All About Moderation Management with Mary Hickey Reid
In Episode 16 of “Break Into Bottle Legacy” with host Molly Watts, the focus is on moderation management and changing drinking habits to establish a peaceful relationship with alcohol. Molly interviews Mary Hickey Reid, the executive director of Moderation Management, discussing the organization’s self-help approach and emphasis on moderation. Mary shares her personal journey with alcohol, highlighting the importance of community support and the power of setting one’s own intentions and goals. Moderation Management encourages individuals to assess their relationship with alcohol, track their habits, and make mindful decisions about drinking. The episode emphasizes the significance of self-reflection, patience, and finding a supportive community to empower individuals in their efforts to change their drinking habits and lead a healthier life.
You’re listening to break into bottle legacy with Molly watts, Episode 16. Hi, I’m Molly, after a lifetime living under the influence of family alcohol abuse, spending more than 30 years worrying about alcohol and my own drinking, believing I had an unbreakable daily drinking habit, I changed my relationship with alcohol forever. If you want to change your drinking habits than breaking the bottle legacy is for you. My goal is to help you create a peaceful relationship with alcohol, past, present, and future. Each week all focus on real science and using your own brain to change your relationship with alcohol. Nothing has gone wrong, you’re not broken, you’re not sick. It’s not your genes. And creating peace is possible. I’m here to help you do it. Let’s start now. Well, hello and welcome or welcome back to breaking the bottle legacy with me your host, Molly watts, coming to you from well, let’s say it’s a pretty dark day here in Oregon. It’s very early this morning and from what it looks like it’s gonna be raining. But hey, it’s March. It’s Oregon. We kind of have to expect it right. Today on the podcast, I am thrilled to be speaking to Mary Hickey Reed Mary is the executive director of moderation management. And the author of neighbour Carrie Mays handbook, two happily drinking less or not drinking at all, quite happily, with the help of online recovery community. And Mary is a wonderful example of one of the people who work for moderation management. Moderation management is a completely volunteer run organization with advisory oversight by some great professionals, researchers, doctors, and really, they are dedicated to helping people change their drinking habits and to go about it in a way that is self help guided and directed and really underscores the idea of moderation, obviously, hence the name moderation management, right. I was looking forward to speaking to Mary for a long time. And I’m really excited to be able to share more about what moderation management is how she came to be a partner with them and really just want to get the word out about moderation management as an opportunity to help people change their drinking habits. I came to MLM because of dry weary. And you’ve heard me talk about that on the podcast before. Dry your weary.org is actually a website and a launch site that moderation management hosts. And so their goal is to get more people involved in dry weary and then get them involved in moderation management. And hey, it worked. Right. That’s what happened for me. So at any rate, this is a wonderful conversation, and I hope you enjoy hearing from her as well. Here’s my conversation with Mary Hickey Reed. Hi, Mary, thanks so much for joining me. I’m so happy to get to finally get this on the schedule, get it recorded and share more about moderation management with folks. So thanks so much for taking the time. Molly, thanks for having me. I’m glad to be here. Are you REALLY glad because I don’t that you don’t sound like Mary, you sound kind of like I do like I drug you through? You know, I don’t know to get you on them. So you’re a reluctant interviewee is I guess the best way of putting it is that true? I guess you know each other just you should have just snuck up on me and recorded our usual conversations and right. Yeah, well, I am super glad to have you here. And I appreciate you taking the time. And I’m just thrilled to be able to talk to you and have us talk more about moderation management, which kind of seems funny because moderation management is not new. No, it’s been around for what 20 Plus quite a long time. It’s probably going on almost 30 years now. Yeah. In the introduction. I told everybody who you are, but tell me in terms of your relationship to moderation management now, but tell me about your journey with alcohol and how you came to be the executive director of moderation management. Well, I started out like lots of us, you know, I was the coffee, awkward, introverted teenager and had my first drink at 14 and I was one of those that you know, after that first drink, I was just waiting for the next drink. So high school, you know, weekends were sent spent kind of in a blur of parties and drunkenness. Got married early. You know, kind of straightened up, you know, it only drank on weekends occasionally, but always drank heavily on those weekends. And so why is my My late 20s or early 30s, I knew I had a drinking problem. And about that time you started seeing I remember