Hello, hello. Welcome, welcome, welcome. This is what we’re going to do. We are to rock out a Stop Overdrinking webinar. We are going to go through all of the brain science that I have studied, everything that I have been researching, everything that I have been learning as it applies to drinking and for me, chardonnay. I’m going to start with just a little bit of a caveat. If you are an alcoholic, if you are non- functioning because of alcohol, this is not the right place for you. You are in the right place if you are someone that drinks more than you want to and you don’t see alcohol as being something that’s completely demolishing your life but it’s just kind of a nagging issue for you. It’s a nagging problem.
The way that I like to think about it is it’s kind of like overeating and gaining a little bit of extra weight versus being bulimic or anorexic. I deal with people that overeat and are overweight all of the time. I do not deal with people that have eating disorders. I deal with people that overdrink but I don’t coach with people that are alcoholics. If that is you, you’re welcome to stay and listen to what I have to offer you but you probably are going to want some higher level of medical intervention if you’re non-functioning. Especially if you’re physically dependent on alcohol, you need to make sure that you get medical supervision before you quit drinking abruptly. That’s not what I teach anyway. I’m teaching how to cut back on your drinking, if it’s not something that’s completely debilitating you in your life.
I’m going to go ahead and share my screen right now and we’re going to get started. I want to offer you that there is a … Sorry, I was just checking to make sure. There is a little screen, right now I have my Keynote up and you can see that on your screen but there’s also a
little screen of me in the corner that you can make bigger or smaller depending on how you click it. If you’re a kind of person that likes to have video and you like to see video, then you want to for sure click on that and it will make me bigger and I will do my best to look in that screen so you can see me. If you’re someone that likes PowerPoint and Keynote and you like to read then you’re going to be someone that you might want to make that smaller so you can see me more of the writing.
In this webinar I’m going to cover three main topics. The main topics that I’m going to cover are why we desire it, why it’s hard to cut back and how to cut back. It’s really important that we understand that our desire for alcohol is the issue. It’s not how much we drink, it’s how much desire we have to drink. I might talk about that a lot. I might talk about why it’s hard to cut back and the answer is your brain makes it very hard to cut back and the conditioning of your brain in our culture. The third piece I’m going to give you is how to cut back. Then I’m going to introduce you to a membership site at the end that I have and give you an invitation to join me there.
Let’s start with who I am. I know that a lot of you that are on this webinar, this is your very first time that you’ve ever been exposed to me. You might not even know who I am. I just want to introduce myself. My name is Brooke Castillo. I’m a Master Coach Instructor. I’m a founder and trainer at The Life Coach School. I’ve been a Master Weight Coach for ten years. The tools that I’ve used on overeating are also usable for overdrinking. When I realized that, I started the site stopoverdrinking.com and that is really all of the material that I’m going to present you in this webinar is based on my research of creating that business. That business really came from me creating an answer for myself. A solution for myself when it came to chardonnay.
What had happened with me was I had really figured out this emotional eating thing. I had been emotional eating and overeating since I was a child and I had done a lot of studying of the mental aspect of emotional eating and how to cut back on emotional eating and I ended up losing seventy pounds and creating a process for it. I wrote a book called If I’m So Smart Why Can’t I Lose Weight and I started coaching people with weight loss. As I got deeper into it, I
started really understanding hormones and understanding the brain science and understanding neurotransmitters as it applied to food and losing weight.
I created a much higher-level program. It’s a twelve thousand dollar program and it’s called Stop Overeating Masterclass. It’s a small group of people I take through a six-month process of how to lose weight and keep it off permanently. As I was teaching this program, I kept using my own example of chardonnay and how other people would want cupcakes and other people would want french fries but I would want a glass of chardonnay and so I started applying all of the tools in my overeating program. I started applying them to drinking and wouldn’t you know it. They worked beautifully. About three months into teaching that program, I lost my desire for alcohol.
One of the things that I teach my students is you can’t just stop drinking. You can’t just stop overeating because if you still have that desire there you’re going to always be in that struggle of deprivation. When I learned how to apply it to myself for alcohol, I knew that other people would be interested and that’s why I developed this program.
Let’s start with why we desire alcohol. It’s such an important question. Most of us think about drinking alcohol and we put desire… we just chalk it up to “everybody likes alcohol.” The truth is not everybody likes it and not everybody over likes it like we do. If we drink more than we genuinely want to drink, we’re overdrinking, it means we desire it more than we want to desire it, which doesn’t really make sense in some ways.
How can you desire something that you don’t really desire? It’s exactly what we have done to ourselves by conditioning ourselves, by teaching ourselves to desire. Desiring something is a learned thing. A lot of people think desire is something that is just intrinsic, it’s just something that is a preference that we’re just born with but really our desire for certain things is based on conditioning and familiarity.
When you take anything and teach it repeatedly, repeatedly, repeatedly, repeatedly and offer a reward for it, that’s when something becomes truly learned. When something is truly learned it passes from that prefrontal cortex back to our lower brain. Two plus two, three plus three, eight plus nine. Those we’ve memorized and
practices so much that we don’t actually have to do the math, that answer is unconscious. Very similar to riding a bike. That’s what desire is.
Most of you are familiar with Pavlov’s dogs, right? If you’re not, I’m just going to give you a quick overview of Pavlov and his dogs because it’s a really good demonstration of conditioning. I have a psychology degree from Santa Clara. I live in California. I have a degree where we spent a lot of time learning about conditioning and how it affects motivation. One of the things that we learned was about Pavlov and his dogs. Pavlov was actually a scientist that was studying dogs for their digestion process. He wasn’t studying conditioning at all. What he noticed and what he started to observe is that every time the women who were responsible for bringing the food to the dogs would come down the hall, the dogs would hear that sound and start drooling.
They had made this association. They had been conditioned to drool/desire the food before it even came to them. This became an unconscious experience with these dogs. It was something that…it wasn’t something that was very deliberate. It was something because of repetition, kept happening. We’re going to talk about that drool. I want you to associate that drool that those dogs have when it comes to food and that trigger of hearing those footsteps coming down. He later turned it into a bell. He would ring a bell and that association would happen involuntarily and unconsciously. That’s really important factor when it comes to understanding your desire and how it becomes automatic and conditioned. I’m going to be referring back to him often. Ring the bell, even without the food, the desire would start.
