Overdrinking mostly occurs when we are reacting to a situation.
Perhaps your kids anger you, so you snap back at them and lose your temper. And pour a drink.
Or something happened at work and your emotions are running high, so you can’t wait to get home and have a drink. But you didn’t originally plan on drinking that night.
This leads to having regret about your drinking the next day.
However, when you respond, you stay in control of yourself. You are in your power. This allows you to handle the problem more effectively, yet still drink (if you want) without regret.
And your drinking doesn’t spiral out of control.
Whether you’re struggling with overdrinking, overeating, overthinking, or over-anything, there are simple tweaks you can make to become less reactive and more responsive. Tune in this week to discover how.
You are listening to the Drink Less Lifestyle podcast with Dr. Sherry Price, episode number 123.
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.
Happy February my friends, can you believe it? A month down already in this year. Crazy. I don’t know about you but as I get older I just feel time flies a lot quicker. So I really want to focus on living my life to the fullest. And this month it’s a new month. I love starting a new month, new goals. And so my goals for this month will be focusing more on self-love. You know I’m all about creating more connection for this year and that will be connection with myself I’ll be focusing on for this month and also to my source.
So focusing on my relationship with God. I’m going to give that more attention and more energy than I have been in the previous weeks. So for me, that’s bringing more awareness to where I get judgy about myself and why is that? And can I lessen up on that and be kinder to myself? And I don’t mean letting myself off the hook. I think some people hear that and think I just never beat up on myself and I’m just okay with everything. No, I’m not okay with everything but I certainly don’t have to berate myself.
And I certainly don’t have to be super critical over things, especially I could be the hardest critic on myself and I do not want to be doing that this month. So I’m going to be focusing on a lot more self-compassion and self-love. And this may resonate for some of you because you might be coming off a dry January and wondering how to navigate the next 11 months.
And for those of you that didn’t get to attend my free masterclass, I want to let you know that it is available. And I really encourage you to watch it because if we don’t know how to come off a dry January do you know that the brain will just be like, dry January’s over, it’s okay that I could fall back into my old habits, my old patterns and pick up drinking right where I left off? And I know for me that felt like it defeated the whole purpose of doing a dry January although it didn’t but it did feel like why do I bother? Why do I keep going back to being that same type of drinker?
So in this free masterclass, I included a lot more brand new information and material that if you’ve been to my previous masterclasses you haven’t seen this before. And it is available on my YouTube channel. Did you know I have a YouTube channel? Yes, I do so please go ahead, check it out and subscribe so you don’t miss any of my amazing content that I will be creating and putting out on my YouTube channel. So just head on over there and I will also put a link in the show notes in case you want the direct link as well.
So when I was putting together the masterclass for how to come off a dry January there was a quote I included in there that really hit me and I wanted to do a deeper dive on that in the podcast. So the quote comes from Bop Proctor and he states that when you react you are giving away your power. When you respond you are staying in control of yourself. And I think this is such a powerful quote that we can look at when we think about overdrinking when we think about overeating when we think about overthinking.
All these things that we do and really are there ways that we can tweak so we are less reactive and more responsive? So we’re really going to look at what type of drinker are you. What type of eater are you? What type of thinker are you? Because I think we can get in these loops where we are more reactionary rather than being responsive.
And to set this up I’m going to also use another quote by Zig Ziglar. He said, “To respond is positive, to react is negative.” Now, I like it because overall I believe that’s true but I don’t like that quote because I don’t think 100% of the time it doesn’t have to be that black and white because sometimes our reaction can be a positive thing. If somebody is chasing me or hits me and I hit them back that might be a good thing, or I might run, that might be my reaction and that might be a good thing.
So I’m not about the black and whiteness of that comment but overall I think he’s on to something. So let’s dive in to look at what it’s like to be reactive. When we are reacting to something we are being reflexive. It’s kind of like that automatic response. Whereas if we are responding to something we are taking a stance of being informed. We are basing our action on facts. We are responding in an informed way.
