EP #104

Reflecting on 2022: Learning from Success and Challenges

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In this episode of the Alcohol Minimalist podcast, Molly provides valuable free resources, including the Low Alcohol No Alcohol Mocktail Guide 2.0, and encourages listeners to explore and utilize them during the holidays. Reflecting on the challenges of the past year, she divides the reflection into tactical or physical steps, such as creating doable drink plans, and mental strategies, focusing on managing one’s mind. Watts delves into the importance of sleep hygiene, hydration, and mindful drinking practices, emphasizing Sunnyside’s role in supporting individuals on their journey. She encourages self-advocacy, introspection, and the use of the behavior map results cycle for personal growth. Watts concludes by urging listeners to embrace both successes and challenges, fostering hope for positive transformations in their relationship with alcohol in the coming year.

Hey, it’s Molly from alcohol minimalist. What do you do in this October? I would love to have you join me in my more sober October challenge. What do I mean by more sober October, it simply means that we’re going to add in more alcohol free days than you currently been doing, whether that’s one or two or 31. It’s up to you, you get to set your own goal and that’s why it’s more sober October. You can check it out and learn more at get got sunnyside.co/molly It’s totally free. I’ve got grises I’m going to be going live every week to announce the prize winners. And it’s just going to be an awesome event. So I would love to have you join me. You can learn more at get.sunnyside.co/molly and you can get registered today. Welcome to the alcohol minimalist podcast. I’m your host Molly watts. If you want to change your drinking habits and create a peaceful relationship with alcohol, you’re in the right place. This podcast explores the strategies I use to overcome a lifetime of family alcohol abuse, more than 30 years of anxiety and worry about my own drinking, and what felt like an unbreakable daily drinking habit. Becoming an alcohol minimalist means removing excess alcohol from your life. So it doesn’t remove you from life. It means being able to take alcohol or leave it without feeling deprived. It means to live peacefully, being able to enjoy a glass of wine without feeling guilty and without needing to finish the bottle. With Science on our side will shatter your past patterns and eliminate your excuses. Changing your relationship with alcohol is possible. I’m here to help you do it. Let’s start now. Well hello and welcome or welcome back to the alcohol minimalist podcast with me your host Molly Watts coming to you from the absolutely soggy wet. Totally torrentially downpouring, Oregon for the last like 48 hours. I don’t know we came out of Christmas. And it’s just been rainy. But really truly like the last two days just nonstop rain. I guess what can I expect, right? I do live in Oregon. Well, hello. And hopefully you can tell my voice has recovered back to its normal, pretty much normal. I still feel a little bit, I don’t know, a little bit of lingering congestion in my chest. But I think my voice is going to make it through this whole podcast episode. And so I’m excited and happy about that. This episode is is a little different. I’m calling this reflecting on 2022 learning from success and challenge. And before we get there, I do want to say that I have a prize winner this week. If you would like to be included in the prize drawing, all you got to do is leave a review of the podcast wherever you listen to it. And or leave a review of the book. Breaking the bottle legacy this winter is actually someone who left a review of the book. This is Kate. And so Kate, if you left a review of breaking the bottle legacy on Amazon, please reach out to me Molly at Molly watts.com. If your name is Kate, that’s all I have. And she says best book I’ve read on this topic, Molly Watts does a stellar job at offering another way to tackle the habitual patterns we fall into. I initially started reading it to gain insight on the alcohol minimalist lifestyle. However, I quickly learned that the tool she uses can be applied to all areas of life. Breaking the bottle legacy is the perfect blend of science and compassion and offers a different approach to watch so much of our society struggles with drinking habits that interfere with living a joyful life on your own terms. Wow Kate, thank you so much for sharing that review. And again, if you would just email me Molly at Molly watts.com. I will send you out some alcohol, minimalist swag. All right. I want to remind you all that there are a lot of free resources available to you from myself from alcohol minimalist. And if you go over to the website, www dot Molly watts.com. You can find a number of them you can find on the resources page you can find my ebook alcohol truce, how much is safe