EP #68

Believing you can CHANGE Your Drinking

alcoholic minimalist podcast

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In this episode of the Alcohol Minimalist podcast, Molly draws on her personal experience of overcoming family alcohol abuse, anxiety, and an entrenched daily drinking habit. Molly shares strategies to transform perceptions and behaviors related to alcohol consumption. Molly discusses the impact of beliefs and societal norms on drinking habits and offers three practical steps to build belief in the ability to change. She encourages letting go of the past, focusing on the present, and finding thoughts that align with the goal of creating a healthier relationship with alcohol. Molly introduces Sunnyside, a digital coaching service, as a valuable resource for tracking progress and setting weekly plans. The episode concludes with Molly’s dedication to empowering listeners to challenge unhelpful beliefs, fostering a lasting and sustainable transformation in their relationship with alcohol.

Hey, it’s Molly from alcohol minimalist. What do you do in this October? I would love to have you join me in my more sober October challenge. What do I mean by more sober October, it simply means that we’re going to add in more alcohol free days than you currently been doing, whether that’s one or two or 31. It’s up to you, you get to set your own goal and that’s why it’s more sober October. You can check it out and learn more at get got sunnyside.co/molly It’s totally free. I’ve got prizes, I’m going to be going live every week to announce the prize winners. And it’s just going to be an awesome event. So I would love to have you join me. You can learn more at get.sunnyside.co/molly and you can get registered today. 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 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 with me your host Molly Watts coming to you from well, it looks to be a little gray and cloudy. Was very wet yesterday. Very wet. But a fairly nice weekend and hey, you know it’s April spring showers. It’s okay. Last week it was snowing the week before it was 75 I don’t know what to make of the weather here in Oregon. But right now this kind of gray gloomy rainy weather looks pretty familiar to me. And I guess I will just have to take it may is around the corner. So right April showers may flowers, you know, I’m looking forward to some May flowers. All right. So before I get to this week’s show, first off, we have a prize winner this week. If you would like to be entered into a drawing for some alcohol, minimalist swag, YouTube can be entered by leaving a review of the podcast or my book breaking the bottle legacy. You can leave those reviews anywhere that you listen to the podcast anywhere you find the book, and I will find you add you into the drawing mix. This week’s prize winner is Christina G. Christina G if you are listening, please email me Molly at Molly watts.com. Let me know that you are this week’s winner of some alcohol minimalist swag. And I will send that right out to you. And thank you for your kind review. All right, I also want to get to just talk with you a minute about free resources. I’ve got a lot of free resources out there. And I want to make sure that you’re aware of them all because truthfully, these resources are really great. And they will help you as you are working on changing your relationship with alcohol. And they’re free. So hey, why not pick them up? First of all, well, you’re already doing it. You’re listening to the podcast. But did you know there’s like 65 episodes, go back and listen, really listen to some of them. I really listened to episodes all the time, not my own podcast, but to other podcasts that are really helpful for me. I really listened to those favorite episodes, I save those episodes. And when I’m having a down day, or my thoughts are not working for me, I go and listen to something that helps me change my mindset. So if my podcast has helped you do that, then go back and re elicit. Also, I have a free ebook. It’s called how alcohol true this how much is safe. And it’s a really great resource for helping you learn some of the science behind alcohol. It also has a free worksheet at the back of it that helps you do a cost benefit analysis of your current drinking versus your proposed drinking. And so it’s just very pragmatic and I think you will really appreciate it. Again, it’s completely free. So you can find that over on my website www Do dot Molly watts.com/resources, if you go to that page specifically, you will find that ebook right there. And some other resources that are really that aren’t free, that are really valuable as well. But that book is right there. Also on the website on the homepage, there are, there’s a place where you can get two free audio chapters of my book breaking the bottle legacy. So if you haven’t read that book yet, or if you have would like to hear it, some people get more out of learning from an audio message as opposed to visual reading message I do. I love listening to content. So that’s why the audio chapters are there. And they’re free, too. So go grab those. Lastly, my private Facebook group, the alcohol minimalists, I really invite you to come join us there are additional resources inside the group, like a reading list, or recovery and reflection worksheet that I’ve shared. I always do hashtag Tip Tuesdays and hashtag think Thursdays. So we talk about neuroscience, we talk about really practical applications. And there’s a lot of inspiration and sharing amongst my members. And so it’s really a supportive, collaborative, safe space to be to work on your drinking habits. So and really just any habit that