Welcome to the Unbreakable Boundaries Podcast
Feb. 8, 2023

#64 Caroline Holke: How to Deal with Resistance When We're Trying to Make Changes.

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Caroline Holke works with Type A, high performing women who drink more than they intend to sometimes. It wouldn't be classified as a drinking problem, but they have a problem with using it as a crutch and want to get their control back. 

They hire her to get rid of the shitty parts of drinking (and this doesn't necessarily mean all drinking) and this enables them to build a life that they enjoy so much that they don't want to numb out of it. 

Most people focus on what to DO to cut back on their drinking, Caroline helps her clients tease out what is "driving them to drink" in the first place. Addressing these underlying, root causes helps her clients create sustainable change in their relationship with drinking.

  • The black and white thinking of addiction.
  • We are where we are today because of our choices yesterday -.
  • There’s a difference between a drinking problem and a problem with your drinking and it may sound like I’m playing with words.
  • How to deal with resistance when you’re trying to make changes.
  • What are you feeling when you are grieving?
  • What happens when you’re left to your own devices.
  • Where do you want to spend your time?
  • You have to show you have to do the things.
  • When we think of ourselves as a bad parent, we make it all about us.

Jen 00:00

Welcome back to the unbreakable boundaries podcast with your host myself, Jennifer Maneely. In today's episode, it's a, it's a little bit of an interesting take, because a lot of times, I'm talking a lot about substance abuse. And it's a very, like, all or nothing, kind of, I guess, feel that we're in of like, you just kind of stopped doing everything. And that's not always for everyone. I think moderation for a lot of people is really important. And so this is why I'm really excited for my next guest, her name is Caroline Hoch, I'm going to hope that I said that right? You can be hokey, thank you, you can totally correct me if I'm wrong, we go with a lot of imperfections on this podcast. So thank you for for correcting that. But she works with, like type a high performing women, they drink more than they tend to sometimes it it's not necessarily a drinking problem. But it's, they have like a problem using things as crutch. And I think, for a lot of us in this kind of world and the deeper substance abuse, even if we're not the ones dealing with the substance abuse, we can find ourselves using things as crutches, ourselves. And I just love to hear this perspective that you have Caroline on, what does it mean to start creating, like a healthy relationship with some of these vices that we turn to, in anxiety, stress chaotic times in our lives. So thank you for coming on.


Caroline 01:38

Thank you so much for having me. I appreciate it. And I think that, you know, when you as you were doing your intro, we're thinking about the black and white thinking that we have. It's like, we either have a problem, or we don't have a problem. And I work with and most of life is not like that. Correct? Yeah. Right. There's a huge gray area. And I love being in the position of being able to help the people that are in this gray area. And really increasing awareness of there is some there are resources for you. Because like everybody knows about a and rehab and like the abstinence only models, we all have good awareness of that. There's very low awareness of I can get some support when I'm finding myself like, I just got this, like my inner wisdom is kind of saying, and there's something sort of there's something up here. I don't like this. Yeah, but it's like it's a bridge too far to go check myself into rehab. Right? That's not right, either.


Jen 02:40

Well, if so I think about it, even for me, because obviously, I think if you've been listening to any of this podcast forever, for any thing, you know, that like I'm in recovery, so it's a very black or white thing when it comes around to substances. But sometimes, like where I fall short in my life, is through other vices that I've turned to in order to cope with some things like that. So for me, it's like, I'm a big sugar, I love my tasty pastries. I've gone off the deep end, in my relationship with basically food. In general, I love food, and that causes some, some detrimental things in my life, including, you know, gaining weight not feeling great not being as sharp. You know, it does have its physical problems as well as the spiritual. So I think about that, but it's like, I'm gonna be honest with you. I'm not gonna go to rehab. Over Yeah. Oh. And I wouldn't even classify it as because this is again, a kind of like the, the all or nothing black and white. I don't even think of it as like an eating disorder. Right? I am just there's times where I struggle. And I think that's kind of where you land in that gray area of what's going on gin which coping with


Caroline 04:02

Right, right. Oh, I'm so glad you brought this up. Not that you're going through that but it's so. So common, so common, I can totally relate. So I, the people that I work with, I find that it is over drinking and over eating or over shopping, or over scrolling or whatever it is that overeating behavior is generally a symptom of under feeling. Mm hmm. Being unknown, willing, and frankly, it's not even unwilling but like we don't even have the tools in our society today. We're not taught how to feel our feelings. In fact, we're very much encouraged to squash them down. Yeah, we're very much encouraged to is Oh, stop crying here's a cupcake or you know, tough day at work or have a drink, or whatever it is, or you know, look at all the messaging on TV or any any thing that you're watching. It's like, take this by this you'll feel better. Yeah.


