Do you find labels helpful?
Labels can benefit your life as they help your brain to understand and process things more effectively. But they can also be detrimental when used inappropriately, especially if you are using them against yourself with your drinking.
Attaching labels to things affects the way you think about them, which as a result, affects the actions you take. Labels can make you more productive and motivated, or they can keep you playing small, using them as excuses to keep doing what you’re doing.
Join me this week as I share how labels can become part of your identity if you let them, and how to stop using labels against yourself. I’m sharing why I believe that labels are always changeable, and how to use them appropriately in your journey towards a drink less lifestyle.
Do you want to change your relationship with alcohol and get a handle on your drinking? My Drink Less Lifestyle program can help you become a woman who can take it or leave it around alcohol! Come check it out, I look forward to working with you!
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:
- How labels can mean different things in different phases of your life.
- Why I don’t think addiction is permanent.
- Some labels I’ve heard and why I dislike them.
- How I’ve seen labels be devastating to people.
- Why you are innately worthy as a human.
- How to stop using labels to beat yourself up.
Featured on the Show:
- Did you know I launched an online course? 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!
- Learn How to Get Your Off Button Back.
- Join my private Facebook group Stop the Overdrinking Habit!
- Come follow me on Instagram!
- My Drink Less Lifestyle Program
- If you have any topic suggestions for future podcasts, contact me via Instagram!
- Ep #18: Raising a Child with Special Needs
- Ep #7: The Think-Feel-Act Cycle
Full Episode Transcript:
You are listening to the Drink Less Lifestyle Podcast with Dr. Sherry Price, episode number 19.
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.
Hello my friends. I am loving life right now, it is so good. There is so much goodness happening right now that I really can’t even wrap my head around it. We are halfway through our kitchen remodel and it is looking so beautiful. It’s funny because we’re using our laundry room as our temporary kitchen right now and it’s super interesting how we now call it our kitchen instead of our laundry room. So I just love it as we notice how our brains just develop patterns.
It used to be the pattern of our brain to call our laundry room the laundry room. Now, since it functions more as a kitchen we’re calling it the kitchen. Also over the weekend I test drove some cars because I know my car we’re going to want to be getting rid of it soon and it’s so fun to go out and decide what vehicle do you want to drive next? So we were driving a few and that was just a lot of fun too.
And I’ve also created and launched a new program for my clients and it’s what they’ve been asking for and I feel so good about that. My word for the year is to inspire. And it’s hard to inspire others if you can’t inspire yourself. So I’m always looking at how can I be inspired? What around me is inspiring and what is good? And since I’ve been doing that this year I’ve just been noticing things are just really, really good. It’s so good my friends.
And I also love it that when in this time I feel that life has gotten more amazing for me. And for me it’s because I have slowed down a lot since the pandemic. I think that’s one of the gifts of the pandemic is that I’m not filling my calendar with all this busyness.
I don’t have to run my daughter to all these things. We’re not actively pursuing all these get-togethers and dinners and all this fun stuff that we used to do. And yes, while I miss some of that, I really got into this space where I’ve been using the last couple of months to really find out what are my priorities. Evaluate those priorities. Am I living in alignment with those priorities? And after doing this work I have such a better appreciation for who I am and what my purpose is in my life.
And doing this work has served me so well that I feel more grounded and I feel so ready to tackle what’s next. So I highly recommend doing this work for yourself. Don’t use this time as wasted time. If you’ve got extra time use this time to really identify where you’re at, what your priorities are, how you want to move forward and what you really want to curate in this year. It’s so fun my friends and super empowering.
Alright, so today I want to dive into the topic of labels. Now, I know you guys will probably think differently on a lot of the things I’m going to say and that’s okay. I think it’s so important to evaluate and consider how we feel about things. And I don’t think a lot of us feel that our feelings are optional, but they are. So I want to start off by asking you, do you like labels? Do you find them helpful or not? Or does your answer change like it does for me? So here’s what I discovered. I think labels can be super helpful and I also believe that they can be super detrimental.
So I want to discuss a few labels in this podcast episode that I use and that I like a lot. And I also want to discuss some that haven’t helped me and actually kept me stuck. And I want to shed some light on my journey just in case it helps someone listening to this podcast and share light on maybe what can be holding them back in living a drink less lifestyle.
