Ep #108: Handling a Slip-Up

By: Dr. Sherry Price

Drink Less Lifestyle with Dr. Sherry Price | Handling a Slip-Up

When you’re undoing the habit of overdrinking and learning to be in control of your drinking, you need a step-by-step plan on how to get there.

But what happens when you slip up and you don’t stick to the plan?

The fact that a slip-up happens is not a huge problem.  We know they will happen, especially in the beginning stages.  It’s knowing how to handle a slip-up that makes all the difference.

How you handle a slip-up affects the likelihood of future slip-ups.

Tune in this week to learn how you should handle your slip-ups so you can avoid them in the future.  This is a game-changer and leads to a lifestyle of drinking less and not just a short-term win.

Are you wanting help to stop overdrinking or overeating for the long haul?  If so, come join EpicYOU. It’s where you’ll learn the tools and skills to live healthy, confident and in control in any situation. Join here.


What You’ll Learn in this Episode:

  • What a full plan around your drinking looks like.
  • Ineffective ways of handling your slip-ups, which makes them more likely to happen again.
  • How to handle your slip-ups so that you reduce the chance of them happening again.


Featured on the Show:


Full Episode Transcript:

You are listening to the Drink Less Lifestyle podcast with Dr. Sherry Price, episode number 108.

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 beautiful friends, so glad you’re here. And before we get started today I just want to give a quick shout out and think all of you who attended my five day challenge, how to become a woman who can take it or leave it. It was so fun to interact with all of you inside my private community. And I really enjoyed helping the women understand their drinking better and understand how to reduce it or eliminate it entirely from their lives. So that was so fun.

And if you want access to the replays you can join that private community. And I’ll put the link in the show notes so you can come to the Facebook group, join our community and get the trainings. I just loved how all the women showed up vulnerable, willing to share discussing where they’re struggling, because we all struggle in our lives. And the point of struggling is to overcome it. We know this life will present us with struggles always. So, we want to learn how to overcome those struggles without relying on alcohol to do so.

So, thank you for allowing me to walk with you in that journey and help you where you are struggling so you don’t have to rely on alcohol as your solution. And so today what I want to talk about is when you do rely on alcohol for your solution. It’s when we have a slip-up. And I want to talk to you about how to handle a slip-up that you have. And do you know why I want to help you so much? Is because I see so many women do it wrong. And when you do it wrong it’s more likely that it will occur again in the future.

So, what happens when you handle a slip-up appropriately you should notice they stop happening or they reduce in frequency over time. It’s not that they continue to happen. So, let’s set the ground straight on what I call a slip-up. So, my definition of a slip-up is when you drink more than you planned. So, I purposely selected all of those words as part of that definition. Notice I didn’t use the word ‘intended’. I used the word ‘plan’. So, it’s when you drink more than you planned.

So, what does this look like? It can look like you planned for one drink and you had three or four. Or maybe you planned for no drinks and you had even one, or four, or more. So, it’s when you didn’t drink according to your plan. Now, right out of the gate I want to say is if you are just starting this or if you just joined EpicYOU I strongly urge all the people to have a plan until they can trust themselves around alcohol. I found that that is by best way to undo this process of overdrinking.

And I have seen when people use the plan and when people don’t in their outcomes. Because when you have a plan and you do it the exact way I teach it inside of EpicYOU you’re accessing your highest self and what she wants. You’re not walking in the habit. You’re not walking in justification. You’re not walking in your excuses. You’re doing none of that. And it’s not like it’s not planned like you just walk into a party and you think to yourself well, I’ll only have two.

That’s not a full plan. That’s an intention. That’s just a number floating in your head. Now, you may be able to do that down the road again once you’ve mastered some of the skills in order to stay in control and trust yourself around alcohol. Yes, that day will come. But initially you’re probably not there yet. You’ve probably tried that and that has failed over and over again for you.

