#002 — Conquering Addiction and Discovering Personal Strength with Jennifer Salzman

In this insightful and inspiring episode, Melanie Branch interviews Jennifer Salzman, a life coach focused on helping individuals navigate their relationship with alcohol, especially those in the neuro-diverse community.

We Talked About:

  • Jennifer's personal journey and struggles with alcohol and how it led her to become a life coach.
  • The difficulties of recognizing and breaking the cycle of addiction, with Jennifer sharing her experiences and realizations.
  • Jennifer's approach to coaching, focusing on reframing subconscious beliefs and utilizing mindfulness exercises.
  • The importance of having support systems in place to help combat addiction.
  • The shame and stigma often associated with addiction and seeking help.
  • Understanding neurodiversity and its link to addictive behaviors, with Jennifer and Melanie sharing their insights and experiences.
  • Jennifer's Rebel Reboot program and its goal of providing healthier coping strategies and creating a "user manual" for the neuro-diverse brain.
  • The process of self-care, from mindful eating to developing systems that make day-to-day living easier and healthier.
  • Jennifer's message to neuro-spicy entrepreneurs about resilience, patience, and the power of visualization in achieving goals.

Links to Jennifer Salzman’s Stuff:

View Full Transcript

Melanie Branch: Hello, and welcome to another episode of Trailblazers Rising, where we talk about stories and strategies of trailblazing, neurodivergent entrepreneurs. And today, I'm so excited to bring you Coach Jennifer. Um, She is somebody I have personally been following on social media for a little while now. Um, but time does that weird thing and I don't understand it, so I couldn't tell you exactly how long.

So, coach Jennifer, can you tell us a little bit about what it is that you do, who you help, anything like that?

Jennifer Salzman: Yes, absolutely. I'm so excited to be here to like meet a fellow TikTok lover in person. Well sort of in person, virtually in person. Um, so I am a certified life coach and I work with people who have been self-medicating their ADHD with alcohol and other unhealthy habits, but primarily alcohol because that was my drug of choice for many, many years.

And I did not realize that I had been self-medicating myself with alcohol because I had undiagnosed ADHD up until I was about 40. So I work with people like me who are like struggling to control their drinking and it's the only tool that they have to really manage their ADHD.

So that's what I do.

Melanie Branch: Excellent. I love that. I love that. So then, now that we know a little bit about you, I'm gonna ask you some fun questions, uh, to help inspire, uh, other entrepreneurial souls just like us. So first and foremost, Can you spill the beans on your journey to becoming an entrepreneur? So we just found out that you didn't get diagnosed until you were about 40.

So we would love for you to share all the other juicy details of how you got into this in the first place.

Jennifer Salzman: Yeah, so I actually worked in a corporate role for many years, which was what led to my drinking because that's how I was able to cope. I mean, the drudgery of, you know, and I had a pretty, like a pretty big job and I hated every minute of it, and the entire time I was in that role, I was like trying to figure out how I could be my own boss and how I could be an entrepreneur.

And I, you know, I wasn't sure what I wanted to do or how I was gonna do it. And I did have other businesses during my journey that I was really unable to succeed in.

I think mostly because the drinking. Um, and not understanding how to manage my time and how to put together a budget and how to put together a business plan. I just sort of, you know, I'm like, okay, I can just wing this, you know, cause I want to do it. And I learned the hard way that that is not how you run a business.

So when I quit drinking is, yeah. Is when I finally, I worked with a coach and I was just so inspired by, first of all, the way that. Um, she helped me to understand how I can change some of my beliefs that I had about alcohol and about myself, and she was a successful entrepreneur. And I'm like this, I think this is it.

Like all roads have led me here. And so I've been doing this now for about just over a year. And this time I have systems in place. I have no alcohol in my system, and things are going a lot, a lot better than they ever have.

Melanie Branch: Good.

Jennifer Salzman: Yeah.

Melanie Branch: That's so exciting. Been in the entrepreneurial space for over a year and that corporate life.

Jennifer Salzman: Oh.

Melanie Branch: I'll tell you, I did really luck out by only being in the corporate world for a very small amount of time, and then predominantly before being an entrepreneur, I worked in restaurants. So, uh, to all of the viewers out there, um, there is an answer for you no matter if you've been in hospitality or corporate struggle bus life, even very high up on the chain and the ladder.

I do talk to a lot of women, especially who got to a very high ranking in their corporate position, and then the wheels just fell off.