Now, I first want to start off by saying that we get to decide how we feel and what we think about when we hear a label. So as a society I think we do love labels. And I think it is beneficial to the brain on so many levels and the big level is that it helps us categorize. It helps us understand and give context to something so that your brain can easily understand it and accept it. So let’s look at just a label.
And one of the labels I like is smart, some may say that’s an adjective, but it’s a label. You might label somebody as smart, not smart. You might say the opposite of smart like dumb or stupid. So just think of what the label, ‘smart’ means to you. And I know it will mean different things to different people. And I’ll argue that this term meant something different to me at a different phase of my life than it does now.
So let me go back in time to grade school, junior high, high school and what I thought of the word ‘smart’ then. That label to me then had the meaning of if you’re smart that means you get good grades. That’s all that label meant to me at that phase in my life. Now as I went through college and I heard and thought about the word ‘smart’ and got out of college it meant that you were able to provide for yourself. You were able to make it. You were able to do the things you wanted to do and figure things out.
I think that’s how I’d best describe it is somebody who was smart was able to figure things out. They didn’t rely on too many people to figure it out for them. They were able to figure it out for themselves. It’s like smart people would learn the first or second time they did something, and if it didn’t work then they would alter. They would say, “Well, that didn’t work, let’s move on and try something else.” So do you see how my definition of the label changed with my life experience?
So I think the first thing we want to think about when we’re deciding what labels we like, what labels we don’t is first decide on what is our definition currently of that label. And then the second thing that’s important to consider is how we feel about that label. So what feeling does that word create in your body or that label? So in other words it’s like does this label feel good to me or doesn’t it? And of course this may change over time how we feel about a label.
So let me just use an example that I used from last week’s podcast, you may know that if you listened to last week’s podcast I talked about how when my daughter entered kindergarten we learned that she had Tourette’s Syndrome.
And so you may recall from that story that she was being sent home the first couple of weeks with reports of bad behavior in the classroom. And how she had to be placed in the corner and she couldn’t be allowed to participate during reading time because she couldn’t keep quiet, because she had the vocal tics going on then which was really singing, and humming, and sometimes just chatting incessantly.
And so we were disciplining her at home to reinforce the behavior that, “Hey, this is not what’s acceptable at school. You can’t be doing this. This won’t be tolerated.” And since she’s super strong willed and she’s pretty opinionated she would retaliate with yelling and screaming. And then I thought the only way to get through to her would be to yell and scream louder. So it was just a yelling, screaming fast which didn’t feel good for anybody in the household.
So of course back then when I didn’t have these tools that I teach about on this podcast. And I didn’t learn the tools yet that life coaches have during my training, I internalized this yelling, and the screaming, and everything that she was doing that ‘was wrong’, I internalized that to mean that I was failing as a mom. Where did I go wrong in her upbringing that she’s doing this? So of course when you’re feeling like you’re failing that to me was a reason and an excuse that I used to just escalate my drinking because drinking would make feel better at least temporarily.
So I just have to say it again that these tools not only transformed my drinking but then they began to transform my relationship with my daughter which was amazing. Because I’ll tell you what, parenting when you feel like you’re a failure to me only begets more of that failure feeling. I had to change my mindset around that. I had to change like, hey, if this isn’t working let’s do it the smart way. If this way isn’t working let’s change and find out what can work.
So back to the label, so when we did get the diagnosis that she had Tourette, part of that was heavy to hear. And then part of that was so relieving to get the label because getting the label in my mind now put her in a category but it also started to tell me why she was acting the way she was acting. It started to make sense why she was getting the reports from the teacher and why she couldn’t participate in those activities because it wasn’t in her skill set to be able to control the tics. So at the time that label even though it was kind of heavy, it felt like a big relief in some regard.
It felt like it’s not my failure of parenting. It’s this condition that she has that now we have to understand and be able to have everybody on the same page to help her, to help her be successful in learning. Not only that, it helped her to understand herself because she didn’t understand why her teachers were disappointed in her, why I was and my husband were disappointed in her. She didn’t understand why this was all happening because as you know, Tourette just happens. You can’t control it, especially at a young age.
