It's STILL DRYUARY Mini-Series

Surviving the Witching Hour

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DRYUARY Mini-Series


In this episode of the Dry January mini-series, Molly Watts delves into the mindset needed to tackle the challenges of cutting back on alcohol. Sharing her own struggles with daily drinking habits, Watts highlights the difficulty of resisting alcohol during the “witching hour” without proper support or education. She emphasizes the fleeting nature of alcohol’s pleasurable effects and suggests that people may rely on it as their sole source of pleasure, making it hard to reduce consumption. Offering personalized coaching and a new 12-week program, Watts guides listeners in changing their thoughts about alcohol and managing cravings through mindfulness techniques like the “Pause and Ponder” method and intentional breathing exercises, ultimately encouraging them to choose peace over succumbing to urges.

This is the alcohol minimalist podcast. And this is a special series. It’s still dry you Arey. I’m your host, Molly watts. Let’s get started. Hey, hey, welcome back to the it’s still dry you weary audio mini series here on the alcohol minimalist podcast. This week again, I am sharing five daily mini episodes. And the shorter episodes are dedicated to helping you navigate the messy middle of the month and reinvigorate you to stay on track with whatever your dry ish damp, or dry January plans that you have. And you can absolutely make great progress this month. And this week, we’re all about your mindset. Today, we’re tackling something I hear about oh, so often. And it was definitely a sticking point for me when I was stuck in my unbreakable daily drinking habit. It’s probably the thing that kept me really truly from ever committing to dry January back in the day, heck, even a week, alcohol free was unimaginable to me because of the witching hours. I could not imagine making it through the hours of 5pm to 7pm without a drink. Then when I finally did try to start changing my daily drinking habit when I was working on it on my own without really any support or education, I would feel really great in the morning about my intentions, I’d have a plan, I’d put it in place. And by the time the day and 5pm rolled around, I would talk myself out of my plan and convince myself that I was too tired, too stressed, too busy with my life to stick to that plan. The circumstances of my life were just too hard, too much. And alcohol was necessary to help me relax and unwind. I looked forward to my drinks. I wanted something I could enjoy during my day. And I would argue with myself not for the changes that I claimed I truly wanted. But instead I’d argue on behalf of my excuses, and I would pour myself a drink. Does this sound familiar to you? Well, if it does, then this episode is for you. Yesterday, we talked about Breaking the Habit cycle when it comes to your drinking and without question. The witching hours definitely are a part of that habit cycle because they reinforce our habits with time and place. And that is probably in addition to the emotional buffering that’s also happening. The computation of time place and emotional triggers, definitely made my daily drinking habit feel very unbreakable. Now, if you want to survive the witching hour, I have one big question that you need to ask yourself. Are you making alcohol the only pleasant part of your day? I want you to think about that for a minute. Are you making alcohol, the only pleasant part of your day. This is by far and away the most common reason that I see people stumble during the witching hours. As I mentioned, it was definitely what I believed about alcohol for years and why I resisted doing dry weary or any other version of cutting back or reducing my drinking for years. When you focus your attention on alcohol at the end of the day as your opportunity for enjoying yourself after work after taking care of the family after working out after all of your busyness when it seems like alcohol is what’s Delivering Happiness amidst all the work of your life, then is it any wonder that you are having a hard time giving it up? And I get it? I understand believing alcohol is responsible for the good times because I used to think that way too. But here’s what I did not understand. I didn’t understand that alcohol wasn’t capable of creating an emotion for me. relaxing and having fun. It wasn’t the alcohol that did that. It was my thoughts about being off the clock. My thoughts about connecting with people. And sometimes it was just the absence of thoughts, the temporary quieting of my stress inducing thoughts that happened when I started drinking that I mistook for having fun. Here’s why it can be confusing, especially when it comes to alcohol. So many times people tell me that they enjoy the buzz that drinking alcohol is a unique later. And yes, the science of alcohol supports that very initial phase of your blood alcohol content going from zero to 0.55%. That’s when your brain experiences some feelings of euphoria and relaxation. The problem is that the physical sensation of pleasure with alcohol is very fleeting. And as I’ve shared many times on the podcast, you can’t chase it. Because once your blood alcohol content goes above 0.055%, any therapeutic benefit that you may have felt that pleasant Buzz is quickly offset by negative consequences that begin to outweigh those initial pleasant neural chemicals. For most women, that’s going to mean anything more than one, potentially two drinks. And then you’re going to be beyond any therapeutic benefit for men, mostly two drinks, potentially up to three. And more importantly, even though there might be a limited pleasurable or relaxing sensation in the brain, this isn’t the same thing as the emotion of happiness or calmness or contentedness. Those emotions that we’re really wanting to feel are only created by one thing, your thoughts. If you want to feel better at 5pm, you need to start managing your mind from 8am to 5pm. We get to choose the narrative of our lives. If you want to feel less stressed out, you need to focus your brain on a part of the story that helps you feel grateful. And I need to tell you, it’s there. There is always, always, always something to be thankful for. Our lives are all about our perspective. And if you feel stuck in a crappy story, well, you’re the one writing it. I say it all the time, I used to be the most dramatic person I knew. I literally thought that the fact that I had a 100% commission job equated to me having a stressful life, I would have looked at you