EP #56

How NOT to Ruin Dryuary and How I Almost Did

alcoholic minimalist podcast

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In this episode, Molly discusses the challenges of breaking the cultural association between Friday nights and drinking, emphasizing the importance of addressing underlying thoughts and patterns. The episode explores scientific insights, such as a study showing that while many people may be excessive drinkers, only a small percentage are physically dependent on alcohol. Molly encourages listeners to approach a month-long break from drinking with a well-thought-out plan, addressing the common issue of fading motivation or enthusiasm. The episode also shares a personal experience during a “dry January,” where Molly almost let thoughts of being an imposter jeopardize the opportunity for self-reflection.

Welcome to the alcohol minimalist podcast. I am 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 used 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. I am Molly Watts coming to you from a still dark Oregon this morning. The sun is just beginning to pick up over the hills here where I live. But it does appear that it’s going to be a sunny day I have seen the forecast. And we look as though we are in for a week of dry weather. It was a bluebird weekend here in the Pacific Northwest, at least here in Oregon. And man was it just gorgeous. There is nothing better than sunshine when it’s here. Whether it’s cold or not. I don’t really care but sunshine, and it looks to be like the whole weekend. So super excited about that. So some quick housekeeping notes. We’re giving away some alcohol mineral swag again. And if you want a chance to win, here’s what you need to do, you need to leave a review of the podcast on whatever podcast platform you listen to. So that’s one easy way to get to get entered into the drawing. And when you do that, shoot me an email Molly at Molly watts.com Letting me know you did. And so I know how to connect with you. Oftentimes, I can’t see who’s done a review. I can just see a name but it’s not your real name. So let me know. Or you can also leave a review of my book breaking the bottle legacy wherever you might have picked that up so you can find the paperback on Amazon and the ebook wherever you buy ebooks, including Apple Barnes and Noble, Amazon, Kobo, Google Play, wherever. And if you leave a review for the book, then you can let me know that as well. Molly at Molly watts.com. This week’s winner is K K ne w 21. That’s K K ne w 21. And if you are listening, k k n ew 21 You need to email me let me know that you are the winner for episode number 56. And I will send you out your thank you swag. All right, so we’re heading into the last week of dry weary when this episode drops, we will officially be under a week to go. How have you been doing? How are you feeling? The title of this episode is how not to ruin dry you weary and how I almost did. So more on my story in just a bit. But first, here are some statistics from a January 14 article on insider.com. The article says data from over 15,000 users of the mindful drinking app Sunnyside found that this year 35% of those aiming for a sober month had a drink the first week. More of them 27% did so on Friday, January 7, than any other day. The first Friday was also the most common, quote unquote first fail day last year and Fridays in general had nearly twice as many drinkers as any other day of the week the organization found. What this tells us quote is the end of the workweek for many people is I have now been through the gauntlet of five days of working and I’m needing to give myself some respite. Nick Allen sunny sides co founder and CEO told me the last Saturday of the month is also a popular day to drink alcohol change UK the organization credited with launching the dry January movement found that more participants tripled 27% on January 30 2021, than any other day of the month. Meanwhile, a UK study by the water company Volvic finds that January 16 is the most likely day January teetotallers cave. Good Housekeeping reported. By week three your enthusiasm can start to wane. Psychiatrists Dr. Tony RAO of alcohol change UK says in all estimates of the percentage have dry January attempters, who remain dry all month range from 19% to 55%. And these are the folks motivated enough to download apps to support their goals. Never mind that some likely fudged their records. So that’s all from insider.com. Before we get to my story of how I almost ruined dry you Arey. Let’s dig into the examples from this article. So the first one one first fail Friday, first fail Friday love that. I can relate to this. Even after years of working on my own relationship with alcohol. My Friday thinking is the most ingrained the first time I decided ahead of time to not drink on a Friday. It was in my first mini break in November 2020, which I’ve talked about before on the podcast, I literally can still remember the tension I felt going into the Friday night knowing I had decided not to drink alcohol. I questioned whether or not I could stick to my plans when they usually included a restaurant or a bar after work. Or if I should literally just go straight home to avoid additional urges. I had trained myself to see alcohol as the reward for a hard work week as something I actually needed to help me unwind. And certainly as this statistic for the first Friday, being a day with substantial fall off for dry you weary plans illustrates this habitual turn to drinking on Friday night is culturally reinforced. It’s part of our alcohol centric culture to equate Friday nights with drinking to the point that it feels almost impossible to swim against that current. Even the language Nick Allen, CEO of Sun Sunnyside, and formally the cutback coach who has been a guest here on the podcast and good friend of ours here at alcohol minimalist guys over at Sunnyside. As Nick says In the article, I have now been through the gauntlet. This is what he was quoting what people think I have now been through the gauntlet of five days of working and I’m needing to give myself some respite. The language is important because it’s exactly the thought I used to have. And it’s the thought that so many people unconsciously choose. Even though it’s not true. We don’t need alcohol. We want it. We’ve created habits around it. But the vast majority of us, even those who the NIA a consider heavy drinkers are not physically dependent. I’ve shared the study many times on the podcast that was published in 2014. done in conjunction with the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration that found that nearly 1/3 of American adults are quote unquote, excessive drinkers, but only 10% of them have alcohol use disorder and or are physically dependent on alcohol. So 10%, right. 