What’s your plan when it comes to drinking?
Setting a drink plan is one of the key tools you learn about if you work with me on any of my programs. A lot of my clients tend to dislike plans because they prefer to be spontaneous, or plans haven’t worked when they’ve tried them in the past, or because they simply can’t predict when they’re going to feel like a drink. But a drink plan is less about the alcohol and more about helping you learn to work with yourself more effectively, and it’s a necessity if you want to stop overdrinking.
We use plans in all aspects of our life, whether it’s to buy a house, get a new job, or save money for something we want. Having a drink plan is just another way to get what you want out of life, and if you want to change, you have to start doing things differently.
Join me this week as I discuss why having a drinking plan is so important and how you can set one up to manage your relationship with alcohol. I’m sharing how to use this tool to honor yourself, teach your brain some new behaviors, and improve your self-care regime.
If you would like my help in doing this work, learn more about my coaching programs. I would love to help guide you on your journey toward a drink less lifestyle!
And, if you’re ready to change your relationship with drinking, check out the free guide How to Effectively Break the Overdrinking Habit now!
What You’ll Learn from this Episode:
- Why a drink plan is one of the most important tools you can use.
- Why you must be willing to feel your emotions.
- How to train your mind to see alcohol differently.
- Three key steps to setting up a proper drink plan.
- How your thinking might be holding you back.
- Why setting a drink plan is easier than you think.
Featured on the Show:
- Did you know I launched an online course earlier this month? It is amazing! 5 key modules will teach you exactly how to stop overdrinking so you can find your off button again. I invite you to come and check it out here for more details!
- Join my private Facebook group Stop the Overdrinking Habit!
- Come follow me on Instagram!
- Ep #4: Properly Handling Urges
- Ep #5: Give Yourself Permission
- My Drink Less Lifestyle Program
Full Episode Transcript:
You are listening to the Drink Less Lifestyle Podcast with Dr. Sherry Price, episode number 11.
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.
Well hello my friends, how are you all doing out there? It’s so good to have you come back and join me each week. How’s your December going? I know here at the Price household things are looking a little different this year. It’s a little more mellow. And I have to say at first I was a little not happy about it but now I’m really enjoying it. We are creating new memories. We are doing things that we haven’t had time to do because our schedule was always so busy. And I’m really, really enjoying this time.
It’s fun because me and my daughter we bought these toy soldiers to paint. And we’re cooking and baking more together. And I’m just loving this extra time that I get to spend with just her. I hope you are all embracing this season of change and finding ways to make new memories and possibly even new traditions.
Before we dive into today’s topic I want to share with you a very touching post I received inside my free private Facebook group. If you’re not a member you should come and join us. The only conditions are that you are a woman and that you promise to write encouraging, and helpful, and kind posts to others. So a member in the group posted this last week. And this member tagged me in her post.
“You have no idea how much you have helped me. I am listening to your podcast, first time I’ve ever listened to any podcast. And I have been taking notes. I have only made it through episode number five so far but I’m doing the work, writing down what my relationship with alcohol will be from now on. I sit with my urges and I let my higher brain override my primitive brain. It’s like you said, I have flipped a switch.”
This lady goes on to discuss how she’s been overdrinking for four years now. She’s had bariatric surgery. She’s replaced consuming food with over-consuming alcohol and now consuming both. She also mentions she suffers from PTSD from having a traumatic childhood, other things going on in her life as well as having lost her son due to a traumatic brain injury.
And then she continues to write, “Strangely enough I had no alcohol problems back then, I was in survival mode. I went to nursing school and became an RN so that I could provide him the best care. I just stayed in survival mode and then he died and I knew it was time, he was suffering. I’m not sure one ever recovers from this type of experience. And after my bariatric surgery I couldn’t stuff food into the wound so I sure can just pour a glass of wine in there and it didn’t take much at first.
