Taking the Edge Off with Alcohol- Seeking Relief
In this episode, Molly emphasizes the importance of embracing the past and understanding its role in shaping one’s present self. She discusses the concept of minimal alcohol consumption, highlighting the significance of low-risk drinking limits due to alcohol’s carcinogenic and toxic nature. The episode focuses on the mindset of using alcohol to “take the edge off” and explores why this may not be a sustainable solution. Molly introduces the idea of the “result cycle” and explains its importance in changing the mindset of seeking relief through alcohol. She acknowledges the challenges many have faced in the past year, attributing increased alcohol use to the stress of the COVID-19 pandemic. Molly provides insights into the historical roots of drinking before dinner and Happy Hour, linking them to societal norms. She shares her personal experiences with using alcohol as a reward for stress relief and highlights the need to address the root causes of such behavior.
You’re listening to breaking the bottle legacy with Molly watts, Episode 22. 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 a little cloudier Oregon than it has been lately. But I really cannot complain because it has been epically gorgeous here. And anyone that lives here in the Pacific Northwest will tell you so if you haven’t come to make a visit to the Great Pacific Northwest, I highly encourage it this time of year, you’ll really get your money’s worth. And you’ll probably get sick and tired of hearing me tell you how wonderful Oregon is right now. That’s okay. Because come fall, I’ll be whining about the rain. So anyway, I have to tell you guys, I have had a time trying to record this podcast, I recorded the whole thing yesterday, and then realized that my recording had stopped about 12 seconds in. So that was kind of a bummer. But you know that as the saying goes, things always happen for a reason. No one really wants to believe that I don’t think I believe it. But in this case, it ended up being a good thing. So I’ll explain that in a minute. But a couple of things I want to tell you about. If you haven’t joined my private Facebook group, I would really love to have you join and I’ve actually renamed it recently to alcohol, minimalists. Change your drinking habits. And I’ve officially claimed the username, alcohol minimalist on social media. So Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and on Twitter, I think it’s just alcohol minimal, because I believe minimalist is too long for them. Oh, well. And but regardless, I had someone reach out to me, who I know who asked me, who said she’s been listening to the podcast, and she’s been getting so much out of it. And she really doesn’t have a drinking habit that she’s trying to change. But she does struggle with her the peaceful part of having a peaceful relationship with alcohol, because of all the past experiences that she’s had with alcohol abuse from her family from a past husband from relationships. And so she asked me if she thought that I thought that being in the Facebook group would be beneficial for her. And that got me thinking how maybe some of you are in that same boat you haven’t had, or you’re not struggling with your own drinking, but you’re still not at peace with that relationship with alcohol. And that’s really about how, you know, that’s how you’re holding on to some of the past and some of the stories and maybe not able to tap into that empathy because of all of the things that you still believe about alcohol. So I think you’d get something out of it. I’d love to have you there. And so even though we’re calling, I’m calling myself an alcohol minimalist, hopefully that still that applies to you already. And you don’t need to work on that. But regardless, there’s a lot of discussion going on in there about changing your relationship with alcohol period. And one of my group members immediately asked me, What’s an alcohol minimalist? And my answer was this. It’s number one, I do follow the guidelines for low risk drinking, which is less than seven standard drinks per week for women, and no more than three drinks in any given day. And for men, that number is no more than 14 standard drinks per week and not more than four drinks in any given occasion. And these are US standards by the way, check out your own country. Someone did comment in the group that Australia was a little different. But those are just numbers and that’s just a guideline for numbers. Additionally, I always want to make sure that I’m never drinking alcohol to try to change the way I’m feeling. I don’t use alcohol to buffer away negative emotions or to create fun, and I have a peaceful relationship with alcohol which means that alcohol is just a non factor In my life, it’s a non factor in my thinking, I don’t have I don’t have that peaceful relationship past, present and future. So as an adult child of an alcoholic, I’m able to embrace my past and see how it’s helped me become the person I am today, I’m not angry with my mother, I don’t hold on to regrets about our relationship. That’s what I mean when I say peaceful relationship. But I want to make it very clear that you will need to be working on including alcohol in your life in a very minimal way. And that’s really where the science comes in. And why those low risk drinking limits are important, because we have to be very clear and mindful of the fact that alcohol is a known carcinogen, and it’s a toxin to the body. And the very safest level of alcohol consumption is zero, none. All right, the positive health benefits that are linked to drinking alcohol are all based on associative studies, which means they can not conclusively prove that alcohol is the reason for any healthy outcomes. It could be other factors in people’s lifestyles that get them those healthy outcomes. So if we are going to include alcohol in our lives, and if you’ve listened to this podcast, you all know that I do include alcohol in my life, we want to do it