when you said well, I would have said well, I have a I’m 100% Commission salesperson, obviously I’m stressed out like, Don’t you get it. I honestly did not understand the agency I had in my own life, to feel differently. I literally thought that it was my job that caused me to be stressed out. And naturally because I couldn’t just up and quit my job, change that circumstance, then there was nothing to be done about it. It was just the way my life was. And so naturally drinking was what I did to leave all that work stress behind. Now, don’t get me wrong, the job had stressful moments. Many jobs do, right. But it was also a lot of fun. It gave me a lot of freedom. It compensated me well. And it allowed me to be creative. I had fun coworkers, I enjoyed working downtown. My Job did not need to change. For me to feel less stressed out what I thought about my job absolutely did. This is the kind of work that I do with people who I work with in changing their relationship with alcohol for the long run. Because it’s not just about changing the action of drinking, we work on changing those underlying thoughts that fuel your desire to drink. As I mentioned yesterday, I have a new 12 week one on one coaching program that is really the result of what people have been asking for. And I’m excited to offer it. And I’ll just let you know that it’s priced very fairly for a high touch direct access coaching opportunity. And you can learn all about the three ways that I work with people over on the website, www dot Molly watts.com/work. With me, again, if you’d rather just have a chat about that if you’d rather just talk to me one on one, then shoot me an email Molly at Molly watts.com. And let’s jump on a call. Now before we wrap up, because I know that changing your thoughts is a skill that’s going to take longer than 31 days of dry you weary I want to offer you a tool for navigating the witching hour during dry January. I call it the PB and J which if you’ve listened to the podcast or you’re in my Facebook group, you’ve probably heard me talk about it’s one of my favorite tools. When you hit the witching hour and you are feeling the urge to drink, I want you to do three things. Now I call it the PB and J and if you it definitely helps me to visualize a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. So if it helps you then do that too. Here’s what it stands for P is pause and ponder. B stands for breathe on purpose. And j stands for just 10 minutes. So P pause and ponder is step one. This is when you’re going to pause your brain and decide which part of your brain is really speaking to you. Is it that lower automatic response brain that we talked about yesterday, who is only concerned with avoiding pain and seeking pleasure or conserving energy? If it is, then you need to slow yourself down and tap into that prefrontal cortex. So you can ponder if the urge to drink you’re experiencing is one that is going to solve whatever emotion it is that you might be feeling. And to is the drink aligned is the strength that you’re wanting, is it aligned with your long term goals? For dry you weary or for having a peaceful relationship with alcohol? The pause is not designed to judge yourself for having an urge in the first place. All right. In fact, you can use the pause to think about that thought that we talked about yesterday that this is just absolutely normal. And it’s my beautiful, brilliant human brain just doing the job that I’ve trained it to do for years. Now, luckily, I can recognize it right. And the problem is, whatever thoughts I’m thinking that are creating this feeling of desire, I’m going to pause and ponder exactly what those thoughts might be. B stands for breathe on purpose. So we got P, we got beat. Once you slow down your process with pause and ponder, you want to be aware of how your body is responding to the urge or craving. When you have an urge. It’s like an itch you want to scratch, you may get restless, your chest tightens your breathing might get y’all your muscles tense up, you want relief from it, right. And this is where step number two comes in. It’s simple and direct. You need to breathe on purpose. So you’ve got this urge. You’re looking at it pondering the thoughts that you’ve had that have led to why you’re feeling it. And now I want you not to fight the urge not white knuckle it not resist it not distract yourself, I instead, I want you to breathe on purpose, I want you to allow the urge to be there. Deep breathing is a powerful tool for releasing physical stress. It’s also wonderful for relieving the tension in the body brought on by an urge or craving. And it’s so simple to do this, simply breathe in for three seconds, and exhale for three seconds. And then repeat that three times. Just notice how much it can calm you down. Now, if three times doesn’t feel like enough than do it, again, I find breathing through my nose, breathing in and out through my mouth to be most successful for me. And hopefully you’ll notice your body is more relaxed. Now I’m not saying that it’s going to be immediate, or that you won’t need to repeat breathing on purpose. But that leads us to our j in the PB and J strategy. And j stands for just 10 minutes. I want you to commit to not drinking for just 10 minutes. And even tell yourself if you still want the drink after 10 minutes you can have it because here’s the thing, when you allow an urge to be there. When you pause and ponder when you breathe on purpose. When you think about it with the higher logical prefrontal cortex, you will probably not have the urge anymore. When you release that tension that builds up with an urge through your own breathing and commit to just 10 minutes 99% of the time the urge goes away. When you feel it, it seems so strong like it’s going to last forever. Of course it feels that way. Because the thoughts you have about the urge. And those thoughts are just like any other thoughts, they’re all optional. Tell yourself it’s okay. It’s just an urge. I don’t have to react to it. Just 10 minutes is the jelly in our peanut butter and jelly sandwich. And because we can all wait for 10 minutes to decide if we really want to do something. If we really want to continue and fuel our drinking habits or if we are going to stick to our dry January plans. The P B and J Okay my friends. That’s it for today. I am back tomorrow and we’ll be talking about when everyone around you is drinking. It feels hard to say no because your partner’s drinking or your friends are drinking. If that’s you, then tomorrow’s episode is for you. Choose peace my friends.