EP #11

The Behavior Map & The Results Cycle

alcoholic minimalist podcast

listen to



In Episode 11 of “Breaking the Bottle Legacy” with Molly Watts, Molly expresses excitement for the upcoming spring and encourages those struggling with drinking habits, especially adult children of alcoholics, to find benefit in the episode’s content. She introduces the concept of neuroplasticity, emphasizing the brain’s ability to create new neural pathways and highlighting the book “LiveWired” by David Eagleman. Drawing inspiration from self-help models like Brooke Castillo’s, Molly introduces the behavior map, consisting of circumstances, thoughts, feelings, actions, and results. The episode delves into the results cycle and the power of understanding and applying it to transform drinking habits. Molly discusses the importance of separating facts from judgments and shares personal experiences using the behavior map to change her own unbreakable drinking habit. The episode underscores the significance of the relationship between thoughts and feelings within the behavior map, encouraging listeners to recognize the power they hold in creating the desired relationship with alcohol.

You’re listening to breaking the bottle legacy with Molly watts, Episode 11. Hi, I’m Molly, after a lifetime living under the influence of family alcohol abuse, spending more than 30 years worrying about alcohol and my own drinking, believing I had an unbreakable daily drinking habit, I changed my relationship with alcohol forever. If you want to change your drinking habits than breaking the bottle legacy is for you. My goal is to help you create a peaceful relationship with alcohol, past, present, and future. Each week all focus on real science and using your own brain to change your relationship with alcohol. Nothing has gone wrong, you’re not broken, you’re not sick. It’s not your genes. And creating peace is possible. I’m here to help you do it. Let’s start now. Well, hello, and welcome or welcome back to breaking the bottle legacy with me your host Molly watts, coming to you from well, let’s just call it a bluebird kind of day here in Oregon. It has been spectacular. And we are rounding in on March. And I am super excited about spring getting here and putting together a few more of these sunny blue sky days. I want to touch on just a couple of things if you are new to this podcast. First of all, I am not an addiction expert, I am not a doctor, I am not a psychiatrist. And if you believe that you are suffering from a physical dependence on alcohol, this is not the podcast for you. If you are someone that has a habit of drinking more than they want to, or specifically, if you are also an adult child of an alcoholic, I hope you will find this beneficial and informational and educational. So just a short disclaimer. I also want to tell you that if you have not already found our private Facebook group, please come and join me. It is a private spot a safe spot and it is searchable. No one will know that you are there, no one will see your post your comments nothing. It is just a safe place for learning accountability and hopefully really creating a new relationship with alcohol, which is what I want for everyone that’s listening. And lastly, I have an ebook that is called alcohol true this how much is safe. And it is a part of a 32 book, self help kind of book promotion. Right now. All 32 titles are free. And all you have to do is click on the link. I’m going to put it in my show notes and you’ll see all the different titles including alcohol trues, how much is safe. You can look at anything there. I would love it if you picked up alcohol truth. But regardless, any of those 32 titles are free. So check it out. Alright, that’s it for housekeeping. But I did want to talk about last week’s episode for one more second, I want to touch on something that I talked about. Last week. I mentioned the idea of neuroplasticity, and how much I love this whole concept of being able to create new neural pathways, right? Well, after I recorded that episode, and I released it, I actually listened to Brene Brown’s podcast, and specifically her episode from December with Dr. David Eagleman and I’m also going to of course, link that in my show notes so you can find that episode. I recommend it as well. Dr. Eagleman is a neuroscientist. He is a New York Times bestselling author. He’s a TED Talk speaker and a Guggenheim Fellow. And he has just he’s released a book called Live wired the inside story of the ever changing brain. And I haven’t read the book yet but totally going to because it sounds like something I would really loved. But what they talked about was the term in that in that podcast episode was the term neuroplasticity. And Brene actually told a story about how she remembers going to the sandy at the San Antonio Zoo when she was little and those little plastic machine machines where you got to choose the animal that you wanted, and it would create on spot a plastic mold. They be kind of warm when you carry them out like a little polar bear or whatever it was, and that that whole idea of a plastic mold, right. And they were talking about how that’s why that term plasticity doesn’t really resonate right with them anymore. And Dr. Eagleman has actually coined the term live wired instead of plasticity instead of neuroplasticity. And I love the term live wire