in a way that is going to reduce the harmful side effects. And for me, that has meant incorporating multiple alcohol free days into my life, and not passing that three drink maximum. And honestly, when I do have three drinks now, which is really doesn’t happen with any frequency, I’d simply don’t feel good the day after. And it’s really not worth it to me. And that’s really kind of hard to even say and imagine because I drank three or four drinks on most nights for decades. But I did, and I did change that and I want you all to know that change is possible. I’ve said it before, I’m not some special snowflake, I just kept going. And now I don’t struggle with my relationship with alcohol. I’m a proud alcohol minimalist, and I want to help you get there too. So join me on Facebook. If you’d like to search for alcohol minimalists, or change your day, change your drinking habits. And if you’d like to subscribe to my if Facebook is not for you. And you would just like to subscribe to my monthly newsletter, you can do that by heading over to www dot Molly watts.com. That’s Molly with a why watts with an S and grab your free copy of alcohol truths, how much is safe? That’s your personal guide to figuring out how much you want to include how much alcohol you want to include in your life and how you do that too, by considering your physical, social, and financial health. All right. So go to Facebook, go to my webpage, whatever as the saying goes, Just do it. And let’s get going. All right. So today’s episode, I’m going to dig a little deeper into the mindset of needing to take the edge off with alcohol. I’m going to talk first about why you believe that alcohol is necessary to take the edge off what’s behind that story. And then we’ll touch on the truth about why using alcohol to take the edge off is not a great solution. Nor is it sustainable. And lastly, we’ll talk about why mastering this thing I call the result cycle is so important for changing the mindset of needing relief in your life. Now, I know that especially in this year plus of COVID, there is a large number of you who have increased your alcohol use due to needing some relief from the stress and strain of your life. And let’s be real, this global pandemic has changed a lot in our worlds. It’s changed how we work, how we play, how we shop, how we wash our hands, it’s been an ever present factor in our lives. And for some of you I know it has met real hardship. And I do not discount that for one minute. So the fact that you may have felt the need for relief is very real. And I understand. And because COVID has meant so many different things to so many people. I’m not going to try to address all the circumstances and all those extra thoughts that have led to feelings of stress and strain. Suffice it to say that in the past year seeking relief became critically important to most of us. And because you know because as I said COVID dress comes in lots of different shapes and sizes. I’m going to illustrate the idea of taking the edge off with something I think that many of us have sought relief from prior To COVID. And that your job. I know for me, it was certainly something I believe, I believed that I needed to drink to unwind after my work day. And a quick side note here, long before I ever drank myself after work, growing up with my mother, and she put a lot of emphasis on making a drink for her and my dad when he got home, and I can remember them having nightly drinks. So it kind of trained me right early on that after dinner, I mean, after work before dinner, drinking was just something that people did. And the issue became that my dad had many nights that he worked late. And so my mom then started having all those nightly drinks by herself. And the coping mechanism became an ingrained habit, which ultimately, ultimately, for her led to full blown physical dependence. And regardless of how that change for her changed for her at, what I want to say is that at an early age, I associated that after hour or the after work before dinner, that classic happy hour with alcohol. And I’m sure that happened for many of you. And so you’ve you learned early on. And if it wasn’t enough that you were seeing it personally, the idea of drinking before dinner actually has its roots in the prohibition area. And when the 18th Amendment and the Volstead Act were passed, banning alcohol consumption, people would actually host cocktail hours, also known as happy hours at a speakeasy before eating at restaurants where alcohol could not be served. So cocktail lounges, then just bloomed out of that and continued the trend of drinking before dinner. And since the 1950s, the term Happy Hour has been used to describe that time at a bar or restaurant when they offer discounts on alcohol and appetizers. So it’s simply been a part of our culture. And it reinforces all of our own decisions still to this day, to drink after work, because it’s just a part of the alcohol norm. All right back to those stories that I believed about my job specifically, I had a job that required me to drive during rush hour down to my office downtown from the suburbs, which was basically about 45 minutes each way when traffic was good. And I absolutely hated that commute. I hated how much of a waste of time it was, I hated having to go into an office when I was 100%, commission based employee. And being 100%. Commission base also stressed me out, it was no wonder that after a day of cold calling, and a long drive back home, I felt like I deserved a little reward to help me unwind and relax. And drinking provided temporary relief for me from all that I hated about my job and the commute and it, you know, and that need to de stress and unwind. And the thought that I needed a drink to do it fueled my habit for many years. And not to mention, I also spend a lot of mental thought and time and energy wishing and hoping that things were different complaining about my career, getting angry with other drivers for basically being on the road. And I