EP #125

Identifying as an Alcohol Minimalist

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In this episode of the Alcohol Minimalist podcast, host Molly Watts emphasizes the role of science in shattering past patterns and eliminating excuses, encouraging listeners to choose a path that aligns with their long-term goals and scientific understanding. Watts delves into the shift in drinking identity and the significance of making lasting changes rather than temporary adjustments. She touches on the concept of the “pink cloud” in sobriety, highlighting the early phases of being an alcohol minimalist and the need for consistent practice. The episode also introduces Sunnyside, a program focused on scientifically proven superpowers to help individuals reach and maintain their goals related to alcohol consumption. Watts stresses the importance of identity-based change, emphasizing that it helps individuals avoid sliding back into overdrinking habits during challenging times. The episode concludes with a mention of a seven-day quickstart guide to alcohol minimalist living and a reminder that transformation is possible, giving individuals the power to change their relationship with alcohol.

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 prizes, 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 well, it’s a little gray, a little cloudy out this morning, which I gotta say is unusual for the last like two weeks here in Oregon. So no complaining for me. I know that many Oregonians are probably breathing a sigh of relief, a little bit of relief from some extraordinarily warm temperatures. I for one, love the warmth. So hopefully it’s just a brief respite. And we’ll be back to those beautiful sunny days later this week. Welcome. And if you’re new here, I hope that you are here because you are working on your relationship with alcohol and you want someone who’s going to talk to you with some science behind it. And a story that doesn’t say that you have to be one or the other. And you have to choose to be completely sober, alcohol free and loving it or that you you know are partying animal and all in on drinking and don’t care about the idea of reducing or minimizing alcohol in your life. Either one of those spectrums of the spectrums really isn’t where we live here on the alcohol minimalist podcast, we go right down the middle, we want to be able to incorporate. And if we’re going to add alcohol into our lives, we want to do it in a way that is both reflective of the goals that we have for ourselves long term, and also reflective of the science and what that tells us in terms of what’s really, truly good for us or not good for us, we have to be really clear on that and what is actually true about including alcohol in our lives. So that was a little off script. I didn’t expect to go there. But that’s who we are around here. And every other week, I have a prize winner. And this week I do. The winner comes from a review left on Apple podcasts. And as of the recording of this particular episode, I have 95 reviews on Apple podcasts. And that is awesome. However, it’s also low compared to how many people tell me all the time that they love this podcast and the podcast is really helping them. I would really love to get that number up over 100. So I’ve got an x extra added incentive. I have a special alcohol minimal surprise, not just your average alcohol, minimalist swag that you usually get. But for whoever leaves the 100 review and now it has to be a review. I mean it has to be the one the 100 doesn’t include all all reviews, all written reviews. The it includes the numbers as well but if you just do it Number Review, I’m not gonna be able to see who that is, you can’t verify and I can’t reach out. So if you listen on Apple podcasts, please go leave a review, write a few words. And you may be lucky number 100. The next lucky number 100 Winner, or you may just be the next winner. That’s in addition, our general every other week random winner that comes from wherever you listen to podcasts, or wherever you might purchase the book. That is all you have to do to be entered into these random drawings. In fact, now you can also leave comments on Spotify for each episode. And I will add those people into the drawing to leaving comments on YouTube that works that gets you entered. So wherever you listen, or wherever you’ve read the book, leave a review a positive comment and you can get entered to and you might be number 100. If you go to Apple podcasts, so that will be fun. As I said, this week’s winner is from Apple podcast, and it is homo Lok winds. I hope I am saying that correctly. If you are humble Lok wins, that’s como HOMOLOQUEN s and the five star review was short, sweet and very to the point it simply says this is a wonderful podcast, a wonderful gift to the world. Thank you, Molly. Well, thank you for listening. homolytic wins, email me, Molly at Molly watts.com. And I will send you out some alcohol minimalist swag. This week on the podcast I want to talk to you about identifying as an alcohol minimalist. I say all the time that the work I share and how I approach changing your relationship with alcohol is a meta skill. And it’s all about becoming a better thinker. But it’s also about becoming someone different than who you are right now. It’s about shifting your drinking identity. Whether you believe you’re a party girl party guy, whether you’re a daily drinker, whether you’re a binge drinker, or someone who can never stop, once they start these stories, you absolutely can change them and you absolutely can become someone completely different. You can become an alcohol minimalist. And here’s the best part about that. Alcohol stops being something that you have to think about all the time. When you change your drinking identity. To become an alcohol minimalist, it really means that you can take alcohol or leave it. You don’t need alcohol to have fun to relax to reduce stress, none of it. This is