Reducing Alcohol in Your Life
In this episode of the Alcohol Minimalist podcast, Molly emphasizes the importance of setting personal goals for sobriety. She introduces the concept of a minimalist lifestyle and its role in building healthier drinking habits and cultivating a peaceful connection with alcohol. Offering insights from her personal journey, Watts discusses her commitment to sobriety, the behavior map results cycle, and the benefits of embracing a minimalist lifestyle. Throughout the episode, she addresses the significance of moderation and shares perspectives on low-risk drinking guidelines, drawing attention to recent discussions in Canada. Watts encourages listeners to make informed choices, highlights the importance of being fully informed about alcohol-related risks, and suggests practical steps for reducing alcohol intake. The episode concludes with a call to celebrate small victories, fostering hope and empowerment in the journey to transform one’s 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 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 very cold Oregon this morning. You know, it’s been kind of a mixed bag, we got a lot of rain on Saturday, then Sunday was bright and very cold but clear. And supposedly that’s the way it’s gonna be here for the next few days. That’s all right. That’s like I said, I like cold and clear. It’s just that cold and wet that I love to avoid. How are you doing? This episode is dropping on Wednesday, February 1. And for those of us that have been practicing dry weary, I hope that you don’t just grab a drink today because you quote unquote can or at least if you do, I hope you have a thought. I hope you take time to challenge that thinking and remind yourself that you could have on any day during January how to drink and you can today or tomorrow or whenever you decide that you want to include alcohol in your life. If you’re drinking today, make a plan for it. Make sure it’s a drink that’s worth it. And not just because you can drink right. I have a prize winner this week. Remember, if you want to be entered into a drawing for some alcohol, minimalist swag, all you got to do is leave a review of the podcast or the book wherever you’re listening to podcast wherever you read the book, and I will find it and add it into our drawing. This week’s winner is Pamela. And it’s Pamela who left a review on Goodreads. And this is from November and it says through Molly’s wonderful podcast and now this book I am finally at peace with my relationship with alcohol. Like Molly I grew up with an alcoholic mom she could go from being loving to abusive and as a child I never understood why. She also came from an alcoholic mom and I have a sister that is an alcoholic. I thought if I drank that it would be my that that would be my destination. Fortunately, it has not been and now after reading this book, I am totally at peace with my relationship with alcohol. I have learned that having wandering does not necessarily lead to more. I am totally happy enjoying a drink now and then with my family and friends. A lot of Molly’s suggestions in this book have helped me with some of my other habits. And I love the way she explained things in an easy in a way that you can easily relate to and understand. Thank you so very much Pamela I certainly appreciate that review. And if you just email me Molly at Molly watts.com and let me know it is you. I will send you out some alcohol minimalist swag that includes a five for Life Planner. Before we get further into this week’s episode, I want to talk with you briefly about step one. Now if you’re already a student or you’re just not interested in learning More than hit that little fast forward 30 seconds on your podcast player. All right. But for the rest of you, step one is open again right now for a February 10 Start. And if you’re not familiar with it, step one is my online course slash hybrid coaching program designed for self changers who want to learn a sustainable and repeatable framework for changing their drinking habits and ultimately, to create a peaceful relationship with alcohol. It’s very unique because you get both a six week online course curriculum, as well as a one on one coaching session with me. And you get lifetime access to everything, including monthly group coaching calls. So I’m adding things to the curriculum because as I say all the time, what I teach is a meta skill, one that you’ll be using and mastering for years to come. So step one is going to just keep getting bigger and better, but you only pay once to have lifetime access. I’m getting ready to make some bigger changes in 2023 and that means that getting in now locks in the $249 price with the one on one coaching included. Step one is the only steps that you need to change your drinking habits. So go to www dot Molly watts.com/step One Ste p o ne to get registered for that February 10. Start and you’ll be invited to February’s group coaching call which happens on Saturday February 4, and also Sunnyside has extended their offer to step one students for a free 90 day trial. This is an exclusive offer only for step one students and Sunnyside is a great tool that supports everything that you’re going to learn inside. Registration for step one is limited due to my availability for one on one