So there was just so much relief in knowing that this is the reason her behavior was happening. So we embraced this. We talked to her about it. We educated her about it in age appropriate terms about what it means to have Tourette. We bought books on it. And then we would have the school psychologist.
Well, let me go back. Let me tell you that her anxiety, any type of stress or anxiety will exacerbate her tics. So one of the things she finds very stressful is meeting new people. And I think it’s because, I’m guessing she is wondering if they are going to accept her and like her the way she is because she’s a bit different. So that, all that to say is that when we start a new school year it’s very stressful at our house, she gets extreme anxiety before school starts. And then she’s worried about how she’s going to perform in that classroom that year.
So we generally had the school psychologist in the past go in and talk to her classmates about her condition because she’s very young and she said she didn’t want to do it. She’d rather somebody go in so they can understand her. And I think it’s a way to understand her means that they were going to accept her the way she is. So we did that, so that felt very good.
Now, our thought on this label is slightly changing, not that we’re embarrassed of it. I was embarrassed of it a little bit in the beginning I have to say because I was like I think it was more of like fear rather than embarrassment like how can I best help her. And I’m going to feel embarrassed for her when people are kind of staring at her saying things or picking on her for this. So I had to get over all those hang-ups myself so I could better equip her on how to handle it.
But then the label started to change where she didn’t want the school psychologist in the past two years talking about this condition. She’s also developing so now she’s able to suppress a lot of the tics and so maybe people don’t have to know. And so I love that, as she’s evolving and as she’s growing as a child we’re learning how and when this label comes into play for her.
So I wanted to put some labels out there and just again it’s how we define it, and again it’s about how the label makes us feel. And those definitions can change over time and the feelings about those labels can change over time. So I just wanted to set up that as we go into now talking about labels that we hear around the drinking environment.
So the first label I kind of want to shed some light on is the term ‘addiction’. Now, sometimes I’ll hear people say, “I feel like an addict”, or, “I’m an addict”, or, “I just have an addictive personality.” Like it’s set in stone, like they can’t change is the vibe that I get when they say these terms and when they use this label. So it’s interesting to me how people look and define addiction because I don’t think there’s a standard meaning that we all give to it. Yes, there is a dictionary term and there is a medical term. But it’s how we incorporate that and what we make it mean in our lives.
So I know a lot of people think of as an addiction as they’re afflicted, they have this affliction that they can’t get over, they’re stuck. They feel this is permanent. I was recently listening to a podcast and somebody telling their story about alcohol and they said, “Once an addict always an addict.” And I thought to myself, well, I don’t see addict and addiction the same way as they see it. I find it so interesting that their belief system around addiction is permanent.
And a belief system is nothing more than your pattern of thoughts, the way you think about something and you hold that to be absolutely true whether we really don’t know if that’s factual or not. So I think of religion as a set of beliefs or a belief pattern. We can strongly believe in something so much so that we feel it’s a 100% fact.
And here’s why I find it so interesting is this way of looking at it when there is that addiction could be this permanent thing. or we’ll never get over it, or we’ll always have it where there is so much evidence to the contrary that people get over their addictions, they’re cured, they don’t have them again. So addiction is not something that I felt I had. I felt that I had a very strong habit. Now, you could say, “Well, this is a fine line”, and all of that, absolutely.
But as an addict to me felt heavier, it felt like there were really negative consequences when you hit the addiction stage, like you needed it right when you woke-up out of bed. It was really interfering with most things in your life like the ability to pay bills and go to work and all of that. That’s how my mind looked at addiction and I felt I wasn’t there. I felt I could get there if I stayed on this path. But for me what I felt like was just this really strong habit every night.
But even if you do say you’re an addict I still don’t believe you have to stay there, I still don’t think it’s a permanent thing. And that’s why I’m not in love with the word because for some people I feel it keeps them trapped, it keeps them playing small. And they use it as an excuse to keep doing what they’re doing because think of this term. Now, I’ve seen when people have used this term ‘addict’ that this word, this thought, I’m an addict, leads to certain feelings. This is going into the think, feel, act cycle which I’ve talked about on a previous podcast.
So if you think I’m an addict and this is permanent and that’s your association with the label ‘addict’ is that it’s permanent, what feeling will that generate for you? And for most people that’s going to generate hopelessness, it’s going to feel like dread, and doom, and that there’s no way out. So if that thought there is no way out fills you with the feeling of hopelessness what do you think your action is going to be?
