The same problem occurs with snacking or hitting the pantry after dinner.
When you’re on autopilot, your subconscious mind is thinking something leading to a behavior that you do on repeat, like overdrinking or overeating.
But you don’t have to stay stuck there.
Tune in this week to learn how.
You are listening to the Drink Less Lifestyle podcast with Dr. Sherry Price, episode number 130.
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 beautiful friends. If you listened to the podcast last week you know that I had something cooking and something up my sleeve and now it’s come to fruition where I can let you know of all the glorious details of what I’ve been working on. So my friend Anna and I are putting on a one day retreat and it’s going to be at my house. I am so, so excited to invite you to this opportunity if this works for you.
So my house you know I live, if you’re a long time listener know I live in San Diego, California. So if you’re local, this is something you can drive to. And what we wanted was this really magnetic mindfulness where we are going to be incorporating movement. We’re going to be talking a little bit about drinking less and getting rid of hangups. And really it’s this beautiful day that we want to spend together and tap into the superpowers that you have. And we call that our higher self and really see what you want to create next in your life.
So this will be a very small intimate event. We really want deep connection, you know that is my word of the year, connection and I want deep connection with yourself and deep and meaningful connection with others that are going to be a part of this small, small group. So this is going to be held on a Saturday on April 29th. And it will go from 10:00am to 3:00pm. There will be a delicious nutritious lunch included and food included. We will be moving our bodies. We will be having this fun expressive way to tune into our souls’ desires and to see what is next for many of us.
I know I’ve been speaking to a lot of women and they’re feeling stuck or stagnant or they’re just not taking enough action towards the goals that they have and if they are even aligned with those goals. Or some people are feeling a loss of meaning and purpose. So we went to ignite that for you by having this one day retreat. And so as I mentioned, we want to keep it very small, very intimate so space is limited. And this is the first time I am announcing this event.
So if you do want to sign up, if you do want to join us, to grow more into your desires and manifest your dreams then I invite you to sign up for this event. And how you sign up is by the link in the show notes. So if you go to the show notes you will see a link to sign up. And if you’re having a problem finding that link or accessing that link then you can just email me directly and I can tell you more about the event and I can send you the link. And my email address is Sherry which is spelled S-H-E-R-R-Y @epicyou.com. And that’s E-P-I-C-Y-O-U.com.
And we are really excited for this event. And we are so excited to meet you and help you grow and take the next steps in your journey to getting the life you want whether that’s losing weight, drinking less, having better relationships. And sometimes it takes getting away from our normal routine and our normal environment to be able to see those opportunities. And I love that we’re going to be walking with other women. And women lifting other women up is such a powerful thing.
So if this feels like something you feel aligned with or called to do, go ahead and sign up because it’s going to go fast. There is very limited availability. Alright so what else is going on? Well, it’s a stressful week at my house. If you’ve been a long time listener or have been around me for a while you know that my daughter has anxiety when soccer tryouts come around. And so soccer tryouts are around this week. They keep getting postponed due to rain but we have a lot of anxiety going on in this household. So we are working through that.
I am teaching her ways to be really on top of her mental game because if we are not on top of our mental game we can just feed into the anxiety even more and make it grow and grow. And when we know that anxiety keeps growing it doesn’t allow us to take the steps we want. It doesn’t allow us to move forward. It doesn’t allow us to move through it to get the beautiful prize on the other side.
And like I remind her and I remind all of you and all of my clients, we can’t make certain emotions go away for good but we can learn skills where we manage through them, where they don’t stop us, where they don’t do derail us, where we don’t self-sabotage because of those feelings. Such an important skill to learn and I’m so honored that I get to teach that to my daughter and I get to teach that to all of you, such an important skill. Because we don’t want to be eating or drinking our emotions away which a lot of times we do.
And if you can handle your emotions and become emotionally resilient, have high EQ, however you want to say it, emotionally agile, that’s where the magic is at. And we all know that emotions are contagious so I’m feeling my anxiety go up when her anxiety goes up. And it’s just really interesting to notice it. And now that I notice it in my body I have to do the practices so I can lower that otherwise I’m just going to be running around like an anxious person. And that does not create good things in my life.
