Ep #132: The #1 Reason You Stall in Drinking Less

By: Dr. Sherry Price

Drink Less Lifestyle with Dr. Sherry Price | The #1 Reason You Stall in Drinking Less

When you decide you want to drink less, it’s normal that you stall on this journey.

It’s like a rebound effect.

You do well for a little while, then you fall back into old habits.

So, how do you change this cycle, stop stalling, and start drinking less for good?

If you find yourself restricting during the week but overdoing it on the weekends, this episode is for you.

Tune in this week to discover the #1 reason why you stall in drinking less permanently, and most importantly, how you can turn your failures into successes, so you finally become a woman who can take it or leave it with alcohol.


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Become a woman who can take it or leave it with alcohol and food. Join EpicYOU and get the tools you need to feel amazing and epic from the inside out …so you don’t rely on food or drink to feel better.


What You’ll Learn in this Episode:

  • Why limiting your drinking and then rebounding by overdoing it is a common problem.
  • The real reason why you’re stalling when it comes to drinking less.
  • What you can do when this happens to you to permanently change your relationship with alcohol.


Featured on the Show:

Full Episode Transcript:

You are listening to the Drink Less Lifestyle podcast with Dr. Sherry Price, episode number 132.

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. This week when this drops, this recording, I will be with my family in Cabo and I can’t wait. So I’m recording this before we go. And I just want to let you know that I set a drink plan for this vacation and for most vacations. And so while I’m in Cabo I have planned for myself three drinks. And we are going with friends and our friends chose an all-inclusive hotel. And they will probably imbibe much more than I will and that’s great. They get to do them and I get to do me. It’s such a freeing experience.

And I just wanted to share that because I think a lot of people listen to this podcast and think I don’t drink or I don’t plan my drinks or that I don’t actually do the work that I teach here on the podcast. Actually I do the exact work I teach. And that’s why I know it’s effective and it works. And for today I want to talk about one of the areas that women ask me about a lot. And that revolves around failing to stick to their drink plan or it could be that I cut back but I’m stalling. I want to drink even less but I notice that I’m stalling in getting there.

Or it could look like you’re feeling like your drinking is like a ping pong ball, it’s back and forth. And as a friend of mine says, Elise, she says, “It’s like lights on a Christmas tree, it’s just back and forth, back and forth, back and forth.” I do well then I don’t do so well, I do well and then I don’t do so well. So if you fall into that category this podcast is for you. So let’s talk about that really and how to change that for you.

So first off, I want to ask you, do you think that your drinking goes up as a rebound effect? And what do I mean by that? It means you feel you’re restricting so much during the week that you overdo it on weekends. Or it can look like you tell yourself, you’re so good, you’re so good, you’re so good and then all of a sudden it feels like so much pressure has kind of amounted in your body and then you just burst. And how you burst may be overeat, overdrink or some type of overing activity.

And if you are experiencing that, I want to suggest that you’re probably using willpower and white knuckling. And you know from previous podcasts I’ve done, that is a strategy that does not work for changing the habit long term. It gets you short term results and that’s about it, because they are finite resources. We can’t white knuckle our entire life. We cannot use willpower all the time and expect it to work because it is a finite resource.

And when you’re tired or when you’re cranky and you’re not getting enough sleep or the kids are really annoying you or your job gets super stressful, you will not follow through. And so please go back to listen to Willpower vs. Brain Power. It’s one of the podcasts I’ve done. And that will give you a lot of information on how to get out of willpower white knuckling mode. Because when you’re fighting with yourself you’re going to get more exhausted and you’re making this process much harder than it has to be.

Drinking less should be easier and it should get easier over time. And if it’s not, something tells me you’re still fighting with yourself. So one of the questions I love to ask is, what is happening? So if you are overdoing it or when you are overdoing it I really want you to ask yourself, what is happening here? What is happening that is making me want to overdrink? Now, here’s what I find, a lot of people don’t do this work. They don’t ask themselves really from an I want to understand myself better.

What we want to do is just sweep it under the carpet and pretend it didn’t happen and we’ll just go on about our day. Yeah, that happened, that was Friday night but I don’t want it to weigh me down today. And I’m not asking for it to weigh you down or lift you up. It’s not about that at all. I just want to know what happened because as John Dewey once said, “We do not learn from experience, we learn from reflecting on experience.”