a big difference I see for people who are successful at cutting back or abstaining for a specific period of time, like, you know, a one month challenge dry you weary or a self imposed break, versus people who are successful at reducing alcohol consumption for good. The difference is that those people that are successful have made a change in their drinking identity. They trust themselves and they are confident in how they want to include alcohol in their lives. They don’t worry about what day of the week it is, if they have plans to go to a party if they will be spending time with family and friends. None of that necessitates a change in their drinking habits. The shift isn’t just even how they handle alcohol or how they see it even. It’s how they see their lives. They handle their lives and they handle themselves differently. I should say we handle our lives, and we handle ourselves differently. We the alcohol minimalists. We see ourselves and our circumstances differently than what we have experienced in the past. Now, I know that I’ve experienced this shift, and many members of my private Facebook group have shared similar stories. I’ve been out you know, for me, I’ve been out at a bar on a planned alcohol free night. So not drinking. I’ve noticed that I’m not even desiring a drink. Right? That it’s yes, it was a plan. Yes, I was planned alcohol free. But I don’t even I’m not like sitting there. You know, white knuckling it feeling like I wish I could have a drink but I just can’t because I’ve chosen to be alcohol free. No. I’m not desiring a drink. And the first time I felt that had happen. I was like, wow, it’s possible, I don’t feel deprived, I don’t feel like I’m relying on willpower. I’m just not drinking. And I’m totally good with just being here and not having a drink. I know from my group, which by the way is called alcohol, minimalist, which you can search for it on Facebook, it’s a free resource, it’s a great group, I highly encourage you to come join us. There’s also always a link in the show notes. But people there say when they experienced this, when they do something that they used to do, before they started working on their relationship with alcohol, you know, when they were the party girl, and they, and then they go to a party, and they don’t drink and they don’t have to battle desire. It’s really big, right? It’s like something clicks inside. But that click, I gotta say, can be a little unsettling, and possibly feel a little surreal, right. And I’ve heard that too. People feel the click, but they they want to feel it a little more, they want to feel it a few more times, they want a little more time to pass before they’re going to believe and know that the click is real. But but it will be. Here’s what happens when that when you first feel that click and it feels surreal or doesn’t feel real. It’s basically your brain is just hasn’t caught up right with this new version of yourself. And that’s okay, that’s totally normal. Nothing has gone wrong. The brain recognizes the shift. But it doesn’t really know how to process it quite yet. either. It’s it’s slow, it’s catching up, it’s going to feel a little odd, it’s going to feel a little uncomfortable. But if you anticipate that if you expect it, then it won’t be a problem for you. I think one of the most typical things that we expect when we start to identify as an alcohol minimalist is that we expect to feel happier, right away, right? If you’ve been struggling and trust me, I get this. I struggled for years for decades with my drinking habits and had a constant source of anxiety and worried about my drinking all the time. So I really wanted that gone. Right? And I also but I but I did have this idea that if I could just fix this one area of my life, everything else would be great, right? In sober circles, there’s a phenomenon they call the pink cloud. Have you heard of it? The pink cloud is a term that originated in AAA. And although the term is not used in its big book, it is something that most recovering alcoholics and addicts are aware of It’s a phrase that is used to describe these feelings of elation and euphoria in early sobriety. The pink cloud also sometimes referred to as the honeymoon phase of sobriety is often short lived. And during this time, a person may feel happy, confident and successful, right? Essentially, they feel like they’re floating in the clouds, hence the name. The pink cloud is said to be the result of the fog finally lifting after years of substance abuse, and the people can finally see clearly and enjoy a life that is free of drug and alcohol abuse. While I think it may not be as dramatic because we aren’t talking about severe alcohol use disorder here. I definitely know that people who’ve spent decades like me worrying about their drinking and constantly wanting to change their drinking habits. They believe that changing their drinking will be really joyous, right will be momentous. And for sure it’s life changing but in the early parts of being an alcohol minimalist, it’s still going to feel a little bit unbelievable. Your brain needs time to practice living these new experiences to become more comfortable with it. You all know I’m a science girl and that is why I am so proud of my partnership with Sunnyside. Sunnyside has great data based on their user experience and they also have great science techniques behind what drives the program in the first place. Users of Sunnyside in their first 30 days experience on average a 29% reduction in drinks. They avoid 1500 calories and they’ve saved over $50 each month. This is because there is science behind the program Sunnyside helps you reach your goals and stick with them long term by focusing on three scientifically proven superpowers. One is pre commitment. You intentionally make a plan ahead of time and we talked about making a plan all the time here on the podcast. Number two is conscious interference. And you’ll learn that the habit of tracking each