From Discovery to Recovery Sue Curr lights the path and calls 1 million to People to move from Fear to Living Life 🙏👣👣🙏.
English author and public intellectual born 312 years ago this month, Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), drew our attention to:
The chains of habits are to light to be felt
until they are too heavy to be broken, and
We then function in our dysfunction.
Recovery Hero, Sue Curr, is on a mission to challenge professional swans to discover the joy of the present, leaning into life and being fear-free.
About the Guest
Sue Curr, life coach, public speaker, and leadership developer.
About the Show
Life & Leadership: A Conscious Journey with Michelle St Jane, a podcast for Global and Re-Emerging Leadership creating community/tribe, a circle of influence, transcendency of compassionate leadership in the world and wider universe.
Social Media Accounts
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Intro: [00:00:00] You're listening to Life and Leadership: A Conscious Journey. The podcast that shares wisdom and strength. Join your host, Dr. Michelle St Jane's conversation on how to have a positive impact for people's planet and the wider world. If you want to live a life of intention to be proactive with your time and bring your vision for the future to life one today at a time you were in the right place at the right time. Let's get started
Michelle St Jane: [00:00:36] Straight talking, mental wellbeing, mindset specialist Sue Curr has a mission
“To empower a million people globally and
to move from theater to freely living life intentionally.”
I celebrate that.
Why you might ask. Well, let's hear her story. She shares about experiencing deep lows on a destructive journey.
[00:00:59] Sue described this experience as being depressed and almost dead. Then she rises from ground zero. Sue will tell us about her journey of discovery to recovery.
Sue Curr welcome. I really value you sharing your story. Thank you for stepping into your vulnerable self with us.
Sue Curr: [00:01:21] Thank you very much, Michelle. An absolute pleasure to be here. I love sharing and saving spaces for people who are on the same journey that I once was or have been. “Sharing this caring,” my grandmother used to say.
Michelle St Jane: [00:01:39] Fabulous. Well, perhaps we could just start out with your journey from discovery to recovery. If you're comfortable
[00:01:44] Sue Curr: [00:01:44] with that. Absolutely. In a brief, positive history of time, I was born in a decade in the sixties when the whole world was being encouraged to practice love, not war and accidentally as an act.
[00:01:56] I landed in this world in April 1960 to two, very young and an experienced parent. In those days, in typically Northern England style, it was a case of you've made your bed. You literally lie on it. You married the girl and that's it.
I sort of, became an accidental child, and was quickly followed by another accidental child some 12 months later. I ended up being the eldest of four siblings. After a decade, my fourth sibling arrived, the parents had very much changed from a, from an act of love, to mostly warring.
The journey for us as children was at times traumatic. I, myself in particular, struggled massively with having a relationship with a mother who at best tolerated me, and at worst loathed me, for whatever reason. You don't know as children and as things unfold you've no idea why you're “responsible adults” in inverted commas are acting the way they are.
[00:02:49] I found out many, many years later that ultimately mama had had a similar childhood to the one that I endured at her hands. The familial cycle, the main difference, was that she didn't end up down, depressed, drunk, and almost dead as was the case in terms of my own journey.
I was brought up very firmly in the embrace of an extended family who was very loving and very kind.
[00:03:11] I think actually that saved me as a human. That saved me from going down the rabbit hole of depression. It took a long time before I gave into IT in adult terms because I always felt loved and supported. But not actually where I needed to feel it as a child. My inner child has only just really healed. I turned 61 in April.
[00:03:29] I had my first official nervous breakdown at the age of 18. Being typically Yorkshire, which is where I come from in the North of England, my parents were like, well, you're 18 now get yourself to the doctors and sort yourself out.
Now, I only just I started my drinking career, but I knew instinctively that something wasn't right. I went to see my belt and I kid you not Michelle. I was in there all of five minutes and I landed back outside on the pavement with a prescription in my hand. With his words ringing in my ears “take two of these twice a day. In six weeks, you'll be as rights as nine pins. Okay.”
That man was a genius in my eyes. He was elevated to God's status because, within about a fortnight, I was absolutely buzzing. I was happy. I was smiling. I was over-animated. You name it? I was it.
