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Drink Less Feel Fresh with Tom Cartwright
Episode 25410th November 2022 • The Grief Code • Ian Hawkins
00:00:00 01:31:02

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Episode Summary

Ian chats with one of Australia’s leading coaches for alcohol reduction and Founder of Drink Less Feel Fresh, Tom Cartwright. Tom and Ian had a marvelous talk about his past experiences with gambling and alcoholism and how he changed his direction for the better and became the man he is today.


Don’t miss:

  • Embracing the value of comfort and connection with yourself and your life decisions.
  • It is never too late to turn and change your direction.
  • Learn about an inspiring lesson of taking the opportunity to make a change that starts within yourself.
  • Recovery starts with great courage, responsibility, and action.

Heal your unresolved and unknown grief: https://www.ianhawkinscoaching.com/thegriefcode


About The Guest:

Tom Cartwright


Tom Cartwright is the Founder of Drink Less Feel Fresh & one of Australia’s leading coaches for alcohol reduction. His passion for working with clients to overcome alcohol challenges and live a life of choice has been fuelled from his own inspiring story.


After struggling for many years with gambling and drinking addictions, Tom decided to gamble on himself, go all in on his future and master the art of overcoming addictive behaviours.


He has built his successful coaching practice from working with one-on-one clients across the globe & now specialises with this head-turning approach to alcohol reduction – Drinking Less & Feeling Fresh!


Website: https://www.drinklessfeelfresh.com/



About the Host:

Ian Hawkins is the Founder and Host of The Grief Code. Dealing with grief firsthand with the passing of his father back in 2005 planted the seed in Ian to discover what personal freedom and legacy truly are. This experience was the start of his journey to healing the unresolved and unknown grief that was negatively impacting every area of his life. Leaning into his own intuition led him to leave corporate and follow his purpose of creating connections for himself and others. 

The Grief Code is a divinely guided process that enables every living person to uncover their unresolved and unknown grief and dramatically change their lives and the lives of those they love. Thousands of people have now moved from loss to light following this exact process. 


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I hope you enjoyed this episode of The Grief Coach podcast, thank you so much for listening. 


Please share it with a friend or family member that you know would benefit from hearing it too. 

If you are truly ready to heal your unresolved or unknown grief, let's chat. Email me at info@ianhawkinscoaching.com


You can also stay connected with me by joining The Grief Code community at www.ianhawkinscoaching.com/thegriefcode and remember, so that I can help even more people to heal, please subscribe and leave a review on your favourite podcast platform.

Transcripts

Ian Hawkins 0:02

Are you ready, ready to release internal pain to find confidence, clarity and direction for your future, to live a life of meaning, fulfillment and contribution to trust your intuition again, but something's been holding you back, you've come to the right place. Welcome. I'm a Ian Hawkins, the host and founder of The Grief Code podcast. Together, let's heal your unresolved or unknown grief by unlocking your grief code. As you tune into each episode, you will receive insight into your own grief, how to eliminate it and what to do next. Before we start by one request, if any new insights or awareness land with you during this episode, please send me an email at info at the end Hawkins coaching.com. And let me know what you found. I know the power of this word, I love to hear the impact these conversations have. Okay, let's get into it. Get a run and welcome to this week's guest. Tom car. Right, Tom? How am I?

Tom Cartwright 1:07

I'm very well, man. I'm excited and nervously anticipating this conversation.

Ian Hawkins 1:11

Nice. Well, from the conversation we've just had before we jumped on, I've got a feeling this is going to flow nicely to thank you for being here. Now, I saw one of your posts, go back a few weeks. And and like I was saying to you is like was a conversation I just had with one of my clients who was getting stressed and feeling guilty about having a drink when she was trying to really improve and all those different things. And it's like no, no, like, it's, it's, you don't want to be shutting off the joy in your life, if that's not what you want to do. And there are other ways to do. And so I made sure I share that with you with her, which she loved. And I thought, well, let's get you on and talk about it. Because I imagine there's a fair few of my clients are sitting in that same position. They enjoy having a beer or a glass of wine, and they want to keep it at a good level. But they don't want to get themselves to the point where it's having a negative impact. So really timely conversation. And I'd love to hear just really briefly what that looks like before we get into your story.

Tom Cartwright 2:11

I think one of the important things to be aware of for anyone is that the conversations that are behind and the reason why we're living every day is so much more meaningful and deep. And Did I or did I not drink. And that is really often so often overshadowed by the traditional approaches to our production, it's apparently life doesn't matter, it doesn't matter what's going on doesn't matter, you know, what's going on, you're apparently drinking too much. Now we need to focus on that. And we just completely forget the reason why we're here anyway, which is to enjoy ourselves. So that someone can you know, I always make this joke, like, don't let that same being an excuse to crack and BNL. Without a drink, let's feel fresh, and I can smash copious amounts of alcohol know, what I'm saying is that if you continue drinking as an excuse to avoid you from what matters most, for example, having a conversation about Greece or grief, or loss or love or a new job position that you'd be going for getting into a relationship out of a relationship, or conscious parenting, whatever it might be, then we've missed the mark. Yeah, but, you know, passionately, life's hard enough as it is, let alone going, Oh, I shouldn't have had the third beverage last night, which is what I really get passionate about is, you know, the end of the day last we have choice and freedom. And if you're using alcohol as a reason to give yourself a hard time, I don't think that's a good enough excuse. I think you should either drink or don't drink and figure out a way to be proud of yourself. That's that's always the starting reference point and marker. Are you happy with who you are? And we can work backwards, backwards from there. And if drinking a little bit less alcohol is going to help you with that great if it's not, don't even worry about it. Alcohol is an in I had a conversation with a client of mine this morning. And he said a great fascinating thing. Sorry, not a client, a colleague. He said to me, Tom, what's funny about our call is the question isn't why should we not drink? It's why are we not drinking all the time. And it's a great way to look at it because the truth is alcohol is incredibly fascinating drug and resource. It suppresses emotion is within us. It helps us enhance emotions. I think it's one of the most legally appropriate peak performance drugs out there. You know, and I think just being honest with yourself and utilizing I have a relationship with alcohol these days that I love and respect. What that means is more from a professional insight is that Tom is using alcohol to increase his performance in some areas of his life. That's all. That's all I'm doing. It's not it's not to get you off the hook. Traditionally speaking, someone will say, Oh no, you're an active addict in denial. It's just like wow, it's about so much more.

Ian Hawkins 4:51

If that's the story you want to run with and then go for it. But if it's if it's not bringing you joy, try something else.

Tom Cartwright 4:58

o to speak it used, you know,:

Ian Hawkins 5:32

er. But then after, you know,:

Tom Cartwright 6:44

Pretty similar to yourself in regards to what got me in alcohol, I was kind of the opposite. I was quite extroverted and a big people pleaser, and had a large, dynamic group of friends. Not too much depth in the friendships, just a lot of friends. Because that was important to me at the time. So I actually used alcohol, the opposite, which is still peak performance. I didn't know how to say no, I didn't know how to say no to people in life. I didn't know how to not go to events in life. If someone asked me to go and always say, yes, so actually used alcohol. Years later, I realized this, I was using alcohol to be calm, so intoxicated, to come so hungover, because then I had a reason not to show up the next day. Yeah, if you can start to become aware of the kickback that you get from our call, after your second drink, and like 48 hours after your secondary and start looking through the lens of what am I doing? What am I experiencing, you'll actually quickly start to notice why you're drinking in the first place quite often. So you know, like, similar to yourself, I've got into alcohol as a incredible vehicle, you know, especially in Australia and drinking culture, we have this great tribe that, specifically, this isn't about passing blame, it's about taking responsibility. And sometimes you have to be aware of how things bigger than yourself, impact you. That's part of taking responsibility. And there is this culture of strategy and culture, which kind of can look after potential introverts that are looking for more competence on a Friday night. Potential people like myself, who didn't know that they had any talent in any area, other than being friendly with people, insecurities, etc, etc, to say, you know, maybe someone who's 15 and grieving say, Hey, I know, the surgery cultures gotta go, okay, that person struggling with that, that person struggling with that, hey, let's bring them in, let's make them feel comfortable and calm and connected. And that's what I mean about peak performance. It's incredible asset and resource that should never be shamed are called Fantastic. Fantastic tool to be utilized, as most of us aren't utilizing it in the right way. Yeah.

Ian Hawkins 8:42

Just Just quickly, if you're looking at any tool or medication, if you take too much of it, of course, you're gonna get sick.

