What no one wants to talk about - Alcoholism

If alcohol was created today, the world would outlaw it, like we have many hard opiates and other narcotics. It is a single destructive force that is permeating all corners of modern society.

The big problem is, most people have no idea how big the problem is in their own lives, as we drink to disconnect from the hard to hear the truth.

Most of us have a big problem in our lives, and we have no idea of the impact it is having on our happiness and our health.

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Andrew Hackett: Good day, and welcome to Illimitable Living. I'm Andrew Hackett, and I'm here to talk about living a life free from fierce restrictive boundaries so that you can not only live a limitless life, but so that you can become truly illimitable. I'm here in sunny Australia talking with my remarkable co-host Patricia Morris as we take you on a journey delving deep into the mysteries of the universe and how we live within it. Join me on a journey towards living a truly limitless life on the Illimitable Living podcast. 

Good day, everyone. I'm Andrew Hackett and I am here with my fabulous co-host Patricia Morris. This is Illimitable Living, where we talk about a lot of topics that I think the world really needs to start discussing. Now, the type of stuff you don't find on mainstream media that really helps us move forward in our life. 

Good day, Patricia. How are you doing this week?

Patricia Morris: I am doing so much better. I'm still getting over a cold, so if my voice isn't quite up to par, you'll know kind of why. So I'm just putting that out there in case it starts to crackle a little bit. But I'm feeling better.

Andrew Hackett: You're sounding fabulous, like always, so I think you'll be fine.

Patricia Morris: Thank you, thank you.

Andrew Hackett: So, what did you want to chat about today?

Patricia Morris: Well, I had a client contact me a couple of weeks ago, wanting to know if I felt that ... Sorry, I should backtrack. She, I guess, said that she drinks wine every night. She didn't say how much wine that she drinks every night. Wanted to know if I felt that that was inhibiting her personal growth or her spirituality. It got me to thinking, because that's a tender topic for me as well. I used to struggle with drinking too much alcohol; I was on the road to alcoholism. I was almost there. I kind of wondered how many other people might be struggled with that as well. I know you also have a very tender story about that too, Andrew. So I kind of thought that would be a great topic to start with today. Maybe people are struggling with that out there and wondering the same thing that my client did, and can help somebody with that if they're wondering about that. 

Andrew Hackett: Yeah, great topic Patricia. You pick the best ones; you really do. Look, you're right. I've got a long history with alcohol, mostly stemming from my sexual abuse as a teenager. I very quickly, after the event, found the benefits, so to speak, for want of a better word, of alcohol in helping me disconnect from my troubles, particularly dealing with guilt and shame. The fabulous thing about this is ... And I've spoken on this subject myself a couple of times in the past, and I think it's something that really needs to be brought awareness to it because although it's the self medication, using alcohol to self medicate ... We all use different things, whether it's alcohol, whether it's drugs, either pharmaceutical or-

Patricia Morris: Or food.

Andrew Hackett: Or narcotics. Food's another one; yeah, absolutely. We all use food-

Patricia Morris: Oh yeah.

Andrew Hackett: ... particularly food that has addictive ingredients in it, like sugar. 

Patricia Morris: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Andrew Hackett: It's the old analogy; when the woman gets upset and she just wants a rom com and a big bowl of ice cream or a tub of ice cream.

Patricia Morris: Okay, what's a rom com?

Andrew Hackett: A rom com; sorry, romantic comedy movie.

Patricia Morris: Oh, got you. Yes, I get it.

Andrew Hackett: So she might put on a chick flick, have a good cry with a big bowl of ice cream, in her pajamas, maybe with a blanket on her lap or something like that. I know I'm completely being very sexist here because ... I shouldn't be, because us guys do it too from time to time. I've had my own fair story, but instead of ice cream, for me it was a bottle of scotch. 

The trouble with it though is although ... As a former self medication, alcohol is incredibly effective-

Patricia Morris: It is.

Andrew Hackett: ... and it's widely available. The problem though is, it is extraordinarily addictive. Over time, it can have a lot of exacerbating effects. So for over 20-odd years, I use the term "lived with my head in a bottle." I was never at the point where I was drinking before the afternoon, for instance. I had this rule in my head that just I never drunk before 4:00 in the afternoon. At one point it was 5:00, and at another point it was 6:00. But it was my wind down at the end of the day. But some weeks, I just wanted to ... I couldn't wait for the weekend so I could justify just blitzing myself. 

Look, it didn't take me too long to figure out that it really wasn't working for me, that I was not doing right by myself. The problem, though, was the guilt and shame that just haunted me for 20-odd years. Just kept bringing me back to the need to drink. 

Patricia Morris: Oh, okay. Okay.

Andrew Hackett: So look, I think it's a good topic. Before we go too much further, let's talk about what alcoholism is. I want to talk about it in the sense of definition, because I think it's really important. A lot of people think alcoholism is the stage of alcoholism where people wake up and they're pouring a drink before 10 a.m. in the morning, and by lunch time they're gone. They're already well and truly [inaudible 00:05:36]. Although that is a very tragic end of the spectrum of alcoholism, alcoholism is a spectrum. Alcoholism, ultimately speaking, is a broad term for the drinking of any alcohol that results in mental or physical health problems. I think that is the way it is described as an actual definition. 

In the medical context, alcoholism is said to exist when one or more of the following conditions are present. So I've got a little list here. I wanted to pull this list out. In fact, I think this list is from Wikipedia. So, one or more of the following are present. A person who drinks large amounts over a long period of time. Okay? Pretty obvious. That's the modern cultural display of alcoholism that we see in movies and the like. So, person drinks large amounts over a long period. A person who has difficulty cutting down or stopping. I've got to say, that is so common. It is not funny.

