EP #19

5 myths that keep us drinking more alcohol

alcoholic minimalist podcast

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Molly Watts, the host of “Breaking the Bottle Legacy,” is your guide to creating a peaceful relationship with alcohol. Using real science and the power of your mind, she offers insights for transformation. Molly discusses her experiences during challenging times, demonstrating how she avoids turning to alcohol for stress relief. She emphasizes the benefits of alcohol-free days and shares wisdom from the book “Chasing Cupcakes,” focusing on changing thoughts to create lasting change. Molly addresses five common myths and beliefs that hinder progress when changing one’s relationship with alcohol. She encourages self-responsibility and the reevaluation of social situations. The episode empowers listeners to challenge their thoughts, overcome FOMO, and redefine their relationship with alcohol. Molly’s podcast is dedicated to helping you transform your drinking habits and cultivate a peaceful connection with alcohol.

You’re listening to breaking the bottle legacy with Molly watts, Episode 19. 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, it’s a little bit gray and cloudy and rainy today, which is the first time in quite a few days or even weeks, I think that we’ve had rain here in Oregon. So I am not complaining because April has been stunning. And I love the sunshine. So you know, it’s actually been a pretty hectic couple of weeks for me. And I’ve shared a little bit on this podcast about my father. Much more about him on my previous podcast live happier longer, which was inspired by his habits and how he has aged with optimism and how he continues to do so. But recently, he has begun to show signs of vascular dementia. He’s 93. So it’s it’s expected. But I’ve had to step up my involvement, including moving him to a more supportive living environment last weekend. And what I have noticed over the last couple of weeks is that my sleep has been more challenging, my mind is very active all the time keeping track of just all my normal stuff, and then adding in all the parts of helping my dad, as well as the emotional part of allowing him to decline, letting him go in small steps. And what I’ve appreciated is that I have not wanted to drink alcohol, to numb out and buffer away the stress and sadness. And I can’t tell you how huge this is for me. I’ve also become really aware and grateful for how I feel when I wake up in the morning after an alcohol free day. I sleep better my brain simply feels like it’s firing on all cylinders. And I am gratified by my own strength. I’m encouraged to be the best version of myself I can be right now. And I know that drinking too much doesn’t help me do that. And I take a minute each day to think about how showing up for myself is something that I’ve learned to do, and how I am actually am capable of handling life’s difficult moments without abusing alcohol. And I was really listening to a book that I really love this week. It’s about transforming your life written by Elizabeth Benton called Chasing cupcakes. Elizabeth is a coach and someone that I followed for years now. And her background is that she was someone who changed her life from being very overweight and broke virtual basically, into someone who’s obviously financially successful and she’s a transformation coach. And she’s written a book called Chasing cupcakes which I just mentioned and I love. And I believe the same theories apply to overdrinking as over eating, gambling, shopping, etc. And basically, for me, I know I used alcohol as a coping strategy for many years. And for Elizabeth it was food. But I believe that you know, all of these things are different coping strategies and chasing cupcakes is just a wealth of great ideas, tips, and is very focused on the same kind of thought process that I talked about, which is changing your thoughts, to feel different feelings, to take different actions to get different results. So I wanted to share with you just these two different paragraphs from chasing cupcakes which I will link in my show notes, because they really resonated with me this week. The first is if your goal is creating lasting change in your life, you must use the dark and difficult moments to practice consistency. Don’t resent these moments. They are not here to give you an excuse to run from progress. The hard moments are an essential part of your process, hard moments, hard days and and even hard years are part of the human experience. You can’t avoid them. And here’s another, it’s easy to convince yourself that there isn’t time or energy for your goals. When you’re going through something challenging. You can convince yourself that you simply can’t take great care of yourself when life is hard. But you can. I have a lot of experience letting emotion loss, fatigue and stress be the reasons I didn’t take care of myself. I convinced myself that it was too hard. The real truth is that not taking care of myself made the hard times harder. On the flip side, maintaining consistency and making great choices, no matter what is happening in my life, makes the hard times