You are listening to the Drink Less Lifestyle podcast with Dr. Sherry Price, episode number 116.
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 beautiful friends, how are you? Today I want to dive deep into really how you can conquer your overdrinking habit. So in a podcast previously I talked about shifting your identity. And I have to tell you that that work is really deep work. And so I want to expand upon that a bit more in this podcast episode because when you really start to feel that you are shifting inside, that’s what’s going to make this stick. Meaning that’s when you get change and that’s when you get transformation.
So I want to start with a problem you are working on in your life, I know if you’re listening to this podcast, my guess is that you’re struggling around drinking. But I know some people write to me and tell me, “I listen to your podcast and I have overcome that struggle around drinking and now I’m working on these tools to overcome my struggle around food, or overeating, or sugar, or processed foods.” Or some other area where you feel you’re overing in your life, overworking, overspending, whatever that is for you.
And I’ll tell you, a lot of people, especially this time of year, will engage in those activities. Now, if this happens to you, notice that that goes on for you. And here is my guess is that when we do these overage things, part of it can be from thinking about how it’s not a good time of year to break a bad habit, or to change a habit, or there’s too many triggers around. Or notice if you feel that the cards are stacked against you.
Notice if you’re noticing all the problems that are coming up during this time and all the reasons that your brain is looking at to say, “It’s too hard. I’m not going to get what I want. I’m going to be around my family and they’re triggering for me. Or maybe I’m traveling a lot and every time I travel I go off my plan.” Or some of you are hosting and going out to parties and going to all the festivities and you give yourself permission to slack off on your health goals.
And I can tell this goes on for people when they ask me, “Wow, even with Christmas or even with all the activities that you’re doing, wow, you’re still able to make such progress on your health goals.” And so when I notice people start shifting their identity as the work we are doing inside EpicYOU now as we’re shifting our identity what can oftentimes come up for a lot of people is they begin focusing on all those problem areas. They see this obstacle, they see that obstacle and they look at these problems as obstacles instead of looking at them as opportunities.
And I will tell you, if we look at things as problems and we look at things as obstacles, guess what? We will create more overwhelm for ourselves and we will actually feel defeated before even going into the world or engaging in social activities and we’ll be like, “We’re just so overwhelmed by thinking about it all.” Because what we’re focusing on is the problem. And then we make that mean that change is too hard, now is not the right time. I’m going to slack off, I’m going to back off and I’ll pick it up again at a future time. And we are under the impression that at a future time it will be easier.
And I want to remind you that any time you make a change it’s never really completely easy. There are some days that are easy, there are some days that are hard. That’s just the way life goes. So I always want you to be onto your brain if it’s got this magical thinking like some time next Sunday it’s going to be easier. Or during January it’s going to be easier because I’m going to be inundated with ads about health, and wellness, and fitness, and the gym memberships, and all the things.
And yes that motivation may come and I love it when it does and I embrace it fully when it does, but I don’t rely on it to be there because if I rely on motivation it’s just another feeling and we can’t keep one feeling going all the time. We are not going to feel motivated all the time. The people who get to their goals, whether they lose 20 pounds, 50 pounds, 100 pounds, whether they completely change their drinking and their identity around how they see themselves around alcohol. I will tell you they are not motivated a 100% of the time.
They will tell you their dark days. They will tell you their tough times. They will tell you it’s been a slog sometimes. So thinking this magical thinking that motivation is going to be there all the time it just is not how life works. And I think when we can really see and embrace life as it is, we stop fighting it and we stop creating stories that keep us trapped. We stop creating stories that make us make no progress because we have false realities. And I’ll tell you, there’s tons of statistics out there to tell you motivation doesn’t last.
When we look at people who do New Year’s resolutions, hey, I’m one of them, no disrespect to people who make New Year’s resolutions, I love making them but I will tell you not all of them stick. They sound great in theory and then we go to execute and the motivation isn’t there, the drive isn’t there. And then we start wondering, is this something I really want? So now I’m onto my brain and I know that it’s not motivation that works for long-term change. Great, I will take it when it comes in those short bursts or on those days when it arrives, love it.
However, I know it’s not the thing that’s going to make me change long-term. And I also know that magically thinking it’ll be easier on another day versus today is also a flawed way to think. And so I want to be on to my brain and so that doesn’t trip me up. So I just want to summarize what we talked about already. Change is going to be easy and hard. Not changing is going to be easy and hard. If you don’t change your drinking you’re still an over-drinker. That’s a hard life and it’s also easy just to keep engaging in the habit. So it’s both easy and hard.
