If yes, you are not alone. In this podcast, I interview Angela and explore how she changed her relationship with alcohol. As a stay-at-home mom, she found herself having a drink as a way to stop and slow down and take a break from the kids and housework. And she would find herself drinking more than she wanted.
She didn’t like the effects of her drinking including the weight gain. This weighed on her mentally, emotionally, and physically and she wanted to change. She describes her journey and what she discovered on the other side which was a total surprise.
Tune in this week to discover how Angela learned to explore what was happening in her life that was making her want to drink, and how she regained control of her drinking. She shares her story of how coaching helped her become more empowered and how doing this work has transformed her life.
You are listening to the Drink Less Lifestyle Podcast with Dr. Sherry Price, episode number 20.
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.
Sherry: Well, hello my friends. I am so excited for this week’s episode. With me today I have a dear friend of mine who agreed to come on the podcast. I am so excited to introduce you to her. We’ve worked together and I thought it would be really useful for you to hear of her perspective of her journey with her drinking and getting to this place where she is in her drink less lifestyle. So do welcome Angela to the show, hi, Angela.
Angela: Hi, Sherry. It’s so great to be on here. I’m really excited to just talk about what I’ve been through over the last couple of months. It’s been really transformative for me.
Sherry: Awesome. So why don’t we start off with – I’d like the ladies just to kind of understand who you are as a person, anything that you want to share about you as a person.
Angela: Yeah, okay. So I’m a stay at home mom and I have three kids and that has kind of been my life for the last 20 plus years. They’re now in college and high school and I’m at that transition point. I was a lawyer but I don’t want to go back to that, but my kids are still very much a part of my life and something takes a lot of my time and energy. My middle one has a lot of mental health issues and that’s provided a lot of stress for me. And I think one of my issues has always been I don’t know the off button since I became a stay at home mom.
When you’re working in a job you have nine to five and the end of the day comes, you drive home. But when I decided to stay home it just never stops. So having a drink in the evening was kind of my signal to slow down and stop. And yeah, and over the course of years it became a lot of drinking to stop.
Sherry: Yeah, it’s like welcome to the club. We’ve been there for sure.
Sherry: So what bothered you about your drinking before we met?
Angela: So it had really gotten over the Covid period with everyone home and schedules, just there wasn’t that kind of transition and scheduling and running around. It had become a lot of drinking. So it was every night I would feel this urge I should have a glass of wine and unwind. And then it became two, three. There’s only one more glass left, it’ll be the, you know, I might as well finish the bottle.
And that was happening quite a few times a week, probably at least four to five times, if not more. And I realized I couldn’t be present. I was trying to lose weight and you can’t lose weight when you’re drinking an extra 700 calories.
Sherry: It makes it way more challenging.
Angela: Makes it way more challenging. And I would start to snack when I was drinking and my husband was noticing it and saying, “You’re not going to be able to achieve your objectives because you’re drinking and eating.” And I just felt like it was time to make a change. And I really honestly didn’t know how to go about doing it. I didn’t think I was an alcoholic. I didn’t think Alcoholics Anonymous was really a place for me. I just felt like I needed to change that 5 o’clock mentality, that this is my off switch and do some real like what’s going on, why am I drinking?
So yeah, and then I just happened to be looking at a magazine one time that I gotten in the mail. And I saw your ad in there and I was like oh my God, this is exactly what I need. I need a coach. I need someone who can work with me to figure out why am I drinking so much and what can I do to cut back to a place that feels right for me.
Sherry: And what about coaching, did that feel weird to have a coach to help you drink less? What were your initial thoughts about that?
Angela: It felt a little weird but I’d done therapy in the past. And so I kind of thought about it as really focused therapy I’d gone to therapists to kind of help me with my eating and my drinking. But they wanted to talk about my childhood. And I’m like I’m sure it’s relevant but really right now I want to figure out why am I eating and why am I drinking.
And so I had started working with a nutritionist about the same time and was really getting a handle on what I was eating and how to eat healthier. And so talking with you felt pretty – and you’re so open. So it felt pretty easy to open up, to kind of be a little bit more exposed.
Sherry: Yeah, because it is a vulnerable topic for some people. We’ve got a lot of shame around it. We’ve got a lot of drama around it. We feel like we’re being judged by maybe our loved ones, or people in our household or most likely ourselves around this. And it is something that is sometimes difficult to talk about.
