EP #158

Dry January Series: Understanding Your ACB's (Alcohol Core Beliefs)

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In her Dry January series, Molly Watts opens up about her journey with alcohol minimalism, urging listeners to join in and subscribe for a chance to win some alcohol minimalist swag. She delves into the concept of alcohol core beliefs and their influence on drinking habits, identifying common ones like “alcohol helps relieve stress,” which she personally grapples with. Sharing her enthusiasm for the Sunnyside app, Watts acknowledges the genuine relaxation effects of alcohol but emphasizes their limitation to low blood alcohol content levels. Reflecting on her upbringing and societal norms, she examines ingrained beliefs about alcohol and relaxation, urging listeners to question these notions and consider the true impact of alcohol on mental health, encouraging a shift in core beliefs surrounding alcohol consumption for a healthier relationship with drinking.

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 minimalist podcast with me your host Molly Watts coming to you from it’s a Riri Oregon today. January is just kind of a dreary month around here if I’m honest, I’m looking for those bright, sunny, cold clear days haven’t had too many yet. But maybe they’re on their way. Let’s certainly hope so. How are you doing? It’s the second week of dry weary? Is your motivation staying strong? Are you asking yourself those questions about your physical health? Did you ask them? Are you finding and choosing thoughts that fuel your commitment to prioritize some alcohol free days increase those alcohol free days. I hope you’re feeling great and that you’re sailing through. And if it’s feeling a little bit more challenging, I want to remind you that starting next Monday, Monday, January 15, I will be doing a five day series with short episodes dropping every day to help you get over the hump of the mid month and to finish strong. So if you’re not already subscribed to the podcast, go ahead hit Subscribe so you do not miss it. I have some prize winners this week. Just as a reminder, and if you’re new around here, if you’d like to be entered into the drawing for some alcohol, minimalist swag, I give it away every other week I’ve got two opportunities for you. One is my random prize winner and the other is my selected prize winner. You get entered by leaving a review of the podcast or of my book, or by commenting on an episode on Spotify or on YouTube. That counts as well. This week’s random winner was somebody that left a review of the book breaking the bottle legacy on Amazon that is RG Mortensen, RG Mortensen, you are my random prize winner. My selected prize winner is herba villa, Herb Avila, Herb Avila left a comment on one of my podcast episodes on Spotify and said it’s really sensational and helpful makes me feel motivated over controlling my alcohol relationship. Thanks a lot, Molly. Herb Avila You are very welcome. For both of you, Herb Avila and RJ Mortensen. Simply email me Molly at Molly watts.com. Let me know that you are indeed my prize winner and I will mail you out some alcohol, minimalist swag. All right, on to this week’s show. This is the first episode of of a multi part episode of a multi series episodes, I guess I don’t know. It’s going to be a few episodes, it’s going to be this week, and then the week, the fourth and fifth weeks of January. And it’s an important topic because it’s applicable to anyone who is regularly drinking alcohol. It’s not just for people who are trying to change their drinking. But of course, for most of us, that’s what you know many of you that are here listening, that’s what you’re trying to do. And it’s very foundational for how I changed my own relationship with alcohol. So I know it’s going to be important for you. What I’m talking about today is something that drives all of us to drink alcohol. I’m talking about your a c B’s. And yes, you heard me correctly, not your ABCs but your a c B’s. Your AC B’s stands for your alcohol core beliefs. I want you to find first what I mean when I say core belief in breaking the bottle legacy my book I actually did define it. I defined core beliefs because again, it’s an important part of how I changed my drinking habits. In that book. I say core beliefs are Our most deeply held assumptions about ourselves, the world and others, they are firmly embedded in our thinking and significantly shape 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. As children, when we are emotionally and physically immature, we depend on adults in our lives and learn from them. Our core beliefs learned when we are young, and our internalized are really just thoughts that we’ve repeated and practiced over time. These core beliefs are often so automatic, we are unaware, we’ve created them just by thinking repetitive thoughts. And more importantly, we are unaware that we can change them. So in my book, I talked about core beliefs and not just alcohol that I uncovered about myself that were self limiting. I also have some core beliefs that are positive one that I’ve shared here often on the podcast is that I’m a lifelong learner. So we all have core beliefs. What’s most important to know is that any core belief, if it’s a core belief that isn’t serving you, it can be changed. Just because you’ve believed something in the past. Even if you have plenty of evidence to prove that it’s true. It doesn’t have to stay that way in the future. And what I’d like to offer you today is that underneath your surface level thought of I just love red wine is a deeper core belief that you believe about what alcohol