It’s like you said though, it becomes a subconscious habit, a neural pathway that we make ourselves. I’ve been thinking a lot about that, it’s weird. When I can get my urge and I have not had any wine for seven days now, I allow it, and describe it, and give it a color like you said. I have done this and childhood memories start to come back, not bad ones, good ones, feelings and smells. I’m getting my feelings back. I realized that I’ve avoided all feelings for so long now that I didn’t even realize they still existed. I have known pain that no one else should ever know.
So I guess I’ve made survival mode my neural pathway to avoid feeling anything because when I’m stressed I wanted wine, when I’m bored I wanted wine, when I’m mad I wanted wine, when I’m sad I wanted wine. And even when I was elated I wanted wine. You get the picture. In my contract with my relationship with alcohol I said that I could have up to two drinks at a social occasion if I wanted to. Yesterday was Thanksgiving, I have given myself permission like you talk about in episode number five to have the two drinks, but I didn’t even have the desire or the urge.
And I’ve had wine in my fridge all week, a week ago that would not have been believable and I would not be in the mindset I am today with my higher brain taking control and the peace of mind I am gaining. I really just wanted to say thank you so very much. I realize that I am just at the very start of this and I look forward to putting in more work and coming out on the other side of this more whole. I have hope and that’s everything.”
Gosh my friend, lots of love to you. That was so brave and kind of you to write that post. Because when we share what we are going through, the good and the bad, it really inspires and encourage other women to know that they are not alone. To know that we go through difficult times in our life and to know that we don’t have to stay there. So, many prayers and love sending your way my friend. And I have been there too, where you just want to drink not to feel. You don’t want to feel disappointed in yourself, disappointed in life, disappointed in how things have turned out.
Maybe you choose to drink to feel more elated like you said, I did many times. The holidays will be more fun if I have a buzz going on. And so we find all these reasons to keep the habit alive and to keep going. But as you so eloquently stated, it really starts to numb out how we feel about things. And we become very disconnected from ourselves.
And I think that’s why many of us wind up not enjoying it over time. Because what I know is this, drinking doesn’t heal us, we all know that. Because we can’t heal what we can’t feel. And I love that quote, we can’t heal what we can’t feel. So alcohol just does not allow for any type of healing to take place. We have to process those feelings. We have to know that as humans we get the contrast in life. We get the good and the bad, we get the happy and the sad. It’s just part of this human experience that we get here on Earth.
Alright my friends, if you are not in this private group where we share and encourage each other on this walk towards drinking less, I would sure love for you to join our community. You will find a link to that in the show notes and the group is called Stop the Overdrinking Habit.
Alright, so we’re going to shift gears now and talk about today’s topic, setting a drink plan. So setting a drink plan is one of the key tools you’ll learn about if you join any of my coaching programs. So how I’d like to address this topic today is first we’re going to talk about why setting a drink plan is so important. And then we’ll talk about how to set a drink plan. So there is an appropriate way and a wrong way to set a drink plan. But first I really want to dive into why this is such an important tool.
So if I was to ask you why do you think it’s important to set a drink plan, I’d be very curious to hear what your answer is because when I ask the ladies when I’m working with them I get all sorts of reactions to this question. But I want to tell you the simple truth of why it’s important. It’s important because it means we’re taking care of ourselves. It means that we are putting our best interest in mind. And we are prioritizing that.
I consider setting a drink plan a form of self-care and an immense form of self-love. Because let’s face it, alcohol is not needed to help the body or your mind in any meaningful or healthy way. It does not fuel our cells with any nutrients and it actually kills our cells, it kills brain cells, liver cells, all kinds of cells. So there really is no upside to the body or the mind to put it inside of our bodies, to consume it.
So if something is this unhealthy, or some people like to say toxic to our bodies, why would we not put parameters in place, boundaries in place as a form of self-love for taking care of our mind and our bodies? And I look at it as a form of being our own healthcare advocate, because as adults no one parents us. We don’t hear, “Make sure you eat your vegetables”, or “Finish what’s on your plate”, or even, “Look both ways before crossing a street.” We don’t get any of these parental commands anymore because we’re adults.