So if we go back to the think, feel, act cycle, thinking I’m an addict, thinking there’s no way out then you’re feeling hopelessness, you’re feeling maybe desperate or defeated. And then from there what action are you going to take? You’re not going to take action to help yourself if you feel that this can’t be changed. And most likely you’ll be taking the action of drinking because why not, it’s the only thing that makes you feel good. So it’s like this helplessness, defeated feeling keeps the drinking going.
And the feeling just doesn’t show up, we know our thoughts create our feelings. So I think it’s so helpful to evaluate are you using the term ‘addict’? Does this feel good to you? And what is your definition of addict, is it a permanent thing or do you feel and see how many celebrities and other people just don’t do the activities they used to do? So my belief system is that people can change if they want to, absolutely. It’s a learned skill, anybody can change.
People with – you could use the term ‘addiction’, people with an addiction to food can overcome that. People with an addiction to gambling can overcome that. So it’s not just in the term and in the world of alcohol. But I’ve seen so many people change their lives.
So years ago I have to share that I, my husband calls it a QVC addiction, the Home Shopping Network. I did, I used to love to purchase things on QVC. Now, I would call it a QVC habit. He called it a QVC addiction because week after week these boxes would keep showing and these packages would keep showing up because I just liked the stuff. I thought I needed it and it got to the point where I wasn’t even wearing half the jewelry I was buying, I wasn’t using the juicer because I’m not a juice person but I thought I needed one and it looked cool.
So I was getting all these gadgets, and jewelry, and make-up and all this stuff but I couldn’t even use it all. And so I had to look at my behaviors and think okay, you’re right, there’s a lot of clutter coming into our house. I don’t need that 60th eyeshadow palette. I’m sure the other 59 will do just fine. So I had to see where this habit, what kind of consequences was it causing in my life. I was going into debt over this. And it was cluttering my house. It was cluttering my mind. It wasn’t making me feel good about how I managed money.
So this was something obviously that I wanted to change. And I did, I am no longer a QVC addict or a QVC over-shopper. I buy maybe a few things a year that I really like. I use it up and then I can repurchase. So I think it’s so helpful just to evaluate the actions that we do and we get to choose if we like them or not, if they’re producing good consequences in our life or not. I like to say negative consequences, if they’re not good consequences that we like. And does that mean it’s time to change? Because I fully believe we are all capable of change.
So just like my habit of overdrinking it was too much, my body was telling me I don’t like all these side-effects. I don’t remember conversations. I don’t like how I feel the next morning. I don’t like my self-talk around alcohol. It feels like it’s controlling me and I’m not controlling it. So it felt like too much. I knew it was too much. It was my body and my brain telling me, “Hey, you’ve got to cut back. You’ve got to change.”
So just like when we in healthcare, put people on medications and they don’t like the side-effects and they can’t tolerate the side-effects we usually lower the dose or we switch them to a different medication if we can. It’s not like we tell people if there’s another option, “Hey, just suffer with these side-effects.” Nobody wants negative side-effects in their life.
So the same with drinking, if it’s too much let’s just cutback or get rid of it, which one sounds more appealing to you? Which one sounds more doable now? Because maybe for some people they’re like, “Yeah, I just want to cut it all out as long as I don’t go through withdrawals, and DTs, and all of that.” Or some of us might choose, hey, I’m just interested in cutting back right now. Either way you’re going to get less negative consequences in your life.
So consider how you define your drinking. Do you want to use the term ‘addict’ or not? Is that beneficial to you? Does that feel good? Does that feel accurate? What’s your definition of an addict? Do you believe you can change or not change and it’s permanent? Because that will really affect your future, it’s really meaningful to understand how your brain works and you want to use your brain to work for you and not against you.
So I didn’t like the term ‘addict’ like I mentioned. It didn’t feel like it fit me. For me it was I was an over-drinker, I just drank too much and too often. But I wasn’t at the point where my life was completely being destroyed because of it. It was slowly getting there but wasn’t being completely destroyed in the moment by my drinking. Okay, so that’s one term you want to think about.
