EP #86

5 Unreasonable Reasons to Drink Alcohol

alcoholic minimalist podcast

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In this episode, Molly Watts shares strategies for transforming your relationship with alcohol and achieving a peaceful balance. Drawing from her own experiences overcoming family alcohol abuse and a daily drinking habit, Molly emphasizes the importance of observing thoughts without judgment. She challenges common myths about alcohol, debunking beliefs related to cardiovascular benefits and sleep aids. Molly explores societal conditioning around alcohol misuse and discusses moderation, urging listeners to assess their goals realistically. The episode underscores the power of self-awareness and provides practical insights for those seeking a mindful, balanced approach to alcohol. Remember, transformation is within reach – take the first step today.

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 AEI. It is a warm sauna like Oregon around here. It’s very warm, very sunny. It’s gonna get even warmer the end of this week. And I’m pretty confident that by now most Oregonians are starting to look ahead and get excited about rain. Now, that’s not me, I’m gonna be enjoying these sweltering moments, and really soaking it all in for the rest of August. And I hope that wherever you are, I hope it’s sunny. I hope it’s warm. I hope it’s beautiful. And if it’s raining, that’s okay. I’m going to be with you soon. Hey, I have a bit of housekeeping to do just before we get started. And that is to say that this is the last opportunity to sign up for the launch of step one here in September. This specific program is a hybrid. It’s a hybrid online course and coaching opportunity. It’s super affordable, actionable, accessible. And being a part of this introductory group means that you get a couple of bonuses. And for those of you that are really trying to figure out like what’s the first step? What should I do here first, to create this peaceful relationship with alcohol. Check it out, go to www dot Molly watts.com/step. One, registration is open through August 28. And then it will be available again in October, starting October 7, but it will be different than it will not have the the bonuses that are happening in September. Still a great program, but just not this introductory offer. So check it out. This week’s episode was actually inspired by a couple of things. So number one, I am on my way to Las Vegas for a long weekend. And number two, there was a post in my private Facebook group about someone who was asking questions about trying to moderate after being alcohol free or sober. And these both of these situations, seemingly disparate situations got me thinking. Now you’re probably saying, When are you not thinking Molly and that’s very true. I do think a lot and I I talk about it a lot, right? Because I have just appreciated this new skill set that I’ve developed and built in terms of being able to observe my own thoughts. And it’s a big part of what I teach around here on the podcast in my group and my coaching programs, and you have to be comfortable paying attention to observing your thoughts without judgment and actually guiding your thoughts, that’s something that I help people do. I do it with myself. So my brain is like thoroughly amazing to me now, and I love seeing the thoughts that my brain comes up with. And I love that I have this ability to recognize thoughts that are part of an old pattern or habit that doesn’t even exist anymore in my life. And yeah, that’s right. I still have thoughts that come up that do not reflect my current relationship with alcohol. Here’s the thing. I don’t freak out. I don’t see that thought and think, oh, my gosh, I’m slipping backwards. What’s wrong with me? No. I am like, Oh, that’s interesting. That’s an old thought that I used to think that kept me stuck for so many years. That’s just like a misfire. It’s a total thought error. And I have much better ways of thinking about that. Now. As I mentioned, I’m getting ready to go to Vegas for a long weekend. Now it’s a working vacation for me and I have some early business calls. And so I was reflecting on how different this vacation is going to be compared to many previous vacations. Not because I’m working. I’ve been to Vegas working before, but I was reflecting back on the many times we used to travel to Vegas and how the thoughts I would have, were all about how I was looking forward to the free drinks. Like literally I don’t know if I ever went out in Vegas before when I didn’t drink, like over drink over the course of a day or evening, like probably at least six drinks. I really wasn’t probably counting too much because you know, they were free. The other thing that inspired me was this post in my private Facebook group, a member shared that they are currently alcohol free living a sober lifestyle and actually shared that they had previously struggled with dependence. And they were questioning whether or not they could drink, quote, normally again. And they cited the prevailing story that they heard in sober circles that you know that basically you can never drink again. And