wanted everything around me to be different set so that I could be less stressed. How many of you think that way you think if everything else would just calm down, I would feel better right? Now, maybe for you, it’s not your job. But I guarantee you that you have something in your life, that you just think you need a little relief from your kids, your spouse, your boss, your house is to do list your diet. And I also guarantee you that you probably spend a decent amount of time and energy, focusing on that problem on that negative space on how you can change your kids behavior, how your job sucks, how your house is dirty, how your partner isn’t supportive, and you wish that all of it would change just to make you feel better. Now, if you’ve listened to any previous podcast, you likely know where I’m going with this. I no longer seek relief from stress from a nightly drink. And it’s not because I have a different job. It’s not because traffic suddenly stopped existing. And it’s not about my pay structure. It’s about the fact that I’ve learned and mastered the result cycle and I no longer feel all the anxiety and stress that I did every day and I’m not continuously seeking relief. That result cycle as you can and I will link it in my show notes to the episode that I described. It is all about this. It’s that your thoughts create your feelings. Which day dictate your actions, which get the results that you have in your life. The results cycle was within the behavior map. Circumstances always exist, they’re neutral there exist in the world. It’s when we apply our thoughts to them, that we create our feelings about them. And that dictates the actions we take, which gets the results we have in our life. All right. But Molly, you say, You don’t understand my kids are seriously driving me crazy. Or my job is just inherently high stress, my house is a fixer upper with a never ending list of things to do. Here’s the problem. When you keep focusing your intention on things that you cannot control, you can sort of control your kids, I guess. But I know for me, I used to feel like my kids were driving me crazy when they were just being kids, not because their behavior was problematic. So regardless of whether you can control temporarily control kids, the point of all these things is that it’s the thoughts that you have about the situations that need to change, for you to feel better. So you got that not everything around you needs to change your thoughts that need to change to create different feelings. And I was stuck in the same type of thinking for years, I truly believed that the only way for me to feel better was for my job to change or for me to get a different job. Until that happened, I was just destined to be miserable, anxious and need to drink every night to take the edge off. Of course, changing the requirements of my job changing the pay structure, changing the traffic, were all things that were not at all in my control. In fact, the only thing that I could control in all of these situations were the thoughts I had about them. The same thing is true for you. When you focus your attention on learning the result cycle, you won’t have the same need for relief that you have. Now. One of the reasons that we seek relief from alcohol is because with that first drink at low levels of blood alcohol content, we do experience a change in neuro chemistry that creates a euphoric and relaxed feeling. And we also get a release of dopamine, which is the body’s feel good chemical. And this combined effect means we get a temporary feeling of relief. And if we stick to that one drink nightly, we are within the levels of low risk drinking from alcohol. But for many people, including me for many, many years, we’re drinking more in an attempt to numb away all those emotions. So the minute that that one wears off, we want more, right. And we’re unaware that we’re actually creating a chemical reaction in the brain that increases feelings of irritability and anxiety. As the more and more we drink as that increased level of alcohol wears off. And again, talked about that in a previous episode, I will link it in the show notes. And I really don’t want to focus there today about the about that chemical reaction. So go back and check out alcohol and anxiety. That podcast if you want to learn more about that rebound effect of alcohol. What I really want to help you see is that even if you’re only drinking one drink every day, you’re still not solving your stress. Drinking is a temporary band aid that doesn’t actually solve anything. And if you drink more than a minimal amount, you’ll actually make your anxiety and stress worse. So we want to figure out a better way to manage our need for relief. And the way that we do that is by mastering the results cycle. We have to learn how to think thoughts that create the feelings that we need to take the actions to get the results that we want in our lives. And we need to be able to find the thoughts that are causing us to feel negative emotions. So we can redirect our minds when we need to do that. Now you’ve heard the adage before about bailing out the boat without plugging the leaks. Eventually, the boat still sinks right? When we don’t address the root cause of why we’re drinking in the first place and seek to solve that problem. We’re basically bailing out the sinking boat, and we’re doing it with alcohol, which is not a very effective bucket. So let’s say you’ve decided that you want to change your drinking habits, but then you think Oh god, I’m gonna feel all stressed out and I’m able to unwind after after work if I’m not drinking. And here’s the truth. without buffering or numbing with alcohol, you will feel negative emotions. And that’s why it’s so important to learn how to use the results cycle and manage Your mind, when you learn this cycle, you will actually need less relief because you won’t have as many negative emotions, I promise. I know that sounds like maybe woowoo to you, but it is the truth. I can tell you from