easier. There have been no exceptions to this rule. These days, when I’m super stressed, or life feels out of control. I’m remind myself, this is when it matters most. This is when my choices need to be the very best. Not the very worst. All right, so I hope those resonate with you. Again, I’m reading them again. It’s just really, really powerful for me this week, because I feel very, it is a very challenging, overwhelming time in my life. And I’m just so grateful that I have this work, and I’m able to make good choices. So one small piece of housekeeping before we jump into today’s episode, I’m going to ask you a favor. I’ve had some really great feedback on the podcast, like truly wonderful words. And they’ve been shared with me mostly via email or social media, and not necessarily in the form of reviews on iTunes. And here’s one that recently blew me away in all caps. I love your podcast, breaking the bottle, listening on tune in radio app, everyone reading this needs to check you out. You offer sound unfiltered alcohol science, so friendly and relatable, no preaching, no selling just well spoken truth. Kinda like sitting in a stuffy bar and someone opens the door, the sun shines in, and you realize there’s a fresh reality outside this darkness. So that was somebody’s feedback to me which just it even reading it again, truly, I said to that person, I’m kind of speechless. takes my breath away, it really means so much to me. And if you are someone who feels like you’ve gotten some help from this podcast, can you just do me a favor, jump over to iTunes or wherever you listen and review the show. iTunes is because it’s the biggest, it has the most impact, but really anywhere. And I will link the link to where you can review on iTunes in the show notes. But actually leaving a review just helps people find the show and boosts it boosts the reputation of the podcast in terms of overall podcasts. And there’s just millions of podcast, so it would be greatly appreciated. Alright, let’s get into today’s episode. I wasn’t sure how to title this episode. It’s called five myths that keep us drinking more alcohol. And I landed on the word myths, but it could have just as easily been beliefs we hold on to stories we tell ourselves or simply thoughts we have that keep us drinking more alcohol than we want to. If you have listened to this show, you have heard me talk about the behavior map. And within it, what I call the results cycle. The results cycle is where all the actions of our lives are happening. And the basic premise of that cycle is that it’s our thoughts that create our feelings that lead to our actions. When you are drinking more than you want to more than you plan to. There is always always, always a thought that happens before you make the decision. And with a long standing drinking habit, like mine was those thoughts are often unconscious thoughts that have been playing in the background of your life for so long, that you do not recognize that they are there. Some of them are self limiting beliefs that you may have formed in childhood, especially if you’re an adult child of an alcoholic like me, those stories that you’ve been telling yourself for years, maybe what’s keeping you stuck in your drinking habit. I know it definitely was for me. Today I want to focus on five myths, beliefs, stories, or thoughts that I hear all the time from people who are trying to change their relationship with alcohol. These are the kinds of thoughts you need to become really aware of and to challenge them whenever they show up in your brain. These are some of the same thoughts I had that kept me stuck in my quote unquote unbreakable daily drinking habit. What is true about all of these thoughts, is that they are just thoughts. Some became beliefs for me because I had practiced them for so long. And I told myself them so often that I really believe They were true. They were not true. They were not facts. They were just thoughts I accepted as true. I created their trueness because I believed them. So, number one, a thought I hear all the time. I thought I had, I’m just not disciplined enough. Or I’m lazy, weak willed not strong enough, you know, same variations right? These thoughts are rooted in absolute thinking. They are black and white beliefs about what is progress and what isn’t progress. And for me, these kinds of thoughts were also fueled by my past experiences. allowing myself to believe that I was someone who lacked discipline kept me from proving myself to be someone different. Turns out I am someone who was disciplined enough to change my 30 year drinking daily drinking habit, I needed to challenge myself to see that thought as simply something I was choosing to believe. Even though I could dredge up plenty of evidence to prove that it was true. What I failed to understand for a long time is that I could still choose something different for the future. It was optional that I continued to think this thought this kind of negative self talk is absolutely the most prevalent that I see with people I talk to about their drinking habits. It’s the first excuse that they use when they drink Off Plan or can’t commit to making a