Challenge Your Thinking to Change Your Drinking
In this episode of the “Alcohol Minimalist” podcast, host Molly Watts explores the theme of challenging thoughts to change drinking habits, drawing from Molly’s personal experiences during Dry January. She discusses the behavioral map results cycle (BMRC) and its elements, encouraging listeners to practice separating thoughts, feelings, actions, and results. Molly shares insights from a coaching client’s experience and highlights the need for conscious awareness in the BMRC. The episode concludes with a focus on transforming thinking patterns and the power of practicing Mind Manager skills to become a better thinker.
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 grises 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 a rainy Phoenix, Arizona. That’s right, folks. I am in Phoenix and, uh huh. You know, I’ve traveled to Phoenix for probably the last, oh 30 or so years. My parents moved here when I was in college. And we made multiple trips down at multiple different times of the year. I have to tell you, I’ve never been here and had it rain for multiple days. Never. I’m from Oregon, I get rain all the time. I come to Phoenix in the winter to escape it. That’s okay. All right. I had important things I was doing in Phoenix this year. So more about that a little bit later in the podcast. How are you doing? How is it going? We are here in the third week of January or dry you weary as some of us are doing this month. And before we get there, I do want to say that I have a prize winner this week. If you would like to be entered into my prize drawing, I do a prize drawing every other week for some alcohol minimalist swag including this year I am giving my five for life journals that I created when I was doing five for life and the live happier longer podcast which is the podcast that I did before alcohol minimalist and so when you get your alcohol minimalist swag, you’re also going to get a free five for life journal. And this prize winner this week left a review of the podcast you get entered into the drawing for the prizes by either doing a review of the podcast or a review of my book, breaking the bottle legacy how to change your drinking habits and create a peaceful relationship with alcohol. You can leave a review of the podcast on any of the podcast players that you might use on any of the places that you find the book. This podcast review was left on Apple podcasts. It was from V bright V V R I T E and it says this is a great podcast for anyone who wants to be more mindful about their relationship with alcohol. Molly is easy to listen to and has truly helpful tips. I learned something from every episode. I highly recommend this podcast for anyone who drinks regularly. Be Bright thank you so much because that is exactly what I am going for. I hope that you learn something from each and every episode. And if you be bright just email me Molly at Molly watts.com Let me know you are the prize winner. I will send you out your alcohol minimalist swag and Fight for Life journal. All right on to this week’s episode, I am calling it challenging your thinking to change your drinking habits. So we’re right here in the middle and well middle actually of dry weary this episode is actually dropping on January 18. This would have been my dad’s 95th birthday today. And that’s actually why I was in Arizona. Gonna talk again a little bit more about that later. But just special day for me, it’s a special day, it was a special day for we were looking forward to celebrating it with him. And, gosh, you know, what? A What a life, right? I can only be so lucky to almost reach my 95th birthday. Anyways, let’s go talk about dry weary. For me, I’ve talked about it on the podcast that I wanted to approach this month as an opportunity to experience maximum effort. as I record this, we’re officially entering the second half of the month or we’re close to it right. And to date, I’ve Well no, we are now episodes dropping, feel a little out of sorts, I gotta tell you that. I started off the first week really strong during your IU airy, and in the second month, when the second week, I let some life obstacles kind of take me off course not in terms of alcohol, that’s actually been really easy for me, which I’ll tell you is both a little surprising, and it’s really gratifying. This is my third dry weary. So the first 120 21 Even though I had reduced my drinking significantly in 2020. And I was incorporating multiple alcohol free days every week in my life, I had not taken a 30 day break from drinking since 1999. And as of November 2020, that was the first time that I that I took a multi day break, which was 12 days. I’ve talked about it a few times here on the podcast. That was also the first time I’ve done that since 1999. So I really wasn’t sure when I embarked on dry weary 2021 If I was going to be able to make it the whole month. And I was highly focused on that goal on the goal line on getting through the 31 days without drinking. And the end of the month, which given all the work I had already been doing and changing my in terms of changing my relationship with alcohol felt like a doable goal because I had the tools to observe and really see my own thinking. I knew going into the month how I was going to handle any urges to go off plan that came up. And quite honestly, there were a lot of them. I had many opportunities to practice allowing the urge to drink to observe my thoughts. And to get curious with myself during 