Jen 05:00

Well, at least for the short term, and you even said shopping, I don't know if anyone else can relate to this. But Amazon has changed my life. Maybe, maybe for the better, maybe for the worse, but there are times where I will. I don't need anything at all. But I want to have something to look forward to. Even if it's like in two days, and so I'll just order needless things. So that I can be excited and get my dopamine hit. Right. And that Amazon package calm


Caroline 05:36

literally. Right? So, right, absolutely. And I I'm, I'm guessing that there's something going on in that moment, when you pick up your phone, when you go to the left of the computer or whatever. It's like, I don't want to feel fill in the blank, or, or restless or lonely, or whatever it is. Yeah, I'm gonna go and it's not conscious. It's not none of its conscious.


Jen 06:00

Oh, no, it's it. None of it is. And I feel like sometimes for me, it can be a multitude of things. All right. It's like, do I have enough things in my life to look forward to? And so am I just trying to satisfy that need at that moment, right? Or it's, you know, I'm just feeling really down about things. And I'd like to feel better. And this will make me feel better.


Caroline 06:27

Right. Right. And hey, I mean, it works in the short term. It does. It totally does. It totally does. And that's where it's like, we have to start thinking about our like, art ourselves today, is, we are where we are today because of our choices yesterday, right? And so when we think about it in that context, even just a little bit, like, I maybe I'm hungover, or maybe I'm feeling a little groggy, or I've got some brain fog, because I ate too much, many too many candies yesterday, or whatever it is, that is because of the choices that I made yesterday, because I didn't feel like writing that email. Because I didn't be like calling my mother in law, whatever it is. Right? Right. So that little boost that we get from, whether it be food or drugs, or alcohol, or shopping, or whatever it is, helps us get over that hump. And what I help people do is realize, like, work on that home, really, right? Like, I don't go out and say we're gonna go feel our feelings because Good lord. I would run screaming away from me.


Jen 07:33

Right? Yeah, yeah. Well, yeah. I mean, if you said, Hey, Jen, why don't you like feel your feelings? Like, Well, I think I do that in an exhaustive level. Sometimes I don't want to feel my feelings.


Caroline 07:45

Right, right. Right. And, and what I have found so often, though, and I know from my personal experience, and we think we are feeling our feeling, but we're actually resisting our feelings. Yeah. And that resistance right there, which is so good at the gym. Right? Resistance bands, we want those we want like the heavier weights, because maybe we can get some tone in our arms or whatever it is. Those are all good things at the gym, but we have like, it's not a good thing when we are working with our emotions, right that I'm feeling crummy today. I'm feeling really crabby. I do not want to feel crappy, give me anything that I can do. Tell me what I can do to it. So I can not feel crappy, right? Just happened to me with a client. And it's sometimes that's the right thing to do. Sometimes the best thing to do is in particularly in this case, it was like that pushing that resistance again, I do not want to go there was so severe for her that it was like the best solution was like give yourself permission to feel crappy. Yeah. Like hold space for that, like you would have loved one. Right? don't require it to go away. And And the irony is, it does go away pretty quickly.


Jen 09:01

When you stop resisting it, right? Right. Right resistance that almost makes us feel all like the worst things. It's like if you would actually just allow yourself to dive into what it is that you're experiencing. And really dive deep. It will probably go away a lot faster. It's the resistance. I think this is my this is the way that I work in my own like feeling Yeah, stuff of going stop resisting because that's prolonging the pain.


Caroline 09:32

100% 100% Because it can go on for days and days and days. Meanwhile, we know that emotion actually flows through our system in about 90 seconds.


Jen 09:41

Yes, yes. So I'm curious what what kind of like got you into focused on this for yourself as a as a business?


Caroline 09:50

Yeah, it's my own journey. My own journey. Absolutely. I started drinking when I was, you know, a teenager and that was what everybody in my social set did. It was a good, I really loved that first, you know that dopamine hit that rush, I loved the, the idea that I presented as well. And I was I mean, I was a straight A student, and I was a student leader and all these kinds of things. And then I went on to a career in corporate and did very well there and all that kind of stuff. And so I had the, like, type a high performer. Yeah, who was also kind of this rebel who would drink more than I intended, I would call it I was over served last night, you know, right. And, and it was, it kind of it was that balance out for me, was like, I do too much of that. And I feel the pressure from all that. And this is a pressure release. This is my release valve over here. And eventually, I just realized, as I got older, and kind of looked around and saw what my friends are doing, I saw what colleagues were doing all that stuff. I was like, hmm, maybe there's something off here. And then I started noticing, I didn't really feel great in the morning, and didn't really love the I made bad food choices when I was hungover. Or, you know, had Yeah, over served the night before. And so I didn't like waking up in the middle of the night and kind of piecing that like, Oh, whatever. What happened in that the end of that show last night? I don't totally it's a little bit foggy there. Or, you know, the next day when one of the kids would say, oh, remember when I told you that? And I'm like, huh, are they screwing with me? Or the last night?


