Best-Selling Author Gabby Bernstein on Escaping Work Addiction and Drug Addiction to Prioritize Self-Care

‘I really detoured into the belief systems that my success, my happiness and my self worth were going to be found outside of myself.’

Nicholas Ciofalo for iHeartRadio



On the latest episode of The Thrive Global Podcast with iHeartRadio, Thrive Global founder and CEO Arianna Huffington sat down with motivational writer, international speaker and author Gabby Bernstein to talk about everything from spirituality, meditation and self doubt to her phone habits, social media and finding happiness.

In her 20s, Bernstein founded a PR company and said she was working nonstop. In a Thrive Global video series called Turning Points about wake-up calls, Bernstein said that during this time she became addicted to drugs and was “spiritually and emotionally bankrupt.” Though Bernstein grew up with a “spiritual foundation,” as she told Huffington, she found herself falling away from that centered place during these years.

“We know that when we look outside, we will always fall short,” she told Huffington. “But that search was constant, and, ultimately, when you don't find it somewhere you look for it somewhere else. And eventually that search turned into a very dark drug addiction.”

“I really detoured into the belief systems that my success, my happiness and my self worth were going to be found outside of myself,” she said. “I was looking for my credentials in my access to nightclubs or in a romantic relationship or in a pair of shoes.”

She also became addicted to her work. “One of the ways that I was anesthetizing was to work, work, work, work, work,” she said, adding that she liked her job and found it fulfilling. Plus, she was drawn to the praise she got for her work ethic, even though she was doing serious damage to her health and well-being. “I was so celebrated,” she told Huffington. “Somebody wouldn’t be celebrating you if you were doing drugs all day long, but it was equally as addictive.”

Bernstein has now been sober for 12 years. She told Huffington she’s also in recovery from her work addiction and prioritizes self-care. Her self-care routine includes long baths and spending time in infrared saunas, but it’s also about protecting her time. She told Huffington she’s “unapologetic about taking a walk, or just cooking for two hours and turning off my phone.” Her new priorities also include sleep: “I’m not one of those people that can just get a few hours or five hours, I need eight hours, or a good solid consistent sleep. I take it very seriously.” 

To hear the full conversation, click here.

You can also listen to the Thrive Global Podcast internationally for free on iTunes and Stitcher.

Advice, Purpose