Tom Cartwright 8:51

hink it would have been about:

Ian Hawkins:

I'd love to dig more into the gambling, if that's alright. I can relate to that. For me, it was like suddenly, I'm living at home, I'm earning good money. And I've got all this cash and I just don't know what to do with it, and so on if you had that experience, but you go, Oh, I'll play a bit of like card machines or pokies or whatever, and you have a reasonable way and you're like, I'd feel pretty good. So then next time you put in a bit more then it becomes like a chasing that rush again of the win. Yeah. And then waking up in the morning, just kind of checking how much did I actually withdraw. And I used to get my my bank statements into envelopes, because I, you know, 50 of the time, and then maybe 20 This time, I shouldn't go as hard. And then there'd be three more 50s after that. And then the last entry would be like the service station eating crap food and just just horrific. And just think about how much money I just lost doing that. Like was was that? Like, I know, you said at that point that maybe we're going to have a problem. But But how did the How did that gambling site actually impact you if you're doing your dough on payday every week? Oh, I'm

Tom Cartwright:

glad you asked. Because most people know me for changing my relationship with alcohol and helping people with alcohol, because that's what I'm really passionate about. But to be honest, the gambling in the moment caused more pain. For me, gambling is a really interesting one. And unfortunately, you know, problems around finances as such a leading cause to suicide. And, you know, unlike alcohol, when you're playing around with your money, you're actually you really are creating a future that you can feel so trapped in because we live in a world we live in a first world country. You know the safety is built off your financial system where our call is only an in the moment thing like you can't compound our can't say, Well, next Saturday, it's going to be worse, you can always say to yourself, I might not. But if you say to yourself, I just spent a grant and I that means I owe a grand if that makes sense. So you're constantly building like debt, our call, you're not really building debt. That might be a really interesting way to look at it. But does that make sense?

Ian Hawkins:

It does. I would, I would perhaps argue that you are building debt just not a financial debt, maybe a future financial debt. But but you are definitely building a debt within your physical body and which we'll touch on further your emotional body as well.

Tom Cartwright:

God definitely it's such an emotional, you know, debt that you're experiencing. But if you don't really have access to coaching psychology, mentoring human behavior, you might not be aware of that. So the money side of things is it creates a Have logical physical representation of how bad life is. That's what it does. It creates like an identifiable measurable marker. When it comes to alcohol, you just stack up past moments and be like, Oh, those are all the things that are making it look bad. But if you go into those in depth $30,000 to the Commonwealth Bank, because I was asking them for credit cards, and then I was cash transferring off my credit card at like, 28 or 32% interest rate, yeah. Wow, to get money out, and I would I remember I always remember the first time I've played the poker machine, I was doing one set hints. And I thought, well, this is pretty cool. This is a fun little thing. distracted from life. And they are like, yeah, they're psychologically designed to keep someone engaged. That's, that's what they're designed for. So they just did a really good job with me. And what I was experiencing currently, obviously, but yeah, it only took me about three to four years to rack up $30,000 in debt. And that was painful. That's that's, that was really painful. Because it was like, I can't wipe the slate clean. You know, when you're when you're a big drinker, you hold on to that slate of feeling so terrible. And then the minute you no longer hung over, you're already into chasing the next hire, which is the next drink. With the money. It's just a constant lurking debt. Someone knows about it. I owe someone.

Ian Hawkins:

Yep. Well, yeah, it's

Tom Cartwright:

really interesting. I'd like to answer your question, honestly, that that was really tough. Being in debt caused a lot of pain, probably what would have been diagnosed as depression at the time? And yeah, being in that much debt, and still choosing to be in debt? To be really honest with you? No, at that time, I'll say I couldn't change the language. Now I could have but at that time, I did not feel like if I started gambling, I could stop. I could stop drinking after a while. But gambling, if I started gambling, I couldn't leave $1. In the Account, there was just no way. It was a very aggressive active addiction.

Ian Hawkins:

Through those Yeah, again, I relate to that very much. So as well, the drinking as long as you feel okay, you're back into it. And I was the opposite of you. I was like trying to make sure. Not actively, but in the morning, like just forcing myself to feel better because I didn't want to miss a session. Like I was FOMO I wasn't drinking to miss out on sessions. I was I was wanting to be part of every single one right? Like I didn't want to miss out on something good. But the the addiction like with the with the gambling. Like I said, chasing that rush, the guilt and the shame. And then like you describe the dread, because it just keeps playing out like you feel with of hangover you feel better, like the next day after, but the money thing just keeps burning out your for for ages. Right?

Tom Cartwright:

Yeah, I think when you start feeling the anxiety and the panic before you run the behavior, it's a very, it's a key identify that there's an issue when you start, I think that's one of the most painful places for anyone to mentally be and they haven't even done the bad deed yet. And they're already feeling the pain that they will after, I think that's a real key identify that you, you know, it's time to really look at yourself and ask for some help. Because that is that is the opposite of choice and freedom. That is You haven't even entered the cage, so to speak, and you're feeling the effects of it. That is a very, that's a very tough place. To know that you have freedom, because you haven't made the choice yet, but to indirectly just accepting within yourself that No, it's not changing. I'm going to do it again. It's almost like a self loathing deserving. You're really, you know, we're really talking about what clinically people say is that active addiction of like, I've just got to drive this nail in the coffin, so to speak.

Ian Hawkins:

Well, that's interesting self punishment, because because I'm thinking about it now. Like, I'd be like, I won't gamble tonight. I think I need to say to friends, and they just laugh. And it's like, as soon as I had, since I drank to a certain level is like, Alright, I'm kind of bored, now it's on. And then so then grappling with their will have no even control that like because you add the two together, it's just an absolute recipe for disaster.

Tom Cartwright:

Yeah, the hardest thing you can ever do to make it to make life hard on yourself, especially if you're on an alcohol reduction journey, or what to change your relationship with alcohol is looked at through the lens of like, moderation, which is like, I'll see how I go tonight is the hardest concept and approach ever. Because by the time you've had one standard drink your brain, you think in a different way, commitments that you made earlier changed. This is the disconnect between what you're saying to yourself and what you're actually following through on and it's like it's like, you know, it's like telling yourself who you are. It's like telling yourself to do something and then giving yourself a drug that's going to be like you're giving yourself a drug that's going to indirectly negatively influence you out of that, like I explained that this debate well might if you judge if you judge your ability to stick to your commitments after you've had a drink or after you've slept 50 bucks Through the pokies. It's like judging efficient, its ability to climb a tree, you grew up thinking you're an idiot, you judge yourself to stick to your commitments after you've started, something that's addictive to you. The chips have fallen like you're making it so hard on yourself. Yeah.

Ian Hawkins:

So true. So you're at that point where, okay, I've got a problem. Like, what was the next step? Like, what did you then do about it?

Tom Cartwright:

Not much. To be really honest, you know, it was just that point, it wasn't. I'm definitely not an overnight success story. Point without my slave a little bit too much. But it was just that moment, just to acknowledge and realize that it was an issue was enough, because what it meant. Now, every time I did the problem, it felt worse, because there was something in my brain that was gone, and it's going, but now you're choosing it. But now you're choosing it. But now you choosing it. And I think it's it's kind of a stepping stone process when you're in like, when you're running an addictive behavior. Step one, you're on autopilot, you beat yourself up, you give yourself a hard time, somewhere along the journey, you realize you're on your own autopilot, which means now you're you're in a place of choice, you're highly influenced, you're being really influenced the sick of the drain, the addictive, the chemicals, the imbalance, that pogies there, we get that. But now you're just aware of it. That's the first, you know, key to any kind of change, not in AppCenter changes awareness. So just to become aware of it. So what happened was, it started to experience a lot more pain. It wasn't too short after this, that I started to experience. Excuse me, anxiety. So it wasn't after that there wasn't, wasn't too long after this experience in that now I started to begin to show symptoms of mental illness, so to speak, anxiety, panic attacks. I remember a couple of months after this moment, I had to be rushed from a nightclub to the hospital because they thought I had a collapsed lung. I was so intoxicated, and it must have been looking back. It was a panic attack. But they thought I had a collapsed lung. So that was a kind of moments like waking up after having been jammed down and down my throat and whatnot and my parents there and like just what is going on here and then suggesting that he doesn't have a collapsed lung, he's fine. He's having a panic attack. And to have a panic attack whilst I was doing the thing that I loved that really rocked my nervous system, like, give me a panic attack on Monday before I go to work, please. But don't give me one. When I'm doing my thing. I'm Tamika or I'm a big drinker. I'm a gambler. I love this, this is my thing. So I think that was a big wake up to be like, Ah, wow, to have it there when I'm in my zone, so to speak, that really shook the system. And then, about six months after that, on I actually to be really honest with you, I didn't know I was going to share this, but I'm more than happy to in between there or some time along those two moments and six months, I was sitting in my car, or would have been about 20 had a bottle of whiskey. And I had my first suicidal thought. So I was never aware that I had any. I was experiencing any clinical issues called Clinical and I just I wasn't aware of mental health. I didn't know that. All I was aware of some things weren't apparently right. So I was sitting in my car and I was in a really steep hill. And at the bottom of the hill, there's cliffs that go off into the ocean. And I just had the thought I was just like, I could drive this car off the cliff. And then I just sat with that thought for a while. And then I sat in the dilemma of unfortunately, that suicidal thinking of like, hang on, is that true? Did I just think that which is just a you know, an underwear thought that's popped up? And it's not true? Or am I thinking that because I'm thinking about doing it? So then I got content, then I was toxic? And then I got stuck in the hole overwhelmed like, and I really started freaking out in the moment because I was like, hang on a second. Is this true? Is this me just making it up? Or is there something Am I not safe? Should I get out of this? What is going on? So it was the first time I had an experience like that? And those were kind of like the three milestones or the three reference points that I look back on I think I think that's when I started to realize that something was wrong. You know that it wasn't looking at the credit card statement and thinking like oh 28,000 bucks. That's tough. It was those real deep panic attack rushed to hospital suicidal thought drive car off cliff. That's not Tom, what is going on there. So I didn't realize that was two versions to me, so to speak like this happy go lucky. I'm fine. I love life could drive a car off a cliff? That was enough to give me some insight and awareness.