So without stopping to really consider why something happened, you’re unlikely to solve it in the future. You’re unlikely to fix the issue. You’re unlikely to make change in the future if you don’t to see why that happened. And when I’m working with the members inside EpicYOU, I’m always telling them failure is gold. When you slip up, that is a golden opportunity to learn more about what is leading you to your drinking.

And if you don’t get into this mindset you will lose out on all the benefits that you have made because you may allow this one opportunity that you over-drank or got off track or whatever it is with the wagon, you fell off the wagon. You will use that to berate yourself and potentially stay there, which means stay stuck, which means stall out on drinking less, which means not getting more improvement and benefit from cutting back on alcohol. So failures are gold. This is the mindset I want you to adopt, failures are gold. There is something in the failure you still need to learn.

And if we don’t reflect back on that, we will fail to get the learning. We will fail to grow. We will fail to improve. We will fail to really solve the underlying issue, because truly, drinking is not the main problem. And how many of us will constantly blame the alcohol when alcohol is not causing you to drink, it really isn’t. You know what’s causing you to drink? I bet you, it’s your emotions. I bet you, it’s a story you have about alcohol in your head. It’s that relationship you currently have with alcohol which means it’s a narrative you have in your mind.

And when you don’t know the emotions and you don’t know the narrative leading to that drinking, causing that drinking, guess what? You’re going to blame the alcohol and you’ve misdiagnosed the problem. This reminds me of that video that went viral years back, have you heard about it? It’s called, it’s not about the nail. I’ll put a link to it in the show notes and it’s pretty hysterical, but it has 23 million views on YouTube. So if you just go out to YouTube and you want to type in, ‘it’s not about the nail’.

So there’s a woman in the video and she has this nail, literally a nail sticking out of her head. And she keeps talking about how she gets these headaches and there’s so much pressure in her head. And she just doesn’t know what to do about these headaches and the pressure that’s building in her head and it’s so troubling in her life. But she doesn’t recognize that there’s a nail. She keeps talking about the headache, the pain, the pressure in the head.

And, yes, you can chase a headache. Yes, you could chase the pressure in the head. But if you take Ibuprofen or Tylenol for the headache and the pressure, the pain will subside but guess what, it comes right back because the root of the problem, the nail has not been removed. And how many of you keep focusing on alcohol, thinking it’s alcohol that’s causing you the problem? Alcohol is the headache, it’s not the nail. You have to go after the nail. If you don’t truly diagnose the true problem you’re going to keep blaming the alcohol. It’s the alcohol, it tastes so delicious. I just wish I didn’t like it so much.

And guess what, then you go and try to control the alcohol. And when you try to control the alcohol and slipup, what do you do? You say, “It’s all me, I’m a failure. I’m never going to learn. I’m never going to understand this. I’m never going to get to the point where I want to get to.” And what I suggest is how about we try a different approach, an approach that will actually work. Because believe me my friend, I have been there blaming myself, pointing to the alcohol and then blaming myself because I couldn’t control the alcohol.

That’s because I was looking at alcohol as the problem. Remember, I clearly say on almost every podcast I do, alcohol is the solution, it is not the problem. And how many of you still point the finger at alcohol as it’s the main problem? It’s not.

I was just working with a client who was still pointing to the alcohol as the main problem. I’m like, “That’s the secondary problem. We’ve got to get to the main problem that’s causing you to want the alcohol. And so please, hear me when I say that. I think you hear me but please really investigate in your life what is the main problem.” Because that’s what we want to root out. That’s what we want to change. That’s what we want to help fix. That’s what we want to help solve even if we can’t solve it 100% we can certainly make it better.

We can certainly give you tools to make that problem more manageable in your life. And so try a different approach. So when you have that failure it is gold. It is ripe for you to learn something that went astray and how to make it right. Now, inside of EpicYOU I have the members do a worksheet, didn’t follow through on their drink plan. And it takes them through a series of questions that they answer so that we can mine for the gold. It’s like we’re in mine digging for gold or digging for diamonds and we want to get that key learning.

What exactly happened in this experience that led me to drink or overdrink? And then right after that they are following up with the worksheet on how to get back on track. Because I want to give you tools that are going to help you understand how to break this in the future and how for it not to derail your progress, just one night or two nights or whatever. Let’s not have that derail your progress and keep moving forward. And so we come to the calls and we talk about this because we have to extract the gold. We have to learn what exactly was the problem because the problem wasn’t alcohol.