When conditioning is repeated enough, it becomes unconscious and then we feel like we’re drinking against our own will and we feel out of control. If you imagine those dogs drooling almost against their own will…it’s like this involuntary thing that’s happening to them because of that association. That same thing happens to us. We are conditioned on the front end to believe that alcohol is relaxing, that it’s good for us, that we should have it, that it’s normal, that everybody is doing it, that it goes with dinner, it’s what adults do. We’ve got all of that mental conditioning. Then we also have the reward conditioning that’s associated with drinking it. When we drink alcohol, there’s a
dopamine response in our brain that provides us with a reward.
The more we drink, the stronger that reward gets, the more the drool is going to happen. Alcohol gives us a dopamine response and it also doles our prefrontal cortex. Here’s what I want you to know about that prefrontal, that front part of your brain, that prefrontal cortex…that is the part of your brain that makes you human. Unlike Pavlov’s dogs, you get to think about what you think about. If you’re thinking about alcohol and that’s causing you to have that drool response, it’s causing you to have that desire response. You can actually pay attention to what’s going on in your brain.
The trick is, when you drink alcohol, you lose access especially depending on how much you drink. You lose that sharp access that you have to that human part of you. It doles that prefrontal cortex.
That’s why so many of you when you start having one drink or two drinks have a really hard time stopping at two or three drinks because that human part of your brain is not accessible anymore. It has been doled. That’s really important because we’re going to talk about how important it is to make sure that whenever you’re drinking you’re using your prefrontal cortex. You’re not allowing that lower unconscious part of your brain to dictate what you do. I’m going to tell you a little bit more about that in a minute.
Women and chardonnay. This has become such a problem for so many of us women. We are so caught up in the belief that drinking is a great way for us to manage our emotional lives. We have been taught that it’s normal, that people drink. We go out with our girlfriends, we have a glass of wine, it’s mommy juice, it’s a cocktail to relax, let’s go meet and have a cocktail. It is becoming one of the main issues for women behind overeating. There’s overeating and a lot of my clients have moved from overeating to overdrinking, if they don’t take care of those underlying causes.
I think that when you think about drinking with your friends, you’re not thinking about the negative issues that go along with that. You’re not thinking about those negative consequences. What you are thinking about is what this picture is showing. You know, laughing and having fun and relaxing and having that be a part of life. It’s not something that we have questioned. It’s the perpetuating of that process that has
created so much desire that has created us so much unconscious desire too. We don’t even recognize how much we want something and when did we start wanting it so much. You know if you’re in this space if when you think about never drinking again, you feel a huge sense of loss or a huge sense of sacrifice. If you feel that way at all, it means your desire has gone beyond that of your conscious control.
If you really want, this is a really important point…if you really want alcohol after repeated use, you have a normal brain. A lot of the research and a lot of the things that we’ve talked about when it comes to alcohol as a society is that if you want it too much, there’s something wrong with you. Normal people don’t want it too much but the exact opposite is actually true because if your brain is functioning normally and it is being conditioned to believe that drinking alcohol is a good thing and then it’s being rewarded with dopamine, it is building those neural pathways of desire, which is exactly what your brain was designed to do. Your brain was designed to keep you motivated, to get dopamine.
What are the things that are associated with dopamine? Eating, sex, food, pleasure. Any kind of connection kind of pleasure with another person and any kind of accomplishment or ambition are all associated to dopamine. The way that our brain is designed is to seek more of that and to build desire for that. Otherwise we would just sit around and never be motivated to do anything. We would have never evolved. When you take a concentrated substance that gives you a dopamine hit and you associate that, remember that Pavlovian response to alcohol, you are going to seek alcohol as if it’s very important. This does not mean you’re diseased or there’s something wrong with you, what it does mean is that your brain is working exactly as it should work.
I know for many of you this is a huge relief. This knowing that you are normal, that your brain is working great, that you don’t have anything wrong with you, is a really important first step for most of you. Desire comes from programmed beliefs. Let’s talk about what some of those programmed beliefs are. It provides relief. It’s relaxing. It’s sophisticated. That was a big one for me. Like I thought drinking was very sophisticated and part of being an adult and part of being a professional. You would go and get a cocktail or have drinks or
discuss it over drinks. It’s normal. We should be able to drink. We have this idea that it’s normal for human beings to drink and if you can’t drink socially, if you want more then a few glasses that there’s something wrong with you.
I want you guys to really think about that. Were we designed to drink alcohol or are the people that can drink it without over desiring it, are they exceptional? What does it mean to be normal? “It’s fun. It helps us celebrate. It’s part of being human. It relieves stress. It’s a normal way to unwind.” How many of you guys have these beliefs? “It’s boring not to drink. I don’t want to be dull. Only people with problems don’t drink.” Think about that. When people say, “I don’t drink. Oh, it’s because I have a problem with drinking.” “The only people that don’t drink are the ones that have problems with it.” Doesn’t make any sense. We’ll talk about that more too. “It’s hard not to drink. It’s not as fun not to drink. It means there’s something wrong with me. I won’t fit in if I don’t drink. It’s awkward, tedious and boring not to drink. I will feel deprived.”
Dopamine is our feedback neurotransmitter for survival, sleep, eating, sex, warmth, accomplishment and connection. When you take all of those thought processes and those thought processes drive you to drink alcohol and then you get that dopamine hit, which is exactly what your brain was designed to do, you have created the perfect recipe for over desiring something. Now the reason why I say over desiring it is because the way that alcohol concentrates the response of dopamine in our brain is unnatural. The dopamine we get from eating plants and vegetables and meat is very mild compared to the dopamine hit we get from concentrated sugar. The same as with alcohol. The dopamine hit that we would get from eating some grapes versus drinking wine is very concentrated.
Because you’re getting such a concentrated hit of dopamine means that your receptors in your brain are getting artificially stimulated and creating a desire that’s over and above what would be natural.
Dopamine is our neurotransmitter in our brain that creates desire. It’s really important to understand that what happens with alcohol and even with sugar and flour is because you get such a concentrated hit of dopamine and dopamine is the first full neurotransmitter of desire. You don’t get a lot of satisfaction from drinking. If you think about this,
like when you drink a glass of wine you’re not like, “Oh, that was plenty. I’m totally satisfied.” That doesn’t happen to most of us.
What happens is that it perpetuates that desire. That desire is even more intense after the first glass of wine than it was before you had even had any and it’s because you’ve got that dopamine going. The other thing that happens when you put concentrated dopamine into your brain is those receptors for dopamine actually down regulate. Your brain is overloaded with dopamine and it tries to adjust for it.