When we react to something it oftentimes arises from a wound-driven state like you’ve afflicted me before with that comment and you hear the same comment again. And even though it might have been said with a different tone or the intent of that comment was said in a positive way, we may have reacted negatively to it because we came from this wound-driven state. Whereas if you respond it often arises from a purpose-driven state or what I think of as a value-driven state.
Many people will say, “Reactions, they just happen, like my drinking, it just happens. My overeating or my snacking, it just happens.” That’s a very reactive standpoint. Rather than saying, “I responded in such a way.” And responding in such a way is determined, it’s predetermined. It’s knowing how you want to act. So as it applies to drinking and eating, we might come home from work and start making dinner and I know for a lot of women that’s the time when they pour their first drink. And they’re just reacting to the day.
Maybe they are thinking about the project at work or something their boss said or something a coworker did or maybe they work from home and maybe they have kids at home and the kids are upsetting to them. So they’re very reactionary in their drinking. And when we react we’re very shortsighted when we are in that reactionary mode. We’re also coming from a place that’s highly emotional. When you react to something oftentimes it’s in the space where you have high emotions going on inside of you.
When we react it’s without conscious thought and oftentimes we communicate poorly, maybe it’s we’re not choosing the correct words, maybe we’re just being trite, maybe it’s our tone. But oftentimes our communication is poor. If we were to go back and evaluate that we’d probably say to ourselves, “I’d probably do that differently or say it differently or use different words.” And the problem with reacting is several, first of all, it’s very unproductive because we often don’t accomplish what we want to accomplish which leads to the next point, is a reactionary way of being leads to more issues.
So not only does it not solve the issue that’s going on, it causes more issues to arise. Now, as long as we’re not reacting meaning running from danger where that’s a totally appropriate response, we have to really look at how we engage with the days of our lives. Are we in a reactionary mode where we’re in this highly emotional state, we’re just doing things in the moment and we have poor communication, it’s unproductive and it’s leading to more issues?
Now, again, the goal isn’t to be 100% and 0%, that’s idealism, that’s perfectionism at its finest. But how can we get to a place where we’re more in that responding mode? Where when you’re in the responding mode it’s values-driven, it’s goal driven. You know what the results are that you want to create in your life. You know what you want to accomplish. You go into a conversation knowing what the goal is for that conversation.
You go in informed meaning that you have prior knowledge or some facts or maybe you even have a prior experience of working with this person, dealing with this person or raising these kids. So you have an informed way that you know somebody may react to what you say. So you’re choosing to respond in a logical way that’s not going to ignite somebody and get them to be reactive and get them to be highly emotional too. It’s not just you but it’s also considering how the other person can respond to you.
So when you are in that responding mode you’re intentional, things are pre-thought-out. And as I mentioned earlier, it’s often values-driven. Maye you don’t want to explode on people. Maybe you don’t want to be yelling and screaming. And so if your values are that you don’t want to be that person, you want to be somebody who’s calm and levelheaded. Then we work in that responsive state. And what I love about being in the responsive state is that it’s so productive and it doesn’t lead to more issues, it actually solves problems. It leads to solutions when you are in that responsive state.
When we are responding, the information that we’re using, the place that we’re pulling the information from, from our brain is very factual, not as emotional. We’re very present, we’re staying curious. Whereas if we’re reacting to the day and we’re reacting to the things around us, we’re very emotional and oftentimes we’re stuck in the past and we become defensive. And you’ll notice by the way you talk, “This always happens, my boss always does this to me. I can’t believe this happened again.”
I find people in the reactive state to be very melodramatic. They are really blowing things out of proportion. It’s because they’re fueled by this hyper-emotional state. So I could picture this, how I used to react in my past self and back in the day when I’d get done with work and I’d come down the steps and I’d be like, “This just happened. I need a drink.” It was very reactionary.
And reactionary type of drinking just fuels itself because what’s the goal of reactionary drinking? It’s to change that emotional state inside. It’s to say, “I don’t want to feel this way. Give me some liquid to make me numb. I don’t want to feel this stress. I don’t want to feel this anger. I don’t want to feel this frustration, so just keep pouring alcohol until it’s numbing me. The problem with that is we become reliant on alcohol when we get in those states because we don’t learn how to do that work for ourselves.