because it really is exactly what is so wonderful to understand about the human brain, and also why I believe that the power to change your drinking habits, and your relationship with alcohol is completely in your own brain and in your own thoughts. The brain is designed to learn new things our entire lives. And it’s healthier and better when we challenge ourselves with new thoughts. Anyways, that was just something that I wanted to touch on with regards to neuroplasticity, I really liked the I like the word live wire and that our brains have live where as opposed to software and hardware. All right. So last week, I talked about breaking my unbreakable drinking habit, and the process for allowing urges and cravings. And I mentioned that this was a preview for something that I call the results cycle. And for those of you who are familiar with either Brooke Castillo, or Rachel Hart, you will recognize what I’m going to talk about. Brooke ACEOS work, which she calls the model came from her study of other self help gurus like Byron Katie Decker tool, Tony Robbins, and others. Brooke figured out that in all the self help books that she had read that it basically boiled down to five different things. And the self coaching model that she created. And she’d, as she defined, it really captured those five things. And she realized that those five things could literally explain everything in her life. Everything in the world literally fits into one of the five parts of Brooke Castillo’s model. And for me, and changing my drinking, understanding and applying pieces of the model was absolutely critical. So I took the model. And for my work, I renamed it as the behavior map. And here’s why. First of all, I wanted a way to separate out the internal part of the model, which I’ll talk about in a minute, and visualizing it as a map, that I could travel in different directions along the pathway helped me it was really a way to understand my own and other people’s behaviors. I called it the behavior map, because that’s what it was kind of doing, it was showing me a way to navigate people’s behaviors. And it has the same five elements as the model. So in my book, I give full credit to that if you give full credit to Brooke Castillo that will give her full credit here for teaching me that and teaching many, many people, she always says she wants us to share the model, because that’s just what she wants in the world, she wants more and more people to learn it. But I also wanted to, as I said, kind of redefine it for myself. The behavior map was the bigger piece the model, and inside of it is what I call the results cycle. If you have listened to Rachel Hart, and I know many of you have because I listened to Rachel every week, and she is phenomenal. Rachel talks about the think feel act cycle. And those are the three inside steps or the three inside pieces of that five point map of the behavior map or the self coaching model. She calls that the think feel act cycle. And those are also the same three pieces, think feel act, that are what I call the result cycle. And I’m going to include an image in my show notes this week from my upcoming book, breaking the bottle legacy. And it’s a visual diagram of the behavior map and the results cycle, because possibly like me, visualizing it in this way will help you in terms of internalizing it, and beginning to apply it to your drinking habit, and really just life in general. But since this podcast is all about helping you create a peaceful relationship with alcohol, let’s start by figuring out how to use this tool as it applies to your drinking. And of course, I’ll do that by sharing how it worked for me as well. The number one thing that determined my success for this in this creation of my new relationship was my being able to understand and apply the results cycle to my drinking habits. So it’s incredibly important. And also understanding just the behavior map and and that whole piece as well. So let’s talk about the behavior map. The behavior map has five different elements, circumstances, thoughts, feelings, actions, results. I imagine it like a roadmap where each one of those words are stops or dots on the map. It’s linear for me, with circumstances on the left end and results on the right end. It’s not completely unlike a computer diagram in terms of input coming into the computer, getting processed and then spitting out output on the other end. And I think that’s where people get the idea of comparing the brain to a computer. And while I think that the process of human behavior in terms of getting input, processing it, and creating output is similar to a computer’s process, I also think that’s where the similarity probably ends. And as I just talked about, from Dr. E Goldman’s book, and comments from the Brene, brown podcast, the brain itself is so much more capable of dynamic change. And it’s just not the same as a computer at all. It’s not a hardware software system, but live where I just really love that term. I haven’t had Yeah, but anyways, I’m definitely going to list on my show notes, like digital book as well. So but it’s so great Livewire back to the behavior map. The behavior map gives us a visual route for explaining our behavior. And the great thing about it is we can jump in anywhere along the route, and move left or right, to further understand or better direct the results that