What I didn't realize at that point, that I was also as high as a kite. I was 18. He'd given me a prescription for two Diazepam, twice a day, every day for six weeks.
[00:04:29] Not once had he said at the end of six weeks, come back and we'll review your meds. Now at that time, circa 1978 Diazepam was the most widely prescribed drug in the world in terms of a tranquilizer, which is what they used it for. Then actually it had adverse effects on me. I didn't sleep very much because I was so hyper.
[00:04:53] At the end of six weeks I crashed the burn because I just stopped. I didn't know, I'd stopped cold Turkey. I was 18, I was told my GP was a God, in my eyes he had made me better. My grandmother had told me that we never argued with doctors because they were intelligent. And unlike people like us, they went to university. They knew what they were talking about.
[00:05:14] I've never thought, my instinctive behavior was to believe that the doctor knew what he was doing, because that was my learned pattern from familial conditioning.
Of course, I crashed and burned. I didn't know what cold turkey was. I thought I'd got mad. I didn't bother going back, but I just thought I was ill.
[00:05:32] And I started having a drink here and there. Fast forward to the age of 52. I had at point, endured four nervous breakdowns that are documented quite significantly. On the. 26th of September 2012, I went to see my GP for what was the latest at a very long line of increasingly poor blood tests in terms of liver function, kidney function, all that business.
[00:05:57] My GP took one, look at me, looked at my results, pick the phone up. I said, “what you are doing?” She said, “I'm calling for an ambulance.”
Such was the denial that I had about the state of my drinking career at that point. Her words were “you because you're in big trouble, your liver is decompensated. It's failed. The kidneys have gone.” That's it.
I woke up five days later. I don't remember anything else about that journey. There is a sort of complete blank of five days. My husband says that I was unconscious all that time. I was just like, in his words, “you were like a rabbit caught in headlights. You were just catatonic with shock.”
I think in hindsight and with the work that I've done since, I now recognize, that he was right, it was a sort of shock state.
I was thinking, “Oh my good Lord. Everybody is going to know that I'm a drunk.” The reality was that: Everybody did. It was Yorkshire's biggest open secret.
[00:06:57] The only person who was in denial about that was me. I used to say things like, “I've got a drinking problem. I've got two hands, one mouth. That's a hell of a problem. If I have two mouths, I could drink twice as much.”
These days I use humor greatly to sort of explaining my situation because there was lots of humor at that point in my life.
Up to that point, I didn't realize what it was until maybe about four years ago. Actually, when I started this incarnation of myself, was that all my life and certainly all my adult life, I blamed the mother who I’d come to Loathe, wrongly, as it turned out, I blamed her for everything, everything that ever happened to me on my journey through life.
As a child, yes. Children, we don't choose their parents, depending on what you believe. We don't choose our parents. We are born. Our parents were gifted this life of ours and live, as we see fit from a childlike point of view, we're born conscious, but without a consciousness that comes later, but we're born with just one agenda to actually have our needs met and to love and be loved unconditionally.
[00:08:04] I grew up feeling anything, but any of the above, and my own mental health started to decline in 1978. Nothing was my fault. Nothing was her fault. She did this. She'd said that she'd done this speech, that blah, blah blah.
In my recovery, it's strictly one day I realized that actually, the root cause of my alcoholism was not the fights that I had a mother who at best tolerated me.
[00:08:33] The root cause of my alcoholism was the stories that I told myself surrounding the circumstances and both of the bursts of my childhood and my teen years and so on and so forth.
The irony of it is that on the day that I was admitted to the hospital in September 2012, my mother had been dead for 13 years. She was a teetotaler, go figure. Not once ever in my entire life, to my knowledge,
[00:09:01] She said, sit down and shut up and drink that. I've done that all on my own. But the words that I experienced in terms of my mental health, in terms of the way that I was made to feel my inner critic and all that business, nothing was ever good enough. I grew up saying yes when no would have been far preferable.
[00:09:19] I was a people pleaser. Not once did it ever occur to me that actually, she was doing the best she could in the circumstances that she had. That's her life's journey. That was a massive wake-up call.