coaching. So don’t wait. If you have any questions, you can always email me Molly at Molly watts.com. That’s Molly with a Y and watts with an S. And I’m happy to help. All right, here we go on to this week’s episode. I wanted to talk about this this subject this week, coming out of dry Yoweri because it’s my sincere hope that you will use your experience in dry weary to build a practice of adding alcohol free days into your week. I want to share with you why I think reducing your alcohol use on a global basis over the course of weeks months and the year is such an important part of being an alcohol minimalist. This was my third dry you weary and as I’ve shared here on the podcast and other places I’ve kind of sailed through dry weary without any strong urges. I’ve even traveled I went out pretty much every weekend to bars. I’ve watched play a football games, and I’ve had a couple of girls nights out too. And I’ve enjoyed all of it. Sand alcohol. I know that I don’t need to drink to have fun to socialize or to go on vacation, and dirty and dry weary. I’ve also been doing some group coaching calls with the extra dry group Hello extra dry members from moderation management. And I’ve been providing written lessons to all of moderation management straightaway participants, which has been really great too. But it wasn’t that long ago that doing dry January felt very different to me. And I want to acknowledge that just four years ago, having even one alcohol free day per week was something that I couldn’t imagine and certainly didn’t feel achievable. I want you to hear that where I got now where I am achieving this alcohol minimalist lifestyle and this mindset after spending almost 30 years drinking daily. And despite my alcoholic genes, quote unquote, that I was sure caused me to desire alcohol more. By the way, for those of you that don’t know, my mother died as a result of an alcoholic binge at the age of 81 and had severe alcohol use disorder for the majority of my life. So that’s what I talk about when I’m saying quote unquote, my alcoholic jeans. But I got to the point where I’m sailing through dry weary because I committed to keep going and I learned a tool I call it the behavior map results cycle that helped me rewire my brain. So that sustainable change was not only possible, but that change and being an alcohol minimalist was what I truly desired. You Now admittedly, I’m a different person. Now, because I wanted to use my experience, I wanted to get more education and get trained to be able to help other people. So I invested time and energy into becoming a certified coach into writing a book into hosting a podcast. But none of that matters. When it comes to my alcohol, minimalist life. None of that makes me more capable than you at creating sustainable change. So what does matter? Well, alcohol free days matter. Building the practice of including them in my life really underscores my alcohol minimalist approach alcohol. And that includes doing dry January each year. It includes for me incorporating multiple alcohol free days into each week, and for me observing one alcohol free weekend per month. Now I grabbed some characteristics from various websites on minimalism. And I want you to think of these in terms of applying them to how you can reduce alcohol in your life and how you can include it in your life. A minimalist lifestyle involves a reduction or simplification that frees one to lead an existence that is more intentional, purposeful and spiritual. That’s, I don’t I grabbed these from all different places about minimalism. So don’t ask me I don’t remember. I was just looking for it. And it wasn’t a you know, it wasn’t about alcohol. It was just about the minimalist approach to life, right? Quote, minimalists make a conscious choice to consume less, which generally leads to a simpler and more fulfilling life. quote, quote, a minimalist is resourceful and knows how to make the most of what they have. Unquote. Quote, minimalists live for experiences, not things and quote, and, quote, minimalists have learned the power of saying no, no to things that they don’t need or want or enjoy, no to experiences that don’t align with their values, no to things that would distract them from what’s important. Unquote. So my minimalist approach to alcohol, yes, it involves a reduction in the amount of alcohol I consume. It means that I make a conscious choice to consume less. And it means I have learned the power of saying no and by incorporating alcohol free days into my weeks, it means I’m not saying yes to daily drinking, which does not align with my long term goals or my alcohol, minimalist values. And this is where the building of a practice of alcohol free days really shows and the thing about dry you weary what I’ve read about the whole you know, taking this whole 31 day break from alcohol and people want to know is it going to heal my liver? Is it all of that blah, you know, etc. It’s like an improved my sleep in that timeframe is that going to help center all the things that we know that are benefits of alcohol free days, what doing a 31 day break really get you is that you get more alcohol free days in your life and that over a global time and it helps you build a practice of incorporating alcohol free days. Just a quick break to talk with you