Over the next several weeks, there will likely be more opportunities to drink.
You might be hosting family, going to parties, celebrating the new year, or going on vacation.
I already know that I will be drinking more than usual in these coming weeks. I also know that saying that will spark lots of questions.
I have done what it takes to become a woman who can take it or leave it around alcohol, and I get to decide to drink more or less when I want to. I now have that autonomy and freedom.
When you do what I’ve done, you become the identity you choose for yourself and create the life you want.
This week, I’m sharing my journey of drinking more over the holidays, embracing my conscious consumption, and why shifting your identity is the magic to make it happen.
You are listening to the Drink Less Lifestyle podcast with Dr. Sherry Price, episode number 117.
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, great to see you here today. And I know this podcast is called Drink Less Lifestyle and in it we talk about drinking less which is a goal for many people. But what happens when you drink more? What happens when your drinking increases? And that’s what I want to talk about on today’s episode. And I wanted to cover it particularly because I know for myself in these next two weeks my drinking is likely to increase.
I will likely drink more than I have been in the last four weeks. Now, I can’t predict that’s what will happen but I’m going to assume that my drinking is going to increase as I go about some of these parties, and host Christmas, and go on vacation, and celebrate the new year, and all of the things. And I want to cover this because I think many people may be indulging in more alcohol this time of year as well.
And I remember back in the day when I was drinking less, I used to think that when my drinking increased such as this time of year. I used to think that it was a problem, that it shouldn’t happen, that my drinking should just stay steady and it should look consistent most of the time or basically all of the time is I think what my brain was saying. It should just be one way all the time. And one reason I thought it was a problem is because honestly, I was scared I wouldn’t be able to rein it back in. That somehow all the progress that I had made up to that day would somehow be washed all away.
And I also used to have this prevalent belief that if I started increasing my drinking just how hard it would be to get back to where I was. I mean you can even hear it in my voice, I remember thinking, uh. It’s kind of like when you follow a diet and you’re restricting calories or restricting anything. And then you decide not to follow it so strictly or to go off of it for a few days. And you feel like once you start over it’s like, I lost progress, maybe I’ve gained a few pounds. And here I am starting from square one again.
And I used to remember thinking how depressing of a feeling that was. It’s like I let myself down or somehow I didn’t see this weight gain coming, even if it was just a few pounds. And then if it was hard to get back to doing my drinking previously, it’s like this is so hard and it’s all a big surprise to me. I didn’t anticipate any of this, which is funny because I remember going into those seasons thinking, yeah, I’m going to go off my eating plan. I’m going to go off my drinking plan.
And if you change what you consume and you’re giving your body more than it needs, of course your body’s going to start to hold onto it or look differently. So it shouldn’t come to us as a surprise but somehow my brain would always be surprised.
And I think this happens for many people who, you know, they’re following a certain lifestyle. They want to be healthy. They have certain weight loss goals or they have other health goals that they want to achieve. Maybe it’s to lower their triglycerides, or lower their cholesterol, or lower their blood pressure, or get rid of fatty liver or maybe just maintain great health so they can experience great health longer and a, hopefully a healthier lifespan. So maybe we have these patterns that we follow routinely.
And sometimes we might even follow these patterns so much that we get in this mindset that we have to restrict and that we can allow this and we can’t allow that. And so I call that the restriction mindset. It also can look like a scarcity mindset, like I used to have around alcoholic like there is only one more glass in that bottle and I’m claiming it, it’s mine. Or you better not finish my drink, I want all of it, all of it that’s in the glass. I couldn’t even leave alcohol in the glass because I wanted every last sip.
So coming at things like from this restriction mentality or this scarcity mentality, or it’s like what happens is your identity is like married to the substance. You might be married to the Oreos. You might be married to the alcohol. You see that your identity is like I so want every last drop or every last bite of something. And so when you have this identity that you are a drinker, notice that your mind will prove that true. And so if you start to have a few more drinks, maybe you’re on holiday, you’re on vacation, maybe you’re celebrating holidays.
And as your drinking increases, notice, just start to notice what your mind has and says about this. Because my guess is if you are an over-drinker most of the time or you can’t control your drinking or whatever, you’re not managing it in the way you want to, my guess is that your other identity as being the over-drinker, as being somebody who can’t control it, as somebody who thinks, once I start I can’t stop. That starts to take over. So it’s like those old mental patterns and those old thought patterns keep us stuck from progressing to the new identity that we really want.