Jennifer Salzman: Yeah. It was just, it was torture. I'm like, I, how, how can I spend my life here doing this? Even like, the money was good, you know, it was a respectable job, but I was, I was just, it was torture.

Melanie Branch: Torture.

So that brings me to my next question. Tell me about that moment that you just knew you had to start your own business.

Jennifer Salzman: Well, I knew, I, I think it was less that I knew I had to start my own business and I knew I could not work for somebody else anymore, and I had to figure out a way to do this.

Like I am not the only person in the world that has started a small business. I can do this. There is a method, there is support. There are things that I can do to learn and help me create the business of my dreams, the life of my dreams, where I don't have to get up at, you know, six o'clock in the morning and like get all ready.

And I was living in New York City, get on the train and like, Sit in this fluorescent lighting for eight hours and just wish ...

Melanie Branch: Hellscape.

Jennifer Salzman: I did, exactly. So I just, I finally have the confidence that like, yes, I can do this. I'm not sure exactly how, but I know that I can figure it out. And so, and I know there's some, there are people that need what I do because.

I am, you know, my ideal client and I needed it, so I know there's other people out there like me. Um,

Melanie Branch: absolutely.

Jennifer Salzman: So that's sort of how, how it all started.

Melanie Branch: Yeah. So, You know, we've all been through the entrepreneurial ringer, if you will. You know, I started my business three years ago and put my availability for sessions at 9:00 AM. Nine to, I think 6:00 AM or nine to 6:00 PM were my first hours of availability that people could book a call with me.

Jennifer Salzman: Mm-hmm.

Melanie Branch: And it was, Pretty quick that I went, hell no, absolutely not. I am not, I did not go from the restaurant industry to working from the comfort of my own home with people that I really, really enjoy and, and are meant to help to be available at nine o'clock in the morning. I don't even get the kids to school until low after eight.

What kind of Life, would that be affording me? So what would you say is one lesson that you've learned about entrepreneurship? Uh, coaching, whatever it is, um, that stands out above the rest.

Jennifer Salzman: These are lessons that I am still learning, but creating boundaries for myself as like, because I, I work from home and I could easily work 24 7.

I mean, I could be sitting here staring at my computer screen and sometimes I do catch myself doing that and the, the day's over and I'm just like, what, what, what happened? What, you know, well, what have I been spending my time on? So I think it's super important to create just your own boundaries with yourself.

What are my working hours? You know, as far as like discovery calls, I only take them one day a week. Because you know, you have to be in a certain mindset when you're having a one-on-one call with somebody that you haven't met before that is struggling. And to have these random times, nine in the morning, 10 at night, four in the afternoon, any day of the week, it was just, I wasn't my best self.

You know, running around trying to meet the needs of other people. So like Thursdays are my discovery call days, and if you can't make it on a Thursday, I'll work with you to try to, you know, fit in another day. But generally like to create those boundaries for myself and to not beat myself up when I'm not available 24/7 for my clients.

You know, Hopefully they understand I'm a human being and I have to create those boundaries. So that's super.

Melanie Branch: Well if, if they can't understand that you're a human being and you need those boundaries, they're not the right people.

Jennifer Salzman: Good point.

Melanie Branch: Not for nothing

Jennifer Salzman: Good point, that's exactly ...

Melanie Branch: That's, and in the coaching world, um, you know, we do get those unicorns that are just the perfectly aligned clients.

Um, and that is the goal a hundred percent of the time. But we also get people in the space that have higher needs. You know?

Jennifer Salzman: Absolutely.

Melanie Branch: And are going to require a little bit more. So the clear, the communication and the expectations, the better. But you work with ADHD-ers the same way I do, so I'm sure you have some sort of system in place where they can get that thought out to you in a non-invasive way and not forget about it or leave it for later.

So, you know, that's so important for us neuro-spicys'.

Jennifer Salzman: Absolutely.

Melanie Branch: Because if you don't get it out right then and there, it goes back into the ether and who knows who's gonna pick it up now, I get it.

Jennifer Salzman: Yeah.

Melanie Branch: So then, The juggling act of balancing our creative side and our strategic side. Right. So like the business admin boring stuff and the creative social media and coaching programs and whatnot.

Um, how have you really built and nurtured, um, that balancing act?