Then you need even more alcohol to get that same dopamine hit, which of course perpetuates even more desire. That truly is the reason why we want it so much. The way that we’ve evolved is this motivational triad. Our goal is to conserve energy, seek pleasure and avoid pain. Those three things have kept us alive. Those three things have kept us evolving as a human species until now.
Now we’ve gotten to the point where conserving energy, seeking pleasure and avoiding pain is actually doing the opposite of what it had done before. You think about back, before back in the day, when we were cave people, conserving energy was really important. There wasn’t a lot of food around. Seeking pleasure was really important.
We needed to reproduce. We needed to find warmth. We needed to eat food and drink and we needed to create tribes and connection. We needed to avoid pain at all costs. Now with those same motivations and so much concentrated pleasure available and so much opportunity to conserve our energy, there is no need to go out there and expend our energy. Everything is delivered to us. We are creating the opposite effect of evolution. What got us here is not going to get us there and that’s why we’re seeing such a huge problem with overdrinking and overeating.
Let’s talk about some examples of that. There’s cocaine, which is one of those concentrated powders. If you look at the coca plant leaf, if you were to have just the plant leaf that in and of itself is not going to be a problem. We’ve concentrated it down to cocaine, which creates an incredible dopamine surge in the brain which makes us addicted to it because we over desire it. Same with heroin. Same with alcohol. Same with sugar. Same with porn. We’ve taken these things that naturally occur in the world, that give us that dopamine response, that keeps us motivated to move forward and we’ve concentrated them so
intensely that our brain thinks that those things are so much more important than they are.
If you think about it, eating food gives us that dopamine hit. We’re like, “Whoa, that’s important.” We should keep doing that but when you concentrate it down then the brain thinks, “Oh my God, this is the most important thing ever.” That’s truly the pattern of addiction. Your brain genuinely believes that the drug is more important than survival. It’s almost like your brain has been hijacked to let go of everything else that gives any kind of subtle instance of well being for the sake of that dopamine rush. It’s like a complete hack.
The other thing that I want to mention here is that our brains, I think, have been taken advantage of by everyone who’s trying to sell us something. They know if they can get us on that dopamine roller coaster, that they have us for forever. If we want something and we get that desire hit, we’re going to keep wanting it and keep wanting it. All they have to do is condition our brain and then provide us with that dopamine response in that substance and we’re all set. That’s all we’re going to want to keep doing. One of the things I didn’t mention here is the rush, the dopamine rush we get from buying stuff as well. Purchasing things. We get that dopamine hit. That’s where the problem with debt and being able to buy things we can’t afford. All of these things that give us the dopamine rush that we can come literally over desiring.
That really is the reason why we desire so much. Survival is no longer served by pursuing pleasure. In fact, it can be the opposite but what I wanted to offer you here is the reason why we desire it. The reason why we over desire it is because we’re normal and because that’s the way we have evolved and because these substances are perfect for providing the environment for over desiring something in a very efficient way. Not only do we desire it in a very intense way but we desire it unconsciously. We desire it and we trained ourselves to desire it in our unconscious brain, in our lower brain, so it feels automatic. That’s why we desire it. I gave you a really solid overview of why we desire it. Let’s see how we’re doing on time. We’re doing great.
Now let’s talk about why it’s hard to cut back when we decide, “okay, I
over desire this, I drink a little bit too much.” All of my members in my Stop Overdrinking membership…I sent them all a message and I asked them, I said, “Tell me why you want to cut back on your drinking?” The answers I got were all pretty much the same. “It interferes with my sleep. Weight gain that I don’t like. I end up acting in a way that I don’t want to act and I’m embarrassed or I have a hangover the next day and I don’t feel good.” Those were like the four main reasons.
Now, people weren’t saying, “I’m addicted and I can’t control myself or my life is falling apart.” Those are not the people that I saw. They were just, it’s just like these little annoyances. Like “oh I said that thing I didn’t want to say. I was a little hung over. I didn’t feel good all day. It’s interfering with my sleep. I feel like I’m a little bit out of control.” I want to explain to you why it’s really difficult when you just say to yourself, “Hey I’m going to drink a little bit less” why it’s not just that easy. It is the same with food. Why isn’t it easy to just say, “I’m not going to have it.”
Here are the reasons. Conditioning is unconscious and seems out of control. The attempts to cut back, strengthen the conditioning. What happens is we try and cut back, which leaves us with an increase in desire. If I don’t treat my desire for alcohol and I just try to stop drinking, what that does is increases my desire, which is the exact opposite of what I want do. I want to decrease my desire. You can’t just take away the alcohol and expect the desire to go down. The opposite happens. That’s what we keep trying to do. We try to take away the alcohol and hopefully that will reduce our desire. Doesn’t work that way.
Getting help is very stigmatizing. When I was trying to find a way to cut back on my drinking there was really only one solution. I can only go to AA or rehab or just associate as a normal drinker. I didn’t feel like there was any in-between place where I could talk to anyone about this and so that’s why I’m offering now this service. Willpower and struggle doesn’t work because you can’t outrun your own desire. You have to work on your desire for alcohol. You can’t just remove it. Cognitive dissonance, which is holding two beliefs at the same time that don’t agree with each other.
I’m sure that many of you can relate to this. You have this desire to drink and then you also have the desire to cut back on your drinking and they are in conflict with each other. You decide you’re going to drink less but then you really want to drink more in the moment. That cognitive dissonance makes it very difficult to cut back. If you aren’t aware that you have cognitive dissonance, drinking is always going to win because that desire is that ingrained neural pathway that you already have. The brain is good at it. The brain is good at drinking.
You have your trigger or your stimulus. For some of you that’s the time of day. For some of you, it’s the pouring of the alcohol. It’s walking into a bar. You trigger your brain. Remember those Pavlovian dogs. For them, it was the bell ringing or hearing these footsteps coming down the hallway. Then you have the motivation and the urge. You have the urge to drink. Then you drink, then you get the dopamine hit and your brain is completely stoked. Success!
Everything’s happened great in the world. That is the process and you rinse and repeat, rinse and repeat every single day, which just makes that patterning stronger and stronger and more unconscious. When you try and interrupt that pattern you have to be so intense with it. You have to pay such close attention that by the end of the day you are completely depleted of energy and willpower to be able to overcome and manage that struggle.