So how to change from somebody who’s a reactionary drinker, a reactionary overeater, or somebody whose mind strictly goes to catastrophizing like, oh my gosh one little bad thing happened and then their mind takes it and blows it out of proportion? And how to go from being reactionary to being more responding or responsive is to grow your emotional intelligence.
Emotional intelligence is what allows us to respond versus react because think about it, when you react you make the situation worse because no amount of drinking that you do or overeating solves the reason you started drinking or overeating in the first place. And now you’ve just compounded that problem with another problem like drinking, like overeating, like weight gain, like sleep disturbances, like forgetting conversations, like blacking out. All the things that compound that initial problem.
No matter how much you drink or how much you overeat it doesn’t take away what happened at work. It doesn’t change the fact that your kids are fighting with each other and it just compounds the problem where you think that you need to rely on alcohol which only makes the situation worse.
So I love the book, A Man’s Search For Meaning by Viktor Frankl and in that book he has some great quotes that came from there. Now, for those of you that don’t know about this book, it’s a classic. I highly recommend getting it, reading it because what he experienced in the concentration camps and talks about the experience of others around him is really humbling and sobering.
And everything he lost in those concentration camps and what kept him alive even when everything had been stripped from him, family, possessions his manuscript and all these other freedoms he had. And so he talks about that between stimulus, something that ignites you, something maybe that triggers you, between stimulus and response there is a space. And in that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.
And just think about how that applies to drinking, because between stimulus like I mentioned being your trigger, your kids yelling, boss giving you an assignment you don’t want, life treating you unfair. So between that trigger and your response there is a space and in that space is where you gain all your power to choose how you will respond and in our response is how we learn to grow and increase our freedom. Now, that’s my interpretation of it.
But his was between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom. He also has another great quote from that book, ’Forces beyond your control can take away everything you possess except one thing, your freedom to choose how you will respond to the situation’. And I think we can all learn so much from that no matter what we’re struggling with, alcohol, food, overworking, overthinking, all the overings.
No matter what we are struggling with to know that we have the ability to choose how we respond. And this is where the word comes from, response-able. If you are able to choose your response you are able to act in a fashion that is more responsible. So, yes, we can’t control everything in life but we are able to control how we respond. And when you get that freedom and when you recognize you have that freedom, nobody has to give it to you, you already have it. You become more powerful in your life.
You have that freedom to choose how you respond to drinking, to eating, to working out or not working or whatever other goals you may be pursuing. And I know for me as I mentioned in the beginning of this podcast is that I want to improve my self-love which to me is a way to respond in a kind way to myself. So I can increase my response-ability, my ability to respond and not react. And if you look at your life, how can you respond in a kinder way to yourself?
Maybe that’s how you choose and select the foods you choose to fuel yourself with. Maybe you will select different types of food. Maybe you will focus on better quality food. Maybe you will respond with better quality sleep. Maybe you will be focusing on more the quantity of your sleep. So think about when you are response-able versus when you are more reactionary. More reactionary, you’re impulsive. You’ve got these emotions flooding through you and then you just react. It’s like you’re impulsive. You’re just going to eat the food, you’re just going to drink the drink.
You just want that comfort, you just want that dopamine hit right in the moment. And that’s what gets you pouring the drinking and keep drinking the drink or keep eating the food. But notice how that makes you less response-able. And I think that’s funny because the taglines for drinking are, drink responsibly. And people are like, “Well, what does that look like? What does that mean?” Because it doesn’t give you clear guidance on what that looks like.
But using the terminology that I used in this podcast, that really gives us a picture of what being response-able around our drinking looks like. And if that’s too difficult maybe perhaps you don’t drink at all but really what it comes down to is, are your feelings winning? And we talked about this in a previous podcast on facts versus feelings. And for a lot of people who don’t have that emotional regulation, who don’t have that emotional intelligence, their feelings might be driving a lot of their actions.
And so are you winning when your feelings come up? And my guess is you win at certain feelings but maybe there are certain feelings you don’t win at. Well, what are those feelings? Where do you need more mastery of emotional management in your life so you can get the results that you really want? Back in January, I had opened my calendar to speak with a lot of people on how to take it or leave it with their drinking. And so I did these strategy calls. I wanted to connect with my listeners.