Jennifer Salzman: Yeah, again, work in progress, but it's like creating like. Creating a schedule and doing your best to stick to it. I have days where I am forward facing where I put makeup on, I get dressed, I take a shower because I'm going to either be meeting people in person or creating content or, um, you know, doing something where I wanna look pretty and I wanna be my best self.

Then there are days where I'm doing my taxes and I'm doing, you know, creating content or, or creating my courses or stuff that I can be sitting in my sweatpants and not care about how I look and how I'm presenting myself. And, you know, I can take a phone call, but like to sort of differentiate the forward facing days and the backend days, um, that helps too.

And like I have a big whiteboard that I'm looking at right now, and it's like, Content creation from noon to four, you know?

Melanie Branch: Yeah.

Jennifer Salzman: And that's what I do. And. It takes time to get into those habits, but once you sort of create the schedule that works for you, and that's the beauty of working for yourself is like, like this morning, I knew I was gonna be talking to you at this time, so I said, you know what, I'm gonna go take a nice long walk.

I live on the water around the lake. I'm gonna take my dog out early at 10 o'clock. And he'll be tired while, while we're talking and I'll have my walk out of the way and it's like, you know, if you don't work for yourself, you can't just decide late morning, then I'm gonna go take a nice long walk on the lake.

Melanie Branch: Yeah.

Jennifer Salzman: You know?

Melanie Branch: Yeah.

Jennifer Salzman: So, but today I decided to let myself do that. So here we are.

Melanie Branch: Good. I love that. Can you give us the details on a recent win that you're really proud of?

Jennifer Salzman: A recent win that I'm really proud of. Um, Gosh, there's so many. Um.

Melanie Branch: Yeah, give us a bunch of 'em.

Jennifer Salzman: Well, you know what's so interesting? So when I first started, um, my coaching practice, I was really focused on just alcohol because I didn't realize, I didn't even realize for myself that the alcohol wasn't actually the problem.

The alcohol was the only tool that I had to manage me and my neuro-spicy brain and I didn't get it. And then the more research that I did understanding, you know, the connection between ADHD and alcohol and substance abuse, I was like, oh, wow, this is, this is what I'm really talking about. And so, in fact, it was just, uh, I don't know, a month or so ago, and I, um, I did a tikTok post, a video, talking about the connection between the two and it blew up.

It got over 2 million views.

Melanie Branch: Yeah.

Jennifer Salzman: Right? And my followers just like really increased. And I said to myself, wow, like here I was in the sober space. And even though, you know, I knew that I was self-medicating, I didn't realize it would resonate with so many people.

And since then, it's just been unbelievable the feedback I've gotten, the positive feedback I've gotten, the response, I've gotten people that like wanna join my coaching programs. I mean, it's, it's incredible. So you never know when that one post is gonna hit, but the more that you share your authentic self and the reason you're doing this in the first place, that's when you find your people.

Melanie Branch: So I'm so glad that you bring that up because we know that community building, um, and really I call it finding your flock and then raising them to be as, as good and strong and healthy as possible. Do you have any tips when it comes to building your community on social media? For those of us that, or those neuro-spicy entrepreneurs that may just be starting out?

Jennifer Salzman: Do throw away your fear because. You know, posting videos of yourself and seeing your face and, you know, I'm just like, who is that person that's saying those words? Like, where, who is that? I, you, you feel a little disconnected from it, but the more authentic I am and the more real I am, um, the more people resonate with what I'm saying.

So, as weird and awkward as it is, especially if you're first getting started, I mean, I, it's so corny, but I have a little vision board and like, on it there's a little, the TikTok logo, cuz I, I was terrified to, like, I wanted TikTok to be my marketing vehicle because I knew it was a way that I could get to the most people, sort of in the shortest amount of time with the least amount of money spent.

And so I kept looking at it and I'm like, I don't know how to do it. I'm too old. And then I just started posting. And, you know, over the last, I don't know, eight months or so, you know, I've really grown. I've, I feel like I have built a community and it's all because of my willingness to be authentic and to share.

And sometimes, sometimes on those non forward facing days where I forgot to put makeup on and my hair doesn't look pretty, I still have an idea and I wanna get it out there and I'll post it. And those are some of the, the best posts. You know, those are the ones that people resonate with the most. So, I guess my number one piece of advice, just put it out there.

Just be yourself and don't be afraid.

Melanie Branch: You know, learning to do it scared too is so important because, you know, do you think that the, the highest offices in the land, the presidents and the kings and queens and the prime ministers and all of those, anybody who gets up in front of 10, 20 people, let alone thousands and millions of people, isn't scared a little bit.