Angela: Right. And your Facebook page was just illuminating to see all these other women with all the same struggles that I was having just made me feel so much better. And I think we’re so much more open and able to be vulnerable, to kind of say, “I want to cut back on my drinking.” And your phrase, “What type of person do I want to be?” And I was like, yeah, I want to be the type person who stops after two drinks. Having that, it’s not about no alcohol, although that’s fine. And that may be what I’d toy with from time to time. But it’s what do you want to be?
Sherry: Yeah. And I don’t know if we ever think about it that way. I mean I think we don’t think about alcohol and drinking for a long time until it becomes a problem. And then when it becomes a problem a lot of us are only exposed to abstinence programs or treatment programs. And what about the prevention, that in between phase of well, we’re not there yet but I want to do something because I know this isn’t healthy. And this doesn’t seem to be working to achieve my other goals that I have in life, yeah.
Angela: Right. I’d never seen anything. And so I was really at a loss. And finding your program was like there is a way I can work on this slowly, and with some help, and some coaching. And I’ve learned a lot about – I would have saved a lot of money if I had come to you a long time ago.
Sherry: So Angela enrolled in the Drink Less Lifestyle program that I have. It’s my group coaching program. And I really would love for you to share, what were some of the aspects in that program that you felt has really helped with your drinking relationship?
Angela: Well, I think it gave a structure and to how to slowly cut back. And you have segments in there that go over different aspects of it. And so I found each one took the stage that I was at really well. So analyzing why am I drinking. So the first couple of stages, why am I having this drink? How do I feel when I’m done with it? Why am I going to have another drink?
And that work I think I still need, I mean it’s kind of an ongoing process, but then layering that with having a drink plan. Then once you get there your other modules I think are where the real work started to come. And really how do I actually cut down. The urges were the hardest for me.
Sherry: Yeah. They’re hard for everybody.
Angela: It was like I don’t know how to handle this. The first one went on for hours, hours. I was like, sorry, I’ve got to go to my room, close the door, I can’t handle any other stimuli, it’s just and I’m like, “When is this going to end?” But you had talked about 75 to 100 times, having that support. I’m not losing my mind. I’m not a bad person because this is so hard for me. There’s not something wrong with me was really – just made it so that I could go on.
Sherry: Yeah, because there are periods where it’s a struggle, it takes work to get through these. And do it in a way that helps us the next time, because if we don’t handle these urges correctly they keep coming, and they keep coming. And they don’t stop. But learning to manage them the appropriate way, we could go back to I think it’s my podcast number four where I talk about properly handling those urges. But that’s not to say that when you properly handle them that it’s not going to be challenging or difficult, yeah.
Angela: Right, exactly. And during that – it was probably a week or 10 days of handling those urges that were really, really hard. And then I think during some other modules, there’s one about visualizing your future self. And I didn’t read that visualize your future self first. So I answered the questions in terms of my present self. And they ask things like how do you drink? And what do you think about alcohol? And how do you dress? And then I realized, wait, this is supposed to be how I’m envisioning myself. So I went back and I did it.
And so I just felt so much better about my future self. I was like that’s the person I want to work for. This is the person I am now, but now I can really see who I’m working to be. And that was really helpful in continuing to do the urge work, because I could really fully visualize who that person would be.
Sherry: Absolutely. Right. And it pulls us to that person, towards that person because I find if we don’t keep that work top of mind what happens is we slip back into the habit. We’re like we start believing old thoughts like I can’t change. Or this is going to be too hard. Or I’ve tried this before and it didn’t work. But changing that perspective to wait, I’m learning these tools to become this type of woman. This woman handles her alcohol this way, or doesn’t even want it, or just wants a few and in these types of situations.
So I think that’s really valuable because it kind of makes the abstract more concrete, like you said what you’re working towards.
Angela: Right, exactly. And then having just that vision and being able to then talk to you just when it was confusing, when it was hard, when there were things, the struggles that I have, social drinking. Why am I doing this? And then working with you to kind of talk through why do you feel like you need to have a drink when other people are having a drink? What about that is necessary? Or is there another way you can think about it? I’ll be honest I’m still working on that. But now at least I might have one or two but I feel more confident in saying, “Okay, I’m done now.”
I don’t need, just because everyone else is continuing to drink. I think I told you the story where I brought my sparkling water to my girl friend’s house because I knew. I was like I need to make sure I have something else to do with my hands instead of just having a glass of wine and someone fills it up and then I have more wine.
Sherry: Yeah, that’s like not staying in control intentionally. It’s like they’ll just keep pouring, they’ll just keep pouring and that’s okay. And we just take it like, yeah, that’s socially polite, or that’s what we should be doing when we’re at somebody’s house, or that’s what’s expected of me. But really those are just all our thoughts about it.