Jen 11:51

Right, you're like, Wait, I don't remember that. But that I may have a valid reason or, or you're just trying to get away with something. Right? I don't know that there are I don't


Caroline 12:01

know. It was never like major, but it's like, okay. And so I again, like from the outside looking in? No, nobody ever said, hey, you need to, like tone it down, did it? That was all my internal dialogue. Right. And that's where I when I talk to my clients, it's like, there's a difference between a drinking problem, quote, unquote, and a problem with your drinking. And it right may sound like I'm playing with words here. But I do feel like there is there's a difference. It's like, I knew it. I knew this was something that, you know, was kind of just like, there was that little whisper in the back of my head like, Hmm, there's something something's up here.


Jen 12:48

Right. And I don't think that's a necessarily like a play on words. I can totally understand that. Because it's, you know, for me, it was a very, it was very obvious, even on the external viewpoint from other people that like I had an issue. There was a problem, it was impacting my whole life. Right? And for you, it sounds like, it was a whole lot more of the intense internal struggle. And on the external, everything was fine. Like, externally, no one's looking at you going, I really think that she was overserved on a lot of nights. Right? Like, like, it wasn't, it wasn't something that was very obvious to anyone else. But you were like, I'm not entirely sure I'm comfortable with how things are going in my life when it comes to, you know, this sub, the drinking or whatever it is. And so, what was the moment where I mean, I'm sure there was a lot of moments, but what was the law? A lot of moments, but what was like kind of the pivotal moment that just said, All right, we're actually going to start taking action and doing something differently. Yeah. Well, I


Caroline 14:09

would say the moment the moment that kicked off the, you know, 100 moments was I was on a business trip. And it was the end along you know, a couple day meetings. Everybody was kind of letting up steam that did it. Tada. One thing led to another I was back in my hotel room at about four o'clock in the morning. And and I, one of my colleagues, my male colleagues had been hitting on me. Everything was fine, nothing happened. But when I woke up the next morning or whatever, I just that shame like it hit me of what could have happened. It If I had another shot of tequila, what you know, who knows? And that was my moment of, okay, this, this little nudge has been hitting me for a long time. That could have been a disaster, right? And I just that was just, I knew, right, like somebody had been trying to help me out, then my inner wisdom had been trying to tell me something, and I was like, wake the hell up.


Jen 15:28

Right? And you've had 100 of these conversations already. Now, it's actually time to start, you know, doing things that are a little bit healthier. And so when you made that decision, how, like, what was like that first kind of month? What did it look like for you to kind of make that decision and actually start working towards changing that relationship that you had with alcohol? What did


Caroline 15:58

that look like? Yeah, so I would say, for me, I downloaded a book, I download loaded this naked mind. And I read that cover to cover while I was on my flight back home. I, like started kind of tuning in to all the resources that are available. So I started reading the books and listening to the books and listen to the podcasts and all these things. And then I found a coach, and a coach who was talking about stop over drinking. And I was like, ding, ding, ding, that's for me, I don't want to stop drinking entirely. I just want to, like, make sure that nothing like that ever, ever, ever, ever, ever happens again. Right? And there were lots of starts and stops, there was a lot of mornings where, you know, like, what? I did it again, kind of thing. But as with anything as with learning anything, there's a big difference between that decision moment that break through that, never going to do it again. And like the transformation that those day in day out the unsexy little consistent, this is what's going to happen, I'm gonna pick myself back up, I'm going to keep going. Right, because I knew my goal was to, I wanted to, I want to not want it. Right. That was my goal. And so I certainly knew that I did not want to turn to I didn't want to use it as a crutch anymore. I didn't like that underlying message of that I was really telling myself that I couldn't handle it. You know, like when we reached like, I can't handle it anymore. I'm going to have a drink. And I didn't like telling myself that I didn't like reinforcing that message. And so that, so that first hit that that night when I was in London, and that was in August of 2016. And that was my last hangover. So there have been a lot of starts and stops along the way. But there's never been like, I haven't had a hangover since then.


Jen 18:03

Right? Right. And it sounds like because I think sometimes even my perspective of things is when I start changing things, and I commit to this, like, significant lifestyle shifts in my life, because I've just had enough and I get really excited about it, I think that things are going to be like white clouds, and it's going to be all fluffy and wonderful and nice. And oftentimes, it's not as nice as what I would like to start making those changes. It can feel a little uncomfortable. It can feel a little messy, it can feel like you said there was some starts and stops, I had to kind of like learn where was the boundaries? Right? Like, what was I okay with and what was I not okay with? Where is that? Is that and how long would you say that you stayed in that kind of learning for yourself? What you were okay with what you were not okay with?