Jennifer Salzman: Right.

Melanie Branch: I just don't know anybody who, who wouldn't be, and unless they were a robot, and I'm trying to be as nice as possible to all of the robots in my life so that when they take over, uh, you know, ChatGPT my Google, all of that will be good to go. But like, you gotta do it scared.

Jennifer Salzman: Right.

Melanie Branch: Yeah?

Jennifer Salzman: Right, absolutely. It's never not gonna be scary.

Melanie Branch: Absolutely.

Jennifer Salzman: I mean, it gets easier the more you do it, but it's never not scary.

Melanie Branch: Yes, absolutely. That imposter syndrome resides in every single person, no matter how accomplished you get. I hate researching imposter syndrome. I just kept, I kept researching it because it's the one thing that all of my clients deal with and all of the neuro-spicys' deal with, is that self-doubt and that imposter syndrome.

I'm like, okay, well there's gotta be like a point, right? Like you get your PhD. Or, you know, you've been in your field for 30 years or something like that. It's, there's gotta be a point that we reach where we stop saying, it's just because there was nobody better than me, or, uh, these people just must not know what they're talking about.

Or I just got lucky. There's gotta be a point where we stop thinking that, or where we stop thinking, who the fuck do I think I am? And there's not, there's literally not. If anything, the more accomplished we get, the stronger the imposter syndrome gets.

Jennifer Salzman: Yeah, absolutely.

Melanie Branch: So, you know, now that I understand that, it's like, okay, cool.

We just gotta do it scared. We just gotta do it scared. So that leads me to the next biggest issue that all of my clients in this neuro-spicy world deal with, which is rejection sensitivity.

Jennifer Salzman: Mm-hmm. Oh yeah.

Melanie Branch: How would you say you have figured out how to deal with those tough moments where we do feel rejected, we feel like the world is against us.

Feel like we don't know what we're doing and, and how do you deal with that?

Jennifer Salzman: Mindfulness is key. I mean, I still, it's not like I don't still have the feelings. I mean, I, the littlest thing will happen. I had a client recently that was not happy with me, and the, um, I get it, I get this feeling in my body, like in my gut.

It's like this adrenaline pumping and I'm ready to like, you know, I, I don't know what to do. I wanna just like hurt something, punch something.

Melanie Branch: Hulk out.

Jennifer Salzman: You know, I, I have those feelings. But you know, in the time that I have been really practicing mindfulness to, to notice when that feeling's coming.

Melanie Branch: Yeah.

Jennifer Salzman: And to take a step back and to pause and take a breath and, you know, say to myself like, is this reaction I'm having appropriate for what actually just happened? And ...

Melanie Branch: You mean you call upon rational rationale and say, self, am I being rational right now? Do I have anything that I can base this off of to validate it?

Jennifer Salzman: Exactly. And you know, it doesn't happen, it's not immediate. And like I said, I am still human. I still have ADHD, I still have that immediate reaction, but I have learned how to, instead of. Going on autopilot and lashing out and taking everything so personally and feeling like the world is out to get me and like, here's, I'm a victim and you know, all this stuff.

No, I am going to respond instead of react. And I mean, what a difference that makes. And then if you give yourself time to sort of take a breath and not to react and to wait until you've cooled off a little to respond, a lot of times you realize, you know what? It's not that big of a deal and I can handle this and I'm a grownup, and you know, becoming, just becoming aware at all.

Change happens on the other side of awareness and so it's just so key to notice when you're getting those feelings.

Melanie Branch: Yeah. Well, what would you say on your journey of living alcohol free and accommodating your ADHD and your neuro-divergence, what was the hardest part about. Or, what was the hardest thing you learned about alcohol and the role that it plays in our life?

Jennifer Salzman: Oh, God. Um, well, first of all, all the, the subconscious beliefs that we have about alcohol and how it's sort of like pushed on us. Throughout our lives. I mean, it's ...

Melanie Branch: It's programmed in

Jennifer Salzman: Yeah.

Melanie Branch: It is programmed in. Mommy needs her wine.

Jennifer Salzman: Exactly.

Melanie Branch: Yeah. Absolutely.

Jennifer Salzman: I mean, you can't leave your house without being bombarded with messages about how amazing alcohol is.

