Welcome to The Mindset of Podcasting!
Nov. 22, 2022

The One Thing You Can Give Up to be Happier with Karolina Rzadkowolska


Do you want a way to get stress relief, happiness, and confidence? Many people are told to just have a drink to relax, but if alcohol isn't giving you the results you want, then this episode is for you.

Karolina Rzadkowolska is a certified alcohol-free life coach who helps intuitive women make alcohol insignificant in their lives. She’s worked with thousands of clients through her online courses and coaching to change their drinking habit and unleash a new level of health, happiness, and potential to go after their biggest dreams. Her book Euphoric: Ditch Alcohol and Gain a Happier, More Confident You (HarperCollins) came out on bookshelves on January 4th. She’s the host of Euphoric the Podcast, founder of Euphoric AF, and her work has been featured in the Huffington Post, The Sunday Post, Popsugar, Real Simple, Elite Daily and multiple TV shows. Karolina’s passionate about helping you discover what really makes you happy outside of a beverage and design a life you love.

“It really is just starting to lean into new information and challenge old beliefs that you have that might not be serving you and might be really outdated beliefs.”

 

In this episode you will learn:

 

1. The science of alcohol and how it affects the body

2. The mind-body connection when it comes to stress

3. Alcohol-free alternatives to help decompress

 

Links and Resources

 

Connect with Jillian

 

Follow Jillian on Instagram

 

Follow Jillian on Tik Tok

 

Connect with Karolina

 

Follow Karolina on Instagram

 

Check out PodPage

 

Start your podcast with my FREE Podcast Launch Guide

 

To learn more about Jillian or to check out her podcast management services go to jilliangrover.com

Transcript

Jillian

Hi, Karolina. How are you today?

 

Karolina

I'm doing great, Jillian. Thank you so much for having me on your show.

 

Jillian

Yes, thank you for being on. So before we get started, I would love for you to tell us who you are and what do you bring to the world?

 

Karolina

Absolutely. So I am the author author of a book called Euphoric ditch alcohol and gain a happier, more confident you. I am also an alcohol free life coach and empowerment expert who helps really intuitive women who value health and personal growth and going after their bigger dreams, remove the things that might be blocking them from those things, which is sometimes alcohol.

 

Jillian

Yeah, actually, my husband and I, we own a coffee shop, and we are about to open it up in the evening as a dry bar. So I'm really excited to maybe know a little bit more about the effects that alcohol has on our body, our brain, our stress levels, and maybe be able to use that a little bit in our marketing.

 