Angela: Right, exactly. And I felt kind of bad and then the next time I found my girl friends they actually had put sparkling water on the tables. So it was like oh yeah, I don’t actually have to keep drinking. They’re like, “Whatever you want to do.” And that was really eye opening.
Sherry: Right. And our friends are just trying to cater to us if they really like us and they’re being a good host or hostess. So if they notice that every time we hang out with them we have a certain wine, or a certain type of wine, or a certain drink they’re always going to have that available. But then when we say, “I’ll bring sparkling water.” Then they’re like she’s into sparkling water now, let me have some the next time she’s here.
So I love that because I think it’s so important that we recognize that we train other people on what we like. And we train them like how we treat ourselves is by them recognizing this is what they do now. Or they have a new habit, or they’re trying out something new. And then that kind of changes their thoughts and I should have this available if they want, or we can always bring it too. But I always like to think we’re always training people on how to treat us by the actions we take for ourselves.
Angela: Right, because I realized through working with you that I would drink what was in front of me because it just made me feel more relaxed. And it didn’t really matter if it was wine, or water, or whatever, or whatever it is. But sometimes when you’re out for dinner or you’re at some place the water’s not there, you drink the wine.
Sherry: It’s like it’s in front of me, I guess I’m supposed to drink it.
Angela: It’s in front of me and why, you know, I don’t need to make a big deal about trying to get water or whatever. So I realized I’m going to have to speak up for myself which is a totally normal thing to do.
Sherry: We’re just not used to it in this phase of drinking. We’re used to it in other areas of our life but maybe not this way in this area.
Angela: Right. And that gets into journaling, I really started to learn how to journal a lot more. Not so much like the dear diary. I always thought journaling was like dear diary this is what happened today.
Sherry: This is what I ate for lunch.
Angela: Right. And you’re like well, that’s not me. But now I have a pad that I can just jot down my thoughts. What am I struggling with? Why was this an issue? What was my anxiety over this? And it’s more like why do I want to have a drink right now and what is going on in my life that is making me feel like a drink would be nice? If it’s not just a beautiful day and the sunset and sitting with my husband, and it was a rotten day, I want a drink.
But what I’m so thrilled about right now Sherry is that I can think that and then not have the drink. And then it’s just like a blip. If you had told me three months ago it would be – I would have I want a drink. But then I would be able to be like, yeah, but I’m not going to. I would have been like there’s no way, no way. And to be at that point is really incredible for me.
Sherry: And I really want all of our listeners to hear that because I was the same way, when you’re back in it you honestly want to be on the other side of it and want to want it less. But I know for me and I know as you share, it’s hard to think that you could get there. It’s hard to think that that’s possible, especially if you spent years drinking, and loving it, and talking about it as your friend, and my lifeline and my hobbies. And everything revolved around alcohol in the past.
So to me I was just thinking who am I going to be? What’s going to be my identity? How am I going to relax? How am I going to enjoy life? Am I going to be fun? I had all those doubts come up and I just love it that in a short period of time we could get to the other side, it is possible, yeah, it’s so good.
Angela: Yeah. I never thought it was possible. One time early on I was like, “Well, what do you do with your evening if you’re not having a glass of wine and enjoying yourself? What does that look like?” And at the time I was like well, that’s crazy but I literally was like what does that look like? And now I don’t even think about it. You can sit at the table or watch TV, we can have dinner. I can do a puzzle or read. Because I still like to have my personal time with a glass of wine, but doing a jigsaw puzzle or reading the newspaper.
I’m just going to do this and savor the wine. And now I realized at one point where I was doing the questions I was like I’m having another one because I drank the first one too fast so now I need to have a second. Really, o you’re not actually savoring it are you? You’re just drinking it.
Sherry: Yeah. So here’s a question I’m pondering. Sometimes when I talk with women I say, “We’re going to investigate and shine a light on why we’re drinking.” I think some people think that if I do that it’s only going to make me want it more. What are your thoughts on that?
Angela: Yeah, I found it to be the secret to being able to start realizing I’m drinking for the reasons that don’t reflect who I am, that they were in response to other stimuli. I was looking at my notes and I came up with this phrase that says I love drinking when. And then it is on my own terms, not in response to other stimuli, anger, anxiety, boredom, avoidance, a false sense of celebration, all these things that I was kind of trying to not deal with. And then I realized that they’re really not as omnipresent as they felt.
