EP #40

Why FOMO Keeps You Drinking More Than You Want To

alcoholic minimalist podcast

listen to



In Episode 40 of “Breaking the Bottle Legacy,” Molly introduces a review of her book, “Breaking the Bottle Legacy: How to Change Your Drinking Habits and Create a Peaceful Relationship with Alcohol,” emphasizing its focus on encouraging better thinking. The review praises Molly for sharing personal stories and research about how alcohol affects the brain and body, prompting reflection on alcohol consumption habits. Molly explores the concept of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) and its impact on drinking decisions, debunking societal myths and encouraging listeners to challenge the accepted norms around alcohol. She delves into the role of primitive brains, loss aversion bias, and social comparisons in perpetuating FOMO. Molly emphasizes the importance of examining trade-offs, using tools like “play the movie to the end,” and reframing perspectives to overcome FOMO. She shares her experiences of breaking free from the lie of FOMO, highlighting the power of the behavior map results cycle in taking control of one’s relationship with alcohol. Molly concludes by addressing situations where friends or family may encourage drinking, providing insights into navigating such scenarios.

You’re listening to breaking the bottle legacy with Molly watts, Episode 40. 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 looks to be a little It looks to be, I don’t know, probably a decent day to day here in Oregon. It’s early. Gotta say it’s early. The good news is Friday. So Fridays are happy around here. It’s the heading into the weekends. And this particular weekend, I am headed off out of town going to cheer on the Pittsburgh Steelers for the very first time for me in person ever getting to see my football team going to Pittsburgh for the first time in my life. So it’s exciting. I’m super excited. I’ll report back on how the game turns out. I don’t know it’s not looking too great for my Steelers. But I’m excited about the whole experience. So the book has launched if you have listened to the podcast for a while, you might already know this. But it’s been great. And I really appreciate everyone’s support for those of you that have read the book for those of you that have left reviews, really appreciate it. And thank you so much. Here is what one five star review said. And this is actually the review that most people said was helpful to them. It’s titled this book makes you think which I love because at the heart of everything I’m sharing, it’s really all about becoming a better thinker. And here’s what the review said it said, I highly recommend breaking the bottle legacy how to change your drinking habits and create a peaceful relationship with alcohol. Author Molly Watts shares poignant personal stories and interesting research about how our brains and bodies respond when we consume alcohol. Reading this book made me reflect on how and why I consume alcohol along with how my body physically reacts to it. It was also eye opening to challenge the accepted a theories that are not based on scientific research. The book also made me think about other areas of my life, especially making the choices to live my best life. I love that. I love that. Thank you so much for that review. And I hope you’ll go check it out. It’s available on Amazon in both ebook and paper book paperback in pretty much whichever country you might be listening to this podcast from you can find it. I also invite you to join my free Facebook group alcohol minimalists, change your drinking habit. And there’s a link in the show notes every week. So you can go there and find it and click on it or you can search for it in Facebook groups. It’s just a great opportunity to take this work a little deeper to find a tribe of other people who are working on their drinking habits in a supportive way. We share our wins our challenges. And I’m also doing a free book club this month where we’re discussing the chapters of the book and answering questions. So come on in, check it out. And, again, alcohol minimalists. That’s what we are. So today on the podcast, I’m talking about FOMO. And how it keeps you drinking more than you want to. So FOMO fear of missing out, right? When I use the acronym FOMO. What do you think of? Do you think of comparing yourself to others? Definitely. This is the genesis of FOMO. And even though it’s become kind of a trendy meme producing word these days, it’s actually nothing new. And I explain it sort of in the book, and I want to read from the book what I said about it, the fear about what other people think is actually rooted in another survival instinct in our primitive brains. Our primitive brains evolved to associate our emotions with necessary actions for the survival of our species. Generally speaking, this means avoiding pain and seeking pleasure For our archaic ancestors, the Neanderthals, being a member of the tribe was literally a matter of life or death. And as humans evolved, we have become more socially connected. Mammals are more socially connected than reptiles, Primates more than mammals and humans more than other primates. What this suggests is that becoming more socially connected is essential to our survival. In a sense, evolution has made bets at each step, that the best way to make us more successful is to make us more social. Here’s the thing. We’re no longer living in a primitive world, right? So living in a tribe, is it necessary day to day life over death. Of course, being a part of community is important. And it doesn’t mean that being connected to people isn’t still very vital and necessary for humans. But unfortunately, we’ve swung like a pendulum in the other direction with FOMO. Our obsession and nonstop consumption of social media has created and very unrealistic scale. At a glance, we can access millions of people’s lives, living very different Lee than ours. And we often compare our lives very unfavorably with FOMO, and social media, we make comparisons instinctively, and without any thought. And our assessments are colored by a fear of loss, rather than a desire to approach that which we value. Humans have a natural loss aversion bias, ie we focus on what we might