I wanted an opportunity to get to know you, to get to help you and a lot of people would tell me, “Sherry, I listen to your podcast and I get all the concepts intellectually but then I get stuck. You’ve helped me decrease my drinking 30% or 50% just by listening to the podcast. And I love that tools that you teach but then I get stuck.” And I want to say that’s common. People say that inside my program.
It’s like, “I joined your program because I got some benefit from listening to your podcast, that I wanted more so I wanted to work with you personally. And I understand everything you’re teaching, everything you’re talking about. It all makes sense.” Yes, but I also want to remind you. This is not just an intellectual journey. So even though you get the concepts intellectually, that’s just part of the work. And I’m loving it that you’re getting the reduction in your drinking. I’m loving it that you’re getting the results.
And if you want more results, it’s not that you’re not smart, it’s not that you’re not an intellectual being, you are. But if you still want more reduction and you kind of felt like you hit a plateau then I want to ask, how are you feeling on an emotional level? Are you doing the work there? Because if we come back to one of the basics, the think, feel, act cycle, think about that. The think part of the cycle is the brain, it’s above the neck. The feel part of the cycle is below the neck, it’s the body.
And then the action, you can’t have an action unless your brain talks to the body. So the action part is the brain or the head and the body. So that’s the mind-body connection. So this can’t be just a purely intellectual journey. You won’t get to the result that you want because you’re missing a big piece. And I really would love you to rewind this back about two to three minutes and listen to this part again. Because on these strategy sessions, some of the ladies were like, “Give me another tool. Give me another tool.”
I give them another tool but then they’d be on to the next tool. It’s like they were making it such an intellectual process that they actually weren’t hearing 100% of what I had to say. So we had to slow it down, we had to rewind. We had to say, “Wait, I think you’re only getting a nibble of what I actually dropped. You’re getting a breadcrumb when I gave you the whole loaf.” And so notice if that is happening to you if your thinking is only getting you so far. It’s only because you’re using part of that tool and not the entire tool.
And I will tell you, the feelings part is where most of the women that I work with struggle. I work with deep thinkers, people that have achieved a lot in life. People that have degrees collected like myself. We pride ourselves on how we figure stuff out. We are the most logical creatures and that’s why probably we’re the most annoyed with our drinking even though most of the women I help don’t drink a tremendous amount. They’re not coming to me drinking like a liter of vodka a day.
They’re annoyed by the three or four glasses or they’re annoyed that they take two alcohol-free nights a week but they want it to be three or four. Yes, they are these grey area drinkers that want to be less grey and they’re finding they’re at the other end of the spectrum. So we’ve got to bring in the feelings work. And notice where you just react in the moment. It’s like you just check out. You don’t even bring your logical brain around. You just react in the moment. And how do you know when you’re just reacting? Here’s what I hear.
“I don’t know why I’m doing it. I just do it. It’s just a habit. I’m just out at a bar and I order a drink and it’s in my hand and before you know it before I even think about it, it’s gone. I just started drinking and I don’t know, I’m just three drinks in later and I don’t know what happened.” That’s reaction. And now, this may show up in all different kinds of ways.
“I had my boss give me a surprise call or a surprise project. It’s two o’clock in the afternoon and gosh, I went down to the kitchen and had a shot of whisky. That wasn’t supposed to happen. He always does this to me.” You just react. Or, “My kids are fighting and I don’t know how to make them stop bickering and gosh, it’s just so annoying. I just go to the cabinet and I pour myself a stiff one.” And then I hear, “Gosh, I’m just like you, I storm the fridge and just drink chardonnay.”
This is where the emotional work comes in because we want to move from reaction to response. So learning to manage your emotions around this is paramount, paramount for you to get long-term results. I mean we call it emotional intelligence, just even look at those two words ‘emotional intelligence’. Emotional, coming from the body, intelligence, coming from the brain. I mean intelligence can also come from your spirit. You can get intelligence from your inner voice, your inner knowing. That can also be part of your spirit which resides in your body.