is doing for you. And it’s our core beliefs are alcohol core beliefs, that are often operating unconsciously, that exists because we’ve repeated the same thought patterns over time. And now, those beliefs exist and fuel our desire to drink. Just like other core beliefs that we create about the world and ourselves. Our beliefs about alcohol are reinforced by our family, by our friends, by television, by the movies, by social media. And without questioning those beliefs or challenging them our core beliefs around alcohol fuel our desire to drink. With repetition, and the repeated act of drinking, we build our brains build a habit system for alcohol. In working with hundreds of people, I’ve seen five alcohol core belief patterns that show up repeatedly figuring out which of these categories is the dominant core belief for you can help you recognize some of the thoughts that are going to need to be challenged consistently when you’re trying to create sustainable change with alcohol. Now, I’m going to outline these five alcohol core beliefs today, and dive into the first one. And then in week three, after we do the mini series, we will break down number two and number three, and in the last week of January, we will break down number four and number five. I’ve also created an alcohol core beliefs mindmap for you to be able to see all the core beliefs and some common thoughts that fuel those belief. So if you’d like one of those, you can just go over to www dot Molly watts.com/mindmap. To grab it. Here are the five alcohol core beliefs that I see most often. Now remember, I said one is likely your dominant core belief, but it’s absolutely possible and probable that you believe more than one of these. All right. So here are the five alcohol core beliefs that I’ve seen most commonly. Number one, alcohol helps me relieve stress. Number two, alcohol makes things more fun. Number three, alcohol creates connection. Number four, alcohol is my reward. And number five, alcohol keeps me going. Today I’m going to dive into number one, alcohol helps me relieve stress. We’re starting with alcohol helps me relieve stress because it is without question. The thing I hear the most often regarding people’s drinking habits. It was undoubtedly my own dominant alcohol core belief. And the one that drove my daily drinking habit and the belief that I still held on to even after I started wanting to change my relationship with alcohol. And it wasn’t until I actually began to change that core belief that I started to challenge it. And the thoughts that fueled that core belief that I was successful in changing my decades long daily drinking habit. 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 E and 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. Now it’s really not surprising that many of us believe that we absolutely believe that alcohol helps us relax and relieve our stress. We believe it because the initial reaction of alcohol in our brains does create relaxation, a feeling of relaxation and euphoria in this limited therapeutic effect with our with alcohol on our neurotransmitters. And if you’ve listened to this podcast for any length of time, then you’ve heard me talk about alcohols limited therapeutic effect. It’s really limited to a blood alcohol content level of zero to 0.055%. And here’s how scientists break it down from 0.0 to zero to 0.039% there is no loss of coordination, there is a slight euphoria and loss of shyness, relaxation, but depressant effects are not apparent. All right. So in that very first step that low low blood alcohol content, you absolutely feel the relaxation and, and you know without feeling any of the depressant effect from 0.040 to 0.055%. You get feelings of well being relaxation, lower inhibitions, a sensation of warmth, euphoria, some minor impairment of judgment and memory lowering of caution that begins even at that low percentage. So it is absolutely real that alcohol in small amounts, does help us feel relaxed. There is not that is scientifically true. Of course, most people who drink to relax and alleviate stress do not stop drinking at one drink, which is pretty much the max for any therapeutic benefit. And I know that I certainly didn’t want I was stuck in my daily drinking habit. And it’s not just the science of alcohol that reinforces this belief. For me, I unconsciously learned that drinking is what adults do to relax and unwind. From a very early age watching my parents. My dad came home from work and while he went to the bedroom to change his out of his work clothes, my mom core to the two of them drinks. And this daily ritual continued for years until it became clear that my mom was developing a dependency and my dad pretty much quit. Right? quit cold turkey there and quit the daily habit, I’m sure in an effort to curb my mother’s drinking. And I know I’m not alone here many of us developed this core belief about alcohol from watching our parents. We also learned it from watching the world around us. For many people. The five o’clock Happy Hour is considered a cornerstone of American working life. No matter where one is or what one does. It’s always been considered an act of luxury and relaxation to loosen the proverbial tie and head to the bar for happy hour to grab a craft beer or cocktail, typically held between the hours of 4pm a pm happy hours have become common ways for not only workers to relax, but for bars and restaurants to boost their sales on what would typically be slower weekday shifts. And to help them to relax and get and to get their, their patrons relaxed and happy before dinnertime commences. Now, we also learned that alcohol