Ian Hawkins:

Yeah, wow. You've touched on something really powerful there. Because it's what a lot of people experience, right? The, the identity that you had, if it's linked to that, then it's fine, right? And so you just run with it. It's not happy about it, but it's like, well, it's just part of that as part of who I am. But then you start to get awareness and you change. And people think that that first bit okay, we'll all be good, but actually it at first feels like it gets harder. It's almost like before things go up. You got to go in this dip And it's like, oh, you're now starting to start to notice like, physically I'm not right, I'm starting to notice other strange symptoms, I'm starting to notice all the other things that you talked about. And so I'd love to hear how were you able to go through that dip and then be able to move forward? Because I think this is something that people will get heaps out of, because I'm sure many of them listening to this will have been in that. They're like, I'm trying to get better here. And I'm feeling worse, like, what do I do now? So what did what did you do?

Tom Cartwright:

It's such a good point to bring up because it's not often spoken about, which is the whole, it, just because it doesn't feel good, doesn't mean it's not right. And that's what a lot of individuals can freak out about, especially with traditional addictions, like gambling and drinking, you can stop doing them and it gets worse, you symptoms gets gets worse, and you think what is going on here, so you can just run back to it. Knowing what I know now, looking back I was it was more so an identity crisis than anything else, my body was so afraid to maybe be someone that I'd never been before. So I was actually, I'm not even joking at all. Look at it through the lens of I was about to grieve the person I pretended to be for so long, which was debilitating ly painful for me, I had no idea how to do that. I think a lot of us fall into the trap of going off. Oh, great. I'd love to be a non drinker. I wish I didn't gamble. And we wish and hope and desire, this version of us that we've never been. But individuals don't understand that your ego, which is the part of your brain that recognizes itself can only recognize itself based off who you've been in this moment in the past. So it's a facade to say I know who I'll be when I've overcome challenge and problem. But if you haven't, you're actually entering what's called what I call it the void, the unknown space, the last the darkness, you have no idea who you are. And that I would like to share like that depth. That would be what my book was experiencing. calling out for like this is free here, there's you're panicking, you're freaking out, go back to being the person you are just pretend that you're happy. Just keep doing it. So I was starting to enter that void. Otherwise known as when you said identity earlier. Yeah, I'm actually getting really close to start grieving the loss and the identity and shedding the skin that it's okay to no longer be that person. That's as early. That's a really painful spot to be in. Because usually when it comes to letting go, I'd love your thoughts on this. But usually when it comes to letting go, the ego throws up or your brain throws up an assumption that if you have to let it go, it means it was wrong, or you were wrong.

Ian Hawkins:

And that's maybe blocked roll out when you sit it on thinking it's more around, what will I lose? Like the different times where I've stopped drinking so so for our second lockdown in Sydney last year, six months, I didn't drink that whole time. Whereas most people would would go and harder to get through the time. I'm like, well, well, I'm just at home on my own, like, what's the point? And so I was like, There's part of me there after six months going on enough I'll ever go back. It was like it was it was having that good of an influence on me. But then you go out to a few different places and you like actually on on punishing myself and on losing something that I enjoy. So why am I doing that, like I used to drink a lot, right? And now just being able to drink and moderate, I have no interest in going hard because it just doesn't feel good. Doesn't feel good at the time doesn't feel good on the on the next day. So it's it's that last thing, like I've quit a heap of different foods over the time, because I just haven't agree with my system. It gets to the point was like this is actually to my detriment. So I'm talking caffeine, I'm talking a whole lot of different foods, which are sometimes when I go out, it's like what am I going to eat here? Like it's hard to navigate. But the drinking thing I got to the point where it wasn't having a detriment detrimental impact, and it wasn't creating a loss, but it wasn't like kind of what you're describing with with the drink less feel fresh, it's like but I'm losing something by trying to not drink all together. So getting that balance right as for every area, but that in particular we're talking about today about alcohol, it's actually been such almost like a relief, right?

Tom Cartwright:

Yeah, what's liberating, so liberating to realize that you can choose, you know, it's so liberating to realize you can have the choice and freedom that you are more powerful than any external resource in the world that you can utilize resources, they don't need to utilize you. At the end of the day, if someone wants to be aware of whether they're drinking too much or not, or having too much caffeine or whatever the external substance is. You just got to ask yourself, Do I enjoy being in my head in my own body? Do I enjoy that? And if you're drinking a lot, chances are you don't and I'm not saying there's anything wrong with that. There was nothing wrong with that at all. If you rather being in a place that's not naturally you drugs and alcohol the way to do it, or any other, you know, addiction so to speak. But there comes a time what probably what you're experiencing what I've spent so long learning how to master trust is learning to enjoy Being in my body more so than not. And that's when you really start to even if you do have a drink, you normally only have a couple. Because you start to, you know, you start to create change within your hair that feels uneasy. It doesn't feel nice.

Ian Hawkins:

Yeah, that's it. So it's a completely different feelings in the body. And in the past, I didn't have that feeling in the body or didn't have an awareness around the feeling on the body where you've actually gone too far. Because I always have these blackouts, right. And I'd like people would be talking to me. They'd be having conversations about things I've done. Sometimes they're apologizing to me, sometimes they were kind of like, Mike, what the hell was that? What are you doing? And I'd be like, Oh, I don't know what you're talking about. And so that was a moment for me like I can't, I need to, I need to have an awareness. Actually, we actually had first that didn't actually change it in, but it was when you hit those sort of big moments where you're like, shit, maybe I'll share some of those on future episodes. But really just wake up and go, Oh, God, what have I done. Some of those weren't enough to stop me or slow me down. But but they did come a time. And maybe that's where the having children thing comes into it. But you just touched on, there's something there. It's like, if you didn't have a problem with that, that's fine. That's like, made me think of something I wrote down when you were talking the star. I don't know if you're familiar with Steve Cutler's work. He does a lot of work around flow, but he does one of his books is called stealing fire. And it's like, the human pursuit of all the other languages left me of altered states. And it's been happening for millennia, right? finding different ways to alter our mental state, whether it was to for greater awareness for deeper thinking for healing processes. And he talked about like, we've been doing it like, people used sound. So music and tapping, they use movement. And of course, they experimented with different foods and so on. And there is positives in these altered states because it can create a window into something that you wouldn't have access to otherwise. So I'm interested to hear your thoughts on on that. But how you would do it getting the balance right. I mean, we talked before we came on about like, you know, some of the sort of deeper spiritual stuff will we call the alcohol that's the fermented or whatever it is alcohol spirits, right? Or what why don't we do that because in the right amounts, it can give us a deeper connection with that other world, right? The inner world.

Tom Cartwright:

To go off what you're asking, you know, in an odd way, I love one of the one of my favorite things to do in life, love it, is to play game of golf with my beautiful dad, and then have a copy with him. I just love it. It is one of the ultimate experiences. Back in 2014 or 15, when I was told that I was an addict had alcohol and gambling issues, I was told by a GP, you will never be able to have one drink without having 20 You'll never be able to break the addiction. It's not how it works, you got to get to a you got to give it up all together by telling us to a 20 year old 23 year old kid is just not what is needed. And then given me a bottle of antidepressants, just wasn't the right cue. For me. It's good for a lot of people that it suits that's the you know, the conversations contextually appropriate for who wants this message.

Ian Hawkins:

Interesting that he's gone from, he's taken you from one addiction Here, take this one, which that's a whole other subject

Tom Cartwright:

on there, just to remind altars they're just doing different things, I'm going to be just as reliant on both of them. You know, at the time, I developed an addiction to value and two could sleep that value. I remember at the time I used to, you know, like it toiletries keep your take away. I used to almost like back then I at least to take any one of those around, didn't even have like prescription drugs, just a packet of Panadol packet in Europe and anti inflammatories. And it just couple of other things. It was just like I just need these things just in case something happens. But yeah, to answer your question, to go on, from what you mentioned a minute ago, which is the difference between moderation is when I was told those things, I've got a little bit of an fu mentality. I like to prove people wrong and prove systems wrong. And I kind of like to do that from the sense of or the frame of like, understanding that we are powerful beyond measure, we can trump and break most if not anything we ultimately want want to break. There's a great quote out there that says in order to know where your limits are, you got to be able to push past them. You got to be willing to push past them. And I remember one of the one of the goals that I had back in 2015 when a GP told me I couldn't ever drink again is actually made if I can be straight down the line here. I actually made a commitment to myself that I was going to learn how to break addiction to the extent that I could have six beers in Stop, not two, not three, six, because to me, I thought to myself, I gotta stop, let alone six and stop. Like by that stage, you're drunk, you're incoherent you can't stop. So I made a commitment to learn how to do that. I also made a commitment to learn how to take other drugs if I wanted to stop as well like the party drug cocaine, because I was told as well aggressive like, like, that's definitely one you kind of like, you know, you've got these these different classifications of drugs, we're going to be just like, just Don't dabble in it, which I get it. That's an appropriate message. But for me, I thought about things like, Do I want to go down the lens of I'm never going to be able to be malleable in certain contexts and environments to see what the environment needs for me and who I want to be? Or do I need to be so rigid that these things in my life can never exist. And I need to make sure that I delete and make sacrifices in there as well. And I'm gonna, one thing I made to myself is I said to myself, Tommy, you're gonna learn somehow how you can go play golf, have a beer, and then go home with your dad. And that was really honest, that's not something I knew how to do. My dad probably doesn't even know this to this day. But whenever we play golf and had a couple of beers, when I went home, I parked the car at the bottle shop and only go home to midnight. There was I could not have half a beer and not go out all night, spend all my money. It was impossible at the time looking back. I'm like, I have a saying and I'm like, Wow, I can't believe it was that bad. It sounds like, you know, it's been a long, long journey. So it's fascinating to to think about how it was back then. But yeah, so now I love that I love that I can live with choice. I love that I can have a beer, which doesn't alter my state. And I can sit in this euphoric, like it's a constant reminder of like, How good's the choice? You know, one of the things that really upsets me is when I speak to someone, and they're living through the mentality of if they get to their deathbed, and they can say to themselves, yes, they haven't had a drink since then. I just think if you feel great now fantastic. But if there's any part of you, that's like living in pain and suffering, that you have to hit that milestone, to prove to yourself that you're worthy. It's gonna be a tough slog, really tough.