if you’ve abused alcohol hard, no hard stop End of story. So what do you my Vegas vacation and pondering whether or not you can should could drink normally, after being sober have to do with one another. They are both examples of unreasonable reasons to drink alcohol. This episode we’re going to talk about five unreasonable reasons to drink alcohol, we will dive right into unreasonable now reason number one, about why you might choose to drink alcohol. Because it’s free. This isn’t just a Vegas issue. This happens at the company Christmas party, whether there’s a hosted bar at a wedding reception where they’re serving alcohol, maybe it’s just going out to dinner meeting for work where the company will pick up the tab. For me anytime there were free drinks offered, I literally felt the desire to drink before we even got there. My brain was 100% focused on the story that I was getting some sort of bonus. I was getting alcohol without having to pay for it. And what happens when your brain tells the story about how lucky you are to get to have out as much alcohol as you want for free. We have thoughts that if we don’t drink when we have the opportunity to have free drinks, we’re wasting it right. We’re missing out on something valuable. But these thoughts are all unreasonable. They aren’t the whole story. They are thoughts that are completely optional. And when I choose these thoughts, of course, I feel more desire to drink. But if I take the time to tell the whole story, if I tell myself the whole thing, how free is overdrinking for me? What is the expense in my life? When I am teaching my brain that the thing to do is just drink because the drinks are free? I shouldn’t let anything go on drunk because it’s free. How is that not an expensive story for me to perpetuate in my life? How is that not actually leading to a lot more waste of my life for me? Because I’m drinking to this point that doesn’t feel good. And then it’s creating all these secondary effects for me. That’s the whole story. Wanting to drink because drinks are free is not a reasonable reason to drink alcohol. If the amount you’re drinking doesn’t align with your long term goals. Well But you save in money you’ll lose in not living your best life and having the relationship with alcohol you want to create unreasonable reason number one, because the drinks are free, unreasonable Reason number two to drink alcohol because you believe that drinking will benefit your cardiovascular system. You know, the red wine is good for my heart School of drinking alcohol. Now if you’re new to this podcast that I’m going to recommend that you go back and listen to episode number four. Number four, how much alcohol is safe, and episode number 31. using science to guide your alcohol decisions, because I talk a lot about how science whether or not science is a useful tool for deciding whether or not to include alcohol in your life. Now some studies have shown an association between moderate alcohol intake and a lower risk of dying from heart disease. This is true, but it’s hard to determine cause and effect from those studies. It’s very possible that people who SIP red wine have higher incomes, which tend to be associated with more education greater access to healthier foods. Similarly, red wine drinkers might be more likely to eat a heart healthy diet. And there is some evidence that moderate amounts of alcohol might help to raise good HDL cholesterol, right? Researchers have suggested that red wine in particular might protect the heart because of the antioxidants it contains. But the thing is, you don’t have to drink alcohol to reap those benefits. Exercise can also boost HDL cholesterol levels. Antioxidants can be found in other foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and grape juice, telling yourself that you’re doing yourself some sort of favor by drinking alcohol or heart to healthy favor. It’s just not again, the whole story. The problem is, is that whether or not it’s moderate drinking is good for your heart is is obviously open to debate. It doesn’t appear to be harmful. But the key word is moderate. And the thing is that moderate drinking is really low risk drinking the things that I talked about here low risk drinking limits, it’s an average of one drink per day for women, and one to two drinks a day for men. Now, those are standard drinks, right. And I’ve talked a lot in this podcast about the actual, what makes a standard drink. But the thing is that some people should not even drink that much. Specifically, if they have heart rhythm abnormalities, like heart arrhythmias, or if they have any type of heart failure. Even it sticking to those low risk limits for people who have heart failure, or heart arrhythmias can be dangerous. Again, low risk limits, right, that’s there’s no benefit to drinking over low risk limits for your heart, it’s still not something that you should add to your life, if you’re not already consuming it. And the flip side too, is that heavy drinking is linked to a number of poor health outcomes, including heart conditions. Excessive alcohol intake can lead to high blood pressure, heart failure