Ep #168: Family Induced Drinking

By: Dr. Sherry Price

Drink Less Lifestyle with Dr. Sherry Price | Family Induced Drinking

Does being around family incite and increase your drinking?

If so, welcome to the club.

Time with family can bring feelings of pressure, stress, or high expectations that make us feel like we have to drink to deal.

But where do these specific feelings come from?

The short answer is from our past and our conditioning.

This can feel like trauma in the body and doesn’t make us feel good. We try to escape it by overindulging in drinking or food.

The kicker is that it doesn’t help to release the trauma or conditioning.

We need to learn to process the stored emotions (trauma) within our bodies so we can get them out. This requires doing the inner work.

And the point of doing the inner work is to make yourself feel better – before, during, and after the holidays – and to release the negative stored emotions of the past.

This holiday season, you can just white knuckle it and just “make it through,” or you can learn more peace, comfort and joy from within.

Tune in to learn how changing your drinking habits can help you heal from trauma, plus the changes that’ll be coming in the New Year for this podcast and the EpicYOU program.


Are you ready to stop overdrinking, overeating, and live a happier, healthier lifestyle? If yes, then join EpicYOU! You’ll learn how to become a woman who can take it or leave it with her drinking and emotional eating. Click here to join.


What You’ll Learn in this Episode:

  • How to notice, approach, and process trauma stored in the body.
  • The different categories of trauma.
  • The importance of understanding the type of trauma you may have experienced and how to heal from it.
  • Why it’s important to do the inner work of healing trauma.


Featured on the Show:


You are listening to the Drink Less Lifestyle podcast with Dr. Sherry Price, episode number 168.

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 friend. Guess what? Changes are coming, lots of changes are coming. So I want to share with you that in the past month, two, maybe even going back to September, I have been really in tune with a new prompting.

So my body experiences a nudge, I’ll call it, and I know this nudge. And when I experience this nudge, it’s telling me it’s time to do something different. Now, a lot of times I might get something else that goes with it. But this time it was a bit unsettling because I knew change was coming and I felt it was going to be massive. But I didn’t know exactly how it would transform and take place, and I really didn’t have a lot of detail at the moment when I was experiencing it but it was really intense.

So when I felt this in my body I’m like, “Wow, there is going to be something significant really happening.” And I hope it’s for the better. I hope it’s for good. And so after I’ve spent some time really processing this and being with this and sharing that process with some of you who are in EpicYOU or who have had interactions with me in the past couple of months. Now I have clearer direction on these big changes that are about to come and they’re happening both in my personal life and in my professional life.

So there are going to be major changes coming in EpicYOU, changes coming to this podcast and I want to share those with you and why this came to be. So I talked about the nudge, so that was the big thing. When my body speaks, I know to listen. And I realized that in working with so many amazing women over the last five years, that I’ve been helping them transform their lives on many different levels, not just with the drinking, but many areas of their life.

And as their coach, I’m helping them through this process of self-discovery as I like to call it. And leading them really to a better health with themselves and a better relationship with themselves. When women work with me, they tell me that they feel more emotionally fulfilled. They feel that they understand why it is that they did some things that they didn’t really want to keep doing and what kept them trapped. Not only that, they start shedding those behaviors and they become more physically active, they become more metabolically healthy.

And they just don’t desire that same life where they felt trapped or turning to substances to make them feel better. They just don’t feel like engaging in that activity as much anymore. And quite frankly, engaging in too many sweets, too many desserts, too many highly processed foods, too much alcohol, it just stops feeling good in their body. So I consider this like a health revolution.

And ultimately when you are listening to this podcast called Drink Less Lifestyle, most people don’t want to just drink less, they want something beyond that. They want to feel better. They want to be healthier. And so knowing this, I see that I help women achieve greater health, greater wellness, and that has been a bigger calling and my true calling. And it’s why I started this podcast, to help women so that they could get and have better health.

So in the new year, you will be seeing me roll out some pretty big changes. And I think change is good. As we age, we change, our bodies change. What we like and what we dislike may change. What we do for fun may change. We get new interests, we try new things. And so I believe change is required for us to grow. So I will be changing a lot. I will be pivoting on this podcast and I will keep you abreast of those changes. I will be pivoting and making changes to my EpicYOU program to make it even more epic. And I’ll be starting a new Facebook group.