And it's like, you need it to have a full social life and to celebrate and to relax and, you know, you need it for good things, for bad things. It's like this magical elixir for every occasion. And of course I bought into that like everybody else. Um, and I thought that alcohol was only dangerous for like alcoholics.

And of course I'm not one and whatever that even means. Um, but alcohol's an addictive substance. It's a drug. You know, we say alcohol and drugs, but alcohol is a drug. And so if you're using it to self-medicate, You know, initially I thought it worked because it made me feel normal. It made me stop worrying so much about how I behaved and what other people thought and that rejection.

But over time it almost made all of those symptoms worse because if I felt attacked and I was under the influence, I mean, there was no possibility of pausing and being mindful. It was immediate, like, you know, You didn't wanna know me back then, I was not. I was very reactive. And I think just understanding that like we've pretty much been duped by the alcohol industry, by society, that, you know, alcohol's this harmless, fun thing that everybody does.

And if you have a problem, you know that that's on you. But like any other drug, if you use it too much and you use it for the wrong reasons, it can become very dangerous and cause a lot of, a lot of problems, so.

Melanie Branch: You know, a personal realization that I had when I stopped drinking, I stopped drinking in November of this past year.

I just, one day literally was like, this is not serving me. I like waking up at five o'clock in the morning and diving into work for a few hours before the rest of the world is up, and I can't do that if I'm, if I'm hungover and I don't wanna wake up in the morning and be like, I don't remember getting to bed last night.

These things, Don't serve me. And I had two realizations in that moment. First and foremost, I was drinking to dull my senses to live in this world, first and foremost.

Jennifer Salzman: Mm-hmm.

Melanie Branch: I am a very high sensory needs person. I have to wear my headphones every time I go out in public. You see me in a beanie a lot of the time because it helps, um, kind of muffle the outside world.

Sounds are too loud, lights are too bright, smells are too strong. I don't want anybody to touch me. All that sort of stuff. And the only way that I could really tolerate this world and the people that I was spending time with and the way that I was treating myself was to drink.

And I understand that now, and I can be less hard on myself for having any sort of, um, dependency or, uh, using it as a coping tool, right? We don't wanna cope. We want to thrive, right? So if we can recognize, hey, this is something that did serve me for a period of time, and now that I understand this about myself, it no longer serves me.

Jennifer Salzman: Mm-hmm.

Melanie Branch: Um, and then also secondly, it drives an anxiety.

Jennifer Salzman: Oh.

Melanie Branch: Alcohol drives anxiety. Even if you haven't drank in a week, it gets a choke hold on you. And we are just, like you said, we're programmed to believe that this is a necessary part of life.

Jennifer Salzman: Yep. That's one of the reasons I quit was because I was so anxious.

I had such anxiety, I didn't realize the alcohol was causing the anxiety. Right. It's like you feel this anxiety, so you drink and temporarily it numbs your senses, right? So you don't think about it, but it just. It makes it worse. And it is. Yeah. And, but you know, I look back and it was a tool, it was the only tool that I had.

It was the only tool that I knew that helped me manage my day-to-day, helped me cope, helped me drown out the noise, like you said. And so once I realized how unhealthy of a tool it was, And that when I kind of looked at all of these problems in my life, anxiety being one of them, the common denominator seemed to be alcohol.

And I knew that like, you know, I'm not going to be able to thrive if this is a constant in my life. And so same kind of thing, it was like I didn't hit some like rock bottom. And that's the other thing that I tried to let my clients know is that like you don't have to hit a rock bottom to decide that alcohol's no longer serving you.

You don't have to like get in a car accident and go to jail and like get divorced and lose your all your money. Like you can just say, wait a second. This doesn't feel good, and I think that I've lost control, like it's just mindless like that. I used to, you know, I'm working in the corporate job. I'd come home after work the first thing I did was pour myself a glass of wine before I even took off my shoes.

You know, it was just what I did. It was just part of the day. And once I stopped and like took note of like, how am I spending my time? What am I putting in my body? You know, alcohol was taking up a lot of space and time in my life that now I feel like, you know, my days are twice as long cuz I'm not thinking about alcohol.

I'm not drinking alcohol. I don't feel hungover. I'm just living my life without it. And I'd have so much more time in my day and I feel better, so.

Melanie Branch: Have you had any pushback in your life from people that you did not think would push back? When you say, No, I don't drink.

Jennifer Salzman: Initially I did. Um, you know, cuz they assume you have, you know, you're an alcoholic or I think most of the time it's like you're a mirror and anybody who has a problem with you not drinking, they're usually saying to themselves, well, I used to go out drinking with her all the time.