So, the way I teach to plan a full plan is much more in depth. You fill out the worksheets and you say, “Hey, this is when I’m having the drinks. This is how I will stay mindful. This is when I will stop.” And it’s just not a number, it’s much more than that. So, say you had your plan and you still went over. Now, there are two things that I see people do after they have a slip-up that makes it much more likely that they’ll have a slip-up again in the future.

And I really want you to pay attention and take notes on this episode or download the transcript. Because if you are doing one of these two things chances are you are not solving this overdrinking habit. Chances are you are not living your drink less lifestyle. So, the first thing that I see people do after they have a slip-up is they say, “Oh, my gosh, why do I keep doing this?” And they never answer that question. So, there are two things I want to point out to this.

And I call it really a flaw in how you’re managing this. So, two things from this is the way you ask it, it cannot be from a place of self-loathing and why is because the answers your brain will tell you will not be the truth. So, if you’re like, “Why do I keep doing this to myself?” This is what I commonly hear among women. And then the next thing that starts to spill out of their mouth are all the lies and all the untruths and not the real reason why they did it. I’ll hear, “I’m so weak. Gosh, I’m such a failure. Holy cow I’m such a loser, I can’t believe I did this to myself again.”

Now, maybe it’s that dramatic, that drastic and maybe it’s a slightly less negative flavor to that. But any answer that you come up with that is a knock to your character is not the real cause of the slip-up because I will tell you, you are not a loser. You are not a failure. You are not weak. I mean just think of the times where we are called to do things for our spouses, our kids, at work. We are powerful women. We are not weak. And you didn’t overdo it because you are weak, and you’re not a loser, and you’re not a failure.

And in fact, if you’re still trying to get over this overdrinking habit you are not failing, you just keep learning. Failure is when you give up completely and say, “I’m going to vote for addiction and that’s where I’m headed.” And you choose it. And I’m not going to learn how to cut back or how to abstain at all. That’s the only time you fail. So, a slip-up is a learning opportunity. And the reason you don’t want to bring in character flaws is because when you start to have that dialog with yourself even if it’s just inside your head, it starts to become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

So, when you think you’re a weak, or you’re a loser, or you’re a failure chances are in the future you’re going to feel weak and like a failure again and overdrink. So, you don’t want to increase your odds of a slip-up happening in the future if you can prevent that in the present. And that’s what I’m inviting you in to do, is to set yourself up with greater odds of this not happening in the future because we want to improve our odds at success. And the more times you are successful, the more times you realize what it takes to be successful.

So that means you have to start doing things that will create success now and in the future. So, when you ask yourself why you did it, really try to understand it and make sure your answers are not a reflection of some character flaw or defect. It’s not that you’re stupid. It’s not that you can’t change. It’s not that you are broken. It’s not that it has power over you. None of those are the actual reason you are choosing to drink. So, when you ask yourself this you want to ask from a place that you generally want to know what happened.

Talk to yourself in a loving, or at least a kind or neutral way. The best way I could describe that is in a way that you really want to know the answer without any level of embarrassment or shame, without any judgment towards yourself, without any hatred towards yourself. Now, I’ve worked with some women who literally cannot do this for themselves. They go right into judgment and they begin hating themselves that they can’t even do this process. And my friends if that is you, please go to somebody to get help so you can do this, or they can do it for you.

And this is why are people hire me. I help them with this process so they can understand themselves, so they can help themselves next time. Because if you don’t do this it’ll prevent your growth, it’ll prevent you from becoming that woman who can take it or leave it, or just totally leave it. Ladies, this is so important. If you can’t do this step it prevents you from learning about the wonderful and magnificent woman that you are. Even if you can’t see yourself that way I can and I can help you get to that root cause.