So now because we have this rite of passage that we are now adults with all this extra freedom that we didn’t have when we were children, right now it turns to us for us to parent and to control ourselves. And that’s a huge blessing. So just think about that, we have to parent and control everything in our lives, how much TV we watch, how much sleep we get, what type of food we eat, how much food we eat, when we eat. The same thing with our jobs, how much time do we give it, which jobs are we going to take? All of that. Paying our bills on time if we choose to do that.
So it’s this rite of passage like I mentioned, that’s a huge blessing because we have all this freedom to choose to do something or to not do something. It’s all up to us, there is nobody parenting us anymore. But many of us don’t see it as a privilege or something that we have complete agency over. We feel that we should be motivated by others or we should wait for feelings to arrive for us to take the best self-care of ourselves.
And I want you to consider maybe it’s about putting boundaries in place, constraints in place so that we can live our best, most optimal, most healthy life. Because I’ll tell you what, when you don’t have health as a priority, it’s something that’s very precious, it could be taken away from us instantly. And I think a lot of us feel that, we think health is a huge priority for us.
I’ll hear a lot of women when we’re talking about starting my coaching program they’ll say, “I just don’t get it, I take care of myself. I exercise regularly. I eat good foods. I eat healthy foods. I eat organically. I put so much pride and care into my health, but it’s just this one area, this drinking that I’m not able to be successful at.”
And so just think about, you have boundaries, you have rules, you have ways of treating yourself when it comes to exercise. You have ways of treating yourself when it comes to the foods you choose, and how much you choose to eat, and when you choose to eat. But what’s your plan when it comes to drinking? What are your boundaries? What are your constraints? What are your rules? What are the things that you put into place not from a punitive standpoint but from this is how I’m going to best take care of myself?
And a lot of us don’t have any type of boundaries around that. And I oftentimes hear that, “I don’t know why I keep overdrinking. I don’t know why, even though I’ve taken several days to weeks of being alcohol free, that now when I choose to drink again I fall off the bandwagon and I’m overdoing it.” And I want you to consider that maybe you just don’t have the proper plan in place and you think being alcohol free is the plan. And if you’ve been able to be alcohol free and you want to be alcohol free, and that plan isn’t working you have to investigate why.
But before we get to that part let’s look at putting this plan in place to have our best self in mind, to take care of our bodies and our mind in the most optimal fashion. So here’s what I see when I’m coaching women in my Drink Less Lifestyle program. They will tell me that they don’t want to put a plan in place because they like to be spontaneous. Or they don’t like setting up a plan because when they’ve done it before it made them feel awful because they just didn’t stick to it.
Or they tell me they don’t know how they will feel when that day comes so they can’t plan for that day that far in advance. Well, first I want to say that this is one of the main purposes of having a plan. It’s not about drinking because you feel like it. And I’ll discuss that in a little bit more detail in a bit. But I want to say this is why we’re putting together a plan, because we don’t want to be drinking based on how we feel.
And secondly, I’ll ask why do you assume you won’t reach your plan? Why are you letting the past interfere with your present and your future results that potentially you can gain this time if you have the right tools in place? Now, when we say we can’t do something because it’s never worked in the past, I just want to point out that that type of thinking will always hold you back, and will always have you playing small in your life. We can’t look to our past to determine our future results. It doesn’t have to be repeated, the past does not have to be repeated.
What we can learn from is what we’ve done in the past that didn’t work and what we’re willing to change going forward so that we can achieve success. So remember, the whole definition of change means you’re doing something differently than you did in the past. And a lot of us seek to change our relationship with alcohol. We don’t want it to be the same as it has been in the past or it currently is. We’re seeking that change which means we will have to do things differently, that’s what change means.
And I also want to say that some people set a plan and they think that’s it. They don’t know how to work the plan. The plan is just, setting the plan is just one part. And I have to tell you a plan does work my friends if you’re willing to work the plan.