Now, if you go to change, it’s going to be easy and it’s going to be hard for different reasons. So it’s not like life becomes magically easier and magically harder if you choose one route or the other. It’s the same. It’s going to be easy and hard on different days regardless of the path you choose. But what path is giving you more of what you want in your life? And I’ll tell you, people want more health, more wealth, better relationships and to feel good about themselves. And the path to those four things is to drink less, hands down, that is a fact, can’t be denied.
And what I also want to summarize that we talked about is that motivation, use it when it shows up but don’t use it as a reason not to keep going for things that truly matter to you like your health, like your wealth. Overdrinking certainly depletes your bank account. We may not want to look at it, many of us don’t even calculate it. If you ask the typical person how much do they spend on alcohol whether it’s per week, per month, per year, they have no idea and they don’t want to know.
But I’ll tell you, knowledge can be power. It can really show you the depth and the breadth that this habit has on you. And when we take inventory of that, our mental health, our emotional health, our physical health, our financial health, all of that. And to see how overdrinking is impacting that, whether in a negative or a positive way, put it all out there. I have an exercise my clients do where they can truly look at the impact overall on their life that this has. And from there they get complete clarity about what they want because you don’t know what you don’t know.
So let’s know, there is power to knowing. So if it’s not motivation and life is not easier or harder, it’s just a different flavor of easy and just a different flavor of hard, who really is the people that conquer this overdrinking thing? And I’ll tell you one fundamental thing that I see when they start shifting their identity and doing that deeper work, meaning really analyzing why it is they want it and shifting to the person who no longer wants any, or maybe just drinks less, or just is a social drinker, it’s that they start seeing solutions on how to be that person.
So when I started this podcast I started talking about how people this time of year will look at all the problems, and all the reasons, and all the obstacles for not staying true to their goal, for not continuing to do the work to shift their identity. So they fall back, they fall back in that old identity. And this is where people get stuck, is they’re on the wagon, off the wagon, on the wagon, off the wagon. They felt the shift for a brief moment or momentarily but then they slid back. So I see this when I work with women. I saw this in myself.
This is a normal part of the process but if you want to minimize sliding back, minimize shifting that backwards to that old identity. I’ll notice a big difference between people are able to shift into their new identity versus people who aren’t. And the people who sit and dwell on problems, and all the obstacles, and all the stories, and all the old programming, and showing up the same way at that restaurant, or with their family members. And dwelling more and more on the problem that becomes bigger, and bigger, and bigger.
And when you focus on, expands, so the problem gets so big in your mind that you dramatize it. Now, I recently did this in my life, not around drinking, around a different area. And I’ll tell you some signs and how to notice if this is happening to you. So I was meeting with my coach and I had been talking about a problem and I was discussing with her about the problem. Then our next call came and what happened? I started talking about that problem again. She wanted to bring up something else. We were going in another direction and I brought up the problem.
And now I had more drama to the problem. I had more blame of how this person did this and that person did this. And she so kindly listened to me and she listened to me discuss the problem again. And she’s like, “You had this problem last time. And I think you talked about this problem briefly once before.” And I said, “Yes. This is such a problem.” And she’s like, “Well, do you want to move to solutions?” And I was like, “That was what I needed to hear.”
And so I share this with you because when you focus on the problem my friends, when you focus on your overdrinking, when you focus on once I start I can’t stop, and you continue focusing on all the bad things. It’s my anxiety that keeps me drinking. Its my relationship in my house with my spouse or with my kids that keep me drinking. I will tell you, you are making the problem so much bigger just like I was in this scenario in my life. And then what happens is you start carrying it around with you thinking that you are this problem or that you identify with this problem.
So let me give you another example. I was recently working with somebody who their anxiety was so crushing to them and that’s why they turned for relief with the drinking. Now, this happens to a lot of women. I know I had anxiety and I had anger. So we are emotional creatures especially women, our emotions feel like they take us over and that we need to respond to them with alcohol, because we don’t like this emotion.
And so the more I would think about, hey, I have an anger issue, I have an anger problem, I have a drinking problem because of my anger. I have a drinking problem because of my anxiety. I was identifying more with the problem. Do you hear even the words, “I have anxiety?” And the way I’m saying it, my brain would interpret it as this doesn’t sound good, let’s solve this, let’s solve this, let’s get some alcohol going. And so I trained myself to do that response to get rid of my anger or to get rid of my anxiety just like this woman was that I was helping.