The next term I want to talk about is sober. This label I do not like. And you don’t have to agree with me on this. For me I don’t like sober because I have a very negative frame of reference to this word. So, sober, I think of sobering thoughts, they’re very serious, they’re very solemn, they seem not very happy. I also when I hear ‘sober’ I think of the word ‘somber’ which means dull, and gloomy, and depressing. So for me when I hear the word ‘sober’ it sounds like I don’t want to be sober, that doesn’t sound fun, that doesn’t sound uplifting.
So for me when people are like, “Yeah, I’m going sober. Let’s be sober”, it’s like oh my gosh, that just so just hits me in a way that doesn’t feel fun. So I did want to drink less, which that’s the terminology I loved. But being sober even though I chose not to drink I still didn’t call myself sober. I don’t know. That just felt like that means I was negative. I was a Debbie downer. I was wearing a wet diaper. I mean that term just really didn’t work for me. So it’s not something I choose to reference to me. It’s not a label I choose to use.
Now, if people want to call me that or say that about me, that’s fine, their brain thinks differently than mine. But for me I don’t identify as that.
So then that leads to me another term and another label that’s being used a lot more now, I see it everywhere is alcohol free or AF. A lot of people aren’t familiar with AF or they think it stands for something else which it does, but AF really meaning alcohol free in this context. So out of the gate I just want to tell you that this word I kind of like but I have more reasons not to like it. So it doesn’t trigger me as much as sober does. But there are parts to alcohol free that I see where people beat themselves up and I see this all the time in my Facebook group. I see it on other people’s pages.
And I just feel that this term if you use it okay and appropriately I think can help you. But I just see so many times where people use this term to beat themselves up. So again I like alcohol free. That feels more uplifting to me than sober. But really the main reason I don’t like it is how I see this can lead to feeling like defeat in women. So I feel when women post, “Hey, I’m this many days alcohol free”, that they get excited and that part is good. I love that. I want you to be motivated. I want you to be excited. I want you to have a goal. I think all those things are great.
So it’s exciting when I see a 100 days sober free or a 180, or some people post, you know, they’ll change their years into days, 1,000 so many, so many days of being alcohol free. And again like I said I’m all for it if that helps your journey and you feel that it’s empowering. Now, what I more commonly see is this, people get four or five, 10 days under their belt of being alcohol free and they are touting it. They want people to cheer them on, absolutely, great, so wonderful.
But then I see the posts where, “I was alcohol free for 10 days and I fell off the wagon. I drank so much last night and after being 10 days of being alcohol free, why does this keep happening? Why do I keep doing this to myself?” So they use alcohol free now those days to beat themselves up instead of really evaluating I slipped, why did I slip? So the conversation is almost like I’m not meeting the 11th day, what’s wrong with me? Rather than I had a slipup and I want to turn this around, I wonder what happened.
So I see some people making it mean that they’re a failure if they can’t get to the next number. And here is the biggest problem I have is that I feel most people use this number and it’s only important if the number is consecutive. So for instance, if you failed on day 11 that most people start with one again, “Okay, I’m back on the horse, I’m back on the wagon, here I go, here is day one.”
Rather I think it would be so much more helpful to say, “I did 10 days, I missed one, now here’s day 11.” Because if we look at the whole year, let’s say out of the whole year you went 313 alcohol free days and the other days you didn’t. Would that be progress? Yes.
So I think people discount the amount of progress they make by one slipup and then they feel they have to start all over again and it’s only meaningful if they keep that number escalating which means that they have to follow this to perfection. And if you struggle with perfectionism this system can really put you into a tailspin. And I’ve seen women fall down and not hit that next number and then they spiral out of control for days, to weeks, to months that they can’t get back up on the horse again.
So please don’t use it to beat yourself up and that means that you made no progress. That’s where I see that this term can be devastating to some people, especially those people who are perfectionists. And so I also feel like when you fail they feel like oh my gosh, I am a bad person. They internalize this drinking to mean somehow they’re not worthy. Somehow they’re not making progress. Somehow they are a failure. And none of that is true. Humans are born worthy, they’re born with dignity.