that is totally free. You can right now during the holidays still before we get out of New Year’s Eve you can find the low alcohol no alcohol mocktail guy aid 2.0, which was revised with Adrian Stillman Krause from the dry goods bed beverage company this year, that’s completely free. You can find audio chapters, two samples of audio chapters of my book on the website as well, those are completely free. You can always go to Facebook and look in groups for the alcohol, minimalist Facebook group that is a free resource for support. And of course, this podcast, there are now more than 100 episodes. So go back, read, listen, these are all real resources available to you to help support you in creating a peaceful relationship with alcohol. And I always want you to be mindful of that just how you can support yourself, right? Be your own advocate, have your own back in this process and really look for things that help you make better choices and create that that relationship that you want to have. All right, and at the end of this episode, I’ve got some information on step one. So if you’re interested in that, please stick around Registration closes on January 5, but more about that at the end. Here we go. The last episode of 2022. I remember at the beginning of the year, I was so excited. I in fact shared on one of the first podcasts in January that 22 is actually my favorite number. As I explained it was the number on my sports teams in Junior High in high school, my sport might you know the number I chose it, my birthday is 1111. So together, it’s 22. And I’m not a Numerology type person. But 22 is just always been a happy number for me. So hey, I was really ready. I was going with it for 2022. And I was really excited to make 2022 a great year. Now, truth be told, my immediate reaction to the idea of 2022 being a great year is No it wasn’t. My brain instantly wants to focus on some personal circumstances that were out of my control, an unplanned and semi emergent surgery over Labor Day. Of course, my father’s passing on Thanksgiving, and some events in my children’s lives that really I could write a narrative about this year. That leaves me feeling discouraged, sad, and even apprehensive about the future. And here’s the thing, that story wouldn’t be a lie. It wouldn’t be untrue. But it also wouldn’t be the whole truth. And it isn’t a narrative that helps me create the feelings I want to have about 2022. So this work that I do to be an alcohol minimalist, I kind of see as falling under two umbrellas. The first part is tactical, or physical, if you want to say it includes things like creating doable drink plans. Now as a reminder, a doable drink plan means that in the beginning, I was meeting myself where I was at, I didn’t start where I am now, I built on my successes, and I proved to myself that I could make plans ahead of time for how I wanted to include alcohol in my life, I could use science to guide those decisions. And by making those plans ahead of time with my logical prefrontal cortex, repeatedly and consistently, I began to rewire my brains association with alcohol out of the lower brain and away from the reward center. Now I maintain that planning ahead for alcohol is something that most of us who are currently overusing alcohol, don’t do. It’s a simple idea. But it’s also extremely important. And instead of planning most of us allow our alcohol use to be driven by our lower brains. And that motivational triad that governs the lower brain. That motivational triad is seeking pleasure, avoiding pain, and conserving energy. Those are the three things that the lower brain is focused on. And by simply committing to making a plan ahead of time, we start to rewire the habit and bring the decision into the conscious part of our brains, not that lower unconscious brain that is motivated by the motivational triad. Now, the conscious part of my brain loves science, which is why educating myself on the science of alcohol is another tactical part of my work. Science helped me understand how alcohol impacted my neuro chemistry. And it helped Mi unwind some of the beliefs I had about what alcohol was actually providing in my life. I genuinely believed that drinking helped me relax and de stress. I believed that I needed to drink after work to escape the stress of my job, that commute and my life in general, in the physical practice, so that’s something that I I needed to unwind. And science helped me learning the science and being intentional about educating myself on the science really helped me to challenge those long standing beliefs. Another part of the physical practice of being an alcohol minimalist, I’ve also come to appreciate and understand is that drinking water and staying hydrated is super important. And this is just one of those elements that I hadn’t even considered as important in terms of minimizing alcohol. But I’ll tell you, when you are thirsty, and regardless of the fact that