Karolina

Awesome. I would love to share on the podcast and tell me, is it going to be in New York or where's the coffee shop in New York? Awesome. I love pointing women to all over the nation to these incredible new opportunities opening up, because we've really grown up with a culture that demands that we drink, that it's the code of belonging, the only way to socialize, the only way to celebrate. And I think culture is changing, and you're part of that. And it's so amazing to share these incredible alternatives, because when you do look into the science of alcohol, it's not that pretty. Speaking of stress and how that alcohol affects the body and the stress is hands down, when I'm working with a client or talking to someone about their relationship with alcohol, I will often ask them, why do they like to drink? And I think the number one reason that most people have there's multiple reasons. There could be about ten to 15 big, solid reasons. But a really big one is, well, it helps me relax. I have a huge, busy day. I'm probably, as a woman, juggling multiple plates, both my professional life, the kids, the household, all these things, and it's like, I just want to come home and open that bottle of wine and finally let go of the workday stress. And so it's come to be this ritual decompression in so many people's lives. And I don't think the decompression ritual is bad at all, and I'll kind of get into that. But what is interesting is when we use ethanol to decompress, we're actually not truly doing that scientifically. We're even pouring in more stress into the body. So alcohol is a depressant, and it slows down our central nervous system. It actually slows down our brain cells. And some neuroscientists have actually hypothesized that that buzzed feeling we get is actually the feeling of our cells, our brain cells slowly turning off and dying, which is just very pretty if you think about it. But basically, to counteract that system, our body always has these counterbalances. And so just to counteract all that slowing down, our body will naturally produce stimulants to counteract that depressive nature of alcohol. So our body, in response to alcohol, produces cortisol, adrenaline, and something called dinorpin, which is kind of like the opposite of endorphins. It basically makes you feel really low and depressed. And so when we drink, we often think we're relaxing our body, but we're actually hyper producing more stress hormones. Now, when you drink just one drink, and then let's say you wait an hour or so, you can kind of notice that you're noticing that maybe you're a little wired, you're a little exhausted, you're a little frustrated, maybe a little crankier than you were before. Most people don't just stop at the one drink, though. They keep drinking multiple drinks that night. And so oftentimes what happens is we finally feel all those stress hormones surging in our body in the middle of the night. So if anyone's ever drank and then woken up at three or 04:00 A.m., those stress hormones, like, literally were the adrenaline that just woke you up. And then even if you don't wake up in the middle of the night, most people report so much more anxiety. And it's not just something that's reported, it's literally scientifically proven that there's more anxiety the next day. Now, ethanol is interesting because our body, depending on how old you are, whether you're 18 or 40, it processes that within your system between anywhere from like, two days to a week, like, completely detoxifying it. But those stress hormones last much longer. Those stress hormones could be circulating in our body up to two weeks after we drank alcohol. And so me personally, I was the kind of person who drank on the weekend. So every week I tried to be really healthy Monday through Thursday, but then every weekend I over drank and woke up on Monday feeling really crappy. Not only physically crappy, but that low, depressed state that I was telling you about. And so every week, and then I start to feel better during the week, and then I drink again, and it all would happen again. And I didn't really even realize that those stress hormones were a constant present in my life because I never got enough time away from alcohol.

 

Jillian

Yes, that's exactly how I feel. That's why I'm not a big drinker, maybe like three or four times a year, and my husband just wanted somewhere that people could go that wasn't a bar to just hang out and have a good drink without alcohol and just hang out with your friends. So that was our whole purpose behind this. But it's nice to know all those effects. I didn't know most of that. Thank you. So if we want to go alcohol free how can we start that? Like going cold turkey sometimes doesn't work. What are some little steps that we can take to get there?

 