Patricia Morris: That's very true.

Andrew Hackett: A person who is acquiring and drinking alcohol takes up a great deal of time. So, the thought process, "I need to go to the bottle. I need to ..." That they spend time sourcing the alcohol. Where there is alcohol is strongly desired. Right?

Patricia Morris: Right.

Andrew Hackett: That doesn't sound too bad, but you know. Usage results in not fulfilling responsibilities. Now look, I'm going to go out on a limb here. I reckon there is probably every wife on this planet has a husband who is not fulfilling his responsibilities because he'd rather get drunk. In Australia, it's a culture. We have this drinking culture; you can't socialize in Australia without having a drink in your hand.

Patricia Morris: Oh, no kidding?

Andrew Hackett: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I mean, it's prevalent throughout the world. But yeah, so usage results in not fulfilling responsibilities. That's definitely me to a T sometimes. Usage results in social problems, e.g., people get so drunk or they can't stop drinking until they get drunk and they end up making a completely twit of themselves. Welcome to the Australian culture right there. 

Patricia Morris: Wow.

Andrew Hackett: Usage results in health problems, or usage results in risky situations, e.g., liquid courage. We end up, I don't know, jumping on the roof of a car and surfing the car down the road or something. 

Patricia Morris: Oh my. 

Andrew Hackett: Just doing daft things.

Patricia Morris: Right. 

Andrew Hackett: Right. Withdrawal occurs when stopping, and alcohol tolerance has occurred with use. So that's a list of eight or nine items, and they talk about alcoholism is said to exist when two or more of the following conditions are present. Now, I don't know about you, but in my time when I was drinking, I had a pretty solid end of the full set there. You know? I wasn't necessarily drinking large amounts. 

So, this is where the common misunderstanding comes from. A lot of people I talk to say they don't have a problem with alcohol. Yet when I explain to them, "Do you need to drink every night?" Their first response is no; "No, I don't need to drink every night. I do, but I don't need to." I said, "All right. Go away and have a think about that for a week, and then come back to me." Then they come back to me and they go, "Well, you know what? Actually I do need to drink every night." All right, okay, so let's tick that box. 

Someone has difficulty cutting down or stopping, and suddenly you've got two right there. If you actually stop, you start feeling withdrawals, e.g., headaches is the most common form of withdrawals. Most people feel headaches at the back of their head. Headache at the front of their head but they feel it particularly at the base of the skull, where the skull meets the spine. That's certainly where all of my withdrawal symptoms come about, whether it's from sugar or caffeine or from chocolate, for instance, is another one. Another highly addictive food because of the ingredients that is in it.

Patricia Morris: Yes. 

Andrew Hackett: But for me, for instance, I'd go and have ... If I had a chocolate bar one day and then a chocolate bar the next day, and I didn't have one the third day, by the afternoon of the fourth day, I'd be having the splitting headache that I couldn't remove.

Patricia Morris: No kidding. You were that sensitive to it, huh?

Andrew Hackett: Yeah, yeah. Absolutely. Absolutely.

Patricia Morris: Wow.

Andrew Hackett: You'd be surprised how common it is. It's just because we don't see it as something that's addictive and something that can addictively control us, so we just reach for it all the time. You know, "What's the trouble about it? [inaudible 00:10:12] having a bit of chocolate in the afternoon."

Patricia Morris: Right, right.

Andrew Hackett: But what is happening is we're seeing alcohol in the same terms. "There's no harm in having a glass of wine in the afternoon." In fact, didn't the wine lobby tell us that a glass of wine at the end of the day is in fact good for you?

Patricia Morris: Yeah, they did. 

Andrew Hackett: The interesting thing about that is they also said the same about smoking. They've said the same about other forms of alcohol. They've even said the same about asbestos. 

Patricia Morris: They did?

Andrew Hackett: Yeah, they did. Absolutely they did. Back in the 60s or whenever they started to use it, they said it wasn't harmful.

Patricia Morris: Wow.

Andrew Hackett: Smoking was the same; I think smoking was even thought to be good for you up until something like the 80s. 

Patricia Morris: That's true, yeah. I remember that. 

Andrew Hackett: In the same way sugar. They say to us that sugar is better for us because the sugar lobby managed to convince the legislators to farm out this information, this healthy guide to eating, which said no fat and low fat products are better for you. But the problem is that all low fat products are loaded with sugar. We now know fat is actually not the problem in diets; sugar is the problem in diets. 

Patricia Morris: Yup, yup.

Andrew Hackett: Because while you're consuming the sugar, the body burns sugar, forgets about burning fat and stores it instead. You cut sugar out of your diet, and you will lose weight. It's almost guaranteed.

Patricia Morris: Yes, it's true.

Andrew Hackett: If you completely cut out sugar. I'm not just talking added sugar; I'm talking about product with sugar in it. Because so many products ... Anything that's effectively mass produced or in a box or processed with have sugar in it. The primary reason is because it is more addictive than cocaine.

Patricia Morris: Oh yeah, oh yeah. It definitely is. 

Andrew Hackett: Right. So when you start thinking about alcoholism, "There's nothing wrong with a glass of wine in the evening," but then suddenly you're having it every night. What is happening, though, and this is something that I noticed in myself something like 15 years ago, is one drink ... I would only have a glass of scotch in an evening, maybe two. To the point that I wouldn't even barely feel the effects of it. But having it every single night, it builds up and has a cumulative effect.