we want to get. I’m going to talk about that a lot more coming up later. But first, let’s go to the left hand side of the behavior map. And that is input. So input includes the events, circumstances, and facts of our lives. Understanding how we process this input in our lives is critical in seeing where our behavior comes from. For a lot of people, it’s difficult to separate the facts and circumstances of our lives, the true input for our brain, from the judgment that we apply to it. I know that was definitely true for me, the very first time I was taught the idea of the model, I was interviewing life coach Elizabeth Salazar back on the live happier longer podcast. She’s also a student of Brooke Castillo. And I think we talked about this off recording, but I know what I was thinking when I was talking to her in the podcast, it’s actually fun to listen to, because I can actually hear the the wheels of my brain turning as I’m understanding this concept of thoughts and feelings. The circumstance that I was describing, for Elizabeth was the family gathering for Thanksgiving. And I went on to explain the dynamics of my mother in law who traditionally hosts the meal at her house. And I described the situation is often stressful because of my mother in law’s anxiety about the meal being prepared perfectly. And in my mind, the stress that I felt was caused 100% by her behavior. And I pointed out to Elizabeth that I was sure that other family members would agree with me that the dinner often lacked a relaxing comfort because of her anxious behavior. And she said, Molly, it doesn’t matter if 99% of the world agrees with your judgment. It’s still not a fact. I said. And Elizabeth asked me to try another thought. She said, the circumstance is Thanksgiving dinner with your family. What’s another thought that you might have? And I literally sat there, and I thought to myself, I mean, immediately. My brain wanted to feel stress and dread over the upcoming holiday and wanted to continue to focus on my mother in law’s behavior. And I kept looking for something else to think and suddenly, the thought I love my mother in law’s Thanksgiving recipes. They are my favorites came into my brain. And when I thought that thought, I immediately felt excited and joyful about the gathering. And it was just that simple. Elizabeth pointed out it the the circumstance is Thanksgiving, your thoughts about Thanksgiving are what’s creating the feeling of anxiety. If you thought about your mother in law’s recipes, instead of her anxious behavior, how would you feel? So true input, as I define it here for the behavior map, is a fact. It’s something that the that that everyone in the world, or in a court of law would be agreed upon by 100% of everyone. It’s indisputable and neutral. Each input that enters into the result cycle, the interior part of the behavior map, and as it comes in our brain analyzes that input and creates a thought. This is exactly what happens with every circumstance our brain comes across in the world. From the mundane to the extreme, each circumstance comes input into our brains. And that means our brains take in a lot of input, all of that input gets processed, and our beautiful human brains defined and interpret all of it. And individually, we have thoughts, lots and lots and lots of thoughts. So before we jump into the result cycle, which is also the think, feel, Act cycle, and explore what those thoughts, what thoughts look like, let’s look again, let’s talk again about that, about the way the behavior map looks. Alright. On the far left side, we have the input on the far right hand side, we have the output. And with computer processing, right, we’re counting on the, the computer, after we give it input to generate output that we, you know, as information that we can understand and use, right. In the behavior map, the output, so to speak, are the results that we have in our lives, the outcomes and the consequences of our actions or inactions. This output is typically quantifiable and created by you, how much alcohol you drink, how much you weigh, how much you earn, where you live, where you work. These are all examples of your results, you can’t create results for anyone else, and no one else can create results for you. When I look back at the results I typically had for Thanksgiving Day gatherings, it was pretty clear that I was allowing my stressful feelings to fuel actions that resulted in me drinking too much alcohol, eating too much food, and generally trying to numb my way through the event, as opposed to actively enjoying it. This was not the result I wanted. But it felt like the actions were the only logical way to quote unquote, make it through the holiday. Right. So again, had to change my thinking to feel differently. And that’s really where we need to spend the bulk of our time, at least that’s for me, spending the bulk of my time with the results cycle inside the behavior map. It is this cycle that happens consistently over and over again with every single input that we are receiving. And our brains receive this input, a circumstance event or a fact. And we have to process it. And the first step is that our brain applies a judgment to the input as a thought. A thought is simply a sentence in your brain. And many of us have a hard time separating circumstances, from our thoughts. Like I said, we believe we