2021. I mean a lot, like probably daily, definitely on the weekends. This was also before I incorporated one alcohol free weekend per month, which I didn’t do until 2022. Now in 2022, I navigated dry weary with a lot more ease than I did in 2021. Though, if you’ve listened to episode number 56, which I will link in the show notes, you’ll hear that my dry weary experience in 2022 was not completely dry. Yes, that’s right, I had a glass of wine, which I’ll be it is not a huge amount, right. But it was more than I intended to when I started going into dry weary. And I shared in episode number 56 How I almost wasted that opportunity to match my thoughts and to become a better thinker, both both before I had the glass of wine, and after. So during 2021 I had been incorporating one alcohol free weekend per quarter. And in October of 2021 I had done a more sober October quote unquote that was my own version and had 24 alcohol free days in October. So the daily urges and cravings I had felt during dry weary 2021 weren’t really a part of dry weary 2022 It was simply a lot easier for me except for this event that I talked about and having that glass of wine during dry weary which was very different than I had approached 2021 Hey everyone, just a quick break to talk with you about sunny side. Now you’ve heard me mentioned Sunnyside many times before you’ve heard me talk with Nick and Ian, the founders of Sunnyside and I just want to share with you why I I’m so passionate about this company. They are way more than just a drink tracking app. They are really about helping people create a mindful relationship with alcohol and they stand for a life that is about having more, not less. Right. There are more rested mornings more days. When you’re feeling your absolute best. When you have more energy and positivity. Sunnyside is not there to tell you to never go out to never drink, but they are there to help you enjoy your life and to wake up and be ready to be your shining best. It is not an all or nothing approach. It is friendly, it is approachable, and it is absolutely judgment free. They want to be a solution that fits into your unique lifestyle. And I think that’s exactly what they’ve created. You can register for a free 15 day trial. Go to www.sunnyside.co/minimalist to get started. That’s www.sunnyside.co/minimalist to try Sunnyside today. So here we are in 2023. And as I mentioned, the alcohol part of my goals for dry weary has been really easy for me. And that includes this trip to Phoenix, which has brought me together with my sisters to scatter my dad’s ashes. And there has been a lot of drinking going on around me. We also visited one of my favorite Mexican restaurants. And unlike last year, I didn’t choose to have a special Margarita. Even though I could have right now I will tell you that when I planned the trip, my brains first thought and I kid you not Yes, literally my first thought was, oh, I won’t be able to drink in Arizona. Now this was in the first week of December that I was planning the trip for mid January. And I was anticipating dry you weary last year. In January 2022. I wasn’t thinking about the event that I chose to have a glass of wine for for six weeks ahead of time. It was during dry weary and about a week ahead, I thought, oh shoot, we’re going out for that really nice dinner, I want to be able to have a glass of wine this year was different. This thought came up six weeks ahead of time because I was planning to be away in a sunny, typically sunny environment, and planning to be with my family. Traditionally, again, a lot of drinking goes on, and processing a lot of memories and emotions. Because of where and why we were gathering. And still my brains first storyline, its first thought was, I’m not going to be able to drink. Now, because I’ve been practicing this work for another year growing my skills in the behavior map results cycle. My response to that thought was very different than what it used to be. I immediately was able to step back and say, Wow, that’s really interesting that my brain wants to throw out that idea. First. I wasn’t thrown off, I was thrown into observation with curiosity and compassion. And I was also able to challenge my thinking, which is what I really want to talk to you about today. As you are learning how to change your relationship with alcohol. At first you will simply practice becoming aware. That means actually separating out the different elements of the behavior map results cycle. separating those elements actually requires practice to become consciously aware of each part of the BMRC. And it is vitally important in terms of changing your drinking habits. This means recognize recognizing and what is a circumstance. This means recognizing what are your own thoughts, and being able to articulate your feelings, the actions, those are typically the easiest part to see. Right we know we can see the action of drinking alcohol. But we also need to identify how they create for better or worse the results we have in our lives. Each and every event or circumstance in our lives can have multiple thoughts associated with it. Each thought will generate different feelings and so challenging the thinking that creates feelings that lead to actions you want to change is where the work for sustainable change is done. I was just having this conference sation with a coaching client as she was planning ahead, or an upcoming event that in the past would typically lead her to over drink. And in our coaching session, I