So just think about building a house, there is a blueprint or a plan of how the house will be built. So to build that house we first need a plan. Then when the plan is made, guess what has to happen next? We have to follow the plan, work the plan to actually build the house which is the result we want. We don’t just get a house just because we put a plan together. A plan doesn’t just magically happen, you have to work the plan.
And this is where a lot of women will go wrong if they’re setting a food plan for the week, or a drink plan for the week because they think all the effort is in the planning part. And that’s not where most of the effort actually comes in. I like to think of the planning part is the easy part and executing it is the hard part. And that’s the whole reason why you make a plan. You want to know what you have to execute on each day. You have to know what you’re striving for. You have to know your why. You have to know what it is you want to obtain in order for you to show up and do the work.
So having a plan and putting one in place now means you have direction for how you want your day to go, your week to go, your life to go. This is about intentionally creating the lifestyle that you want. And let me just tell you, you can be spontaneous and still have a plan. Those two concepts, spontaneity and having a plan are not mutually exclusive. You can still be spontaneous and still have a plan because that means you have a goal, something you’re trying to achieve. But you could still be spontaneous along the way.
Now, another thing I will see a lot of my clients do and I did this myself as well is that I used a plan as something to use against myself, something I used to beat myself up with. So how this looks is if you miss a day or two of your plan and you didn’t meet your exact numbers and you over-drank a bit, all that means is you didn’t show up and do the work on those day or two. That’s all it means.
So they’ll say, “The plan didn’t work.” And that’s not true, it’s not the plan that failed, it’s that you didn’t show up and do the work that was required to make the plan work, period, that’s it. It doesn’t mean you’re a bad person, or this will never happen, or you’ll never get the hang of it, or this doesn’t work and it’ll never work for my lifestyle. Or that you’re a failure, or that your brain is broken, none of that.
But a lot of us once we don’t follow our plan for a day or two wind up throwing in the towel. We wind up giving up on all of it completely. And that’s the wrong mindset to have because all is it meant is we didn’t do the work that day, big deal. Next day is a new story. Next day we get to show up differently if we choose to. Next day we can embrace change again because change, remember from a previous episode I said is hard.
Embracing change is hard, we make it sound like it’s this positive thing, and that’s always going to work, and there’s never any setbacks, and there’s never any loss of momentum, but there always is. Think about other times in your life where you just feel like you want to give up. I know there’s sometimes when I’m parenting my daughter and I feel like it’s not working, I should just give up, she’s never going to learn, we just want to throw in the towel.
Or even in my personal life with things and I’m just wanting to give up on. But that doesn’t make me evolve, that doesn’t make me grow, that doesn’t make me learn if I just choose the easy way and to give up. So when we don’t execute our plan the way we set it up, you know what I think that is? That’s a perfect learning experience. Yes, and I mean perfect, perfect learning opportunity.
So I like to think of falling off the plan or not, excelling at the plan, or some people say failing at the plan. I don’t like to think of it as a failure or a bad thing. I take it as a learning opportunity. Where was I not willing to do the work? What can I learn to do differently when this situation arises again?
Because if you think about what is the difference of somebody who can’t control their drinking versus somebody who can control and be confident around alcohol. Well, I’ll tell you what, the person that can’t control their thinking feels that alcohol is awesome, it’s relaxing, it’s fun, it’s the joy in my life, it helps me get through the day. It helps me not feel so socially awkward in social settings, helps me fit in. It helps me not feel these feelings. That’s how the person who can’t control their alcohol is thinking.
The woman who could show up as I can take it or leave it with alcohol, thinks and has a totally different relationship with alcohol. She doesn’t think it’s super fun and provides all the relaxation. She knows that there are downsides to it and she’s willing to recognize that. She’s willing to own that and not make it a personal moral character flaw. She’s willing to see that I just have to follow some certain tools until I can get back to that place where my brain is no longer emotionally attached to the drinking.