alcohol is dehydrating, which many of us know, it can derail your drink plans just as much as it can impact your diet if you’re not drinking, or if you’re not hydrated. It’s just one of those basic self care tenants that we need to pay attention to. We need to stay hydrated. Now, I’m not going to make any recommendations on numbers of ounces because honestly, it varies. You can do the math yourself just by paying attention to your urine, right? Pay attention to your pee. If you’re drinking enough, then your urine will be a very pale yellow, almost clear. And yes, drinking tea and coffee counts. So again, just listen to your body. My point is that’s another physical tactical strategy that I have become disciplined about and aware of in terms of creating my relationship, my peaceful relationship with alcohol. One more physical practice that I can’t understate is a dedicated emphasis on sleep hygiene. Now the basic concept of sleep hygiene is that your environment in your habits can be optimized to improve your sleep health, and therefore your physical and mental well being. sleep hygiene is the term used to describe all the day to day things that you can do, which make your sleep better or worse. The impact on sleep from alcohol is something that I’ve talked about many times on the podcasts and it’s a it was a huge benefit of changing my daily drinking habit that I had for decades. Reducing alcohol improves overall sleep quality, and sleep is so important for brain health and overall well being that you need to support it in a very intentional way. So alcohol notwithstanding, sleep hygiene is super important. Tips for sleep good sleep hygiene include being consistent going to bed at the same time each night and getting up at the same time each morning, including on the weekends. Making sure your bedroom is dark, quiet, relaxing and a comfortable temperature. Remove electronic devices such as TVs computers and smartphones from the bedroom. Avoid large meals and caffeine before bedtime. Also alcohol and get some exercise being physically active during the day can help you fall asleep more easily at night. These are simple things right. Hey everyone, just a quick break to talk with you about sunny side. Now you’ve heard me mentioned Sunny Side many times before you’ve heard me talk with Nick and Ian, the founders of Sunnyside and I just want to share with you why I am so passionate about this company. They are way more than just a drink tracking app. They are really about helping people create a mindful relationship with alcohol and they stand for a life that is about having more, not less. Right. There are more rested mornings more days when you’re feeling your absolute best when you have more energy and positivity. Sunnyside is not there to tell you to never go out to never drink but they are there to help you enjoy your life and to wake up and be ready to be your shining best. It is not an all or nothing approach. It is friendly. It is approachable, and it is absolutely judgment free. They want to be a solution that fits into your unique lifestyle. And I think that’s exactly what they’ve created. You can register for a free 15 day trial. Go to www.sunnyside.co/minimalist to get started. That’s www.sunnyside.co/minimalist to try Sunnyside today I’m just breaking this down in terms of the the work I do as an alcohol minimalist, right and looking at it from a tactical perspective. Right now I’m getting I’m getting to the whole story, I promise what this has to do with reviewing and reflecting on 2022. But right now, just understand that there’s tactical, right? There’s physical tactical strategies that I employ as being an alcohol minimalist. Now, the second umbrella, if you if you think of the first umbrella being these tactical physical strategies, the second umbrella is building and fortifying my emotional resilience. And this is the work I call the behavior map results cycle. The BMRC explains everything we do, or don’t do in our lives. And learning how to become a better thinker is at the heart of becoming more emotionally resilient. Back to 22, as I mentioned, my brain wanted the first story it told about 2020, to deplete to be focused on some unexpected life events that were very disruptive. Those events, the circumstances happened, and independent of my thoughts, the circumstances are actually neutral. Now, they didn’t feel neutral. And even as I was choosing the word disruptive to to, to collectively describe them. That’s a subjective idea, right? Because that’s the impact they had on my life. Yet, in the context of the BMRC, all circumstances, all life events are neutral. Now, trust me, this is a hard one for my brain to wrap itself around, especially when it comes to something like my dad’s passing. It doesn’t feel neutral at all. I have felt incredible sadness. And simply put, it seems pretty obvious. It’s because he’s no longer here, right? The circumstance, circumstance is why I am incredibly sad. But of course, life isn’t simple. And there is another narrative available to me regarding my dad’s passing, that helps me feel less sad. Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to avoid the sad feelings. But again, the whole truth, the full story of my dad’s passing isn’t all sad. I have thoughts I can choose to focus on that helped me feel grateful. Even in one of the hardest life events I’ve experienced, I have an opportunity to practice being a better thinker, and to build my emotional resilience. Now, I wanted to share this episode this week, because I want all of us to spend a few minutes reflecting on 2022. And I want it to do it with the eyes of scientists and researchers, not the views of a judge and jury. I want you to watch your brain in action and see where it goes first does it want to do like I did doesn’t want to say from the get go? It was a terrible, you know, it wasn’t a great year, right? If that’s the case, I want you to work on telling the whole truth, the full story. There are a lot of us who are coming out of to the end of 2022 and feeling disappointed, discouraged and frustrated by our lack of progress. Whether it’s your relationship with alcohol or another area of your life that you’d like to improve, I want you to look at it from the same two umbrellas that I’ve shared with you the tactical physical steps, and how you’ve managed your mind with respect to that goal. Now, since this is the alcohol minimalist podcast, I’ll share what this reflection might look like for you if you’re working on your relationship with alcohol for me as well. Remember, success leaves clues. When you reflect on things that you are proud of what brought you some success, you can learn for decisions that you need to make next. And of course, you can also learn from the challenges. This isn’t about judgment and wishing that things had been different. This is recognizing what didn’t work and deciding to learn from it. And how you will show up differently moving forward. We’re getting clinical and recording the data. This is what I did. This is the result I got. The key is to be transparent with yourself. We cannot change what we cannot see. Be willing to look at the whole story. If you look for successes, you can find them I promise. The lessons are there too. And with bow If I just want you to observe them with regards to tactical physical practices, in terms of creating a peaceful relationship with alcohol, ask yourself, are you consistently making doable plans? Number two, are you tracking your drinks? Do you measure your pores? And do you account for alcohol by volume? Number three? Are you reflecting and recovering when you have Off Plan? Drinking days? Number four, are you staying hydrated? Are you drinking enough water or water based drinks? Like tea or coffee each day? Number five, are you committed to good sleep hygiene? And are you prioritizing it in your daily life? For each of those questions, I would love for you to identify a success that you experienced with each of those tactics. So if when I say are you consistently making doable plans if your automatic answer is No, sure not? Well, if you’re not always making plans, do you make plans half the time? Or did you make a plan at least once for a specific event where you are concerned about the possibility of over drinking? Have you planned in alcohol free days, when you used to have none? With that successful experience, whatever it is identified, ask yourself, What did you like about that decision? What did you have to think in order to make that decision? What were your thoughts when you made that decision? And why are you grateful for making that decision? On the flip side, there are lessons to be learned to, again, this isn’t an opportunity to beat yourself down. The fact that you are here listening to this podcast and committing to a reflection exercise, you did that right you committed? It means that you are ready to find the lesson and use it moving forward. What lessons did you learn when it comes to the tactical practices of creating a peaceful relationship with alcohol? Now, for me, I can tell you that I learned to this last year. You’ve heard me talk about him, I think, probably in the podcast earlier this year. But even if I’m what I’ll share is, I’ve learned that even if I’m technically sticking to low risk limits, I need my alcohol free days. And I feel best when I have like three in a row. In fact, I’ve also come to realize that if I string together three or more days back to back drinking, even if it’s not over drinking, quote unquote, I’m going to feel a rebound anxiety that I don’t like at all. And I’ve become very aware of that. And that’s a lesson I learned this last year. In my small group, we discussed this one quite a bit. It’s the decision to have the third drink. That seems to be very derailing. For most of us. Loads of low risk limits for women say no more than three drinks