Because if you can’t do this you will stay stuck, it’ll keep you down and you won’t be able to bust on through. You’ll feel like you’re constantly fighting with yourself and that things are not improving. And I would do this to myself. I would do it over, and over, and over again, say, “Why can’t I change? Why can’t I change? Why can’t I change?” And what I want to invite you into is that you can change and it’s a skill you need to learn to be able to change. And so, this is a skill that many women need to develop because they have this judgy brain that keeps them stuck.

So, I want to take this out of the drinking context because sometimes we can see it much better outside of context. So, think about this, are you a boss and you have employees, maybe you’re a mom and you have kids? If you come to them and start judging them, “Why didn’t you get this done on time? Why didn’t you do your chores?” How do you think they will respond?

Do you think they’re going to respond lovingly, with an open mind, with a willingness to change? No, totally doubt it. They’re going to shut down. They’re going to get defensive. They’re going to tell you lies or at least not the whole truth. And they’re not going to want to open up and explore what is really going on for them. So, if you do this to yourself you’re going to shut down and you’re not going to be able to access the real reason.

Just as an example of this my daughter had a D, yes, the letter D in physical education just two days ago. And I said, “Honey, what’s going on for you in PE?” Notice I didn’t mention the D. I just said, “What’s going on for you in PE?” She said to me that she didn’t hand in this paper that she had to explain how to set in volleyball. She said, “I did all the work, it’s all on the piece of paper, I just didn’t hand it in.” I said, “Oh, okay. Well, now what? Are you keeping the D?” Notice, I didn’t judge her. I didn’t judge the D. I just asked her.

I was just really curious, a place of non-judgment. And she said, “No, I don’t like the D so I guess I’ll hand it in.” And that’s all it took. When I login in and see her scores, she’s back to an A in PE. Now, in my olden days before I learned about all these coaching skills and how I can apply them to drinking and then I applied them to parenting, and then I applied them to other areas of my life I would have attacked her because I wouldn’t know any better. I would have said, “Hey, what’s this D in PE? What’s going on here?”

And my words would have been tainted with judgment and how she’s defective, and how she’s not doing it right and get her act together. And I probably would have even said something beyond that like, “You need to email that teacher right now.” Because I’m all about getting instant gratification. I’m about fixing it right now. But the way I went about it would have been completely shutting her down and not inviting her to be in her power and for her to see how she can earn her grades.

It would have been on me, on mom, mom’s the one who gets it done. And that’s not how I want her brain to grow up thinking. I want her brain to be empowered to get the grades, the life and everything she wants. And that’s what I do with the ladies inside EpicYOU. It’s not about relying on me. It’s about relying on the skillset you are building so you get the life you want and the drinking relationship you want if you want one with alcohol, maybe you don’t.

So, when you’re doing this you can’t be judging yourself and it cannot be a knock on your character. Just look at the action that you took and ask yourself, “Why did I take that action?” Why did I have that extra drink? Why did I drink when I said and planned for none? This allows you to really understand why you drank because the problem is never the alcohol, the problem is why you are desiring it. And when we can change that desire you can be around alcohol all day long. So that’s the first part where people go wrong with a slip-up.

The second part that I see so commonly, so commonly, I almost see this on a daily basis is that they focus on the days of not drinking and nothing more. I have to tell you, I see this all the freaking time. People posting, “I screwed up, I drank last night. I have to start over, back to day one.” And this is how they handle a slip-up. That’s all they do, back to day one, back to counting days. Now, hear me, by all means count days if you want to count days. I’m not for counting days and I’m not against counting days.

But I will tell you, counting days is just a measure of success or not success. It doesn’t tell you how you got the success or how you were unsuccessful. It does not give any meaningful information other than you drank or you didn’t. And that’s where its usefulness stops. Now, if you drank and you say, “I’m back to day one”, you might have no idea why it is you overdrank. It’s not telling you anything. All is you know at this point is you’re back at day one.