doesn’t serve you, I think we’re doing a lot more in terms of changing our mindset and how we approach changing habits and over there in the group. So I invite you to come join us. Again, there’s a link in the show notes, you can always search for it on Facebook, it’s a private group, you just you have to ask to be a member and then I will approve you and you will be in and I highly recommend that you do it because it’s just again, another free resource. All right, on to this week’s show. So over in the moderation management Facebook group, another free resource that I would highly recommend, I often comment and share some of the strategies that have worked for me. And one of the members who’s active in the group and has been working on his relationship with alcohol tagged me and posted this for me, quote, I am having some success with turning my attitude around from the perceived deprivation of abstinence or moderation to the abundance of life as a moderate drinker. Sometimes I even look forward to an abstinent day now, getting so much done good times with my spouse, good sleep, feeling great the next morning, improving health, saving money, feeling the pride of accomplishment, etc. Thank you for your help with this. I have a long ways to go still. But I am, I am encouraged by signs of lasting change. I loved this post because I as I shared with the poster, he’s creating the change in how he feels with his own thinking. He’s taking the time to notice his thinking, to redirect it away from the thoughts that create the feelings of deprivation, to the feelings of abundance. I want you to really let that soak in his actions of moderating his actions of abstinence, don’t create feeling deprived, this happens because of his thoughts. And when you change what you think you will feel differently. And that’s what we’re what we’re all ultimately looking for. Right? We want to feel better. What I also love about this post is that he understands that there is still work to be done. If I told you that this was going to take some time, maybe even a year or two, but you will actually enjoy the process. You won’t dread doing the work and it will absolutely be lasting sustainable, real true change. Would you be in for that another person in my private Facebook group shared this inspiring posts this week. I remember for years before I started this process, I wished I could be the kind of quote unquote drinker who could whip it up when I was out and about and then forget about alcohol the rest of the time. No matter how much I tried, I would always be longing for a glass of wine or more every night. I thought I just must be a social party girl and this is my thing. It seemed like as much a part of my personality as it was a habit. Fast forward to 15 months into this. And I find myself also having the same wish I could whip it up when I’m out and then forget about alcohol the rest of the time thoughts, but it’s reversed. I just can’t whip it up anymore. It’s just not something that sounds even remotely interesting. This new path is so much better though. I’m calmer. I sleep well. I have peace of mind and I can relax. But there’s a certain little part that misses that old Part of me odd, but the process has changed me so much. I doubt I could ever choose to go back there. And of course, it’s always a choice. It’s all led me to the point of truly understanding this work. And here’s the thing. It’s not about the alcohol. Getting into this work was app was about the alcohol. And the result is that I drink significantly less. But the work is about changing your thinking, and realizing you actually do have power over your choices. And that work extends into so many other areas of your life. Wow. Keep at it, friends, your desire to change is a gift. I thanked her for sharing the inspiration. And her reply was so good, too. This is what she said, seriously, we do this work individually. But collectively, I needed this space to process and I needed others to read my words and validate them. People who aren’t doing this work oftentimes don’t understand it, especially when it comes to alcohol. The prevailing cultural thoughts about alcohol don’t support having power over one’s choice own choices. I suppose until we experience it for ourselves, we might not believe it’s possible either. Our sharing allows others to peer into the possibility. Ah, wow, I am sharing these posts with you. Because this week, I wanted to talk with you about believing that you can change your drinking and create a new relationship with alcohol for so long. Truly, it was decades, I absolutely believed that change was impossible for me. That core belief that changing my drinking was impossible, was fueled by other beliefs. Like I believed that I was genetically predisposed to desire alcohol more. I believed that I loved beer, too much to ever give up my nightly drinks. I believed that I needed to drink to unwind. There were more beliefs that were unconscious, fueled by societal norms, the alcohol industry. And I talked about that actually a bit in last week’s episode about becoming aware of all the beliefs that I had, you can’t change what you can’t see. Right? So awareness is an important step. But figuring out how to believe in something different, took some time and it worked took some work. I worked in the advertising industry for many years, I studied advertising in college and one of the fundamental principles that still holds true for most products and businesses when it comes to using advertising to increase awareness of a company is that you will need to leverage money and or time, you can shorten the timeframe for advertising campaign success. If you have a big enough