is what helps us relieve stress by watching television and from the movies. One of the shows that I used to watch pretty regularly is blue bloods with Tom Selleck. It’s been on the air for like 14 years, and nightly drinks to relieve the stress of his job as the New York City Police Commissioner, as well as alcohol served with Sunday family dinners is a part of literally every episode, I’ve watched a lot of them and I don’t think I’ve seen one where that wasn’t the case. And I never even noticed it until I started doing work on changing my relationship with alcohol. Now I cannot watch a show sit through a movie or see an advertisement without noticing all the messages being delivered to us about alcohol. And certainly the idea that alcohol is what we need to relax and unwind is that front and center. An interesting sub thought to alcohol helps me relieve stress to that core belief is alcohol allows me to relax. And I definitely I’ll be it unconsciously created a belief around alcohol that a drink kind of gave me permission to relax. Having permission to relax is such an important idea. Because for me, and I’m sure for many of us, we really don’t know how to relax. And messages in our culture make productivity sound like the ultimate goal. So we get so caught up in checking things off of our to do list that we feel guilty when we’re not still accomplishing our to dues. And so whether it’s being off the clock from work, or for you moms out there being off the clock, when dinner’s finally done, or when the kids are going to bed, being allowed to relax feels like a well deserved ending to the day for me, and I’m sure for many of you, that used to mean drinking alcohol. I’m calling it a sub thought, because the need to relieve stress and seeking to relax are certainly similar. But I see stress management as the crux of this core belief. And that’s why the core belief is alcohol helps me relieve stress. The important thing about the relaxing effect of alcohol, even at those lower limits, is that it actually doesn’t solve the problem of what’s creating stress in our lives in the first place. We aren’t changing the desire to relax in any kind of permanent way when we drink alcohol. We’re just escaping the feeling of stress in the moment. And the problem is that most of us just don’t realize how ingrained this core belief is. Most of us don’t realize that the only time we really allow ourselves a chance to relax and unwind is when we have a drink in our hand. So that’s alcohol core belief. Number one. If you think your dominant core belief is alcohol helps me relieve stress. I want you to do three things this week. First, I want you to write down some of the thoughts you have about drinking after work. Did you have that modeled for you? As a kid? Do you think it’s just normal for people to drink after work? Are you in an industry or a company that supports the wine at five culture? If you’re a mom, do you have thoughts about being off the clock? And how alcohol helps you unwind? What do the TV shows that you watch the restaurants and the bars that you visit? What are they telling you about happy hour and how to relax? creating awareness of your thoughts and looking for the ways that they drive your feeling of desire? That’s an important part of changing your relationship with alcohol. Secondly, I want you to ask yourself when it’s okay for you to relax. And are you looking for ways to add relaxation to your day, if the only time that you’re allowing yourself to relax is when you have a drink in your hand. I want you to start practicing adding in another relaxing moment in your day. Maybe it’s a five minute walk outside, break from your work and really asking your brain to let go of that to do list. Third, I want you to question the beliefs you have about if alcohol is helping you relax. Is it true? Does alcohol really help you relax? If you’re constantly worried about your drinking? Is that a relaxed way of feeling? No, it’s not. So is it true that alcohol is helping you relieve stress? If you’re consistently creating a higher than 0.055% blood alcohol content, which is usually more than one drink for women and more than two drinks for a man. But that is, of course a very general guideline, then you are likely experiencing the rebound, increased feelings of anxiety and stress as your brain tries to get back to its normal, natural homeostasis neural chemically. And even if you’re sticking to low risk limits, and keeping that BAC low, just like we said before, does alcohol really solve a problem that’s causing you stress in the first place? No, it doesn’t. Right? What do you feel about ACBS alcohol core beliefs? Do you believe that you can change those core beliefs? Do you believe that they are at work unconsciously driving your drinking decisions? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Email me, Molly at Molly watts.com. And let me know Don’t forget to grab your mind map if you want one. And next week, an episode every single day. It is going to be awesome. It is the still dry you Arey mini series? I can’t wait for you to hear it. Until next time, my friends. Choose peace. Hey, thanks for listening to the alcohol minimalist podcast. Take something you learned from this week’s episode and put it into action. 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. I work with people in three ways. You can learn about them over at www dot Molly watts.com/work with me, or better yet, reach out to me directly. It’s Molly at Molly watts.com. We’ll jump on a call and discuss what’s best for you. This podcast is really just the beginning of our conversation. Let’s keep it going.