Now, notice the more I focus on the anger, the more you focus if you suffer with anger issues or anxiety, the more you experience stress in your body or whatever it is, the more you focus on that the more it’s going to grow. And here is the thing, when it becomes something you say over, and over, and over again like I used to say, “Gosh, I drink so much, I drink so much, I drink so much.” My brain creates more of that problem. It looks for more ways to keep that identity, to belong to that problem.
Now, I will tell you, we are human beings, that means we are these vessels that walk around the Earth and we have feelings. We will get all of the feelings. We can’t select which ones we get and which ones we don’t. We are pervy to all of them. So to call those feelings as things that are bad and shouldn’t be there actually makes them and invites more of that feeling in. And I used to get mad at being mad. Do you know how terrible that feels? Do you get mad when you have an off day, or you’re not productive, or you’re lying in bed, or maybe you get sick?
I remember when a break a little pinky toe, I’m like, “This is going to lay me up for six weeks.” You just get mad about the break, or mad about being mad, or mad about being non-productive. And what am I creating? I’m creating more mad. I am focusing on the problem and what you focus on, expands. And particularly if we think we need to treat that with alcohol then we create another problem on top of it.
And I’ll tell you, that my friends is a dead end road because there’ll never be enough alcohol to take away all your anger, meaning when your anger comes back and you experience it you’re going to want to keep running to the bottle. And at first, it may take one or two drinks to get rid of it but then it’s going to take three or four. And then it’s going to take five or six. And this can happen with loneliness. This can happen with anger. This can happen with stress. This can happen with anxiety.
And so when you think of this as a problem and you focus on the problem, you try to get rid of the problem with alcohol and create another problem. Do you see how you are getting so focused on the problem? Just like when I went to my coach and she says, “Yeah, this is a problem.” I’m not saying it’s not a problem. She didn’t say, “It’s not a problem.” She just asked me if I wanted to focus on the solutions. And that’s exactly what I invite you to do.
So as you’re shifting your identity from a person who can’t control alcohol, or is an over-drinker, or has a drinking habit, or an addiction, or however you want to phrase it for you. The more you focus on that, the more you’re going to create that for yourself and the more that’s going to show up in your life. So when you shift your identity you want to be shifting to somebody who doesn’t see that as a problem but you want to start shifting to how can I solve this problem? Yes, it’s a problem but I want to focus on the solutions.
And that my friends is really when you start really engraining this process. You start looking for people who can teach you other ways to handle your triggers because here’s what happens. You are not going to see solutions if you keep just focusing on the problems, and you keep talking about the problems just like I was blind to see that I was just talking about the problem. You know how you know you’re talking about the problem all the time? You notice you’re complaining a lot. That’s symptom number one, complain, complain, complain.
And so I didn’t even recognize I was complaining about this issue. That’s why I’m so glad I have a coach. She was able to just say, “Looks like a problem. Do you want to solve it?” And I was like, “Yes.” Because I wasn’t seeing solutions available to me at all. And my friends, you will not see solutions until you are open, and willing, and ready to see them, not a minute sooner will it happen. And this is why there is that famous saying, ‘When the student is ready the teacher appears’. And my clients tell me this all the time.
It’s like as soon as you did that masterclass, as soon as I heard your podcast, as soon as la, la, la, I only knew I needed to hire you. I knew I needed to work with you because now they are open to solutions. They are done identifying with the problem. And so they want to focus on solving it. So when your self-identity and how you identify starts shifting from somebody who’s an over-drinker or can’t control their drinking and you start heading into that place where you define for yourself, maybe it’s take it or leave it. Maybe I’m a non-drinker.
Maybe I’m just a social drinker, whatever that is, start focusing, how do you get there? Who can help you? What solutions are available to me? How can I become that? Because this is how the universe works my friends. And that’s why we have all these clichés and memes about this. What your mind focuses on, expands. If you start focusing on solutions you’ll find many. Or how about the cliché, the grass grows where you water it. Yeah, where you’re focusing your mental energy, grass is going to grow there. Because whatever you feed your brain begins to grow.
