(Disclaimer: This transcript is using AI technology. Please excuse any errors.)
Welcome to the Atheists in Recovery podcast, where we talk about finding hope in recovery. And now your host, Dr. Adina Silvestri
Adina Silvestri 0:09
Hola Atheists in Recovery, and welcome to Episode 102 of the Atheists in Recovery podcast. And today we are talking again with our Arlina Allen. This episode focuses on Arlina's theory and practice of recovery. And so if you haven't listened to episode 101, please go back to that episode and listen to that one. It will really help set the foundation for this episode, or not. Or you can do them in reverse if you're feeling a little crazy, but I do encourage you to listen to the entirety of the episode because there are a lot of there's just a lot of good tidbits in the episode, which is why I decided to extend it for two weeks. So I hope you enjoy today's the rest of today's episode with arlena Allen. And on to the show.
I wanted to jump back to our bookmark about
Arlina Allen 1:17
You are so good about remembering things,
Adina Silvestri 1:18
well, I try almost two years now. Being in a place where these outdated stories are sort of masquerading as promises in your life, I feel like you were you were on that track. And then I sort of interrupted you. But I wonder if we could go back there for a few minutes. And because I think this is something that's really important. And I feel like a lot of us struggle with this, you know, I'll never be successful because I didn't start with a trust fund or I'll never find a partner because I'm unlovable or my children will fail my children because look at what my parents did to me, you know,
Arlina Allen 1:51
oh, yeah, those are all fairy and we all feel like we're terminally unique. Like, we all think we have like this uniqueness about us. But we are more alike than we are different. We all have these stories, like you said that the stories that we tell ourselves, it's in childhood, we have experiences, usually the negative ones are the ones that we that impact us the most, because our brains are designed to focus on the negative. It's like a negativity bias. Right? We and it's done out of survival, like we're trying to survive as children. We have to find ways of coping, we have to wait find ways to survive, because we are not in control of our environment the adults are. And so we have to learn to please the adults to make them give us what we need. Right. So the love that we need the the food, shelter, protection, all that. So we've learned these is based on the adults. But what ended up happening to me, I'll just speak for myself. I needed to perform, I needed to save my sister, I was 14 years old. And my mom was like, you know, she was so worried about my sister and and back then I'm 52. So back then I was 14 at the time, there wasn't a lot of mainstream mental health was just not in the mainstream at all, or how to handle it. Still not great to be perfectly honest. But it was back then it was even worse. And we didn't know that she was suffering from depression. So my mom told me, she's like, we need to stay close to her. The message I got is that I had to save my sister like that. She was in peril. And I needed to save her and I was 14 and had zero skills. Right? Yeah, barely, I could barely manage myself. But in my mind, like I wanted my I didn't feel like I had my mother's love or approval is so conditional. And I was like, oh, if I say my sister that my mother will love me. So it was began. It's like the sort of idea and I would that wasn't even conscious, it was all subconscious. And so that's kind of how like, for me those ideas started I was like, oh, Performance Base survival. It's so anyway, like the negativity bias, it's like something bad happens. And then I have to, I think it comes from like our primordial brain, like the trying to survive the environment. And so we need to look for the danger. And then, you know, prepare for that. But anyway, I had like this negativity bias and, and I was looking for reasons like I had these beliefs about who I was, and I wasn't good enough. And so I just kept finding, and then you have confirmation bias, which is looking for information to support your own idea. And we see that all the time, like in politics. Like it's like you make up your mind about something and you only look for evidence to support your idea at the exclusion of everything else. It's you either discredit or deny everything else. And that was true for me as in terms of self esteem, I decided I wasn't really good enough. I wasn't smart enough. And every time I had a negative experience, I was like, Oh, that's why that's why it's so the negative the evidence just stacked up against me. And so I was like going after terrible relationships. I did not take very good care of myself. I would put myself in dangerous situations and all of that. So that's kind of where it all came from. So I teach this self esteem class and my favorite exercise. And this is so simple that you can do it yourself. Yeah. After you listen to this. What is it that you want? And why don't you have it? It's a great writing exercise. Because the reason you don't have it, your subconscious mind will serve up all your stories. It's like, you know, I really, I'm not, I'm just not that great in business. I don't have great decision making skills. It's like this, these are things that I, you know, a bit hot me. So, what is it that you want? And why don't you have it? And the Why don't you have it are the clues. And the idea is that once you, you just like do this brain dump and just get it all out be as petty and in small minded, or whatever you want to say it. Write down all the reasons why you don't have what you want, and then look for ways to like reframe, those are your negative limiting beliefs, there they are in black and white. And then the idea would be to do the writing exercise in the opposite reframe every single one of those reasons into the positive. It's like, well, I don't have the connections that I need. It's like, well, I can meet new friends and make new connections. I can learn networking, networking skills, I can find ways to connect with others. It's, you know what I'm saying? So it's like you take one of each one of these things. First of all, you know, it's really great. Have you heard of Byron Katie's work questions? Or no, she calls it the work.