Caroline 19:11

Yeah. And I call that the transformation. Okay. I call that like, you know, there's the aha moment. There's that decision, which I love how you use that language because I kind of sometimes I make fun of, I'm not making fun of you. Like sometimes I make fun of like, I'm decided to try keto. And I'm like, Oh, that's a terrible idea. But there's a big difference between that decision and like living it. Right. And that's where and I think that that is I think that we need to talk about that a lot more as coaches as practitioners in this space because we Western people that we people that live in in Western culture, we're used to like that immediate gratification. Yeah, absolutely. Huh. It's like what On the same day now, yeah.


Jen 20:02

Right. It's like, oh, things didn't go, like I had thought that they were gonna go and it doesn't feel as good as I thought it was gonna feel. So this must not be the right answer.


Caroline 20:10

Right. Right. And that is when I, actually, okay. I love it when my clients get to that point. Because to me, think about it, your primitive brain wants you to stay the same. It is very motivated to conserve energy, and keep everything the same. Right? Because automated behaviors do not require as much energy.


Jen 20:38

That's so true.


Caroline 20:39

Right? So your primitive brain when the when that resistance shows up when I didn't say if,


Jen 20:46

when, when the resistance shows up, when the resistance


Caroline 20:49

shows up. I'm like, Thank you, we're here. That means your primitive brain is freaking out. That means you're doing something right. That means primitive brain is nervous that this change may Oh, shit, she may be serious this time. Like, isn't that a good thing?


Jen 21:06

Yeah. And we're trained so much in, like you were saying, the Western culture that I'll get a little uncomfortable, how are you gonna make yourself feel better? Mm hmm. You know, like, Oh, God, stop what we're doing. And you're in, you're so on about, like, when I think about myself of that primitive brain, whenever I go to, you know, make a shift or make a change. That's not so automatic. I freak out a little bit, hopefully. And then, right. And then it's like, it's like the vicious cycle of the freakout. And this is why I think what you do is so valuable is because left to my own devices. When my primitive brain starts freaking out, I'm gonna probably double down on the vise that got me to that place, whatever, if it's food, if it's, you know, Amazon, if it's whatever it is, it's gonna double down left to my own devices,


Caroline 22:07

totally, because it's not working. I might as well. It's not working. I feel terrible, that this is hopeless. I'm gonna go ahead and I might as well why not? Why not? Right? Absolutely. That's another neural pathway. Right? That's another pattern.


Jen 22:24

And this is why I value so much about like, you know, what you do? And in terms of like, the coaching part of things where it's like, okay, you're freaking out right now. Totally normal. Like, let's, let's talk about it. And let's come up with some other ways, healthier ways that you can find yourself. I can't promise comfortability in this moment, you're going to be uncomfortable. It's okay. Let's work through it.


Caroline 22:53

Right. And not only that, like, isn't that the point? If you want to stay in your comfort zone, everything stays the same? Right? Right. And that's not why that's not why anybody hires a coach. That's not why anybody decides to make changes, they want to change. And it goes hand in hand, think of that bubble around you when you're in your comfort zone. It's called a comfort zone. Right? We step out of it, and we feel discomfort, and then we're like, ah, that's gone wrong. No, no, no, no, no, that that's, that's going right.


Jen 23:24

Right. And so when someone like myself, and we've been talking about kind of some of my vices, which is like, love eating my doughnuts, and my tasty pastries, and, you know, I go through recently, you know, I had someone close to me pass away, and it's very sad. And my immediate response to that is go to the grocery store, and get chocolate wasted. Right, because I can't get regular wasted, but I get, you know, chocolate wasted, and I just eat all of those things. So, you know, we've been kind of talking a little bit about that. So someone comes to you with that, what would be like one of the first and I know that you've got you must have like hundreds of different things to help people with but what was What's your like, go to strategy for someone? Well, I


Caroline 24:22

think I mean, it's going to be different upon where they are, or what you just described right there. I would say what was going on for you right there. Like if we could go back and rewind the clock. What were you feeling? You say great,


Jen 24:37

grief, really just really sad. You know what's


Caroline 24:41

underneath that?


Jen 24:47

I think that when it comes to grief and sorry if I start getting emotional, but we're talking about grief and it's hard to not but something that comes up underneath all that is How much I'm going to miss that person? Yeah, I'm never gonna get to see them. And just an immense amount of, I guess, love really? That's, that's the that's the underlying emotion of it. All right is how much I really care and love that person. Yes.


Caroline  25:23

Yes. Yeah. Amen. And I want to honor that. I want to honor that for you. Because that is what grief is. Honestly, the only reason we feel grief is because we have loved this person, or pet or whatever it is job even so much. Yeah. And that's an honor. Yeah, that is something that, you know that, that feeling right there. Again, we're not taught how to manage grief. Right? No, we're not. We're told to push it away, and you know, buck up and all that stuff. But at its core, it really is honor. It really is loving that person that pet that child, whatever it is, whatever we've lost, right? I'm


Jen 26:14

sorry, I was gonna say, so what I'm gathering is, and you can correct me if I'm wrong, but almost like in those moments, allowing myself to honor exactly those feelings that I'm experiencing, instead of shoving them away, because that person that I'm grieving, you know, there's a reason and they deserve. They deserve me to be sad.