budget, you have to spend a lot of money in the short run. Or you can stretch the budget out and slow down the success of the campaign with time. Leveraging time and money in the business world is one thing. But in life, I have come to believe that it’s really not possible when it comes to sustainable, long lasting habit change. And I’ll tell you what I mean by that, I mean it’s possible to take a break, it’s possible to abstain with willpower, it’s possible to make plans ahead of time and track your plans with discipline. But believing that your relationship with alcohol can change requires practicing new thoughts. And those don’t happen immediately. Or naturally in the beginning. Beliefs are thoughts that you keep thinking over time, they are practiced over and over again with repetition and the repetition is something you cannot speed up. The practice is something you cannot buy with money. You can buy it only with time and you have to be willing to invest in that time and do not see it as an obstacle. Hey everyone, just a quick break here on the show. to talk with you about sunny side. Sunny Side has partnered with me and I am super excited to share this company with you. I’ve actually had the founders on the show before and I will link that in the show notes so you can hear a little bit from them. Sunnyside is an app that helps you cut back on your drinking or simply build healthier drinking habits. I have watched the company grow over this last year and I’m so impressed. They are deeply mission driven and they are building a service to help millions People create a healthier relationship with alcohol. And they’re doing it without the pressure to quit or feel guilty. So of course, you know it aligns with everything I talk about here at alcohol minimalist. Think of Sunnyside as a digital coach that helps you set the plan for the week, and provides tools to track your drinks and measure your progress. All while using proven behavior change techniques to create a lasting habit change. It’s super easy to start super easy to stick to. And it includes a 15 day free trial. So you can test it out. Really it’s worth checking out, head on over to Sunnyside dot CEO slash minimalist to get started today. So let’s talk about how you can build belief. Especially when you don’t have the evidence to support believing something that basically contradicts all of your past patterns. I know that was really hard for me at first, and I want to give you three steps I took to start building my belief in my own ability to change. Number one, you have to let go of the past, you have to stop listening to the negative self limiting crud that your brain wants to throw out. I mean, you need to refuse to listen to those thoughts. And literally when some past pattern, some old crappy thought comes into your brain, you need to see it exactly for what it is the past and outdated, old story that is no longer who or how you want to be. To move ahead, you have to let go of the past and see what is directly in front of you. I have shared pieces from Elizabeth Benton’s chasing cupcakes many times on the podcast, I was reminded of it again this week by one of my group members sharing something you know, she had heard from Elizabeth and I just it was such an important piece of me changing my mindset still use it all the time. It’s a book. It’s just one of those go twos for me. And I love how she talks about belief and identifying with change, quote, transformation is a present a choice, not a future outcome. You don’t have to earn it, you have to choose it. And every choice is a chance. You’re not alone, if you’ve been quick to let yourself off the hook, because quite frankly, there’s always tomorrow, you’re not alone. If you’ve justified a choice with the reassuring thought that you can always start later. You’re not alone, if you can identify with the change you want to create. If you can’t identify with the change you want to create, because it’s not there yet. It hasn’t happened. You’re not there yet you haven’t earned it. When you plan to do better tomorrow, you miss the chances choices in front of you today. When you see change as something that exists in the future, what you don’t see clearly is the opportunity to choose Change. Now, you don’t take responsibility for the work that presents itself today. Because who and how you want to be is out on the horizon of your life. Transformation is now means you can be different right now, you need to be this is when change happens. This next moment is your chance. This next choice is your opportunity. No moment can be dismissed. No choice is too small to make a difference. So I love that I love that kind of thought process. You have to let go of the past, you have to let go the future, you need to focus right now on the present, because every choice is a chance. And every choice is a chance to vote for who you are becoming number to find something that you can believe in that moves you towards your goal. My advice here is to try to minimize the cognitive dissonance that comes when you try to slap on some sort of positive thought or some sort of belief that you don’t really believe yet. And this isn’t about positive affirmations or motivational quotes. This is personal, simple, and something you can believe about yourself to day. Meet yourself where you were at. Like one realistic thought. For me finding this thought was a big key to changing my belief in my own ability to change my drinking habit. So I tend to be inherently skeptical of anything that sounds we will and I have always been self critical. So finding a thought that didn’t create Those feelings of mistrust. It was really important. From day