Karolina

Yeah, so most people who drink regularly, it's been a habit in their lives for years, if not decades, right? And it's not only been a habit, like, habits are really powerful. If you do anything every day or every week, your brain is just programmed to do that. I don't know how hard it would be in the morning to just not brush my teeth. It would almost be impossible. I'd be like, I have to brush my teeth. And if you think about it, like, there's nothing chemically actually addictive about brushing your teeth. Whereas alcohol not only is the habit, you're repeating it over and over and over, but also it is chemically addictive to your brain because it's affecting your dopamine levels and your pleasure center before it crashes. And then you feel those negative feelings. So just the process of repeating something over and over and over again really imprints it into our brain. But it's not just that that we're dealing with. We've been culturally socialized to drink. So I started drinking. You know, I had my first drink when I was pretty young. But then by the time I was, like, actually drinking it regularly, I was a normal kind of 1718 years old. I started drinking pretty regularly, like the last year of high school when I started going to parties and then definitely in college, right? So to me, at that point, it was like a rite of passagehood. It was like, this is what adults do. I want to be an adult. I want to be independent. I want to be rebellious. I want to be sophisticated. And so I started drinking in that way, as most most adults do. We are now then socialized to drink at every social occasion too. Like when you go to a birthday party or a dinner party or a wedding, the person who isn't drinking and you've probably experienced this is looked at like, what's wrong? Why aren't you drinking? So it's like this expectation that's placed on us wherever we go. So when you mix that habit and the cultural expectation of drinking together, we have strong forces in our life that programs us to believe certain things about alcohol. So that being said, when someone is looking to change their relationship with alcohol, I always recommend starting with an experimental break. And a break can help you really kind of get to know what it feels like, how amazing you can feel without alcohol in your life and really fall in love with the alcohol free lifestyle. And so I really recommend that in my book Euphoric. And the book really goes over what to expect during a break, how amazing it will be for your health, all the health changes that will happen, the mindset changes that will happen, and the soulful benefits that will happen. Like more love and gratitude and appreciation in your life. However, even though a break is a really great place to start, 60 days will change your life. 30 days is amazing. Even three days is pretty cool because you're building new muscles and new ways to cope and learn how to sit with yourself. If someone's not ready for a break from alcohol though, mindset is actually something even more important. And so what does mindset mean? Well, these beliefs I've just talked about around alcohol and the socialization we get and all the habits we've come to believe things not only about alcohol, like alcohol relaxes me, alcohol is the ticket to fun, alcohol makes me more confident, alcohol makes me more sociable, blah, blah, blah, blah. We also have beliefs around like drinking and not drinking in our society. Like normal adults drink. If you don't drink, you must have a problem. If you don't drink, you're boring. So we have all these beliefs that are yucky and not helping us make changes. So a mindset, belief or change really looks at starting to lean into a new worldview, a new source of information about alcohol that really kind of helps change some preexisting beliefs that you had. Literally the first step I would say to someone who just wants to get started, he just wants to dip their toe into this, is read a book, just read a book. It's not that you're not going to quit forever. I don't even say the word forever. It really is just starting to lean into new information and challenge old beliefs that you have that might not be serving you and might be really outdated beliefs that you adopted as an adolescent that just really don't serve you as an adult any longer. I love my book. Obviously you fought with alcohol gain a happier, more confident you. But there are so many books out there these days. You could listen to a podcast episode or start listening to podcasts around this topic and just kind of lean into this alcohol free movement and you'll be so surprised at what you learn about yourself. Because it's not really about alcohol at the end of the day, it's really about a process of self discovery. Because if I believe that alcohol helps me be more confident, for example, it's because I inherently believe that I'm not confident on my own. Right? And so as I work to change that belief or really debunk it, I have to find my own source of confidence and rework beliefs and even maybe patterns and practices I've had my whole life to really discover that within.

 

Jillian

Yes, I know growing up, if you didn't get a drink when you went out with others, your friends or whatever, they would be like, what's wrong? Why are you not drinking? Well, me, I just didn't like the taste of alcohol mostly. I would usually get a Coke and then tell people it was a Roman coke just so that they would think I was drinking. Yeah, because it's just not socially acceptable if you go out and not to have a drink.

 

Karolina

And you know what's typical is that most of us actually don't like the taste of alcohol, but we push through it. So it's like we're told that this is what you're supposed to do, and eventually tolerance kicks in. So it's like you start to like the thing most animals in nature, like sniff it, and they're like, because it smells like poison, it is toxic and poisonous to humans, technically. Right. So we had to force ourselves to drink it over and over and over and over until we actually like it and crave it. So you your response is so normal and you actually just listen to your body.

 

Jillian

So most of my listeners are entrepreneurs, and I know after a hard day of trying to run your own business and keep up with your own life, sitting down and having a glass of wine is usually something that we do. So what's another way that we can handle our stress at the end of a crazy busy day?

 