Caroline 26:43

Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Absolutely. Absolutely. And so it's first it's a step of, like, normalizing what you're like the actions that we take, this is why this is happening. Like why I don't want to go there. And it's normal to feel that way. And, like there it when we view it is this is honoring this person, this is honoring this love this relationship. That takes a different frame of it. It's also kind of a reminder that your body was designed like what, a lot of times what's going on there is this fear that I'm going to get stuck in it, that I will never be able to climb myself out. So again, that resistance, keep it away. Keep it away, keep it away. Yeah. And that fear is driving it, I'm going to be stuck here, I'm going to feel miserable forever. And notice that, like, the behaviors that we go to, in order to not feel this thing are often worse than feeling this thing to begin with. Yes.


Jen 27:57

Absolutely. Yeah, absolutely. Because I don't always I will like sometimes take a step back and look at the behaviors and I'm exhibiting trying to cope with the thing that I'm coping with. And I feel so much worse about the behaviors and the feelings themselves. Right.


Caroline 28:15

And we layer on the other that like, it's like, yeah, I


Jen 28:19

remember like, there were times and I was trying to trick myself and like, go really deep into the the shame of it. Like I would just, I would walk through the grocery store with my sacks full of like candy or what coping whatever it was in my bag, and just tell myself what a horrible POS person that I was that this was not healthy, and like just really be hard on myself in that moment. And I was almost like, well, if you shave yourself hard enough. Maybe you can feel bad enough to break this like it did not work. I just want to say it only just made me feel that much worse.


Caroline 29:10

And then you want to eat or drink or whatever to get away from the Inner Mean Girl, right? Yes, yes. Yeah. Yeah, I have yet to meet a person who that drill sergeant savage talk works on? I don't know, I have not I have not met those people. You look at the science, you look at the research studies that they've done and self compassion actually is more compelling. Yes, you get better results. When you are nicer to yourself, which people are like, wait a minute, we can't do that. I'll end up sitting on the couch and eating chips or whatever all day.


Jen 29:46

Right? Well, and I think I think it's so funny how the brain works, right? Because I started trying to break down like okay, well when do you want to make you know, changes in your life? What do you know? Like what needs to To be in place, and I think one of the common answers and something like even my mom and I talked about because she's a, she's a coach as well. And she's like, well usually change comes with some sort of dissatisfaction, right? Like, in order for the change to happen, you have to be dissatisfied and want to make the change. Sometimes my brain confuses dissatisfaction and shame, right, like, so it's like, oh, if I can just get myself really, quote unquote, dissatisfied and shame myself really hard, then I will want to make changes, right. And this is why I think, again, this is what happens when I'm left to my own devices. Awareness. So I just want to reiterate that this is what happens when I've left my own devices. And I don't have someone else that's in my life, like a coach that I can kind of go that go down those roads, and they can help support and reframe some of those things for me, right. And this is why I think, coach, the coaching world, and again, you know, what you do is so valuable if someone is struggling with something like this is because I can't, I can't do this on my own. Like, that's just the bottom line, I have figured that out, I did not get clean. By myself. I have a huge support network for myself, any change that I've ever made, in a sustainable way has been because I've I've reached out and sought help through someone like yourself for various, you know, reasons, and then they were able to help me,


Jen 31:48

you know, work through that.


Caroline 31:50

Yeah. So training wheels, right?


Jen 31:52

Absolutely. Absolutely.


Caroline 31:55

They're there for a reason.


Jen 31:57

They are there for a reason. And so what would you say? If if you could think of like, and I know that you've worked with so many people, so this may be a hard question to answer. But can you think about a client that you just got really excited about? That made like the transformation that she wanted to make? Yeah. Well, if my clients well, yes. I know that. And this is why I'm like, this is a hard question. I don't mean, yeah, you've helped so many people. And I know that and I guess overall, I'm not maybe a specific client, but I like using like an individual.


Caroline 32:43

Yeah, we


Jen 32:44

all example story. Yeah,


Caroline 32:47

absolutely. Absolutely. I will. Okay, so I have all kind of generalize it, but Well, no, you asked for a specific story. Okay. So let me think of someone who


Jen 33:00

can't, why don't you generalize and then back into,


Caroline 33:04

okay, okay, here's what typically happens. My, the people that come to me have tried a bunch of different things. They have very similar to my journey. They've tried the podcast, they've tried dry January. I love that this is actually tape


Jen 33:21

recording. And yeah, in January, yeah.