Michelle St Jane: [00:09:35] So much wisdom there. In fact, I'm born just a few months before you and it was my mother's big mistake.
[00:09:43] I love the fact that you've relabeled yourself as an accidental child. I really relate to what you're saying because my mother barely tolerated me. I'm not saying she didn't love me. I think she felt like her life went in a certain direction because of the “you made your bed, you had to lay on it” mentality of the day. My mother was a rageaholic. There's a huge amount of addiction in my family. I can really relate to what you're saying. Although I never picked up, drank, or used.
In recent years, I've had to come to terms with being internally addicted to the chemicals that my brain can make. For example, when I was 15, I was out racing cars on a professional racetrack.
[00:10:28] Then I moved from the racetrack to the corporate. Sector and did 80–100-hour workweeks, you know. With impossible tasks, demands, and performance requirements.
I've actually had to spend the last sort of 10 or 12 years facing, what does be an adrenaline junky do to you. It is not a smart thing to be doing to your body. It catches up with you eventually.
Also, my mother kicked me out of the home when I was 16, and had to figure out how to live life in a big city. And contrary to what happened to you. My mother kept us isolated from paternal and maternal families. It was just her, me, and my brother. I became the little mother raising my brother who was three and a half years younger than me. Consequently, I felt very well-loved up to about 8 years old when my dad and my maternal grandfather were around.
When my parents’ relationship broke down, they went from love to a very violent domestic situation.
When I got kicked out at 16, I was gobsmacked that a mother could do that. For many, many years, that impacted my feelings of worth.
[00:11:37] I would say a decade or two later, I realized she'd done me a favor because I had had to run a household at eight years old. I just went about the business of finding a new home base at 16. Then off traveling the world from 17 and just kept going. I had gained all these skills from that environment. In my case, I translated lemons into lemonade or lemon meringue.
[00:12:05] My grandfather was from Yorkshire and my maternal grandmother was from Scotland. My family was full of secrets. I have no idea what my mother grew with.
Through 12 step programs, I came to realize exactly what you said, that she was doing the best she could with what she had.
My father left when I was eight, he got out because of domestic violence, and they were both abusers.
[00:12:33] I remember breaking up fights between five and eight years old between these grown-ups in my house.
I know a bit more about my paternal family, but my maternal family, I know nothing. My mother grew up in quite privileged circumstances. Of course, it's a lot of, “don't talk, don't tell.”
Sue Curr: [00:12:51] You're not allowed to. It sounds very similar in terms of either side of my family, were privileged in a way, but we very much have that household rule.
[00:13:00] What happens in this house stays in this house and that's a heck of a burden for any child to carry.
Michelle St Jane: [00:13:06] Absolutely. I resonate with the other piece you said, “people didn't go to university.” Well, I go to university and all through my mother would say to me, “people like us don't go to university.”
[00:13:18] I did not understand that. I couldn't figure out why I was failing when I was achieving. But, in fact, if I had achieved it would be doing an apprenticeship or nursing that was acceptable. Going to university was unacceptable.
In my first year at university, I was struck by a car and sprained my neck. I call my mum. I don't know why I did this! On the call, I said, “Mum, can I bring you up to the city to help me drive to uni?” And, you know what she said, “don't you, people like us, don't go to university and it’s a sign that you should not be doing this. Call me next week and tell me how things work out for you.”
Michelle St Jane: [00:14:03] Like my life is just a soap opera, an episode of Coronation Street or The Young and the Restless, you know, update the episode. Not your daughters injured. I struggle with that.
But then I was a latch key kid, so I saw more of my other TV mum like June Lockhart on Lassie, and she was my kind of adopted mother.
Sue Curr: [00:14:26] Children were incredibly malleable, were incredibly intelligent, and incredibly intuitive. We find other ways to fix our needs.
That gentleness, that warmth, that embracing and through a TV screen, especially in the late fifties and early sixties, was there in abundance. Wasn't it? Let's face it, the dream families and all that business.
Michelle St Jane: [00:14:48] In New Zealand our TV shows in the seventies were from the fifties. We were way behind.
I am so grateful to these addictions for getting the lessons that I needed to learn, that I may not have learned if I hadn't had those experiences.