Ian Hawkins:

To touch on somebody you mentioned, which I think it's important for, for people no matter what they're dealing with, and that's the diagnosis. If you choose to bind to a diagnosis, well, then that's, that's your identity. That's your new identity. And that's your future. But I'm always a fan of like, if that diagnosis doesn't sit right, then I'm, I'm looking at something else. Like, I've been told I shouldn't run again, I shouldn't play football, I shouldn't buy basketball, I couldn't lift heavy stuff, because I just injured so many things in sport until I found a coach who said, Do you believe that to be true? Like, is that what you want in your life? I now I want to do that. She said, Well, let's see if we can change that. And what we can choose, like, while you were talking about there's a choice, she's like, Yeah, and then she started telling me stories about people she'd helped with the dived into polls, and fractured their neck and all these different things, every reason not to, but found a reason to, and that changed everything. So when before we jumped on, you mentioned that there was a big learning fear around choice and freedom, and that was the divorce of your parents. So So where did that come along this journey? And what was the impact of that on your life

Tom Cartwright:

we're gonna have a timeframe, this all happened in about a year, you know, I look back and I go, who's that 12 month period, I'm driving home from ride we love having the panic attack, then going to the shop then realizing that I'm doing the thing. And then three months later getting restaurants below and then six months after that, you know, realizing that the family is going through a separation and something within me or the lesson in the learning that I just started the the lesson in the learning that I just feel that I understood at the time

was nothing is set in stone happiness is not locked in, it's not a schedule. There's no way to get around the uncertainty and adventure of life. Life is to be lived in the moment.

I think from seeing my parents divorce I kind of got a glimpse into what was going on behind the scenes and I saw a bit of truth and from that I got a reflection into myself that I was projecting to the reality a certain thing you know and from seeing them go through a divorce when on the surface everything great happy married family for thriving kids doing well financially and to see that just change I'm not saying was a bad thing. I'm not saying it was good thing just to see that dissolve and completely change. Kind of your reference point of like, does that mean I can change? What's going like I was on this, you know, habitual repetitive price. And I'm like, Well, if that's able to changed, and maybe I can change. And it was actually within weeks from understanding and hearing that there was a divorce happening, that I that I went to my first specialist ever. My mom actually recommended me to Tom a few months ago, you had that panic attack and you know, me and your father are going through these things, I see this person and you want to go see them. Like, I was really standoffish at the time like this and that, and I don't need anyone. But to see the I went to see the specialist. So I think the combination of seeing the family change, dynamic change, and then getting to the specialist within a few weeks, things really started to open up or change from that consultation, so to speak.

Ian Hawkins:

Yeah, well, that's powerful. And I think it's a great thing to highlight is like, even in those moments, which are challenging and difficult, there is always an awareness that comes through with that. And when it's interesting that in that moment, you still saw that opportunity as a choice and an opportunity for change. And it really resonated with me because that was the same when when my dad passed us like at his funeral going, like, what am I doing my life? Like? Even in the depths of pain, you can find those moments. So what was that experience? Like then going from that to? Okay, I need to do something about this, I'm gonna go see someone like was it was a no doubt in your mind that that's what you're going to do? Or were there? Did you need some convincing?

Tom Cartwright:

Ah, well, going back to what you mentioned a few minutes ago, which is along the lines of diagnosis has been diagnosed being labeled, so to speak. Oh, you should never train again. Don't do heavy lifting. I really resonated when you said that. I've got this really rare erosive arthritis in my sternum heard the same thing like don't do sports. What do we think to say someone? A young looking at you energetic, enthusiastic person, like surely there's so many things that we could do, to say he knows, he knows blanket, blanket statements, I think we all want to be aware that we don't have to take them on. And the other thing to be aware of I was having a conversation with someone this morning or a few hours ago. And I said, I said to them, when it comes to labels, people often ask me that often they say to me, so Tom, they leave and they go, would you say that I'm an alcoholic? And I say to them? Answer this question first. What are you going to do with the answer? No, that's good. What are you going to do with the answer? They go? What do you mean? And I go, Well, do? Are you looking for an answer to justify why you should maintain this problem? Are you looking for an answer to justify make sense to why you've got it and have a reason to let it go? And I think that's the biggest misconception with labels is being labeled. It ain't bean label. It's what do you use it for? That's all it is. It's an identity thing. What are you using it for? And I know people that go, you know, I was labeled an African was 20. I haven't drank since I got cheese. Fantastic. I'm so grateful. They will label an alcoholic and I made some wine that have been and people I know that have been labeled 15 years ago alcoholic, I go, why you drink instead. And I go, I'm an alcoholic. The label it is not the label. It's the it's it's what you do with it. It's what you utilize with it. And if your label isn't working for you, it's the wrong label. Like you said, the label of don't try and get wasn't working. It was creating either what I saw was like confusion or overwhelm, or disgruntled or like no, that doesn't feel right. It wasn't working for you. Unfortunately, people to people just hold on to the labels for far too long.

Ian Hawkins:

Hmm, well guess it. It's a safety. Almost like default. Like, no, this is now comfortable for me. I don't want to do anything that's going to take me out of that comfort zone. It's like, well, what if you could push the boundaries of that and actually find that when you if you don't have to change the whole thing? And after? I think it's never about throwing the whole thing out. It's like, what can you tweak? So that does work for you. Because that's where you're going to get the best result. It's like, it makes me think of the what you learn when you're when you're learning coaching. It's like if you take him to panic zone, that's not a helpful place to be. But if you just gently stretch them out of the comfort zone that they're in, well then that's when they're going to feel the fulfillment, the satisfaction, the the joy, the adventure of life. And so what are your thoughts about that, but but it's to me it's the subtle Yeah.

Tom Cartwright:

Yeah, and that's what we look, I would say this if you're going to abstain for the rest of your life from alcohol don't do because you have to do it when you can. Which means table there's a huge misconception. The assumption is when I say to someone you should be able to drink it whenever you like they always bottle with but you can't say that to Nicola. The journey isn't drinking or not drinking. It's just making sure you're choosing not to I don't think it's relevant or appropriate for anyone to go. I don't drink because I can't She can, I could sit down with an alcoholic and say, here's a bottle of Jack chained them to the table and say you and I sitting here for eight hours until it's dissolved and then you go to work. Like there's, there's things that we can do to suggest that you're gonna break your path and I'll go over it was my choice and I was I needed to learn all these things he hit a lot of people that we work with a tremendous whoever he ended up going, good, I got a call doesn't really suit me, I'm not drinking that much, or I'm never going to drink again. But they do it when they realize they're able to they do it when they have a relationship with alcohol that's pretty functional, so to speak, and they go oh, and that's choice, that is liberation, that is power, that is playing the game of life playing in the gray zone of being influenced and attracted. But one of the ways I say to people is if someone abstains from alcohol, because they don't trust themselves, when it comes to alcohol, you're not you haven't developed trust within yourself. In fact, if I'm their coach or mentor, I say to someone, when's the last time you tempted yourself to have a drink and chose not to? And if like I took myself, Okay, well, I'm yet to see the behavioral trait of self trust in you. And they say, What do you mean, I go, I want to have a conversation with you, when you give yourself permission to have a drink, but you don't. Or you say to yourself, you know what, I could have drink today, but I'm choosing not to, or you have the, you know, life and Character. Character building itself is built in when you're tempted to act, but you choose not to when someone is when someone can, let's look at relationships. Well, he was a great one, someone who is tempted to do things but chooses not to what you're saying is that you can trust their character, because they're tempted, so to speak, the devil is there to tempt them. And I think when it comes to alcohol, a lot of people play this game. Now I can't touch it, I can't touch it. And I you know, the chance of sounding judgmental here, I don't believe you're looking at someone from a place of trust. They don't trust themselves so much that they won't dance with the devil. And I think that can be you know, that can be really detrimental to people to treat themselves that that that powerless against something like I was about to hold up my sparkling mineral water as if it was said earlier. Yeah, so that's, that's my little mini rant there is you

Ian Hawkins:

know, that's a good, good read. And someone

Tom Cartwright:

can choose to no longer want alcohol in their life, because it doesn't suit their life. That is a much more powerful space than if I drink. I'm a stuff up.