lose, rather than what we might gain. With alcohol. When I ask people what’s stopping them from changing their drinking habits, a lot of people bring up FOMO type fears. I’m scared that my life won’t be fun. I’m scared what people might think of me. I’m scared that my relationships will change. And this is understandable, right? A lot of us started drinking because we wanted to have fun. I know I certainly didn’t start drinking daily. I didn’t have a daily drinking habit. When I first started drinking. I started drinking in, you know, as a teen sneaking off in rebellious teen moments, breaking rules, asserting my independence. And then I went to college, and everyone drank on the weekends. We had big fraternity parties with dancing every Saturday night and lots of alcohol. There were football games house dances, heck, there were boozy brunches at the local restaurants. Is it any wonder that my brain associated fun with alcohol. And I’m sure I’m not alone here. Whether it was college or someplace else. What’s important is that you built your belief system about alcohol as the agent of fun, through your past experience, where it’s experiences where it was always included in parties, events, rituals, and celebrations. We also believe that alcohol adds to our fun in life, because society is constantly telling us that it does, right. Whether it’s movies or TV shows, or of course the multibillion dollar advertising campaigns of all the alcohol producers, our society glamorizes alcohol, and you’ve been hearing those messages. And they’ve been fueling your beliefs and your subconscious thoughts about alcohol since long before you ever started drinking. So it’s totally understandable why your brain wants to think that you’re missing out when you don’t include alcohol in your life. But we’re going to look at how we can turn that around. And why that’s not the real truth, right? No one describes FOMO better, I don’t think then Brene Brown in her book Rising Strong. And here’s what she says. Fear Of Missing Out is what happens when scarcity slams into shame. FOMO lures us out of our integrity with whispers about what we could or should be doing. fomos favorite weapon is comparison. It kills gratitude and replaces it with not enough. We answer fomos call by saying yes. When we mean no. We abandon our path and our boundaries and those precious adventures that hold meaning for us. So we can prove that we aren’t missing out. But we are. We’re missing out on our own lives. Every time we say yes because we are afraid of missing out. We say no to something. I love this description, especially the part we abandon our path and our boundaries and those precious adventures that whole Build meaning for us. So we can prove that we aren’t missing out. If you’ve been listening to this podcast for any length of time, you can probably sense where this is going. We are creating awareness of our own thinking, right, and how it fuels how we are feeling. FOMO is fueled by a perspective of scarcity, you come into a situation, choosing to think that what you have right now isn’t enough, you associate loss with not getting more, you convince yourself that it isn’t enough to enjoy a night out with your friends, you need drinks, you need alcohol to make it better. And as I pointed out, it’s really understandable why you believe that, if you’re anything like I was, I truly couldn’t imagine going to a party and not drinking, I had so many stories about how awful it would be how deprived I would feel, and how everyone else would be having a great time. And I would be just stuck missing out. These thoughts literally kept me from trying to change my drinking habit for years, I could only imagine a life of deprivation because I had never tried it or figured it out any other way. Whenever I tried to limit my drinking, I did it from a mindset of restriction of telling myself, I couldn’t drink from trying to toe the line and just grit my teeth through it. Of course, cutting back or choosing to be alcohol free, would mean that I was missing out and feeling deprived. That’s how I saw it. I tell myself, I wanted to relax, let loose reward myself. I convinced myself that I needed to drink to relax, that I needed to drink to let loose. And I deserved to drink to reward myself. When I decided to start changing my drinking habits, and I learned the behavior map results cycle, when I understood how my own thinking created an increased desire to drink. One of the first areas I had to acknowledge was my own FOMO. Of course, by that time when I was really drinking on a daily basis, right? I wasn’t drinking just at parties. I wasn’t drinking in social situations. I was often at home drinking by myself or with my husband. And there certainly it certainly wasn’t about peer pressure then, or what other people thought about what I was doing as much right? It was simply all the thoughts I had about how without alcohol, I’d be missing out on relaxing, I’d be missing out on having the only fun part of my day, right? Because I’d been working all day and alcohol was the fun part. I’d be missing out on the taste of IPAs that I really believed I enjoyed. If I wasn’t drinking, and I didn’t question those thoughts, they were simply the truth. And that those are really I want you to hear them. They are FOMO type thoughts. And they kept me stuck. When you don’t redirect your thinking and you don’t challenge your FOMO thoughts, it leads to feelings that aren’t going to help you take the actions that will create the results you want in your life. Hence why I had a 30 plus year daily drinking habit, you will keep doing what you are currently doing and not changing. Because your thoughts are fueling the feelings of desire as well as the feeling of anticipated deprivation by not choosing to drink, right. So you’ve got two negatives working against you. But here’s the truth. Drinking beyond low risk limits wasn’t relaxing for me. It created endless stress and anxiety. And it didn’t add to the fun. It disrupted my sleep. It created unhealthy anxiety because of the release of neurotransmitters after the fact when alcohol was dissipating from my brain. And it was actually making it harder for me to have sustainable happiness. I wasn’t rewarding myself. I was preventing