about Sunnyside you hear me talk about it on the podcast and truthfully I have so many students and group members that share with me how Sunnyside is their preferred tool. It helps them build their healthier drinking habits and really create that peaceful relationship with alcohol. It’s a tool that I feel very confident in recommending. And the Sunnyside team has recently in September launched a new iOS app. And that iOS app is going to just enhance the existing text message experience. It makes it easier to build healthier drinking habits for anyone looking to cut back or simply drink more mindfully. The new Sunnyside community is also available only in the new iOS app and it gives you access to an engaged community of like minded people who are also on a journey to cut back on drinking and build healthier drinking habits. It’s a safe private space and you’ll get access to inspiration and advice from Sunnyside members as well as coaches. I encourage you to go check out Sunnyside go to www.sunnyside.co/molly to get started on a free 15 day trial. That’s www.sunnyside.co/molly the thing with alcohol is there is real benefit from those alcohol free days, right? My sleep is better, skin looks better, my immune system is better, I think my brain is better. And even for someone who sticks to low risk limits like I do, I noticed and appreciate how I feel on an after alcohol free days, which reinforces their importance in my alcohol minimalist life. Now, you’ve heard me talk about low risk limits here on the podcast. And there’s always a link in the show notes. Just to clarify, though, the low risk limits that I share are from the US and they are based on avoiding alcohol use disorder, that’s really what they are about, when you stick to the low risk group limits, you have a less than 2% chance of of developing alcohol use disorder. Perhaps you’ve heard recently that in Canada, a new report from the Canada center on substance use and addiction that has come out. And there’s been a lot of hubbub up in Canada, because this report shared recommendations for the Canadian government on what they think that the new low risk drinking guidelines should be. Here’s the here’s the conundrum in Canada, it’s the provincial governments that actually set laws and regulations around alcohol. So, you know, this is this is information I grabbed off the internet, the liquor corporations continue to be key sources of revenue to their provinces, with the BC agency. So that’s British Columbia, providing close to $1.2 billion to the British Columbia province from alcohol in the last fiscal year in Ontario, the LCBO, which is evidently their alcohol agency, provided about $2.4 billion, and in Quebec, a $1.35 billion profit. So you can imagine that there is now quite a conundrum. You’ve got this report that sounds pretty dire in his very strongly worded, and the province is going, huh, well, how are we going to sell alcohol and have this report out there, right? It says that anything more than two drinks per week represents moderate risk, which two or more standard drinks per week, okay. So you have to be two drinks or less per week or to be low risk. And, again, remember, what they say is low risk. And what I talked about in terms of low risk are not related at all because I share low risk limits that avoid alcohol use disorder. These are different in Canada, what they say is anything more than two drinks per week represents moderate risk, which in their graphic representation is dark yellow to orange, for three to standard six standard drinks per week. And in the subtitle under three to six standard drinks per week, it reads your risk of developing several different types of cancer increases, including breast and colon cancer. At seven or more standard drinks per week, which is pictured in deepening shades of red and purple, you are at, quote, increasingly high risk. And in the subtitle, it says that your risk of stroke and heart disease increases. Below this sentence is an additional sentence that says each additional standard drink radically increases the risk of these alcohol related consequences. Now, I’m actually going to go in depth on this report and some of the work that is being done here in the US to update guidelines. But I just want to add a later in a later podcast episode, but I just want to restate my position on on science and on alcohol and safe levels, etc. The safest amount of alcohol is zero. Okay. And much of the narrative in the candidate report, I agree with how never the science they use to reach their conclusions was number one very limited. And as always, it’s observational, which means that we count on people’s relaying their own experience, right? We cannot do a double blind, placebo controlled study for alcohol, we cannot do it. Everything that they’re talking about are all observational studies. And then the sample size that they actually use is is pretty small. But what I really take exception with is that the way they are sending out this information they are talking about relative risk when they are talking about increased risk for cancer, etc. And here’s a little excerpt from an article in the Canada Globe and Mail that was written by Dan Malik, who is a professor in the Department of Health Sciences at Brock University and a medical historian