seeing Audrey, who was the founder of moderation management on the talk shows. And she was talking about this new program called moderation management where you didn’t have to quit drinking completely. And I thought, wow, that’s that’s the thing for me, you know, because I didn’t want to quit. didn’t think I could quit with my, the people that surrounded me. So I went out and I lived in a small town in Kansas. And I went out and ordered her book at the library and got it and read it. And the problem was at that time, the internet wasn’t really up and going yet. Yeah. And so we didn’t have online support. I was in a small town in Kansas, there were no face to face meetings. So shelf that book for about 20 more years till I was 47. And my drinking problem had grown to where I was basically drinking around the clock all day, every day, I had kind of retired in my mid 30s. To go live on a sailboat. There was no structure in my life. We were getting up and drinking in the mornings and drinking during the day. And I was starting to feel the physical effects with waking up every night with palpitations, getting up to drink to stop this palpitation. So I thought I’ve got to do something about it now. So I jumped on online. And I jumped on one of the popular 12 Step programs. At that time, I know my biggest obstacle, I knew I probably needed to quit. But my biggest obstacle was going to meetings. I wasn’t in a place physically or emotionally where I could get to meetings. And I, I still hate meetings. So I joined on this group. And the first thing I said, you know, here’s my problem, here’s what I’m doing. And they said, you have to attend a meeting. And I clicked out of there. And I clicked on another abstinence based group, smart recovery. They had a lot of great worksheets and a lot of great support. But still, I wasn’t ready for abstinence. So I clicked on I thought, Well, I wonder if moderation and management is online now. And I clicked on there and I was home. You know, nobody told me, you have to do this. First, you have to do this first, and then you need to do this. They just said We’re glad you’re here. So that’s where I’ve been for almost 12 years now, I think. Wow. So but I know from speaking with you, eventually you did enter a period of abstinence. So you did that through moderation management. I did. And one thing that kept me from joining moderation management for quite a while was the 30 day abstinence period that they recommend, right. And at the time, I didn’t know much about mmm, I thought I guess I thought somebody was going to come knock on my door and make sure it wasn’t drinking. But I finally joined. I just knew I couldn’t do 30 days without drinking. So I finally decided to join with the intention of never do it authority. Right. I was going to just going to go under the wire. Nobody if nobody asked me, I wasn’t going to tell them. I was there about a month. And by then I probably had gotten a few abstinent days. Yeah. And it’s amazing how things changed in a month. And someone asked me to buddy up with them on a 30. And I thought, oh crap, but I did it. And I didn’t make it. I made it to past 20 days, which was amazing. So I didn’t make it. I thought well, I’m ready to mountain read again. So I went out for about 10 days or two weeks and tried moderation and then went right back to my old drinking habits. Rinse and repeat. Try the 30 again, made it over 20 days, went back to trying to moderate fell back into my old drinking habits and really kind of just repeated this cycle for a year. And I don’t know how many 30s I said I tried probably at least six. But at the end of the year, I’d kept a calendar that said m for moderation on the days that I moderated D for drunk on the days I didn’t moderate and a for the days I abstain. So I counted up all those days, I was feeling like a total failure. I couldn’t get the 30 and I couldn’t moderate. I counted up the days and I found out that I had actually been abstinent over 66% of the year. Wow. It was Deanna because all you focused on was all your all I was focusing on was all my failures. So that’s why I really recommend that people keep track, even if it’s just as simple as writing down that but like I did on the calendar. So at that point, I actually joined women for sobriety, and someone said I still had no plan to abstinent and somebody said to me, I am so tired of hearing about your day once. I’ve made me mad. And I thought, You know what, I’m just going to abstain for the foreseeable future. And I did I chose abstinence at that point. I made it about 60 Some days and I had and I drank again. When I took that first drink. I knew I was gonna go back to abstinence. And so I did and I remained I never said forever. I always I never thought I was going to drink again. But I wasn’t going to say I was never going to drink again. Right. So that lasted for about seven and a half years. And then we started doing what we call the moderation mounts Mmm. And I turned into the Kickstart program that we have now. And I was I was teaching these people tools and everything. And I’ve been a member of mmm the whole time. And I stayed active in the moderate community along with the mm app source, which is our abstinence based community. And at that time, people have asked me said, why did you decide then? And, and I guess it’s because I finally felt like maybe