90% of us are not physically dependent on alcohol. So we don’t truly need alcohol. But we definitely want it. And when the urge to drink comes, it feels very urgent, right? It’s strong and important and like it needs to be answered. But here’s the truth. Having that urge doesn’t mean anything has gone wrong with your thinking or your plans. And it certainly doesn’t mean we should abandon our goal of taking a month long break from drinking. Most people who go into dry weary don’t really have a plan for allowing the urge to be there and not responding to it. Most people are very unaware of their thinking around alcohol, and how the thought I need a beer is actually fueling the feeling of desire. And it’s creating that really strong urge. Simply recognizing that the thought is there and questioning the truth of that thought, Do I really need it or do I just want it? It really can help alleviate the urge. So the second the second time that people tend to tipple. I love that word tipple the last Saturday of the month. Okay, this one I find particularly interesting. It smells of though some kind of permission giving thought like I’ve been so good one more day doesn’t really matter. Or making it this far is good enough, or but next weekend is so far away. So I talked about the results cycle here on the podcast and how our thoughts create our feelings which lead to our actions. And a lot of times we recognize the feeling of desire to drink, but we fail to see the thought that goddess there, especially with sneaky little permission giving thoughts that seem like a simple observance of the truth. Next weekend is far away, right? Or is it the time between Saturday night in this case it will be Saturday, January 29. And the next weekend, Saturday, February 5, is the same seven days it always is. The thought that it’s far away is completely subjective, and 100% your own judgment. If you change the thought to it’s only seven days until the next weekend, that’s nothing, especially since I’ve already made it 29 days without drinking. There’s a difference there, right. And it fuels a different feeling. One thought fuels the feeling of the desire to drink, and the other thought creates a feeling of motivation and strength. Now, because we’re still ahead of that last Saturday and dry you weary when this episode drops. I also want to encourage you before those permission giving thoughts sneak in, to really decide to stick the landing to cross the goal line to finish the race. There’s a quote by Danielle Laporte and it says, You need to learn the habit of living incompletely, you need to unlearn the habit of living in completely. And I love that idea. In Elizabeth Benton’s book chasing cupcakes, she writes in the chapter titled quote, unquote, maximum effort. Don’t mistake the familiarity of your comfort zone with easy, don’t convince yourself that it’s not that not trying is easier than trying. Living with an unrealized goal isn’t easy at all. Though living with a struggle might be familiar, it’s not your best life. There is so much more available for you, and it’s time for you to choose it. Ben continues, the thrill and pride of progress feels significantly better than the pleasure of indulgence and the familiarity of excuses. Here’s the thing until you do it, you don’t know how amazing you can feel when you choose maximum effort. I encourage you to give yourself that experience this month. After you’ve achieved this goal. Only then can you make a decision about your best approach. You can always go back to the way things were you can always return to average, you can go back to kind of trying and living in the middle, you can always go back to making excuses and putting it off. But at least give yourself the experience of maximum effort. So you can see how amazing you can feel. All right. The third scenario was for the mid month and was from another UK company that found that January 16, which was the mid Saturday in 2021 was the most common day for for drinking, you know during the month of January. And the UK psychologist there that’s a part of Drinkaware suggested that enthusiasm in week three starts to wane. Well, yes, enthusiasm and motivation fade. That’s true of dry weary dieting, fitness work, you name a habit that’s good for you that you’re trying to build or habit that doesn’t serve you that try that you’re trying to break. And I guarantee you that you will encounter a time when motivation or enthusiasm, fade, and you’ll have a choice to make. And this is the choice to do what you plan to do what you needed to do. Instead of allowing not feeling motivated to change your plans. You’re going to do it anyway. Better yet, I want to help you hold on to your enthusiasm and motivation. And here are three tips to help you stay enthusiastic and motivated. Number one have many reasons. experts will tell you to remember your why I encourage you to have many wise to have many reasons and especially when it comes to your relationship with alcohol. Because one reason may fail you and but when that’s when another reason needs to step in. All right. And there are so many why’s you want to have a peaceful relationship with alcohol. They can come from all sorts of facets of your life, your health, your sleep, your personal relationships, your budget, your mental health, your social life, your job? How many reasons can you find that