Sue Curr: [00:15:07] Absolutely. Whatever path our journey takes through life, I should say is no more or less than two things.
[00:15:20] Number one, I say to people “that moment is your life. That's it. Every single moment that we're gifted is a blessing.” When you truly understand that, when we get to a certain point in time, that manmade construct that drives us all insane and it makes us think we're stressed when we’re not.
[00:15:38] That's a whole different conversation. When we get to a certain point in time, we look back. That's what we call our life. The billions of these have been strung together and we look back across time and think, wow, that was my life. That is my life. When you've had an experience as I did, and not just me, clearly millions of other people, if not billions, across the planet.
[00:16:00] I go back to what I said at the beginning of that first five days, I have no conscious memory. My doctor came to see me five days in, towards the end of the day. He sat down; told me I was very lucky. I was a very sick young lady. Like an idiot, I was still laughing at that point because he called me young, and I was 52.
[00:16:19] He said, “no, no, no, no, no, I'm not joking. You've won the battle, but you've not won the war. You're still dying at that moment.” I remember going “what the actual.” I looked at my watch and I just said, “don't have time.” They said, “did you not just hear what I said? You are dying?” And I went, “no, no, no. I heard what you said.”
[00:16:38] What I'm telling you is I've been an idiot. And I do not have time now to do the things that I always said. I was going to:
📍 do tandem skydive from an airplane,
📍 go to India,
📍 do this, do that, do the other.
I still see this doctor three to, four times a year now because of the state of my health.
[00:16:56] The doctor delivered his verdict that I was dying and off he went. Then the youngest of our three children arrived and she found me crying. She'd see me cry a lot. Her father had to tell her. There was no secret life whilst I was there. Nor were there were never any secrets in our family.
Her father had to tell her that “actually I was still dying.” In that split second, she let out the most guttural screen I've ever heard. I think will hear. She held my gaze for what seemed like forever, the longest of time, but I'm pretty sure it was just, but it's polarized in your mind. The way she looked at me, I knew then that I've got everything wrong. I looked in her eyes I saw hatred. She hated me, fear, anger, but most of all love. This will probably sound a little bit cliche, but it was love, it was pure in that she had the love in her eyes for me.
At that time in my life, I didn't even like myself, but love, certainly I'd never seen it in the eyes of my mother.
[00:18:00] In that split second, I had, what Bob Proctor would call a paradigm shift. Second, my world shifted on its axis to such a degree that I knew that I didn't know if I was going to get out of there. But I knew that if I did things would change for the better forever, not just for me, but instinctively for my family and somehow intuitively for the greater good of others.
[00:18:22] I spent 18 months further physically recovering. I started to write, I started to journal. People started to pick up on the blogs and stuff that I did and asked me to speak. Fast forward eight and a half years now, and I'm doing things like this today
🕊️ because I can,
🕊️ because I want to, and
because I will literally spend however long I've got left on this planet, helping other people to understand that:
🕊️we individually, let alone collectively,
🕊️we are the only ones who have the power to control a mind that is ours alone to control.
[00:18:57] It's not easy. It's far easier, or at least it was in my case, to drink five bottles of Chardonnay a day, which is what I was drinking on the day I was admitted to the hospital and almost kill myself face the demons of the past. Yet the demons of the past were exposed. They were no more or less than ideal memories in a story that I hadn't written by a woman who in turn hadn't had her story written for her.
[00:19:25] We were both us doing the best that we could. We both stuffed up. I was 39 when she died. I had a long time to put things right. I didn't. I carried that badge of anger and disgust and loathing. Then I carried that with me for 13 years. And it was that that fueled my addiction and that gave me a reason to have an addiction.
[00:19:50] There's a saying; “they're not, the chains of habit are too weak to be felt until they're too strong to be broken.”
At 52, there was no way on God's green earth that I could break those habits. If I hadn't gone to my GP that day, I found out subsequently that 24 hours later I would have been dead. It came that close. The medical intervention saved my life. I walked out of hospital on my own two feet. The Doctor saying, “you'll be back in my clinic in three months, and you will be drunk.” I turned around to him and I said, I'm from Yorkshire. I'm not an Irishman. You've just challenged me and you're going to lose.” We still spar now eight and a half years later.