And I know for a lot of people, they’re in the habit of feeding themselves fear, skepticism, doubt, denial. And I’m all for a healthy dose of skepticism but what I am not about is listening to my fear because I won’t evolve. I won’t grow. I won’t learn. So I want to be a woman who focuses on solutions, not problems. And I’m so glad when I have people in my life that say, “Hey, you’re focusing on the problem, look over here, let’s look at the solutions.” I want to surround myself with those people because I don’t know about you but I don’t feel good when I’m complaining.
In the moment it might feel like I need to get it off my chest but after that if I keep bringing it up months, and months, and months later, I feel stuck. Like I have a problem that I can’t get over and it can’t be solved which is just not true. We are not building rocket ships. We are working with human design and human behavior. And we know the process of transformation. It’s no big secret.
And I really want to remind myself that if I didn’t have that coaching call I would still be in the problem. And this is the power of coaching. And this is why I think everybody should have a coach especially when you’re learning, and growing, and warning to conquer problems in your life because you do it quicker and it’s more fun. You have somebody to do it along with. You’re not alone in silence, and trying to suffer through it, and figure it out yourself. A coach has been there before and they’re teaching you.
And as soon as we switched the conversation I felt I got my power back. And as we identified a few different solutions that I could take I just felt so much freedom. And I felt like this thorn that I’ve been growing in my side, has just been removed. Do you know that feeling? It’s like my life became just a bit more epic in that moment. And this is the space I invite you into. When you continue to identify with the problem, maybe you’ve had the problem 10, 15, 20 years, who would you be without that problem? And here is the thing, some people are really scared to hang up the problem.
They can’t move on from a past divorce that happened many moons ago. They can’t move on from something devastating that happened to them or traumatized them many moons ago. And if you’re still identifying with the problem I want to invite you into a solution because there you can experience some relief. You can experience some freedom. You can experience so much more joy. You can experience healing. And I’ll tell you what, you can experience more peace. And the world may not be in a state of a lot of peace.
But when I could create my inner peace, that is my superpower. And what I mean by that is, that is when I operate so well. I sleep better. My day goes better. I don’t have these nagging things following me around for weeks, months, decades. Literally my life feels better. So I want to ask you. If you didn’t identify with the problem and you started to identify with the solution, and you started to open your mind and be willing to explore how can you overcome whatever problem, issue is going on for you. Because you don’t have to identify as somebody who has the problem.
You can start transforming. You can start changing. You can start healing. You can start being that person who’s got the solution. And this is the work I did from being somebody who had a brain and a mind who thought about alcohol for hours on end each day before I started drinking it. Where I should get it. When I should start drinking. How much I should buy. What store should I get it from? What glass will I use? Is it cold enough? Should I add an ice cube? The amount of decisions that I had to make and that went into my drinking, I am free from all of that.
I don’t have that mental chatter every night. I don’t have that emotional drain and that emotional slog in the mornings. My identity used to be someone who needed alcohol, somebody who wanted alcohol, somebody who don’t know how to function without alcohol at night. I mean I knew how to function but it just seemed so much easier and better to be buzzed or to have a few drinks. And to shift my identity now where I can walk into a bar and not the desire to order a drink of alcohol of course, water, club soda, mocktail, whatever.
But I don’t feel compelled to drink. And I would have never imagined even five/six years ago that I can have a brain that operates like this. And now I can say my identity doesn’t come from drinking. I am not tied to drinking as strongly as I used to be. Do I still want alcohol now and then? Yes but it’s on my terms and in the quantity that I want to have because I know how to stop, because I am a woman who can take it or leave it. And I can stop once I start. That is my identity. And so I invite you into that.
And hey, to do that this time of year might be counterculture. When everybody else is going all in it might be just different to see somebody who isn’t. And as I wrap up this podcast I really want to just invite you to really reflect, are you somebody who’s identifying with just the problems in your life or are you going after the solutions and the new version of you, you want to be? Because my friends, we get in life what we focus on. And I want to invite you to concentrate on what counts and what matters most for you.
And I’ll tell you, for a lot of people they want and need that community and that support to get there. Alright, my friends, that’s what I have for you this week. I hope you have an amazing epic week and I will see you next time.
If you want to change your relationship with alcohol and with yourself, then come check out EpicYOU, it’s where you get individualized help mastering the tools so you can become a woman who can take it or leave it and be in control around alcohol in any situation. EpicYOU is the place for women who want to be healthy, confident and empowered to accomplish their goals and live their best life. Come join us over at epicyou.com/epicyou. That’s epicyou.com/epicyou. I can’t wait to see you there.