Ian Hawkins:

I wanted to ask another question about your parents divorced, but I'll come back to that. Because I wonder how something just about what you just said. Then firstly, you just referenced the CANS that you drinking now for those who are listening. They wouldn't see it. But But before we get recorded might is that the Canadian Club? I'm thinking surely not come up with a drink. And you're like, oh, actually, maybe that's a good idea. Maybe we can get some controversy going

Tom Cartwright:

on. I went on a podcast a few months ago. And the podcast is called Whiskey webinars, a couple of business guys doing incredible things. And they called Whiskey webinars and they all get around everyone gets their nice vintage whiskey. And they call me before the podcast they said, Tom, would it be appropriate if we had orders tonight I said please do not have waters that are do a massive disservice to the reason why we exist which is moderation, choice freedom. At the time, I said to them, cause I got my Mac my best friend's wedding. I'm the best man, I'll probably be up there doing my speech with a glass of real fun whiskey myself, like, come on play playing into this game of Right wrong, good, bad do or don't. Maybe in your line of work. You've either overcome a relationship or you haven't like there's black and whites. That's just not it's not reliable, let alone realistic.

Ian Hawkins:

Yeah. Love it. Love it. So you mentioned trust there. And what I've learned about trust is, the deeper we trust ourselves, then the deeper the experience, and the more we can discover about ourselves. And you mentioned before that you you're the first person you saw for mental health. You said, I said I was at a coach and you went well, you could call it a coach, and then use a description you went there might be too much. And I'm like, Man, I think my audience will love this and use of their energy medicine specialist. So tell us about the edit the energy medicine specialist of the country. Because to me, like this is where we deepen trust in self so we can actually make better decisions is this sort of experience. So tell me about

Tom Cartwright:

the weigh in because he's you say I still remember looking at his white business card and thinking energy medicine specialist. What a wanker. I remember thinking, this time this young, charismatic, hard kind of kid that wouldn't show his emotions unless he was drunk. He got emotional, which is an interesting one we might talk about. No, I went to see him. And it was because my mother influenced me to she I remember the situation. I was lying upstairs. I was living in the family house. Yeah, I think I was 2223 years old at this time. And she said oh, I would you like to go and see this David guy. I said what Sunrise. What are they called naturopath. He's like a naturopath, life coach kind of guy. I didn't say those words to me, the energy medicine specialist just said naturopath, life coach, kind of guy anyway, just good at helping kids figure out where they want to go. And she was trying to like, say it in terms that I would appreciate. Yeah. And I remember lying on a couch hungover at the time, I was like, Oh, mom, not today. I'm gonna say something like that. And she said, Okay. And she said this to me. She said, I just want to know if you're right. And as always, traditional style man at the time. Yeah, I'm fine. Why? And she said, Oh, well, it's Sunday morning. And last night, you didn't go out with friends. Red flag for my meds. That was a red flag that I didn't go out and into my natural thing. I still drink at home that night, but I didn't go out my friends. And that's interesting. That's a red flag. For her. She goes, Oh, I was just concerned because you always go out on Saturday night. And I said, okay, yeah, no, I just didn't feel like it. And she walked away. And just immediately I thought to myself, I didn't go out last night. And I got messages from people to go out. And I thought to myself, that's weird. I didn't look at it through the lens off to be honest of like, Oh, I'm doing good things. Maybe I'm getting maybe I don't want to drink. I didn't actually looked at it as a massive alarm bill. Why have I not done the thing that I wanted to do? And just something in me, I don't know if I've realized that I wasn't happy. Or if maybe I accepted a little bit that I was playing a bit of soccer. I'm not sure what it was to be honest with the end. I just remember the next day later that afternoon, the next day, I said, What's his number and what happens? And that was it, I'm not gonna fluff it up and say I had this moment of like, I'm gonna get the help. I just kind of had nothing else at the time. I no longer. You know, I just felt like, and it also wasn't like this depression or debilitating like, you know, I'm no good. I was still walking around the house to do my thing. It was just, I was just open to something. I guess. I was just curious,

no idea what was going to happen. I'm grateful I take off to my mom and a lot of aspects like that she's

always been really open to try new things. So think I took after a bit of her, that character from her. So I booked a session, so to speak a session. I never heard of that. Before. I didn't really understand. I knew that. Remember, a couple of months before the GP diagnosed with antidepressants. I had suicidal thoughts through the presence of the beans of the label didn't suit me. So I kind of knew that didn't work. So yeah, I booked a session and I went to speak to him. And I had a moment that I'll never forget.

Ian Hawkins:

Hmm, okay, we'll get to that. But first, I just want to unpack something there. Because it's like you said there. So when you your parents got divorced, like through a very positive lens. But this moment with your mum was a short time after the divorce. So did you see that as like, well, maybe that had influenced you at that time? Or he had you not sort of join those dots?

Tom Cartwright:

It's an interesting question. I probably haven't answered that before or pondered on it all too much about connecting the dots. Looking back at just I don't know, you don't want to call it stars aligned. It just, I don't know how to say they just happened. Like it just, again, it's nice to understand how it happened and how I went about it. It just worked. She just asked me on the right day. I knew change was happening. Things were debunking and falling apart around me so to speak. At the end of the day, what was always working, wasn't working. And I think I just gravitated towards, I'm actually really part of my identity that I've created. I'm very malleable and malleable. So I'm very good at beat myself into the shape that's needed to survive. And so I think a little bit of that came into play. It was like, Well, I'm not doing this, you know, drink heavy piss up gambling thing. Now I'm sitting here and depressed, but I don't want to go down the depressing line and be diagnosed as a depressed alcoholic. So like, I don't know, like looking at it. Now. It's like, what else was I supposed to do? I didn't want to go down to the bottom and do the same thing. I didn't want to go down the clinical view. So I think something in me was just like, Okay, I'll try and see what this door opens because those are all shot.

Ian Hawkins:

We're going to keep prodding, if you don't mind. So he's so what. So when somebody goes through that moment with your parents divorce, what was there an overriding emotion like was there? Like frustration, anger, sadness, denial, like what was the experience like from an emotional perspective,

Tom Cartwright:

emotional upheaval, the night that I found out because as most big drinkers, do you find out this stuff when you're drinking, you're always drinking. So I was quite intoxicated, I was at a place called the shakedown in Double Bay Hotel and I got a phone call and it was from a cousin or someone did you hear what's happened and your mom's packed up all the stuff and left and you know, in the moment great now I've got a justification that I can really drink tonight. Like just I took a like that but I broke down and was teary and sad that night. I think I punched a couple of wars bro. Some knuckles just did the whole young emotional expression because I'm intoxicated thing. But at the same time, except that it immediately, unlike the rest of my family, there was something in me that was like, this will be great. Which is, which is weird looking back now that I know what I know. And I'm a coach and specialist I think I've always been quite intuitive into the lens of what's really going on. I just closed that off for a long time due to alcohol. But yeah, it was, it was a difficult time, so to speak in regards to what I say, was motional. It's tough. But at the same time, I was more concerned about

what other people were thinking and what other people were doing. I was more concerned about Yeah, my mom was doing and my dad was doing how my brothers were doing. I wasn't generally

that overly concerned with how I was doing, if that makes sense. I always felt more pain for other people than myself, which could be a facade, but probably a conversation that we could either dive in today or at a later date. So that's always been like, a really interesting experience for me. I know there might be a technical issue. So I'm just going to keep delivering value until ainz. Back. So yeah, the divorce kind of brought up those emotions of sadness and grief. That was quite pretty debilitating in regards to just like, how could this happen. But as I said earlier, at the same time I accepted it, I thought it was the best thing. Not the best thing, the best thing to happen in regards to like it was meant to happen. I don't mean, I said that backwards. I shouldn't have said it like that. At the time. I thought that it was it was it was how it was meant to be, so to speak. If that makes sense. It was just supposed to be that way it was going to be good for everybody in the long run. And looking back, I think it's one of the catalysts that definitely supported me to grow and to grow up. I think if my parents stayed together, I wouldn't have grown up, I wouldn't have been through the changes that I've been through. Yeah, it was definitely noticing and being aware and seeing the parents go through that, that opened my lens to you know what it is, I'm kind of waffling I figured it out, here's what it is. And I knew this, I just lost it tonight, what I saw was my mom go and create the life that she always wanted. And that was a reference point for me to back it and do the same thing. So it's interesting because I kind of followed in my mom's footsteps, she stepped out to create the life that she always wanted, no matter how scary that would have been. I can't imagine how scary it would have been. You know, especially having four sons or quite close in age. So just seeing that happen and seeing her step out was enough for me to say you know what, maybe I can step out maybe I can go on live life on my own terms so to speak.