And you know I hate it when women say, “I go back to day one.” You just pick up where you left off, that’s what you need to do. So, if you have no idea why you drank it’s likely you were going to repeat the same behavior. And I’ll tell you that then counting days for some people feels like jail time. I just have to get to 365 days. Or they say, “I just have to get the 30 days.” And then they move the marker and now it has to be 60 days. And they move the marker and now it has to be 90 days.

And they the marker and they’re at 365 days and they’re still counting days. They have given themself jail time and a sentence. And for some people that might be motivating, great, do it. For a lot of people that I talk with it feels demoralizing, it feels that they can’t trust themselves around alcohol ever. And all is they need to do is just keep counting days. And here’s the sad thing, when you ask, “Is your life improving?” They go, “Well, not really, I’m just not drinking.” Well, okay, I get it, you feel better and don’t have the hangovers but is your life amazing? Well, not really.

So, they’re not learning skills to make their life amazing. Or here’s what I see more commonly than that is people give up alcohol and they can’t deal with their life so they turn to something else like ice-cream, snacking, sugar, cookies and they put on weight. And so, they trade out a drinking problem for an overeating problem, or a snacking problem, or they’re buying stuff online all the time where they have this extra time because they’re not drinking.

And so, they trade out one disorder for another. And then a big party comes or a family gathering and there is alcohol, or a fight with their partner and boom, they go right back to drinking. Because they haven’t learned what caused it and how else to solve for it instead of using alcohol. So, it’s like if you take your hands and you cup them and you put them over your ears and you go, “La la la la I don’t know why had a slip-up, la la la, I’m just counting days, la la la and I expect it not to happen again, la la la la.”

It’s like I don’t know what caused the slip-up and I’m not willing to find out. And I’m just going to start over by counting days. And I’m laughing because so many people do this and they think it’s going to change them in the future. And in all the training I have done I have learned that this cycle just repeats itself. And I found it just repeated itself in my own life.

So, I have to share that I’m involved in this addiction support group. I’m one of the coaches that helps the people in the program. And so, this is not my program, this is somebody else’s program. And one of the people was talking about how they go 30 days and then they have a slip, go 30 days and have a slip-up. And they keep falling off the cliff. This is how this gentleman kept describing his drinking, “I keep falling off the cliff.”

So, in this room there were multiple coaches, multiple people were talking and it wasn’t until he really addressed and we really had to impress upon him, “You have to break this cycle by knowing why it is you slipped and went off the cliff.” And he’s like, “People have just been telling me to count days and stay away from it. I didn’t realize there was more to the process.” So that’s what I’m saying here. There is more to the process. You can count days, fine, great. And you can be away from alcohol, not buy it, not have it in your house, great.

However, what happens when you’re at a party? What happens when you are around alcohol? So, there’s more to the process to prevent a future slip-up. And when he did that work he was like, “Yes, I don’t have as many slip-ups now. This is amazing. Why haven’t people told me this before?” So please, please learn. Learn from others, learn from him, learn from this podcast. You really have to get under what is causing the slip-ups.

And I have a whole assessment on this for my ladies in the program. It’s a whole module. It’s a whole course talking about how to handle slip-ups. And that is all available inside EpicYOU. And for some people we have to do this work together because they cannot do it on their own and I get that. So, I help them understand. I help them be able to address any fear or any negative emotions that come up. And we learn why this is happening. And when we learn why it’s happening then we come up with solutions for this not to happen in the future.

So again, I love taking things out of context because you can sometimes see it when it’s out of context better. So, think about you have pain in your body. And you’re like, “I have pain, I want to get rid of this pain so I’m going to take a Motrin or a Tylenol.” Well, when you go to the doctor they will say, “Where is your pain?” They will ask you to describe the pain. Is it stabbing, burning, dull? They will ask about the intensity of the pain on a zero to 10 scale. They will ask you, “Where is the pain located?”