Caroline 33:25

They've tried some challenges. They've tried a couple of the kind of toe dipped and do some different areas. And they intellectually understand. There's a big difference between that intellectual understanding and living it day to day. Because, and like you said before, like the decision Well, I kind of my my stepmom made a comment to me one time, like, I don't understand why people need coaches, don't they just decide and do it? I'm like,


Jen 33:55

It's only if only


Caroline 34:02

it would be easy.


Jen 34:03

Yeah, my life would be so much better side and did it all on my own. Right,


Caroline 34:11

right. Yeah. You know, okay. Let's be nice. Um, and but that's a whole nother story. I like to bring that up. Most humans are not like that. I mean, let's face it, right, there is a big, there's a big gap. Ya know, in our society, we're like, I want the immediate response. I want the immediate, like, I want the payback immediately. Um, so they've already tried a bunch of different things. And then they realize that because they do have, maybe they've got a career and maybe they've got whatever are typically like, in, in a corporate environment. They're used to hiring help. They're used to like if I have a team and I need, you know, creative help or something like that. Then I'm gonna go and I'm going to hire somebody to help me out. That will make it go, I'm gonna get further faster when that's the case, because I'm hiring out the skills that I need around that so that I have who, who I need around the table so that it helps me perform better. It's my team, right? My support team, you got it? Right. Right. Absolutely. And so when, when that flip occurs for them from this is a problem I am, I need to hide that I need to keep this undercover. I need to, you know, I can't talk to anybody about this to wait a minute, I can do something about this. Now that's a decision that's really powerful.


Jen 35:40

Yes. Yes. Absolutely.


Caroline 35:44

Like, for me, for example, I'm going to, I will come back to like, your question here. But like, just a little side note is, you know, for me, I come from corporate marketing, I was in global marketing for over 20 years, I have that background. And I do all of my marketing, great, whatever. I decided not too long ago that I wanted to hire somebody to help me with my copy. And I didn't do it from a place of lack from, oh, my God, there's a huge problem here. I did it from a place of, I really want to work with her. It will be nice to have like somebody by my side. And this, literally, I thought to myself, like this will be fun. This will be I will get further faster. Yeah. So notice the shift there. Like, it wasn't like, Oh, my God, this is a problem. I'm gonna die. It was like, I there's a hope there. There is a like, there, this will make me stronger. This will make me better. Right. And I think that that's important. Like just to recognize that there's not a save me energy.


Jen 36:54

Right? Yeah, you're coming at it from more of a place of this is going to increase my capabilities.


Caroline 37:03

Right, right. Because I know that I will get there at some point. There's also that there's a there's a belief in there that I know that I will get there at some point. I need to figure out exactly how I need to do that. Like if I were to wallpaper my room or something. I'm going to do a little research. Whatever. I could figure that out on my own. I could I totally good. Yeah. So I want to put in the time and effort. Right.


Jen 37:31

Right in frustration, and when someone else does this for a living? Yeah. And has done 1000s of wallpapering over your first time of going through something. It's just where do we want to spend our time. And it also sounds like you you got to the point where it's like it would be nice to just have someone else on my side. So I don't feel like I'm out here doing all this little stuff that I can't do it. Yeah. It's just that is this. Like, would I want to spend my time doing something else? Like talking to more people and helping them?


Caroline 38:12

Yeah, exactly. Exactly. Yeah. So I'm gonna come back. I'm sorry. No, it's okay. I love it.


Jen 38:18

I love it. Very useful. Thank you.


Caroline 38:21

So a lot of times, this client is has tried a bunch of different things has come to this decision, like, Oh, I could, there are resources available to me. I could. And what that looks like is there a lot of starts and stops, we want to believe that it's a straight line, but it's more like Chutes and Ladders. And it gets discouraging when we fall out.


Jen 38:47

I love Chutes and Ladders. A lot of the newer generation I'm not entirely sure remember Chutes and Ladders. But it's a great like when you said it and I started picturing the game because you know, sometimes you land on the like either the slide that you kind of slide back down and you have to work your way back up again. You know, I'm like absolutely right. Sometimes you just find yourself like Tang, I just laid it on that slide. And I feel like I just moved backwards.


Caroline 39:16

Yeah, yeah, exactly. And so like just recognize similar to what we did earlier, like when we were talking it's like that resistance comes up. And it's doesn't have to be a problem. And so I help my clients kind of work through that and like see that as see that differently. That doesn't mean stop. And I just say doubt the doubt before you doubt the goal. Yeah, the goal for a really long time this doubt is just coming up because of the resistance and that's okay. Yeah. And so we work through a couple of different levels. We work through the thought work, like is there some are there some limiting beliefs that you've got in there, or is it something that you just need to process? Like, is this something that You need help processing? Because your brain is saying no, no, no, we can't go there. It's dangerous. I'm going to die. I'm definitely going to die if I feel this. And so I help my clients kind of work through that. Yeah. And, you know, typically what will happen is when they, when they're engaged in the process, of course, you know, we have to be engaged. You have to show up for calls,


Jen 40:24

you have to show you have to do the things, the decision is just the beginning.