plan ahead of time. It’s as if by claiming this as a personality trait, we are somehow off the hook for changing it. I read a book recently, which I will link in my show notes. And it’s called personality isn’t permanent. And I highly recommend it. For those of you that find yourself stuck in limiting beliefs from your past that make change feel especially challenging. Let’s look at the results cycle here. If my thought is I’m not disciplined enough, what kind of feeling does that create me? Well, for me, it felt defeating demotivating and I even felt kind of resigned to my lot in life. And when I felt defeated and demotivated and resigned, I just kept on drinking three or four drinks every night to numb away those feelings of defeat. I’d wake up the next morning full of thoughts that reaffirmed the belief like just like always, You’ll never change. You’re just someone who can’t control your drinking. You left you lack self control in most things. I’d make more poor choices during the day. And by the time the next night would roll around, I’d be seeking relief from the same feelings all over again. It was a vicious cycle, but one that I felt helpless to change until I learned about the results cycle and that I was actually causing my own feelings with my thoughts. The realization that all of my thoughts are optional, was so life changing for me. How many thoughts do you keep thinking convinced they are true? My friends, your future self is someone who makes promises to yourself and keeps them your future self is capable of making and achieving goals. Quit looking backwards for the path forward. Just one small step at a time and meet yourself where you are and grow from there. There are some great quotes about why focusing on the past doesn’t change the future. And one of the coaches I follow shared this one which I loved. If you don’t like your past, then quit vacationing there. Quit sitting around in your old garbage memories ruminating over what should have happened, what was wrong about it and what you wish you could change. Your past is done. Your future is waiting to be visited. Visiting your past is expensive. It cost you your dreams and goals, which only exist in visiting your future. I will link that as well. That’s from Corinne Crabtree. Alright. Number two thought myth I need to drink to take the edge off. I’ve talked about this a lot on the podcast with regards to alcohol and anxiety. It’s one of the thoughts that definitely keeps people drinking alcohol at all, and often drinking more than they want to. It absolutely was another thought that kept my daily drinking habit going. And it’s also one of the areas where I first understood that I got to choose how I felt and could manage my mind when it came to stress. The first place you need to question this thought is the very word need. I talk about this in my book and the fact that it was one of the first times I became aware of my thinking around alcohol. Here’s what I wrote. For me the thoughts I had about my nightly drinking habit had run in the background for so long and happened so automatically. I can remember how excited I am was the first time I was able to uncover a thought as it was happening. I had left my office downtown got in my car from my commute home. And as I pulled onto the crowded freeway, I thought, I need a beer. It was the first time since beginning my work with the behavior map results cycle that I was aware of that simple and previously unconscious thought. I remember the feeling of metacognition, as I was able to see my thought, and witness how it created my desire to drink. What was really amazing to me, was that I realized that my thought was need. I empirically knew that wasn’t true that I simply wanted a drink, but the thought was definitely need. When I became conscious of the thought, I was able to not only reject its validity, but I could see how thinking that thought created an intense urge to drink. The other thing I needed to do with this thought was to get very clear on the science of alcohol and anxiety. I just did a full episode on this. And it’s important for you to really accept the truth around alcohol and the fact that drinking more than one, possibly two drinks at any time, depending on your size, a timeout you’ve eaten, etc, you’re going to experience a rebound surge in the excitatory neurotransmitters, as the alcohol leaves your system and your brain attempts to get back to homeostasis. Those excitatory transmitters make us feel on edge, jumpy, irritable, anxious, you are literally creating anxiety in your body that you may want to relieve with another drink. I will link to episode number 14 in the show notes because it’s all about that science of alcohol and anxiety. Understanding that was critical for me to challenge that thought I need or even I want to drink to take the edge off, because I had to understand that it actually didn’t help take the edge off, it created anxiety. I’ll leave you with this thought on needing to drink to take the edge off. Whatever situation your life is causing you in whatever situation in your life that is causing you stress, I guarantee that alcohol is not solving it. solutions