How to Drink Like an Alcohol Minimalist
In this episode, Molly discusses strategies for changing drinking habits and fostering a peaceful relationship with alcohol. The program she introduces, labeled as “Step One,” aims to be accessible and actionable for individuals seeking to build a healthier connection with alcohol. Unlike other programs, it offers lifetime access to course materials, emphasizing ongoing support and improvement. She emphasizes the concept of being an “alcohol minimalist” and advocates for making a plan ahead of time as a crucial step in rewiring one’s mental and physical patterns related to alcohol. She stresses the importance of small, sustainable steps and provides three tactical tips for mindful drinking: choosing lower alcohol by volume drinks, avoiding alcohol on an empty stomach, and paying attention to drinking speed. The episode also touches on the significance of understanding one’s motivations for drinking and includes a link to a PDF outlining the characteristics of an alcohol minimalist.
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 Oh my friends. It is a spectacular time to be living in Oregon. We have been having just my favorite kind of weather. Here. It’s September is just typically really great. And it this weekend was honestly just perfection. Today, it looks to be like 85 I mean 85 Come on in September, late September, and October is on the horizon. I’m Halloween things things get to be a little bit of a different story. But right now, this is the time to is it the great Northwest if you haven’t already. So before I get into the show this week, I want to talk to you about step one. Step one is my brand new hybrid online course and coaching program. The beta program has been rolling out this month, and I have to tell you, I am loving it. My goal with creating step one was to have a program that would be accessible, actionable, and really helpful for self starters, who want to build a peaceful relationship with alcohol. The way it’s structured is unlike anything else I’ve seen in this space, because number one, you have lifetime access to all the course materials, including everything that I plan to keep adding to the course. And two, you have a one on one coaching session with me to get you started in the best way from where you are right now. It’s personalized. And you can do it all at your own pace, and secure in the knowledge that I’m always available for you if you need some extra support. So step one is going to be open for registration. And with a new program starting on October 15. That’s going to be the last opportunity to start this program in 2022. At the current low price. For more details, you can just go over to www dot Molly watts.com/step. One to get information and an email that’ll give you more directions on how to register exactly what’s included, etc, etc. But right now, of course we’ll start on October 15 Go to www dot Molly watts.com/step One that’s all together as t p o n e to get more details. All right on to this week’s episode. This week I’m talking about how to drink like an alcohol minimalist. Now I’ve done episodes before on what it means to be an alcohol minimalist, but today I want to give you some tactics got ideas, and maybe a cautionary tale about what this actually looks like in practice? How do I and other alcohol minimalists do it when we are drinking? This episode was inspired by a couple of things. So every Tuesday in my private Facebook group, and if you haven’t checked that out, there is always a link in the show notes. You or you can just go on over to Facebook in groups and search for alcohol minimalists, but um, check it out, come join us. On Tuesdays, I share Tip Tuesday, and I give some tactical ideas. And so some of the tactical ideas and tips came from from those posts. The cautionary tale is actually inspired by many posts that I see in other groups like moderation management’s Facebook group, mindful drinkers Facebook group. It’s kind of a common theme of these types of posts. And it’s really what is kind of different and specific about the alcohol minimalist approach I take. So we’ll get to that. But let’s first talk about some of these basic tips and tactics. So the first rule of thumb is that alcohol minimalists plan ahead for how they’re going to include alcohol in the day. my longtime listeners and Facebook group members are probably saying, yes, yes, Molly, we know, making had a plan ahead of time is important. What I want you to understand about this tactical tip is that alcohol minimalists embrace making a plan. They want a plan in place, they create plans that are doable, and reinforce their own power over their relationship with alcohol. It’s not a punishment. It’s not a rule. It’s a plan that aligns with our long term goals. And it’s made from a place of power. We don’t feel like making a plan is hard to do. We don’t make it mean something negative with thoughts like normal drinkers don’t have to have a plan. Why do I, we see it as the means to an end that it is, we’re working to change the way we’ve decided about alcohol in the past. And planning ahead of time is part of the process. It’s literally rewiring the brains physical pathways, and changing the old pattern that doesn’t serve us. When you’re making a plan. Think about your reasons for wanting to change your drinking habits. It isn’t just one reason. There are many reasons that becoming an alcohol minimalist is what you want. And I believe in keeping all of those reasons, a list of many reasons, front and center in your mind. Those thoughts fuel the desire to build a doable plan. And as you build confidence in your ability to keep that plan, then we’ll make small steps to improve it. We look for opportunities to do just 1% better, not trying to make big leaps that require unsustainable willpower, but small steps that continue to build proof for our brains. Now, having a plan isn’t