Patricia Morris: Yeah, you build up a tolerance for it.

Andrew Hackett: Yeah, not just a tolerance for it, but you start building a whole bunch of other sociopsychotic issues that are relating to it. So, I would become more irritable. If I didn't have a drink in my hand by sort of 5:00 at night, I would start getting grumpy and easily triggered and quick to temper, which of course is a massive social problem, particularly in a household. Also, if I couldn't source it as well, I'd start getting grumpy about that. It starts impacting your sleep, so you're not sleeping as well. Obviously if we're not sleeping as well, the body's not recovering and healing itself properly. It's this vicious cycle that happens associated with alcohol. It only takes one glass a night, or one drink a night, on a regular basis. After a week or two and stuff like that, suddenly you're needing that one glass a night.

Patricia Morris: Mm-hmm (affirmative), yeah.

Andrew Hackett: See, this is what I believe is to be one of the biggest issues we've got with capitalism. Decisions based on what is right for humanity is based on how much money can be made from it, not on whether it's right for humanity. If alcohol was created today or cigarettes were created today, or probably half of the pharmaceuticals that are regularly consumed were created today, they would be absolutely outlawed. 

Patricia Morris: That is very true. Yeah.

Andrew Hackett: So let's think about alcoholism. Alcoholism isn't just you can't get to morning tea without having a drink. That is quite a chronic form of alcoholism. Alcoholism can be quite simple, as needing a drink every night, having difficulty cutting down, the alcohol is strongly desired. Anybody who has a drink every single night strongly desires alcohol, by definition. If you're drinking every night, I'm sorry guys, I'm sorry to tell you ladies and gentlemen, but in all honestly with you, you meet the definition of alcoholism. I think that's important to understand, because when I've spoken to some people, it's a real shock to them. Because they're taught to believe or they believe that it's acceptable. In fact, you're kind of an idiot if you don't. 

Patricia Morris: Do people kind of fight you on that a little bit, or dig their heels in a bit because they're-

Andrew Hackett: They do in the first discussion, yes.

Patricia Morris: Yeah, I would imagine so. Because they probably have convinced themselves in their mind that every night having a drink isn't really that big of a deal because we're socially programmed to think that it's not a big deal unless it's interfering somehow with our lives or that kind of a thing. So I imagine that's got to be really difficult for some people to hear that.

Andrew Hackett: Yeah, yeah, yeah. So what do I do? This is quite deliberate on my behalf. I play a bit of a ... Run through a bit of a process. So I have a chat with them about the alcoholism and talk to them about it, and we analyze it and we discuss it. They're very defensive about it at first.

Patricia Morris: Of course.

Andrew Hackett: Then I say, "Right, go and write a diary. For the next week, I want you to write down what you drink, how much you drink, when you drink it, and why you drink it." I say, "Just do that for me. No judgment from me; it's fine." Then we do our second session and I then say to them, "Right, now I want you to stop, and I want you to write down everything that happens. And if you do drink, why you drink, and then you need to stop again." I said, "I'm telling you right now" ... And by that stage, we've already discussed all the criteria associated with alcoholism and I get them to map it across them. I say to them, "If you genuinely don't have an alcoholic problem and stuff like that, or you don't meet any of this criteria and you don't fit the model," I said, "I'll give you my next session for free."

Patricia Morris: Wow.

Andrew Hackett: I haven't had to give any sessions for free, because what happens is they then ... Because they're bringing conscious awareness to it. It's not some sort of secret formula; they're just bringing conscious awareness to it and they're starting to realize, "Oh my god. One, I didn't realize what the criteria for alcoholism is." So they start associating with that. Then they start realizing, "Wow, I do need a drink every night, and I have to source it, and I do desire it. And more to the point, when I give up, I do get withdrawals. It is making me grumpy, and it is impacting me socially," and all these other sorts of things. Until you run them through the process, they just don't compute it. They don't put two and two together. 

Patricia Morris: Yeah. It's easy to just be in denial too, really.

Andrew Hackett: Oh, too right it is. It's like eating sugar as well. It's so readily available and it gives us such a wonderful feeling.

Patricia Morris: Oh, it does, and it's so good. That's part of it. That's part of it; it's just so good.

Andrew Hackett: Yeah, it is. All the pleasure receptors in your brain are just going ... It's like getting a beautiful head massage with someone who's got long nails or something. Everything just gets triggered; all the nerve endings in your body and stuff, and you're relaxing to it [inaudible 00:17:29]. 

Now, the big problem though with alcoholism, and this is what I started to notice in my relationships and with my family, is that it disconnects us from each other. Michelle sits there and she says she can pick the moment when I disconnect from her if I'm having a drink. Because the relationship between me and Michelle is incredibly energetic, like I think all relationships are. But particularly for us. Even from the moment we first met, there was this drawing together like two magnets that neither of us could possibly understand.

Patricia Morris: Yeah, that's a beautiful story that you have.

Andrew Hackett: It's a lovely story, isn't it? That's right, yeah, absolutely. I love telling it as well because I just adore Michelle. She's remarkable. She's everything that I could possibly ever want in a friend and a lover and a partner and all that awesome stuff. But if we were sitting next to each other, watching a bit of telly or even reading a book or something like that, and I had a scotch, she would say she would feel me disconnect.

Patricia Morris: Wow.

Andrew Hackett: The interesting thing about that is it would make her want to drink.

Patricia Morris: Wow, she has that much of a connection that it ... Wow.

Andrew Hackett: Yeah, absolutely. In fact, she can even feel when I have a drink when I'm not even remotely near here. If I'm in another city and I can have a drink, she can feel ... It's just a bizarre thing between us. 

