EP #78

Making PEACE with Alcohol

alcoholic minimalist podcast

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In this episode, Molly introduces the significance of science in challenging past patterns and eliminating excuses related to alcohol consumption. She shares insights into the Pacific Northwest’s beauty, incorporating personal touches about her positive outlook on the weather. The episode delves into “Step One,” a comprehensive program Molly has been developing to aid those struggling with changing their relationship with alcohol, offering a framework that can be used in conjunction with her book and podcast. Molly explores the subjective nature of a peaceful relationship with alcohol, discussing low-risk guidelines and sharing diverse quotes from individuals navigating their journeys. She challenges conventional definitions by considering struggle, discomfort, and questions as integral parts of achieving a peaceful relationship with alcohol. Molly addresses the complexities of missing the escape provided by alcohol during challenging times and the need to confront pressure and negative feelings. She includes testimonials from individuals in the podcast community, showcasing a variety of experiences and highlighting the importance of compassion, curiosity, and learning the science behind alcohol and brain function in the process of changing drinking habits.

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, my friends, it has been hot, hot, hot here in Oregon, it’s still sunny out. I think it’s going to be sunny for the foreseeable future anyway, so you know I am a happy camper. Yes, it got up to 100 degrees over the weekend. And it was warm, but I love it. And I’m so enjoying sitting out in my backyard. And just the warm breeze outside. I know that some Oregonians are melting but not me. I’m happy and it’s glorious. So again, if you have never visited the Pacific Northwest, the summertime is time to come folks head this way you will love it. So I want to before I jump into this week’s show just mentioned again, a little bit more about step one. Step one is something that I’ve been working on and I’m getting ready to put it out into the world here in July, I don’t have a doubt have a hard date on that. Because I’m I am busy wrapping it all up and getting it finalized. But if you’d like to learn more about it, I really wanted to create something that would serve just a wider group of people, something that you could take on to get over that hurdle of not knowing what to do or how to start changing your relationship with alcohol. I’m calling it step one, because it’s really just a, it’s the beginning of how to do all this. It’s a framework, it’s putting something in place that you can always refer back to, and it’s setting you off, I really think that you can use it in conjunction with the book, the podcast, everything. And if you do the work, you’re going to really get some great results. So I would encourage you to go get on the list. There’s, if you go to my website, www dot Molly watts.com/step. One that’s step one altogether, you can just sign up to be notified of when it’s available. And you’ll learn more about what’s coming then. Like I said, it’s not a it’s something that I think is going to be really accessible for people. And so I’m just excited about it. And I’d love for you to check it out. All right. on to this week’s show. If you’ve listened to this podcast for any length of time, you’ve heard me talk about having a peaceful relationship with alcohol. And I want to elaborate a little more on exactly what peace means to me with regards to drinking. The word is of course subjective to some degree, and it doesn’t come with clear rules on how to achieve it. Right. I talk about low risk guidelines all the time. So is that What it means to be peaceful is having you know sticking to low risk guidelines. And the definition in the dictionary says that it peace means freedom from disturbance. Tranquility. peacefulness is the state of calm and quiet, free from worries and annoyances, a state of calm and free from worries. Yes, that sounds about right. So I did an episode back number episode 52 On what being an alcohol minimalist means. And there’s a lot of good information in there. I’ll link it in the show notes. But it didn’t really dive into that word peace. And what I mean when I say I’ve created a peaceful relationship with alcohol, how did I and how can you make peace with alcohol? Before we get into my thoughts, I want you to hear from some of the other people. These people are members of my Facebook group, their listeners to the podcast, people that have read the book, some of them are my coaching clients, they are people that are doing the work that I talk about here. And they are creating their own peaceful relationships with alcohol. And I’m going to read some quotes and I want you to listen for the way their stories are similar, and for how they might be different and might sound different to now, just one small note before I start sharing these words, because I don’t want you to think that I’m it’s self serving, because any of the praise or gratitude that they say, you know, it’s not about me, I can share information, I can teach people. But I want you to know, and obviously I do I share what’s worked for me, I share from that perspective, but it is you who will make your own peace with alcohol. And I want you to hear what that sounds like from other people’s perspectives, not just mine, as you will hear, and I believe there is peace to be found along the