I think he sees me to be one of his success stories. In fact, medical intervention aside, I credit:
😲 Number one, the paradigm shift that I had from my daughter in the room.
🩺 Number two, I think the reverse psychology of the doctor on the day I left hospital.
In both of those, I found my why.
[00:20:50] For me as an addict, and I still consider myself to be an addict. I haven't had an alcoholic drink in 3075 days of any description. I don't eat food that has been cooked in alcohol. I'm very evangelical about that. But the reason that I am is because I’m finding my why.
I had a should for a very long time. I should stop drinking. I'd had one for donkey years from pretty much from the day when I lost my trust in GP with prescription meds.
I began to self-medicate with alcohol. That's how that started. Then that was not working. I'd go back and get some more pills and then they weren't working.
[00:21:26] Then, I intertwined the two, it became a mess. But in the paradigm shift that I experienced on the back of the day that he told me that actually I was still dying.
[00:21:43] That paradigm shift in the eyes of my daughter, became my why, which was bigger than any muscle should put together that I think I've ever needed. And it was simultaneously the best and yet the worst day of my life, if that makes any sense.
Michelle St Jane: [00:21:58] Bill W and the Doctor started AA. Bill W. discovered recovery, but the doctor, I believe, died still actively drinking. He was unable to gain sobriety. Such Russian roulette. There’s a saying in the program, “you've got to give it to keep it.” I think you're doing all the right stuff and being out there full on.
Sue Curr: [00:22:24] My addiction story as is anybody else’s who's following this path. They’re equally our own journeys, but very much there is a familial trait.
[00:22:33] I'm the eldest of four siblings. And as deference to them, I'm not going to go into their stories. Two of the three siblings are still actively struggling with alcohol. Our father was a good man, a kind man, loved his family. I would say a typically working-class, the sixties, Yorkshire, a miner who worked hard, played hard, drank hard.
[00:22:54] He gave up drinking seven years before he died because he had some routine blood results. The doctor had said, “actually, if you don't behave, George, your liver's going to pack in.” He went home and he literally poured everything that he had down the sink. Straight away. No problem. He wanted to live. He didn't value his drink more than he valued his life. I think that was more a measure of the man in terms of what he was as a person, as a character that had just become a social habit. He was actually not addicted. He drank far too much, but there was no dependency. He literally stopped just like that.
Michelle St Jane: [00:23:27] I have a similar story. My paternal side is Welsh, my grandfather was a coal miner. My father was the youngest of 12 and grew up in quite a brutal home life as well. Dad left when I was eight. He came back when I was 27 when my husband died, and I was faced with an alcoholic binge.
[00:23:49] Then we tried to connect up in the early nineties when I was going to be in Sydney. I was going to see him. I was very equivocal about whether I wanted to see him because I had childhood memories of being well-loved, but the trauma of my mother and him having physical fights. And then that binge he had thought I was my mother. There was I was unexpectedly widowed. A situation unfolding in front of my three small children. I had a lot of equivocal feelings going to Sydney and going to link up.
But there was like a God wink. I tried. I had the address, but I couldn't get a hold of him. On the day that I managed to go see him, which was the day before I was leaving to go back to New Zealand, he moved. I literally got to his residence an hour after he had moved. Before he had left a forwarding address. By the time he got my message and called me back, I'd left to go back to New Zealand.
[00:24:52] Well, it turns out he died earlier this century and his widow sent a letter to me at an old address. Bless, the island postal system, the letter found me.
This is how strange your story can get. My father left on my 8th birthday in September and said he was coming back for Christmas. That didn't happen. I got the letter that he had died in June the week of Christmas. About10 years after we had tried to connect up in Australia. He asked me to come and scatter his ashes. I went to do that. I kid you not his partner looked exactly like my mother, except she wasn't rageful.
[00:25:35] She had a daughter named Michelle and she had a son who had the same name as my brother. Her daughter, Michelle had three little kids, like I did, the same ages.
I discovered my father had been in AA for the last 10 years of his life. You just never know how the story is going to finish being written.