You have to interfere with an established wiring in the automatic brain. Your primitive brain is committed to this wiring because it associates it with the survival due to dopamine. That’s what I explained to you earlier. You have to unwire it by interrupting the wiring. At some point during that process when you get that trigger and then you get that desire and then you drink, you have to interrupt that process so you can change that neural pathway. They call it neural plasticity. Your ability to change your brain. Now the brain doesn’t like to change. Once it becomes efficient at something, it wants to stay efficient at it. It doesn’t want to be interrupted.
It’s kind of like learning how to ride a bike backwards. It’s very challenging once you’ve learned to ride it forward or you switch the handlebars. It wants to keep doing what it’s already been doing. That makes it very difficult to change it. It’s almost impossible to change your brain wiring with force or willpower. Old wiring with deep neural
pathways will always have more staying power than any new thoughts. New pathways can only be established with repetition. Over and over and over and over again is what builds that new neural pathway. Old pathways can only be changed with neglect and extinction. We have repetition and attention is what’s going to create the new neural pathways and all neural pathways can only be changed with neglect and extinction.
The brain has become efficient at something. It believes to be very important. It has delegated the cycle to the automatic brain.
Remember, we have the prefrontal brain and then we have that automatic brain that is no longer answering the prefrontal. The better you are at drinking, the more tolerant you develop and the more wine you want and the more satisfied your lower brain is. It’s become efficient. It’s getting alcohol. It doesn’t see it as wrong or bad. In fact, it sees it as very good…the more dopamine, the better. It’s a primitive brain. Your prefrontal brain understands that this is not a good thing. That is causing negative consequences. That it’s not perpetuating well being but your lower brain is happy because it’s getting its dopamine hit and that’s all it understands.
How did they stop the drooling in Pavlov’s dogs? How did Pavlov do that? The way that he did that was with extinction and that is that neural pathway that was associating that ringing bell, those shoes coming down the hallway with food had to be disconnected. The exact same thing is true for us. The triggers that we have to drink alcohol need to be disconnected from the action of drinking alcohol. The triggers that we have are thinking what we think about alcohol, which I covered earlier, and also the time of day that we normally drink, the bars, the situations, the people, the conditioning that we have to associate certain circumstances and certain situations with drinking. We have to separate those out and bring it back to the prefrontal cortex so we can make those decisions from a human place and not from that primitive automatic place.
The way that they did that with the dogs is they just rang the bell and didn’t give them any food. Rang the bell and didn’t give them any food. Eventually, they stopped drooling. They disassociated the bell and the clogs coming down the pathway. They disassociated that from food and the drooling stopped. That’s exactly what we need to
do when it comes to our drinking. We need to send to that neural pathway that’s become automatic into a place of extinction so we only drink from that prefrontal place. How do we stop the desire for wine with our own conditioning? We interrupt, what I call a model, and I’m going to show you what that model is in a minute.
When the urge is present, when you have the urge to drink, you don’t offer it resistance. Remember, if you offer that urge resistance, your desire and your urge will get more intense. You allow it to be there and there is no answer, that urge extinguishes just like the drool.
When you allow an urge to be there, when you allow the thoughts to be there without drinking, you extinguish the urge just like they did it with the bell. Ring the bell, you allow the bell to be there, you allow the stimulus to be there, you don’t freak out about it. You don’t resist it. You allow it to be there but you don’t drink and you don’t associate it with drinking. There’s no deprivation, there’s no resistance, there’s also no drinking and we build up a new neural pathway that’s associated with not drinking.
Now this doesn’t mean that you don’t ever drink, it just means that when you do drink, it’s never because of the bell ringing. It’s only because you’ve made a decision. It’s just like the dogs. They would still eat. They’d still feed the dogs. They just didn’t put the bell with the dog. That’s exactly how we treat our own brain psychologically when it comes to alcohol. The important distinction is that the dogs didn’t resist wanting the food. They literally lost the association with it with no resistance or willpower required.
Notice how the extinction of the drool didn’t require the dogs to get tough. It didn’t require them to struggle. It didn’t require them to draw a line in the sand. All it did, all it required from them, is just to hear the bell and not react. Hear the bell and not eat food and eventually the drool went away. That’s exact process that I use with myself and with all my clients when it comes to extinguishing the over desire for alcohol.
Now let’s talk about some more reasons why it’s really challenging for us to cut back. One of that reasons is stigma. When I say I will never drink again, that’s a terrible thought for most of us. Most of my clients are very unwilling to say that at all and it brings up anxiety just
thinking about it. Why? Like if I said, “you can never have grapes again,” you’d be like, “but I kind of like grapes,” but you wouldn’t feel that intense urgency around. What do you mean? It wouldn’t feel like such a sacrifice? Why is that? When you say, “I don’t drink, it doesn’t feel like you because drinking is normal. Drinking lets people know you aren’t an alcoholic, which I think is hilarious. Alcoholics don’t drink. People that drink aren’t alcoholics. It makes no sense to me.
It sounds boring and dreadful to most people. The only people they don’t drink are the ones who can’t. I think for a lot of people that’s our association with it and so there’s this huge stigma associated with not drinking. I used to think for like hours, “what am I going to say to these people? What am I going to do with these people when they offer me a drink?” I’d be so worried about it. Now, I just say, “I prefer not to drink” and it’s not a big deal at all, but when I was in the middle of that conditioning, it was really challenging for me to go into an environment where people were drinking and not have an answer for why I wasn’t drinking. I had so much conditioning associated with it that it was such a huge deal for me.
Now let’s talk a little bit about withdrawal. Now I’m not talking about alcoholic physical withdrawal. I’m not talking about the shakes and withdrawal that alcoholics have when they drink too much. You’ll know if you’re an alcoholic because you’re drinking to the point where you’re non-functioning in your life. I’m talking about the emotional dopamine withdrawal to unanswered desire. I’m talking about the withdrawal from the solution to anxiety and restlessness and I’m talking about the withdrawal from false pleasure: thinking events are better than they are. In my work, I do a lot of work on what I call buffering, where we basically take our lives and buffer it with false pleasures so we don’t realize the truth about our life. We overeat, we overdrink, we overspend, we overwork, whatever it is that we do to create false dopamine hits so we don’t really face the truth of our lives.
