It's STILL DRYUARY Mini-Series

When Everyone Around You is Drinking

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DRYUARY Mini-Series


In this episode of the “It’s Still Dryuary” mini-series, Molly Watts dives into the social pressures that come with Dry January. She discusses the challenges of resisting alcohol temptations during social events and partner’s nightly rituals, highlighting the importance of self-awareness in overcoming drinking habits. Watts explores the fear of missing out (FOMO) and its impact on alcohol consumption, urging listeners to question their beliefs around drinking and take responsibility for their choices. Offering practical advice, Watts suggests setting clear boundaries, coping with negative reactions from friends and family, and communicating priorities for well-being to manage social pressure effectively during Dry January, ultimately encouraging listeners to prepare ahead and stay mindful amidst temptation.

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, sports fans, welcome back to the alcohol minimalist mini series. It’s still dry you weary that made me smile, saying, hey, hey, sports fans, that is something that my dad used to say to me all the time, say hello sports fans. I don’t know why he just he just had that saying, anyway, here you are, we are mid week of mid month of still dry you weary. And here on the podcast, we’re doing these shorter episodes this week, we are helping you navigate the messy middle of the month, and hopefully reinvigorate you to stay on whatever dry ish damp or dry January plan that you have. And it’s all about mindset. And that’s what we’re talking all about this week. Today, let’s talk about the inevitable pressure people feel when they have decided to take a break from drinking, whether it’s for a day, a week, or even a month like this, like dry January, and their friends or their family or their co workers or their significant others aren’t taking a break. Now, for many of us, our social lives seem entirely centered around alcohol, the places we go, the events we attend, the people we hang out with, it seems like alcohol is a part of all of it. Now, maybe it’s not even the gatherings that you’re worried about. Because you’re just kind of steering clear of all of that during January, no worries, but even at home with your partner who is continuing his or her nightly typical rituals of drinking. And I’ve heard it many times from folks. And I definitely used to believe this two people believe that they cannot change their drinking habits because their spouse partner significant other isn’t quote unquote, supportive, which also means that they intend to keep drinking, right? Listen, I totally get this the thoughts I had about what it would be like to not drink when my husband drank, or my friends drink or my family drank kept me stuck in my habit for years. Did you hear what I said there, because it’s really important distinction. The circumstance that my husband, friends or family were choosing to drink on any occasion that were not the cause of me drinking or not drinking, it was actually my own thinking about those circumstances. That was the problem. And it’s yours too, if you’re feeling anxious, worried are tempted when other people drink around you. Now, let me just tell you right now, my friends, you’ve got to quit waiting for everyone else to change, whether it’s for this month of dry you weary or for the rest of your life, stop giving your power to transform your life away to others. Whether or not my husband chooses to drink is his choice. And it has absolutely nothing to do with my own choices. I have now multiple multiple times that are examples of times that he chooses to have a couple of beers and I do not. It means nothing. It does not mean that he’s not supportive, it does not mean that he is trying to tempt me. It does not mean anything that I don’t choose to make it mean. This concern by the way for people for what other people are doing or not doing, it is totally normal. By the way, the fear about what other people think, is actually rooted in another survival instinct in our primitive lower brains. Our lower brains evolved to associate our emotions with necessary actions for the survival of our species. And generally speaking, this means avoiding pain seeking pleasure. For our archaic ancestors, Neanderthal type people, being a member of the tribe was literally a matter of life and death. And as humans continue to evolve, we have become more and more socially connected. Mammals are more socially connected the reptiles primates are more than other mammals. And humans are more than other primates. And what this suggests is that becoming more socially connected is actually essential to our survival. In a sense, evolution has made bets at each step of the way, that the best way to make us successful is for us to become more social. Now, here’s the thing. We’re no longer living in a primitive world, right? So living in a tribe isn’t necessary for day to day life over death circumstances. But that