Ep #81: Accountability vs. Empowerment

By: Dr. Sherry Price

Drink Less Lifestyle with Dr. Sherry Price | Accountability vs. Empowerment

Many women want to drink less.  I hear this all day long.  They want to feel motivated to go after their goals and be consistent in going after these goals.

And they think the solution to it is by getting an accountability partner.

I am all for accountability partners.  They can be quite helpful with certain types of goals which I explain in this podcast.  But it’s not the best way to solve an overdrinking habit.

Join me this week as I talk about what gets it done effectively and efficiently.  And most important, permanently.  I’m showing you why empowerment is what will bring you success, and how to start cultivating your empowered lifestyle.


Are you ready to learn the skills and tools to permanently change your relationship with alcohol? If so, I invite you to join Drink Less Lifestyle. It’s where you’ll learn how to become a woman who can take it or leave it with alcohol while creating a life you love. Join Drink Less Lifestyle here!


What You’ll Learn in this Episode:

  • The difference between accountability and empowerment.
  • Why accountability is not the focus in my programs.
  • Why empowerment is part of the solution to achieve your goals.


Featured on the Show:

Download my free guide How to Effectively Break the Overdrinking Habit.

If you’re loving this podcast, please rate and review this podcast and help others discover their Drink Less Lifestyle.

Full Episode Transcript:


You are listening to the Drink Less Lifestyle Podcast with Dr. Sherry Price, episode number 81.

Welcome to Drink Less Lifestyle, a podcast for successful women who want to change their relationship with alcohol. If you want to drink less, feel healthier and start loving life again you’re in the right place. Please remember that the information in this podcast does not constitute medical advice. Now, here’s your host, Dr. Sherry Price.

Hello my friends. How are you today? I hope you are having a great week so far. Today I want to talk about accountability versus empowerment. So, when I’m talking about accountability, to me it’s relying on someone else to help you do something that you want to do. Now, that is generally relying on someone else. It can be relying on something else. It could be also relying on yourself. It’s accountability to actually take the action that you want to be taking. And if you’re a parent raising children we do this all the time.

Raising kids requires a ton of accountability especially when they are young and we’re training them to take care of their bodies and do the right thing, takes a lot of accountability. As a parent we make sure that they brush their teeth, they say please and they say thank you, they make their bed, or they get their homework done, or they have to remember to turn it in. Or when they get in the car they remember to buckle their seatbelts, or comb their hair, or do all sorts of things. It’s about taking the right action or taking the action that you want them to take.

And so, they oftentimes need reminders because their brains aren’t fully developed in that area where they can practice these executive functioning skills that come from the prefrontal cortex so we have to remind them a lot. Now, once we get to about age 25, 26 and later our prefrontal cortex areas are developed.

And so, knowing this we know that we will have to remind young kids to keep doing things. So, the benefit of teaching them is so that when they are adults they are taking these actions, they are doing these actions without our accountability. They are doing these actions just on autopilot. And that’s how we are wiring their brain because we want them to function as adults function which is to learn the process of taking care of yourself, how to act in the world, what’s considered by your standards, appropriate for them. So, we’re doing all this to make these habits automatic.

Now, I bring this up because a lot of people come to me and when they’re enquiring about working with me they tell me a lot of times that they want an accountability coach. They want somebody to hold them accountable to their drink plan or accountable to doing the things that they say they’re going to do, whether it be losing weight or eating a certain way. And they want that level of accountability. And actually, if you think about it that’s exactly what a lot of apps do.

So, there is a ton of apps out there that you can track your meal plans. You can track your drinks. You can look at how you’ve been drinking and track all of that. Those are accountability apps. And even if you look at the example of Jerry Seinfeld, when he said he wanted to become this comedian, he would write jokes every single day. And every time he wrote jokes he would mark it on a calendar, a big X on a calendar meaning he showed up and wrote the amount of jokes that he wanted. That was his accountability tracker.

So, they’re very helpful to help you take the action you want to be taking. And a lot of people love to do trackers. It’s a way to measure. It’s a way to track progress. It’s a way to see your progress. Just the act of crossing something off the list lights up the brain, that’s a dopamine hit right there. So, these do play a role in learning to drink less. These do play a role in learning to get to your goals. And I will say that I find these to be more beneficial for short term goals.

There is a very popular app, From Couch to 5K. It gives you a plan to follow if you are not a runner and you want to run your first 5K or you want to get back to running and you want to run a 5K. It gives you a very specific plan on here is what you should be doing and training each day. So, these third party apps or these ways that you can download a calendar and just mark it off, these are helpful ways to help you stay accountable to what you want to do.