drink helps you decide about it. Number three is positivity. We know this is not easy sometimes right? And we all need a little boost. I tried to be a boost and Sunnyside is a great boost via text message or email to keep you motivated. So if you haven’t already checked it out, I invite you www.sunnyside.co/molly To get started on a free 15 day trial today. In my book, breaking the bottle legacy, I share this in his article, identity based habits how to actually stick to your goals this year, James clear explained to truly change a habit meaning to sustain change, you need to change your identity, not just change what you do. He says there are three layers to behavior change, outcomes, processes, and identity. Clear tells us outcomes are about what you get. Processes are about what you do. And identity is about what you believe. When it comes to building habits that last The problem isn’t that one layer is better or worse, all of them are useful. The problem is the direction of change. Most people when they are trying to change habits focus on what they are trying to achieve, in this case, to change our drinking habits to drink less. This leads to outcome based habits. To be someone who has a peaceful relationship with alcohol. To be an alcohol minimalist, we need to focus on who we wish to become, not just control the action of drinking, we need to change our identity first. That’s the first direction of change. We change our beliefs and thoughts about alcohol to become someone who by definition, drinks less, and never worries about their alcohol use. We change from the inside out. Not the outside, in. This is really obvious when you think about how some people try to lose weight. Lots of people have lost weight in their lives. But few a very small percentage actually maintain weight loss. And it’s probably because of how they see dieting or how they see food right? Someone who considers themselves a health nut feels differently about the free donuts offered at work. Doughnuts might not even create desire for the health nut because his or her and I’m using health nut please don’t, you know, email me and and tell me that’s not nice. I’m using that just you know what I mean? Somebody who’s very obsessed about healthy eating. And that’s okay. I mean, I wish I was born to help that right. But his or her first thought is simply eating doughnuts doesn’t fuel me in a way that gives me sustained energy. I prefer yogurt with fruit and something else. Learning to think like somebody who already has the results you are looking for is key to changing your habits. And most especially the habit of drinking. To identify as an alcohol minimalist, we have to see ourselves differently. And to grow into that new identity where we don’t need alcohol, where we don’t rely on it to change how we’re feeling. And it’s going to feel a little uncomfortable at first, it’s likely not going to feel the same as an accomplishment that you can quantify, like running a race or crossing a finish line. And that’s okay, because if we’re doing it right, if we’re creating identity based change, it’s going to feel like something we want to keep doing, like for the rest of our lives. If you don’t evolve into a new version of yourself, you know what can happen right? Like the Dieter who loses weight but never changes how they think about food. They eventually gain their weight back. If you don’t embrace the alcohol, minimalist lifestyle, and you just work on white knuckling and counting and cutting back. You risk going backwards. People who don’t change their identities may revert back to being the drinker they used to be because they think, well, this wasn’t as great as I thought it was going to be so I can’t screw it back to drinking. And it happens if you don’t fix the underlying cause of what’s driving your drinking. It happens if you don’t work on creating new beliefs. With your thoughts because how you feel, and why you drink always starts with, say it with me, folks. It always, always, always starts with your thinking. Now, a lot of people believe that if they just keep taking a different action, that they will be changed. If I just get it out of the house, if I stop going to bars, if I stay away from my friends who drink if I make a plan ahead of time, and I control the action of drinking, that will be it and I will become an alcohol minimalist. I just want to say that while taking action is certainly important. Taking action does not automatically transform your drinking. Because it’s an outcome based habit. What transforms your drinking is changing how you see yourself. And that is the process of changing your thinking. That is an identity based habit. This is a piece that makes identifying as an alcohol, minimalist different when you do the work of changing who you believe you are. When alcohol truly is a minimal part of your life. You won’t slide back into over drinking habits when life gets difficult. Changing your thinking takes time and practice. Even when it starts to click, your brain will take some time to catch up because it needs repetition. That’s also why I tell people all the time. The only way you can’t succeed is if you stop trying. If you just keep going if you keep doing the work if you keep practicing new beliefs, you will absolutely become an alcohol minimalist. Now in case you’ve missed it, I’ve recently launched a seven day quickstart guide to alcohol, minimalist living, and it is a great way to start doing the work of changing your drinking identity. In fact, it’s the only place where you can get my four s process for creating new beliefs. It’s a video series training that comes as a part of this quickstart guide. And it’s the only place you can see that you can check it out at www dot Molly watts.com/quickstart. I would love to help you I would love to see you create a new identity as an alcohol minimalist. Alright, what is all my friends? Until next time, 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