Patricia Morris: That is ... I would love to talk about that more later, because that's kind of really cool.

Andrew Hackett: Yes, certainly. Certainly is. But see, this is the interesting thing. It disconnects us. If it's disconnecting me from Michelle, of course it's disconnecting me with my boys, my sons.

Patricia Morris: Sure.

Andrew Hackett: Then I started to realize, "Hold on a second. My boys ... I've really got to do something about this." I, for 30 years, have become an expert in giving up drinking. 

Patricia Morris: It's been 30 years? Wow, it's been a long time then. 

Andrew Hackett: Yeah, that's right. I mean, sorry ... Giving up drinking, probably 15 to 20 years.

Patricia Morris: Oh, okay. Okay.

Andrew Hackett: I've been doing it for over that period of time. I go through periods where I haven't had a drink for six months and then I might have a drink. Fortunately for me, the massive shift in me is that what I was failing at was not the giving up the drinking. What I was failing at was sorting out the problems that were leading me to drinking.

Patricia Morris: Yes.

Andrew Hackett: So for me, it was about masking and disconnecting from my guilt and shame. 

Patricia Morris: Yup, that was your [crosstalk 00:19:57].

Andrew Hackett: Correct, absolutely was, and my self loathing and all this sort of stuff. Once I identified it ... This is why I talk about my process being so important, where we need to delve into our unconsciousness and figure out what's going on within us before we move forward. Because anybody can manifest in your life. That's the easy bit. Manifesting the right life is the difficult bit. What's right for particularly for following our purpose and all that sort of stuff. Particularly when I would realize that I wanted to dedicate my life to helping others and I started writing and doing everything that I'm doing, I sat back and I thought, "I can't be a hypocrite anymore. I've got to lead by example." If I'm drinking, my flow, my filter, my flow starts to get distorted. The filter decides to change things. The ego creeps in. My connection with people starts to subside. All of this stuff is just not worth it anymore for me. 

But the real drawing factor for me was I started to realize that my sons, who had already been noticing my drinking, had started very subtly, perhaps even unconsciously, mentioning certain things. Like, "Dad, you're not going to go down to the bottle and get a bottle tonight?" You know, just little tiny things. They were young, too. They were, I don't know, between five and 10. Just very, very subtle things. I suddenly started to think, "Holy moly. If I don't sort myself out now, I'm going to be teaching my boys that drinking is in fact the way to do it all." Because when boys start coming to sort of the age of about 10, they start to ask themselves the questions, purely unconsciously at that stage, "How do I become a man? What does being a man mean? How do men act and react?" And all this sort of stuff. I suddenly started to wake up to myself thinking, "Hold on a second; I've got this all wrong." Although I was not drinking the way I was, I still needed a drink four or five nights a week, albeit it a night cap as I would call it. Even if it's just one shot, I still needed it for some time.

Patricia Morris: Wow.

Andrew Hackett: So I had a history of about 15 years of giving up drinking. Again, I'm an expert at it. I've been over it and analyzed it so often that now I understand exactly what the process is and it really, really works for me. It has worked for some people that I've worked with as well, which is fabulous, which is all part of the benefit of it. But what I had to do was I had to show my boys, "No, a man is not defined by his drinking. A man is defined by his choices. A man is defined by the way he treats people. A man is defined by having the courage to choose love over fear." Fortunately, I think for me, I caught it with enough time that they started to ... Then they've started to realize. I've got boys who just aren't interested in drinking. Whether it'll stay that way, who knows, when they get closer to being an adult. But again, that's their choice. That's something that they need to come to terms with. 

Patricia Morris: I have a question for you, because I've seen it referred to this often, at least lately I have. Well, you know how they refer to alcohol as spirits? 

Andrew Hackett: Yeah.

Patricia Morris: So, in the spiritual community, there's this saying now that there's a reason they call it spirits, because when you are drinking, you're actually attracting lower vibrational energy or lower frequencies of energy to yourself. So they say, "Well, it's no wonder that they're called spirits." Whether you're actually attracting spirits or not, but you are at least attracting lower frequency, lower vibrational energy when you are drinking, so that is something to consider as well. Maybe one drink won't do that; it just really depends on you, what your tolerance to alcohol is, what that does to your mind. Everybody is different. But only you can be the judge of that, I guess. But when you're drinking even to excess, or even more than one drink, that's when it starts to happen that way. I've noticed, anyway. Like, you can walk into any bar or pub and immediately the energy just feels heavy in there. I don't know if you've noticed that, but-

Andrew Hackett: Very much so. Yeah, absolutely. What I put that down to, it's this whole disconnection thing. 

Patricia Morris: Yes. Yup.

Andrew Hackett: Alcohol disconnects us. We drink it socially to come together, but what it does is it disconnects us. What I mean by that is it stops us from sort of communicating at a soul-based level. 

Patricia Morris: Mm-hmm (affirmative), which is ironic-

Andrew Hackett: We then become very physical. 

Patricia Morris: Yeah.

Andrew Hackett: Of course it is, absolutely. Yeah. Very much so.

Patricia Morris: It's very ironic because you can walk into a pub or a bar, they call them bars here, and it appears as if everybody's having a great time. But it's not ... When you pay attention to the energy around it, it doesn't really feel like they're having a great time. It's a very superficial, very fake, fake time.

Andrew Hackett: Yeah, yeah, yeah. It's a false narrative. Absolutely. No, I completely agree.