I realized that I am on a mission to help women with their health and their wellness. And I know I can serve you at a higher level in this area. Because as a pharmacist working in hospitals and clinics, also the pharmaceutical industry, having my own company as a pharmacist in the past, staying up to date on many topics. Getting more training in trauma, in hormones, in other areas that I’ve been exploring for myself.

And I have all this knowledge now that I want to impart to you and help you and share with you so that you can be empowered to take the best care of your health, mind and body. So I’ll be sharing this information and providing this information on things like how to fuel your body so that it is healthier and that you grow healthy cells and that we can function and move in our later years and how we navigate different life stages. And really how to take care of ourselves holistically and mentally.

And I love talking about drinking less and I love talking about breaking up with habits that no longer serve us. But I know I can offer you so much more. And when you see that you’re getting greater health, it just makes the process of drinking less or reducing highly processed foods so much easier. Or maybe you’re so stressed out that you don’t even know where to begin and you feel overwhelmed. I want to provide you with tools to make it simple and easy for you to execute because that’s what we really want, great health in this life.

We want to live epically, and we want to make sure that we’re making choices that support our health and our wellness. So my friends, you will be seeing changes beginning in the new year. And I’m so excited to bring those changes and manifest those changes and roll them out and I hope you will join me on this journey. It’s my next evolution and I hope it will be your next evolution.

Now, I’m rolling out new things, so I do want to let you know that the price of EpicYOU and the membership will be increasing in the next year. So if you’ve been on the fence or you’ve considered joining now would be the time that you can lock in that lower rate. And so I wanted to provide you with that knowledge so you have the opportunity in the next few weeks to get in on the lower rate if you are thinking about joining EpicYOU. It is going to be more epic come January 1.

And I can’t wait to share with you all of the changes we are making in EpicYOU to have epic health. And even if you don’t decide to join us in the membership, I hope you come along for this epic ride on this podcast, so cheers to change, cheers to EpicYOU and epic health. And so stay tuned for more details.

Alright, so today’s podcast, I want to talk about something that I’ve been hearing a lot in coaching women and that is how family dynamics, or spending more time with family can induce drinking and this is a real thing. We’re not going to pretend it doesn’t exist because it exists for many, many families. Lots of family dynamics happen around big holidays and big celebrations like weddings and bar mitzvahs and other big events in life. And just think about these big events.

These big events, I think, come with big expectations. And the more heads you have in a room, of course the more personality types, the more things to consider. There might be dietary restrictions. There might be personality clashes. There just could be a lot that goes on. Now, when I’ve been coaching women recently I will hear things that signal to me that of course, there’s some family dynamics. So I might hear some comments like, “Oh gosh, when we get together, it’s a shit show.” I’ve heard that quite a bit.

Or I hear, “Oh, my family is just a bunch of big drinkers.” Or, “My family is so loud.” Or, “When we get together, you just know there’s going to be conflict.” Or I oftentimes will hear, “Gosh, when we get together, it’s just a bunch of big fake smiles and we pretend to like each other.” Or little details like, “My sister gets so mad over the menu.”

And so I share some of the common ones that I’ve been hearing recently. But I want you to really consider the ones that you talk about and the ones that enter your mind. Because it’s not just the expectations, but it’s also the stories that we have running in our mind. And the reason to look at it is really to see the actions that we do, which a lot of times when we get around family we just feel like we have to drink. We need to drink to tolerate people. We need to drink to get through the day.

And so I just want to take a step back and talk about a recent webinar that I did inside the membership of EpicYOU. But I really want to share with you a few things that I’ve been learning, learning about family dynamics, learning about trauma, learning about how to process and heal from within, especially when we feel things are lopsided in our family. We may not get the attention another sibling does or something might have gone wrong in our past, but it wasn’t so horrible or maybe it was so horrible, but we’re still carrying it with us to this day.

I’ve been fascinated with this topic. So I’ve been researching this for months and really looking at the data and really reading books and podcasts and how it is that people deal with family trauma or family drama. So I’m going to mainly use the word trauma and this might not only be big T Trauma. So we know many people, if you take the ACE scoring system, which stands for adverse childhood events, many people will score at least one or higher on that.