doesn’t mean that being connected to people isn’t still fundamentally important and still evolutionary apart. To have our brains unnecessary for humans Absolutely. Unfortunately, we’ve kind of swung like a pendulum in the other direction, and a lot of FOMO type behavior. So Fear Of Missing Out is what’s fueling the thought process around what other people think. Our obsession and nonstop consumption of social media has created really an unrealistic scale. At a glance, we can access millions of people living lives very different from ours. And then we often compare ourselves unfavorably. We make comparisons instinctively and without any thought. And our assessments are colored by a fear of loss, rather than to a desire to approach that which we really value. Humans have a very natural loss aversion bias, which means that we focus on what we might lose, rather than what we might gain. And with alcohol when I ask people what’s stopping them from changing their drinking habits, a lot of people bring up these type of FOMO type fears. I’m scared of what people will think of Me I’m Scared how my relationships will change. The belief that drinking alcohol defines who you are with your partner with your friends with your family needs to be one of the first places that you question your thinking. If you think that way, you are going to be prone to FOMO to the fear of missing out, or you might resent your partner for not joining you in dry January. Your thoughts, create your feelings that lead to your actions that get the results that you have in your life. Your spouse, your friends and your family. Don’t make you feel anything. They don’t lead you to drink or not to drink. It’s always what you make it mean if you’re not drinking and someone else is. When I successfully changed my relationship with alcohol, I took full responsibility with my choices. And I allowed myself to believe that hanging out with my friends didn’t mean that drinking was necessary for me. I allowed myself to believe that my husband can choose to drink a beer and I don’t have to join him. I don’t make it anything about my own choices. What I’m going to do, I don’t make his choices mean anything about that. His choices are his own and they don’t mean anything about what I do or don’t do. Some tips on communicating with people around you as you navigate this month and especially if you choose to continue on with this work and become an alcohol minimalist for life. Now these tips come from my partners over at Sunnyside. If you’ve listened to the podcast prior to this week or month, you know that I highly recommend the mindful drinking app Sunnyside. I choose to partner with Sunnyside specifically because like me, they know the value in reducing alcohol in your life without the pressure to quit completely. They are focused on mindful drinking and all the benefits that minimizing alcohol in our lives can bring. They have a great blog full of lots of really wonderful information. And some of these tips came from that blog, you can check out the blog@www.sunnyside.co and if you visit www.sunnyside.co/molly You can get started on a free 15 day trial today, which would be a perfect tool to help you stay on track for the rest of your damp dry wash or dry January plans. They are definitely dry it January over it Sunnyside so it’s a great opportunity to check it out. Now here’s what Sunnyside suggests to do when everyone around you is still drinking, right, which is kind of what we’re talking about what this episode is all about when everyone around you is drinking. First, remember that it’s a process. So it’s not always going to feel comfortable or easy, right? Especially if everybody is and you’re not that’s okay. It’s okay that it feels hard. You can allow it to be feeling hard and still do it. And you still have to set strong boundaries and stay true to yourself, even when surrounded by pressure and temptation to fall back into old habits. It also means keeping a clear reminder in your head of why you’ve decided to do this mindful drinking plan or this dry January. For example, is it to work toward repairing your relationship with someone you love? If so, then really remind yourself about that. What about dedicating more time to improving your career or financial situation? Is that a reason that you’ve decided to create a more peaceful relationship with alcohol? Or maybe it’s because your physical or mental health is suffering? You really want to see if reducing or eliminating alcohol for the month is going to help you feel better. Whatever it is, keep your why at the top of your mind, make a mental image, repeat, find a thought I share all the time that one of my, I don’t know if you’d call it a mantra, but a thought that I continually focused on when I was first working on changing my relationship with alcohol was simple it was I’m learning to become someone who desires alcohol less, find something that works for you, and keep repeating it. Work on self compassion. And you know, it’s gonna make it easier for you and give you strength. And