my own experience, I was somebody that had a lot of negative emotion. I carried around a lot of anxiety, a lot of depression and stress for years. And I really never felt in control of that, until I learned the results cycle. It’s sort of a catch 22, because I’m telling you that you are both the cause, and the solution for your own relief. Whatever you are feeling when you are seeking relief with a drink, it’s always caused by your own thinking. It’s not your job, your kid or your house. I never understood this. And I always ran around feeling like stress was happening to me. My job was a pressure cooker. My commute was long. My 100% Commission straight pay structure was demanding. When I started learning about the behavior map results cycle, I realized that while I could probably find evidence to support these thoughts, that there was confirmation that other people in the office agreed with me with my thoughts that are you know that it was a pressure cooker in our office that our pay structure was demanding. Or what I came to understand was that there were other thoughts that were also available to me, that were also accurate about my job about my commute and my pay. And when I chose to redirect my thinking to those other thoughts that were available, and accurate. I didn’t feel as stressed out, and I wasn’t seeking relief all the time. My job allowed me to be creative and build wonderful relationships with clients. My commute gave me the opportunity when I understood about podcasts to listen to them every day, twice a day. And I loved that time that felt like something I could completely look forward to. Am I pay structure compensated me fairly for my work? Did I just switch my thinking overnight? Of course not. And I didn’t even think about these things altogether every day. But once I became aware that I was capable of changing how I felt, by changing my thoughts, I started noticing my thoughts more and more. And that’s what’s great about learning this whole concept of the self coaching model. And the results cycle is that once you figure it out, you will have opportunity, after opportunity after opportunity to practice and see it in action every day. Don’t feel bad, don’t feel like you’ve you know, like this is your it’s too late, right? I’m in my 50s. And I learned this in my 50s We aren’t taught about any of this in school, or really anywhere in life. Most people will go on living their lives in default, just believing that whatever they have thought for whatever length of time, or whatever thought comes into their brains, they’ll never question it. And most of most of us, myself included for a long time. I just accepted everything I was thinking as unquestionably true. There was nothing to do about it, because that was just the way the world was. And I always joked about and I’ve always joked about paying and no at all. And I really believed all of my own thinking, I never understood that I could choose a different thought that would make me feel something completely different. And it’s been a total game changer, as I’ve said, and I’ll continue to say it here. I do want to acknowledge that it will take energy and time to shift your perspective. And your brain is going to resist it at first, your brain will say no, this is really how it is. The traffic is really terrible tonight, and it’s totally going to suck. But it’s so worth it. If you want to feel better to ask yourself when that thought comes in, and seems totally true. What else could be true? That particular question is one I use all the time when I have a thought that’s creating a negative emotion, I simply ask myself, what else could be true? And I make my brain ask the question and look for the answer for something else. Now here’s the thing. I’m not just some perfectly calm, cool and collected person all the time. And that’s okay. And that’s normal life is 5050. What is great is that now when I do notice myself having a negative emotion, I have someplace to look, I can place my focus and my attention and ask myself Okay, what am I thinking right now? That is causing this negative emotion. I am empowered to be my own solution. I know that I can change how I’m feeling by changing my thinking. And when I feel better, I take better actions, like drinking less, or not drinking at all. Recapping here, so you have stories that you’ve held on to about how alcohol helps you take the edge off or provides relief. They come from your past from society. And because of that first drink and low levels of blood alcohol content that create a feeling of relaxation in the brain, the relief is temporary. And if you drink more than one drink, you will be at risk for a rebound effect of increased anxiety. This is often dose dependent, but it does happen with just even one drink. Regardless of the amount that you drink. Alcohol does not solve your stress and anxiety. That’s why learning, practicing and mastering the result cycle, being able to see your thoughts how they create your feelings, how it leads to your actions, and how the cycle really explains everything we do or don’t do in our lives. And it explains why you feel the need to get relief from your job, your kids, your spouse, or your to do list. When you are working on changing your relationship with alcohol, be ready to ask yourself lots of great questions to figure out what’s at the root of why you want to drink. One of the best that I use all the time is what else could be true. When I focus on thoughts that helped me feel more calm and content, I don’t have the same need to seek relief. It’s a real solution for stress and anxiety, not just a temporary Band Aid. That’s what I want for you too. All right. That’s all I have for you today. That was a lot. I hope you have a fantastic week. And until I see you next time, please check out the website www dot Molly watts.com. Come join me in my Facebook group. take that next step. Let’s do it. Until next time, choose peace, my friends. 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