Patricia Morris: Yeah, thank you. That's the word. False narrative, for sure. So I find it very ironic that it appears as if everybody's having a great time, but the energy is speaking so differently from that.

Andrew Hackett: Very much so. Very, very much so. Look, the interesting thing is as well is it ... I'm going to use sex as an analogy. 

Patricia Morris: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Oh good.

Andrew Hackett: Yeah, yeah, yeah. When we're connected with the right person, sex is a beautiful, extraordinary thing. It's pure and it's gentle and it's kind and it's loving, and it's all of those sort of wonderful things. I often equate to ... Anybody who's gotten really drunk and had sex, and I'm sure we all have from one point or another, the difference ... They're complete opposites.

Patricia Morris: It is, yeah.

Andrew Hackett: It's almost ... The reason I disconnect, it's just a physical thing. It's just a physical thing that's happening.

Patricia Morris: Very true.

Andrew Hackett: Coming to climax and both people go their separate ways. But sex that's with the right person, with your partner, with your lover, your husband or your wife ... When we're sober and we're connected, it's an emotional thing. It's a spiritual thing, in fact. Not so much a physical thing. I find this quite fascinating. It's something that I've been sort of watching carefully for many, many decades now to try and understand it. Because it is the one thing that helps with the congenuity of humanity. It's what we're born to do, is to breed and to connect. When we're drinking alcohol, it disconnects us first and foremost.

Patricia Morris: Absolutely. 

Andrew Hackett: I believe it's the first drink that disconnects us. 

Patricia Morris: You know, and it's not just disconnecting, because I ... Well, there is that. But it's a little bit even further than that, at least for me. I'll admit; I was there a couple of times in my life, where I'd had a little ... actually, way too much to drink. Didn't realize it, and went and had sex with my husband and didn't remember anything the next day. To me, that was scary. Scary. I have never been the type of person that would drink that much, where I wouldn't remember anything. I could probably count on two fingers the times that that's happened. 

But when that happened, I thought, "Oh my goodness. I don't even know what" ... Thank goodness it was my husband. But if I were just out at a pub or a bar and that happened, I wouldn't even know what to think. I would have so much shame, just like, "What did we end up doing? I don't even remember anything of what happened." So it disconnects us in our brains as well, as far as not even being able to remember what is taking place. 

Andrew Hackett: I completely agree. This is the really tragic thing that happens with alcohol as well, is that is removes ... I'm never one to advocate the fact that alcohol or even taking drugs should ever diminish a person's responsibility to make the right choices. But the simple fact of the matter remains that alcohol does not diminish our responsibility, but diminishes our ability to make the right choices, particularly in a social setting and all that sort of stuff. 

To me, alcohol in itself is the single biggest problem we have in this world, only because I've been there. I've lived through it. It cost me one marriage. I'm sure as hell not going to let it cost me another one. My boys, they need to learn to grow up to real men, respectful men that respect a woman and her body. There was a recent podcast that I listened to, Andrew Denton, who's an extraordinary interviewer in Australia. A remarkable man, in fact. Interviewed Tim Winton, who's an incredible Australian author. I mean, the guy is just remarkable. Tim was saying he just feels really, really sad about the younger generation because the younger generation of men just do not know how to respect women. 

Patricia Morris: No, they don't.

Andrew Hackett: ... in their communications, in their actions, in their beliefs, in everything. There's a number of us, and maybe every generation talks and whinges about the younger generation and the eroding of moral values ... We're part of that erosion as well. We're the one they're contributing to that erosion because we're not actively doing something about it and setting the example to the younger generation of what men and what being a man is all about.

Patricia Morris: Yes, very true. You know you're getting old when that's what you do; you start thinking about your generation versus the ones that are there. I don't know, I was just joking with my husband about this the other day, that, "Boy, how did we get old? Because now we're just griping about all the generations that are here now."

Andrew Hackett: That's right. Those damn kids and their bloody rock music!

Patricia Morris: Yeah, get off my lawn! 

Andrew Hackett: That's right. That's funny, isn't it? We turn around and we say quite clearly that we're not our parents, but we end up getting to a certain age and we look in the mirror and think, "Oh my god, I've turned into my father."

Patricia Morris: You're like, "What happened?"

Andrew Hackett: Yeah, that's right. That's right. It's all too funny, isn't it?

Patricia Morris: It is. 

Andrew Hackett: So the alcoholism thing, it's a really interesting topic and I really thank you for raising it, because I think we just really need to become aware of what's going on within us. We need to bring conscious awareness to the unconscious state that we are so regularly seeking to enable us to disconnect from our day. I say all the time, there's big circular manners. We travel in the car for long periods of time to do a job, to sit in a cubicle for eight hours a day that we hate, to then just travel home for another hour, to arrive at the house that we bought because we needed it. We didn't because that's where we wanted to live; we bought it because it's close enough to the work. Then we grab a glass of wine to disconnect from our day, which ends up by disconnecting from our evening, which is the only time we have with our kids. To me, it's another one of those great personal tragedies, because what it is doing, it means then kids are leaning more and more towards technology because it's giving them a false connection. It is triggering the same chemical responses within the system that actual human connection triggers. But because they're not getting the human connection, they're going to technology to get it. It's completely socially destabilizing an entire generation, if not many generations to come. 

Patricia Morris: Yup. Yeah. 

Andrew Hackett: I think we need to do something about it, to be quite honest with you. I think we need to ... This is why I doing the solution to all of the world's problem is actually connection. If we can start connecting again, we can start looking into each other's eyes and feeling what's going on within each other.

Patricia Morris: So true. 

Andrew Hackett: If we can't do that, I'm not too sure where we'll end up.