She's pretty soon after that. Yeah, pretty soon after that, I went to the energy medicine specialist,

which I thought was such a while, but I was just being a dick at the time a young tick. And I remember having my first ever consultation with the individual. And as a young kind of hard happy go lucky if you I'm happy. I didn't have a problem with alcohol. It was really vulnerable and uncomfortable for me to be there. But as I said earlier, I just wanted something to create change something to help me through the moment. He's back.

Ian Hawkins:

Yeah, you just carried on without me. Did you

Tom Cartwright:

know I thought I can. I can show and just goes my show so I can rock it out. And I started I started just diving straight into the energy medicine special and I was about to share what happened when I got there. So I'm glad you back because you might not want to.

Ian Hawkins:

But it wasn't I thought it was internet. But actually everything else is still on I think my laptop just shut itself. So obviously what you're about to talk about. need to be prepared for it.

Tom Cartwright:

Like wait phrase. Yeah, I kind of just answered your question, which was along the lines of what was that experience like emotionally when the parents broke up, and I was telling your listeners just in case you don't want to edit this. I was just telling them. Yeah, it was tough. But at the same time I accepted it. I knew it was right. That lesson that I took and I'm forever grateful to my parents for this. The lesson I took was that your happiness can't be dependent on someone else's And for my mom being happily married for that long with four sons to get up and leave, I didn't look at that as if like it was a bad thing. I looked at that through the lens of like, shoot, you must want something pretty bad because that is like something that will be so difficult to do. I knew at that age of even being 20 I was like, that must be so hard for you, mom. So I think as well I kind of saw my first reference point of lean into the discomfort do the hard thing. And I think that's what really challenged me to say, You know what, I'll go and speak to a specialist even though I think they're probably a wanker, and they can't help me.

Ian Hawkins:

And then in the sign on his desk confirmed what you already thought

Tom Cartwright:

if you've never been to a specialist before had an emotional conversation, let alone a logical one. Like, oh, are you happy in your job to get into a room and someone a grown man say take your shoes off and, and lie down and I start wanting to play around with my feet, like not touching them, but with energy in the meridian lines through my body? Like that was a weird thing for me to experience. But I'm very grateful good friends with a guy his name's David flake like, incredible what he does. Yeah, it was an absolute game changer. But as you said earlier, like it's through sometimes that darkness or that real pain points that you experienced those level of awareness was probably the most painful emotional conversation I've ever had to have with someone to be in that room. But now looking back, I'll always be grateful that I had

Ian Hawkins:

it. Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And I think anyone who's thought about it and maybe dabbled, it's like you at the time, it may feel uncomfortable, but you'll never regret it in the long run. Because Because just opening up and allowing yourself into that sort of space, it always ends up in a better space. Oh, maybe

Tom Cartwright:

it was the first time I'd experienced vulnerability, like the depth of vulnerability. I'd never understood what it meant to be vulnerable and open and just let someone see who I thought I actually was. Yeah, it was. It was an incredible moment. He's very good at what he does actually, in the first session. He knows like, I know, these days, probably going to be a bit touch and go this young kids probably going to think I'm an effing wanker and not want to be. So we actually said halfway through the first session, he said, Tom, we make a promise. I said, What's that? And he said, we have three sessions. If you don't want to do that, we wrap up now. I won't charge anybody can go. It's been lovely to meet you. But if we finish this session today, you're going to come back for two more. Would you be up for the challenge? He said something that kind of hooked my ego, like, yeah, chance. And I just remember saying to him, Okay, sure. And so I went back and all the time, just kind of a normal conversation. But it wasn't until the third time I went back. There'd been enough respect built and enough trust, I guess. And I'll always remember, he just was having a conversation with me. And then he cars broke my state by just asking me a random question that kind of caught me off guard. And we're having a conversation. He just stopped and looked in my eyes. And he said, Who are you? And I went, you know, I played that kind of like, that's weird thing to ask, What do you mean? And then he rolled these wheels, his chair that I wheels on it closer to me, and he said, Who are you? And the second time he asked me, and I don't know if you've experienced one of these before, but I was so close to punchy like I was younger, I used to drink a lot. I've gotten a few fistfight, but this was at the time. So I knew what it meant to punch someone. And my knuckles went wide again, like they did in the car that time. And my face went red, and I like was shaking inside but he couldn't see it. And he probably knew. And then. And then the third time he went in and he put his hand on my knee just said it's okay. Just tell me who you are. And I can still feel like I feel sick in my throat thinking about it even these days. And I remember just over a bottle with a cause either going to punch him or just share something. So glad I didn't punch him. It would have been terrible.

Ian Hawkins:

This has been a very different interview. If that was the case.

Tom Cartwright:

There's bars behind me. But yeah, I remember I just rebuttal. I just word vomited, like this demon. And so I may have been wanting to speak for years. And I just Roboto with, I'm the guy you can party with. And I said it's so quick. And he said what was that? And I just went and I didn't have to say it again. I heard myself say what I thought I was and to me at the time I went that's who you think you are. And this disgusting overwhelmingly sad emotion just hit me and I just broke down. And I was broke down with like these heavy wailing, uncontrollable tears never experienced anything like that before, let alone so well let alone in front of a man. So yeah, that was one of my first real experience of having a conversation that matters like that was it was just let's just have a conversation about us. But for me the time it was so overwhelmingly fearful. To understand and realize is that what do you think if you're self taught, and wonder why you're having panic attacks no wonder why you're feeling afraid to not go to a party and stay at home. Home, your complete identity and everything you think you are is about to go. Of course, you'd be experiencing some huge emotional blocks. So to speak. First time I've got a gave him a hug. And I think that was the day my life changed forever to be honest.

Ian Hawkins:

I just want to for the listeners just be really clear. It doesn't always go like that. And I'd be suggesting that people like Tom who are like, they just dive in headfirst, and you're going to get something like that really early on, because you're ready for that deep, quick change. And I've had a few those myself, but he would have only known he could go there because of the experience you've had with you for three sessions. And for most people, it's a more gentle experience, right? Does that sort of claim of what you know about yourself that you're, you're someone who's like, Okay, if we're gonna do this, we're gonna go all in and make this happen, right?

Tom Cartwright:

Yeah, of course. You know, it's different. For every individual. I work with clients these days, it can take three months before we have like, what might feel like an emotionally overwhelming session for someone, sometimes they're not even, you're never gonna get there. It's different for everybody. Yeah, at the same time I look back, it's not something that wasn't me. That's why I do what I'm doing. Now. I've always been in touch with my emotions. I've always been okay, letting go. I just never knew that. So I always used alcohol to do it. You've never seen me angry or sad unless I was intoxicated. So that that was the thing, I wasn't learning to be someone different. I was just learning to tap into something that I was always using alcohol, like I would often be angry or really sad when I was, you know, drinking, which is interesting. I just did the same process. I just didn't need six, six, Jack Daniels, I just needed a good specialist to have a real conversation with me. You know, to get that I think that's something really important people should be aware of is, quite often the states that you're getting into whilst drinking alcohol is just the state you haven't learned to give yourself permission to tap into sober. Yeah, that's all. If you're feeling really calm and switched off. Chances are maybe you haven't learned how to switch off without alcohol if you feel and if you get really angry and get abusive or verbal, then chances are maybe you've got some anger that you want to learn to tap into. And if you get sad and play pity parties late at night, you know, have those dnns, it's a common thing. By the way, it's not just you, it's not just me, there's, there's a thing that's called deep and meaningful, we have them when we're intoxicated. Most people want to have deep and meaningful. So we just we just don't have to do it socially, when I think it's appropriate.

Ian Hawkins:

Yeah, so good. It allows us to tap into what needs attention, right? And if you know, well said, so well said what needs attention now? Yeah. And if you look at it as a high performance tool, like you said, it's like nothing's gonna shine a light on it more than getting yourself into that state. Because it all just comes flooding to the surface, you can control it. Whereas in the rest of your life, you tend to suppress. So you've got a choice, right? This emotion is going to find its way out whether it's a angry response at some time that you don't want it to be whether it's getting upset at something that maybe surprised you, like someone described, the Queen's passing, and they said, it was really weird. I don't know why, but I've been upset. And like we're at the pub. So I didn't want to go into the deeper side of it, because that wasn't the mood of the room. But it was like, yeah, probably showing that there's probably something that that that might need attention there. And if we're going to talk about might use that as a tool, then that's great. But also get speaking to someone in a safe place. Might be the first time that you've done it in a way that isn't a coping mechanism. Instead, it's going to be something that's going to empower you.