Of course, I have many regrets about not connecting with him. It took me a while to resolve and dissolve those feelings. Then I got the chance to go to Sydney and see that his last 10 years have been wonderful with a very supportive family. He had found sobriety
Sue Curr: [00:26:13] You know, that brings it full circle. Doesn't it? We do the best that we can. Given the tools that we have in the timeframe that we're in. The timeframe again is a manmade construct. We only know its 10 years because society tells us it was 10 years because somebody somewhere invented a sundial that ultimately became a digital clock and all the rest of it.
[00:26:34] Certainly for me, lots of my backstory story that I told myself, which I now know is a crock, I very firmly bought into the stress factor.
You know, I would have too much to do and not enough time to do it. Yet going back to that, this moment, every single day that we are gifted from the second way and our eyes go full circle, 24 hours, we get 86,400 of those moments every day in form of seconds.
[00:27:07] We might get up of a day, especially if you're in corporate or in business and all the rest of it, you've got a million things to do. You don't have enough time to do it.
The way I work with people these days is to help them to understand, you were born here, Michelle. I was born there at some point.
[00:27:25] We're both going to shuffle off this mortal coil. We know that there is an amount of time we have in between, we know it's finite, but we don't know how long it is.
What we do know for sure, is there each of those 86,400 windows of opportunity on a daily basis. It will be the same for each of us on a daily basis.
[00:27:44] Time management, that's the issue, not the number of things that we have to do. There isn't one day that goes by now that I am at the top of my own to-do list.
I have a hashtag across social media. #Self-care #sanity, not balance because if we don't use the oxygen mask analogy, like on an airplane, if the oxygen mask drops down and you don't breathe. You're not going to be any good to anybody on that plane. Be it your children or your elderly relative, or your dog. You're not going to be able to save anybody if you don't breathe. Once I got that little nugget, everything else sort of fell into place. Wish I'd known that 50 years ago!
Michelle St Jane: [00:28:31] Oh my gosh. I understand. For me, when my first husband died unexpectedly, I had my three children looking at me and asking, “are you going to die?” Grieving was not easy, and I still had three kids that I needed to take care of. I was unable to check out and I did not want my children having to parent me. Like I had to parent my mother. The gift that my deceased husband left me with: The present is the gift.
Every minute is a blessing. I love how you put that.
I just want to go back to being addicted to external chemicals.
I'll share this story.
[00:29:12] When I was a teenager, I was at a beach party. I remember drinking Russian schnapps. I never got drunk. I never became unsteady A Russian chat turned around to me and he said, “you have a problem.” He said, “if you can drink like this that's dangerous.”
[00:29:37] And I understood. What I took away from that was, actually, I didn't need to have a drink to have a good time, but with my history, I think, as a child growing up in a violent household. You know, you can not be vigilant. On the other hand, it wasn't until decades later through the Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACOA) program that I learned about being internally addicted.
[00:29:58] I had managed to have addicted people in my circle. So, ALA-non was definitely a resting place for me. But with ACOA I suddenly came to learn about the internal chemicals. Your brain can adapt you to like being an adrenaline junkie and not practicing self-care. Practicing over care, on the performance wheel, but not on caring for yourself.
[00:30:24] So I was very blessed by what the Russian, said to me, “You've got a problem. If you can drink like this and not get drunk, you should not be drinking.” I had no off switch and that was a gift I did not understand for a lot of years. Fortunately, I did take away from that wise piece of advice was that “actually I don't need to drink to have fun, and I don't need to drug to have fun.”
[00:30:48] What I didn't know was, that I was an adrenaline junkie. I was involved with racing cars, quite dangerous situations, and high speeds. I was not risk-averse at all without substances.
Sue Curr: [00:31:10] Let's take the example of a rollercoaster, I personally would rather stick pins in my eyes than go on a roller coaster. I did it, while I was on the front row of oblivion staring 300 feet down, it's a straight vertical drop in about 10 seconds.
[00:31:28] I knew I was going to die. I need another drink, so I know I'm going to be dead when I hit that bottom. My friends sitting beside me were screaming hysterically with excitement. Stone-cold sober adrenaline junkie that he was. I'm terrified. I'm only there because I've been asked to be there. We were both at that moment, feeling exactly the same thing.