or stroke. Every time you drink your blood pressure rises. Alcohol can also of course, contribute to obesity, and all the long list of health problems that go with that. The point there is that heavy drinking, right? So we’ve just talked about there’s not necessarily harmful things that are been proven scientifically from low risk drinking or moderate drinking that would be an average of one or less drinks per day per women, one to two drinks per day per men. But heavy drinking is anything over that. Heavy drinking is anything more than seven drinks per week per women. And anything more than 14 drinks per week per for men. So that’s heavy. All right. So the studies then show that there is a lot of negative consequence and definitely not helping your heart. If you are consuming alcohol in a heavy way. If you want to avoid negative consequences, the bottom line is the only safe amount of alcohol is zero none and adding alcohol into your life because you think you’re helping your heart is unreasonable. Hey everyone, just a quick break in the show to talk with you about sunny side. Now you’ve heard me talk about sunny side on the show before I’ve had Nick and Ian the founders here as my guests. I am just so impressed with them. They are deeply mission driven. They are building a service to help millions of people create a healthier relationship with alcohol with no pressure to quit or feel guilty. So you know they are very aligned with everything I talk about here at alcohol minimalist. I wanted to share with you some thoughts and comments made by people in my group and my clients who use Sunnyside. I checked it out and was pleasantly surprised. I have used a few tracking apps and despise to them. But the support the daily check ins and the plan Yes, the plan. I signed up for three months yesterday and actually looked forward to the check in today. I have no doubt this tool is a step forward for me. I just want to thank you to everyone who recommended sunny side in this group and all of your advice throughout. I’m having the best start to a week of moderating Since I fell off the wagon in January, you work the plan and it works. Thank you everyone. Now you don’t have to take my word for it. You don’t have to take their word for it. I want you to check it out for yourself. Go to www.sunnyside.co/minimalist to get started on a free trial today. Unreasonable Reason number three, you choose to drink alcohol to help you sleep. Again, I’ve done the full episodes on this episode number 18, alcohol and sleep. I also talk about sleep in episode number seven. I will link all of this in the show notes. And there are a few things that I want you to understand about how alcohol impacts your sleep. It is true that alcohol helps you to get to sleep faster. That is true. No one is saying that your favorite wine or cocktail doesn’t have a relaxing effect. Alcohol is a sedative. It’s classified as a central nervous system depressant because it slows brain function mostly via GABA, which is the neurotransmitter that is inhibitory. It has a calming effect and alcohol increases GABA activity in the brain, which is why you may start to feel sleepy. It also suppresses glutamate, which is an the excitatory neurotransmitter basically turns your brain on. So alcohol both increases the effect of GABA and suppresses the effect of glutamate. So this is why you get the depressant action you feel sleeping. But and you knew there was a big buck coming right. It also disrupts natural sleep cycles, which actually causes us to be more tired when we wake up. The problem with alcohol is as the body processes it during the first half of the night, you reach stage three of sleep more quickly, but at the expense of REM sleep. During the second half of the night. Once the alcohol has been processed, you experience REM rebound, where REM sleep increases in a bid to catch up and maintain your normal sleep patterns. But this usually disrupts your natural waking process. So helps you get to sleep faster, but disrupt your sleep later, which inevitably makes you more tired when you wake up. Alcohol also kills your dream sleep. Alcohol is one of the most powerful suppressors of REM sleep that we know of. And people consuming even moderate amounts of alcohol in the afternoon and or evening could be depriving themselves of dream sleep. Sleepwalking, and sleep talking are slow wave sleep disorders that can be triggered by alcohol. So while there’s not particularly some medical significance for those that can be really disruptive as especially for your partner, right. And lastly, if a few glasses of wine at happy hour send you to the restroom more than once. You probably already know that alcohol is a diuretic, and urinary frequency can extend past your bedtime. Each time you get up to use the bathroom at night is an interruption of your sleep. And it’s not always easy to fall back to sleep immediately. Take it from someone who knows. The thing is, is that you’ve trained your brain to fall asleep with alcohol. When you first change it, you may have trouble falling asleep. This does not mean that the answer is to pour yourself a drink. We have