EP #170

Off-Plan Drinking: Overdrinking vs. Drinking Over

alcoholic minimalist podcast

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In this episode, host Molly explores the concept of “Off Plan” drinking, which refers to drinking more alcohol than intended or desired. She distinguishes between two main categories: over drinking and drinking over.

  1. Over drinking: This involves mindless drinking, where individuals may not have a specific plan or intention regarding their alcohol consumption. They may start the day with good intentions but end up drinking more than intended, often out of habit or taste preference. Over drinking is characterized by a lack of mindfulness and can lead to drinking more frequently than desired, though not necessarily binge drinking.

  2. Drinking over: This type of off-plan drinking is driven by emotions and the desire to numb or escape negative feelings. It often involves binge drinking, where individuals seek higher levels of intoxication to cope with emotions. Drinking over is a form of emotional buffering, where alcohol is used to suppress or avoid feelings.

Watts emphasizes the importance of awareness in addressing off-plan drinking. By recognizing whether their drinking patterns fall into the category of over drinking or drinking over, individuals can take steps towards creating sustainable change. Developing mindfulness around alcohol consumption and understanding the underlying thoughts and emotions driving drinking behavior are key to breaking unhelpful habits.

Watts offers resources for those looking to change their relationship with alcohol, including a free workshop and one-on-one coaching sessions. She encourages listeners to choose peace and take action towards healthier drinking habits.