for stress involve addressing the thoughts you have about the circumstances of your life. solutions also may be just known stress relief activities, that if you’re having a lot of thoughts that are creating stress and anxiety, sometimes you’re not capable of getting through that overwhelm. And I’m going to include a PDF, my show notes on ways to let go of stress that don’t involve drinking alcohol, because sometimes we do just need relief. And that’s okay, too. You’re not always going to feel capable of doing the thought work and managing your mind. Sometimes you know that your thoughts are making you feel depressed and anxious. But the only thing you can do is practice a little warm self care until you’re able to tackle the thoughts. That’s completely okay. And recognizing when you are in those low moments without turning to alcohol is great progress. Number three, alcohol makes things more fun. Oh, this is when I hear so often. And it’s easy to understand why we think this right? For most of us we likely started drinking in social situations at parties, special occasions, events, holidays, you name it. I know I certainly did. I didn’t start off drinking every day. I don’t think many people do. Then somewhere along the line drinking moved from being something I did to have fun to also being something I did to change how I was feeling when I felt stressed, depressed, angry or bored. Somehow, instead of it being just for the weekends and vacations, it was a daily habit. And instead of just doing it when I was going out with friends, it was by myself every night at home. For people that are trying to abstain, this is something that really challenges them in their attempts to give up alcohol altogether. And of course, it’s rooted in that FOMO Fear Of Missing Out and the idea is that we’ve been fed by the alcohol industry, by you know that alcohol makes everyone happier, sexier and it’s just more fun. I’ll tell you what, when I was drinking three to four drinks every night, I was definitely not having a lot of fun. I was tired, lethargic and prone to crying. Now I know that there are some of you that swear that having lots of drinks helps you loosen up and lose your inhibitions. And of course I’ve shared the science of how alcohol does impact several neurotransmitters which creates the euphoric feeling in your brain and slows down your thinking process which helps people feel relaxed. What is also true Rue is that the therapeutic effect of alcohol and that euphoric relaxed feeling only happens at very low levels of blood alcohol content. Once you pass 0.55% blood alcohol level, you are going to start experiencing more and more of the negative effects of alcohol on your system. The other place to question this thought is within the thought itself, alcohol doesn’t make things more fun. Neither does food or people or music or any other external circumstance. You create fun with your thoughts about food, and people and music and those external circumstances. It’s what you are making alcohol mean in your life. That is why you believe it’s so true that alcohol makes things more fun. When you really take the time to educate yourself on the science of alcohol, on the alcohol industry, on society’s messages about alcohol, you realize that it’s always you’re thinking about alcohol, that is creating the feelings of fun. And when you start to change those thoughts, then alcohol really isn’t the reason that those events, occasions and even parties are fun. You can have fun anywhere, simply by choosing to focus your thoughts on what you enjoy about getting together with friends, going out to a club or to an event. Is that the connection with people you enjoy? Is it dancing? Is it the thrill of victory for your favorite team? Trust me, you can choose to have fun with or without alcohol. It’s always available to you when you choose to focus on other things that you enjoy. Number four, I just love that taste of wine or beer or whiskey, or whatever your drink of choice is too much to ever give it up. If you’ve listened to the podcast, you know that believing that I just loved beer too much was one of the thoughts that kept me stuck in my daily drinking habit. And honestly, I still have to work on this thought, because I do enjoy the taste of beer. As you know, if you’ve listened, I’m not exclusively alcohol free, and non alcoholic beers are something I have used to help me change my drinking habits. And what’s amazing is that for a long time, I thought I didn’t like the flavor of non alcoholic beers. What I realized was that even taste can be a matter of choosing my thoughts. I prefer non alcoholic beer to regular beer on most evenings because I like how I feel when I don’t drink alcohol every day. I used to think that drinking now and non alcoholic beers was kind of a crutch. And then I realized that it’s really just drinking another liquid. So non alcoholic beers are not a problem unless I make them mean something. For me, this thought was just one that didn’t allow me to believe that alcohol free days were possible. I certainly never believed that I would take extended breaks from alcohol or that I would incorporate