Adina Silvestri 6:36
I've heard of her but not have heard the work?
Arlina Allen 6:39
Oh, my God is so. So good. She even has an app called the work. It's a free app. And it's just like a series of questions. I forget what the four questions are about, it's like, Is it true? Is it really true? Like, start to question your own beliefs? Right? Is it really true? How can I absolutely know for sure that it's true? It's like, what else could this mean? Right? What else could it mean? Like so often times, we don't even question our own beliefs. And so interesting, because our brain is just a tool, we are not our thoughts, right? your brains job is to think and so we'll serve up all kinds of nonsense. We don't even question whether it's true or not, right. And those of us are drug and alcohol issues. It's like, if you think about it, like a very practical way, it's like, I just put a bunch of drugs and alcohol in my brain. And I'm going to use that broke as the tool to make decisions for my entire life. Not a good idea. Not a good idea. But anyway, so we need to really take care of our brains, and we need to separate ourselves from our brains, we are not our brains. So the idea is that we question our thoughts. And then we look for alternative meanings. There's something that you want and somebody else has it, what did they do? What did they do to get it right? What did they believe? That kind of thing. And so really, that's for me, like a great starting point to identifying and reframing limiting beliefs. And just as a side note, there is so much information out there about like, rewiring your brain and changing your subconscious thoughts, because that's where everything comes from. I learned in sales that people make decisions emotionally, and justify logically, even our most logical humans will make decisions emotionally, whether they recognize that or not, like a lot of those people are very disassociated. So they don't recognize that it's a feeling that's driving them, but we've made decisions emotionally and justify logically. So where are those emotions coming from those that's all based on past history and decisions, our brains like an operating system, and it's it consumes a lot of energy, so becomes efficient by, you know, operating from the subconscious mind. And so really, that's where your power lies, lies in your beliefs. And the funny thing about the subconscious mind is that it believes whatever you tell it often enough, like doesn't need to be based in truth. So that's why I say question your beliefs, because a lot of times they're not even rooted in truth. Some people think they're horrible people, but yet they have lives dedicated of service. How do we reconcile that? Well, they have these negative limiting beliefs that aren't true.
Adina Silvestri 9:21
Yeah, I love that. I love that. You said, you know, how do you justify that, you know, either you're this horrible person, but your life is dedicated in service. Or even you know, I'm this horrible person, you know, I slipped up and then I hurt so and so and I hurt my family again, and I have all this guilt and all this remorse and shame and, you know, I am this terrible person, just like you said, and it's like, no, you're not because you have this guilt, remorse and, you know, look at all the good that you're doing now that you've come out from under it.
Arlina Allen 9:56
So Well, here's the thing about that. That comes up a lot in life. early recovery, it's like we do things that we regret under the influence of alcohol. Right? Alcohol is addictive. And that means that you lose the ability to choose whether you're going to drink or not, or how much you're going to like what you start, like, and it's all driven by the, there's a compulsion underneath all of that, right? And that is what I'm most interested in. It's like what is driving you to drink? Right? And it's all in your subconscious mind. Like, here's the thing, we disassociate and attach, deny, and suppress all our feelings. We've spent a lot of energy doing that. And so we're completely disconnected from ourselves. And then we something bad happens. And our compulsion is to drink, while our brain is how our dopamine reward system has been wired to respond to alcohol. And therein lies the issue, right? Like, this is why emotion management is so important, right? It's important that you resolve the issues like you dig up all the stuff from the past, you address it and resolve it to resolution. And that's something that is really that's part of emotion management, it's not the denial of negative feelings, that stuff is going to happen, but it's acknowledging it, addressing it, feeling your feelings and processing them to resolution. That is what emotion management is for me today. I'm 27 years sober today. It's been a long time since but I still practice emotional, emotional regulation practices, because I felt like you know, once you sort of crossed that line, there's no going back, it's the whole idea that once a cucumber becomes a pickle, and never be, you know, you can't make a pickle into a cucumber, I just wouldn't you cross a line, you just never go back. But because my consequences for drinking are so severe, it does force me to stay on this path of constant vigilance and self care. You know, so that the state would be consequences so high for me, I do have to maintain this practice of self care. And that's really what I focus on is the self care.
Adina Silvestri 12:03
That's what you focus on today in your recovery.
Arlina Allen 12:05
Yeah, in regards to, you know, try to rewire my brain is not like because I'm sober a long time I don't have. So in neuroscience terms, they have what's called the default mode network. It's a sort of like your computer's operating system. Now we can try to break out of that default mode network, you know, you have to fight the fight through a lot of fears and doubts and, and stuff like that. But you can actually rewire your brain and Reese and what that means is like you reset your, your default mode network, you rewire your dopamine reward system, your brain begins to heal, and you're able to make better decisions. Because your feelings, your emotions are more regulated. Right, we start to identify our negative limiting beliefs that aren't even true, we develop new ones. But you know, that you can't leave. There's no like taking a negative belief and not replacing it with something positive. But there's, you can't really leave a void. You need something to take its place, right? At the end of the day, it's like you're healing your brain and rewiring it so that you're thinking and feeling different.