Karolina

Yeah, and I had this story where I was working a nine to five job when I was a drinker, and when I went alcohol free, it gave me the confidence to become an entrepreneur. But I have to tell you, if I was drinking as an entrepreneur, I just couldn't even one glass of wine would make me sleep poorly. It would make me feel like, not really that confident the next day. Like, if I had to go on a live or work with a client after the night of drinking, all I wanted to do after the night of drinking was like retract from the world. Just like hide under the covers under my blanket, even if I wasn't sick. I'm just saying, emotionally, that's how I felt. I couldn't even imagine kind of stepping up to the plate about really showing up as an entrepreneur online with having alcohol in the mix. And so back to your question. We do we are really, really busy, and our kind of goto CoV mechanism that society taught us to do, literally, was to drink wine. It's not effective. It's making us even more stressed out. But there's something about the decompression ritual that I think is really beautiful because, okay, there's a study that they did where they picked these brain nodes on people who just came into a bar restaurant. So the brain nodes are measuring their brainwaves, and everyone just came off work, so they're pretty stressed out. Their brain waves are reflecting it. Their brain waves are pretty chaotic, irregular, up and down, and then everybody orders a drink, and the brain waves slowly relax and become these nice, beautiful waves. Now, here's the kicker, though. Nobody actually drank the drink yet. They just put in the order and their brain waves relaxed. So what that tells me and other scientists is that it's the anticipation of the ritual and the reward that tells our brain, hey, it's time to slow down. It's time to relax. And with building new habits, we can literally do the exact same thing over time with these new rituals. So I think it's beautiful to tell your brain, okay, let's put our way, our work to do. Let's not think about those email campaigns, let's not think about them. Let's relax now and really decompress. We should switch over from our sympathetic nervous system to our parasympathetic nervous system. And what's the easiest way to do that? Especially from someone who's used to coming home pouring a glass of wine, come home and pour a glass of something else, literally mocktails alcohol free wines, alcohol free beers, malcolm free spirits. There's thousands of alternative beverages on the market these days. And the thing is that they do the same thing to the brain. They signal that it's time to relax and decompress. Make it a beautiful ritual, have a beautiful glass, have fun experimenting with different drinks, keep finding something until you find something you really love, and it will still feel like a treat, it will still feel like something special, and it will have zero of those negative side effects that alcohol brings with it. Now, to get more advanced, obviously, too, there's a lot of other rituals we can incorporate into our lives at that time. So things that are kind of bodily practices are really good because stress is something that, even though it feels like it's all in the brain, it's in your body, right? Like these stress responses are living in your body. So doing something like breath work can be really good to help clear it. Doing something like Yani yoga or any kind of yoga session. One of my favorite things is so simple. I just like to go on a walk and watch the sunset because, like, here I am all day with just these chattered, like, here's something to do, here's this DA. And then I go see the sunset, and it's like the universe painted a miracle in the sky for me to witness. And it kind of takes me out of my little petty daily concerns and into just like, the profound in that moment, and I recognize how grateful I am to be alive and just, oh, my gosh, the world is so beautiful, and it just connects me to something deeper. So that's like a beautiful ritual to do. I don't do it every day, but on days that I noticed, like, hey, I really need something to really decompress me. Just watching the sunset, going on a walk in the evening. Water therapy is really effective too. So anytime we take a bath or a shower can be really calming and soothing for us. I have some clients who will literally take a shower when they want to have a drink. First of all, it completely takes you out of your environment because most people don't drink in the shower, so it's like you're not going to think to drink there. And two, it's just soothing. And they have studies that prove that because we are mammals and we evolved from mammals that used to live in the water, when you think of a seal or a dolphin, they breathe air, right? But they're spending a lot of time underwater, and so they have to go a long time without breathing. And if they were underwater and started freaking out and hyperventilating and getting super anxious, they would probably drown and die. And so what happened? What we evolved with is that when we have cold water in our face, we actually turn on this mammalian response that helps us relax. So dolphins and seals and all those animals have them, but we have that, too. We evolved with that too. So while the water therapies are great, like, literally just stopping and splashing cold water on your face will calm you down as well and signal that thing to relax. Now, I know all of these sound really common sense are, like, simple, but they are so much more effective than alcohol because basically what alcohol is doing is it's compounding the stress you feel on a daily basis. And when I, like, you know, started my break and I really rebalanced my neurochemicals, what I really noticed was that the things that used to be mountains in my life, mountains of stress, started to turn into molehills. My resiliency for stress got better, and I was able to kind of see in perspective what was more what was really something to worry about versus what was just my monkey mind kind of going off and going crazy. So it's worth experimenting with. Like, I, for example, have a program called Dry Bootcamp, where literally we just take a break for 22 days. It's not this long lifetime thing, but for 22 days, we work on taking care of our needs in these healthy ways. Our needs are always trying to show us something. Our emotions are trying to tell us something. When we feel too much stress. For example, for entrepreneurs, maybe it's a sign to get help. Maybe it's a sign to hire your first VA or hire the next level of support you need in your company. Maybe it's a sign that you're on the verge of burnout and you may even need to rethink your offers. Like, for example, if you're doing all this one on one coaching and all day you're just on calls, maybe it's a sign it's time to elevate to groups or courses or something that you could leverage your time with. These emotions are not supposed to just be suppressed and numbed and then repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat. Every day they're trying to tell you something. Maybe it's a boundary because maybe an entrepreneur is working with all of their clients and all of their business, but then they also take care of all of the household things. So maybe it's time to have a conversation with your partner and say, hey, I need you to carry your weight or we need to hire someone to do all this stuff. So these emotions, even though they're not comfortable, they are trying to tell us what is either aligned or not aligned in our lives and just suppressing them and numbing them with alcohol will never resolve them, and it actually will create mountains of stress.