Tom Cartwright:

Yeah, I think I think I walked into that session feeling better than I've ever felt. Yeah, that's the thing. Most people associate vulnerability with weakness, but anybody that's experienced vulnerability, associates it to strength. It's such a funny conundrum of like, vulnerability means you're open and you can be attacked. No vulnerability means you're so open, and you know, you can't be attacked. Because you're so open. I had shared with him everything that which means he'd seen me for everything. So there was nothing he could catch me out on. He couldn't go I don't think you're actually unhappy Tom, and may go. Yes, I'm fine. Stop drinking. It's like I just shared openly vulnerable, everything about me that I thought that that encapsulated me, so he's got nothing he's got no ammunition to hurt me. Because I just open the you know, that's, that's, yeah, we're kind of diving into like the energy and the that field. That's what he's, that's that was the special that's his specialty energy medicine specialist. He wasn't concerned with how much I drank as opposed to the general practitioners. This is what happened, by the way, you might have experience it like this, but I went to the GP three months beforehand. He got a notepad and pen out. He said, So what are you experiencing? And I said, Oh, my mom's told me to cut me off again. I think my mom told me go there as well as someone else. I'm going to come here she thinks I drank too much. This is literally what happened. This is my experience. He grabbed a pen and paper and so let's see what the weekend look like. So Saturday night, how many drinks did you have? I don't know a drink from like 4pm in the elbow. That's exam the next days. I'm okay. How many drinks each in the end he we did an exercise where we walk through how many drinks I had, yeah. And even he nearly fell off his chair. There's no relatability he's not aware that that's just how young kids are drinking, I'm assuming at the time otherwise, I don't know why it would have been so judgmental. But he's like, wow, that's a lot of drinks. That's 24 beers. 16 shots, couple of cocktails like, on paper, it looks like a lot, but for a big drinker said that on. And yeah, sharing that with you. Oh, that's right. You know, that's a logical game to play. That is the opposite of energy. Medicine, energy is what's going on in your body? How you feeling? Why you potentially drinking? The other approach was like, How many drinks did you have? Yeah, you're probably an alcoholic, this person that I saw, and it's got nothing to do with alcoholism, you're suppressing, unhealed trauma, you feel this about yourself, and it's hurting you and causing you pain. You're trying to let go of a version of you that you've created for for 23 years. And that's scaring you. And you know, I remember he may have been saying something which I think you might have tons to share on but he said something to me along the lines of like, just so you know, Tom, you're going to he actually said something along the lines of like, it's going to feel really weird, because you'll feel like you'll agree you'll be grieving even though you have lost someone. And I remember saying no like what, and he goes if you commit to this, you're going to be letting go of things and versions and parts of you. Like for example, you think that you're just someone you can party with it'll feel like a bit like a grieving process. That was my first gateway and, you know, even access to even understand maybe what grieving meant the depths of that emotional level.

Ian Hawkins:

Yeah, yeah. And that's what it's like, right? There's, there's a part of you that just died a part of the that you don't need anymore a part of you, that doesn't serve you anymore. And you do you go through these mini growth grieving process. It's probably what we talked about before, where it's like, there's a little dip and you feel like going backwards. It's actually an important step of then going forward. may want to dig more into this. But But first, something you said there, it's like, there's no judgment. Like, that's the important difference. If you're gonna go somewhere where they're going to judge you and make, you know, comments about what you're doing. It's like, that's, I don't see that as helpful. When we're

Tom Cartwright:

doing that. We're drinking again, like, just having someone jealous isn't?

Ian Hawkins:

Yeah, yeah. And I don't know if you've experienced this when you're coaching, but I reckon pretty close to every person has said something along these lines, this is gonna sound stupid, or you're gonna think this is bad. Or you're gonna think, like, pre determining what I'm gonna think about what they're gonna say. I'm like, I think nothing about that, except how do we then move you past it? Because it doesn't matter to me, I've been through my fair share of shit. Like, I mean, sharing enough of it. And even talking today on well, actually, I probably need to share some of those other moments like, waking up in the wrong house, like shit like that, when when alcohols got that big grab on you like, so someone talks to me about anything and like, then I'm, who am I to tell you that? You've done something awful, like, oh, man, we've all got our own stuff. And don't think that you're immune. And it's just having that safe place where you can open up and talk and deal with the grief. Right? So So you said, I don't know what your thoughts are on that. It's like, people think that that grief is just these big moments. And, and it is, but it's the small moments, it's moments like when I was three, when, when I was having a game of football in the backyard with my brother and sister. And, and, and I thought I'd won. And then they told me afterwards that we let you in, like that discharged that that is such a big impact on my competitive nature and drive and then an old show you sort of attitude. But that's the grief we're talking about. Right? And that's when working with someone like you said, You made David there like that. That's what it provides. It provides a safe space to to address whatever that was. So it doesn't have to have that impact on you anymore.

Tom Cartwright:

I think that's so you probably I'm assuming your industry, you're talking about it all the time. It's so but it's so relevant even from so many individuals, I know that understand the grief, as you said, like or hearing that you didn't win. Like it's a collapsing of something you thought was true. It's not true anymore, which is, you know, often like when you lose someone physically, like it's not physical, that it's not true that they're physically here anymore, doesn't mean they're not as now physically. When you said that. It was only shortly after, I think you'll find this pretty interesting, and probably what you do, let me know if I'm mistaken. But David, the guy that was working with me about three months into our work together, because after that third session, I was committed, I might call my life's gonna change and I started going down the progressive moving forward approach. And I remember he asked me a question along the lines of how are you doing with the breakup? And at the time, I was like, I broke it up from my first love. We dated for two years. And he said, How you doing with a breakup? And I remember going there pretty good. And I think I think my mom had told him not professionally, but I think she told him that. I don't think Tom's doing well with his breakup. I didn't know any better. And I just said Yeah, I think I'll go for you pretty well. And within the session, I had another emotional breakdown, I call them and I was crying and I'm like, I don't know, I remember saying to him, I said, I'm so sorry. I don't know why I'm crying. And he's like, What do you mean? And I'm like, I'm just upset. Sorry about that. I'm already apologizing. He's like, What are you talking about? I'm like, and here's what I said that I think you'll find fascinating. I said, why? No, I'm not grieving her because I'm the one that chose to leave. And he goes, Wow, you think that you don't grieve, if you're the one that chose to leave them? And I just rebounded with my honest, like, that's the level of education I had. I said, Oh, yeah, don't get in the groove when something's taken away from you. And that was just the definition of yeah, that's, that's what I thought you'd love that. Like, it's really worth the podcast in itself. He's like, Yeah, and just having some conversations with him about like, I'm going through a grieving process that I was just that baffled me. I loved it, though. I love the education side of it, as well as having chats to icon uncomfortable sometimes. I just, I love that approach of coaching and mentoring and energy medicine, where it's like, you will have some uncomfortable moments, but we're going to talk about some kickass shit till you get to law and stuff. And I really liked that combination of like, wow, that one, that one always remember that's changed my life in regards to dealing with grief.

Ian Hawkins:

Yeah, really hit home for me when, when I took on voluntary redundancy. Now I know lots of people who who'd been made redundant, and they were going through all this. Pain and rejection and anosike, hang on, like, I'm feeling the same shit. I'm feeling the sense of rejection, because I chose to leave. And I'm feeling hurt because of x, y, and Zed. And it's like, it doesn't actually the moment itself doesn't matter. It's the impact that has on you is what determines whether it's grief or not. If it feels like loss, it's loss. And we have these mini moments all through our life. And it's a lot of the law, this, we can identify with the big moments, I reckon most of those we tend to process. It's the little moments that it causes the biggest problem, because we think they're nothing, but they create behavior patterns, which impact us until we decide to change them. And whether it's drinking or gambling or just something to do with your relationships. What how do you go about your day to day, it's all impacting?

Tom Cartwright:

Yeah. Would there be any thoughts on this? Like, when you talk there, I think, often if let's just take the context of grieving on a socially acceptable level, I've lost someone physically that I was very close with some group, or otherwise I would look at that is, Well, isn't that event? Or is that the event? The straw that broke the camel's back? Because now it's socially acceptable for you to feel it? Like do you what are your thoughts in regards to all of those moments of grief? And then someone who we lose someone and then it's like, what are the can be this like, this is some people you know, they experience and this has got to be too much like I know, I love them dearly. But this is too much. Is there any point of view where you look at well, hang on, where is this the straw that broke the camel's back? Where is this grief a progression of 15 other groups that you've been through? You never knew

Ian Hawkins:

100% go back and listen to episode one time and

I talked about this like things like in Australia, Anzac Day, right Remembrance Day. It's like the one day of the year where men feel comfortable being emotional. And then when you have those big moments, right, so my dad's passing, like, I'd suppressed so much, but it made it okay for me to process big, big stuff. And, yes, of course, I was grieving the fact that he was a little lost. But it was all of these, the unresolved and unknown that I talk about, which is the whole idea behind this podcast, it's all of that stuff. And that's a tsunami that just keeps coming and coming wave after wave when you think you've dealt with it. It's those bits and pieces that just continue to come. So yeah, I agree with that totally. And to me, this is this is the work. If you want to tweak your performance to a whole other level, then it's diving into those those small moments. Like, like I said, the the realization for me around that moment when I was three, I'm one of the men younger than three, like Ahmed, that's what's been driving that part of my behavior for so long. And then, you know, the, the gambling when I realized it wasn't the getting the money. It was the rush, the rush when you hit a jackpot, like that's what I was searching for. I was just had no I had no meaning I had no fulfillment in my life. And when you start learning these behavior patterns, how they were formed, sometimes not even how they were formed, but just how they're still impacting you, and then being able to rewire so. I talked about this on my socials this week. It's like languages or software, the have the mind, change the story in your mind and you can change anything. So go My point. Yeah, those who haven't go back and listen to episode one because my own journey through that, right? Yeah, peony? I definitely well, my, I think it was episode one or episode one or two, but you'll find it there so. So. So what I'd love to hear more about time is actually, how, if you've got time, because we've already got an hour and 20 that just need to go in a blink of an eye from the fact that I disappeared for about 10 minutes. sped it up. But I'd love to hear more about what it is you actually do and how you help people. Because I think if anyone's listening to this, and the story is resonating, they're like, well, actually, I need to learn more about this, then then where are they? What how would you describe the process you take people through? Where can they find you?