[00:31:48] The only difference physiologically. We were experiencing exactly the same feeling. The only difference was the word that we attributed to how it made us feel. He was really happy and thrilled. And I was scared to death.
[00:32:11] He doesn't drink either. I don't think he's an adrenaline junkie per se. His much-preferred way of dealing with life is to embrace it with a look of excitement on his face.
[00:32:33] Whereas I would, I looked at it through glasses that weren't even rose-tinted, they were black. I was just so depressed. I needed the lift that I thought, I perceived, alcohol gave me. Of course, with that, you get the elevation, but then you crash and burn and then some. Then rinse and repeat the cycle.
[00:32:50] To the degree that I was on at that time, five bottles of wine a day, every day. You’re never actually sober. Since the day I was admitted to the hospital, it was some 18 months afterward. I tried to peer back and see “When was the last time I actually genuinely felt happy without the need for a drink.”
I don't know, even now eight and a half years sober. I actually don't know how many of my happy memories were not alcohol-fueled. I'm not familiar. Quite sad. I don't labor the point. I don't give it much credence because these days I live mindfully in the present every single day.
[00:33:31] Like you, I have good days, bad days, and indifferent days and everything in between. I take from each day what I can. I always take from each day, something that I am grateful for because.
Michelle St Jane: [00:33:43] Living consciously you, you can do that. For example, I'm there with your rollercoaster frame. I've written the wildest roller coasters in the world. But now I know and ask myself “do I want to create that cocktail of internal chemicals.” They can be addictive.
Sue Curr: [00:34:02]
[00:34:03] Adrenal exhaustion, which is heightened states of adrenaline frenzy, if you like, if you fall into the realms of adrenal exhaustion then within six months, you're in big trouble because your body can only produce finite amounts of adrenaline. If you continually depleting it. It is pretty much
equally as dangerous as an end-stage liver failure because your body can't make up for the time. It doesn't have the time to put things back in place. If you're continually on that adrenaline rush, do it.
Michelle St Jane: [00:34:38] To be a child in the kind of environment I was growing up, you're living in the hyper-vigilance, on adrenaline.
[00:34:44] I took the adrenaline outside the house, and that was the norm for me. I went off racing cars. Now I do not want anything that is on that level, because if if I'm reading this right in terms of internal chemicals. I do need to check that cascade because it doesn't actually benefit my life. Have those extreme ups and downs costs you physically?
Sue Curr: [00:35:06] Absolutely. The body is an amazing machine without all the metal and nuts and bolts and things. But it's an amazing machine that is primed, designed to keep us safe and healthy. We abused it in so many ways that we don't even understand most of us. While you might not drink, you might not smoke, you might be addicted to stress for argument's sake. Or you might be addicted to saying yes, when no would suffice.
[00:35:30] I think it's important to know, or certainly in terms of the research I've been in, in the last eight years or so, it led me to understand that everything. Going back to what I said, towards the very beginning, we're born into this world conscious, but we don't yet have a consciousness that comes very quickly afterwards when inherently we start to circle because we know something's changed.
[00:35:50] We learn very quickly. If we make the sound or increasingly louder, as we grow, our needs are met. We don't know that our needs are a wet nappy or a hunger in our belly or whatever. We just know that something's making us uncomfortable. We don't know yet that it's a human being makes us comfortable and safe. We shut up until the next time. We learn very quickly that if we cry, our needs are met. By the time we are terrible twos parents around the world screaming at their children to shut up and give them a break. Suddenly two-year-old around the world, they're going, “hang on a minute. I've been doing this for two years and now it doesn't work. I'll have to find something else. I'll paint the radiator, or I'll pull the plug out the bath or whatever.” That's our first learned behavior.
[00:36:44] The pattern interrupt. Grownups are not going to put up with my tantrums anymore. We learn everything we come to know about ourselves by circa age seven, the imprinting years, we form our worldview. It's not our worldview because it's a societal environmental, familial conditioning.
[00:37:04] “Oh, isn't she beautiful. Or “isn’t he ugly. God, I wish she'd stop eating those sweets. Isn't he a little darling.”
