EP #146

Sober October Series: Resistance and Reluctance to Change Your Drinking

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In this episode of the “Sober October Series,” Molly Watts shares her personal journey of breaking free from a cycle of family alcohol abuse, embracing minimalism in alcohol consumption, and even offering a podcast listening guide and prizes for new listeners. Through her own experience with Sunnyside, she highlights the oxymoronic nature of daily drinking habits, which initially seemed to offer relaxation but instead induced neurochemical changes and anxiety. Watts delves into the stages of change for alcohol addiction, pinpointing resistance at the pre-contemplation stage and advocating for preparation as a crucial step towards successful change. She emphasizes the importance of self-awareness, setting clear goals, and building support systems to combat resistance, suggesting strategies like journaling and meditation. Ultimately, she encourages listeners to view setbacks as opportunities for growth and to reflect on their motivations for change, fostering a positive mindset towards overcoming reluctance and resistance to change their relationship with alcohol.

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 habits. 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 minimalists podcast with me your host Molly Watts coming to you from a drying out Oregon. I hope anyway, yesterday was a little bit a little bit rainy. In fact, I have some audio for you friends were out taking a walk when it decided to downpour here in Oregon. This is what it sounded like. Okay, this is when we chose to walk the dog walk rainbow car, and I don’t know how long I now have audio proof that it really rains here in Oregon. Right? Not that many of you probably doubted me. Welcome, and I have some prize winners. I’m gonna get to those in a minute. But I want to remind you that if you are new to this podcast, there is a podcast listening guide now available I’ve got 15 curated episodes that will help you navigate the very broad catalogue of episodes that we have and help you really just take steps towards creating this peaceful relationship with alcohol that I talk about all the time. Right so pick it up at guide dot Molly watts.com That’s guide dot Molly watts.com. And yes, some prize winners so you can be entered to win a prize two different prizes. The first prize is a random prize that I draw from any place whether you have left a review of this podcast, whether you’ve left comments on YouTube, whether you’ve left a review of breaking the bottle legacy my book, wherever you leave reviews, I will find you and add you into the big random prize generator drawing. And that prize winner today is Matthew W. Walsh. 974 Matthew W. Walsh 974 If that’s you, you left some comments on YouTube I really appreciate it reach out to me Molly at Molly watts.com Let me know you are the random prize winner drawing my selected winner for today so I select a prize winner each week based on their review because I get to you know it’s a it’s a contest. So if you leave a review that’s got great, great not doesn’t have to be a five star review. I’d like it to be course but if you say some good things, I want to honor that and I’m going to share it here on the show. Tomahawk 1121 Tomahawk 1121 If that is you, then please email me Molly at Molly watts.com And it says thank you. That’s the start. Molly just wanted to say thanks for your insight in experiencing experience on developing a more healthy relationship with alcohol. I actually joined Sunnyside last year and for six months cut my alcohol use from daily to just a few days per week. Then summer came and slowly I regressed back to being a daily drinker started up again with Sunnyside on March 1 and found you the support and knowledge you provide is a difference maker. I am keeping to mostly five dry days a week. I feel great lost a bunch of weight and don’t miss the sleepless nights and groggy days. I look forward to your podcast every week. Tomahawk 1121 Thank you so so very much. I’m delighted to hear that sunny side has worked for you and also delighted to hear that you believe that what I talk about and the support and research and guests that I have on and the things that I teach here on the show are helping you to have to make sustainable change, right? Because that’s really what it’s all about. I want everyone working on creating a different relationship with alcohol. So, again, prize winners email me, Molly at Molly watts.com. And I will send you out your alcohol minimalist swag. We are on to this week’s show, it is continuing in the series for the sober October series. And this week, I want to talk to you about resistance and reluctance to change. Now, it’s my hope that you’re using this month as an opportunity to work towards sustainable, long lasting change. And it’s very possible that you are feeling resistant or reluctant to making the alcohol minimalist lifestyle, your way of life. And if that’s you, then this episode is definitely for you. Change is the only constant that we have in life. And yet, it is something that many of us resist, especially when it comes to breaking unwanted Habits. Habits, like drinking, whether good or bad, tend to become very ingrained in our daily lives. And the mere thought of changing those can evoke a fear response. And then it definitely creates reluctance and anxiety. I have often referred to my own daily drinking habit as my oxymoronic drinking habit. And I hope you understand why. But I’m going to explain that to you because I’m sure that many of you feel similar about your own drinking. So an oxymoron by definition, is a literary device that uses two words together that seem to contradict each other, like old news, or organized chaos. These are examples of oxymorons. And I called my daily drinking habit oxymoronic because what