especially if you have some Off Plan drinking days, right? It’s one of the biggest keys to becoming more mindful, is talking to yourself in a more compassionate way. With that in mind, and here’s the thing, you’re gonna probably come up against some obstacles, potentially some people, some friends that may not be completely and totally what in your mind supportive of your decision, they may seem indifferent or respond in a negative way, you’re drinking less might be a reminder to some people that are over drinking still, that they are consuming unhealthy amounts of alcohol, it may stir up anxiety for them, if they can, if they feel uncomfortable about socializing in a, you know, without alcohol, right. Or they may simply just want you to partake, because they associate having more fun together with drinking. And again, that’s their own thoughts about it. But that may be why they say what they say. Just knowing a few possible reactions ahead of time thinking about it will help that you’re not taken by surprise and that you’re able to cope. So some friends may be nagging, some friends may be teasing, some may be cajoling, there may be peer pressure. And some people somebody might confront you, right? Like, why aren’t you doing it. And all of this with these in mind, I want you to prepare yourself ahead of time with the way you might respond. So these are some tips. Again, these are some actual lines, and you’re gonna have to tweak them some thoughts that they might, you know, some words that you might use. And but I think it’s important to pre think about it to think about what you could say to people, right, so one thing is just being very direct, please stop pressuring me to drink. I’m happy with the amount I have. I love that. It’s just very succinct. Please stop pressuring me. Another one. I know you enjoy drinking and want me to join you. But I need you to understand that I’m choosing not to right now. That a third one, simply, I’ve just I’m choosing not to thank you. Number four, it would help me out a lot. And it would make it easier for me if you would not pressure me. So please support me on this. That’s again, a really direct way of saying it. But I like it. Number five, another example, I understand you want me to drink with you. But that’s not what I need right now. I like that to another one. When you pressure me to drink after I’ve told you that I don’t want to, it makes me feel like you don’t support or respect me. It’s a very direct ways of communicating here. But I love it. Another one. I’ve set boundaries on alcohol right now. And it’s important to me that you honor my decision. If you can’t, then maybe it’s better for us just to not hang out this month. Another one, why can’t we just enjoy each other’s company without alcohol. I love that to another one. I appreciate our friendship, but you pressuring me to drink is creating a strain. I need you to respect me and please not the last one, my well being is my priority. So I’m not going to give in to any pressure to drink this month. This is what I’m doing. These are all just examples. Whether or not you use any of them, and whether or not anybody’s really bugging you, or I know dry you where he has become so much more socially acceptable. You know, a lot of times you’re not even getting this kind of negative type of obstacle pressure. But if you are anticipating it, and even if it doesn’t happen, you might want to have these conversations with yourself ahead of time so that you’re prepared and that you’re ready and that you feel, again, focus your thoughts. My well being is my priority. And I’m taking a month off of drinking. Remind yourself what you’re doing and keep those thoughts at top of mind because it’s our thoughts that create our feelings and when we feel confident when we feel secure when we feel motivated. We’re going to take better actions. We’re not going to have as many off planned drinking days, and we’re going to get the results of having a mostly out alcohol free month, or a mostly alcohol free life. The takeaways from our conversation today so number one, whether or not people around you are drinking it is your job to manage your mind and what you make that mean. Number two, be prepared ahead of time with how you’ll handle it when people who might become obstacles to your goals for dry January, how are you going to handle it ahead of time, then what could you be prepared to say? As a reminder, if you’re finding this week’s episodes helpful, and you’d like to extend this work into sustainable change, that’s what I help people do. You can learn about the three ways I work with people over on my website. It’s www dot Molly watts.com/work with me, or if you just want to shoot me an email Molly at Molly watts.com. Let’s jump on a call to talk about what might work best for you. Alright, that’s all I have for you this time, my friends. Tomorrow we’re talking about what to do. If you’ve drank Off Plan already during dry weary and how you can still feel like you’re succeeding. Hint, hint. It’s all about your mindset.