way of this work. It’s not just an outcome. It’s not just the final destination. You’re going to hear some struggle, some discomfort, and lots of questioning and observing of thoughts. And maybe it won’t sound like the definition that I just read freedom from disturbance and tranquility. Right? Well, contrary to that definition, I actually consider struggle and discomfort and questions as necessary part of a peaceful relationship with alcohol. Even when there is discomfort, you can find peace, if you choose to look for it. And I promise you that is not some kind of woowoo statement, see everything with rose colored glasses on kind of way of living. Okay. Now, I’m skipping ahead here. So again, I don’t want to talk from my perspective, I want to hear from my from some other people first, now listened for the calmness and the freedom from worry that these folks have found and listen for the wisdom in their words. Quote, grateful that the physical dependence on alcohol has diminished. It feels great not to live my life around alcohol, and to start to enjoy all the health benefits. But man, I still miss that escape sometimes, especially times like these, where a bottle or two of wine would give me the false sensation that things were better for a moment in my life for family and friends and crisis in the world. And ignorance is bliss type of feeling a temporary reprieve, but I just can’t anymore. When things feel even slightly heavy pressure arises. I can’t even have two to three drinks, or it will make me feel more negative and more anxious about everything. Unquote. Quote, As I’m sitting here, after a night of unplanned drinking, the same thoughts keep going through my head. I went out had a great time and came home. So why do I feel guilty about it? I had four beers that had a higher alcohol content. I went in thinking I was only going to have to because I knew going over would cause me to sleep like crap and have anxiety. As I ordered the third in the moment. I knew it wasn’t the best choice and that I would regret it. The fourth just happened. But comparing this version of myself to where I was last year, even a couple of months ago before I discovered the podcast. I know I have come a long way. I never would have questioned my choices would have drank a lot more and had zero regret about it the next day. Unquote. quote I find when and if I have the third I usually enjoyed at the time, but regret it the next day. So I’m working on spacing out and enjoying two drinks. I am not 100% there yet but working towards it. Last night I was really tired at nine and had spaced two glasses out. So I stopped. My toddler brain was saying things like, but it’s Saturday night. You’ve been good all week three is not even that much compared to what you used to drink. I listened and said, Yeah, but I’m tired. And I’m getting up early tomorrow. Time to switch to tea. I’m quote, quote, just have this little thought on my drive to work after successfully moderating last night, two small glasses of wine after a yoga class after work. I like drinking there, I said it. I’m not talking about getting sloppy and drunk. But yes, I feel like I like that feeling that those two glasses provided after a long day. I also like being sober. I liked the clarity, freshness and readiness it provides. I like being busy and running three miles first thing in the morning, followed by a day working in the yard. I also like sleeping in and slowly drinking my coffee and watching movies all day. I liked fried foods, and I like colorful garden salads. I like fancy dresses, and jewelry. And I also like sweats and old T shirts. I don’t want every day to feel and look the same because I don’t feel and look the same every day. I’m dynamic. I’m human. Variety is the spice of life. I’m spicy, why can’t a reasonable amount of alcohol be a part of that spice? Unquote. Quote, I just finished 40 days alcohol free. I decided to do this after fracturing my hand to aid in healing but also because I needed a reset. I’ve had a long and problematic relationship with alcohol and quit drinking for several years in the 90s. After my mom got sober in her 60s, I had a glass of wine on May 1 and practiced really savoring it. I’m setting a clear intention to be mindful of my intake as well as my emotional state of mind before I drink. My goal is to drink two drinks Max when I decide to drink. Thank you for the helpful resources and to all of you for your honesty and commitment to creating a healthier relationship with alcohol. Unquote. Quote, hello friends been a rough few weeks alcohol wise and truthfully, I slipped back into old habits of drinking, drinking my way through the weekend. I started the year well dry January without a problem. Then the rugby tournament and I gave myself permission to enjoy have drinks, but try to make a better decision every now and then. After after, it would be four weeks until Easter I would abstain again. That was the plan. But I just continued. I’ve began to get really down on myself and a friend reminded me that despite this blip, I was on a journey. It’s odd because I know this about so many other things in my life. So this week, I started revisiting podcast episodes mainly for inspiration. Tonight, I stopped off on my way to pick up my daughter and picked up some of my favorite alcohol free beers. And one normal one and some garlic bread. Yes, I will have some drinks tonight. But at least two of those will be replaced with Lucky St. So this is me taking another small step but resolving to move forward. Stick to it folks, there