And so when our drinking, or eating, or whatever, starts to increase, it can feel very hard to climb back out of that cycle when our identity, it still has that old identity, it still has that old way of looking at how we relate to that type of food, or how we relate to that glass of wine, or mixed cocktails, or whatever type of alcohol you drink. So while you’re practicing the new identity notice that if sometimes you’re going to overindulge you might find yourself stuck there because your old identity starts to come back.
Because let’s just really define what your identity is. Remember, your identity is the story or the narrative you have for yourself and about yourself. And it’s also the standards and the commitments you have for yourself in the present moment. So notice as you drink more, if your old identity starts to come back.
If you start noticing that you’re saying to yourself that you’re somebody that really loves alcohol and you really need it, or you really want it, or you really miss it, or you just can’t manage without it. Or you don’t want to manage without it, or you just need it for today, or you really deserve it. I don’t want to think of myself as somebody who deserves alcohol. I actually deserve way more and way bigger than that in life. But for me I also don’t want to restrict it where I don’t feel I can trust myself around it.
So if you have that restriction mentality around alcohol or a scarcity mentality around alcohol, when your drinking picks up, notice what you’re thinking then. And what I used to notice and what I hear from a lot of the women that I work with is, “You shouldn’t be doing this. You’re backsliding. Oh, here we go again, we’re spiraling out of control.” Or, “You should be cutting back.” Or you say things like, “I just want to start cutting back and I don’t find myself able to.” Notice these sneaky ways that our brain tells us these narratives that keep us stuck in the old identity.
And notice that all of this language is really our brain judging us. And so how many people when their drinking goes up they feel like they’re being bad, or they’re being bold, or that this shouldn’t be happening? Even when they actually give themselves permission to drink more. So our brain will love to tell us we’re wrong, and we should be better, and we should be following something differently. And all of this leads to our worthiness.
And that any past success that we’ve had in the previous weeks or previous months that that was all fleeting and it’s gone and that we’re back to square one. Now, as you’re shifting your identity you might be teetering between the two identities for a little bit before you really build that new identity. And I’m sharing with the ladies inside of EpicYOU how I’m upleveling my thinking around exercise and it is a shift. I’ll notice that these thoughts that I had that were similar around alcohol are now showing up and appearing around exercise.
And I’m also sharing with them how I am actively shifting my identity so the new identity begins to stick just like I did with my drinking. And so I don’t have the same thought errors and thought problems around alcohol like I used to. But I do have those thought problems now that I’m shifting around the area of exercise in my life.
And so I am planning that my drinking will increase these next few weeks as I mentioned. And if it does, I will tell you that I’m not worried about it which is huge, which is absolutely mind blowing to me. Because in the past if my drinking went up I would condemn myself. I’d be all mad at myself. I’d be thinking, oh my gosh, what are you doing? You’re blowing all the work that you’ve just put into this and who are you? You’re really not a woman who can take it or leave it. I had his brain that just beat the heck out of me.
And sure, I had all the thoughts, I shouldn’t be doing this. I can’t believe I’m doing this, I’m backsliding because I was afraid I would stay there. And for me I had this perfectionistic way of looking at things. It had to be all or nothing, all very black and white thinking. But now that my self-identity has changed and my relationship with myself, my relationship around alcohol has changed, I don’t have that same mental narrative going on. And so now I can confidently say I have the new identity because I could practice and be that woman who can take it or leave it.
And so I can choose to increase my drinking without worrying I’m going to stay there. Now, I want to say that I’m not advocating for you to do this. I’m just sharing my journey because I know that some people when they go up on their alcohol, they will not have the tools and the skills to come back down. And I’m also really aware and very aware that increasing your alcohol, I’m not advocating that this is healthier.
So please don’t hear me say that you should be increasing your drinking, you should be doing this, by me giving myself permission. I am not implying that you should be following suit. And if you can’t control your drinking, and you haven’t been able to control your drinking for years or decades, consider getting help. This is a health issue. This is a mental health issue and you owe it to yourself to get help if you cannot solve this yourself. And you also may be one of the people who has to cut out alcohol completely. Yes, those people exist, yes.