encouraged her to explore some of the stories that she had. And to write them down, and to find thoughts to challenge them. After our session, she actually emailed me with some of the work that she had done, and it was great. And she was really uncovering some of those thoughts that she seemed like truths to her, right. But I realized that I hadn’t broken it down enough for her. And that I needed to reiterate, and remember that this really takes practice at the very most basic level in the beginning. And her email provided me an opportunity to parse out each element of the BMRC with several examples of different thoughts that fueled different feelings, or this one neutral circumstance for her. And this is really the easiest way for anyone to work on challenging your thoughts, and I wanted to share it here with you. Whether you use it now during dry weary to stick to your month long, alcohol free plan or not. This kind of work is how you create sustainable change, and how you create a peaceful relationship with alcohol. From the beginning, right down on the left side of a piece of paper, down the left column C, underneath it f underneath it t underneath it a underneath it are vertically with each one on its own line. Now I will be including in this episode, show notes, a PDF with this printed out for you to print in practice. So go to the show notes and download that tool if you want it, or just write it down. Now, let’s revisit my example of this trip to Phoenix during January. The fact that we had a trip planned for Phoenix during January is a neutral fact. It was non negotiable. And every one of us if you saw my paid flight itinerary and my Airbnb itinerary would agree that yes, we were planning a trip from Portland to Phoenix in January, fact, neutral, nothing subjective about it. In the behavior map results cycle, this would be written down on the sea line, it’s the circumstance, my thought, I won’t be able to drink in Phoenix, because we’re going in January, was what came up for me as a result of the circumstance that goes in the tea line. It’s a thought. It’s not true. It’s not false. It’s actually just optional. Now, in this instance, we can even challenge the truth of my thinking, because is it even true that I’m not able to drink in feet here in Phoenix? No, of course not. The truer thought is I’m choosing not to drink alcohol. Regardless, it’s just one thought. And that particular thought I won’t be able to write creates feelings of deprivation of missing out of disappointment. When I think thoughts like I don’t get to, or I can’t, it creates those kinds of feelings. The feelings, that probation, disappointment go in the F line, right? Because over time, I have trained my brain that alcohol is part of the experience when I go on vacation in sunny places, when I get together with my family or even when I eat Mexican food. So the thought feels very true to me. And the feelings it fuels are equally valid. They feel equally true. Disappointment deprivation. Like it’s all just obvious. It’s possible that if I want to avoid feeling deprived and disappointment, instead of changing my thinking, I just decide that drinking something in Phoenix is the answer right? Then that goes into the action line A and the result is that I then don’t stick to my dry erase plans, which is what would go into the airline. Now let’s look at the same circumstance my trip to Arizona in January and challenge the thought I can’t drink. So first of all, as I mentioned just a minute ago, this thought isn’t true at all. And I can challenge it by choosing to challenge that truth and remind myself of what actually is true. I can also challenge my thinking by I’m asking my brain to focus on other thoughts about Phoenix that create different feelings altogether and have nothing to do with alcohol. I can direct my thoughts to being able to walk and enjoy the places that I’ve visited for the last 30 years, I can direct my thinking to seeing my sisters who I don’t get to see all that often. I can find the sweet memories of spending time with my dad in many of his favorite places, and all that Arizona meant to him. Each of these thoughts creates a different behavior map results cycle, and separating out each one is a way of practicing this skill and becoming a better thinker, and Mind Manager. This is the foundation and the basic work. I mean, when I talk about doing the work, to challenge your own thinking, if it’s fueling your desire to drink, break out the C TFA. R and write it all down. Look at the thoughts and ask yourself, what else is true? What can I choose to think about that will help me change how I’m feeling about the circumstance or will help me take different actions. Practice separating the elements and recognizing each part of the behavior map results cycle. As you become more and more aware. Just like other habits, this process will also become more automatic. It’s all about building habits that serve you becoming an alcohol minimalist was definitely a habit that serves me well. And he Yes, I am 100% dry during this trip to Arizona and you know what? I haven’t felt like I’m missing out on anything. I feel great. Well, except for the lack of sunshine. I mean really can’t a girl from Oregon catch a break around here. As I said never happened to me before. But I am choosing how I want to feel about being here to celebrate my dad. That is abundantly grateful. That is all I have for you this week, my friends. 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