I could do it. So that was about a year and a half ago, and I decided to explore moderation again. But in the meantime, I had I had become involved in Imams administration, and if anything shows that M M is supportive of whatever your choices are, they chose me to, or they asked me to become an executive director, when I had when I was abstaining, and had been outstanding for quite a while. Yeah, I love your story. Because I often have people ask, you know, people kind of ask this question, and I know you’ve heard it. I mean, it’s, it’s one of those questions that people ask is just is moderation possible. People often come into the group to the Facebook group come around, and they they want to know, like, they really, they want to know, like, is it possible? And I think you’re a brilliant example of the fact that because, scientifically, you know, I’ve talked to people I’ve talked to people in that are that are sober that are in abstinence based programs. And there is a drive from them that they want to say that, that apps that moderation is not possible, right, that they think that it’s because that alcohol is an addictive substance, it’s anybody that drinks has the potential to become addicted to it. And so therefore, moderation isn’t possible. And I’m always like, well, actually, if you look at the, if you look at the people, there are examples, there are examples in moderation management, there are examples in hams harms, harm reduction group of people that are very successfully moderating alcohol. Now, what I also say, and I’d say this on the show on the podcast all the time is that that doesn’t mean that it’s possible for everyone. Right? So but what I love about moderation management, and I think is so key, and something that really aligns with what I talk about all the time is that you are in the driver’s seat, you have control, you have the power to change your relationship with alcohol, and nowhere else it is your decision, it is your choice, it is your, you know, everything that you do and want to do regarding your relationship with alcohol is possible. But that may mean ultimately, once you get clear on your own, you know, what’s happening for you and how alcohol is impacting for you, it may mean that abstinence is the best choice for you. But still, I think at the end of the day, I want people to feel empowered, that they’re the ones that are going to ultimately make that decision for themselves. Right. And I think that’s confusing when people first come to moderation management, because they’re, they’re used to, and it’s what attracted me to mmm is that they kind of let me design my own recovery. You know, they didn’t say you had to go to this meeting, you had to do this. But also there were times because when we’re in the midst of heavy drinking, we do want somebody to take control, you know, we want somebody to tell us what to do, because we’ve tried everything on our own. And so I like to think of, of MMM is like it, we’re a community of construction workers. You know, we’re all busy building our own moderate houses and lives, where we’re making repairs, or we’re adding on rooms, but we’re working side by side. And if somebody needs us to help them, we grab up our tool bags and we go over there, we’re not going to tell them what kind of house they need to build or what they need in their house. But we’re going to tell them what what we what worked for us and the mistakes that we made and how we fix those mistakes. And we learn from each other that way. I always like when we hear that, you know, usually it’s people that have joined abstinence based programs and that and I’m not going to bash any abstinence based program. They’ve saved a lot of lives. And as I chose abstinence for a long period, they usually say Well, yeah, I tried moderation for years and it never worked. But I always want to ask them well, did you try moderation with a supportive community? Yeah. You know, and how many times did you try to quit on your own without the supportive community? And how did that work for you? So for me and I guess for most of the members of Imam community is what makes the difference that accountability 100% I just did a podcast on my what I call my intuitive drinking toolbox. And it was kind of what helped me change my relationship with alcohol and my number four tool is is community and finding your tribe because I do not think that it is a something that without it and that goes for really any habit in my opinion that is doesn’t serve you that you’re trying To change, you need to find be around people who are like minded and who are wanting to do create change in their lives and, and commit. And for me, changing my relationship with alcohol was the most important thing I needed to do. I wanted to ignore it for a long time and pretend like it wasn’t the, the, you know, the thing that needed to change. But ultimately it that is what was and finding a community to connect to, who supported my own goals, and also where I felt like I could be a resource to other people as well, I think that’s one of the beauties of MMA is being able to, to support each other. Because when you’re being when you’re sharing your own experience with other people, and they’re finding that just like you said, when they’re in that moment, and it’s they’re in a really tough spot, and they hear from someone like you, who’s