 

Jillian

Oh my gosh, that was so many good tips in there. And I love what you said about how creating that ritual of just pouring the drink it doesn't have to be alcohol. Just pouring the drink and sitting down and just that's your sign that the day is over. You know, you can start calming down. Yes, I love that. Sorry. Look at my question. Oh my gosh. I think you answered most of them. Yeah, I really love your stress tips. Oh my gosh.

 

Karolina

Do you have any questions? Usually people have questions about socializing.

 

Jillian

When we do go out with our friends and stuff and they all start ordering drinks and we don't want to, and they're kind of pressuring us. How can we handle situations like that?

 

Karolina

That's such a good question because for years, every Monday morning, right, I had this pattern. Healthy during the week, over, drink on the weekend, feel like crap. Monday morning. Every Monday morning, I was like, oh my gosh, I just want to take a break. I just don't want to drink anymore. By Friday, I forgot it. And I was like, oh, it's the weekend. Yay. But I also remember on Monday morning feeling like the number one thing that was really stopping me from committing and making a change was the social events I had on my calendar. It's like, wait a minute, I have that work event, the networking thing, and then I have the wedding on Saturday and we have that dinner part. I can't I literally didn't think I was allowed to show up to any of these events and not drink. So I just want to really affirm that this belief, this mindset block, kept me stuck for years and years and years and years. But when I went alcohol free, I think there was this, like, inner rebellion that I started activating and just really recognizing that, you know what? We have all this autonomy and choice when it comes to the foods we eat. You could be vegetarian. You could be dairy free. You could be gluten free. You could be pale. Like the sky's the limit on what you choose and choose not to eat. And we have all the autonomy in the world to decide what works best for our bodies. Why is it so unallowed to be alcohol free? Alcohol is probably the biggest toxin of all of those things. Like, you know how certain foods don't really work for some people. Alcohol doesn't work for all people. Like, there is no one on this planet who drinks and then wakes up the next day saying, I feel like a million bucks. It doesn't happen to anyone, right? And we just have to be honest about that. Alcohol is a toxin and it takes a huge stress and toll in our bodies. And so really kind of affirming that kind of confidence can be really like liberating to be like, I get to choose not to drink a toxin, right? Now, other people might respond to that in interesting ways, right? They could ask questions about it. They could cajole you into drinking. They could just judge you and stuff like that. And what often happens is that when we don't drink, we are putting up a mirror to someone else's behavior. And why does it affect them? Because they have their own insecurities about their relationship with alcohol. Now, I did a lot of research for my Bucket Fork and back in 2018, there was a study that came out that showed around 53% of Americans wish that they drank less or not at all. Now, first of all, I think today that's even higher. And second of all, I think that it's even higher because most people just don't admit the truth on a survey. So at least the majority of people wish that they drink less or not at all. Why? Because alcohol has these negative effects. We all feel and we all know them if we're conscious enough to be really aware. And so when you don't drink, first of all, I want you to think of yourself kind of like as a role model, as an inspire, as a leader. Like other people might literally secretly be looking up to you and your confidence to choose not to drink that moment. And they might give them that confidence that they need to look into, like, what's troubling them about their relationship with alcohol. And, you know, when we're entrepreneurs, we're already living a life that's completely different to the masses. You know what I mean? Like, most people have corporate jobs or some kind of nine to five structure, and most people are unfulfilled in their work, right? So when you choose to go out for yourself and work for yourself and do what you're passionate about, you're already taking the road less traveled. And the rules that apply for normal people don't apply to you because you're building a different life. You want something better than just normal. Normal is mediocre. Normal is unhealthy. Normal is unfulfilled with our careers. Normal is unhappy. Normal is poor social connections. Like, if we just look at statistics, that is what the majority of people fall into. And so I think as an entrepreneur, we have to want more for our lives. And we want to say, you know what? I want something better than normal. I want extraordinary. I want an exceptional life. I want to help people. I want to make money. I want to make a difference in my community. I want to make a difference in my family. I want more freedom, I want more impact. I want more legacy. And so when you start to see it that way, drinking is like something to do, to fit in or to belong to other people. It's like, well, I don't want to belong to that. I don't want it to belong to the person who drinks every weekend or every day because they are so unhappy with their work and that they just keep on doing that until they're going to retire one day and then maybe travel a little bit. I don't want that life. Like I want to build fulfillment into my everyday. I want to be happy every day instead of waiting for some elusive point that I can finally be happy after I pay all my bills and work for someone else, right? And so I think of it and I look at some of my most inspiring heroes around the world. People like Tony Robbins, people like Gabby Bernstein, Renee Brown, Deepak Chopra, many of the last few presidents that we've had, they all don't drink. And to me it's not a weakness or a defect or something that's wrong with you. It's a statement of I don't have time for that. I've got better things to do in my life. And starting to see it as something that really movers and shakers do. Seeing it as something that just elevates you and your ability to get what you want in life, I think it starts becoming a point of pride instead of a point of embarrassment. And so when you get there, it's going to take a lot of mindset shifts because we're so programmed to thinking non drinkers are boring and they're religious and they're not fun or they have a problem. Who wants to have a problem, right? We won't want to become the thing that we hate. We won't want to ever become the thing that we don't like. We have to start changing our definition of what a non drinker is and looks like. And so once you kind of lean into that pride. I remember going to a barbecue for 4 July my first year and I had these alcohol free beers and I was just like, I can't wait for people to ask me questions about you. I want to boast about them. I want to be like, oh my God, you guys, there's alcohol free stout and IPA. Like, I'm not going to have a headache the next day. These are so good. And it really is incredible how when you lead with that kind of confidence, people are so inspired. People are so much more like, huh, I never thought of that. Or like maybe it is triggering, maybe they are judging you and that's kind of pointing to their own stuff, their own stuff that they. Need to work through, you know, so lean with it, with confidence, for sure. And you know what? Just recognize whenever you wherever you go, wherever you are, the majority, at least over 50% of people, wish that they were you. Now, that's powerful.