And don’t think of yourself as a problem, just think it’s hey, it’s where I need to be at this stage of my life. And so give yourself that gift because your life just totally expands in a beautiful way. It gets so much better. So maybe controlling your drinking isn’t an option for you right now. You don’t have the tools. You don’t have the skills and you haven’t been able to do it.
But what I have learned and what I want to share on this podcast is that I have learned to control my alcohol and that’s really what I want to communicate here. Because I know some of you listening to this podcast have written to me and said, “Hey, I am really controlling my alcohol a lot better than I’ve ever been able to do. And my drink count is really coming down.”
And what I also want to show you is that many people like myself can control alcohol because there is a thought process out there that people believe you can’t ever control alcohol once you have a problem. Yet we see so many people that yeah, they used to drink a little too much and now they cut back and they cut way back. They’re satisfied with one drink. They could go out and not have any drinks. So there’s plenty of examples of people who control their drinking and I wanted to become one of them.
And looking back, I looked at all the things I’ve tried, all the different techniques, all the different tools that I’ve tried to learn and I see that in retrospect I made it my mission to be this woman. And because I put so much work into it and because I have really investigated what’s going to work for me, and what’s going to give me peace around alcohol for me, that now my identity is not even tied up in the drinking.
And I don’t see myself who routinely over-drinks, nor do I see myself as someone who needs to be so restrictive with it all the time that I can’t indulge a bit here and there and come right back to healthier ways. So I’ve banished that black and white thinking around my drinking because I had old patterns and old ways of thinking. And I used to think that once you had a problem, you can never solve it around alcohol which wasn’t true in my case and it’s not true in the majority of grey area drinkers.
And so it’s similar to like around Christmas, I’m going to a lot of parties and hosting a party. I know I’ll have more desserts, I know I’ll have more sugar. And do I have to? No, but I’m going to give myself permission to. I’m going to allow myself to have some and then I’ll scale it back. So I’m not about deprivation at all costs all the time, 365 days of the year. And I’m not about being this all in, or all out kind of person.
So it’s not like woohoo, everything’s, you know, a go and I’m going to shove it all down my esophagus. I’m going to consume all the drinks and all the desserts. No, I’m not about going completely overboard and off the deep end either. So it’s not like I’m gorging and I’m binging until my head hurts and my stomach hurts, and my jeans don’t fit. But I will be giving myself some more allowances and more permission than usual.
And then I will come back right to where I want to be, back to my identity, back to my healthy patterns because I’ve baked in this new identity into my brain I know I can do it and I know I will. So it’s easy for me because I’ve done this before. I know how to do it. I know what tools work. I know what techniques work. So it’s not as hard as it used to be. And so that’s when you know your identity has shifted.
And I’ve practiced what does this peaceful relationship around alcohol look like for me and creating that in my mind has led to my actions just flowing out from that. And I remember thinking I just want to be a woman who can take it or leave it. And now after doing the work, that is my identity because that’s the identity I wanted. Do you see this? It’s not something that’s just bestowed upon me. It’s something I wanted, chased, went after and got. I wanted balance with it. I wanted a non-restrictive mentality because if I had a restrictive mentality I noticed I would gorge or binge.
And I didn’t want an I don’t drink mentality, maybe someday I will want that. Maybe as I age and as my body tells me that my current level and my baseline level of drinking is too much, or maybe I’ll just stop enjoying the taste of it after a while, maybe that’s true. I am openminded for that day to come, totally open to that idea because I know sitting in my body now I have already found that I have stopped enjoying the tastes of many types of alcohol I used to love.
I used to love a bold red cabernet wine, especially with a steak. And now if I have a steak, I can have a sip or two of red wine and I’m done. I just don’t desire it anymore. It doesn’t taste good to me. It doesn’t improve the experience of eating that steak. I prefer to eat the steak without the wine in my mouth. So I can have two sips and that’s plenty, totally satisfied.
And I remember all the days in my 20s where I used to love those sour drinks, the Tom Collins, the vodka sours, all of that. Now I can’t do sour drinks. I don’t like them that much. It’s too much sugar. My body just doesn’t enjoy it, my tastebuds don’t enjoy it. And so as I age I want to listen to my body. I want to listen to what it likes and what it doesn’t, and what it has to tell me. If I have headaches the next day I want to say, “Wow, I must have overdone it on alcohol.” And I’m thrilled about that.