Caroline 40:29

Right, right. Right. And I joke that, like, you didn't hire me to come to your house and knock the drink out of your hand. Like, nobody wants that.


Jen 40:36

Yeah, exactly.


Caroline 40:39

So, um, you know, typically, they do have a different, much different relationship with alcohol and a different relationship with themselves. Yeah, that's actually one of the first questions that I asked, or one of the questions that I asked when, when I first get on a call with somebody is like, what is your relationship? How would you qualify your relationship with yourself? Yeah, so often, that is a reflection of your relationship with alcohol?


Jen 41:06

Well, it's such a powerful thing, and it goes back into one of the things that, you know, are really reiterate, you know, even with my clients, as they're looking at their own loved ones, and they're like, you know, if we just kind of take the substances away, then everything will be okay. And I'm like, Huh, well, it's a start. But really, it's the relationship that they begin to start having with themselves. That is where the work comes in. That's where the recovery comes in, is developing a solid relationship, because substances at the end of the day aren't the problem. It's the relationships that we do have with ourselves, and we have to really be paying attention and looking at what is that relationship? And are we having a good relationship with ourselves? Because, I mean, in this, this may be something that people may push back against when I say it. But at the end of the day, it's like every recovery person that sustains in recovery, it's because they develop a really healthy relationship with themselves. But in order to do that, it's like paying attention to what it is that we're feeding ourselves, whether it's food, or whether it's like, how are we coping, whether it's, you know, the alcohol, it's like, having a solid relationship is like, what keeps people from going into those coping things?


Caroline 42:43

Yeah, totally. And I want to, I want to add to that, like, Sure, there's the outer work, and there's the inner work, because a lot of times when I say that to people, they're like, What do you mean, I don't even know what that's like, we will I don't know what


Jen 42:57

I get it. Yeah.


Caroline 42:59

How do I even what does that even mean? And I like I like to start small and say, Are you listening to your inner dialogue? Like, we know that there's, I call it Instagram porn, where like, we've got these quotes that are like, super exciting. We're like, What the hell do I do about that? I don't know. I don't know. Like a hot second. And then it just goes away. Because I don't know what to bring. Yeah. And so when I asked that question, and people freeze up, I get it. I've been there. Totally bought the t shirt. Yeah. But it really does start with how we're feeding ourselves. What are we physically putting into our body? What are the what are the words that we're saying to ourselves? By saying, I'm such an idiot? Why do I do that again? Versus what would I say to my child? What would I saved to my best friend, whatever, you'd never say that. Ever, ever, ever, ever. And that freaks people out. So like, again, we've bought into this myth that if we're nice to ourselves, that we're gonna lay on the couch and eat chips and watch TV all day. And when you truly love somebody, you take good care of them.


Jen 44:14

Yeah. Yeah, no accurate. And there's places where, like, if, you know, just to be completely transparent, where it's like, I really love these things about myself and I don't love the other things about myself. And the other things that I don't love about myself is where I find myself wanting to cope a little bit more. And so we're so worth, me and Jen are still working on our relationship together.


Caroline 44:43

But I think that like that is that is so and thank you for your transparency for your honesty, because that is I think that's everybody's work. Yeah, yeah. I mean, it's, it's opening up to their parts of me that I love and they're parts of me that are that or that I'm keeping in shadow? Because I don't love so much. Yeah, but when we think about that, from the perspective of think about a loved one, maybe you don't love XYZ about your partner or whatever snores did it, it leaves his socks on the floor or whatever it is, like pulling back as a whole. There's love.


Jen 45:26



Caroline 45:28

And like that, in particularly with your clients, when your clients are thinking about the situation where they feel so powerless. The one power, the one thing that we all have, is how we're choosing to show up. When we show up with love. That's always right.


Jen 45:48

Yes? And how, how do we continue to show up with love and focus? Because one of the things that I talk about my, my, my clients with, and you know, I'll never claim that I'm the most perfect person in this, but it's like, it's the truth of how do we look more at behaviors so that we can stay in love, I don't like it when you do X, Y, and Z not, you know, like, you're not a great person, or whatever it is. I don't like it when you behave like you robbing that store at gunpoint was not a behavior that I enjoyed watching. Right, right. No, I think you're a bad person. Just I think that behavior was not in alignment with who I know that you are deep down. Yeah. And that's how we stay, you know, loving even towards the person is.