Patricia Morris: Where we're headed, yup.

Andrew Hackett: Yeah, that's right. 

Patricia Morris: Yup, yup. I don't like to think of that, but it's true. It's a huge problem out there, the disconnection of society. 

Andrew Hackett: Yes. Yeah, I completely agree. Yup.

Patricia Morris: Yup, you're right. We need to find a way to reconnect again. Yeah, I mean, the reality is we all have our mobile phones, we all have the internet. All those things, and they do serve a great purpose. A lot of us, that's how we make our living right now, is because of that technology. But at the same time, we also have to find that balance and learn how to disconnect from that technology so that we can reconnect.

Andrew Hackett: Yeah, and I couldn't have said it better. In fact, one of my chapters in one of my recent books talks ... It has a chapter on that exact thing, disconnect to reconnect. That we need to disconnect from technology, we need to disconnect from the TV, we need to disconnect from the masking that we're doing in a social context sense so that we can reconnect. It is absolutely vital to be able to move forward. 

The majority of my clients are lonely. They come to me ultimately because they're lonely. A lot of them are married, but they're lonely. The reason being is because they're just not connecting anymore. They want to; everybody desperately wants to. It's just they've forgotten how. Sometimes it only takes a couple of sessions to work through a process to get these people to reconnect again. Look, don't get me wrong. I'm not saying I'm absolutely perfect about it. I'm very, very lucky that I've got a remarkable woman in my life. But even my connection with my kids; I get so caught up with the business all the time and managing and running this successful business that is helping people around the world, that I've got to stop sometimes and grab a board game and say to my boys, "Come on, let's go and play some Monopoly," or sit down and play with them, and go out and have lunch with them, and go for walks with them, and all that sort of stuff. Because that is what we are actually here to do. That is, in fact, the essence of what we are. 

Patricia Morris: Absolutely. Absolutely.

Andrew Hackett: We're losing that across the globe, and I'm really concerned about that.

Patricia Morris: Yes. It's a huge concern. What I wanted to ask you, Andrew, before we go, is what advice would you give to listeners who may be struggling with this? Because I know there have got to be quite a few out there who are in this situation, where they have been using this as a coping device or they're self medicating with it, or didn't even realize they were. I'm sure that was an eye opener for a lot of listeners, not realizing that that glass of wine they have every night is alcoholism. Maybe not as heavily as involved as it could be, but it is alcoholism, at least in the beginning stages. 

So what would you say if people are in that place right now? What kind of advice would you give them?

Andrew Hackett: Yeah. Great, great question. The first bit of advice I would make is stop judging yourself. If you discover that you've got a drinking problem, don't judge yourself because it's only going to make the matter worse. Adding judgment to the profile of what is happening within you and stuff like that is part of the reason why you're drinking in the first place. We drink to disconnect from the office, from the people around us, from the pressures and the stressors of life. Making ends meet and all that sort of stuff. If we're also judging ourselves because we are using alcohol to self medicate and all that sort of stuff, that's never going to work. Just accept it. Just bring conscious awareness to it. 

This is why when I talk to people ... Write an alcohol diary. Leave it on the fridge. Every time you go to get a drink and stuff like that, write down what you're drinking, how much you're drinking, and why you're drinking it. The why is actually the important bit. The data that comes from what you're drinking and how much you're drinking and the time of day you're drinking is just important data. But the why, and nearly always it's just a switch off in the day, to unwind is the term people use. 

Patricia Morris: Right. Very true.

Andrew Hackett: Then, go back and have a look at Wikipedia and have a look at the list. I might put it in the description of this podcast. Have a look at the characteristics of alcoholism. If you meet two or more of those, you are technically part of that medical condition of alcoholism. So that just helps us bring awareness to it. Again, it's not about judgment. We're not here to judge ourselves for this. We're here to move forward and offer love to ourselves. 

Then, try and stop. Because by that stage, you're knowing what you're drinking, when you're drinking it, how much you're drinking, and you're aware of why. You're also aware of the fact that it's creating problems in your life. We can't fix any problem in our life unless we make a choice to do so, and that's the first instance. We need to make a choice to stop drinking.

Now, I actually suggest to people before you have another drink, try and stop drinking for at least three to six months. Now, a bunch of things will happen. In the same way, when you give up sugar, it takes about three weeks for your palette to change and suddenly you start tasting vegetables again. Because your tongue's not always looking for sugar all of the time. Alcoholism is a bit the same. When you give up alcoholism ... My cycle was, I would often ... I have Christmas, I then have my birthday, and then I have New Year's. So that whole Christmas period was always an interesting one for me because I'd drink at the end of the work year, for Australia. We then have our summer holidays effectively from about a week before Christmas all the way through to the end of January. So we'd start drinking and celebrating at work Christmas parties and functions and all that sort of stuff. Then Christmas would arrive, and of course I'd be drinking with family and extended family at Christmas functions. Then it would come my birthday, so I'd be drinking again. Then come New Year's; of course I'd be celebrating the whole year and drinking again. 

Patricia Morris: Wow.

Andrew Hackett: It would ultimately be almost every night through that two or three week period. So then what would happen is I would then dry out, because I'd just go, "Oh my god, I'm so sick of this drinking. I'm so sick of feeling ornery." I physically would get sick, and I'm not talking vomit-y sick because I'd never drink that much, but more to the point your body becomes so tired and run down from the constant toxic buildup and everything like that that you physically get a cold or a flu or whatever. 