Sherry: Yeah. And I love that because I think when we start to really look at what we think, how we’re feeling, what we’re doing, we find that the direct opposite happens. We don’t move towards it. We move towards what we really want, what our authentic self wants, what we truly want. And we see where this is all just like smoke and mirrors. And like you said, it’s not as omnipresent as we once thought.
Our brain is kind of just wired to think a certain way. And then when we actually look at it we’re like, “Wait, no. No, I don’t want to be drinking for this reason. And no, I don’t want to be doing this behavior. And no, it’s not as bad as my brain had thought it was.” Do you feel any other things you learned or other surprises that came out of doing this work for you?
Angela: So I really feel like – I’m trying to think. So the journaling part was a total surprise. To be able to now do that investigation on my own and kind of work through what is going on was a real surprise because it has illuminated so many other aspects of my life, my anxieties. I think I’m a very anxious person. So kind of how do I handle these things and how do I handle anxiety in a constructive fashion has been really illuminating. And it set me on a journey. I feel working with the nutritionist, working with you, exercising more.
And I have all the pieces of the package that I need to really move forward to find my future self. Now I feel like I can go find that person, whereas I don’t think I had the tools before. Yeah.
Sherry: So where are you at on your journey now with alcohol? How would you describe it?
Angela: So I no longer have the 5 o’clock I need a drink, we’ve got to end this day. And I’m now doing more just social drinking. And I’m kind of at a place where I’m wondering do I really want to be a social drinker? Yeah, I just I don’t know yet. And I do think there’s a little bit of me that’s a little scared to be like if I had a drink at 5 o’clock in the afternoon would I still kind of be tempted to the whole bottle? And that’s something I think I have to work on. But I now know I have the tools to do that, to really slow down.
I think after two drinks it’s kind of like the wheel’s come off the bus where there’s going to be a third and a fourth. And I know that about myself and so with one or two drinks I can ask myself the questions, why are you having this drink? How do you feel now when that drink is done? Why are you going to have the second drink? How do you feel now? And then stop. But I feel like I have the tools to stop.
Sherry: Yeah. So do you feel like you’re in control of your drinking and it’s on your terms? Because that was something you mentioned you wanted to do and learn.
Angela: Yes. I know, I really do think I have learned how to make it on my terms. And I think the journaling and working through the work pages of your programs has really been helpful to help me find what my terms are. What are my terms? What am I dealing with or not dealing with when I’m drinking? And being able to look at those things and work through a different way to deal with them. Like the CTAFR, the circumstances, the thoughts, feelings, the actions and then the result, kind of using that for different circumstances.
Now I see I drink after we go out to eat with someone and we come home. I like to have an additional glass of wine. What’s going on there? And I think, you know, I realize I’m just worn out, I am exhausted. It was hard to be on, I’m an extroverted introvert. So people would meet me and say, “You’re a total extrovert. You’re friendly, you know everyone, you chat.” But it’s exhausting.
Sherry: You need to recharge.
Angela: Right. So when I come home I’m like, I just want to relax and unwind. But I didn’t realize that until working with you and working through the tools that you’ve given me. That’s what’s going on.
Sherry: And here’s the fun thing I love and I see it with a lot of my clients, including you and you probably heard it from Angela too is you get to the point where yeah, I’m drinking on my terms. And like you said, you’re reevaluating again your terms. And I love that. You drink less because you think if I could just get to this spot or this place, whether that’s just drinking on weekends or if you have a number in mind or whatever it is that you feel like that would feel like such freedom, or I feel like that would feel amazing.
And you got there and now you’re contemplating, like you just wanted to be a social drinker and you got there. And now you’re like should I even – do I still want to be a social drinker? I love it because it comes in phases. We don’t think we can totally give up alcohol. But then when we see we don’t really need it and we need less and less of it, it now becomes an option which I don’t think you contemplated that when we first started working together. I think that’s really cool.
Angela: Yeah. It was not something that I contemplated would ever really be on my radar. And I think it’s really cool to be in this place. I mean it’s really me taking control of my life and my drinking. I am in the driver’s seat. And it’s a pretty amazing thing to have happened in such a relatively short period of time, yeah, it’s really been transformative for me. It’s empowering. It’s like, wow, I wake-up in the morning and I feel good. And I’m no longer thinking about in the past. I love that feeling of waking up and it’s a new day and what’s the future going to be, it’s not me berating myself, why did I have so many?
And then why did I, what was I thinking of? And I can actually look at it like yeah, I wouldn’t drink a bottle of juice, I would be like that’s way too many calories, but a bottle of wine.
Sherry: Sure, we can accommodate for that.
Angela: Right. What was I thinking of? I can have ice cream and [inaudible] and now I actually feel like yeah, I am that person, I don’t have to have those things, so it’s been really incredible.