Does that mean that I should address my own drinking?

And I think that's usually why people have a problem with it. And I, when I first quit it, I was self-conscious about it, but now I'm just like, Hmm, no, I don't drink.

Melanie Branch: Yeah.

Jennifer Salzman: And you realize also, you know, your relationships may change because you learn who were just your drinking buddies and who were your actual friends that care about you regardless ...

Melanie Branch: Yes.

Jennifer Salzman: Of the drinking, so.

Melanie Branch: Yes, it is very, very, very true. So give me, tell me who, um, tell me about, hold on, let me get my words right. I get so excited sometimes the words are hard to come out.

Describe what is going through somebody's mind in their life when they realize that you can really help them. Like who, what if we know that we're not targeting people that have hit rock bottom, right? If we're trying to, what can some of these markers and stuff be in their life that would signify, Hey, maybe alcohol isn't serving you anymore and there's better systems and strategies in place for you.

Jennifer Salzman: I think when you start to realize like alcohol is hurting more than it's helping when you feel like you're spending a lot of time, and it's not even just the drinking, it's the thinking about the drinking and another, you know, one of the things that also got me to really question my own relationship with alcohol is like, I remember I'm driving in my car and I didn't have any booze in my house and I was saying to myself, You know what?

I'm not gonna drink tonight. I'm not gonna stop at the liquor store on my way home tonight. I'm just gonna like chill and I'm not gonna drink tonight. I said it probably 50 times while I'm in the car for a half hour as I'm, as the words are coming out of my mouth, out loud. I pull into the parking lot of the liquor store, walked in, bought two bottles of wine, drank one of 'em, passed out on the couch.

And when I woke up in the morning, you know, I'm looking at my phone and I'm like drunk texting people I should not have been texting at all. And I'm like, what the hell? Like the cognitive dissonance, you know, knowing that I didn't wanna, I'm gonna take the night off and just. Like on autopilot doing the opposite.

And I think like once you realize, like you're saying to yourself every night, I'm not gonna drink tonight, and then you do it anyway, and then you wake up the next morning and you're like, Ugh, I broke another promise to myself. I feel like shit, I got terrible sleep. You know? It's like once you're in that cycle and you realize that like alcohol, It is just taking up too much space in your life.

It's, you feel like you've lost control of your consumption. You feel like instead of using it to have fun, you need it to have fun. And there's a big difference. And so I think once you've gotten to that point where, you know, I said to myself for years, I should quit. I should cut down. I should, should, should, should.

And I was should-ing all over myself. And I got to the point where I was like, I must. I must, if I want my life to be in a place where I feel good every day, I'm, you know, granted, I'm still a human being and life is still life, but like the alcohol was not helping. And I think once you get to that point, and it has to come from within, like I can tell you all the science about how dangerous alcohol is and you know all of the information.

I can drown you with information. But until you have that, I must inside, you know?

Melanie Branch: Yeah.

Jennifer Salzman: I can't convince you otherwise, but Yeah.

Melanie Branch: Yeah. Oh, I get it. I, uh, was a cigarette smoker for a very long time. Very long time. And an avid smoker. I loved every minute of it, and I now look back on it and go, Oh, it's cuz you're autistic and you needed time away from people and the only time you could get time away from people is when you got to go smoke outside of the restaurant or go smoke outside of the party or go do this.

And it was a self-regulation tool.

Jennifer Salzman: Yep, absolutely.

Melanie Branch: Obviously. Uh, but I didn't quit until my mom got diagnosed with stage four head and neck cancer and I went. Oh, it really does happen, huh? We are not invincible. Um, so yeah, really understand. And like you said, it comes from within just realizing this doesn't serve me anymore, but what nobody under, what people don't get is that moment doesn't also come with the tools and the strategies and the systems to stop drinking.

Jennifer Salzman: Exactly. And that's, that's where I come in. I mean, I didn't realize that there were alternatives to like AA and that, or rehab or whatever. I didn't know that I could talk to somebody and I was so ashamed too. I'm like, I have this drinking problem. I don't wanna tell anybody, you know, who, who are my, where are my people?

I'm not going to a meeting, I'm not...

Melanie Branch: mm-hmm.

Jennifer Salzman: Declaring to the world that I'm an alcoholic. Cuz I don't believe that to be true. I don't think that like, This is a problem I'm gonna have forever. This is something that I want to change, but I don't know how. And so I'm frantically looking online like, you know, what do sober people do for fun?