is only forward on quote. Quote, I’ve taken several trips since I started this work. They bring a whole different level of thinking to the table. One thing I did that helped me was decide that I wasn’t going to stop doing the work. But that also means I might have more than I planned to do. I use those opportunities to reflect and dig deeper into my thoughts. The key is you can’t be mad or judge yourself if you drink Off Plan. When you have to use it as a learning opportunity. Why are you choosing to drink more than you plant? In this way the opportunity to grow in your thought work is huge. You will see some stories you hold about yourself unfolding very dramatically. In my case my quote unquote party girl story was big on vacation. What started unfolding though was my true introverted nature lover girl. I could see how joyful it was to wake up whole and refreshed and enjoy a sunrise. It fed my soul like no glass of wine ever has. That was fuel for my continued work. Unquote. Greetings alcohol minimalist tribe. I had the opportunity to attend a local baseball game this evening with my wife also her birthday. This also happened to be the home opener, a unique game and experience where overindulgence is pretty prevalent here in Wisconsin. This was an experience I had been waiting for to see how I would apply the proverbial tools and continue to moderate and be mindful. I enjoyed two beers and my wife had a couple of glasses of wine. We also got to enjoy the game from a suite with catered food. Needless to say it was a very enjoyable evening as compared to previous experiences, and then having a pretty rough next morning. It was also interesting to observe the actions of others during the game, including just some of the prevalence of overindulgence at this game and how that state could be, unquote. Quote, calling today a major moderation when celebrations of life are hard, especially when they are in a pub, especially when they are under a shroud of premature loss, and the contribution of heavy alcohol disuse. The common thread of discussion was love and heartache from puzzlement and deception. Glad to be home and sober and feeling the sadness. Unquote. Quote, Morning Everyone I’ve just had the busiest week I think I’ve ever had as a chef, so busy, I didn’t even have time to explain to myself why I wasn’t going to have a drink after work. If anyone has doubts about the success of this group becoming an alcohol minimalist, I just want to let you know where I am. We’ve been open for three weeks now during that time, I’ve worked 17 days which would have added up to around 85 beers on workdays and around 25 days off. Ever since joining this group, I’ve been working towards eliminating my drinks after work, and radically reducing my alcohol on my days off. through lots of dedication and help and support from this group. I’ve managed to achieve what I set out to do almost a year now. In the last three weeks, I had two beers on our opening party. And on Monday, I had three for my dad’s birthday, plus a whiskey to toast to 70th. I hadn’t planned the whiskey, but it was a special day and well worth it. Now, I won’t have anything at all until the next family outing. But most importantly for me, I don’t even think about having one. So all I can say to everyone is trust this process, no matter how hard it might be it sometimes you’re never alone, and you will receive all the support you need and you will achieve your goals. Unquote. Quote, greeting fellow minimalists. As many of you know I love posting in this group reflecting on and writing down my thoughts has been an invaluable part of my learning and growing. I encourage all of you to reflect and share too. We learn from each other. And it’s so great to be in this community of learners together. If you have a thought or insight, you can be assured that some of us have had the same insight, or some will see an aha moment in your thoughts. I’ve been at this a year now. January 2021, was a pivotal month for me. My journey didn’t start through an exercise in dry weary. Instead, it was a random day in the middle of January, when I had a deep knowing that something had to change. Not tomorrow, not when my life was less stressful. But right now, this very day. And yes, it terrified me. On that day, I just stopped drinking alcohol. I had no idea what to do or what to think or anything except that I needed a serious pivot. In some ways that year went fast and in some ways very slow. I started by immersing myself in Quizlet of all kinds and just practicing doing all the things I used to do with alcohol. Now without it, I joined this group to because I did wonder if I could moderate my drinking. I had no idea if that was even possible. I did start practicing moderating in a very minimal way. And I’m so grateful that yes, I can and did find consistent success. That is not to say I feel like I’m good to go though far from it. I still feel like such an infant in this process. And I realize in so many ways that I am the same as that day a year ago. Now with some traction and knowledge. I still feel like I could fall off the ledge if I let it go. I’m coming to understand that it might just be this way that this work never stops. I do understand how quitting might be easier, although perhaps not better. I still wrestle with the answer to this. I do see much growth. Absolutely. My urges used to feel like a lion’s roar. Now they are a quiet meow. I used to drink a bottle of wine without a second thought. Now I have two glasses and have no desire for more. Yay. But