I want to talk a little bit about when you have that dopamine withdrawal. When you have that withdrawal from that patterning, that makes it challenging. It makes it challenging to give up alcohol because there’s that little feeling of “ugh”, and we don’t want to have that little feeling because we are conditioned to believe that we
should feel pleasure all of the time. We should feel happy all of the time and if we don’t feel happy or we don’t feel pleasure, something is going terribly wrong and we need to solve that by having a false pleasure.
One of the reasons why it’s difficult to cut back is because we have this withdrawal and we think that something has gone terribly wrong when it’s there. The other reason is deprivation. Deprivation comes from the understanding that you’re not as happy and content as you might have thought in certain circumstances. We think deprivation comes from not drinking alcohol but really what happens when we stop drinking alcohol, we’re left with the true deprivation of our lives. What we’re not providing to ourselves and we’ve been hiding that by seeking false pleasure. We buffer our lives with alcohol and food and shopping so we don’t have to deal with what remains.
I want you guys to think about that. I want you to think about your relationship with yourself. If you take away shopping, you take away food, you take away and I’m talking about overeating food. You talk about taking away overworking, over relationshipping, overdrinking. What is left? If your answer is something dole or boring or sad or lonely, that’s the real work of your life. That’s your relationship with yourself. Really think about why you’re turning to external things to solve your emotions instead of working internally to solve your emotions. Now the answer many of you might have is you just don’t know how. You don’t know how to solve your own emotions. You don’t know how to take care of yourself emotionally.
I’m going to talk to you a lot about how to do that. We’ve been conditioned to drink, unlearning something requires effort and consciousness and it’s easier to keep drinking but the consequences keep getting bigger. Here’s the thing about alcohol. It just becomes more and more of a problem. The reason why it becomes more of a problem is because the dopamine begets the dopamine begets the dopamine. You may have been someone that could have a couple of glasses of wine with no problem ten years ago but now you’re noticing you want it more than you ever have and the effects of it are creating consequences that you don’t want in your life. It’s okay for it to be a little bit hard.
The reason why we’re drinking is because we don’t want anything to be hard but what I want to teach you is that hard can be really good. Hard can be something that makes you feel proud of yourself, that creates well-being versus creating false pleasure, which always gives you that negative consequence. All right, so we’ve talked about why we desire it, we’ve talked about why it’s hard to cut back and now I’m going to give you some really practical ways to actually cut back. You must unlearn the desire to drink versus trying to use willpower to resist it. If you learn nothing else on this webinar, learn this.
There is the desire to drink and then there’s the actual drinking. If all you do is try and control that actual drinking, your desire will just grow and it will always be a struggle. You have to focus on the desire not on the drinking. Why are you over desiring it? Now remember I told you the reason why is because you’ve conditioned yourself and programmed yourself and it’s in that lower brain automatically. You will learn a new skill of allowing urges and allowing emotions not from a place of struggle, not from a place of resistance but from a place of allowing without drinking. You’ll engage your prefrontal cortex to overcome that automatic primitive brain that’s driving you to drink more than you want.
I like to say it drives you to drink against your own will and you will develop emotional adulthood. What I mean by emotional adulthood is you will be able to manage your emotions, be willing to feel any negative emotion and have the skill and the ability to deal with that emotion without seeking some outside false pleasure. When you learn to manage your desire, remember we’re managing our desire we’re not managing our drinking, we’re managing our desire for drinking. I want you guys to think about this. Have you ever been in a situation where you just let … Like think about the morning time. If someone offered you a glass of chardonnay at 8AM, you would genuinely not want it. It’s not hard for you to say no at that point.
You’re just like, “No, I’m good.”
If someone offers you that exact same glass at 6:30, you are going to be in a completely different position. You may want to say no but you’ll feel like you can’t. You’ll feel like you’re wanting it against your own will because of your conditioning and because of that triggering. What I want to do is not teach you how to resist better. I don’t want to
teach you how to push that glass of wine away better. What I want to do is teach you how to feel about wine at 6:30 at night the same way you feel about wine at eight o’clock in the morning. You just genuinely don’t want it as much as you did before. Once you learn how to decondition your brain, you can apply this same skill to many other areas of your life, to many other ways in your life that will serve you.
Any habit that you have that you want to unlearn, you’ll be able to apply this skill once I teach it to you to any other area of your life.
Number one. You have to learn how to allow an urge and feel a feeling without resistance or reaction. Most of us feel anxiety, we feel restlessness, we feel something coming on and we react to it and we drink or we resist it, resist it, resist it long enough until we have just to drink. You have to learn how to just be present with it. It’s not any problem. It’s not going to harm you. It’s not going to freak you out.
You can be present with that emotion.
I just yesterday went and got some blood drawn and I was thinking about this the whole time. I was sitting there and I was feeling a little bit anxious about it. I knew she was going to stick a big needle into my arm and I was feeling a little bit anxious but I didn’t run out of there. I didn’t freak out. I didn’t punch her in the face. I just was really present with it and allowed myself to be a little bit nervous about it and it was no big deal. It’s really important to allow yourself to be where you are. Allow yourself to experience the truth of your emotions.
The second thing that you must learn how to do is make all drinking decisions with your prefrontal cortex. Now, your prefrontal cortex is the part of your brain that is your human brain. It’s the part of your brain that animals don’t have. There’s two really powerful things we can do with our prefrontal. We make all of our decisions there but we make decisions about the future. That’s the most powerful asset we have…is we can decide with our prefrontal brain what we want to do in the future. Most animals can’t do that. We can also decide to think about what we think about.
One of the things that you want to make sure that you are always doing with alcohol is deciding ahead of time. You never ever, ever drink in response to a trigger. When that bell is ringing, do not drink
because when the bell is ringing and you drink you’re perpetuating that drool. You’re perpetuating that conditioning. The only time you drink is when you have decided ahead of time and there is no bell. I teach you the exact process of how to do that. The first thing we’re going to do is manage our urges and allow those urges to be there.
The second thing we’re going to do is make all of our drinking decisions with our prefrontal cortex ahead of time. If that means you’re going to drink five glasses of wine, that’s totally fine. You just have to decide that you’re going to do that ahead of time. You can’t do that in reaction to something.
You have to learn how to manage your thoughts around your drinking. Now one of the things that I created is called the Self Coaching Model. What it demonstrates is that our thoughts create our feelings, which create our actions, which create our results. If you look at that A line right there, that action line, that action line is where drinking goes. Every time you drink it’s because of a feeling. I call it an urge. You can call it desire. It’s the same thing.