Now, I see women who want their partner to keep them accountable. And you have to be careful in that area because in our romantic relationships those people hold a special place in our life. And if we are looking to our spouse or a partner to make us accountable or hold us accountable sometimes, especially when it comes to drinking that could feel like criticism. That could feel like you’re being judged.

So, you want to be careful on who you select as an accountability partner. Oftentimes it’s best if it’s not somebody we are romantically involved with because they hold other roles. And so, feeling criticism in one area can cause us to block off and open up about other things or cause resentment, or cause issues that we just don’t want it to carry over into other facets of our life.

I know some women will just say, “I just don’t like how much I get monitored or how much he watches my actions. I feel like I’m being parented, or I feel like I’m being criticized, or I feel like I’m never doing enough, or I’m not good enough, or my ways aren’t his ways. And so, it feels bad to me because it feels like I’m being scorned or scrutinized.” And nobody wants to feel that way in their relationships. It doesn’t feel good to be criticized or condemned.

And in our romantic relationships it’s best, we want to feel love and approval from that person. And if we don’t have it I’ll tell you, that does create the feeling of resentment. So, when people come to me and they say they want to join my program for greater accountability, that’s okay but here is what I want to make clear. That I am not really an accountability coach. That is not what you learn in my programs.

What you are learning is actually to empower yourself because when you’re not feeling empowered you’re not going to want to take the action. And therefore, you’re going to rely on somebody else outside of you, or an app, or something to try to change that desire. What I teach you to do is to change your desire so that you don’t require accountability eventually. This is how you get permanent transformation. And I feel this works way better than just having an accountability coach.

So, I think about it like when I hired my personal trainer back in the day. I was essentially hiring them because I was not going to the gym. I was not motivated to go to the gym. And I wanted somebody to hold me accountable so I would actually go to the gym. And I want to say, I got results. By going to the gym and working out I did get results. However, when my sessions ran out and I stopped meeting with my trainer, guess what happened to my actions? They started to fall off. I stopped going to the gym as much and then eventually I stopped altogether.

And this is where I see accountability not being helpful in terms of long term change, not being helpful because it really doesn’t change your desire at all. It doesn’t transform you inside. I still had the same thoughts that working out is a challenge, it’s hard. I still had the same feelings going on like I don’t want to go to the gym, it’s so hard. None of that changed. The only thing the accountability partner helped me change, my personal trainer was the actions I was taking. So, actions do matter, absolutely, I’m not saying not.

But if you’re not changing the internal programming for that person, then I’m going to constantly have to hire a personal trainer to take the action because internally I’m kind of fighting with myself saying, “Well, I do want to get in shape but I don’t like working out.” And so, there’s just going to be constant rub and it’s going to feel like willpower that I’m going to have to use every day to go do that workout or whenever those workouts are scheduled. So, in essence I’m saying accountability is helpful but there’s always limitations to it.

Now, what’s even better is having an empowerment coach, somebody that’s going to change your mind, change your feelings so that you want to take these actions eventually on your own. And that’s what you learn by working with me. So, it’s not just counting drinks because that’s a life sentence nobody wants to live. I don’t want to count drinks and track them for the rest of my life, no way. I would do it for a short period of time and I did do it for a short period of time so I could see my progress.

But what I was learning was to change my desire for the alcohol and just not want it, just become a woman who can take it or leave it. That’s empowering. That’s when you can show up and it doesn’t matter what’s on your drink plan because you trust yourself. Now, I don’t use a drink plan much in my life anymore. I don’t need to because I’ve learned the skills that I’ve needed to overcome why I was drinking in the first place.

So, to me sometimes accountability feels like that you need someone to help you take the action when either you don’t want to or that you don’t trust yourself to take that action. Whereas I feel empowerment is totally the opposite. You take the action because that’s who you want to be and that’s the action you want to take. And it’s totally in alignment with the woman you want to be. I don’t drink less because I have to.

I drink less because I want to, because it feels delightful to have my mentation and my cognition that night while I’m drinking and the next day, and not to feel sluggish, and not to feel tired, and not to have disrupted sleep. And to maintain a weight that I like. All of that feels good to me. And how I was able to get there was breaking down all the stories that were wrapped in my head that somehow alcohol was more delightful than all of that. Because I did believe that at some point.

I did believe alcohol was my joy juice. I did believe that alcohol was liquid courage. I did believe that it helped me in social situations at one point. Now I don’t believe that at all. I don’t see alcohol that way at all. I see alcohol as a way that it prevents me from showing up as my best self. I see alcohol as a way that’s poisoning my body to not be the healthy version it really wants to be. And I have to say, I knew all of this cognitively. I knew all of this intellectually, I knew all of it but it wasn’t until I allowed it to fully build the skills that it changed me inside. It rewired my brain.