If the pain is in the head we would call that a headache. If the pain is in the stomach as a doctor we might be thinking, that might be GI upset, that might be GERD, that might be stress ulcer. There might be something going on there. Or if we have pain that’s in our shoulder, or our arm, or around our heart, we might be thinking, maybe that’s a sign of a heart attack. So just because you have pain we have to know a lot more about it to be able to fully diagnose how best to treat the pain.

Because we are not going to want to give Tylenol or Motrin when somebody has a GI bleed or GERD. That’s not going to help the pain. That’s not going to resolve the issue going on. And if it’s a heart attack we’re going to switch to aspirin. we know aspirin is going to be the drug of choice plus other agents. So, when you take alcohol, why? What’s going on for you? Is it pain? Where is the pain? What’s the pain from? Is it trauma? Is it sadness? Is it emotions or is it joy?

Maybe it’s not even painful, maybe it’s joy. Maybe it’s because of a fight you had. We have to really understand what’s going on for you that you went and chose alcohol as your pain agent of choice. Because that’s a learned behavior. And I talked about this before on the podcast. When we drink as our solution it’s a learned behavior. And what I love about learned behaviors is you can teach your brain to unlearn them. We didn’t come out of the womb wanting alcohol. We came out not wanting alcohol.

We learned how alcohol helps us, therefore creating our own desire for more of it. So that’s why I have the ladies fill out this assessment. It’s going to help us diagnose why the slip-up happened. It’s the same reason a doctor asks multiple questions about pain, because we have to understand what’s causing the pain, just like we have to understand what’s causing the slip-up. It’s not the alcohol causing the slip-up. That is not the problem. That is the solution. So, we really need to understand what is causing us to want the alcohol.

Now, when you can identify that, now we have gold to work with. We know what the cause is, so now we can create solutions. Now we can solve for it without using alcohol just like if we knew that pain was caused by an infection from H. pylori we would not be choosing Motrin and we would not be choosing Tylenol. We would put the patient on an H. pylori regiment which included antibiotics, a PPI because we would want to eradicate and heal the pain point which is in the gut, which is in their stomach.

So, when you have the proper diagnosis then you could come up with the proper solution. So, bringing it back to you if you have slip-ups, what caused the slip-up? It wasn’t the alcohol. Alcohol is how you responded to what was going on inside of you. So, we can’t treat all slip-ups the same way. Do you see this? We don’t treat all pain the same way. Some gets morphine, some get Tylenol, some get neither. So, you can’t treat all forms of pain the same way just like you can’t treat all forms of slip-up the same way.

You need to know what caused the slip-up and what caused the drinking. This requires you to go deeper into why it is you drink? And if we don’t go deeper, the thing is this learned behavior will not go away. The next time you find this type of pain, this type of joy, this type of whatever, you will want to go to alcohol because we didn’t heal, or clear up, or give you a different coping mechanism to handle whatever it is that was going on for you.

So, as you’re looking back and reflecting on your slip-ups, ask yourself if you’re doing one of these two things which is a total disservice to yourself. This will not bring you closer to finding your answer and your solution. And I’ll tell you my friends, you get one life to live and I want you to live it to the fullest. And overdrinking prevents us from living at our highest potential. It causes us to underlive, to not go after things, to feel worse about ourselves.

And as I did a podcast on this before, overdrinking causes underliving. So next time you have a slip-up, and feel free to use my definition, when I started this podcast I really love that definition of what a slip-up is. Dive into why it happened for you. What was going on for you? Why did you desire the alcohol? And how can you prevent that in the future? What skills do you need to learn? What skills do you need to develop? What tools do you need in your toolbox? Because this is how you change the pattern for good my friends.

And if you want to change the pattern for good you have to do this work, it does not magically clear up. And EpicYOU can help you stop overdrinking and live healthier more confidently around alcohol, around food. And you can apply these tools to many other areas of your life. This is why I call it EpicYOU, to get you epic and be your epic self. And so, you can live your amazing life. Alright my friends, I love you all so much 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 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.

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