who specializes in drug and alcohol regulation and policy and he writes according to its data concern Maybe three and a half drinks a day increases your risk of developing larynx cancer by nearly 100%, which sounds shocking, and is presented in a table with scary red shading. But larynx cancer, which is mostly related to smoking was diagnosed in roughly 0.0197% of Canadians in 2022. So they’re telling you that it’s nearly 100%. Right? Overall, even with smokers, the chance that the diagnosis for larynx cancer, larynx cancers, overall incidence rate is very, very low. And he also goes on to write many of the other cancers, the CCSA. associates with alcohol also have very low incidence rates. And everyone has a different level of risk factors for various conditions based on factors including lifestyle and genetics. alcohols association with cancer is important to examine. And the disease should not be disregarded. But it also needs context. After all, life is about making choices, and it helps to be fully informed, unquote, that again, is by Dan Malick, and I’m really going to try to hunt him down, I would love to talk with him about this a little bit more. Being fully informed is how I’ve always wanted to present information in this podcast. And I agree that drinking alcohol and the risks associated with excessive drinking need to be better explained and understood by everyone. If you haven’t already grabbed my free ebook, it’s called alcohol truth how much is safe. And I hope we will because in it, I share some data from Dr. David nuts book, the drink the new science of alcohol and your health, that I think is much more useful for people to know. It’s the data that actually helped me build my desire to change my drinking habits. What I really don’t like about this report in Canada, is that it makes it seem like you’re absolutely screwed. If you can’t stick to two drinks per week, which really shouldn’t be the biggest takeaway, what is more important to know is that there is a very substantial reduction in risk for the alcohol related consequences happening if you reduce your alcohol intake from the higher use levels, like from 25 to 40 units per week, down to the six to 10. That difference, when you take your drinking from 25 to 40, drinks down to six to 10. That improvement is huge in terms of benefiting your risk profile. And in fact, the Canadian report within the body of the report does say, quote, any reduction in alcohol use is beneficial. This applies even for those who are unable or unwilling to reduce their risk to low or moderate levels. In fact, those consuming high levels of alcohol have even more to gain by reducing their consumption by as much as they are able. That is important information. And that’s the way I want people to hear and understand and frame how they are using alcohol in their lives. If they’re choosing to use it. It’s why I want you to focus on reducing and becoming an alcohol minimalist. And, you know, the way that the color chart in Canada was presented and how the news was reported. It really didn’t paint an alcohol an accurate picture. And that’s the kind of thing that really doesn’t do anybody any service. This the way that we we share news in this world. You know, it’s news, if the people decide who are reporting it, decide to report on it, right, they get to pick what they’re reporting, they don’t just hand you the whole report. If you would like the whole report, I’m going to link it in my show notes as a matter of fact. And as I point out in alcohol trues there are proven social benefits of alcohol over time. Historically, and culturally, alcohol has contributed to connectedness, which is also something that has been proven to impact and improve overall health and longevity. Now, that isn’t to say that you need alcohol to be social, right? I just talked to you about the fact that I’ve done dry you weary and gone to plenty of social things and not had alcohol. But we have to acknowledge that alcohol has been a part of social occasions, celebrations, and these occasions are important parts of the human experience. The transformative part of becoming an alcohol minimalist goes way beyond the numbers. It’s philosophical, and it has led me to that existence that is more intentional. purposeful and spiritual. Now, I didn’t do this overnight. I didn’t do it in a month, but I kept going and definitely my first dry you weary in 2021 gave me confidence and momentum to increase my alcohol free days each week you look at reducing my alcohol use and to build my alcohol minimalist life. If you’ve been drinking at those higher levels, then meet yourself where you are at. Start small, make a plan ahead of time and aim to reduce on one day this week. Next week may be reduced by one more, keep going and when you’ve successfully made and kept your plans, try adding in an alcohol free day. Now if you need some extra support, I would love to have you in step one. Don’t forget registration ends on February 12. I want you to become an alcohol minimalist with me I want you to reduce your overall use of alcohol. I want you to incorporate multiple alcohol free days in your weeks. Celebrate one alcohol free weekend per month and maybe do dry you weary with me in 2024 Okay, that’s 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