been down the path that they’re on and has come out on the other side and is successful. It’s, it’s inspiring. I agree. And I think, you know, having the compassion from others teaches us to be compassionate with ourselves. And you know, we get so it’s still hard, even with the community, you know, you’ll see all of our members on there occasionally sit beating themselves up. And it’s hard not to beat yourself up. But you got to remember, I think, one of our, one of my favorite members, not that I have faith versus horse lovers, she’s she’s, she’s always there for everybody. And we use, we use pseudonyms in some of our communities. But she wrote an article that, you know, it’s that’s how she learned to be compassionate. She thought, how can I be kind to these other people that are making the same mistakes I am, but then be so harsh to myself, I talk about compassion and curiosity, especially when we make mistakes. And when we go, when we drink Off Plan, that’s actually number two in my toolbox is being able to first of all, anticipate the fact that you will go off plan, because I think for a lot of US release for me, I used take, you know, my mistakes and my bad choices to previous to me changing my relationship with alcohol, I used to use those as reasons as examples of how I could just never change, right? I would look at it and go, Oh, well see, there you go. Again, you just you’re not somebody who can, you know, make a plan and stick to it, you’re not somebody who has the willpower, or the whatever the you know, the self control, you lack discipline, kind of I’d have these narratives going on in my, in my head, right? That, of course, just made me feel terrible. And when you feel terrible, all you want to do is get away from feeling terrible. And if you are someone that has used alcohol to buffer away your emotions, like that’s what I did. That’s what I would do. I felt terrible. So I’d want to drink, then I’d feel terrible, because I drank and then I’d want to drink because I felt terrible. You know, it’s a it’s a never ending circle unless you decide to understand ahead of time that you’re going to make mistakes. And when you make mistakes, that you’re going to be compassionate and curious with yourself, you’re going to take it not as a reason to stop trying. But as just a lesson to be learned. I agree. I tell myself all the time. I’m not a disciplined person, you know, because I’m not an exerciser. I don’t do any of that. And so get an abstinence. It’s been a it’s been so long since I chose abstinence, it became my routine. So I guess I didn’t it didn’t take discipline anymore. So then when I went back to moderation, it’s like, Can I do this because I’m not a disciplined person. And I’ll tell you, like, the first time that I really struggled, when I really wanted to drink but I had told myself that I was going to abstain that day. And I succeeded. I felt so powerful. I mean, it was like what you know what you can you can be a disciplined person, right? I mean, that’s, I can do this with every in other areas of my life, too, you know, right. That’s something that really was pivotal for me in changing my relationship with alcohol was understanding that all of those stories that I held on to for so long, being the adult child of an alcoholic and having lived a life with my mother for 40 plus years of her alcohol abuse, I had a lot of stories that I told myself, that I simply believed were true, that I accepted as truths. They weren’t true. They were just thoughts that I had. And it was that ability and understanding that the way I thought about things created how I felt about things which led me to the actions that I was taking, and the only way that I could change my Future was to think about something else was to think differently so that I would feel differently so that I would take better actions. And really, it’s, you know, that future focus, we don’t know we can’t change our past. We can’t do anything about it. The only way the past exists now is in what we think about it, right? So I can tell myself horrible stories, or I can choose stories that helped me and thoughts that helped me feel better, that make me want to take better actions moving forward and to become someone who is disciplined or who is you know, who can moderate successfully who doesn’t use and it’s for me this was was really my intention. Like I said, I wanted to find peace, because alcohol had been such a cause of so much unrest in my life from my my relationship with my mother to then my own dysfunctional daily drinking habit. I wasn’t in the same I wasn’t a big I’ve never been a big binge drinker. I haven’t had a lot of never used alcohol in a in massive ways, but used it consistently and regularly and in a very unhealthy way on a daily basis for 30 plus years, you know, and I never I like you, I never believed that I could take it 30 days that I would ever get to a point where I was could be 30 days abstinent. Like I mean, that thought to me was just crazy. And dry. You Arey this year was my first, my first full 30 days in the last 30 plus years since I was pregnant. Wow, not 3020, I guess, because I was pregnant some time along back there. So you know, I did manage abstinence periods when I was pregnant. But other than that, no. So I digress. So let’s talk a little bit about the fundamentals of moderation. So moderation