And that means I have to embrace change. I have to feel my urges. I have to set a drink plan. I have to do all these tools to get back to that place where I used to be where I was completely in control of my drinking.
So if you look at those two different types, one thinks about alcohol completely different than the other woman, and that’s freedom. When you can think about it in a way where it doesn’t control you and you don’t feel that you need it all the time, especially not every day to get through the day. And so a key tool to become that woman again that can have confidence and control around her drinking is by using this drink plan in a proper way and not in a way where you’re allowing it to mean something about you, or that you’re using it to beat yourself up.
And this tool is so good because it’s also putting that what was once subconscious, our drinking into the conscious realm. And then when it’s in the conscious realm that’s when we can change. We can’t change something that we’re not aware of. If it remains in the subconscious realm it will always be this habit that’s driving the drinking. It won’t be truly us driving the drinking. It won’t be that higher brain driving the drinking.
So by setting a drink plan, a proper drink plan, it’s by waking up the mind to see what it hasn’t seen in years. It’s understanding why it is you do what you do and also how to learn to change it as well. And I’ll tell you this, I am so into this tool that setting a proper drink plan is always step two in any of my coaching programs. Whether you’re doing the 12 week group coaching program with me or you’re doing the self study online course. You will always find it’s in the second module because it’s always step two of getting awareness and change to the habit of drinking, it’s key.
Every woman who has had amazing success in my program has set a proper drink plan in place. So that means you can’t use the drink plan to self-flagellate, you can’t use it to beat yourself up, if you do, you won’t get the results that you desire. You will transfer the shame onto the plan and then onto the drinking and then back onto you. And then you’re just moving shame around to the three different components, and that’s not what the drink plan is about. That’s using the drink plan, I call it in a dirty and unhelpful way.
You need to use the drink plan in a clean uplifting, life changing way where it serves you. The drink plan is a tool that keeps you on track for your goals. It’s a dataset you learn and you grow from, it’s not just numbers that are meaningless. And once you see it as a tool that helps transform you and your relationship with alcohol you will love using it, you will embrace it. And it’ll be a tool to help you find freedom, and confidence, and joy. So that’s why the drink plan is so important. Now let’s talk about how to set up a proper drink plan. And you might want to grab some pen and paper for this.
So I like to boil it down to three important steps to setting up a proper drink plan and I will explain each of the steps along the way. So step one, you want to set your drinks on your plan ahead of time. So this means you have to plan your drinks ahead of time by at least 24 hours. Now, in my programs you’ll hear me advocate for doing it once a week, just set it up for the week and be done. It’s like that last episode I talked about, you make the decision and you never think about it again. So I recommend doing it on a weekly basis.
For me I would do it every Sunday, Sundays were the days that I planned my week, I planned my meals, I planned what I’m going to get done and accomplished at work. And I’d also set my drink plan for that week. So remember, setting the plan is the easy part, executing it will be the tougher part.
So let me just tell you why it is critical to set your drinks ahead of time, to set them up in advance. Because when you set your plan up in advance you know what you’re using? You’re using your higher brain. You’re using your prefrontal cortex instead of relying on your primitive in the moment habit brain. And why is that important? Because we know the habit brain is very much tied with our emotions. And it’ll say, “Oh, you feel like having a drink, so have another and have another.” And that one drink turns into many, many more.
So this is so huge ladies, so huge. You’re in the moment, 5 o’clock brain, your witching hour brain, your social anxiety feelings at a party. Those will be what runs you to alcohol and causes you to drink more. And that’s what we don’t want to enforce. We don’t want to enforce the primitive brain even more so, because remember that primitive brain just goes back to the motivational triad. The motivational triad is hey, I’m going to seek pleasure in the moment.
I’m going to avoid pain, or discomfort, or social awkwardness in the moment and I’m going to do what is easy and what I know. And what I know is I always escape with a drink. So those are the three components of the primitive brain that are always leading us to drink more than we want. That’s the habit brain in charge of the drinking. Primitive brain, remember, always wants to go back to familiar territory. It always wants to relive the past. It’s like a scared child when there aren’t any parents around and it’s like now what do I do.