So implementing those tools I also walk the walk and talk the talk. What I say and I ask of you to do is exactly what I’m doing in my life to lessen my anxiety. So it doesn’t cause me to overdrink or overeat or overwork or do all the things that I do when I’m anxious. And I think that is the ultimate form of self-care which to me is really caring for yourself. There’s nothing selfish about it. It’s knowing how to take care of yourself and knowing how to pivot and how to adjust when life circumstances come your way. I don’t run from it. I don’t hide from it.
I realize that those techniques or those strategies have never served me and I just want to approach it from a different attitude and a different perspective and different strategies.
So today we’re going to talk about how to get your drinking off autopilot. Now, in working with women over the past five years I hear this a lot, “My drinking is on autopilot. It’s just what I do. It just happens. I think I am just going to have one drink or two but then I go for a third or a fourth or more.” So let me ask you, do you feel that your drinking is on autopilot? Or you can apply this to anything else.
Maybe your snacking is on autopilot. Maybe that dessert after dinner or hitting the pantry after dinner is on autopilot. It just feels like it’s something you do. You tell yourself you’re not going to snack after dinner but then you find yourself doing it. And what I want to remind us all, if we’re doing an action it’s because of something we are thinking or feeling. It’s the whole think, feel, act cycle. So I know a lot of us just want to stop the action and we just want to focus on the action but the action is always secondary or tertiary to what we’re feeling or what we’re thinking.
So a lot of times when we’re on autopilot it’s that subconscious mind is thinking something that’s creating a feeling inside our body and then that creates the behavior and that’s the behavior we do on repeat like over-drinking or drinking too much or drinking more than we say we’re going to. So notice I said, it always stems from the belief and the feelings. It stems from your subconscious thinking, your subconscious programming, the way you think about alcohol, the way you think about snacking or an after dinner dessert.
And if we don’t interrupt that, if we don’t override that programming then the action will continue to happen. And this is why I don’t like programs who say just focus on the alcohol, just say no, just don’t have it, just don’t buy it, change your friends who drink to friends who don’t drink. Changing all of that around the alcohol is not getting at the root cause of the problem which is your feelings and your emotions towards alcohol.
And so when you remove alcohol from your life let’s say for 30 days and I’ve done those 30 day stints, not that there’s anything wrong with that, it’s great to remove alcohol once in a while, clean it up, detox, all of that. I’m all for that but what I find is then the habit comes back when we introduce alcohol back into our lives. And so if you want to be somebody who wants to imbibe in alcohol here and there like I do, those strategies may not teach you the root cause, they don’t.
And so you’re always going to feel like you’re having that inner conflict, you’re constantly fighting, you’re constantly having the mental chatter about it because you have not changed your beliefs and your feelings towards alcohol which is the main reason why we drink. So the habits will just keep repeating themselves over and over and it will just feel like autopilot. It will just feel like, yeah, here I’m back to drinking the same amount, the same way, the same time, the same stuff over and over again. So drinking just becomes that repetitive action.
So if we’re going to get our drinking off of autopilot, I’m not going to be focusing on the action of drinking. That’s a byproduct of changing how you feel about it and how you think about it. That’s the true work. And I know I work with a lot of women who will say that they can control it at certain times. There are certain instances where they can control their alcohol intake but certain instances where they don’t.
So a common one, people tell me where they feel fully in control of their alcohol. They know they won’t go more than one drink or they won’t even have alcohol if they are out at a social event and they are responsible for driving. And when you really get down to that, why is it that your actions, your behavior changes in that environment? Well, it’s because your beliefs change. You think the risk isn’t worth it, I could kill somebody on the way home, I can injure somebody, I could get a DUI. I can lose my job.
So the beliefs that you have in that moment are actually fueling you to take the action you want to take which is to not drink or just have one and make sure it’s early in the night so you’re nice and sober and not intoxicated at all when you get behind that wheel. Now, I wish everybody had that belief. If everybody had that belief where the risks are too great, it’s not worth it, I don’t want a DUI, I don’t want anything bad or tragic to happen. We know not everybody has that belief. How do we know? Because we know the statistics of drunk driving accidents.