Adina Silvestri 13:09
Yeah. Oh, that sounds good. And I love that the exercise that you talked about, you know, what is it that you want? And why? And why don't I have it? Why don't you have it? Yeah. So starting, there would be a good place you feel like to, to start to identify some of those, those negative thought patterns that are contributing to these outdated stories. And if you need help with changing some of these thoughts, you should reach out. Yeah, just so easy.
Arlina Allen 13:41
So here's, here's the funny thing. So all the information is out there for free. It's applying it. That's the tricky part, applying the information. That's the hard part. That's why there are people like you and I, who who professionally help people apply the information. Because we all I mean, listen, we all know how to lose weight, right? Stop beating the crap and start exercising, we drink more water sleep better. Like we all know what to do, but we don't do it. Why? Why don't we do it? There in lies the problem. And it's our it's like that sub those subconscious beliefs. That's what leads to the self sabotage. So in the class that I do, it's six weeks. But we we begin the process, it begins with a self care process that begins with some sort of like future pacing, like where do you want to be in three years from now? What do you want your life to look like? You know, we do this exercise like, right, your perfect day. That's another one of my favorite exercises that we do out of the class, right when your perfect day would look like and read it every day, you know, and feel the feelings and stuff. It's already happened. Because like, I like to invoke the law of attraction. You're using it anyway. So you might as well use it to your your benefit. Yeah, yeah, there's a for those who like science National Science Foundation did a study on that. The number of thoughts people have they say that they're 60 to 80,000 thoughts per day 85% of those thoughts are negative and 95% of those thoughts are the same as the day before. So we are literally living in like Groundhog Day. So it's like you're stuck on the hamster wheel, or you find yourself saying, How did I get here? Again? It's like, it's pay attention to your thoughts. Right? It's like you're invoking the law of attraction by your, by your thoughts. And so, if we want something different, we have to think new thoughts, right, we need to focus on and focus on what you do want, not what you don't want.
Adina Silvestri 15:37
Well, or Lena, this is so good. There's like chock full of information here, neuroscience, emotional management, your compelling story. I mean, you know, this is amazing. We can make this into a course but we won't. I told you. I told you I was a talker is there is a course, there is a course. So why. So as we wrap up, why don't you tell other listeners how they can best find you? And a little bit more about your course. Yeah,
Arlina Allen 16:05
sure. So I have a website called sober life school. So we're live school calm, and people can email me at earlene. At so relax. My first name is AR l i n a. But they can go to several live school. There's my I have a podcast, a recovery podcast on there. There's classes around there, I do one on one coaching. So the several life skill is sort of like the hub, there's like a sobriety reset. It's like a 30 day boot camp to get some momentum to get that first 30 days. But the self esteem class is called reinvent. And really what we're doing is we're reinventing our self image right into what we want. So it's very forward facing, right. It's future pacing, that we do all the stuff that we talked about is it. What I love about this class is that it's a workshop format. So like I said, before, all the information is out there for free. But it's applying that that's a trick. And so we do it in a group we do in a group workshop. So you do the work in class. And I do have some homework, but it's more like, you know, starting a morning self care practice, that includes feeding your brain meditation focusing on, you know, gratitude, what you do want that kind of thing. And it's a little bit of a support system to the people that attend the class get really close, they have a support system, like they were humans, like we're, we're animals that need to be connected, right. And so they develop connection, they do the work in class, they develop trust, they get to the subconscious, negative limiting beliefs, we reframe, and you know, we support each other on that journey. Again, it gives you momentum, you apply the information, and you start to gain momentum, and you start to see changes, real changes. And that change as possible. Even if you've been fighting it your whole life, you know, we really address that self sabotage by raising the level of our self esteem. Yeah,
Adina Silvestri 17:58
I love that. All the arlena thank you again, so much for for being on and I'll link all of these links in the show notes so that people can find them and yeah, we'll have to do this again sometime.
Arlina Allen 18:14
Thank you so much for having me. You know, it's my mission in life to help people that's that's what I live for. I gave up my corporate job. I decided the money wasn't worth it. Can you believe that talk about change about money was gonna save me? No, it's love, it's love that saves us. And that's what I'm here to do. I'm here to help people find love in the love. All right. Well, thank
Adina Silvestri 18:34
Thank you again, Arlina.
Arlina Allen 18:35
Adina Silvestri 18:37
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“I just put a bunch of drugs & alcohol in my brain and I’m going to use that broke *ss tool to make decisions for my entire life…”
“Question your beliefs because a lot of times they’re not rooted in truth.”
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