The primitive brain doesn’t embrace change very easily. But I just want you to recognize in these moments your brain may be a little freaked out, but you’re not in harm’s way. All is you’re doing is teaching your primitive brain a new way of behaving, a new way of being. And that new way of being takes time. It takes time for that primitive brain to get comfortable with now the new behavior.
I mean just think about this as it pertains recently in the year 2020 with Covid. At first people were freaked out with wearing masks, people were freaking out wearing masks, we had crazy Karen stories. We had all the news drama about people not wearing masks, and people wearing masks, and then it was politically charged. I mean people just were not in the habit of wearing a mask when we go out. Now at the end of 2020 all of that has seemed to died down. Our primitive brain is no longer scared, no longer making it mean you belong to some political party, or this, or that.
Now we’ve just embraced that this is the change that needs to occur for us to stay healthy and survive. So in these moments I just like to tell my brain, “It’s okay, you’re safe. It’s okay, it’s different, I get it. I get it feels a little uncomfortable but we’ll survive, we’re okay.” And here’s the magic my friends, because once your brain understands that it’s safe on a cognitive and an emotional level it will change your relationship with alcohol for good. And that is the magic we are all seeking, to know that we are going to be okay.
Now, cognitively we may get that we are okay without alcohol, we may know that intellectually but emotionally we let our feelings overrule that. We let our feelings drive the action of drinking a lot of times. We’ll say, “I can’t make it through this witching hour,” or, “I just had such a long day”, or, “I just had had such a hard day”, or, “I just need to relax.” All these are emotional reasons brought on by our thoughts. So our thoughts control our feelings all the time.
So we can choose different thoughts to have different feelings or we can embrace that we’re going to have certain feelings at times and that’s okay, they don’t harm us. And sometimes I’ll be working with ladies and they will continue to say, “But I’m so lonely”, or, “I’m so disappointed in myself”, or, “Life didn’t turn out the way I had it planned, this should have happened or that shouldn’t have happened.”
And they’re angry or they have so much disappointment over a previous relationship, or an ex husband, or what’s going on in their lives right now that they’re just caught up in all the emotional component and letting that run their lives. And that’s not using the prefrontal cortex in its highest power. That’s allowing the primitive brain to just overrule our lives and that’s when we feel we’re not in control of what’s going on.
But remember what I said at the beginning of this episode. You can’t heal what you can’t feel. So if you’re unwilling to feel certain emotions you’re always going to look for that escape and alcohol is an easy cheap escape. But remember, that doesn’t heal, you have to feel the feelings. You have to process them and know that it’s okay and then learn from them so that you can start changing how you feel and stop relying on alcohol to produce a different feeling for you. You can learn to do that yourself. And more on that in a future episode coming soon.
So I want you to know as a human that we will experience all emotions. And we can choose not to but you know what that means, that means now we become addicted to drugs, alcohol, propofol like Michael Jackson, when we want to continually escape all the human emotions, or at least the negative ones. And remember, when we escape to these drugs or alcohol they don’t selectively numb. So they numb the negative emotions but they also numb the positive emotions.
And after you’ve been drinking a while you may feel that drinking no longer brings you pleasure like it used to. And it’s hard to find joy in your life because you’re so numbed out from all the alcohol. So I say let’s empower ourselves.
And one way to empower ourselves where we don’t rely on external things to make us feel better is that we empower our prefrontal cortex by using that drink plan, by planning out those drinks ahead of time. It’s how we take the power away from our habit brain, and I call that flipping the switch in my program. It’s how we learn to quiet that primitive brain while we’re strengthening the prefrontal cortex area. And over time we won’t even hear the loud primitive brain anymore and the habit will extinguish. And then that’s when we are back in fully control of our drinking.
So I’ve mastered this in my life to the point where I never over-drink anymore. I may choose to drink but I never over-drink.