You can’t take somebody’s worth away no matter how much you drink or how little you drink. Your worth doesn’t determine what you do and what you don’t do. You just automatically have worth as a human. It’s innate as a human. So using alcohol free days is helpful if you can stay consistent and you want to keep that number going and you feel good about it. But I know for a lot of people’s journeys it’s going to be a lot of false starts to get there. It’s going to be like I’m going try this thing and it’s not going to work.
And if you use it to beat yourself up what I find is people don’t go back and do the reflection and the evaluation of why and why they over-drank the night before. What happened? And then let’s turn that into a strategy. Let’s turn that into something that we learn from so that we don’t have this happen again. Also I don’t think everybody’s goal is to be alcohol free. But I think we all feel it should be our goal.
Now, for me I like to think it’s way more helpful to just count your alcohol free days without them being consecutive. For me since I drink less and I’m not ‘alcohol free’ forever I may choose to drink let’s say four days out of the month. And maybe the next month I choose to drink on five or six days out of the month. And let’s just say both of those months are 30 days each, so in 60 days the first month I drank four days, and let’s say the next month I drank six days, so 10 days out of 60 I drank. That means I have 50 alcohol free days.
That feels good to me especially given where I was where I was drinking every single day for years. That to me feels like progress. I’m not beating myself up over it. And what I think is the most significant for me is that I don’t over-drink. I no longer have a whole bottle because I just don’t have the desire for a whole bottle. If I choose to drink I usually stop after one, it’s satisfying. I don’t feel I need more, my body doesn’t want more. It doesn’t feel good when I have more.
Now, it took me a while to get there but I don’t over-drink and that to me is very important because I don’t forget things. I don’t feel bad about myself, I just have one drink. And you know what? I’m at peace. I don’t wake-up the next day hating myself. I don’t wake-up the next day feeling I fell off the wagon. I have none of that mental drama because I have peace around my drinking.
And sometimes when you have these days you have to meet all the time, you’re learning how to be at peace with alcohol if you have just some because people when they do go off they don’t usually just have one or two, they go all in because they haven’t broken their desire for it. So just being away from alcohol doesn’t necessarily mean you have a great relationship with it.
And so that’s the other thing I find with alcohol free days, it’s like you are only successful if you don’t drink at all. But what if you go to a wedding and you want one drink, does that mean you failed because you chose to have it and you chose to just be in control of it? Does that consider that you have to start all over again? Say you were at day 282, does that mean you don’t get to day 283? And how does that make you feel inside about that one drink?
So to me again it’s not having that relationship, your self-trust around alcohol, your confidence around alcohol. It’s all in that number. And I think that number should just be a data point, it should just be showing you this is how much you drink, this is how much you don’t drink. It’s like a data point, is this where you want to be with your consumption?
So that’s enough on alcohol free, now let’s move on to the final word which is recovery. I am also not a fan of this word because of the meaning I associate with the word. Recovery to me feels like it’s kind of punitive and that you are there all the time. Recovery is like a support group kind of feel to me forever. And some people need that and I’m in full support of that.
Actually there is a great program called Celebrate Recovery, it started here in Southern California at one of the churches, our church had it. I know friends of mine that have been through the program. Great program, I have nothing bad to say about it.
However for me I felt like I didn’t want to be thinking about my alcohol history forever. It felt like it was still keeping me anchored to the alcohol, like this was my problem and I still need the group for the support because for me that wasn’t true. For me it was like it was a problem, I wanted to clean it up, and I wanted to be done. I wanted to be done thinking about it. I wanted to be done meeting about it. I wanted it just to be over. I wanted it to be in my past and not haunt me anymore.
Now, I know everybody has a different journey and that is great, you’ve got to follow the journey that feels good to you. But for me I just wanted to say, “Yeah, that was my past, here’s where I’m at now.” So for me I didn’t want to feel like I was still struggling with alcohol and I don’t feel that I still struggle with alcohol. I feel like I’m at complete peace with it. I make my own decisions around it. I’m in control of it, it’s not in control of me and rarely do I choose to drink.
Now, I know not everybody gets to this place. But for me once I understood why I was overdrinking and I took the steps to change when I needed to change there. And for me a lot of it was understanding my emotions. Why was I so angry? Why was I feeling like a failure as a parent? That’s just part of it in that stage that I talked about earlier on this podcast. But I had to go back to when the drinking really started to tick up and what was going on for me then and my feelings about it. And really uncover why I kept doing it when I didn’t want to be doing it.