Who can I talk to and ...

Melanie Branch: google help.

Jennifer Salzman: Yeah. And I learned that there's a, there are many alternatives to help you change your relationship with alcohol. And I mean, that's what I do. It's like no labels. No judgment and no willpower. I mean, willpower doesn't even work for very long because it's a muscle. Right.

And especially for those of us who are neuro-spicy, it's like, you know, those muscles get tired and we get....

Melanie Branch: yeah.

Jennifer Salzman: Then we, you know, we'll give up and we'll drink and then we're mad at ourselves and then it's the whole cycle all over again. So it's just the biggest part of what I do is to really

challenge your subconscious beliefs that you don't even realize are there, like the sky is blue, but realize that you can reframe some of those thoughts, you can reframe those beliefs because most of 'em probably weren't even yours to begin with. There's something that your mom said to you when you were five years old and you took it as fact, and now you're, you know, a grownup and you're just like, well, that's just the way life is.

Well, nah. Actually it's not. You can ask yourself, is that really true? And how does it make me feel? If I believe that's true, and if I feel this way, then how does it make me behave? You can, you know, we all have this neuroplasticity. We can change the way we think no matter what kind of condition we have.

Even with ADHD, you know, we can really train our brains to think differently, to manage the way we behave in the world differently, so.

Melanie Branch: Absolutely, absolutely. So before we hit the lightning round of fun, ADHD related questions, I'm going to ask you to tell, um, the audience, how they can find you, how they can work with you, uh, what programs you have coming up, that sort of stuff.

So plug your spot.

Jennifer Salzman: Plug plug. So, um, you can find me on social media rebelwithoutadrink.com. Um, and the name of my coaching program is called the Rebel Reboot. It's a six week program that helps you really come up with healthier coping strategies if you're using alcohol to self-medicate and you're just tired of it.

Um, it's a small program where you have support where you can help, like create this user's manual for your ADHD brain and find the tools that work best for you. Cuz people, different people have different strengths and different things that they like to do, but it's mindfulness based and you know, we learn how to meditate, but that doesn't mean necessarily sitting in silence for 10 minutes and like pretending that we have no thoughts.

It can be, you know, mindful walking or um, mindful bathing or, you know, things like that. So that is also called, if you go to my website, it's called rebelwithoutadrink.com. And you can find out more information about the program.

The next one doesn't start until, um, May 15th. Um, but in the meantime, I am doing a free webinar on May 2nd. And so if you go to my TikTok or Instagram, the link in my bio, you can find all of the links for me. But rebelwithoutadrink.com.

Melanie Branch: Rebel without a Drink. We love it. All right. Are you ready for the ADHD lightning round?

Jennifer Salzman: I think so.

Melanie Branch: These are just fun questions, but we want you to not overthink them because nobody is judging you here. This is how we can all connect and see the normalcy that is a spicy pepper brain. So first and foremost, what is your favorite social media platform?

Jennifer Salzman: TikTok.

Melanie Branch: Good. That's the only right answer here.

I know I said there's no right answers, but that's the only right answer here. Um, what is the most recent rabbit hole you've gone down?

Jennifer Salzman: Oh boy, that's a tough one. Well, I mean, I would say the ADHD alcohol Rabbit Hole has gotten me pretty deep into some, well, first of all, learning about how many people this affects, but also just like.

Realizing how little information there is and how deeply I had to dig to find it. So, but that's sort of been my mission these days, is to just like gather all the information I can about the link between the two. And, um, you know, the, the truth is some of the mindfulness exercises for, um, avoiding relapse and the mindfulness, mindfulness exercising, I can't even speak.

Mindfulness exercises for managing ADHD are the same.

Melanie Branch: Yeah.

Jennifer Salzman: So.

Melanie Branch: Yeah, autopilot is, uh, is great and all, but not something we wanna be operating on all the time. What is your emotional support show?

Jennifer Salzman: SVU.

Melanie Branch: Ah, okay. Olivia Benson. Do you prefer older or newer or anything like that?

Jennifer Salzman: Older, generally speaking, but like whenever I just wanna veg out and like, yeah, it's like, Supportive.

I just, I love watching SVU, even if I've seen it a gazillion times before, I just,

Melanie Branch: oh yeah. That makes it even better.

Jennifer Salzman: Yeah.