Tom Cartwright:

I run a company called Drink less feel fresh. And we honestly believe in choice and freedom rather than abstinence only if you choose abstinence, we've got your back. But if you need abstinence, we're probably not the process for you. If you want to change your relationship with alcohol, and you're sick and tired that you have to be compared or thrown into the compartment of being clinically diagnosed with going to a secret meeting and it's not suiting you then come and rock out with us. We we passionately excitedly, mix, entertainment and education. What that means is we run short, sharp, short, sharp detoxes and challenges every month for our members. So we run a drink less feel fresh membership community and, you know, you become a field fresh member. And one of the things I've learned is that when it comes to living with choice and freedom regarding alcohol, the first step that we have to understand is that if we're being drinker, or we just have an on on or off switch, so we're the habitual drinkers, three glasses to a bottle or two a night or where we don't drink midweek. But when we drink, we Charlie Sheen, just drink until we fall for those are kind of the two categories. And then you've got the habitual binge drinker, who traditionally most of the clinical approaches, right, if you can't get up in the day, if you can't get through a workday without drinking, like if you can't show up to life, but probably not the company for you. But if you know that you're just using alcohol to get through the day, and that you've got life beyond that, and you want to start increasing your performance that will probably be for you. So one of the things we've noticed is that over the past five years, running the company is that the best way to teach someone to change their relationship with alcohol long term is number one, teach them how to not need alcohol. So which means commit to a short, sharp detox. Now, this is controversial that I knew about living with choice and freedom, yes. But in the long run, one of the hardest things you can do is what everyone tries, which is alternative drink in moderation. I just have three beers nights for six days instead of 12. Yeah, once you start to detox, what you do is, as you said earlier, when you start to change the thinking, you start to change the language, you start to change the outcome. So you want to change. Most people have a relationship with alcohol, where it's just this, I drank, and I drank a lot. I drink and I drink a lot. I drink and I drink a lot. The next relationship you want to create is I don't have to drink. It's hot, but I don't have to drink. It's hard, but I have to drink, then you've got choice already, because you got a car can either drink and drink heavy. She don't know how to do a detox three 730 days. So now you've got choice. For a longer term members, they get into the Third Avenue, which is my business partner, not Hodges and I which we kind of rock and roll with which is drinking in moderation, which is having a couple of drinks and wrapping up, which takes training. But it's definitely for a lot of people. So the reason the way that we run our drink less feel fresh membership community is people will come feel fresh members and they join our community. And every month we run three, five and seven day detoxes. Because the only thing anybody needs to learn in life is two things. Number one, can I have permission? Do I have permission to experience a detox? Or two? Do I have a support system or method to follow in that detox? So those are the two things that people need to learn how to surf again, because the structure there. That's the beautiful woman that got me to change my life my mom was actually visiting at the moment. So step one is how do I give myself permission to detox and drink less that comes through education. Reason why we know that is behavioral specialists, not upset of change comes from awareness, how you become aware, educate yourself, that's it, you learn something new. You can then make a different choice because you're educated. And then you create change to be able, it's as simple as what I can say education leads to awareness. Awareness means you can make more choices, different choices, change your behavior. And so yeah, we run a community that's constantly educating. And then every month we run a challenge, and we get people and we let people know we're on a three day challenge five day challenge 30 Day Challenge, who's in we got a bunch of those members go. Yeah, I want to do it this month. And that's kind of our philosophy and our strategy at the same time. And we just notice that if you keep helping people run short, sharp detoxes on it's it's still baffles me for some reason. 90 plus percent of them end up going over time. Yeah, I don't want to do it that much. Yeah, I didn't really need to drink this night. Because you keep giving your body Be a reference point of what life is like without alcohol. It is a completely different approach and strategy to end never drinking. Because you don't get that you get no feedback from the universe suggesting what do I want to do? What does he want to do? What does Tom wanna do? Oh, Tums wants to have a beer with his dad, but apparently is not allowed, or we can't do that. So you never testing that then measuring you never testing the waters you never seen. Here's what I want to say you never seen what you're capable of doing. Let's feel fresh. Our whole system is run by we will help you see what you're capable of yourself. We don't need to detox. We'll give you the opportunity to detox with us. Which is a good time.

Ian Hawkins:

I'll goosebumps through that. Let's see what your let's see what you're capable of my I love it. It makes me the conversation I had this week, it's like everything can become a habit. And when you build in different habits, like you're describing, about detoxing, and then suddenly, when you experience something different, you're like, Oh, well, actually, that felt good, that felt better. I want more of that. The easiest way I related to people is around their diet and their exercise. And the diet can be food, it can be alcohol, it can be whatever else it is. And then the exercise that it's like when you start doing one more of it, you want more of it. The moment you fall back to the other one, after a short period of time, you want to do more of that, because it just feels comfortable or whatever it is.

Tom Cartwright:

That is the key to give someone space to own. They want more. That is the key. They want more as opposed to apparently I need more.

Ian Hawkins:

Yeah. Always, always choice and in an industry that we work in that that there's so many people saying, Here's your process, you have to do this. It's got to be this way, this is the only way it'll work. It's like no, no, what what if we gave people choice? What if we arm them with the tools and the strategies? That's exactly right for them? And then they were to make choice? Like, why can't Warby

Tom Cartwright:

that's it and that's we have a community and so many of them have different like the basis if we will community everyone was sober. It'd be like the traditional approach, we have a community of people coming in and we what do you want experience? Oh, to be honest, would be nice to be a midweek drinker all these days, surely that's what they do these days. I never knew how to not drink now they just drink on the weekends. And I've got a member in the community who goes, I'm happy with how much I drink. But as long as every year I have the 30 day detox and I do it four times a year. So people were just we asked him what is your ideal relationship with alcohol wine was I want to be able to finish a game of golf, have a beer with my dad, I want to be able to go to a while my wife and I've cooked up can I do those things? Is that okay? And so it's about creating, what is my ultimate relationship with alcohol look like? And that's what we specialize in? What is it? What do you want it to look like? Here's some ways that will help you get there. And that's what I love about our community. It's judgment free individuals are just they have different different levels of alcohol intake. It's not the conversation, we're having conversations about a hobby, you're proud you're joining a family environment, etc, etc.

Ian Hawkins:

Love it. And you're not, you know, become dependent on the system. either. You're empowering.

Tom Cartwright:

Yeah, well, last thing you want to do is become addicted to the system that is the deepest form of distrust. You know, again, like the system's taken away how you can operate. Like, you got to another unfortunate thing, traditionally, people feel addicted, they need the system. I hear it all the time, I need to get to my meeting, I need to get to my meeting. Where's the whole like, oh, I can't wait to get to my baby. I can't wait to get to my movie. That's why we love running the challenges. We put it out there. Like let's say we're doing like next week, business partner. He's our behavioral specialist. Now, Rogers. He's running a five day detox on the art of grounding yourself. So it's always education and entertainment at the same time. And we put it out there and we say who's up and we get a handful of people that want to jump in and those that don't, it's like cool, go do your own thing. But it's funny. So often we we put the invitation out there and these people come back and we we assume that they're not doing too well. And they go Oh, jump in, but just say and I'm already 12 days in or detox. This is great.

Ian Hawkins:

Awesome. Where can people join the membership? And where can people find you, Tom?

Tom Cartwright:

During this feel fresh.com Jump in. There's a heap of free resources if you're not too sure where to start, but you kind of like join this conversation to toying with the idea of like, oh, this would be cool. Just jump on the website. There's some free sobriety hacks on this and free blogs that will definitely get your thoughts stimulated. And other than that, I'm human being Tomcat right on Facebook, feel free to add me drop a comment in there, send me a private message. I'm very approachable. Send me a private message. Let me know that you listen to this podcast and if there's anything, any questions you ever have about how to drink less or change your relationship with alcohol, just ask them

Ian Hawkins:

and I can vouch for that very approachable. I reach out to people on on socials and ask them if they want to come on the podcast and quite often people are a bit like faculty's black wine because that's what it's like, right? It's a bit of a someone someone messages you unprompted. But you weren't like that at all. And when I asked and you said yes, cool. This is gonna be a great chat. And I don't know, I can't remember why that went this long for a long time, which just says to me that I was quite angry. In this as well, so I really enjoyed this time great chat. Thank you for sharing so openly and, and sharing your wisdom and resources for people to reach out and find as well.

Tom Cartwright:

You're so welcome my man, thank you very much for having me.

Ian Hawkins:

Anytime. I hope you enjoyed this episode of The Grief Code podcast. Thank you so much for listening. Please share it with a friend or family member that you know would benefit from hearing it too. If you are truly ready to heal your unresolved or unknown grief, let's chat. Email me at info at Ian Hawkins coaching.com You can also stay connected with me by joining the Grief Code community at Ian Hawkins coaching.com forward slash The Grief Code and remember, so that I can help even more people to heal. Please subscribe and leave a review on your favorite podcast platform

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