So then I'd dry out. So I'd dry out for about three months. The first week was always the hardest one because I'd have a lot of headaches, a lot of withdrawal symptoms and all that sort of stuff. Then you come out the other side of it, and then you would start to feel a little bit better. You start to sleep a little bit better. Your energy starts to increase. Then your energy becomes more consistent over a longer period of time. Then over time, over time as the toxins start to leave your body, and more to the point, you're not adding new ones in, you start making better choices. Your brain starts working better. Your speech has improved. All these subtle little things that build up over a period of time and slowly diminish over a period of time from too much alcohol. 

So you start feeling ... I used to start feeling like Superman, because I would sleep like a rock, I would be drinking water, not alcohol. So my body's properly hydrated. My energy levels were consistent. My mind clarity was there. I just felt fitter and healthier and this sort of stuff. I mean, it's a remarkable feeling when you give up what's not working for you. 

Patricia Morris: When you're drinking, you kind of build up, like sugar, a tolerance, so to speak. But when you give up drinking for several months, and then you go back to having a drink, you think, "This tastes awful. How did I even enjoy this?" Same with sugar. If you haven't had sugar in several months and then you have something that has a lot of sugar in it, you're like, "Whoa, this is terrible. How can people eat this?" You know? So it's the same thing. I think with alcohol, it's the same thing. You can develop this taste for wine or beer or whatever it may be, and then when you stop it for several months and then drink it again, you're just like, "Oh, this awful. How did I even drink this?"

Andrew Hackett: Completely agree, yes. 

Patricia Morris: It's exactly what you were saying about you're retraining those brain neuro receptors as well to change and adapt and no longer crave that taste.

Andrew Hackett: Substance.

Patricia Morris: Mm-hmm, that substance. Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Andrew Hackett: Yeah. So what we now know about the way the microbiome in the stomach works, is the microbiome, a whole bunch of foreign bacteria. They say a large part of what makes up our body is actually foreign to us. So we've got these, I'd say, billions of bacteria in our tummy, and they all do different things. So the ones that crave sugar, when your sugar levels are low or you don't have enough sugar in your system, they start sending messages. The actual bacteria itself starts sending messages to your brain to say, "I want a donut," or, "I want ice cream," or whatever it is. Whatever the thing that you fancy is. So you go and physically do it, and the reason being is because that bacteria needs that sugar or needs that wheat or needs that meat or needs that whatever it is to feed itself. So it starts sending messages to the brain.

The same happens with alcohol. The body's saying, "I need alcohol." So the body's physically telling the brain, "This is what I need," and it's all to work with that microbiome that's going on. The reason why I say you need to give it three to six months' break, there's a whole bunch of things that are happening there. Exactly as you said, you then start to ... The tolerance levels of it start to drop, which is great. Then if you ever do start drinking again, you suddenly start having this sort of, "Why do I bother drinking this stuff? It's terrible." 

But more to the point, what often happened with me is I would get to the three week point of not drinking, and then I'd go, "Fabulous. Got that licked. Got it sorted; I've given up alcohol. Great, let's go out and celebrate," and we'd have a drink. 

Patricia Morris: Wow.

Andrew Hackett: Again, it's just the mind playing tricks on us. Or I would start thinking about, "All right, I want to call my friends up because I want to go out and see my friends," knowing that it would be a social event and I could drink again. I could justify drinking. All these mind games start to happen. But if you get past that initial 21 days to 28 days or maybe a little bit longer for some people, you can start to see the fact that you can be social without needing to drink alcohol. You can go out to a restaurant without needing to drink alcohol. You can do all of these things without needing to drink alcohol. The longer you leave it, the better you physically start to feel. Your immune starts to build up, you start fighting disease a lot better and faster, you get ill a lot less. All these other very, very positive things happen from it. 

But the exciting thing is is that eventually, over a period of time, you suddenly forget about alcohol. That's more dealing with the behavioral patterns, the habitual nature of it. For me, I loved my gardening. I still do. I used to love creating and building gardens; it's part of my creative nature. Gardens are my canvas, so to speak; my medium, my paintbrush. But what was happening with them is I'd go out into a garden and I'd work hard all day, and at the end of the day, I'd one, need sugar because my sugar levels were really low. But I'd also want an alcohol to unwind. I'd sit back with my drink at the end of the day, or two, and I'd marvel at the incredible work that I've done. It was part of this reward sort of process that I'd got myself into. So I realized that when I gave up alcohol, or when I give up alcohol, throughout that period of time, I think about gardening less. Which is madness, because gardening is so incredibly good for me. The reason being is because I don't get the reward at the end of it, because I'm not drinking.

Patricia Morris: Oh, I see. That makes sense.

Andrew Hackett: It's like smokers dealing with smoking. You have all of these rewards all the time. You can go out for a smoke every hour; that's your reward to get away from your desk. After a nice, big, hot roast dinner or something like that, you go and have a cigarette at the end of it and it feels fabulous. When you've got a drink in your hand, you want to have a cigarette in your hand. All of these things to me, and it's all habitual by nature. But it's all a reward program. 

Patricia Morris: So, would the trick be then to reward yourself with a healthier alterative, would you say?

Andrew Hackett: Spot on. 

Patricia Morris: Yeah?

Andrew Hackett: Absolutely. So what I say to people is, "When you need a drink of alcohol in the afternoons," usually 4, 4:30, 5:00 for a lot of people; maybe 6:00, depends what it is; "Instead of doing that, go for a walk." The reason why, even a 10, 15 minute walk will trigger a lot of the similar pleasure receptors, get the endorphins going, it'll get you fresh air, it'll clear your head, it'll realign your body and strengthen your body as well. But if you can do it with a partner, like your lover, your friend, your husband or your wife, you can talk and you can conspire and you think about your day and you share your ideas and you come up with all these wonderful things to do. Which is what you do while you're drinking. But if you're walking, you're connecting through it, not disconnecting through drinking.