Melanie Branch: Um, have you consumed any water today?

Jennifer Salzman: I have.

Melanie Branch: That is not a very fancy emotional support cup, I'll say that.

Jennifer Salzman: No, it's not. It is a glass of water. Um, I would say this is my second class.

Melanie Branch: So you win because none of us ever feel like we can drink water out of something that boring. This cup used to be really fun. But all my pictures have faded, so I have new pictures coming obviously.

Jennifer Salzman: Yeah, my birthday's coming up, so I should ask for a,

Melanie Branch: when's your birthday?

Jennifer Salzman: It's next Saturday.

Melanie Branch: April what?

Jennifer Salzman: 15th.

Melanie Branch: Oh, my son's birthday is April 16th and mine is April 30th.

Jennifer Salzman: Oh, are you in Aries?

Melanie Branch: No, I'm a Taurus.

Jennifer Salzman: Oh, okay.

Melanie Branch: But I like Aries. Do you know your moon sign?

Jennifer Salzman: I don't.

Melanie Branch: We'll talk about it after the show.

Jennifer Salzman: Okay.

Melanie Branch: All right. And the last one, what is your current dopamine snack?

Jennifer Salzman: My current dopamine snack. Okay, this is gonna sound really weird, but, um.

Melanie Branch: The weirder the better.

Jennifer Salzman: So I have again, gotten into the habit of planning my meals like early in the week so that I don't freak out.

Cuz I tend to allow myself to get super hungry. Like, I forget that I'm hungry until I wanna kill somebody.

Melanie Branch: Yeah.

Jennifer Salzman: Um, so I make like breaded chicken. And so I have like cooked chicken in my fridge at all times. And when I'm feeling like crazy and hungry and I, I grab a piece of chicken and I eat it like a little chicken tender.

Melanie Branch: I'd love a chicken. Well, I don't eat 'em anymore cause I don't eat meat. But chicken tendies are life.

Jennifer Salzman: Yeah. And they're like, you know, and I made them, they're, they're not like, you know, from a, they're not processed, they're like chicken that I made bread and chicken, but I have like, you know, I'll make like eight of 'em for the week.

And so I can just eat a piece of chicken whenever I'm...

Melanie Branch: oh, I love that. That sounds like ideal self-care.

Jennifer Salzman: Mm-hmm.

Melanie Branch: Hell yeah. Now, since you are a trailblazer in your own right, what message would you like to send to other neuro-spicy entrepreneurs out there?

Jennifer Salzman: Um, to not give up because I can't tell you how many, I mean, I'm sure.

You know, as a neuro-spicy person, like we get really excited about stuff and we, you know, we fantasize about the outcome before we actually have a system in place to make it happen. If you can visualize the end, make sure that, you know, you understand that in order to, you can get there. But it doesn't happen in a week.

It doesn't happen in a month. It doesn't happen in a year. It happens over daily, you know, systems that you create and to, and some days if you're like, I'm never gonna be able to do this. You know, who am I kidding? I wanna give up. And I've had plenty of days like that, but to just, again, it's the mindfulness to step back and say, I can do it, and some days are not gonna feel fun.

But if I want to get to that end, if I see where I wanna be, I can get there and to just be patient and to have self, have self-compassion, and that if things don't work, pivot, you know, there are different ways to do things and so if you're set on doing it a certain way, allow yourself to, you know, question it and pivot and, you know, some days are, are not gonna be good, but if you're doing what you love and you're doing it for the right reasons, you'll get there.

Melanie Branch: Self-compassion, everybody, coach Jennifer the Rebel without a drink. I wanna thank you so much for being here on My Trailblazers Rising podcast, and with that we will stop the recording.

Jennifer Salzman: Thank you.
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As a magical speaker, author, and coach, I'm on a mission to help women unlock their full potential, embrace their neurodivergent superpowers, and create a life that sparkles with magic. With years of experience navigating the business world as a neurodivergent entrepreneur, I know firsthand the challenges that can arise when trying to manage burnout, imposter syndrome, and overwhelm.

As an event manager or podcast host, I understand that you're looking for speakers who not only have the authority and experience to provide value to your audience, but also the empathy and understanding to meet them where they are. That's why I'm here to offer my practical, holistic approach to self-care and success, as well as my passion for creating transformational experiences that leave your audience feeling inspired, empowered, and ready to take action.

Let's work together to create a magical event or podcast episode that your audience will never forget!

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