support your decision to take a month long break from drinking or to change your relationship with alcohol? I guarantee you can find many reasons and I want you to write them down. Now tip number two is make the reasons strong. Don’t just write things down for the sake of having many reasons like tip number one, but you need to find reasons that really resonate with you and I guarantee you they are there have many reasons, make the reasons strong. And tip number three, revisit your Send often go back to that written lists, and really fuel your thinking every day with your reasons. Make the revisiting of that list part of your daily routine. If you want to keep motivated and stay enthusiastic, you need to focus your thinking on the reasons that you’re doing it in the first place. All right, so what happened to me and my own dry you airy experience? Well, this is my second dry you Arey. And earlier this month, I shared how this year was so different. And of course, I’ve continued to change my relationship with alcohol over the past year and I routinely include multiple alcohol free days each week, I plan one alcohol free weekend per quarter. And in October I did, quote unquote, more sober October I had 24 alcohol free days in the month. So you know, I haven’t done a full accounting, but I can guarantee that 2021 is the least amount of alcohol I’ve drank in the last 22 years without question. So I went into this dry you area with a totally different feeling than last year when it was the first time I had taken a 31 day break since 1999. I came into this dry weary, feeling very excited for the month, feeling optimistic and eager to see what thoughts came up. And to be really cognizant of my thinking. I’m also leading a small group, my proof positive cohort. Hello, everybody Awesome job, doing dry weary and a 30 day nutrition upgrade with them. So I had additional accountability and motivation to share my experience. So what happened and how did I almost ruin my own very happy dry you Arey? Well, if you’re thinking that I almost drank but I didn’t. You’re wrong. I didn’t almost drink. I did drink. Yep, that’s right. During a month long commitment to being alcohol free. When I am the leader of a group holding each other accountable. I drank a glass of wine. Here’s how and why it happened. First off, it had nothing to do with first sale Friday. It had nothing to do with the last Saturday, obviously, because we’re not even there yet. And it didn’t have anything to do with waning enthusiasm either. Midway through dry weary, I realized that a special work dinner, a celebration for hitting a two year sales goal that was accomplished largely by me was going to be happening during dry weary, my small team was going to be treated to a beautiful dinner at a very nice restaurant in Portland. And of course, drinks were going to be included. So you already know the punch line, I decided to have a glass of wine with dinner. A beautiful and expensive glass of Cabernet, I will add that I drank with my flat iron steak and something I would have never bought myself. Did I need it? No. Did I enjoy it? Yes. But I almost didn’t. I almost didn’t allow myself to enjoy one glass of wine because of all the thoughts that I had about screwing up my dry weary, being an imposter and not keeping my promise to myself. And herein lies the gift of dry weary if you realize that it’s there. The gift of taking a 31 day break from alcohol is the stories you uncover about alcohol and the thoughts that you take the time to step outside of your brain and see I almost ruined dry you weary not because I drank a glass of wine because but because I almost wasted the opportunity to look at my thoughts. To learn more about my relationship with alcohol. I nearly wasted a chance to manage my mind and choose how I wanted to show up for myself. It was really interesting to me that my very first thought my very first thought when I realized that this dinner was coming during dry you weary was oh shoot, I can’t have a drink. That was it. Not this is going to be a great night. How nice to be treated to such a nice event. Not I enjoy spending time with my coworkers and our CEO this will be great. No, my very first thought was I can’t have a drink which of course isn’t even true, right? I could have a drink. I was choosing not to have a drink. But that was the thought that came I can’t. Interesting that that’s the storyline my brain wanted to focus on. Ultimately, I looked at the menu ahead of time I made a plan to not have a drink when we sat down and if I wanted a glass of wine with the meal that I ended up choosing, I was torn between the steak and a fish dish. I would have one. I decided that being an alcohol minimalist and knowing my relationship with alcohol was what was most important to me. And I could use this experience to further have that relationship, which I did. And if this scenario hadn’t happened, I would have never had the opportunity to see all of these thoughts, to question my stories to engage my prefrontal cortex while weighing the pros and the cons of planning for a glass of wine. All of it is the gift of dry you weary. It’s the gift of Off Plan, drinking whenever it happens. But when you’ve made this commitment, when you’ve surrounded yourself by others who are doing it with you, take the time to really figure out why you chose to drink if you did, and by all means don’t use it as an excuse to throw in the towel and not complete the month. maximum effort. Stick the landing. This last weekend was divisional weekend in the NFL, in arguably the best weekend of football in the whole year. And it would have been easy for me to think it doesn’t matter. I’ve already drank what’s one beer during the game. But that’s not what I really wanted. What I want is to have the experience of taking a full month of alcohol to allow my body and my brain to reap those benefits that it provides. Does one drink ruin it? No. I don’t think so. Not if you don’t allow it to. Alright my friends. That’s all I have for you this week. 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