feel bad because of the circumstances in our lives. And don’t realize that in between the circumstances and how we feel are our thoughts. The instant that we apply judgment to a fact, by adding an adjective, we enter into the results cycle, and begin the process that determines our behavior. Most of us go through life and we aren’t managing our minds. And really, it’s pretty easy because our to let our brains run on autopilot when it’s throwing out like approximately 60,000 thoughts a day. And it’s also why we develop habits that don’t serve us like drinking. We repeat patterns, and we feel stuck. But as Dorothy Gale learned in AWS, we have had the power all along, and the power is in our thoughts. As Brooke Castillo says, if you haven’t trained your brain to think intentionally, you will continue to repeat your past and have the same thoughts you’ve always had. That’s why so many people repeat their past, your brain will recreate your past if you don’t train it to create new results from your future. Why are thoughts so powerful? Well, the first reason that thoughts are powerful is because they come become our core beliefs. core beliefs are our most deeply held assumptions about ourselves, the world and others. They are firmly embedded in our thinking and significantly shaped our reality and behaviors. In fact, nothing matters more than our core beliefs. They are the root causes of many of our problems, including our automatic negative thoughts. So as children when we are emotionally and physically immature, we depend on the adults in our lives, and we learn from them. And our core beliefs, learned when we are young and internalized are really just thoughts that we’ve ripped. needed and practiced over time. These core beliefs are often so automatic, we are unaware that we’ve created them just by thinking, repetitive thoughts. And more importantly, we are completely unaware that we can change them. Now, not all core beliefs are negative. That’s true. One thing that I, you know, I’ve probably mentioned it on the podcast before I was the daughter of a superintendent and I have been a lifelong learner. And I truly believe that learning you know, that’s, that’s a core belief for me. And it’s a positive one, right. In addition to the positive core beliefs, I definitely have some self limiting core beliefs are had. And some examples of those and things that I experienced or I’ve learned from other adult children of alcoholics that they’ve experienced. They might sound like this, the world is dangerous. If I love someone, they will leave me. I’m never good enough. There’s something wrong with me. Our core beliefs frame the way we interpret the circumstances of our lives. And when we allow our negative core beliefs to run the show, unsupervised and unmanaged, the filter we apply to the facts around us is usually negative as well. Negative core beliefs may not be obvious. For me the world is dangerous isn’t something I fundamentally want to believe. However, growing up with my mother, she was extremely anxious. Her own core belief was that the world wasn’t something wonderful to be explored, but dangerous and scary, and something bad was lurking behind every decision. The messages I received from her weren’t, you can do anything. But more along the lines of follow the rules take the safest path, and don’t screw up. ideas I had for my future, were always met with resistance, outlining the most negative possible outcomes. Instead of seeing opportunities to grow. The message I received was, have you thought of all the ways you can fail? I don’t know if this was my mother’s method for unconscious method for keeping me safe. But unconsciously I learned anxiety. I feared failing and I became highly risk averse. I didn’t trust myself to take chances. I saw changing my life as scary and dangerous. Thoughts like I’ll probably fail. Failure means I’m not capable. I never finished what I start. Were just part of the story I told myself on the repeat for years. These unconscious self limiting core beliefs, along with specific thoughts about alcohol fueled my drinking habit for more than 30 years. The anxiety and fear of failure was something that I just accepted, accepted as a part of me. I had held on to those thoughts for so long that I did not question them. And they helped fuel my drinking habit with thoughts that sprang from that core belief. I believed that I needed alcohol every night to help me take the edge off of my day. Because I was anxious. I believed I had a need for alcohol specifically, I believed that was created by my genetic disposition. I didn’t see my desire for alcohol is something that I created with my thoughts. My desire for alcohol was just a part of me. And as an adult child of an alcoholic, I believed that I had a stronger desire than other people without the same genetic link. Now, we’ve talked about on the podcast before earlier episodes, how science helps shapes those beliefs, how society and industry helped shape those beliefs. But what I want you to read here and understand about all of that, is that those beliefs were simply thoughts. They weren’t true. They were just thoughts that I believed as true. And that’s where change really starts. You have to look at your thoughts and understand that just because you think something does not make it true. Embracing that the idea that you can choose a different