one, I needed a thought that I could believe in. And this is what my thought was. I’m learning how to become someone who desires alcohol less. describing myself as a lifelong learner felt feels still very believable. And it also reassured me that whether it was a misstep misstep that I had just taken, or if I was making a great choice, that everything I was doing was an opportunity to learn how to change my drinking habit. So that that was a thought for me. That’s just what worked for me, that may not work for you. Maybe your thought is something like I’m choosing to be alcohol free today. That’s something I can believe today, right? Maybe your thought is, I have the power to change my relationship with alcohol. Whatever works for you, whatever you can believe in right now. If you can’t believe that you could ever break this unbreakable habit, then don’t tell yourself you know, then don’t don’t focus on that end goal. Focus on something right now that you can believe about yourself right now. Number three, in addition to finding a belief that you can believe about yourself right now, to build new beliefs, you will also need to become a master of asking yourself better questions. Again, this is from chasing cupcakes, questions, unlock new possibilities, while drawing you out of your past patterns. Use them and use them often. Because your questions are worth far more than your answers. Think for a minute about how often you negotiate with yourself. You reopen your cases you’ve already closed in order to justify what you want. Now, you argue in favor of an excuse. You hold yourself back by building a case against what you want most in favor of what’s more appealing in the moment. You let emotions cloud your perspective, and you give those emotions a vote in the choices you make. Building a practice of asking yourself questions will help you see the flaws in your excuses. Stop negotiating for delay, and minimize the frequency of emotionally driven decisions. Questions help you resolve internal debates with the best choices, not just the easiest, most familiar or most convenient ones. questions will help you challenge the beliefs that are currently limiting your potential and your progress. Okay, I have a little side note here, something I think is really important to highlight when it comes to beliefs. One of the reasons that people don’t try to change is because they believe they are addicted to alcohol. They believe because alcohol is considered addictive that the alcohol itself makes it impossible to quit. Now remember, according to the study conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration in 2014, nine out of 10 excessive drinkers were not physically dependent on alcohol. Now, I’m not suggesting that addiction doesn’t exist. Of course, that’s not true. But I do suggest that people want to blame the alcohol itself for the habit they’ve created. And they want to believe that alcohol is the problem. Now, as a reminder, this podcast is not directed to people who are physically dependent. So please, if you have concerns about physical withdrawal symptoms, or have used the NIA A’s self diagnosing tool and identify as having severe alcohol use disorder, please look in the show notes for links to appropriate recovery organizations. You can also find more information at Molly watts.com/resources. All right for the rest of us, for those of you who like me, may have built up a psychological dependence on alcohol, or may have what you feel is an unbreakable daily drinking habit. Even those of you who are drinking well beyond low risk limits at my peak, I was drinking about 30 standard units a week. We have to be able to admit that alcohol isn’t to blame for our habit. Alcohol doesn’t cause the habit. The habit happens, because that’s exactly what human brains are designed to do. Our own repeated action of drinking Over time, there’s that time thing rearing its head again. But in this instance, we have to appreciate that our current relationship with alcohol didn’t happen overnight, either. We invested our time in creating this habit. And now we’ll have to invest in the time to do the work to change it. And that’s where we come right back to believing that we can change. What I would like to offer you is this, a path and a process that will allow you to determine how to include alcohol in your life, a support system that will truly empower you, and your beautiful human brain to create a peaceful relationship with alcohol. But just as my group member shared, this work may start with alcohol, but it’s really about so much more. And the hope that you hear in my voice in the voices of people who are implementing the tools I teach, this is all real, and it’s all available to you too. And even though there will be setbacks and missteps, I won’t allow you to use those things as evidence that you can’t change. We are going to work on your beliefs along every step of the way. By practicing new beliefs, and challenging old self limiting beliefs. We’re going to be relentless and reminding ourselves that beliefs are just thoughts that we’ve kept on believing and we will challenge anything that doesn’t serve us. What else is true. Is this a thought I want to believe? Does it serve me to keep believing in this thought? Is there another thought that I could believe instead, you may not believe right now that you can change your drinking habits. That’s totally okay. I was right there with you. And you don’t have to believe you can do it to start. Start small. Meet yourself where you are at. Make a plan for today. Believe that you have one more good choice in you today. All right, 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