myself from living my best life. FOMO and the way of thinking in terms of what Fear Of Missing Out is not only a lie, it’s a vicious cycle. When you’re not focused on what you do have and you’re only focused on what you don’t have, you will continually battle with the fear of missing out to combat FOMO you need to think incomplete thoughts rather than incomplete thoughts. You need to challenge yourself to tell the whole truth instead of continually talking to yourself about what will feel good right in that moment. Moderation management organization One that I’ve talked about multiple times on the podcast and a nonprofit that I am involved with and contribute to moderation management has a tool they call play the movie to the end tool. And I love that I love the name. It’s a really effective tool, especially if you’re waffling a bit on your resolve to stay alcohol free for a day or two, you know, limit yourself to low risk drinking. When you are contemplating that first drink, think of how your night will likely go. With the first drink, it may start out fun and satisfying. And then you want to play the movie forward, play the movie all the way to the end, all the way to the next morning and the thoughts you’ll and the feelings you’ll have when you wake up. Will you wake up with remorse and a pounding head if you’ve chosen to keep on drinking in the moment? Or will you have successfully stuck to low risk limits? Or maybe even stayed alcohol free? How does that feel in the morning. So when we play the movie to the end, right, we are getting the complete picture. We’re not just stopping right in the moment. Once I acknowledged the trade offs I had been making in my life, I could see through the lie of FOMO changing my perspective and seeing the whole picture removed the appeal of heavy drinking that had challenged me for decades. And heavy drinking as a reminder for women is anything more than eight standard drinks in a week. And as a note, I regularly consumed closer to 25 to 30 standard drinks in a week. And basically the bottom line is that it was a because I had my thoughts all about deprivation and missing out that I really associated with not drinking that kept me stuck. Before we wrap up this episode, I want to share another excerpt from the book where I describe another type of FOMO situation and that’s when you have a friend or a family member who wants you to drink more than you’ve planned or is consistent with your long term goals and low risk limits. Perhaps like my family drinking was and is a part of family gatherings. Regardless of your decision to create a peaceful relationship with alcohol, it’s likely your family or friends may not be focused on changing their own drinking habits. And it may feel like the people closest to you are the most resistant to you changing. First, let me assure you this is a very common scenario. When you’ve consistently shared drinks together, maybe even over decades, changing your habits may challenge your family or friends to question their own habits. Now you’ve got all of their primitive brains reacting and trying to avoid the pain of change as if their survival depended on it. And this just presents another opportunity for us to practice the behavior map results cycle as we choose thoughts to help us feel empathy for our loved ones. Instead of F expecting their unwavering support. We simply understand and see their actions with different thoughts. Here’s how that might look. So the circumstances the circumstances this you’ve attended a holiday gathering with family where alcohol is being served. You’ve planned ahead of time for one drink, which you’ve already had. Your brother offers you another which you decline, and he could Joe’s teases and repeatedly attempts for you to have another maybe you hold your ground or maybe you drink Off Plan. Either way, you have the choice about how you want to think and therefore feel about your brother. You can choose thoughts that make you feel angry and unsupported. Or you can choose thoughts that make you feel empathetic and patient. There are obviously other options about how you might feel but you get the idea. The circumstances and your brother’s actions don’t dictate how you feel, and they don’t force you to drink another drink. It’s always your thoughts that determine your feelings that lead to your actions. This truth and your fundamental acceptance of the behavior map results cycle retains the power to change your life squarely in your control. Don’t give your power away to anyone else. by blaming your family, family and friends for not supporting your goals. Don’t blame them for being responsible for you feeling like you’re missing out, right? To feel motivated and positive. Find the thoughts about your family that create those feelings. When you allow FOMO to go unchecked and unquestioned. It will leave you unsatisfied I’d unfulfilled and acting out of scarcity, instead of seeing the full picture. Alcohol was responsible for me missing out. On my life, I’m living my best life for decades. It wasn’t the other way around. I don’t miss out on fun by not drinking. I miss out on fun when I choose to think thoughts that don’t create fun. I create fun with my own brain, no matter what I’m doing, what I’m eating, who I’m with, where I’m am, or what I am doing. I want to leave you with a quote on gratitude. The definition of FOMO from Brene Brown starts with fear of missing out is what happens when scarcity slams into shame. And it reminded me of something I learned from Oprah decades ago, that never really landed with me, honestly, until I mastered the behavior map results cycle. Here it is. If you’re grateful for what you have, you’ll always have more than you need. If you’re always wanting for more, you’ll never have enough. Your life right now can be everything you need. The place that it changes is in your thoughts. All right, my friends. That’s all I have for you today. I hope you make it a great week. Go out there and live your best life. Work on something you’ve learned from these episodes to take one small step towards creating your peaceful relationship with alcohol. And you know, I gotta throw in a Go Steelers and choose peace, my friends. 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