to address other areas of sleep hygiene. I go into those back in the episode on alcohol and sleep. But be prepared to have a plan in place for how you’re going to handle short term insomnia and commit to options that don’t include alcohol because drinking for your sleep isn’t an unreasonable reason to drink alcohol. Number four. The fourth reason the fourth unreasonable reason to do Drink alcohol, because you don’t want people to think that you have a drinking problem. Now, this is really a commentary on society and how we’ve been conditioned to believe that people who misuse alcohol are sick, diseased or broken. So instead of feeling great about a decision to not include alcohol, at an event, or in a week, or anytime that you are purposefully choosing to be alcohol free, you doubt yourself because you don’t want people to think that you’re choosing to be alcohol free, because you have a problem. I totally get this. I started a podcast all about changing my relationship with alcohol. And I had to overcome a lot of those thoughts about are people going to think that I have an alcohol problem, right? I didn’t want to be that person that had a problem. And this literally happens, people are working on changing their drinking habits, changing their relationship with alcohol, making great progress. And instead of feeling that success, they start to have thoughts, or someone in their circle might even say to them, oh, I didn’t realize you had a problem with alcohol, when they share their alcohol free decision. I have heard more than once from someone that they were doing great making plans, sticking to them, and then they decided that it would be easier to just drink Off Plan than to have someone wonder if they had a drinking problem. I want you to really let that sink in. This isn’t a judgment on anyone who has chose to drink in that scenario. This is really a byproduct of our alcohol centric culture. And it’s crazy that we have to justify our decisions to not drink in any way. Now, I think that’s shifting. It’s certainly getting better with the mindful drinking movements and this sober, curious kind of lifestyles. But if you are deciding to drink because you are worried about what people think might think about you, if you don’t drink, I really want you to question that thought. Is that a reasonable reason to drink alcohol? No, not really. Right. Okay, I saved the biggest one for last, deciding to drink alcohol. This is unreasonable. Reason number five, deciding to drink alcohol because you’re wondering if you can moderate. Now, as a caveat, I will remind everyone that this podcast is not intended for people who are experiencing severe alcohol use disorder. It is not a recovery podcast for people who have been treated for alcohol dependence. That regardless of whether that is you or not, I want you to hear me on this. No one should be adding alcohol in their lives to figure out whether or not they can drink alcohol and not abuse it. If that is why you’re considering drinking, that’s an unreasonable reason. I’m not saying that being abstinent is the only solution for people who have abused alcohol previously, but you have to be very clear on what you think alcohol will be doing for you. Alcohol actually cannot change how you feel in any kind of permanent way. Alcohol is not the answer to make you happier, funnier, less awkward. It’s not how you want to feel better. You need to change your own thinking and keep practicing new thoughts over and over and over again. It is a buildable skill. It’s possible that even if you choose sobriety that your brain still believes that things would be better if you could just drink moderately. Well, I’ve got news for you. It’s not true. Neither being sober nor drinking moderately will help you feel better. You feel better when you manage your mind. And when you manage your mind, you won’t wonder if you can moderate and you won’t need to test that out. So all of these unreasonable reasons got me pondering, is there a reasonable reason to drink alcohol? So reasonable for me, is similar to peaceful. I enjoy drinking alcohol in a very minimal way. I believe I’m reasonable about what it does and doesn’t do for me. And I know that it’s not the answer to how to change negative emotions. I wouldn’t say that this is a reasonable reason to drink. But I accept the risk profile associated Did with low risk drinking and consider my decision to include alcohol in my life as an alcohol minimalist to be reasonable. So what do you think? Are you using unreasonable reasons to drink alcohol? Or do you feel good about the peaceful relationship with alcohol you are creating. Drop me a line. I would love to hear from you, Molly at Molly watts.com. And if this show has helped you in any way, I would really appreciate it if you would leave a review. You can do that on anything that you listen to this podcast to any podcast player on YouTube, wherever and I would just appreciate a review. It helps people find the podcast and it helps me serve more people. That’s all I have for you this week. My friends Wish me luck in Vegas. And 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