You have to start managing from that thought level, from that grain level because you have a thought that creates a feeling that creates drinking. Right now it’s unconscious. That’s why you don’t have any control of it. You have to learn how to bring all of that thought programming, all of those thought triggers to your conscious mind and start thinking about what you’re thinking about. Once you manage at a thought level then you decrease the desire, which decreases the action of overdrinking.
The fourth thing, and if you do nothing else, do this one. Refuse to beat yourself up and start honoring your relationship with yourself. When you start telling yourself there’s something wrong with you, you’re a piece of crap, you’re not doing anything right, that perpetuates drinking. That causes more and more problems with wanting more and more alcohol because you’re creating an environment in your brain that is constantly seeking pleasure and it wants false pleasure. It wants to escape from the beatings. The first thing you can do, I mean really commit to doing is to not beat yourself up over anything that you do. There is absolutely no upside. You know that it hasn’t worked.
Getting mad at yourself for drinking has never helped you cut back on your drinking long term. Maybe temporarily, but never long term because it defeats your relationship with yourself, which is the reason why you’re drinking in the first place. Mental programming is so important. We have been conditioned to believe that alcohol is fantastic and we should drink lots of it. We need to fill our brain with as much counter alcohol information as we can. Like who knew that alcohol has a direct correlation to causing breast cancer. We don’t hear about that. We hear red wine is good for you. We don’t hear about the correlation with breast cancer.
All of our associations with alcohol, the moneymaking organizations are perpetuating this idea that alcohol is a beautiful wonderful thing. It’s a normal thing. We should have it at holidays. We should have it at weddings. We should use it to celebrate. What if you could believe something different? Watch your thoughts and change them. The more thoughts that you have about alcohol, that make you think that alcohol is the greatest thing in the world, the harder it’s going to be to lower that desire.
The more thought you have about the problems with alcohol and problems that it causes, the easier it will be to lower that desire. You have to do mental programming. The way that we do mental programming is with lots and lots of repetition. If you rely on the world to provide you with programming, it will program you to believe that alcohol is fantastic and you should drink more of it.
I’m providing you with an opportunity to get mental programming that teaches you the opposite of that. When you learn the opposite of that, then the desire goes down. Now here’s what I call the desire decision. You must decide if you want to want alcohol. This is huge. I ask this of all of my students. I ask them, “Do you want to want it?” Because you’ll say to me, “I want alcohol. I want to drink. I don’t want to give it up.” I’ll say, “Okay, but if I could take away all of your desire for alcohol, would you want me to? Why or why not? Would it make your life better if you didn’t desire it at all or do you like desiring it?” There’s no right answer, but it’s definitely something I want you to consider because it helps you realize that desire is a choice and you can decide how much you want to desire.
Is it worth it if I could take away your desire? Why or why not would you want me to do that? I used to spend a lot of time thinking about this idea of “I want to not want it.” Like I really genuinely wanted it but I wanted not to want it but I didn’t know how to unwant something. I didn’t know how to unlearn desire and when I unlearned the desire, I genuinely now don’t want it. I genuine … You might as well be offering me alcohol at eight o’clock in the morning. I just don’t want it ever. Now, do I have a sip sometimes if someone with alcohol they want me to have a taste of or would I have a glass of champagne if I wanted to? Of course, but I just genuinely don’t want it right now.
That’s such a beautiful freeing place for me to be.
Excess alcohol consumption is an indicator of an unconscious life. The reason why I’m saying that is because over desire is an unconscious process. Overdrinking comes from that unconscious process. Whenever you’re creating consequences in your life that are pre-planned consequences you’re living an unconscious life. It doles your prefrontal cortex. It doles that part of you that makes you human, that makes you able to evolve at the higher level. A part of us that creates, a part of us that’s able to think about our future and design things in a way that is beyond any other primitive animal. That’s the part we dole when we drink alcohol. It’s part of our automatic primitive patterning to drink against our own will. There’s nothing wrong with you if you overdrink. It means your brain is functioning and it has evolved properly. Overcoming it is the highest skill of evolvement.
I feel like the work I’ve done to overcome overeating and the work that I’ve done to overcome overdrinking has evolved me beyond where I was emotionally before. I’ve learned that skill. One of the things that it’s done is it’s created this ability for me to be able to be in a space where there is no emotion that I’m not willing to feel. I’m not constantly afraid of feeling pain. I’m not constantly trying to escape my emotional life by eating or drinking or overworking or cheating on my husband or anything like that. I’m really focused on being present with whatever emotion.
I feel like I’m a bad ass. I can handle any emotion. Bring it on. That’s kind of the skillset that I want to teach you all because if you’re willing to feel something, you won’t need to drink as much. If you want to
drink less, you won’t need to drink as much if you’re willing to feel what happens when you don’t drink. Most of us can’t tolerate that feeling that happens when we don’t drink, so we immediately drink. Most of us are trying so hard to resist our desire that we literally defeat ourselves. Those are the things that you need to do in order to cut back on drinking.
I have created a membership site and here’s where I want to invite you guys all to come into the membership because I go through all of these tools and I give them to you in a quick start way and then I also provide access to me so you ask me questions and get coaching and that sort of thing. The Stop Overdrinking membership is for people who want to cut back or stop drinking by deconditioning their automatic programming. It’s for people who want to cut back or stop by deconditioning their automatic program. I know that I said this early on but if you’ve joined us later, this is not a program if you are an alcoholic. This is not a program if you are going to experience withdrawal physically from alcohol. This is not a program for you if you are really non-functioning.
The results that I offer for my members and the results that my members get are they are able to control the amount they drink. They’re able to eliminate overdrinking. Excuse me. They’re able to eliminate hangovers, embarrassing drunk moments, lack of control, lack of sleep and extra weight from drinking. I just had someone email me said she’d lost fifteen pounds just from drinking less. She’s still drinking. She’s just cut out a lot of excess.
The result you can expect is increased consciousness, clarity and clear-headed mornings. I think clear-headed mornings cannot be underestimated and I didn’t even realize how much my head was bogging in the morning until I completely stopped drinking. I was like, “Oh, this is what it is supposed to be like when you wake up in the morning.” I thought that bog was part of the deal. I live in California, not on the beach either.