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 habits. 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 it’s an unseasonably cool Oregon right now. Dry. It’s been dry for the last couple of days. I see that lasting throughout the week. But cloudy and cold, like cold in the 40s. That’s a little cold for April, isn’t it? I think so. Anyway, but that’s what it’s like around here. How are you? How are you doing? Welcome back, and welcome to some more information on Alcohol Awareness month here in April. Before we get started, I want to remind you that I am hosting a free workshop. And I would love to have you come join me it is happening on Sunday, April 21, at 5pm Pacific Time, that Sunday, April 21. At 5pm Pacific, it’s all about breaking unbreakable habits, and building an alcohol minimalist life. And I’m going to go into more in depth some of the tools that I talked about here on the podcast. And I’m going to answer your questions. Really, this is for you to ask me some questions about what this whole alcohol minimalist life is all about and how you can get started doing it? And really, what are the tools, I recommend first as the place where you really want to emphasize what you’re doing and how you’re approaching building this new lifestyle. So it is Sunday, April 21. Again, you have to go sign up. It’s www dot Molly watts.com/workshop. To get on to the list. And people have been asking, Are you going to have a replay? I hope so. It’s always my intention. Sometimes technology works, sometimes it doesn’t. So I will attempt to record it and but you can ensure that you see it if you’re there with me live. So I really want to encourage you to get there live. Again, go sign up WWW dot Molly watts.com/workshop. All right. This month, we are focused on alcohol awareness, but not on all the negative aspects of alcohol abuse, which is where Alcohol Awareness Month kind of started. And that is to say that I don’t think there’s still quite a bit of education that needs to happen around alcohol and alcohol abuse. We are still dealing with so many mixed messages about alcohol, and it creates confusion and worse. It creates beliefs in untruths, right. And many people don’t question what they believe about alcohol and why they believe it. And much of the purpose of this podcast is geared towards education around the facts about science, about alcohol, and about the science behind alcohol use and what statements that we can and cannot support as truths about alcohol. Now, I mentioned it last week, but it bears repeating. If you’ve never checked out my free ebook, alcohol truths, how much is safe? It’s a great place to build awareness. And you can pick it up at WWW dot Molly watts.com/resources. I’ll tell you something funny. My husband you know he listens to the podcast every week. And last week. I use it I confused him because he went to resources looking for the workshop and then of course it wasn’t there. So just to clarify for him. No, not for him. He knows now. But you go to www dot Molly watts.com workshop to get signed up for the workshop and WWW dot Molly watts.com/resources To pick up alcohol truths how much is safe? All right. This week on the pot cast, I want to talk with you about Off Plan drinking, we talk about Off Plan drinking quite a bit in my work. And specifically today, I want to talk with you about over drinking versus drinking over. Now, if you’re thinking to yourself that those sound like the same thing, well, I want to separate them in your head just a little bit. Because what I see is typically two big categories of Off Plan drinking, that are consistent challenges for people as they work on sustainable change. And they are over drinking and drinking over. So those are the two big categories of off planned drinking that I’m going to talk about today. And I’m going to get clear on why I’m making this little nuanced decision or, you know, calling them two different categories for you. All right. Over drinking, I’m going to define this as the kind of mindless drinking, that I hear a lot about from people, they will literally say, Well, I just didn’t think about it. And before I knew it, my plan went out the window. Or maybe they don’t really have a specific doable plan. They just plan to drink or they plan to not drink or they plan to try to moderate and that’s not really solid intention, right. Or, maybe this sounds like you you make a plan in the morning. But when you get to the witching hour, the wine just seems to pour itself. Hey, speaking of the witching hour, I did a specific hour episode about the witching hour during dry January. It’s called it’s still dry away. That’s what the series is. It was a mid month mini series it doesn’t have a special bonus episode so it doesn’t have an episode number. The one that was I think middle of the week is called Surviving the witching hour. So I will link that in the show notes. But you get the idea. That’s that that type of mindless drinking, you have a plan you’re very intentional in the morning but then somehow through the through the day, you end up not so intentional at nighttime. Back to overdrinking with this kind of overdrinking people feel like it’s just such a habit that they can’t seem to do anything different. With this kind of mindless drinking, it might be more taste or time oriented. The clock strikes five or it’s five o’clock somewhere. It might also be fueled by a thought like, I just love the taste of wine too much. And psi, I totally understand that. But because that kind of thinking because that’s exactly what I said about IPAs for like decades. And with over drinking, right. You’re technically still Off Plan drinking, obviously. But you’re definitely drinking more frequently than you want to most likely maybe it’s daily, right or just more increased days. And it’s probably beyond the limits of moderate drinking as outlined by the CDC and the NIH AAA. But it’s not necessarily a binge drinking situation. All right. So with this kind of overdrinking, you are drinking more often, you’re drinking more during a setting that you plan, but you may not be binging and I’ll tell you why that’s important here in a minute. It’s more that the ongoing habit that you simply default to is drinking when you don’t remain mindful. All right? Does that make sense? This kind of overdrinking is basically your habit default. When you don’t remain mindful. Over drinking like this sounds something like it tasted good or I forgot to pay attention. Oh, are you know, I just kind of got carried away. But it wasn’t necessarily emotional. It was more habit based. It was definitely more mindless. This also might look like going to a restaurant and automatically ordering a drink because you’re out. The point of this category of off planned drinking is that it isn’t driven by a lot of emotion. There isn’t a lot of emotion associated with over drinking. It’s not driven by a need to escape a negative emotion. It’s more of a lack of mindfulness and allowing default behaviors to persist without choosing to direct your brain and create a different result.