multiple alcohol free days into each week when I was focused on the thought. I just love the taste of beer too much. It did help me with the thought to understand that ethanol, the chemical is not anything that that someone say they would say that they liked the taste too much. You can’t drink ethanol straight you would die. And it’s it’s a gasoline additive. So no, you would never drink straight ethanol. What we drink is combined with a lots of other ingredients. And it’s those flavors that we enjoy. So if you’re someone that who believes that you just like the taste of your favorite drink too much, I first suggest that you decide that that’s not really true that you don’t like the taste of ethanol, the alcohol that part of your drink, but allow yourself to recognize that you enjoy the flavor of wine or beer and or whatever else you drink. And that’s okay. It doesn’t mean that you can’t change your relationship with alcohol and it doesn’t mean you can’t make alcohol free days a part of your plan. It does mean that focusing on enjoying the flavors of other drinks or not making the taste of your favorite drink means something absolute or even deciding that if this thought that thought that I liked the drink tasted beer too much. If that thought makes you feel desire to drink, then you simply want to choose to focus on something else that helps you feel less desire. Okay, that’s something that I worked on with this thought because I did that thought did fuel my desire to keep drinking beer on a regular basis on a nightly basis for a long time. I had to understand that it did not that it didn’t have to be just one or the other. It didn’t have to be absolute. I could still enjoy the taste of a beer and not drink it every night. Okay, number five. I can’t change my drinking because As my spouse, my partner, my friends, my family, they all drink. The thoughts I had about what it would be like to not drink. When my husband drank, or my friends drank, or my family drank, kept me stuck in my habit. For years. I painted such a gloom and doom picture in my brain of what not drinking would look like. It was no wonder that I didn’t want to give up my daily drinking habit. Let me just tell you right now, my friends, quit waiting for everyone else to change, and stop giving your power to transform your life away to others. Whether or not my husband chooses to drink is his choice, and it has absolutely nothing to do with my own choices. I have had multiple multiple times now that he has chosen to have a couple of beers and I have not. And guess what? It was completely? Fine, awesome. Normal. No, no awful feelings of desire. I wasn’t gritting you know, gritting my teeth and trying to stick it through. No, because I’ve changed the way I think about alcohol, it was meant nothing for him to drink and me not to. It means nothing. And it does not mean that he’s not supportive. It does not mean he’s trying to tempt me. It doesn’t mean anything that I don’t choose to make it mean. The belief that drinking alcohol defines who you are, with your partner or with your friends or with your family needs to be one of the first place you question your thinking. If you think that way, you’re going to be prone to FOMO that fear of missing out, you might resent your partner for not joining you in changing their drinking. I gotta tell you, it’s your thoughts that create your feelings that lead to your actions. Your spouse, your friends, your family, they don’t make you feel anything. They don’t lead you to drink or not drink. It’s always what you make it mean, if you’re not drinking, and someone else is. When I successfully changed my relationship with alcohol, I took full responsibility of with my choices, and allowed myself to believe that hanging with my friends didn’t have to mean drinking was necessary for me. My husband can choose to drink a beer and, and I don’t have to join him. I don’t make it mean anything about my own choices. His choices are his own, and they don’t mean anything about me. Changing your relationship with alcohol is a process. For me learning how my thoughts fueled my desire to drink, how I could choose different better thoughts that reduced that desire was really the reason that this time was so different. Ask yourself what thoughts you need to change about drinking that will help you feel less desire. What thoughts do you need to change that create feelings of defeat or resentment, which may lead you to drinking as a way to buffer those negative emotions? What else might you believe is possible for your relationship with alcohol that makes you feel hopeful and motivated? What good can you think today? That is a better thought than you what you believed yesterday? All right, that’s all I have for you today, my friends. I will link lots of stuff in the show notes chasing cupcakes Corinne Crabtree the PDF on letting go. The book personality isn’t permanent. And of course, a link to where you can review breaking the bottle legacy on iTunes. I would really appreciate it if you take that moment in time to help this podcast reach more people. Have a great day and as always 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