thoughts is truly how we can change our future selves. And the thoughts I had about my past about my alcoholic mother about my desire for alcohol about needing a drink to take the edge off. They were all just thoughts. When I changed them, I changed my relationship with alcohol, and I transformed my drinking habit. And that is the beauty of the result cycle. Thoughts create feelings, feelings, lead to actions. It’s the reason the second reason that thoughts are so powerful thoughts create our feelings. Distinguishing between thoughts and feelings is critical to feeling better. Understanding that your thoughts cause your feelings is how you learn to feel better, without cheating Changing your circumstances. At the heart of the result cycle, thoughts, feelings, actions in the middle of the behavior map circumstances, thoughts, feelings, actions, results, our feelings. It is not the circumstances of our lives that cause our feelings, but our thoughts about the circumstances that create our feelings. Let’s go back to my Thanksgiving example. I wanted to blame the circumstance of Thanksgiving dinner with my family for creating the feeling of stress in me. In reality, it wasn’t Thanksgiving dinner. But actually the thought I was choosing about my mother in law’s anxious behavior that was causing my feeling of stress. It wasn’t even her behavior that was causing my emotions. Do you see that? It was all because of what I was choosing to think about. When I turned my thoughts to my mother in law’s wonderful cooking, I had a totally different feeling about Thanksgiving dinner. And that thought was available to me. Just as much as the thought her anxious behavior is so stressful. I could also have changed my judgment on her anxious behavior and thought, and just said she’s anxious because she shows us her love through her cooking. When I think that instead of how her anxiety is so stressful, I’m able to be calm and patient. As you can see, my thoughts apply judgment to the facts. And those judgments or thoughts create different feelings. So what exactly is a feeling? And why are our feelings important? That may seem like an easy or odd question. But being able to describe what we experience in our bodies, when we feel a specific, specific emotion is really challenging for most people. And despite our ability to articulate what feelings really are, most people put profound significance on their feelings. How many times have you heard or personally used the excuse, I just didn’t feel like it. It’s our feelings that dictate the actions that we choose to take or not take. Feelings are at the center, as I said, of both the behavior map and the results cycle. And because they are literally the reason for everything we do in our lives. I believe the most important thing that you can learn within the behavior map is the relationship between your thoughts and your feelings. Understanding that you and you alone can change how you feel, without losing weight, without having more money. Without getting married, getting a dog buying something, or having a drink is the best news in the world. It also contradicts what society conditions us to believe about the external circumstances in our lives. It’s why we’re always chasing those things. We’re always chasing the money chasing the relationship chasing the dog, right? It’s because we’ve been told that these are the things that will finally make us happy. The truth is, happiness is not the result of everything you have, or don’t have in your life. It is because of your mindset, and your thoughts. So in the next episode, we’re going to talk a little bit more about feelings, and go deeper into why you know, what we how feelings, how to feel our feelings, right. One of the things I talked about earlier and talked about, in my episode on being the adult child of an alcoholic was emotional immaturity. And I think that’s really important. And being able to feel your feelings is a is a tool. And it is something that you are totally capable of. And once you understand that you are capable of feeling all of the feelings, the good feelings, the hard feelings, the sad feelings. That is when you get to experience the whole full human experience. And that’s what really life is about. It isn’t about having this, you know, perfect life that’s always happy, right? It’s being able to experience the full breadth of human emotion. And we don’t do that when we drink alcohol to try to change how we’re feeling right. More on that next week. I know that was a lot of information. Again, I’m going to link everything down in the show notes. I’m going to share that diagram with you of the behavior map results cycle, also known as the self coaching model or the think feel act cycle. Both of those things are a part of what I’m sharing with you. And I really hope you start to realize how much power you have to go create the kind of relationship with alcohol that you want. You can choose to have a peaceful relationship with alcohol, past, present, and future. I know because I’ve done it, and I want that for you, too. All right, until next week, my friends, choose peace. Thank you for listening to breaking the bottle legacy. This podcast is dedicated to helping you change your drinking habits and to create a peaceful relationship with alcohol. Take something that 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