And here’s the thing. I was skeptical if that could even work for me, of course. Because if you haven’t experienced it, it’s hard to say, “Will that work for me?” And having skepticism is a good thing. It means you’re discerning. It’s like I’m evaluating something and I’m wondering if that’s going to work for me. And so, it’s not bad to have skepticism. But then it’s also like is this skepticism holding me back from trying something that could potentially be life changing for me?

So, when I’m talking about accountability, I’m talking, you take the action or you don’t take the action. That’s black and white. Empowerment gets more into the art and science of why you take the action and why you don’t take the action. It could be limiting thoughts. It could be you don’t believe you deserve that outcome, you can’t lose that weight, you can’t be a different drinker after 20 years of drinking a certain way. All of those are limiting beliefs. All of those are giving up on knowing that your brain changes every single day.

So, since your brain changes every day, to think that you can’t change is just wrong, it’s a fixed mindset. And we know that with neuroplasticity our brains are always changing. Everything in life changes. Look at the trees, look at the flowers, they go through seasons. Everything’s always changing. And when you can change your thoughts and your feelings towards alcohol your life just radically changes.

And to me that’s empowerment coaching, finding out what’s blocking you. What’s your mental chatter? What’s your mental clutter? What’s your emotional clutter? Why aren’t you going after the goals you want to go after? Are there limiting beliefs you’re having? Are there ways you’ve tried and they just haven’t worked and you haven’t found the right way? This is the art and the science of coaching where you empower people to get to their goals.

Because we are all here on a mission. We are all here to achieve something. That is human nature to want to achieve. Don’t fight against it, actually embrace it. That’s where you get your power from. And as I talk about all the time on this podcast, desire is a beautiful thing and go for it if it serves you. I was going for my desire for alcohol, that was not serving me. I wanted to change that desire towards other things in my life.

And when you can switch your desire like that, that is empowering because what I find is a lot of people they are living their life avoiding something, avoiding what’s really bothering them. And that avoidance strategy leads them to overdrinking, or overeating, or doing things that they really don’t want to be doing. So, when you empower someone we go after the things that you’ve been avoiding. And we fix them.

I love how my one coach phrases it, every time I come to her with a problem she’s like, “Okay, we can fix this.” And I love that. And she often reminds me, “Sherry, this is just a common problem. It’s fixable. We’re not trying to split the atom here. This is not complicated. We’re not trying to put people on the moon, which is a lot more complicated than most of life’s issues.” And I love that because there is always a solution. And that is motivating, that is empowering.

I talked with a woman yesterday who is just so unhappy with her life. It is just seeping off every single word coming out of her mouth. And she came to the call wanting to drink less. This was an area that she didn’t like. However, that was just a small percentage of the time on the phone was about the drinking. It was mostly in this one area that she’s just been avoiding and she doesn’t like it, and it keeps getting worse, and she keeps avoiding it. And it keeps growing and the problem just keeps growing.

And she’s just seething with bitterness, resentment towards this one area of her life. She is so unhappy in her marriage. And the more unhappy in her marriage the more she finds she’s drinking. And she’s so bothered by her drinking, so bothered by her drinking. She just wants to solve her drinking. And I say, “We can do that but the bigger issue causing you to drink, the root cause is your marriage, we have to work on that.” And she’s like, “Oh, I don’t know. I don’t know if that can ever change.” And of course, it can change. Relationships change all the time.

I asked her if she was in love when they got married and she says, “Yes.” “Well, yes, and now the relationship has changed so we can change it back. We can change it again. And you even mentioned it’s getting worse over the years so it is constantly changing.” And she’s like, “Okay, I get it but I just want to get control of my drinking.” And here’s the thing ladies, she was drinking two to three drinks a week. A week. And it’s maddening her. Do you know why it’s maddening her? It’s not the alcohol. I could clearly see it’s her marriage.

We could stop the two to three drinks a week but she’s still going to be maddened by her relationship. So, I said to her, “Look, we’re going to empower you in your marriage so you get the marriage that you want. That’s where I want to work. This drinking thing, it’ll take care of itself when we get to the root cause.” She shared with me she feels undervalued in her relationship. She feels criticized. She feels like she can’t do enough, she can’t do enough for the kids. She can’t clean the house good enough. Nothing is ever good enough.

She shared with me she’s been working with a therapist for over eight years trying to fix this problem. And it turns out the issues are getting worse. She shared with me everything she’s been doing, everything she’s been trying, all the ways. And I shared with her that she’s actually empowering her husband more than she’s empowering herself. And since she’s giving him more power, guess what? He’s asking for more. He’s taking more. And when you empower others and forget about yourself, of course they’re going to want more because they’re getting it.