management, specifically. So everybody understands. It’s a les led program. It’s all volunteers. It’s people that are, you know, nobody’s giving you prescribing just like you said, telling you what to do. But there are some steps that moderation management prescribes or says or suggests, right recommendations. Talk to me a little bit about those the steps of change. Okay, yeah, it’s been a while since I read. It actually, our sense of change used to start out, you know, and, and we, and we’ve grown from this, or we’ve, we’ve evolved from this, that one of the first things that Imam told you to do was to prepare for a 30 day, right? Right. And that kept me from joining mm for a long time, and I never want that 30 day, to keep anybody else from waiting to join me. So but during that 30 day, you were supposed to take a real account of your life a cost and risk benefit analysis, you know, what are you expecting from M M? What are the problems that drinking has caused you? What do you have that kind of thing, like almost every recovery program out there, ask you to do that. And then to figure out what your triggers are, you know, when we’re drinking all the time, it’s really amazing, because we really don’t know what our triggers or habits are, we just know, we drank, you know, I’m happy I drank, I’m feeling stressed, I drink, I’m tired, I drink. So we don’t really know if those are triggers. If they’re habits, I walk in the door from work, and the first thing I do is pour a drink. So you really that 30 Day abstinence or any time period, in the beginning, when you don’t drink, you recognize these things, you recognize every how often your brain is telling you to pick up a drink. So that’s one of the important things to do is to start recognizing those things. And to come up with other strategies, and to develop actually to really attend to grow up for me, you know, when I started writing, when I was 14, I never really developed any of these other coping strategies. So you do that, and that’s supposed to help you later on to maintain moderation. And then during that 30 days, you also develop a plan, planning the support in moderation. And and I’m gonna tell you, I just answered some questions from a journalist. And she said, What was the one thing you would tell people about moderation and that they don’t know and that moderation isn’t the easier choice. You will hear a lot of times from people that have been in mm for a while that abstaining is easier, and moderation is hard. And I used to resent that when I say abstain, because there’s a whole different set of difficulty with that. But abstinence is a simpler choice. It’s all you do is not drink. You don’t have to get up every day and decide what you’re going to do. You don’t have to worry about that wedding and I’m not you’re just not going to drink with M M you have to make a plan. You have to stay vigilant. You have to stay accountable. You have to track how much you’re drinking. And it’s more work. So during that 30 day break or at the very beginning of mm, you start thinking about what is my plan? What do I want mm to bring me what do I want moderations give my life? How am I going to implement How am I going to get to that point to where I want to be drinking because most of us start join and way before we’re anywhere close to the guidelines at mmm recommends. And again the guidelines are just tools that we get that’s, that says an amount of alcohol that we feel will not interfere too much with your life, you should still be able to live a happy life following mam’s guidelines, we’re never going to say that drinking is healthy for you that only healthy level of drinking is zero. But the guidelines kind of give you a baseline. And everybody’s different with that. But you know, so basically you come up with your plan. And you get to know what moderation looks like by watching the other people in the community. So I want to come back to something you said. So you said, you know used to resent that people said that abstinence was harder than moderation or what are the other way around either way? And something you said is abstinence is simpler, right? The challenging part of either one of those equations, right, it is simpler to abstain, because you’re not having to think about anything, it’s just not you know, there is no decision fatigue. And that is one of the situations I talked about in my ebook, alcohol truths, how much is safe is that if you’re battling decision fatigue, and you’re making poor choices about alcohol than abstinence is going to be a better choice. Because you’re not you’re taking things the decisions out of the equation. I like to say I don’t for myself, moderation is about being mindful, and about creating a plan. And I don’t think in and of itself, creating a plan is challenging. And I think that people need to get it into their eyes, their mindset that you’re taking the decision to drink out of your primitive, impulsive, habitual reward center brain, right and moving it squarely into your prefrontal cortex into your logical use your focused adult brain that has your your true intentions, your best intentions at its at its core, right? It’s really where, what you it’s the only place that’s the only spot where we human beings separate ourselves from the animals, we are able to actually look into the future and be future focused, which