 

Jillian

So empowering to think of alcohol that way, to switch that mindset, way of thinking of, oh, everybody's going to say stuff to me and look at me, but to think, no, I'm taking control of my life and how I want to feel, I absolutely love that.

 

Karolina

Yeah. And think of who's coming from when. Your Uncle Bill, who his life is a mess, he's unhappy, he's got to beat your belly, and he's going to say shit to you about not drinking. Just put some perspective there and be like, dude, I want better for my life and what's going on here?

 

Jillian

Yes, this has been an amazing conversation. Thank you so much. Can you let our listeners know how they can connect with you more?

 

Karolina

Absolutely. So, like I said earlier, this first step is oftentimes just learning a little bit more, just leaning in, allowing these new ideas to kind of swirl in your brain. And so I think the very first step is to just read a book. You can find my book on Amazon. Just type in Euphoric or go to Euphoricbook.com and you'll find it almost wherever country you're in there, too. And then if you want to connect with me, I host group programs to really help women through this. I host retreats. I have coaching, all those fun things. You can go toyoricas.com. And if you want to connect on Instagram, it's Euphoric. As.

 

Jillian

Thank you so much. I will make sure those are all in the show notes.

 

Karolina

Thank you.

Karolina Rzadkowolska Profile Photo

Karolina Rzadkowolska

Author / Alcohol-Free Life Coach

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