Sherry: That’s what I love about this work. You heard Angela talk about a lot of the tools, a lot of the tools I talk about on the podcast here. Just how this starts to really transform how you see yourself and the relationship you have with yourself. Now you’re kinder to yourself, you’re not berating yourself in the morning. And that just starts to compound over time. Any other benefits you feel, or any wisdom you want to share with our listeners, or any advice that you would give the ladies listening in today?
Angela: I love going through your Facebook feeds and knowing that there’s so many people out there who are struggling the same way. And it’s such a positive environment. If only the whole internet could be like, you know, it’s just we’re all there for each other. And we need to ask for support. And it’s really empowering to have asked for help. I’m not the type of person to ask for help. So to have asked for help and to have found someone that I can – in a place that can be really open and positive has really been wonderful.
And in your program, having those coaching sessions and being able to have the dialog with you and other people in the same place, that’s really made it all possible. It’s taken away the shame, the shame and the embarrassment, and the like there’s something wrong with me.
Sherry: Yeah, I love that. And it’s like what I say all the time, it’s just alcohol, ladies, why are we so ashamed of it? If it’s just liquid in a container why are we attributing all this meaning to it? And really just diving into that work, why is it so important in our lives? It’s just alcohol. And it’s not us that’s broken, it’s just the way we’ve conditioned our mind, the way society and marketing has helped us along in that department, like hey, rosé all day.
Angela: Like mommy’s little helper.
Sherry: Yes, so of course we’re going to think lovely thoughts about alcohol. And then we start believing that more and more and then it starts showing up in our actions more and more. And really at the end of the day it’s just alcohol. There’s nothing really to be ashamed about. It’s just a habit that we can learn to control or not do, it’s whatever we choose, yeah, I love that.
Angela: And that was really learning that it is. It’s just a habit like any other habit that you have. You could be picking your nails or whatever it is that’s become your habit, you don’t have shame with those yet this one brings a lot. Asking for help is really not something that people do, no one asks. Whereas you can ask for help for just about everything else in the world, every other problem there is, ask for help.
Sherry: And this one we think we have to solve on our own for some reason. I don’t know why that is.
Angela: Why is that?
Sherry: I don’t know. A lot of us are even afraid to tell our friends. I know a lot of women coming into the program they ask me for advice, “Should I tell my friends? Should I tell my family? I don’t know. What will they think?” It’s okay, it’s totally okay, if you want to say something about it, it’s totally okay if you don’t. Nobody has to know. It could be your secret facelift or your secret whatever, nobody has to know. But if you want to tell people we could tell people. It’s so funny how we get a little crazy over it.
Angela: Yeah, there’s no rhyme or reason to how we feel. And that’s why learning about your program and seeing that. I will always remember flipping through this magazine and seeing your advertisement in there. And being that’s it, that’s exactly what I need. Oh my God. I didn’t even know this existed.
Sherry: I know.
Angela: I was so excited. I didn’t know it existed. I didn’t know that that was possible.
Sherry: I feel the same way about my life coach, absolutely.
Angela: Yeah. And I think the second I got home I got on the internet and I got on your page and there was so much there. And I thought maybe I can do it all on your page. And then I was like but I really want to change. I really think I need some real personal help to do this. And I’ve paid a therapist for a long enough time. I can pay a coach so let’s…
Sherry: Let’s dive in.
Angela: Let’s dive in, let’s just go head first and I’m really thankful that I did.
Sherry: Awesome. Well, thank you for sharing your story with the listeners, Angela. I know that they are going to get so much out of your journey and I really love it that we could talk about it openly. We can laugh about it. It’s just alcohol. We could take away the stigma of it. It doesn’t have to be a dirty little secret. We could get help if we want to get help. There’s plenty of resources out there to get help. There’s coaching if you want help. I mean there’s just so many more ways than I think what most of us know. So just having that awareness is key.
And then just hearing how people navigate their journey with alcohol because there’s no one right way that’s going to work for everybody. And just knowing that there’s different alternatives. And I think that’s really great. So thank you so much for coming on the podcast today, I really appreciate it.
Angela: It’s been wonderful to be on, Sherry.
Sherry: Alright, thank you Angela. And for everybody listening this is the end of the episode and I can’t wait to see you next week. Have a good week everyone. Bye.
Thanks for listening to Drink Less Lifestyle. If you’re ready to change your relationship with drinking now check out the free guide, How to Effectively Break the Overdrinking Habit at sherryprice.com/startnow. See you next week.