We grow up with a, with a false viewpoint. Sibling rivalry kicks in age seven to 14. It becomes our modeling role.
Our parents were doing this, this, and this. You think “I'll do it.” They ask, “why are you doing that?” Then respond, “Well, you do it go to your room. You're grounded.”
Parenting is the most responsible job in the world. Bar none. you can forget the leaders of the Western world. Whoever the hell they are at any given moment in time. Parenting. It's the most responsible job in the world.
[00:37:39] We are all of us as parents. Your parents, my parents, our grandparents, we're all of us doing the best we can with what we've got in our space and in time.
Michelle St Jane: [00:37:52] Talk about professional swans 🦢.
Sue Curr: [00:37:57] A professional Swan for me is an adult, largely somebody who gives the impression that they're gliding serenely through life without having a care in the world.
[00:38:10] Yet underneath the surface they’re paddling like crazy to swim upstream. Not wanting the rest of the world to know that they are lacking. That they're feeling vulnerable. That they can't cope, or God forbid, they don't want to be seen to be a failure.
We, I think all of us, particularly if you work in corporate business, particularly if you're self-employed particularly if you're any of the above and having to have a family of your own, or maybe elderly parents or dogs or cats or Guinea pigs, you put the whole package together.
[00:38:39] I'm going back to what I was saying right at the very beginning. There are 24 hours in a day. 86,400 seconds. Got to do my work, got to do the house, got to see to the kids that, that, that, that the professional swan in all of us, male and female is that person who does not want to be seen to be anything other than in brackets, or inverted commas Perfect.
Took me a very long time to realize that perfection is an ideal. You deemed to be perfect.
Perfect. I would really go back to the rollercoaster. My idea of heaven, my idea of hell it's that type of thing. I worked with these professionals swans these days to help them to understand that actually it's okay to say no, it's even more okay to have personal boundaries and reinforce that by saying no.
It's okay, not to be okay. It's okay to let people see us for who we are and what we are because whoever and whatever that is, we're enough. It might not be for what Joe blogs thinks is enough for Joe blogs. Joe doesn't pay our bills. Without exception, we arrive here as perfect beings.
[00:39:53] The perfection element again is a societal construct. Thank you.
Michelle St Jane: [00:39:57] I would love for you to share about the work that you do with my listeners.
Sue Curr: [00:40:01] These days, my work falls into 🏕️ two 🏕️camps:
⚓A preventative arm
I work with children. Empower them to understand that self-belief gives us the wings to fly and the courage to fall safe. That we can get straight back up and try again. AKA growth mindset.
🔎A curative arm
I work with adults. I help them to reframe the way they see themselves, situations, their lives. One of my premises is that every single situation that we will ever find ourselves in has two sides to it. Two sides to every story every single time. When we can apply that to the way we view ourselves and our lives and begin to take responsibility for our part in our life, then things like the fear factor starts to fade away and our courage muscle expands. We grow more courage. We have more resilience. We become able to stand up and look at the world.
Take that line from the song in the movie The Greatest Showman:
“This is me. Look at me. This is me.”
We all of us have a God-given right, depending on your viewpoint, to be able to stand up and say to the world that, “this is me like me, or load me. This is me and I make no apologies for that.”
[00:41:15] I work with these people to help them to understand that it doesn't matter what anybody else thinks. It matters more than anything else on this planet, that we think about ourselves.
I help people to reframe the way they see themselves. They reverse their stories essentially. I help them to confidently create the change that they need, but haven't yet got there and ultimately lead happier, more meaningful lives.
[00:41:41] The addendum, there would be happier, more meaningful lives in their own way and on their own terms, more of it without feeling the need to apologize for themselves.
Michelle St Jane: [00:41:51] You are a woman of wisdom. I really appreciate your contribution.
Sue Curr: [00:41:56] Thank you for having me.
Outro: [00:42:03] Dr. Michelle St Jane is a conscious steward as meaningful leadership in the world and the wider cosmos. Tune in for real talk around life leadership and your conscious journey. Be ready to create and cultivate your dreams and wholehearted desires. Your support is value. Please subscribe, leave a review and a rating, but more importantly, share with your connections.