some sort of magic wand. It doesn’t make the urges and cravings go away. And if we listen to our lower brain in the moments and don’t question our thoughts, we’ll go ahead and drink Off Plan. So here are three tactical tips to keep in mind when you are drinking so that you have an easier time sticking to your plan. Tactical tip number one, choose a lower alcohol by volume, drink, and or manage your mixers. While it’s not absolutely true that your blood alcohol content will rise quicker with spirits or distilled liquids depends on how fast you drink them. In general, the lower the alcohol by volume, the better when you drink. Consider splitting the amount of alcohol you plan to drink into halves and turning one real drink into two drinks. As a beer drinker, I find cutting an IPA with an NA beer to be really kind of unnoticeable in terms of flavor, I still get the bitter hoppiness taste that I enjoy in an IPA, but the lower alcohol by volume. And so I can drink two drinks, but it’s really only 1.3 or so drinks based on the alcohol by volume. Now remember that 12 ounces of beer the standard drink is based on an average alcohol by volume of 5%. And that’s not true for IPAs, and even an alcohol by volume of 6% which is probably in your brain you think it’s just about the same. It’s really not and a 6% alcohol by volume beer is 12 ounces of it is actually 1.2 beers. 7% alcohol by volume beer 12 ounces is 1.4 beers. So you get my idea here. The average for IPAs is in between six to 7%. And I guess this would be a sub tips. Get into the habit of checking the alcohol by volume of whatever whatever your chosen drink is, pay attention and adjust your plans accordingly. Here’s a couple of other notes when considering what you’re drinking. All right. There are some limited studies that suggest that carbonation increases the rate of alcohol absorption. These studies are definitely limited and not conclusive. And I’d say that paying attention to what’s going on with your own body’s reactions. To the alcohol you drink is most important. But just a note about carbonation. I’ve talked about it often on the podcast that each and every time we drink, it’s like our own personal chemistry experiment right your own personal petri dish. Our bodies and alcohol are dynamic. And each time you drink, you need to pay attention to how your body is responding. If by chance you are drinking on an empty stomach, that is the number one way to increase the speed with which alcohol is absorbed into the body. And it increases your blood alcohol content, all the faster. Now before we leave this topic of alcohol absorption and blood alcohol content, something you diet soda drinkers should hear if you are mixing diet soda with hard liquor. A study done in 2013 suggests that alcohol consumed with a diet drink results in a higher breath alcohol concentration, so higher BAC as compared to the same amount of alcohol consumed with a sugar sweetened mixture. And why? Well, they think that it’s because the sugar actually slows down the absorption of alcohol from the stomach to the bloodstream. In other words, it’s not that diet soda accelerates intoxication. Rather, the sugar in regular soda slows down the rate of alcohol absorption. Again, paying attention, right? These are things that you need to take into consideration when you’re choosing what you will be drinking. Last, the combination of hard alcohol and energy drinks. So this is definitely not a great idea. Because when alcohol is mixed with caffeine, the caffeine can mask the depressant effects of alcohol, making drinkers feel more alert than they would otherwise. The result is you may drink more alcohol and become more impaired than you realize increasing your risk of alcohol attributable harms. Alright, that was kind of like a lot of tips packed into tactical tip number one. But you get my idea. You need to pay attention to what you are drinking, and how that’s interacting with your body. Hey, all just a quick break in the show to talk with you for a minute about sunny side. It’s fall and it’s time for tailgaters and holiday parties on the horizon. There is never a better time than right now to put a mindful plan into place. And Sunny Side is my recommendation for how you can really use a tool that provides a way to track your drinks, measure your progress, and really uses proven behavior change techniques to create lasting habit change. The thing is you can reduce your drinking by 30% in the first 30 days with Sunnyside and you can save over $50 a month, cut out 2500 calories out of your diet. And these are just based on average results. I know that people that I talk to and people that I work with are using sunny side and getting great results. If you’d like to find out if it will work for you. Go to www dot Sunny side.co/minimalist To get started on a free 15 day trial today. All right tip number two, it’s really not a good idea to drink any amount of alcohol on an empty stomach. We just mentioned that previously. Alcohol is absorbed very quickly as and you will likely feel the effects sooner when you are running on an empty stomach. Now food cannot soak up alcohol in the stomach Contrary to popular belief, but it can You can slow down the absorption. So that’s your main goal. When you are drinking, you want to eat, okay? And you want to focus on he, F F, F, P F, F F. That stands for protein, fat, fiber, and fermented foods, which is the really the ideal way to eat for your gut and your overall health should be a diet balanced with carbohydrates, fats and proteins. And that should be your choice of nutrients before you order that drink. In general, you want to steer clear of fried foods, aka Barr foods. And while the fat from those fries and chicken tenders may keep you full, you’re not getting a good variety of nutrients to keep your gut healthy, might also be a good idea to avoid foods that trigger heartburn, as alcohol might be