And it’s so funny because when I was working with my coach and she was showing me this and I was seeing how I was creating the exact relationship with alcohol that I didn’t want. I didn’t want to be overdrinking but I was. I didn’t want to be yelling at my daughter but I was. I thought things outside of me needed to change but that wasn’t true. I wanted more self-confidence and more self-trust with myself and my life but I was creating the exact opposite. I wanted more love in my life but I was creating more self-hate with my drinking.
And I realized I was telling myself that I just wanted to relax and not to be responsible at the end of the day. But it turns out that wasn’t true for me. Yes, I didn’t want to feel stressed out but I necessarily didn’t want ‘to relax’. I wanted more control in my life and I wanted to be more responsible, particularly around my drinking. So to think I didn’t want to be responsible was actually creating more of the problem than really admitting to what I wanted.
And I think that’s a lot of what we do is we think about what we don’t want and guess what? We create that. Rather than focusing on okay, this is what exactly I do want and understanding the process to get there. And understanding that it is a process to get there, I don’t get there overnight. So it wasn’t until I understood that I was telling myself these things that were indirect conflict of actually the life I wanted to create.
I was so out of alignment with my thinking that I couldn’t even see it. But once this was pointed out to me, guess what? My brain was like there is the problem, just fix it. And literally it was as simple as that. Trust me, it wasn’t another book that I had to read, it was getting a coach. And it was getting a coach who would understand me and get me. It was getting a coach who had been through this before. Because I’ve been to therapists but they never had drinking problems and they would just tell me, “Well, just say no to the drink or just don’t drink.”
Or people or friends who didn’t have the drinking habit that I had and they would say, “Well, just don’t buy it, just don’t get it.” But those strategies didn’t work for me. I needed somebody who understood that I really wanted it at the end of the day and those strategies that I’ve tried, they didn’t work. So what’s going on? Because I was living my life the way I didn’t want to be living it.
I didn’t want to think about alcohol at the end of every day. I didn’t want to have this consistent ritual in my life. I didn’t want it to be on autopilot. I didn’t want it to be controlling me. I didn’t even want it to be a part of my identity. I was really ready to shift away from being a drinker.
And it’s funny because it was such a part of my identity. When my birthday came around or Christmas people got me these gifts that were, “Here’s some wine glasses or here’s some paraphernalia. Here’s a nice wine stopper for your bottles.” I got all the things because it was my identity for so long. And I didn’t want it to symbolize this is when I get to relax. I could give myself that permission and not get the permission from the glass.
And it’s funny; when I started to cut back I thought my life would be more miserable, I thought it wouldn’t be as joyous. I thought it would be sobering. I didn’t think it would be fun. But the exact opposite started to happen. Now, of course when your body’s going through that initial phase of getting acclimated to less alcohol, your body’s going to not be so happy. But once you get through that initial phase oh my gosh, the things, the energy, the motivation, the goals, the things that I had been putting off started to come back. I felt like I was coming back to life.
I felt like a flower that had whimpered and not got enough water and then I started watering me and I started taking better care of my mental thoughts and my emotional health. And I just started to perk up and blossom. I didn’t realize I had all these other goals that I wanted to accomplish in my life. I put myself on hold. And without all the alcohol you feel better, your goals get bigger, you love learning about yourself more and more. You get to appreciate yourself more and more. You get to connect, remember things and you’re just so vibrant.
And that’s why I love, that I just put the past behind me. And that to me is so freeing. And you can choose to do this for you your way with the labels that you feel good about, labels that don’t create shame or drama that you don’t want. Drama to me is just more baggage. But this is the work that you have to do for you. You have to evaluate, what are the meanings that work for you? What are the words that work for you? What are the labels that work, and motivate you, and get you excited about living a drink less lifestyle? Because I tell you, it is possible my friends.
And next week we are going to be talking about how to curate that life even more for you, how to do some of this evaluation so that you can move forward, so that you can put your past behind. And it doesn’t need to follow you if you don’t want it to. You could feel good about the terms that you use and labels, and I’m going to show you some strategies on how to get there in next week’s episode.
Alright my friends thank you so much for tuning in and for listening. And have a great week. I’ll see you next 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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