The Quick Start Program gives you … This is what the initiation fee, the $98 initiation fee pays for. It pays for and it gives you immediate access and of course the initiation fee gives you immediate access to everything right away. There’s no waiting for anything. You get the
program on how to manage urges. That’s a whole program in itself. It includes a video and an audio and the transcripts; how to manage your mind and that Self-Coaching model that I taught you there; how to create and stick to a drink plan. You have to have a drink plan that you decide with your prefrontal cortex and how to be curious and kind instead of mean resentful with yourself.
Those are the four lessons that I offer you in the Quick Start Program. In the first month, that’s really where I want you to focus your attention and start practicing. You’ll also get live coaching calls and recordings. Once you get into that membership there’s already I think close to ten hour-long recordings of me coaching people. Then every other week we get on live and you are able to unmute yourself if you want and get coaching with me. Everything is completely anonymous. You never have to say your name. You never have to say your name. You never have to reveal anything personal about yourself. Everything is completely confidential.
There is no community within there that people aren’t talking to each other within there. The only time you talk to each other is on those phone calls and so it’s completely anonymous. You are speaking directly from me to me getting coaching directly from me completely anonymously. Those calls are recorded but they’re only used within the course for the people that are in within that membership. The other thing that you get is a video library. I add three to five videos a month. They’re short videos that they give you all of the content that you need to be able to reprogram your brain.
One of the things I really want to encourage you and I always encourage everyone stay about six months minimum, is to constantly listen and repeat, listen and repeat, listen and repeat all of the concepts that I’m teaching you. We talk about pleasure and decisions ahead of time and how to allow an urge and honoring your commitment when everyone else is drinking. All these situations that come up for you, I talk about those in a video. You also, you can listen to them over and over and over again, which I highly recommend that you do.
The other section we have is the Ask Brooke section. In that section you have complete access to me. You can ask me any question
anonymously. I will answer it within twenty-four hours. There’s also a bank of questions that people have asked me, people have asked for coaching, people have needed help with things. All of that is already included in the membership and you can ask as many questions as you want. This is kind of what it looks like. You type it in right there, short and concise question and then the answered questions are all underneath.
Then you get ongoing monthly additions. I’m always adding resources and ideas and videos every month so you can continuously feed your brain with new information about what I’m learning about the brain, what I’m learning about emotional management, what I’m learning about drinking, what I’m learning about alcohol, all of it. I will take any request that you guys have and research whatever you want, whatever you need for any situation that you might be dealing with.
Here’s what you get: you get the videos, the audios, the transcripts, the booklets and the notes. You can join today for $98. That’s a one- time initiation fee that’s nonrefundable but that gives you full access to everything. Then you can stay within our membership, which we hope you do for an additional twenty dollars every month and that is billed automatically.
I recommend you stay for a minimum of six months. You don’t have to, you can leave after the first month that’s if you want, but I recommend that you stay and you listen to the recorded calls and you come to the coaching calls. We try and do it in a way where the videos aren’t too long and it doesn’t require a lot of your time but we want you to do just enough time and enough of the exercises that you reprogram your brain. You are more than welcome to cancel whenever you want. It’s not a long-term membership.
The only thing that’s not refundable is that initiation fee, which if any of you know me already, this is for sure the lowest priced thing that I offer. All of my private coaching is no less than twelve thousand dollars for six months. This is actually a crazy good deal and this is going to be going up significantly over the next several months. I’ve had this membership for about three months now and so we’ve been building memberships and having a blast inside of there and watching
how effective it is and so I’m really feeling confident that this is the product and this is the membership that I’m going to continue with.
You can get access by going to stopoverdrinking.com and that’s where you’ll be able to click on membership and read more about the membership. There’s also a video there that you can watch. I highly recommend that you jump in there. Our next call will be next Wednesday and I’m going to be adding all the new videos this week by the end of Friday. I absolutely hope that you will join me there. If you have any questions I’m going to go ahead and switch this over. If you guys have any questions for me, I’ve gone just a little bit over time. If you guys hit that Q and A button at the bottom, you can click on that and you’ll be able to type in any question that you have.
You can ask me anything about anything I talked about in the webinar about your own drinking or about the membership. I’ll be happy to answer any of those questions.
Question: If you have a brain injury in that frontal area, how would drinking impact that?
Brooke: Wow, I don’t know. I mean, that’s a really interesting question. I have actually been doing a lot of studying on mental health and the association with mental disability and mental trouble and alcohol and the association is unbelievable. People seeking self- soothing techniques because they can’t manage their mind literally because they physically, there’s something wrong with their brain.
The association is with failing mental health with alcohol is very, very high. Most of us don’t have that problem. We don’t have an injury to our brain. We just don’t know how to manage it.
Question: Is the monthly fee going to go up within the next six months?
Brooke: Yes, but it will never go up for you. What happens is if you sign up at this price, you will be locked in at this price. I will not raise the price on anyone who’s already in in the membership at this price. Good question.
Question: I’m unable to sign up at this moment. Can I do it tomorrow?
Brooke: Yes, you can. I’m supposed to create lots of urgency for you to sign up right now but I actually want people in my membership that have really thought about it and really want to make the commitment to doing it, so absolutely.
Question: This was a great webinar. Brooke: Oh you’re welcome!
I have some people raising their hand and I can’t call on you because you guys aren’t live on here, so if you have a question you need to click on that Q and A button and you can type in a question there.
Question: Is this similar to hypnosis?
Brooke: Oh that’s a great question! Actually what hypnosis is is a reprogramming of the brain. The goal of hypnosis is to reprogram the unconscious brain by doing unconscious programming but we’re actually doing conscious programming to reprogram the unconscious brain. It’s similar but you know what you’re doing. You’re doing it on purpose.
Question: How do you know if this is the program for you? How would I know if I’m an alcoholic?
Brooke: The thing about identifying as an alcoholic, which I think is really interesting because a lot of people claim that it is a disease but there’s no way to diagnose it as a medical disease. If you call something a disease then you would think you would go to the hospital to get diagnosed as a medical disease and then to have a medical solution, but that’s not how alcoholism is diagnosed. It’s self- diagnosed. The way that I like to help people figure that out is, is alcohol affecting you in a way that is making your life non- functioning? Are you unable to make it up and go to work? Are you unable to take care of yourself physically? Are you unable to take care of your children? Are you driving? Are you putting yourself in harm’s way? Are you driving when you’ve been drinking?