still I want to keep it in my life. And that continues to be my question. Why do I even want it at all? Unquote. Quote, I remember for years before I started this process, I wished I could be the kind of drinker who could whip it up when I was out and about then 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 of my personality as it was a habit. Fast forward to 15 months into this, I find myself also having the same wish, I wish I could whoop 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 of me that misses that old part of me odd. But this process has changed me so much. I doubt I would ever choose to go back there. And of course, it’s always a choice. It has also led me to to the point of truly understanding this work. And here’s the thing. It’s not about the alcohol. Getting into this work was about the alcohol. And one result is that I drank 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 areas of your life. Wow. Keep at it, friends, your desire to change is a gift, unquote. So what I want you to hear in these words is this piece isn’t a one size fits all proposition. We get to choose what a peaceful relationship with alcohol looks like, for us. And if we choose to see progress over perfection, if we observe our thinking, with compassion, and curiosity, if we learn some of the science, around alcohol and around how our brains work, it really can be a peaceful process of changing our drinking habits. There will still be some times that you drink Off Plan. But it’s how we reframe those moments that allows them to not cause annoyance and disturbance. But instead we see them as an opportunity for progress that creates peace. Does it mean that you’re never going to have an urge? Hardly. I still have urges around alcohol and other things that I used to buffer away emotions in the past like potato chips. But you know, if you’re looking for urge free living, then I don’t think that being human is the right species for you. Because urges will happen less so they I like what one of my group members said, not a lion’s roar, but a cat’s meow. Right. As you change your thinking around alcohol, those urges will become more quiet. And being peaceful simply means that when they happen, they you can allow them to be there and not see them that some as something that has gone wrong, right. Just last weekend, I actually gave into an urge to have a beer on a planned alcohol free day. And instead of that situation, causing me to be anxious, worried or disappointed. And any other self sabotaging emotion that you could name I was completely at peace. I expect things to not always go to plan. And when they don’t, I know how to handle it in a way that sets me up to handle the next urge differently. I am at peace because I know I have a framework in place that keeps me moving forward. Learning happens during those moments. And it’s only if I don’t choose to learn from them that I don’t have peace. Making peace with alcohol doesn’t mean that you’ll never have a thought ever again about overdrinking. You’ve heard a couple of my posters talk about wanting the old party girl or the first person said longing for that numbed out feeling that you get when you over drink that kind of temporary relief quote unquote that sounds like a great answer to getting rid of your pain and suffering in your life is still going to come that thoughts still going to come up but having a peaceful relationships with alcohol means that when those thoughts come up you recognize the thinking as just one story and probably an old story that you used to believe and now you know differently now you have a new education on some of the science and and how your brain works. As that person said, now they know Old that drinking two to three drinks will only increase their anxiety and worry. It’s peace when you understand what happens in your brain and body. And you make choices that support that, that peaceful state. It’s not freedom from ever thinking again, right? It’s not freedom from ever having an urge. It’s understanding how the brain works, and having a peaceful framework for processing those things. When you understand your own thinking, when you learn the science of alcohol, when you practice believing new things, and when you have patience with yourself and this process, you can have peace every step of the way. When you have a framework, when you become a better thinker, you absolutely will have a peaceful relationship with alcohol. You have taken a great step you are here listening to content. So obviously, this is a moment this is the now this is the when one of the posters talked about knowing in her in her core just right then on a specific day that something had to change. Right. One of I think it’s Dr. Oz says that once you are listening, when you’ve when you’ve made a decision and started consuming content like this, you know in your core that it’s something needs to change, right or you wouldn’t be listening to this in the first place. I invite you to come check out my private Facebook group. We are the alcohol minimalists. I invite you to come read some of my free resources. Look around my website, keep listening to the podcast. You get to create a peaceful relationship with alcohol you have taken a first step in terms of listening to this content. And you have something inside of you that is questioning whether or not you should make a change. I invite you to make that change along with me and the rest of the alcohol minimalists. All right, my friends. That is 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