irritating to your digestive system and cause reflux itself. Another thing to avoid is something that people who own bars and pubs obviously understand. And that’s salty snacks. Don’t eat pretzels popcorn or peanuts at your local bar because they increase thirst, which is exactly what they’re meant to do from the pub owners perspective. You get more thirsty and you order more drinks. Worst case scenario, it’s better to eat something salty than nothing at all. But since you’re planning ahead for alcohol, it’s a great idea to have a plan in place for food, too, right? Right. Alright, tactical tip number three, pay attention to how fast you are drinking and slow down. If you’re playing drinking games, well, the real point of those is to get you drunk faster and to drink faster. So you might want to consider not playing drinking games. If the group that you’re socializing with is geared to drinking faster and drinking higher volumes, then you might want to consider limiting your time with that circle. Surround yourself with people who aren’t focused on faster and higher intoxication. If you’re going out with a big group, make sure that you don’t have thoughts about needing to keep up with the group members. Figure out if you’re feeling insecure in the group if that feeling is driving a desire to drink. While you’re working on changing those thoughts and practicing new beliefs, it might be easier to avoid those big group outings. Whether you’re out with a group or just out, really take your time with each drink. Don’t go don’t slam your drink on purpose. sip your drinks, and in between alcoholic drinks have a non alcoholic drink or water. Check in with yourself after each drink and avoid the risky situations that a higher blood alcohol content can cause by stopping if you feel intoxicated, and PS, the last few ounces in your glass or in the bottle. They aren’t they’re challenging you to drink them. If you don’t feel like it or pass I mentioned previously, if you feel intoxicated or really are already, then don’t finish your drink. It’s not a better deal. You’re not wasting something by leaving it. It’s simply not required. And you’re not wasting anything except your common sense if you keep drinking. Now, all of these tips dovetail nicely with my cautionary tale. Here it is. If you want to become an alcohol minimalist, there is something you need to know and except being an alcohol minimalist means that I don’t drink alcohol to get drunk. I want to say that again. I do not drink alcohol ever, with the intention of getting drunk. If you’re building in multiple alcohol free days in your week, and still looking to get drunk on the weekends, you’re not really living the alcohol minimalist life. Is it? Is it better? If yes, is it better than over drinking every day? Of course. But you really need to ask yourself, why do you want to get intoxicated? I see people posting all the time about how they like to have fun and let go on the weekends. But they are posting inside groups they have joined because they are trying to reduce their drinking groups they have joined because alcohol is causing some sort of problem in their lives. They are wanting to make more mindful choices feel better about their relationship with others. Alcohol, they want to, in most cases, drink less. So let’s think about whether alcohol is really increasing the fun in your life. If you’re constantly worried about it, if you experience hangovers, or if you are drinking to levels that put your safety at risk. This isn’t fun, my friends, alcohol doesn’t create fun, you do it with your thoughts. Now it’s possible that you’ve forgotten how to have fun without alcohol, or you are simply stuck in a pattern, not telling yourself the whole story. Over drinking is never fun. If it were truly good, old fashioned fun, you’d never be thinking about heading back in the first place. Now, if you are binge drinking, which by definition, again, is four or more drinks in any one sitting for a woman, or five or more drinks. In the say, in a setting for a man, you really need to ask yourself, why do I want to do not tell me that it just happens. It does not just happen. You either go into a plan into a night with a plan of getting drunk, or while you are drinking, you allow your lower brain to take the reins and override your logical brain to get the same result. Drinking to the point where you feel drunk is not how an alcohol minimalist drinks alcohol. I don’t believe that you can be an alcohol minimalist if you want to drink alcohol to get drunk. Now, some of you may say, why would I drink alcohol if I can’t get drunk? That’s a great question to ask yourself. If you only want to drink to feel drunkenness, to escape your own mind and thinking, then you might be someone whose most peaceful relationship with alcohol is none. I am including in the show notes for this episode, a link to a PDF of the characteristics of an alcohol minimalist that I created. And I’m going to read them to you here. It’s kind of a neat infographic. I think anyway, and here’s what it says. These are the characteristics of an alcohol minimalist. Number one, they prioritize their peaceful relationship with alcohol. Number two, they include alcohol in their lives in a way that minimizes health risks. Number three, they drink according to values and principles, not external cues. Number four, they don’t waste time and energy worrying about their drinking. Number five, they are intentional about their alcohol consumption. Number six, they don’t turn to alcohol to numb negative emotions. And number seven, they don’t need alcohol to fit in, chill out or have fun. Last number eight, they have more time and energy to devote to living life. I hope that this episode has given you some valuable tips, tools and maybe some things to think about. That’s all I have for you this week, my friends, and 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