They say that 70% of people will have at least a score of one or higher. Now, that’s just the major traumas. But there are many minor traumas or more little traumas, and I don’t even like to categorize them as major and minor because a trauma is a trauma. And a trauma does get stored in the body. It’s like this flesh wound that never heals. And so we just keep recycling these stories. We keep retelling these moments that happened from long ago, because they were painful and our body remembered that.

So in this presentation that I did, and if you are a member of EpicYOU, you will find it in the membership is when we were talking about parenting with our children. I shared with them this part of where we can’t just look at our parenting, but I think it’s really important to look at how we were parented. Because we were given information or we were provided role models with parent figures in our life on how to parent. And sometimes that’s the only manual we got. That’s just how we learned to parent, was from how we were parented.

So we did this exercise where we looked at some of the little t type of traumas that may have come from our parent figures. And I bring this up because this is what may be driving some of the family dynamics that makes people want to overeat, over-drink, over-indulge and do things that they don’t feel good about the next day or when they return home. So there are quite a few categories here that I’m going to run through them quickly.

So when I run through these criteria, I want you to know that over 90% of us Americans would score at least one on this criteria that I’m going to read to you. So we may have had parent figures who has caused us trauma by having a parent who denies your reality. So this parent may say, “Oh no, that’s not important”, or they ignore your feelings or you try to convey something that was really meaningful to you and they just ignored or denied your reality. That’s not really true. That really didn’t happen.

Another trauma presents as having a parent who does not see or hear you. Maybe they’re so wrapped up in their own lives or wrapped up in their jobs or their careers that you felt unseen and not heard in your own home. Another one is having a parent that vicariously lives through you and wants to shape and mold you. They want you to go out for these activities. They want you to make the cheerleading team because they did or they didn’t get to make the cheerleading team, so they’re living vicariously.

Or they wish they spoke a second language. So now they’re making their children learn a second language or play a certain instrument or become a doctor or a lawyer or whatever it is. But they’re living vicariously through the child rather than really understanding what the child is interested in, what the child wants to do, what the child really came to this Earth to do, what lights them up, what are they passionate about. And so I know that this happens for a lot of people.

And then they store this trauma thinking, well, I have to do this career or I have to do things this way or put on a party this way to get my mother’s approval or to get my father’s approval or to get somebody else’s approval. So we become people pleasers when we have these kinds of messages sent to us from early childhood. Or maybe you grew up with a parent who didn’t really model boundaries. They said yes to everything and they didn’t really take care of themselves.

Or another one is having a parent who’s overly focused on appearance. How do we look when we leave the house? How do we look when we go to church? How do we look when we’re out in society? And really focusing on outward appearance. Another one is having a parent who cannot regulate their emotions. And I really want to stop here a minute and just recognize, we didn’t have the bandwidth of literature that we have now. We didn’t have the research.

I know my daughter now gets social emotional skills taught to her in school, which is so amazing. I know our parents didn’t get that, our generation barely got that. And so they might have rage and shouts of anger and may be doing other things that feels good for them to just discharge their anger at the child or at you.

Or it could be the other way, it’s the parent that doesn’t know what to do with the anger or doesn’t know what to do with their disappointment so they just ice you. You get the silent treatment or they slam doors or they just go away and won’t speak to you for hours or days. And then another one is having a parent who over-shares gives away too much information. Maybe you’re a young child and at seven you were told something and then it was over-sharing on the parent and then you felt burdened by this information.

So maybe a parent lost their job and they say, “We have no money.” And so the child then feels obligated to go out and make money or to care for a sibling or to take on more of a parent role for the house or more of an emotional role for the house than that little child was ready to do.

So I bring this all up because when we get back to our nuclear families, when we go back to these events. Some of this may be a trigger for why we over-drink, why we overeat, why we feel it’s so stressful, why our bodies tell us, this just doesn’t feel good, so I need to escape with food and feel better. I need to escape with some drinks to numb because this just doesn’t feel good in my body. And that’s all trauma is, is just stored emotions that we have in our body.

So we need to learn to process those out otherwise we keep carrying them. So again, I just want to say it’s no surprise, many of us get triggered by family. I would actually go as far as to say that it would be surprising if you didn’t get triggered by family. Now, not everybody gets triggered to over-drink or drink excessively or eat excessively, but just notice again how your body feels. So that’s one part of the process.