If you just go out to the organization, MADD, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, we’ll see that somebody is injured every 90 seconds in a drunk driving crash, every 90 seconds. So how long has this podcast been going on, five minutes? How many people have been injured in that time? Four, five in just the amount of time that you’ve spent listening to this podcast. That’s insane. And so what is that total? That total’s 926 people are injured every day, 926 people are injured every day due to alcohol.
And when I see stats like that, that makes me more on my mission to educate women, educate anyone that wants to listen to this podcast and help you get to this place where you are fully in control and don’t even desire it. Because my daughter’s going to be driving on those streets one day and so I’m doing all I can, all the people that I can reach to make sure she stays safe, to make sure your kids stay safe, to make sure we stay safe when we’re out there driving.
And it really bothers me when people are not willing to talk about alcohol like it’s some secret thing. We shouldn’t discuss it. We shouldn’t talk about it with our friends. We’re going to make them feel uncomfortable or we’re going to get uncomfortable. So what? Why are we not having conversations that make us better, make us better as a person, make us better as a society? It’s just insane to me how much we are polarized on this topic of alcohol. It’s either glamorized and romanticized or you can’t control it, you’re one of those.
It’s ridiculous, it’s just alcohol, why can’t we talk about it? I know that’s a lot of what we talk about in EpicYOU, a lot of the women are like, “How do I say this to my friends? How do I open a discussion? How do I tell them that I’m changing and I’m not always going to be drinking when I show up at things?” And it’s really interesting to me because I mean if we had any other habit we would gladly talk about it. It’s like, “Hey, I’m going to be eating less.” And nobody’s going to give us shame or guilt for doing that. Hopefully they’d be cheering us on.
Or if we say, “We’re going to start quitting smoking or reducing the amount we smoke.” I think people would cheer us on but why is it so different around alcohol? It just does not make sense to me. And I am not willing to stand for it. I do not care how uncomfortable somebody gets around alcohol. I mean I care but I’m going to have the discussion because it’s important. And if you look at all traffic fatalities, all traffic fatalities, car crashes and people die. Drunk driving represents 28% of those deaths, unnecessary way to die.
And this is just talking about traffic accidents. We’re not talking about liver failure. We’re not talking about families that fall apart. We’re not talking about other tragedies. And so when you hear all of this that I’m saying, I’m really encouraging everyone to get their drinking off of autopilot. When your drinking is on autopilot you are not in full control. You are not making the decisions, you are allowing alcohol to make the decisions. And what you’re going to learn in this podcast is it doesn’t have to be that way. It does not have to be that way anymore.
You can step into your power with simple tools and I’m going to talk about one resource here that you can pick up if you want. So we were talking last week actually inside of EpicYOU about this book that I recently read. And I thought there were so many good pearls in this book. And this book’s not about alcohol. It’s not quit lit, it’s not that. It’s really getting to the root cause of why we want something or desire something so much like alcohol. And the book is called Out of the Maze and it’s by Dr. Spencer Johnson. So Out of the Maze by Dr. Spencer Johnson.
He is the man who wrote the international bestseller, Who Moved My Cheese. And so this is a follow-up or a sequel to that book. And I don’t know if you read Who Moved My Cheese, great little book, talks about two mice, Hem and Haw. There were other mice but really the main characters were Hem and Haw. And somebody moved the cheese and the mice were always going to the same block of cheese. And the cheese would just keep appearing until one day it stopped appearing.
And so I don’t want to ruin the book for you, if you want to pick it up. I really enjoy a good book and this one, short, sweet and so many great pearls. And I love this book even more so than the first one because the first one left me wondering, well what happened to Hem and Haw? So I’m so glad they put out the sequel, similar to the first book that Spencer put out. He does little quotes throughout the book and they are just so, so good.
And I really want to go through some of those quotes in this podcast because I want you to apply this to your drinking or any area that feels on autopilot or where you’re struggling. And it’s going to show you how to actually get out of that pattern.
So the first thing I have to start off with is we talk about here our beliefs and our emotions. So this podcast we’re going to dive into that belief because that’s where it all starts, our beliefs actually change our emotional state. Our beliefs change our physiology. If we’re thinking in stressful ways all the time we are increasing our cortisol, we’re increasing our adrenalin. We are causing ourselves to have elevated blood pressure just by our thoughts. Our thoughts are so powerful.