I am thrilled to evolve and change over time because that’s what we do. We may not realize it but it’s exactly what our brains and our body do. And here is the thing, there’s so many upsides to that. It saves me money at a steak restaurant and I get to have that experience and appreciate other things more. I’m not so wine or alcohol centric and focused. I actually have less decisions to make when I open the menu because there’s certain alcohols I just won’t even consider ordering, they’re just a downright no for me.
So it’s made my life so much easier and actually it’ made my life so much better. When in society I think they tell us the opposite is true and I’m just not buying that because society has no idea what I like, and what I want, and what are my goals for my life. So I wanted to share this all with you because a lot of times people ask me, “Wow, you’re going up on your drinking, aren’t you worried, aren’t you concerned?” And then they’ll say, “How, did you get here, how did you get to this place? And I’ll say, “It’s by shifting my identity.”
Ultimately that’s what it comes down to and when you shift your identity it means you shift and change your relationship with alcohol. I am a woman who can take it or leave it. I love saying that. I love telling others that. I love that I can control it. I have loved that I have gotten to this place because that was my goal. And if it’s your goal then you pursue it, you go after it. And so is all I needed was the right tools and the right skills to get here. So yes, I am not worried when my drinking increases. Now, I’m not saying it’s healthy. I’m just not worried if I increase my drinking.
And I’m not advocating that everybody could do this. I know they can’t. But I do want to share that when you do shift your identity it becomes so much easier. So what is your goal? And here’s another thing I want you to consider about shifting your identity is sometimes you can only shift so much because your brain will tell you, you don’t deserve better or that you don’t deserve more.
And just be really careful with that narrative because as we know from the work of Joe Dispenza, Tony Robbins, all the others, our subconscious programming will only give us what we think we deserve. So if we don’t think we deserve a better life, an epic life, feeling better, being better, changing. Then it will be even harder to make that shift and even harder to change your identity if you feel you don’t deserve it. And this is why we work on the subconscious programming so much. This is why we have to change those thought patterns which aren’t true.
Maybe they’ve been given to you or told to you by a teacher, or a parent, or somebody else in your life but they don’t know what you’re capable of. And never underestimate the power of your brain, and never underestimate what you deserve in life because you deserve so much. You deserve a shift in your identity if you’re wanting it. You deserve a shift in that relationship with alcohol. So what’s your goal with drinking? Can you make it your mission? Will you make it your mission to find out how to get there, to pursue the routes it takes to get there, to follow the path to get there?
And once you know your goal, who does that mean you become? What is her identity? What identity do you need to grow into? Are you someone who never wants it again? Are you someone who just wants it out socially and to be satisfied after one drink? And as you go about these next few weeks and your drinking does increase, I’m not advocating that it does but if it does increase, notice what stories are coming up for you. Notice the narrative you have. That will clearly show you the identity you have and the relationship you have with yourself and with drinking.
And notice if those stories come true because the narrative and the story we tell ourselves flows through our actions. So I want you to notice if the stories and the narratives that your brain is creating is actually creating that in your actions. I was sharing with the ladies earlier this month that I didn’t exercise like I had planned one day and of course my brain wanted to tell me all the reasons that this plan is going to fail and I’m going to fail. And how it’s just not working and how I’ll never be able to shift this identity and become somebody who routinely exercises.
So I posted about this and then I posted the process that I do and then I’m working with my subconscious and conscious mind to shift my identity. And so I would exercise that next day which I did, because I want to build a new brain pathway around this. This is important to me. I want this new identity. It’s my next mission and my next goal. And so proudly I worked out that day, why? Because I don’t want this struggle to define me any longer. I don’t want this to be my identity. I want to shift this identity.
I want to be like a snake and get rid of that old skin and grow into a new one so I’m changing it and that’s what I invite you to do, let’s shift our identities, ladies so we can show up as the woman we want to be in the world because that’s what creates your epic life. Alright my beautiful friends, have a great week and I will see you next time.
If you want to change your relationship with alcohol and with yourself, then come check out EpicYOU, it’s where you get individualized help mastering the tools so you can become a woman who can take it or leave it and be in control around alcohol in any situation. EpicYOU is the place for women who want to be healthy, confident and empowered to accomplish their goals and live their best life. Come join us over at epicyou.com/epicyou. That’s epicyou.com/epicyou. I can’t wait to see you there.