So now let’s move on to step two. So the second step of setting up a proper drink plan is to be realistic in setting the drinks. So here’s what I see some of my clients do when they’re putting together their first couple of drink plans. They will set up their drink plan based on how many drinks they think they should have regardless of thinking if they can accomplish this drink plan. Do you see what I’m saying? So it’s like I’ve been overdrinking, overdrinking, I just want to reduce it so much.
So they come up with this plan that sounds great in their head but they’re not thinking through if they could carry it out with success. So I like to think of the example is that you wake up one day and you realize you just haven’t been working out, you’re not happy with your body.
And you just decide that day, hey, I haven’t been exercising for a whole year but I’m going to start exercising. And I’m going to do one hour a day five days a week. And then we jump into it for a day or two and we go a full hour if we can make it. And then what happens by midweek, we’re so sore we can’t even move. We feel awful. We can’t get off of the toilet. It hurts to get out of bed. It hurts to move our bodies. And so what do we do? We tell ourselves I’m so out of shape, this working out thing just isn’t working out for me. I don’t know how I’ll ever get out of being this type of person.
We just make it mean so much negative stuff about ourselves, when it doesn’t mean that thing at all, none of that is true. It means that we didn’t set up a realistic plan. Remember, any time we can’t follow a plan means that there’s some learning we need to do. Maybe we’re not willing to do the work. Or it could mean that the plan was just way too aggressive.
Maybe we should start out with 20 minutes of exercise, four days a week, not five. Maybe we should workout, have that workout and the next day listen to our bodies, how sore am I? What can I do today? Is there a different muscle group I can workout at? We can learn to set a plan and then pivot and adjust, pivot and adjust, pivot and adjust. And with exercise you don’t have to do it so much in advance, but certainly with drinking you do. So just you don’t want to set a plan that’s flawed already from the get go.
Or here’s another example, a lot of times we will overeat around the holidays, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. And so afterwards we say, “That’s it, I’m done with treating my body like this and feeling so bloated, and stuffed, and so unmotivated because I’m so lethargic. I’m going to clean up my diet. And then we put a plan in our place in our heads, I’m just going to eat chicken, and broccoli, and salads for the week. And then by Wednesday we’re done with chicken, and broccoli, and salads. And to be honest we don’t even like half of this stuff.
We may not like broccoli, we may not like salads but we’re telling ourselves this is what we should be doing rather than considering what is a realistic plan for me. What are my desires? What are my tastes? What am I willing to stick to? Do I like a lot of variety in my diet, do I not? Because there’s not one diet plan that works for all types of people. Just like there’s not one drink plan that’s going to work for all types of people.
It has to be individualized to that person and it has to be realistic. Because I never want to use a drink plan to punish myself. And I suggest that you don’t do that either. We don’t want to use it to self-flagellate. We don’t want to use it as a way that we are using it against ourselves, instead of as a tool to help ourselves. So don’t put on the plan what you think you should do.
Put on the plan what you think you can accomplish, that’s a bit of a stretch for you. You want some discomfort, you want some form of change, because that’s how change happens is embrace it, embrace it, embrace it along the way. But you want it to be realistic but yet still a stretch. And I always like to say this is a lifestyle change.
So if this is going to be your lifestyle you want it to be fun, you want it to be manageable, and you want it to be realistic. Because when it meets those three criteria, guess what? Now you gain momentum because now you’re more likely to follow it, and following it, and seeing your success fuels you to have more success. And it leads to the change process so much quicker than on again, off again, on again, off again, on again, off again. All those false starts really just defeat us and deflate us over time.
Alright, enough on step two, let’s move on to step three. Step three is being willing to do the work. Yes, so it’s not only setting the plan up and setting it up realistically, but now being willing to do the work that it is required so that you get the results that you want. So setting up the plan as I mentioned is the easy part, now comes the real work. Now, I want to say that this is just temporary because eventually you will set up a drink plan and consider it as good as done because you know that you’ve stuck to it in the past and that it’s super easy for you to stick to it.