Just a quick break to talk with you more about sunny side. Did you know that Sunny Side uses science To help you reach your goals by focusing on three scientifically proven superpowers that you have, number one, the power of pre commitment each week you set an intention for the week ahead. That includes a tracking goal, a drink goal, and possibly a dry day goal. Number two, the power of conscious interference. You’ll learn the habit of tracking each day as soon as you finish it, which creates a mindful pause before you start the next day. And number three positivity. We know that this is a big step that can be tough at times. Right. And that’s why Sunnyside offers coaching through SMS and email to give you support advice and motivation, you can check out a free 15 day trial at www.sunnyside.co/molly. That’s www.sunnyside.co/molly. It’s important to acknowledge that Off Plan drinking right equates to drinking more than you plan to more than you want to. For me Off Plan drinking nowadays would mean I would not be sticking to my low risk limit, which for those of you that haven’t been listening for a while is for women no more than seven standard drinks in any one week, no more than three standard drinks in any one day. For men. That’s 14 standard drinks in any one week and no more than four standard drinks at any one day. And that’s what low risk limits are. Right. So for me, I stick to low risk limits. And so if I were to drink above those low risk limits of seven standard drinks in a week or three standard drinks in any one city that is off planned drinking for me. All right. That’s just for me, that’s my definition for me based on my own peaceful relationship with alcohol Off Plan drinking for you might be different. It’s simply when you decide what you’re going to do with alcohol, how you’re going to include it in your life, and then you don’t do it. That’s Off Plan drinking. So when we turn our attention to the other category of Off Plan drinking. Now, it’s interesting that for many people who are now over drinking mindlessly drinking, they probably likely began off planned drinking with the other category of Off Plan drinking and that is drinking over. So we’ve got over drinking. And now we’re going to talk about drinking over drinking over is the kind of emotional drinking and buffering that is so common, especially around people who are binge drinking. Now, by definition, binge drinking is four or more drinks in any one sitting for women, and five or more drinks in any one setting for men. It typically involves raising the blood alcohol content up to 0.08% or higher in about two hours. What I noticed about this kind of Off Plan drinking is that it involves a desire to feel higher levels of intoxication. People want to turn off their feelings to numb out to buffer to get the buzz, right. And people who drink Off Plan in this way literally want to drink over their emotions. Now, it’s entirely possible that you do both of these Off Plan drinking types right? At different times. That’s not only normal, but if you’ve developed a habit of drinking that isn’t serving you, I will guarantee you that you are most likely doing both of these types of Off Plan drinking. And why do I feel like it’s important to delineate between the two, you might be thinking it’s all Off Plan. The result is in either case is that you end up drinking more than you want to. It’s the result I want to change. I just need to stop going off plan. Yes, the result of off planned drinking is the same. And to stop having the result of off planned drinking. We need to stop the actions of over drinking and drinking over. But here’s why we’re not going to focus on simply eliminating the action of over drinking or drinking over. When we focus our efforts at attention on stopping actions. Without understanding how our thoughts and feelings are driving those actions. We’re basically using willpower. And as we’ve discussed many times, willpower simply isn’t sustainable for lasting change. Without doing the work of understanding how over drinking and doing thinking over, are working to fuel our habits. Much like I talked about last week, we are making sustainable change harder, if not impossible. This month, we’re talking about awareness. And with regards to Off Plan drinking, the earliest phase of progress. Remember, we’re really looking for progress over perfection. And we want to recognize that these small steps lead to big wins. So the earliest phase of progress is that you acknowledge awareness as an improvement, it is progress to become aware of how you are Off Plan drinking. So if you are simply be an over drinker that is mindlessly over drinking, or if you are drinking over to try to buffer away your emotions, becoming more aware, is an improvement, it’s a step towards creating sustainable change. I was talking to one of my one on one clients this week, and we were talking about the difference between allowing off planned drinking to derail you for the rest of the day. Or for the week or how, you know, whenever and how if you are looking backwards after the fact right at this not because you didn’t catch yourself in the moment, but you’re looking backwards. And being able to see where you had those opportunities to stop Off Plan drinking during the overdrinking event that that you actually accomplished that right? But just being willing to look backwards and observe that and think to yourself, Okay, here’s where I could have that is still progress is progress when you create awareness. And then as we move forward, and we work more together and things become more consistent, and you’re practicing everything that I talked about, it becomes easier to catch yourself earlier and stop yourself before the over drinking actually happens. Figuring out how to deal with Off Plan drinking in my programs, I call it the Off Plan plan. It’s a pivotal part of changing your relationship with alcohol. It begins with awareness. And figuring out if you’re off plan drinking was over drinking, not emotional and mindless or drinking over full of emotion numbing and buffering. Now if you’re stuck in an unbreakable drinking habit, I really hope you will join me for that free workshop on Sunday, April 21. You can also always set up a call to talk with me about how I work with people anytime. It’s a free discovery call. Just shoot me an email Molly at Molly watts.com. And I would love to hear from you. All right. That’s all I have for you this week, my friends. Try to tap into your habits that are happening around you this week to tap into any off planned drinking, that you might experience and decide, was it over drinking or drinking over? creating awareness is the first step. Until next time, choose peace, my friends. Hey, thanks for listening to the alcohol minimalist podcast. Take something you learned from this week’s episode and put it into action. Changing your drinking habits and creating a peaceful relationship with alcohol is 100% possible. You can stop worrying Stop feeling guilty about over drinking and become someone who desires alcohol less. I work with people in three ways. You can learn about them over at www dot Molly watts.com/work with me, or better yet, reach out to me directly. It’s Molly at Molly watts.com. We’ll jump on a call and discuss what’s best for you. This podcast is really just the beginning of our conversation. Let’s keep it going.