So it is a body-mind connection or a mind-body connection. The word itself, emotional intelligence means it’s a mind-body connection. But we want to outthink it, we want to outsmart it. We just want to use the cognitive and the brain part. And those are the women that I clearly work with as you will see on our calls, it’s classic. And I love it because I was there too. And when I just made it an intellectual experience for me I only got so far with my results, you know who’s a great example of this? Your kids.
You look at young kids, you look at adolescents, they’re kind of difficult to deal with. They don’t take orders. They don’t follow logic. They do their own thing, why, why is that? Because their logic brain, that prefrontal cortex that I’ve talked about on previous podcasts. That has not fully developed until their mid to late 20s. So they are walking around like feelings creatures and they let you know it. They’re unhappy, they tell you right away. They slam doors. They throw temper tantrums. They throw things. They throw things at you. They punch you.
My daughter used to bite me. It really happens. They’re just highly, highly emotional and we are these older more mature adults most of the time that’s trying to talk logic into a being that doesn’t have logic yet. And then we wonder why we beat our head against the wall and we wonder why they don’t listen and we wonder why we have to tell them 20,000 times and they still don’t listen. Until one day, people tell me, they will come back into my house when they’re 30 and then start reciting everything I said but I’m not seeing that right now.
My daughter is 12 and if I don’t learn to speak the way her brain can hear me and interpret me I lose her and I just become more frustrated and I impair our relationship even more. So I’ve got to start where she’s at. She’s highly emotional and if I don’t connect with her on an emotional level I will never get through to her. And let me tell you, I learned how to do that and it has been the best thing for our relationship. It’s so much easier to parent. It’s so much more productive.
And I don’t go to implosion mode and explosion mode like I used to. Do I get emotional? Yes, I have an emotional part of my brain, I will get emotional. But the thing that’s different about me today than five years ago before I had these tools is I’m way more focused on the results I want to create. And I want to create this loving, trusting, safe non-judgmental zone between my daughter and I so she comes to me with everything, so she trusts me completely, so she knows I’ll never turn my back on her, not ever.
That doesn’t mean I approve of everything she does. That also means I’m going to have strong opinions and they’re probably going to be different than hers. But at least we can communicate about them. She can hear my side and I can listen to her side. So you can take this skill where you learn to be responsive, where you learn to operate with more calmness, more of your logic mind, more values-driven, more in alignment with what you’re trying to achieve and less reactionary and skittish and frantic and overwhelmed and feeling like life is just disheveling and falling apart at the seams.
And one simple task and one simple thing you can do that can switch you from being reactionary to being response-able, just this one thing that you can apply to drinking, eating, parenting, overthinking, catastrophizing. One thing, one tool that you can practice is the pause. Now, I said that. And I actually had a client one time say, “What is a pause?” And if you look up the definition of a pause, it’s just a temporary stop in action or in your speech. It’s so simple to do, to just take a pause.
Mel Robbins has that book called The Five Second Rule. I say, “Just take a five-second pause. Just pause, it helps recalibrate your nervous system, it helps getting you out of that emotional brain that’s not even thinking, that feels possessed, that feels so impulsive, got to do it now. Just take a pause. And in that pause, many things will start to happen. Five seconds feels like such a short period of time but in that 5 seconds, your brain can have literally 10 thoughts. It could just start going.
And in that pause, you can say, “What action can I take would be aligned with my goals?” How do I want to respond in this situation? What have I learned in a previous experience when this exact same thing came up for me? What knowledge from my past can I use in this moment? It could be something as simple as what have I planned for myself to eat or drink tonight? How do I want to respond to this initial problem so it doesn’t cause another problem, a drinking problem? This could be everything.
I have my clients and the members inside EpicYOU go through a worksheet around their drinking before they drink and after they finish each drink. And it’s for precisely this same concept, to engage that logical brain, that logical brain that just wants to check out and numb out. And it works because we are stopping and we are pausing and allowing that logic brain to come back on board and interrupt the pattern, interrupt that habit. We’re learning to bring it back online again.