So once you have that belief that this has worked for me in the past, I know I can do this, it gets easier and easier over time. But that’s not how it starts out my friends. You have to start doing the work because that’s how you will start to develop self-trust, and that’s how you will develop confidence around alcohol again, because you know you’re willing to come and do the work. You have to train your mind to see it differently and relate to it differently.
So what is the work? There are many components to doing the work. So one of them is managing your urges properly. And I talked about this in episode four extensively on how to properly manage an urge once it comes. Also you have to be willing to feel your feelings. Yes, your feelings are going to come out again and that’s a good thing. You want all those stored up feelings to come out and not to be afraid of them, and not to feel that they’re going to harm you.
You know what also you have to be willing to learn during this process? That you’re going to honor yourself and commitments you make to yourself. I know for me and for most women it’s very easy to commit to other people, to show up for others. You make a doctor’s appointment, you make an appointment for your kid, you’re there, you’re there on time, you’re there with bells on. You’re like woohoo, I’m here. But then when we make commitments to ourselves a lot of times we don’t follow through and that starts to hinder how we feel about ourselves and our self-confidence.
So now the drink plan is actually a tool that we can learn to start trusting ourselves, to start following through on ourselves and our word to ourselves. So do you notice that setting a drink plan, so much of it is not really about the alcohol? And when we over-drink, the reason we over-drink is truly not really about the alcohol. It’s really learning to be with yourself and loving yourself no matter what.
Because when you care about yourself, guess what? You’ll be willing to do the work. You’ll be willing to learn new things. You’ll be willing to embrace change because you know that the change process does require some discomfort along the way. But you are so there because you want to have your own back and learn to stand in your power, in your truth again. Because let’s be honest my friends, rarely do habits change overnight. Yes, people quit smoking overnight, yes, people give up alcohol overnight, but that is rare. For most people to change a habit they have to put in the work.
Okay, so today we talked about why it’s important to set a drink plan and then we talked about the three key steps on how to set a proper drink plan. They are number one, set your drink plan up ahead of time, at least 24 hours in advance because we want to make sure that we are strengthening the prefrontal cortex, and we are overriding that habit brain from taking control. We want neural plasticity to happen. We want the neural pathways to change in our brain. And to do that it’s very important for us to plan our drinks in advance.
Two, be realistic in setting your drink plan. If you know that you can’t just go cold turkey for five days, don’t put zero drinks on your drink plan for five days in a row. And some ladies it’s actually easier for them to have no drinks than it is to have one or two. You know yourself, this is a process of self-discovery, knowing what works for you because as I said there’s no one drink plan that meets everybody’s criteria and that works for everybody’s brain, it just doesn’t happen.
And then finally step three, be willing to put in the work. This is for you my friends, this is how we take care of ourselves. This is a form of self-love, this is a form of saying, “Hey, if I am going to drink, this is the parameters in which I want to be able to enjoy a drink. But anything outside of that I don’t want that to be happening in my life and here’s why.
If you would like my help in doing this work with you, I’d love to help you. You can just come over to my website sherryprice.com and I have some coaching programs there where I can help guide this journey for you.
So now you’ve gained the knowledge about how to set a proper drink plan, remember this is a very effective tool if you use it properly. Remember, we use tools in all facets of our life, we plan to build a house as I mentioned, we plan to go to college, we plan a wedding, we plan for retirement, we plan our meals for the week. Having a drink plan is just another type of plan where we’re getting out of life what we want in regards to alcohol.
So now that you have this knowledge now my friends you have to put it into action because without any action this is just wasted time and wasted knowledge. Knowledge alone isn’t what gets you the results, it’s knowledge and taking action that gets you the results you want. So be willing to put in the work, and then you get to experience the pride, and the joy as you achieve the results of a drink less lifestyle. Cheers to being your own self-care advocate.
Alright my friends, I love you all, and have an amazing week.
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.
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