And so when we think something over and over again and we think that it’s true it just becomes our belief. So a belief is a thought that you think over and over again and you believe that it’s true or you trust that it’s true. And we will notice over time our beliefs shift. We might call that our preferences shift. I used to prefer white wine, now I prefer red, now I prefer white, whatever. But what’s really causing your preferences is you believing it tastes better or whatever the reason, or you get less hangovers or whatever is the reason that your preferences change.
You may have liked something in the past and you don’t like it anymore. Your beliefs about that thing have changed, maybe it’s a food, maybe it’s a type of car, maybe it’s a certain way of dressing or anything really. And our beliefs do change over time. In the book I found a pearl that I really want to share with you, is that an old belief can hold you a prisoner. And this is so true, just think about it. As I apply it to my life.
If I look back say six years ago and I had those same beliefs about alcohol that I did six years ago, I’d still be drinking every night because those old beliefs about alcohol that it’s delicious, I need it to relax, I need it to handle raising my daughter, I need it for my anger, my frustration. I need it as my, all these things. I need it on a date night every time, I need to order these drinks every time I go out to restaurants. All of that thinking would still have me drinking the same amount today if I had those same thoughts.
And I would feel like a prisoner to alcohol. I wouldn’t feel free. I would still feel chained to it. I’d still be having these limiting beliefs that I can’t get over it. I can’t learn to be a woman who can take it or leave it. But I got rid of those beliefs. I changed them into the beliefs now that I have about alcohol which I don’t need it to relax me which is amazing. I would have never thought my brain could get there but it did, it changes.
So I’m so thankful I did the work to change those beliefs so that now I feel free. I feel totally free around alcohol, it doesn’t have that pull on me. It doesn’t have that mental chatter. I don’t wake up groggy and hungover or mad or self-loathing anymore because of my relationship with alcohol. It’s a good healthy relationship. It’s the one I want. And this is what I help you get so that you can feel these amazing benefits which is beyond the alcohol. The amazing benefits if you feel good from the inside out you don’t need this external thing to make you feel fun or to make you relax.
You can do all of that from the inside out because you are amazing, because you are epic, because you are you. And so another pearl from this book or I like to call them truth bombs is that some beliefs that you have hold you back. They hold you down where other beliefs can lift your life up. Wow, powerful. And so a lot of people will call this limiting beliefs.
They’re limiting because they’re not allowing you to step into the version of you that you want to be, that version of you that drinks less, that version of you that weighs less, that version of you that is an amazing mom. That version of you that is the role model for your children that you want to be. That version of you that shows up to work on time all the time, all the things that maybe alcohol prevents us from being and doing. And so that’s so powerful.
Some beliefs can hold you back and can hold you down and other beliefs can lift your life up and lift you up. Okay, another truth bomb from this book, you can change your mind, you can choose a new belief. Wow. It’s not that you’re waiting for permission from anyone. You can do this at any time. You don’t need my permission. You don’t need your spouse’s permission. You don’t need your parents’ permission. You don’t need your kids’ permission. You don’t need your friends’ permission. You don’t need your boss’s permission. You don’t need anybody’s permission.
You just get to change your mind and choose new beliefs that serve you, that lift you up. There are no belief police out there that says, “No, you can’t have that one, somebody else already had that.” Or, “No, you’re stealing it from somebody else.” Or, “No, you cannot change your beliefs, we’ll lock you up.” There’s nobody policing it. And this is the work I love to do with the ladies I work with is helping them step into their own authority.
I think a lot of times as women we look around to fit in, to see what others are doing, to see how others are doing life, to see what’s working for weight loss for that person or what’s working for drinking less for that person. And those are all great to get ideas. But what you really want to do is step into your own authority where you’re going to try something and say, “Okay, that worked for my friend over there, it’s not working for me. Or I’m not getting as much of the benefit as she did.”
Okay, so my body responds differently or my brain responds differently. So how can I step into my own authority and find out what works for me? That’s why when you come into EpicYOU I work directly with you to find out what’s going to work for you. Yes, there are modules and videos and worksheets that you work through so that you can bring it to me so we can talk about what will work and what is working and what’s not working and how can we pivot to find what will work for you long term.