Patricia Morris: Right, makes sense. Another part of that would be, at least for me anyway, is sometimes I don't want to deal with people at the end of the day, just because of the job I have.

Andrew Hackett: Sure, fair enough.

Patricia Morris: I just kind of need that silence. I just need to be by myself and recharge my battery, my inner battery. So for me, when I do that, when I go out and, say, take a walk versus doing something else like having a donut or having a drink or whatever ... For me, when I'm walking alone, that actually reconnects me to the natural world, too. But it disconnects me from ... That was my goal, was to try to disconnect from people. When I was drinking, that's what my goal was, was I was just tired of other people's energy because I tend to pick up a lot on other people's energy. That was my way of disconnecting. Drinking was accomplishing that for me. I was able to just completely disconnect and not do that. But ironically, when I would be alone walking, it was accomplishing the same thing that the alcohol was doing. Yes, I was disconnecting from people, but I was reconnecting to nature, which in turn actually kept me connected. 

Andrew Hackett: Beautiful, beautiful.

Patricia Morris: Yeah, does that make sense? I don't know if that made any sense.

Andrew Hackett: Oh, it makes complete sense. Exactly the same process happens with me as well.

Patricia Morris: Yeah, yeah.

Andrew Hackett: Absolutely. And in fact, it's quite common. When I coach people and stuff like that, I try to get them onto a walking regime because walking is so important for the body. It gets us out of fight and flight status, it's good for our health, it helps with digestion, it helps with body alignment, it helps deal with stress, it helps create connection. Back to nature, back to ourselves, back to our spirits; all this sort of beautiful stuff. I completely agree.

Patricia Morris: Yup, yup. Yup, that was awesome.

Andrew Hackett: So, thank you Patricia. What a great subject. I'm really glad we covered that off, actually. It's such an important topic for us to be talking amongst ourselves. It's such a taboo topic, particularly in cultures like in Australia, and I believe America's probably very similar, where alcohol is such a social mechanism. But I want to really bring awareness to the fact that it is seen as a social mechanism, but it's actually a disconnecter. It actually separates us from each other, and I think that's counterintuitive to why some of us do it as well. But it is the factual truth of it. 

It's like with anything. Bring these conversations to the front line so that they're no longer taboo and we can start to become aware of what's going on for us. Because on the other side of giving up something like alcohol, I'm telling you is a freedom you have never experienced, because you're no longer owned by something as simple as a chemical or a drug or something like that

Patricia Morris: Yup, it's a shackle.

Andrew Hackett: Yeah, yeah. Absolutely it is. Yeah, it's like a ball and chain around the ankle. That's right.

Patricia Morris: Yup, it absolutely is. I'm speaking from experience on that one, too.

Andrew Hackett: Yeah, me too. Yeah, I hear you. 

Patricia Morris: Yup.

Andrew Hackett: Not only that, when you give up alcohol you save a lot of money. 

Patricia Morris: I was going to say that. Yeah! Just like cigarettes or anything else. 

Andrew Hackett: That's right. I mean, I calculated one I was spending somewhere between 100 to $200 a week on alcohol.

Patricia Morris: Easily. Even if you justify it by, at least I did any way back in the day when I was drinking a lot ... I would still try to get the boxed wines or something that was a lot less expensive than the nice fine, aged wines, just to kind of help with the budget a little bit on the alcohol. But even then, it adds up. You spend what, $20, at least here in America, $20 on a box of wine. If you go through that pretty fast, how many boxes of wine are you buying a month that you could be spending on something else?

Andrew Hackett: That's right.

Patricia Morris: Yup.

Andrew Hackett: That's right. Particularly if you're a drinker ... I like a nice, fine scotch. A good bottle of scotch, it's a 80 to $100 bottle of scotch because the cheap stuff, you can't really drink straight because it's like drinking methylated spirits. 

Patricia Morris: Right?

Andrew Hackett: So it's very easy to add it all up over a period of time. I love it when I quit drinking and everything like that, which I'm in a quite a long period now of not drinking, and I'm feeling fabulous for it. I'm saving lots of money to boot as well. 

Patricia Morris: You have all that money for a great vacation or a holiday.

Andrew Hackett: Now you're talking. Now you're talking.

Patricia Morris: Yup, yup.

Andrew Hackett: Well, thank you so much Patricia, and thank you very much everybody for joining us this week. I really appreciate you tuning in. I really hope that you find the strength and the courage to make the decisions that you need to make in your life to move forward in a positive way and bring conscious awareness to what's going on for you unconsciously. Because on the other side of that is a level of freedom that really can't be surpassed. It's just absolutely remarkable. 

Thank you for joining, and thank you again, Patricia. I really love having you with me on this show.

Patricia Morris: It's my pleasure, and I love it just as much as you. So thank you, thank you.

Andrew Hackett: All right, everybody. Thank you so much. We'll see you next week. I look forward to talking to you more.

Patricia Morris: Goodbye.

Andrew Hackett: Thank you for listening to Illimitable Living today. If you want to find out more about living a truly limitless life, then go to andrewhackett.com.au. If you want to connect with me, search for Andrew Hackett Australia on Facebook and like my page, or search for Andrew S. Hackett on Instagram and follow me for daily inspirations. I look forward to connecting with you so that we can start you on your own journey towards illimitable living.