I believed was that I needed to drink to relax and unwind. But in reality was a contradiction, because my daily drinking was actually causing me both neurochemically. And just because of the amount of time that I spent worrying and having anxiety about it, but yet I was drinking to relax, right. So hence the contradiction and the oxymoron. And when I was stuck in my daily drinking habit, I absolutely had a lot of resistance to change. And my resistance when it came to changing my relationship with alcohol felt very different to me, than other areas of my life that I was committed to improving. I held alcohol separate. And that is something that I see a lot of people I work with do. But what I believe now is that changing my relationship with alcohol, changing my drinking habit was not harder, because alcohol was different. It was all hinging on what feeling I believed alcohol was helping me solve. And I think that’s really at the root of all resistant behavior you are using or doing something, if you have a habit that doesn’t serve you. Because what you are doing or consuming, you believe is helping you solve for a feeling. And it isn’t actually true. And even though it may provide temporary comfort, right, we talked about buffering a couple of weeks ago. This is his why we are resistant to change a lot of the time, because we believe that it’s giving us something that it’s really not back in episode number 25. And I will link it in the show notes. I spoke with Dr. James and Janice Prochaska, about their book changing to thrive. And Dr. James Prochaska, who I learned when I was researching this episode again has passed this last year. So my condolences to the pajasa family. He was the behavioral psychologist behind the theoretical model for behavior change from literally back in the 1970s. And this that model is commonly commonly referred to as Stages of Change, and in the stages of change. This is something that I think is really important to understand. The first stage is actually before you even think about changing yourself right? And it is called pre contemplation and pre contemplation is a stage where people are highly resistant to change. The individual has not even considered the prospect of change and is unlikely to perceive a need for change. It is usually someone else who perceives a problem. How many of you are in that? kind of situation right now you’re not necessarily convinced that what you that you’re drinking needs to change in somebody else has told you that it does. During the pre contemplation stage, a person is not likely to respond positively to anyone, family or a, someone like me a coach being confrontive or demanding change. Here are some key indicators that you might be in the pre contemplation stage, maybe your past pre contemplation with alcohol probably are since you’re listening to this podcast, right. But you may have some other area of your life where you’re still in the pre contemplation stage. So number one, the key indicator total resistance to do anything, no willingness to meet, to talk to a professional or to get assessed, angry at any indication from somebody that there is a problem blaming others, everything is okay statements, willingness to work on things, but not the specific problem, behavior, and refusing to let a coach or professional work with you. And the last one, which I think is really key, lack of awareness. Now, again, I’m gonna guess that many of you who are listening are not falling into this stage. Now. However, you might remember a time before that you were in pre contemplation, what I want you to hear is that resistance is a natural part of this stage of change. And it comes before you’ve even considered making a change. What I want you to think about is now that you might be in this next stage of change, which is contemplation is that resistance has its roots in lack of awareness. And that lack of awareness continues to perpetuate resistance into other stages of change. Now, once someone has some awareness of the problem, right, so it’s a scale, we don’t get, you know, I quote, often that all change happens on the other side of awareness. Well, awareness isn’t just a one time deal, it isn’t just a one time shot, you can become increasingly aware, I have watched my own thinking and my own thoughts and my own perceptions of my relationship with alcohol evolve. Over time, I become more and more aware. But when you have some awareness of the problem, that’s when you enter the stage called contemplation. And contemplation is often an ambivalent state, where you both consider change, and you often reject it. If you are allowed to just talk about it, you will typically go back and forth about the need for change and then justifying why you don’t need to change. The key indicators of the contemplation stage of changing still sounds similar to pre contemplation, saying one thing, doing another rationalizing, and minimalizing the need for change. Anxiety may rise while you are trying some things that do not work in terms of changing your behavior. And you again, talk about change, and then you argue against it. This stage is characterized by a lot of resistance and reluctance to change. And what is really interesting to me is that there are three stages of change that happen before you actually get into the action of behavior change. And each one of these first three stages involves some degree of resistance to change. So it’s, it’s clearly a very common, right human behavior. So we’ve talked about pre contemplation, contemplation, and the third stage is preparation. In the preparation stage, the person is ready to change. And this is the window of opportunity. When the person has resolved enough ambivalence. You start looking at making change. Again, it’s a scale, it doesn’t mean that you’re going to feel all in and not still have a little bit of reluctance and resistance. So