is not something that our, you know, our mammal cohorts can do. And so we have to, we have to have confidence and evoke that, that special trait that humans can do and put together a plan that really comes from our best and highest intentions and our best goals, right? And I say to people all the time, you you put together a plan not because it’s because you are trying to regiment yourself or constrain yourself you put together a plan because it’s really truly what you want. It’s what you want. It’s where you want your relationship to out with alcohol to be. And that’s for me, doesn’t feel hard, it feels empowering, that feels you know, I’m like I do this because this is what this is, makes me feel healthy makes me knows that it aligns with my long term goals. I’ve taken into account the science of alcohol, I understand the trade, just like you said, doing a risk reward analysis is important. Understanding the trade offs, both for for physical health, for social health, for mental health, for financial, health, all of those things, you should take those things into consideration when you’re deciding what you want your relationship with alcohol to be. And moderation This is the one thing that I you know, for me moderation, I say I just use this term and I’m now loving it, I become an alcohol minimalist. And what that means for me personally, is that I only want to drink alcohol, when it’s truly going to enhance a situation it’s going to be you know, and I only want to drink enough so that it’s really truly I’m getting the most benefit and the least cost risk reward or whatever the least amount of bad impact. And I It has been a work in progress for me. I used to be able to drink three to four drinks every night and have no real physical consequences the next day, at least none that I was really significantly aware of. Not until I stopped not until I stopped drinking that much did I realize you know just my sleep alone, right and but also anxiety and tons of other things that have been positively impacted by I’m drinking much less. And now more than two drinks. And I honestly just do not feel very good at all. And so and I don’t, it’s no longer has the same positive, I don’t see a benefit for it. You know, I know I have a young man, and in my UK meetings, one of our zoom meetings, and he came on board a few months ago, and he was living in Finland. And he was he was separated from his wife who was living in the US. And he was partying Hardy and Finland. And, you know, hanging around with his blokes and really drinking and heavily, and then he decided to abstain, because he was coming, he was moving to the US. So he wanted to kind of start fresh, and he kind of wanted that all that out of system, and he’s coming to live with his wife, and for the first time. So he abstained for, I think, a month or two. And now he’s back to moderate moderate drinking, and he’s doing very well. But he’s like, I’m not feeling anything. And you can almost hear the disappointment, and it is, it is, boys. And I think that’s one thing that people that don’t know about moderation, have a hard time grasping, they think they’re still gonna get that everything that drinking excessively gave them, but they’re just not going to have the problems that you don’t get that what you said, you get, if you’re truly moderating, if you’re really wanting, I mean, but what I love about it is that that’s it’s honestly where I want to be now I don’t have the same and that’s what I never really anticipated actually not, didn’t anticipate, I didn’t believe that there would ever come a day when I wouldn’t desire to drink what I wouldn’t desire alcohol, I thought that I would be, you know, gritting my teeth, white knuckling it through 30 days of absence, or anytime, any day that I was alcohol free. I imagined it to be just, you know, torture basically. Right. And that I never anticipated, be that it was possible to be on the other side of that. Right? And like, like you this man, you know, he’s enjoying his life. Yeah, he’s he’s saying, Yeah, I’m kind of disappointed that I’m not feeling you know, after two months of absence, I’m not feeling any effects from alcohol. But he doesn’t want to change that either. And, and it is a evolution, I guess, are surprised when we’ve actually find our members, and that you won’t leave this when you first join him, that they start looking forward to their abstinent days. Yeah, I mean, it’s true. And I love that I, I’m so excited to share this with the listeners, because Because moderation management so clearly aligns with everything that I talked about in developing this peaceful relationship with alcohol, the plan, the reviewing your plan, knowing your triggers, being able to set yourself up for success, all of those kinds of things are so important to me, and what has been my journey for somebody that’s just considering this, just considering changing their relationship with alcohol, if they are coming to moderation, tell me how they the best ways for them to get involved with moderation management. I think the best thing to do is to go to our website. We’d love over the resources moderation.org How to get started. And then go check out our communities and find one that works for you. I do and I have spoken communities were what made the difference for both of us? Or for me anyway. And oh, yeah, for me, do you