But I feel like it's a week because it's my listeners and the people I interview and I guess it is a week, right? And they will include my like higher powers with the plural they are on the end. So we're going on our third year now. And I really love it. So that's a great way to get to know me as well.
Adina Silvestri 37:39
Awesome. Well, I really appreciate it. Thank you.
Dr. Liz Bonet 37:42
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