Because what we want to do is find something that’s going to work sustainably for your life. and that’s why there’s no judgment. Some people really, really, really want to scale back on their drinking. They want very limited amounts of alcohol whether that’s per week or per month or however they define it. And some people want a little bit more. But it’s really teaching you the skill to step into being your own authority and owning it and not being afraid to do that.
And if there is fear we work through that. And if there is anxiety, we work through that. Whatever emotions come up, we work through it. And I know starting this work for me I was embarrassed by a lot of the beliefs that I had. I didn’t want to say them out loud. I didn’t want to even acknowledge them because there was pain in recognizing how my brain was thinking. But what I remind you and what I remind myself is we are not our beliefs, we are not. We are the person who chooses them.
And when I was able to see that I had terrible thoughts around raising my daughter, I don’t want to think that way. I want to think of her as a gift and a joy in my life. And so knowing that I had the authority to change those old beliefs that aren’t working for our relationship and making it way more painful on both of our ends. And then I could just choose different beliefs and step into that without having any guilt or shame. And wait, I want to rephrase that. I did have guilt or shame working through the guilt or shame. That’s what I want to say.
It’s not that you won’t have guilt and you won’t have shame, those are emotions, they come up but can you walk through them and work through them so they disappear? I remember saying some of the beliefs and just crumbling into tears. Now I could say those beliefs and say, “Yeah, I used to have them and now I don’t. I’m no longer emotionally charged by them. I’m not triggered by them. They don’t derail me. Do they make me feel good? No, but what I feel good about is I’ve moved on from those beliefs so that I can have an amazing relationship with myself and amazing relationship with my daughter.
And if I didn’t change my beliefs I would still be struggling. I would still be struggling raising her. And I would probably be blaming her, not taking any ownership of that, not recognizing that I was contributing in some way and just like our emotions are contagious so are our thoughts. So if she’s picking up on my thinking that I’m not liking her, that this isn’t fun for me or fun for either of us, how do you think she’s going to feel? Not worthy, not loved, all the things that I didn’t want to put that on her.
Okay, so going back to another truth bomb or pearl of wisdom from the book is that there are no limits on what you can believe, there are no limits. Like I said, no police, no belief police around, no limits on what you can believe. And so if there are no limits here comes a really good question I want you to answer and think about. What would you do if you believed it was totally possible? What would you do if you believed it was totally possible to be a woman who doesn’t even want alcohol, who can take it or leave it? Amazing.
Really sit with that. And this is why I love coaching so much because when my coach asks me powerful questions I can see how she’s using questions to transform my thinking. And when my thinking is changed or transformed then my actions change. And if you want change in your life it has to start in your mind. Some of us aren’t willing to go there but then we have to be okay with the life that that gets us, with the results that that gets us. And that’s why I love leaning into change. I love being challenged with my thoughts.
I love people asking me great questions, my coaches that ask me great questions so that I can see things from a different perspective, so I can get unstuck or start moving towards the goal that I want for my life. And here’s another truth from the book that I think about a lot. This was something that I learned through The Life Coach School and that was, you don’t have to believe everything you think. I was like, “What?” But no, every thought that’s in my brain is true. Turns out it’s not. Turns out that every thought that you have is not true.
And I’ll talk a little bit more on this but another pearl from the book and then I’ll stop talking about the book but old beliefs do not lead to new cheese. Isn’t that true? We can’t get new results with old beliefs. As I mentioned before, if I had my beliefs from five/six years ago when I was over-drinking I would not have new cheese. I would not have a new relationship with alcohol. I would not have freedom with alcohol because I’d be stuck in my old beliefs thinking I need it for relaxation, thinking all the things I used to think about alcohol.
And I also want to point out that I don’t look at alcohol as negative. I don’t have thoughts that it’s toxic, it’s a poison. Yes, after Todd White came on the podcast I don’t drink now any wines that come from the United States because of what I learned. I can’t believe this dimethyl dicarbonate, people have to be in hazmat suits to touch it and that goes into our wines and plus all the other chemicals that we don’t even know because there is not a requirement to put a label with all the ingredients on the back of a wine bottle.