decide what level and that’s where you’re going to learn the most is in our community. And then you’re going to be encouraged not to look at the big picture, don’t look at those guidelines and say, I’m going to be there in a week. But to find a step that’s going to be successful for you. That’s what I push more than anything, we hear people that say, Okay, I’m going to jump on that 30 Or I’m going to do my first absence stay in 30. You know, 30 years after I’ve been drinking nightly, at five to six drinks a night or more, and I’m gonna go abstain, well, that may be too big a step for you. So choose a step that you feel you’ll succeed that because we’ve all tried all these big steps that haven’t worked for us. And we’re in a place of defeat, and we need to build from a place of success. So even if that’s just reducing by half a drink a night is a start. For me for sustainable change. It took me two years to get from where I was to where I am. And I at first was just meeting myself where I was at, even planning ahead for the number of drinks that I was drinking and not trying to reduce that. But just I’m making the decision ahead of time again, taking the decision out of my impulse brain. Responding to an urge in the moment and planning ahead, and sticking to that plan was a just a big step. And then it took me a while to actually then just reduce that number, and then reduce that number and then add in an alcohol free day it you know, it was a progression. And I think that the most sustainable change is if you’re allowing yourself and meeting yourself where you’re at and setting yourself up for those kind of successes. And I think that’s where people need to learn to be patient with themselves, and expect that from the beginning. You know, our first week in our Kickstart program, we focus on not really making any changes at first, just realizing where we are to start tracking, you know, tracking in itself and being honest with ourselves, and not critical about where we are, because it is that’s where we are, yeah, that there’s nothing we can do about it. Now. You know, I mean, we can’t go back and change that but recognizing and being aware of that, and be is a big step. And in that in itself usually helps people, like you said, remove that from their animal brain back hear that saying more and more and more and more without any thought and put into that front where they actually have to think about Yeah, you mentioned Kickstarter. So Kickstarter is one of the programs of moderate the kind of the monthly programs of moderation management. They’re different. So we just talked we talked a little bit about dry you weary which was in January, and kickstart which came right after in February. There’ll be a kickstart again later this year, is that accurate? There is there’s a kickstart probably in June and recent kickstart came about mmm and already prided itself on not being a program, right, it was just a community adding tools. And we’re still don’t have a program, basically. But like me, people came and said, you know, tell me what to do, we need to now at least some some framework here in which to start. So we just decided that every day we’d write a little post and share a tool. And that’s how kickstart group you know, we write, we do an inspirational post, we’re not therapists, we don’t advise, we might share some information from a therapist book or from a therapist that works with us. But we share an inspirational post, or an observation that we’ve or some that one of us has learned along the way, a tool and a task for that day. And then in a low alcohol content beverage. So that goes on every day for about a man, we form our own Facebook group, just to kind of get a closer knit group in IT people join our Facebook group on on him and right now it’s 2000 people and that seems like too many people. So usually there’s about 80 people on our Facebook group for kickstart. So it’s a little smaller start and not that many people are actually posting we get a lot of lurkers still the majority are directors. And we have our own meetings. So they’re, they feel a little safer to begin with. Yeah, awesome. Well, I will, we will definitely link all that. And everybody should know that when you go to moderation.org. There’s literally a place that says Start here. And so it gives you kind of a list of all the different resources we’ve talked about mentioned the steps of change, it’s also going to give you links to all of the different groups at moderation management, because moderation management does not just count on the Facebook tool. The Facebook private group, though, the Facebook private group is awesome. There’s also a forum and listserv too, right? So there’s really like so many different ways to be involved. And the difference between the format of listserv is that when we started out, we were like AAA, and we were really big into Ana anonymity, limit and protect and, and that’s important. And it’s still important for a lot of people that, you know, truly, our social media is a risk. And we can only be so private, and we can only protect our members so much on Facebook, we haven’t had any problems with the Facebook group, and ever anybody, we all rely on each other to guard each other. And that’s worked very well. But there are still people that worry, and they don’t want anybody to know their real names or at