Those are some of the questions that you can ask yourself. There’s
also some diagnostic tools that are online. I haven’t found one that I really want to recommend but I think people that know that they’re completely out of control when it comes to alcohol, I think that they are the ones that have to identify as an alcoholic and seek medical treatment. Now there’s a lot of arguments that “oh no, people who are alcoholics are in total denial,” but my guess is they probably wouldn’t be on a webinar like this then if they didn’t weren’t able to identify that for themselves.
I think that if someone asks you that … I think there’s a lot of worry for some people who aren’t alcoholics that they might be alcoholics and I think one of the reasons why that is is because when you go to seek any help on reducing any amount of drinking, the only solution out there is for alcoholics. I think a lot of people think, “Oh, if I’m struggling with this at all I must be an alcoholic.” I do not believe that. I believe if you’re drinking in a way and you’re still very highly functioning that you would be able to apply this membership to your life and you’ll know if your life is non-functioning by looking at your life.
Question: Is this Canadian or US funds?
Brooke: I’m in the US. I’m in California.
Question: I’m having blackouts, forgetting chunks of time during drinking even if I don’t drink daily. Is this a sign of a more serious problem?
Brooke: Oh, this is a really interesting question actually because I’ve read a lot about blackouts and one of the things that is so interesting is that some … For those of you who don’t know a blackout is basically when you lose a period of time. You can’t remember what happened during that period of time the night before. You don’t remember. It’s not the same as a pass out. Things like you pass out and you’re out cold. No, it’s just you lose a chunk of time where you’re unable to remember. You can have two people. One can drink twice as much as this person. This person can remember everything and this person can’t.
It’s not an indication that you are a full-blown alcoholic. It is not. When
someone has a blackout it’s not like, “okay you’re officially an alcoholic.” No, that is not the case, but it is something that people are prone to. You’re prone to blacking out. One of the things that you want to look at is if you’re blacking out when you’re drinking, do you want to keep drinking? Yes or no and why? If you are blacking out when you’re drinking, how much do you have to drink in order to have that experience? Those are some really important questions to ask yourself. People say, “Oh drinking is relaxing. Drinking is fun.” Then they drink when they’re at the beach and then they drink when they’re totally stressed out too.
You have to ask yourself, if I’m going through an experience where I’m losing pieces of my life that I’m not remembering, why am I drinking? Why am I doing that? That would be a really important question for you to ask.
Question: Can you use the same techniques for overeating?
Brooke: Yes, absolutely. These are the techniques that I created for overeating and just applied myself to with drinking.
She says, “Thank you so much. I want to do this. It seems I’m holding back in order to protect my problem.” I totally get this. One of the things that I never wanted to do was to go to any kind of AA meeting or any kind of alcoholic meeting because I was afraid they were going to tell me I couldn’t drink. I was like, “I’m drinking. Like don’t tell me I can’t drink.” It was so all or nothing.
One of the things I want to tell you is you can drink as much as you want in this program, you just have to plan it. If you want to drink fifteen glasses of wine, it’s up to you. You just plan it ahead of time. That’s the only difference. I’m not going to tell you, you can’t drink. I’m not going to tell you that you should never drink or anything like that, but one of the things that I want you to understand is that your desire, your over desire right now is almost involuntary. It’s like you’re drooling against your own will. We’re afraid to let go of that desire because it feels so good but it’s also the thing that has us doing something that we don’t want to do. You’re going through that cognitive dissonance right now.
Just pay attention to that. Don’t rush your decision here. Really think about it. Here’s the other thing that’s really true, is you can always go back to drinking. I see this all the time. We’re adults. We get to decide how much we want to drink when we want to drink and we can drink ourselves to oblivion if we want. No one can tell us we can’t. It’s our decision. If you try this program and you reduce your desire to drink and you decide you want to go back to desiring it more, it’s not a problem. Go right back. It’s not an expensive program. It’s not like you’ve put a down payment on a house or something like that. It’s not like you’ve gone to rehab for thirty days at thirty thousand dollars. It’s a very inexpensive way for you to practice and understand your brain. At the very least, you’ll learn how to manage your mind.
Question: I find at times, I can’t get enough. I’m enjoying the moment at the time and then sometimes, I even have blackouts. I’ve never missed work and I still manage to be responsible. I’m still functioning.
Brooke: Yeah. I think that’s totally fine. I don’t like that feeling of not being able to get enough. I used to say this all the time to my clients who were overeating. As I would always say that you can never get enough of something you really don’t want. The reason why you feel like you can’t get enough is because alcohol perpetuates dopamine and dopamine is the neurotransmitter of desire, so it keeps perpetuating that desire for more. You’re probably non-alcoholic but this program would probably really serve you especially if you’re having blackouts.
I think blackouts are a problem. I think blackouts, and not a problem in the sense that you’re an alcoholic but in the problem that you just lost part of your life. Do you really want to go through life…like, why are you drinking? So you can blackout and not be alive? Just go to sleep. It’s like ditch something and go to sleep if you have to if you don’t want to be awake or remember or experience your life consciously. It’s ultimate and unconsciousness and you just have to decide if that’s what you want to do with your life and as an adult you get to make that decision.
Question: Is your personal coaching a fee on top of the twenty monthly?
Brooke: No. My personal coaching is included in the membership. My personal coaching is twice a month and it’s over the phone. It’s completely anonymous.
Question: If my spouse and I both sign up, can we share our membership?
Brooke: Yes. It’s not a different rate. Yes, you can sign up together and you can both share one membership if it’s at the same household, same computer. Absolutely no problem.
Question: Love this webinar. Brooke: Thank you.
Question: Just signed up.
Brooke: Yeah, awesome. I’m so happy that you did. Wonderful, loved doing it.
Question: Alcohol…it’s been used for me to relax, I know there has to be a healthier way. Are your coaching times during the evening as well?
Brooke: Yes, we do coaching. It depends on where you are. Evening for you depending on where you are maybe … I’m in California so everything is in Pacific Time. We do calls right now at 2pm Pacific and we do them on Wednesdays and sometimes Mondays but the times go around. They’re all recorded. If you’re unable to make it live, you can send in a question for me and I will answer it live.
Question: Do I advise on vitamins?
Brooke: No, I do not advise on vitamins or things like that. I’m not a nutritionist. I understand a lot about nutrition. I understand a lot about the body but I don’t advise on stuff like that. I’ll tell you what I do though. I’ll tell you what works for me.
All right you guys, thank you so much. Have a wonderful beautiful day. Thank you for joining me and hopefully I’ll see you guys on the membership.