in any one event is what’s not to be not considered a binge. So for drinks or more would be considered a binge for women. But the third drink seems to be the tipping point for for most people for most women in terms of either leading to overdrinking over eating, or for me experiencing the negative consequences of a higher blood alcohol content that I don’t like, like poor sleep, anxiety, increased blood pressure, etc. Right? So we kind of narrowed it down to and really I have come to a point where it’s like that third drink, I know is a decision that I most likely won’t appreciate on the backside. It’s not worth it for me, I’ve learned that these are two lessons that I can collect data from, and I will use them moving forward into 2023. Now the second part of this reflection that I would like you to do is for you to look at your growth in using the behavior map results cycle. So we have the umbrella of tactical exercises or tactical skills, physical practices, the things that you do to support your alcohol, minimalist lifestyle. And then we have the other side the other umbrella which is growing emotional resilience. If your year is anything like mine, it was a combination of highs and lows. There were disruptive life events, and hopefully some great moments too. There were small wins and possibly big losses. And in each of them there was a whole story and narrative available to you that can help you feel better. I want you to get neutral with the circumstance. I want you to write it down without any subjective thinking. Just the facts then to As any thought you can find about that event, write it down. When you think that thought, What feeling does it create for you write it down. Now, find a different thought about the same neutral event and do the same thing. Write it down and find the feeling that that thought creates for you. Just being willing to separate the circumstances of your life, from your own thinking, is something that we are not taught to do. This is a skill set that you will continually build on. And that is nothing but great news is great news that you haven’t understood how much agency you have in determining your experience here that you get to be the thinker, you are not your thoughts, you are the thinker. And learning this tool and applying it to your life is how you build emotional resilience. Hopefully, that experience reflecting both in terms of looking for successes and challenges in both areas of tactical strategies that you’ve used. And in terms of practicing the behavior map results cycles, what successes did you have in terms of creating more emotional resilience this year? What challenges did you have? Look at it in both ways? Are you ready for 2023 If you are looking to master the behavior map results cycle if you’re ready to create a peaceful relationship with alcohol, I would love to have you join me in step one in January. There are some great bonuses happening with your enrollment, you automatically get the dry you airy, extra dry version for moderation management. That’s a $25 value. It’s a month of daily emails, a private Facebook group, weekly group coaching, some mixology courses and meditation training. It’s really just a great support for however you want to do dry you weary. You also with enrollment in step one, get a free 90 day trial to Sunnyside and this is an exclusive offer they are doing just for me and my students in step one, which again you get with your enrollment. Registration is open through January 5, or when my calendar fills up. Because step one is a hybrid involves a one on one coaching session with me. So I can’t have too many people in the course at any one time. So if you are interested, please go sign up at www dot Molly watts.com/step. One. Thank you so much for being here in 2022. It has been a year right. It’s been highs and lows, ups and downs, lots of big life events for me, for sure. Let’s use what we’ve learned from our successes and our challenges to help us move forward in 2023. If you’re doing dry you weary with me, let’s crush it. I’ve actually dedicated myself to 31 days of maximum effort. I want to see what it feels like not to give in to my excuses for a whole month. This doesn’t necessarily for me, it isn’t necessarily all about alcohol. I have some other areas of my life that I really want to see what’s going to happen if I commit to maximum effort. So what do you say? Are you with me? Um, join me in dry weary. I hope you all have a very safe and happy new years, my friends, and until 2023 Choose peace. Thank you for listening to the alcohol minimalist podcast. This podcast is dedicated to helping you change your drinking habits and to create a peaceful relationship with alcohol. Use something you learned in today’s episode and apply it to your life this week. Transformation is possible you have the power to change your relationship with alcohol now, for more information, please visit me at www dot Molly watts.com