how to contact them in the real world. And so our communities such as our forum, and our listserv, allow them to do that you communicate with a pseudonym, or username, and nobody has any access to any of your personal information. So if you’re more comfortable in those communities, that they’re there for you. Also, I always encourage everybody to join the forum, because it’s like an old message board. And there’s lots of discussions and information there. And they’re all organized in threads. So you can get in there and you can read where it’s hard to find the book. Yeah, yeah. And there’s also meetings every week. So let’s talk about those. There’s different groups and different meetings. There is, and most of our meetings follow the same format. And now all of them are on STEM because we’re not having face to face meetings. And because of COVID, actually, our zoom meetings have boomed and everybody loves them because they can go to more than one meeting a week. Whereas if you were in Denver, you only had one meeting on Tuesday, that’s the only meeting you had so now anybody can drop in on a meeting any day of the week. If they feel the need so we most of them are the same. We do have some that are particular we have our women’s meetings. Our New York City women’s meeting has been going on a long time started out as a face to face meeting in New York. It’s on Wednesday nights. But now since it’s an on Zoom, anybody can join. We have our other women’s meeting on Thursday night. We have our there’s a 20 Somethings meeting every other Thursday, I think it’s two Thursdays for the younger crowd. So we’re really glad. I think that’s one thing that mmm does. I think that’s one fault of the abstinence based recovery program is that when our society was focused as that as the only solution for so long, it delayed people reaching out for help. So we’re glad to see that we’re having younger people coming. So we have a 20 Somethings meeting. That’s awesome. Yeah, we have a men’s meeting on Saturday, we have a new meeting that I’ll be helping to lead, which is called we’re calling it moderation curious, because this is for people that have abstain for a long period of over a year, and are now returning to explore moderation, we feel like there’s a, there’s a unique need there, we have a whole different set of guilt, about coming back to drinking, when we should have been happy in our absence live, but, and we have a little bit trepidatious. So those are meetings. And then we have our regular general meetings throughout the week. Yeah, just a lot of resources, lots and lots of resources, folks. And of course, I will link all of that in my show notes. So you’ll be able to find not only the moderation.org website page, but the Facebook group, and I’m not going to probably list all the meetings, but those are on the website as well. So Well, Mary, I could talk to you forever about this, this is such a great I mean, I just love the organization. So happy to have been able to meet you talk to you get involved more with it and to share the message and to spread the word about it. Because really, this is this is a time right now coming out of COVID. So many people found themselves drinking more than they wanted to in a in a very stressful time. And so there’s never been a more important time to help people get in control and to feel like they really do have the power to change their relationship with alcohol make it what they want it to be whether that ends up being abstinence, moderation, one of the two right and and hopefully no matter what they will come and explore moderation.org Check us out can be a part of any of those groups, you’ll find amazing support, welcoming people who really want to share their journeys with you and support you along the way. I want to mention one other group and that’s our mmm search group. Yeah, many of our members will, you know, they’ll they’ll be introduced it abstinence through moderation management, and to the point that they actually become more comfortable choosing to abstain, either for the foreseeable future or for even, you know, some do it for six months. Some do it for a month. Some say Well, what we used to call permanent abstinence, they’re choosing forever. And we do have a group of sub A sub group of members that have made that choice. And again, you don’t have to choose forever to become a member of our mmm, search group. We have a listserv, and they now do have a Facebook group also. So and you’re welcome to actually go and explore other absence based groups in the Masters as member members that are in a women for sobriety, smart. Other things that are out there, we encourage people to get out. We’re not exclusive. You know, find all the groups, join all the groups get all the information that you need, and bring it back to us. Right, exactly. Well, that is awesome. And definitely, I hope people will come I hope they will check us out. And I just appreciate you taking the time. Well, thank you. It wasn’t as painful as I thought. I told you see, I know I know. Once you get me talking about it, you can’t shut me out. Thanks, Mary. Thank you for listening to breaking the bottle legacy. This podcast is dedicated to helping you change your drinking habits and to create a peaceful relationship with alcohol. Take something that 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