And if you don’t have an accurate diagnosis, you don’t go after the root cause. You don’t work on the real issue. So the more you blame the alcohol the more you lose, 100%, because we can’t change the alcohol. And the alcohol just sits there in a bottle on the shelf. It does not saunter over to you. It does not cause and pinch your cheeks and mouth to open and it does not get up, pour itself in a glass and then pour itself down your throat. The alcohol does nothing so let’s stop blaming alcohol.

Let’s change the narrative and give people tools that work. And here’s a tool that will work for you. What if you had the mindset that every time you slipped up, that was a golden opportunity for you to learn something about yourself and then take that learning and put it into a strategy for the next time you are in a similar circumstance? Whoa, that would be life changing.

And this is exactly what we address on our calls, how we can turn failures into future successes because if we don’t learn we are bound to make that same exact slip up in the future. We’ll say, “Oh, well, it was another Friday night out with friends at a restaurant and I over-drank again and I don’t know why. It must be the restaurant, must be the friends, must be the alcohol.” No, no, means you didn’t learn. You wasted this key experience without reflecting and extracting what you could have learned. It’s a missed opportunity.

Instead you know what we do? We instinctually say, “I messed up again. Why do I keep doing this to myself? I should know better.” But notice none of those questions get you closer to the truth of what actually happened. And this is why I promote compassion. It’s the key emotion you’ll learn by working with me. So how can we come and embrace compassion in what exactly just happened? And really look at what caused you to go off track. And there doesn’t have to be judgment. It doesn’t have to be flavored with judgment, we can just be curious.

And when you’re less judgy to yourself, do you know what happens? You create more joy and happiness in your life because you’re not constantly wagging the finger at yourself. And that’s why I wanted the name of my program to be EpicYOU because you feel better about yourself. So we can turn that night out with friends at a bar that you’re probably going to go out with friends again at a bar and drink. And next time we have learned from the last time what happened and what didn’t work and now we have a strategy for what we could try in the future that may work.

And guess what, you get another win and then you’re like, “This is how I get change.” And it starts working. And what I want to remind us all, is that we aren’t perfect. No one gets to any goal flawlessly. Think of a goal of getting through college, losing weight, learning to drive a car. You fail, you don’t get straight A’s in college. You don’t say every day,” I’m going to follow my meal plan and get some exercise and change my ways of being and seen around food.” You don’t execute it 100% effectively perfectly every single day whatever goal that is.

Even the Olympians who train have bad days. So we need to get over this perfectionistic mindset that we are not going to fail. You are going to fail. And if we can look at failure as golden opportunities to learn about ourselves, wow, that would improve your trajectory to get to your goal much faster. So you need to stop expecting perfectionism and perfection especially within those first six months.

I certainly wasn’t perfect at cutting back. I was learning how to be in the world without alcohol, when I relied on it for everything in my life for nearly a decade. Do you know how challenging that is? When you have alcohol every single night for nearly a decade and then you say, “I’m going to learn how to be in the world without it or with much less of it.”

Let’s just think. Over 10 years I have trained my brain to think, it’s my fun juice, it’s what I get to do at night, it’s my reward, it’s my social lubricant. Guess what, it’s my date night elixir. It’s so fancy, it’s so sexy in that glass. It helps me even dealing with my family. And check this out, I use alcohol as my stress reducer and the way I relax at night and it helps me take the edge off. And actually it helps me go to sleep, doesn’t help me stay asleep, but it helps me go to sleep.

I just called alcohol my panacea, it fixed everything in my life, it helped everything in my life. And if I spent 10 years doing that, of course it’s going to take time for me to learn to be in the world and not be the first one at the bar and not be the one that’s always ordering drinks and not having a drink every single date night and every single Friday and Saturday night. That took time for my brain to learn. What did my brain have to learn? How to be different in the world. And why did I want to do that? I didn’t have to. You know why I wanted to do that? Because I started hating myself.