Jen 46:49

And this is where


Caroline 46:50

 right distinction. Yeah,


Jen 46:51

yeah. And it's like, I think, you know, talking to like, the families like that, it's, it's coming from separating the two. And then where do you find yourself of how you are, manage your relationship with yourself through, you know, what their loved one is experiencing, like, and I think that's important, because if you, if you're, if your loved one goes out and robs a convenience store at gunpoint, I'll just use that as an example. I know, that's dramatic, but it happens, right? And you start seeing yourself as a bad parent, that's going to influence not only the way that you feel about yourself, but the way that you feel about your loved one, right? It's like, how do we separate the two? That doesn't make you a bad parent? It's like, it's just what they are choosing to do with their lives? Totally? And how do we still have that loving relationship?


Caroline 47:50

Yeah, and just to build on that, when we think of ourselves as a bad parent, that we make it all about us, and we actually show up as a bad parent.


Jen 47:58

Right? Right, because we don't, because it's like, one, we are going into parenting territory in a territory that is not about parenting. Right? Right. At this point, it's no longer about parenting, it's about the relationship that you have with yourself, and the relationship that you have with your loved one and the boundaries that recreate around that. And that includes the emotional boundaries, you know, and the way that I see like boundaries and making them unbreakable, is this idea that we have to live a very boundary lifestyle, and that goes a lot in conjunction with what you're talking about, where, you know, what am I okay with in my life? And what am I not okay with in my life? And then how can I live within what I am okay with and what I want for my life? And how do I want to feel about myself? Right, right. You know, and we create boundaries as a lifestyle, not boundaries as wolves, or places in which we just push people away. So how do we bring people in, in a safe way, including ourselves?


Caroline 49:08

Yeah, there's a lot of comfort in knowing exactly where the lines are. Yeah. Yeah.


Jen 49:13

Well, I just really want to thank you so much for this was a really helpful podcast for me to listen more because I'm like, all of a sudden, I'm very aware of some challenges that I'm having with myself. And I'm so grateful that there are people out there like you that are kind of going well, let's look at that relationship that you do have with yourself and like what's coming up for you? And you did that so brilliant, brilliantly. So I just really think you what would like be one final thought to share with the audience?


Caroline 49:50

Well, I think first of all, thank you for having me today. It's been What a delightful conversation. I've really enjoyed it. Um, And I would say that for your listeners, I know that they're tuning in because they're are struggling with a loved one. And so often what happens is, we get sucked into this messaging that is all around us that alcohol will help you cope, or m&ms are gonna help you cope, whatever it is. And so you're not alone. By any stretch of the imagination. This is like, it's, you're like a fish in water, basically. Right? So I do have, I do have a free stopover drinking course that I have on my website. And I'll give you the link to that. And it's not like you have to show up at a specific time with on Zoom or anything. It's just it's delivered to your email to your inbox. And so I want to offer that to anybody who would find that helpful. Oh, absolutely.


Jen 50:52

Yeah. And what's the easiest way for just the listeners to go find that, like, what is your website?


Caroline 50:59

My website is Caroline hoki, coaching.com. And at ca R O L, I N E. H OLKE coaching.com. All one word. Excellent. So it's right there on the homepage. And, you know, I get it i i kind of lingered in the background for a little while before I started really engaging with people, which is totally normal, totally normal. So take advantage of the things that we've got available. There's a free resources page on my website, as well. So


Jen 51:35

right, it's like, you have nothing to lose. And I know, for the show notes, what that you sent me there, you also have like a YouTube channel that people can go check out. And there's all kinds of really interesting topics, people can kind of get to know you that way. And Instagram and Facebook and those kinds of resources, all of that can be found on the show notes. So like, if you're in the car, you're listening to this, you can go check out the unbreakable boundaries podcast.com and go find all her links. So I think she has some fabulous information both on our website and on like her YouTube channel, you really feel like you kind of get to know even more about you, which I think is fabulous. Well, thank you so much for coming on. This is very inspiring, very helpful for me, I have a lot to think about even for myself, so I appreciate you. I really do. I really do. And thank you for listening to this podcast. If you want to listen to more or find more information out about this podcast and more of what I do to help families you can go check out my page at unbreakable boundaries podcast.com. It's full of other great podcasts just like this one, and other great resources to look through. And please remember to share this podcast with others you never know who may need to hear this. People are often hiding their battles in this arena and sharing is a great way to provide this valuable resource to a person you may not even know who needs it. And don't forget, there is always hope, even when things seem the most hopeless

Caroline HolkeProfile Photo

Caroline Holke

Caroline Holke works with Type A, high performing women who drink more than they intend to sometimes. It wouldn't be classified as a drinking problem, but they have a problem with using it as a crutch and want to get their control back.

They hire her to get rid of the shitty parts of drinking (and this doesn't necessarily mean all drinking) and this enables them to build a life that they enjoy so much that they don't want to numb out of it.

Most people focus on what to DO to cut back on their drinking, Caroline helps her clients tease out what is "driving them to drink" in the first place. Addressing these underlying, root causes helps her clients create sustainable change in their relationship with drinking.