You have to empower yourself. And when you empower yourself, here’s the thing. Other people around you are empowered as well. And as I was explaining to her all the things where she’s contributing to this and how this is showing up worse in her life because she’s feeding it. She was like, “Wow, nobody’s ever told me that. I’ve never seen it from that perspective. I see how I am disempowering myself and empowering him which makes him want more.”

I mean think about if you give a toddler, candy. They’re going to request more candy. You’re empowering the toddler. It’s human nature. It’s how humans work. It’s not good or bad, it’s just how we work. And it’s not bad to give other people the life they want but you have to get the life you want because if you’re not, it’s only bitterness and resentment that starts growing, and growing, and growing. And then you don’t have the marriage or the relationships that you want whether it’s with your spouse, whether it’s with your kids. I see this all the time.

And people think they’re fixing the problem but they’re not. They’re actually contributing to it. And you can’t see it a lot of times when you’re in it. I couldn’t see it in my own relationship with my daughter. I couldn’t see how I was giving in to the power struggles and making her think that she could hold all the power which made me so furious. But now that I have these skills and tools I’m like, “I get it. I get it how the human minds works and how that we can solve problems together that we’re both empowered.”

And she couldn’t see it either before we talked. No one pointed this out to her which is really sad because she’s trying so hard but she’s not trying with the right skills and techniques. And when you feel disempowered, ladies, guess what you feel? You feel stuck. You feel that there are no solutions. You’re almost pulling your hair out because you’re like, “I don’t know what else to do.” And if you’re giving into somebody all the time, do you know what you become? You become somebody’s slave. Nobody respects that. No wonder why she feels undervalued and not respected.

Nobody wants to be a servant to somebody else all the time. She has goals. She has needs. And when she starts acting empowered, her dynamic in her relationship will change for the better. And I bring this up because it’s not just accountability. Do you see how it’s so different when you are empowered? And this is what it means to empower yourself. So, you get the life and the results that you want, you get to your goals and everybody else around you is also getting to their goals.

It’s not meaning you’re acting like a jerk. You might hear this and say, “You have to do the complete opposite and ignore him.” No way, that won’t give you the results either. That’ll just infuriate the relationship even more. It’ll bring in more discord, more arguments, more disagreements. And that’s not what we’re after.

As I mentioned, when you empower yourself you also empower others around you, they start getting what they need and you start getting what you need. And this is how healthy humans operate. This is how a healthy household operates.  This is how a highly empowered couple operates, they act this way. They don’t blame each other for a life that sucks, or they don’t blame each other for their disappointments. A highly empowered couple is vested in each other’s success and for the success of the home.

I’ll tell you what, ladies, I’m invested in my husband’s success in his job. You know what? He’s invested in my success in my job. We communicate what that means for each other and what we both need. And I love that. We are on each other’s team. We talk about how my business is growing and it’s expanding.

And how I’m going to reach so many women and free themselves from alcohol and get the life that they want so they don’t have to numb out from it. They could get their dreams, whether that’s losing weight, getting rid of alcohol, or becoming that woman who can take it or leave it with alcohol because her life is so good they don’t need to numb. Because overdoing it with anything is just a big distraction from the amazing gifts and talents that you want to give to the world. The way you want to contribute to the world. The way you want to show up in the world.

This is what I want for every woman. And when you get the life you want you don’t want to buffer. You don’t want to escape from it because it’s so good. And I’m empowering myself to do that for women. He’s empowering me to do that for women. And I’m empowering him to do what he wants in his job. And we’re doing important things, meaningful things, not sitting around drinking like we used to.

I talk to women all the time, and they say, “I want to raise these amazing children and I feel like I’m not showing up for them. I want to build this side business but I’m not going after it because I just feel stuck. I want to get better at my craft of doing surgeries and doing more for people at work but I just feel so tired or burned out because I’m drinking a little too much and eating the wrong things.”

Or I talk to women who are just sulking with their weight that they’ve gained but they’re not taking any action. And they think it’s getting an accountability partner. But it’s not because they can’t even get motivated to do that. It’s an empowerment issue. They’re weighed down by their thoughts and their feelings about something and they just don’t know how to clear it. Living an empowered life means you get the life that you want and you’re willing to go after it and so do all the humans around you.

I choose to live in an empowered household. I choose to live an empowered lifestyle. It feels so delightful. It’s what I want to do. I’ve learned the skills to do it and it feels amazing. When you contribute to your own success you show up more powerfully to contribute to other people’s success. And that’s the fire I want to keep fueling. It’s delightful, fun and rewarding. Alright my friends, I hope you enjoyed this episode and I will see you next week.

Thanks for listening to the Drink Less Lifestyle. If you’re ready to change your relationship with alcohol, check out my free guide, How to Effectively Break the Overdrinking Habit at sherryprice.com/startnow. That’s sherryprice.com/startnow. I’ll see you next week.

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