expect it right. reluctance and resistance is a natural part of the process of behavior change. That’s really what this message that I want you to hear about this podcast episode. It’s natural, and it’s just a part of the process. We got to go through it to get to the other side. Just a quick break to talk with you more about sunny side. Did you know that Sunny Side uses I am here to help you reach your goals. By focusing on three scientifically proven superpowers that you have. Number one, the power of pre commitment. Each week you set an intention for the week ahead. That includes a tracking goal, a drink goal, and possibly a dry day goal. Number two, the power of conscious interference. You’ll learn the habit of tracking each day as soon as you finish it, which creates a mindful pause before you start the next day. And number three positivity, we know that this is a big step that can be tough at times, right. And that’s why Sunnyside offers coaching through SMS and email to give you support, advice and motivation, you can check out a free 15 day trial at www.sunnyside.co/molly. That’s www.sunnyside.co/molly. The key indicators of the preparation stage, admitting that there is a need for change, accepting negative ramifications of the behavior that they’re trying to change, asking for help and starting to look for alternatives. Again, the three stages I’ve outlined pre contemplation, contemplation and preparation come before we actually start taking action on behavior change. And it’s possible that we can get stuck in contemplation, it might take as little as a couple of weeks, or it can take a lifetime to get through the contemplation stage. And again, I want you to hear that that is normal and becoming more aware of the stages of change, hopefully help you move through them. In the preparation determination stage. That’s another word for it determination, preparation, people have made this commitment to make a change. Their motivation for changing is usually reflected by statements like I’ve got to do something about this, right. And I hear that all the time with people. This is sort of a research phase, people gather information, sometimes by reading things about what they will need to do to change their behavior. Or they will check out websites, organizations resources that are available to them to help them in their attempt. And, of course, hopefully, that’s for many of you listening to this podcast, that is exactly where you are. And this podcast is part of your research, which is awesome. It’s important to and I now want to commend you because doing this preparation stage is super important. People tend to want to skip this stage. And they move directly from contemplation into action. And when they do that they fall flat on their faces, because they haven’t adequately researched change to their thinking, which is what I talked about all the time, or accepted what it is going to take to make this major lifestyle change. Understanding and changing your thoughts is very much a part of all of this. In my book, breaking the bottle legacy I share how educating myself on the science of alcohol, finding resources to listen to reading all kinds of books on neuroscience on behavior change on the science of alcohol. All of this helped change my thinking around alcohol, which is what the stage of preparation is all about. Now, in my experience, the education and contemplation continued into the action stage. And for me learning the behavior map results cycle and mastering it was just as an important action as making doable drink plans and adding in alcohol free days. And that’s important, right? It is an action to practice the behavior map results cycle. There are strategies that we can all use to help us overcome our resistance and reluctance to change. The first one and I’ve mentioned it a couple of times now is self awareness. The first step in changing unwanted habits is to recognize and acknowledge them. Not exactly the first step we just talked about. Again, it’s this fairly the first step in preparation. It is not the first step of pre contemplation or contemplation but becoming more and more aware. Self awareness allows you to understand why you have these habits and really what’s at the root of them. What is causing you. What do you believe that alcohol is going to help you solve? Right. Another strategy to overcome resistance is to set clear goals. I talk with people a lot about this in my work. I asked them what does having a peaceful relationship with alcohol look like to you? It is very important that we Get clear on what that means, who you write, doesn’t matter what it means to me, it matters what it means to you. And this clarity when you get clear on what you really want with your relationship with alcohol, that will help you focus your efforts and really provide you a sense of purpose in changing your drinking habits. This one, of course, you know, I talk about it all the time, small steps leads lead to big wins, you need to break down those bigger goals, those lifelong goals. And don’t try to change it all at once. Make take small steps towards big wins, meet yourself where you are at and continue to practice getting 1% better. This will make change feel less overwhelming, which is one of the things that causes us to be resistant. When we feel overwhelmed. Find your motivation. I talk with my people about having a list of many reasons, making them strong and revisiting them often. You need to identify the underlying reasons for wanting to change your habit. Understanding how breaking this unwanted habit will improve your life will help you use it as to keep positive momentum going. And really reminding yourself all the time. That’s how we stay in our logical goal oriented prefrontal cortex in that moment of decision, which is what we talked about last week. And so I’ll link both of these series episodes