So that episode changed me. His presentation of those facts changed my thoughts, changed my beliefs, changed how I look at wines bottled here in the United States and farmed here in the United States. And I don’t want any part of that now. I am so thankful he entered into my brain and entered into my life because I didn’t know what I didn’t know. And now that I know I want to do better. It’s that whole Maya Angelou quote, once you know to do better you do better, something like that.
So I am so thankful and grateful to have done that podcast and have learned from him. So how about you, what leads to your overdrinking or your lack of control around alcohol? What do you believe about alcohol that keeps you drinking it? Man, that’s such a good question. Answer that one honestly and you are well on your way to breaking the autopilot habit. What do you believe alcohol will do for you? And just because you have that belief or that thought, then ask yourself, is it even true?
Some women drink because they’re lonely, whether they are not in a relationship and they want to be in a relationship or they’re in a relationship but they’re not well connected to their spouse or their partner. Okay, so are you drinking because of loneliness? And so what’s the promise in that drink, that it’ll fix your loneliness? Is that even true? Will alcohol fix your loneliness? Right there, mind blown. We know alcohol can’t fix loneliness. And then I can ask deeper questions.
Is it taking you towards being less lonely or is it taking you towards being more lonely? And most of the women will say more lonely. So you’re actually worsening the problem you think alcohol is fixing. And it’s just a thought error. It’s just believing a thought that isn’t even true. So we could go on and on and on and look at all the thoughts that you have around alcohol which is such an important exercise for you to do.
And if you’d love help on this I’d love to help you because I know sometimes what comes up can be scary. Sometimes we don’t want to look at it and so we just don’t do the work. And if we don’t look at our beliefs and choose to change them, guess what? We won’t get different actions and different behaviors. And so I know a lot of people drink because of emotional pain.
We as a society have been through a lot, especially women. Women carried the burden, the crux of the burden through COVID, managing our schedules. Some of us had to step back from work to make sure that the kids were taken care of, making sure that they were educated. So drinking dramatically affected the female population during COVID. We know drinking rates skyrocketed amongst women through the COVID pandemic. And so I know a lot of us have emotional pain.
And what I want to remind you is that emotional pain cannot kill you but running from it can. And here’s a belief I want to crush right here right now is that when you drink less, I’m not saying you have to abstain. I don’t abstain. But when you drink less your life is not worse. I used to think my life would be worse. That was just an untrue thought floating in my head. It came from fear. I was worried I might not like my life. I was worried I might not really be the person that I wanted to be, that I couldn’t get there. These were all just fear based thoughts, they weren’t true.
So I just want to dispel that for you. If you’re thinking life is not going to be as fun or not going to be as good or you’re not going to like your life or not going to like yourself, I say those are all fear based thoughts. What you find on the other side, what the women find after working through this is that it’s always better. You will never meet an alcoholic that says, “I want to go back to drinking so much, that I don’t remember things, that I pass out, that my life was in shambles.” You never meet somebody who says that.
And you also never meet an alcoholic that says, “I’m really proud of this condition. I’m really proud of how much I drink.” No, they all want to cut back because they know life is better on the other side. And so if you’re getting any pleasure from the alcohol, great, let’s get that pleasure and that need met in other ways that lift you up, that actually treats the underlying cause. Because we know alcohol is not treating the loneliness. And there are ways to treat the loneliness.
And what I want to help you do is feel amazing from the inside out because when we know we have to rely on an external substance like alcohol or food or somebody’s accolades and validation of us then we’re relying on other people to make us feel good and then we don’t feel good when we don’t get that. And it makes us needy for it, it makes us craving it.
But there is another way to do life and that’s to feel great from the inside out and it all starts with your beliefs. That way you don’t have any attachment issues. You are totally free. It’s amazing. And that’s what I call the epic you, the epic life where you can be free to be you and to feel amazing about being you.
Alright my friends, that’s what I have for you this week. Lean into these questions they can change your behaviors, they can get you off autopilot and when you do so and when you lean into these questions, lean into self-compassion because when you lean into your self-compassion that’s when you start to feel amazing and epic from the inside out. Alright my beautiful friends, I will see you next week.
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/ E-P-I-C-Y-O-U. I can’t wait to see you there.