Because I’ll tell you, these days it’s so easy to numb out. We can numb out on our computers, we can numb out on our phones, we can numb out with drugs and substances and all these refined foods that say they’re food but they’re really not filled with any nutrition that our body needs. But they keep us reaching in and grabbing for more and numbing out. And they hijack our brain, alcohol hijacks our brain, sugar hijacks our brain and it tells our brain we’re not full, keep going, keep going. We’re not satisfied yet, keep going.
But we’ll never get satisfied from those things. They weren’t created for satisfaction. They were created for addiction and I’ll tell you after you’ve numbed out with those things you always regret it. Too much of those things leads to anyone regretting that experience, there’s very little reward to show for it. Actually, we know that overeating those foods, we know that overdrinking it doesn’t improve our lives, it doesn’t get us closer to our health goals. It doesn’t get us closer to our relationship goals. It doesn’t get us closer to growing our bank account. It depletes all of that.
And I’ll tell you, not only does it do that it actually makes us weaker as a human and as a society as a whole because we stop caring and we stop applying all of the talent we have within us. We stop utilizing our brain to the fullest. We stop utilizing our body to the fullest. And we squander away our talents and we squander away our time, spending it on things that don’t matter. So just think when you’re reactionary you’re mismanaging three important resources. You’re mismanaging your time, you’re spending it on things you don’t want to be spending your time on.
You don’t want to be spending more time overeating. You don’t want to be spending more time overdrinking. You don’t want to be spending more time overthinking and catastrophizing on things that will never ever play out. And it’s also robbing you of the joy that you could be experiencing then. And how about your energy, who feels energized after slugging back a whole bottle of wine? No one. You go to bed, it makes you tired. You pass out.
Who feels energized after eating a box of Cheez-Its? You feel bloated. You feel disgusting and you can’t poop because it’s not even giving you good nutrients. You become sluggish. And all that inflammatory stuffed in those foods, it just leads to us feeling tired the next day and leading to leaky gut and more inflammation in our joints. And we keep spending money on these things so we’re also squandering and wasting money, wasting our energy, our time and our money.
But when you can implement this one tool, the tool of the pause and when you can come from now a place where you choose your response, you have freedom to choose how you respond to a situation, you make more logical choices. You better manage your time, your energy and your money and guess what, they all begin to grow. You have more time because you’re no longer wasting it. You have more energy because you’re not fueling your body with stuff that it doesn’t need. And then you’re no longer buying these things.
I mean just think about how many things we purchase impulsively. We’re like, “Yeah, I need that, yeah, let me buy that.” And we don’t even use them. I’m guilty of this too. Tags are still on or it just goes unused. Or how we can react at the little things at work when we really a week later we’re like, “Wow, I really reacted or overreacted to that. That wasn’t so bad.”
Or maybe we don’t respond kindly when our kids are just asking us a simple question like, “Can I watch the iPad, or can I watch a movie or when’s dinner?” But somehow that triggers us and sets us off. And here’s why I want us to be mindful of this, is because yes we could get back some of the money, we can earn it back, we could save it back. Yes, you could get back some of your energy by switching how you eat and habits that you have, getting enough sleep, getting enough hydration but you can never ever get back your time.
Once your time is spent, it’s gone. That is not a renewable resource for us my friends. So we really want to consider how we’re spending our time, reactionary or responsive. And are we able to manage our drinking and our eating in that manner? Are we living in alignment with our goals, being response abled? And that’s what I invite you into. And if you want help to do this and learn more tools on emotional regulation and emotional intelligence I teach them inside of EpicYOU.
It’s some of the most fun tools we have because we channel that emotional negative energy that we might be experiencing into positive fun energy because it’s not just about drinking less my friends. It’s about improving your life. It’s about having a better experience of the time that we do have and choosing to spend our time on the things that really light us up. And when you can find the freedom in your power to choose it changes everything. Because you realize how much power you have to create the life you love and feel good about who you are.
Alright my beautiful friends, thank you for tuning in. If you loved this podcast please rate and review it, that would mean the world to me. Alright, I love you all my 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/epicyou. I can’t wait to see you there.