in my show notes as well. Another strategy to overcome resistance to change, create a support system right? Share your goals with friends or family join groups, join our private Facebook group, you can always find the link in the show notes. We are the alcohol minimalists, change your drinking habits come on over to facebook and join our private Facebook group. We are a support system and it’s all free over there, right? This one’s important for overcoming resistance to change to I think look for to replace, not remove, right, your habits I talked about having non alcoholic beverages available to you. I am a big believer in non alcoholic beer. For me it was a it was definitely a something that helped me break my my daily relationship with alcohol. But you might need to just replace that nightly drink with something better instead of eliminating having something in your hand altogether. practice mindfulness. Now I talk a lot about becoming a better thinker, becoming a better Mind Manager. Because I truly believe that that is how we create our best selves. And it’s so much more than just changing the action of drinking. It’s becoming a better Mind Manager that allows you somebody in our our chat for more silver October said to me, you’re just always remaining vigilant. And I said, you know, I don’t have to be vigilant anymore. I don’t have to be vigilant all the time. It isn’t about that I choose mindfulness because I’m totally aware of what alcohol does for my life and what it doesn’t do, right. I use things that help my brain become the best version of itself that it can be. We gotta take care of our brains, folks, healthier habits that help us be fused and deregulate some of those harder, challenging moments in our lives. Journaling, meditation, taking a warm bath, going out for a walk. These are all things that help us with a mindfulness practice and keeping our brains really doing their best. Another thing that you can do to work against resistance and reluctance to change is to track your progress I recommend people hear me talk about it a lot. But Sunnyside is a great opportunity for being able to see and visualize your progress. And it’s one of the benefits of using an app like that sunnyside.co/molly For a 15 day trial. The last two here for history strategies for overcoming resistance and change. Embrace failure. I say that you should create a the Off Plan plan, right? Have a plan ahead of time for when you go off plan because you will. Setbacks are a part of the process. Instead of seeing them as failures, consider them as opportunities to learn and adapt your approach. It is so important for years and years. I used every setback, every misstep as an excuse to not keep trying. I used it as evidence that I wasn’t capable of change. Instead when you change and you see your missteps when you choose to view them with Kim Passion and curiosity. And you understand what happened in that moment of decision when you didn’t stick to your plans. Change doesn’t seem so scary change doesn’t seem impossible, right? We are resistant to the idea of change when we feel like we can’t accomplish it. The last strategy to overcome resistance and reluctance to change is to get some help. If your unwanted habit is particularly entrenched or harmful, in any way, you should absolutely seek guidance from a coach or a counselor to help you. I am always available, you can always email me ask me questions, and come join in the Facebook group. And I’m always willing to talk, I help people overcome resistance and reluctance to change all the time. And this week, faithful podcast listeners, I’ve actually created a worksheet specifically for this episode that is designed to help you gauge your resistance and reluctance to change. By assessing the importance that you place on change. It includes a visual scale from zero to 100. With zero being making this change is not important at all. And with 100 being this change is the most important thing in my life. And there are markers and gradations that 2550 75. And you’re going to do two things, you’re going to first ask yourself a question. That is, how important is this change in my life, and I want you to assign a rating to it. Once you have that number, I want you to reflect on two things. First, why did you choose the number you did and not a lower number? So let’s say you said it was a 75? Why didn’t you say it was a 50? I want you to reflect on that write it down. Secondly, ask yourself, what would it take for you to move your number to a higher number? What would it take to move from 50 to 75? If that’s where you are, or from 75 to 95. I hope that this episode, I hope that talking about resistance and reluctance to change, understanding some of the stages of change, and how those are steeped often before we even take any action in resistance. And so it’s a very natural thing and we’ve got strategies that we can use to overcome that resistance to change. I hope you are having a great more sober October. If you are experiencing a lot of resistance to change. Remember, it’s 100% normal and it’s a part of the process. And if you’d like some support in making change happen, shoot me an email. Let’s chat about the different ways I work with people and how you can achieve sustainable change. That’s all I have for you this week, my friends. Until next time, choose peace. Thank you for listening to the alcohol minimalist podcast. Take something you learned from this episode and put it into action this week. Changing your drinking habits and creating a peaceful relationship with alcohol is 100% possible. You can stop worrying Stop feeling guilty about over drinking and become someone who desires alcohol less hum join me in making peace with alcohol. It’s my six month online course and group coaching program designed to help you build sustainable change. Give me six months and I’ll help you create peace.