And then the next part of the process is really looking at the repeating stories that keep coming up in your mind, especially the ones that aren’t helpful. So every time we get together, it’s a shit show or every time we get together, there is a family discord and discontent and argument. Really look at those repeating stories that keep coming up, because notice how they feel in your body when you think them. A lot of times people tell me they feel annoyed. They feel sad. They feel depressed.

They feel like they just have to get through this event. There’s such a negative feeling in their body in the anticipation of the event, let alone when they get to the event. So all that anticipation of that stress, of that negative stress on the body is coming from these repeated stories. And that’s why I think doing this work is so important, because it’s not to change the story to let the parent off the hook or some other family member off the hook.

The whole point of doing this inner work is so you can let yourself feel better. It’s really to change how you feel, how you feel about this whole process. It’s not just on the day that you meet with family, but how do you feel leading up to it. That anticipation period, how does that feel in your body? The day you’re there, how does that feel in your body? The whole reason to do this inner healing work is so that you can feel better throughout the entire process, before, during and after.

And really isn’t that why we turn to alcohol or sweets or more cookies is really just to feel better, for that quick hit of feeling good? But what if we can do that for ourselves and truly heal because we know no amount of alcohol that we drink is going to heal. In fact, drinking alcohol prevents inner healing, it does because we can’t get to our emotions, we become blocked off, we become apathetic, we become saying, “That doesn’t matter.” But yet we’re still sad or angry inside.

And if you teach your body that this is the way we solve pain is through alcohol then the body is going to want more alcohol and more alcohol. And more alcohol every time you see the trigger of your family. This is why I call it family induced drinking. Because if there’s hurt or pain or some trauma there, it’s going to keep resurfacing until it’s healed. It’s this active flesh wound that is still bleeding, but we can’t stop the bleeding with alcohol or food, it just doesn’t work. It’s not how the body heals.

So not doing this work, I feel puts someone into just the victim mode where they feel powerless. They feel I have no other options, I’m just going to continue drinking. I’m just going to continue overeating. I’m just going to continue acting this way because I have no other way out. And I think that feels even more sad, even more depressing, to think that you have to succumb to this as the only option.

Whereas I’d rather flip the switch and say, “Wait a second, I don’t have to be the victim and I’m not doing this work for them, I’m doing it for me. I’m doing it to heal me and to get to this place of restoration and better health for me.” That’s when you take back your power. That’s when you claim full ownership. And that’s when you start doing the work. Because when you play the victim card, guess what happens? You give up, you stop trying, and then you feel hopeless and hopeless is a terrible feeling.

When you give up hope in yourself for change or give up hope in yourself to change, that’s a very depressing place to be. And that’s why I like to think of doing this inner work as a gift that keeps on giving. You start healing, you start changing, you start transforming, you start thinking about things in a new way, in a way that makes you feel good inside, where you don’t need the external substances to do that for you. Because I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to just make it through the day. I don’t want to just make it through the holidays.

And I know a lot of people that will use that story for decades, I just need to make it through the holidays. And no judgment. I’m just saying that there’s a different option that I think is way better. And it leads to more joy, not saying bliss, but it leads to more joy, more peace and more comfort from within. So I see it as two ways. You can continue to do the family induced drinking cycle. And the more it’s practiced the more it becomes solidified in your mind and body as this is the way that I need to deal.

Or you can choose the other way, which is to change, which is to change and break that cycle, to heal, heal from within, doing that inner work, which means yes, taking the time to do the inner work for your best health, for your best wellness. And when you do this inner work and you get the healing and start getting more healing it sets you up to enjoy your life more, to enjoy yourself more and ultimately enjoy your family more.

So with that I want to leave you that I believe in healing. We know that alcohol doesn’t heal. We know it prevents healing. It takes us more away from ourselves. It leaves that flesh wound still oozing. But you could take the path of healing, doing the inner work that’s needed for more joy, for more peace, for more comfort. There are trauma trained therapists, there are specialists in this area, and there’s tons of other modalities if therapy doesn’t feel right to you.

But getting to the root of the trauma and the pain and healing that and finding the right resource that will work for you. Because bottom line is, no one makes you drink too much, and oftentimes it comes from the stories we keep in our head and the trauma that we store in our body. And once we heal and change our thoughts, our actions to do the right thing, the healthy thing becomes so much easier.

Okay my friend, that’s what I have for you today. Wishing you a healthy, healing season. Thanks for tuning in and I’ll 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.

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