I started hating my relationship with alcohol. I started hating how much I relied on it. I started hating how much I felt like it controlled me. And I tell you, I’m a control freak and a perfectionist. And if I feel controlled by anything, it does not feel good in my body and I immediately go to embarrassment, disappointment and frustration. And I noticed I was living life more frustrated unless I was drinking. I was frustrated with my daily life which wasn’t bad, my friend, it wasn’t bad, but it felt bad because I didn’t have my alcohol.

And I did not want to live that way because I knew I would only want more and more and more as time went on and I would feel worse and worse and worse about myself, in how I was raising my daughter and how I was showing up in the world. And that was enough for me to want to change because feeling crap about yourself is terrible. I don’t recommend it for anyone. And I refused to feel crap about myself but I had to begin to learn new ways of being with myself out in the world with new skills so I didn’t have to rely on drinking. And that took time for me, it wasn’t overnight.

It’s so easy to look at me now and to see my success around alcohol and think you should be there. No, you have to put in the reps. You have to learn that you have to follow your journey in what’s going to make you successful. That’s why I love my program because it’s tailor made to what you need. For me, I had to learn how to talk to people without relying on the social lubricant of alcohol. I had to learn how to deal with my insecurities, my lack of confidence and my nerves when they, oh, my gosh meeting new people and that energy that gets inside of me, that insecurity.

And that doesn’t feel so good. I had to learn ways to cope, ways to enjoy myself so I can enjoy other people. I had to develop a better sleep routine rather than relying on alcohol which made me just pass out at the end of the night. And one of the key things I had to learn is how to relax and shut off my brain and reduce my stress without relying on alcohol to do that for me. I had to learn those skills for myself and it took time for me to learn those skills.

And there are skills now that I teach others who want to learn them, skills that make you more confident in you and how you show up in the world. Skills where you’re not running away from yourself and you’re not running away from your problems and actually addressing your problems and your life so that you can improve it, so that you can live healthier and happier. And when you learn something it means you’re going to experience failure along the way.

Just think back to when we were young, you didn’t recite the alphabet perfectly as a four year old, you had to repeat and try again and try again. And your parents helped you and they corrected you and they showed you, L, M, M, M, M, O P, it’s just not like bluh-bluh-bluh. That’s what I used to do, it’s like no, there’s letters in there, it’s called L, M, N, O, P. You had to learn to speak English or whatever your native language is. You had to learn how to communicate with others. You had to learn how to eat without dropping it on your bib or on your lap or hitting the sides of your cheeks.

You had to learn to drink without spilling it on yourself. You graduate from the sippy cup to a real cup. And then the kids getting themselves wet with the liquid. Well, the same applies to learning new skills as an adult. You have to expect failure, it’s going to happen. And the more you fight it, the more you make this process so much more difficult and longer. So I want you to think about failure is a good thing. It’s helping you. It’s a beautiful thing because there’s gold inside of that experience and you just need to be reflecting on that.

For me, I’m actively learning some new skills in my life and I have to tell you I am failing all over the place. I was recently meeting with my coach and she’s like, “Wow, you really missed the mark on this.” And I just started laughing and I’m like, “I know I did, I feel I did.” And so we talked about how I can improve and how I can make it better. Now, look, I could have taken that loving advice that she was giving as painful, making it mean something personal about me, thinking and saying that, “I’m never going to get this. This is so hard. Why can’t I just get it right the first time?”

Or I can just lean into my failure and say, “Oh, yeah, I know. I know it was off. I need to learn, yes, and I will try again and I’ll take that learning and take her advice, make a change and improve.” Little by little improve, it’s always little by little. We don’t go from being a couch potato to running a 5K by just going out and running 3.1 miles. No, for a lot of us it starts with walking then walking jogging then walking running. And you only make it harder if you take it personally and say, “I shouldn’t have to walk run.”

I suggest you choose the latter, you lean into the failure, you say, “Okay, what’s the learning here? Let me reflect.” And when you do that I can tell you my friend, that it’s way more fun. It’s easier. And it gives you quicker success. It leads to more health and happiness in your life and a lot less stress. So if you’re stalling out in any way, think to yourself, what happened last time I over-drank? And lean in so you can become a faster learner if you choose. It certainly beats being stuck and kept in a rut and berating yourself.

And if you want my help in being a faster learner I am here for you, just reach out because remember my friend it’s possible to be confident around alcohol and live more epically in your life. Have a beautiful day and 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 And become a woman who And 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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