This week, I talk about how I define it. And I share how most of what we hear around us in society can make us think it’s not obtainable. You may hear statements like, “Once an addict, always an addict?” or “There are starving children in the world, so finish everything on your plate.” Or even the simple-sounding message that alcohol companies give us, “Drink responsibly…”
Messaging we receive can be downright damaging and it could be impeding us from reaching our life goals. Notice what messaging you were fed to believe and question if it could be the very thing holding you back from living your very own Drink Less Lifestyle.
You are listening to the Drink Less Lifestyle Podcast with Dr. Sherry Price, episode number 53.
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 friends, I have missed you. It’s been a while since I recorded a podcast. I recently had this most romantic and lovely vacation to Italy. And so, I batched a bunch of podcasts before I left and now I am back. If you follow me on Instagram you will see some of the amazing photos from our trip. It was so delightful. We spared no expense and were completely indulgent and it was so wonderful. Fine dining, fine cocktails, private boats. It was the whole shebang.
And if you don’t follow me on Instagram, we went to the Amalfi coast. We stayed in Positano and headed over to Capri for a few days. It was just what we wanted for our marriage and we had this most amazing connection time. And it was nice to be away from all the home responsibilities, and problems, and issues, and everything. So super fun and we knew we wanted to create this amazing vacation because we were results oriented.
So go back and listen to that podcast. I know so many of you have reached out and said how much that’s resonated because you think you’ve been focusing too much on the time and effort. And really when we focus on the results that we can create such amazing and transformative change in a shorter period of time. It doesn’t always have to relate to time and effort. So, we wanted to have this amazing vacation and so we created that result. And I have to tell you, it was pretty epic.
So, I want to share with you a couple of points of the trip. We went to this bar top, watched this beautiful sunset and ordered the most expensive cocktail on the menu. Later on in the week we went to this beautiful restaurant.
It reminded me actually of the Hotel Del Coronado here in San Diego, so elegant, romantic. And there I decided to also order the most expensive cocktail. And that has to be the most I’ve ever spent on a cocktail. It was €30. And I just had to try it because I’m like, “This is crazy that they would charge that much.” And I have to tell you it was well made, delightful, savory, loved every sip of it. And if you’ve been through my photos you know that we had a boat. And on the boat we had some champagne and that was fun too.
So, I’m sharing all this with you because I am living my definition of a drink less lifestyle. It’s where you can have alcohol in a way that satisfies you without any negative consequences. You don’t have to avoid it. You don’t have to overconsume it, there’s not this negative connotation around it. You get to enjoy it when you have it and you just don’t desire a ton of it. And I have to tell you, years ago I didn’t think that this was possible for me because I was overdrinking every day.
And when I look back at my daily overdrinking habit, it was so many reasons I was doing it. I was doing it to numb out of my life. I was doing it for the buzz. I was drinking to run away from my feelings. I was drinking because I didn’t know how to handle my life and the stress in my life. I was drinking because everybody else around me was drinking. I was drinking because you know what? I didn’t even know why I was drinking some of the times.
And when you’re drinking for all these reasons, of course it’s going to lead to overdrinking. And it feels terrible because you know better. You know the statistics. You know it’s not healthy. And really you’re not sticking to your goals and that feels awful. It’s like you don’t show up and stick to the word that you promised yourself so you lose integrity, self-integrity. And I remember feeling like I just couldn’t get a handle on my drinking. And I want to tell you clearly that I was wrong. I could, I just didn’t have the tools and the skills.
And I’m so thankful that I got coaches in my life and I invested in programs where I learned the tools to learn how to be in control. Because here’s the thing ladies, no one teaches us the skills to be able to handle alcohol confidently and with control. And actually, if you look at society, they tell us the direct opposite message, that we can’t control our alcohol. Think of all the statements that we hear around alcohol. Once it’s a problem, abstinence is the only way. Yes, abstinence is a way but it’s not the only way.
Some people can learn tools to be in control and confident around alcohol. Here’s another thing we are told by the alcohol companies, nonetheless, please drink responsibly. Okay, that’s just an empty statement. They don’t tell us how to drink responsibly. It’s like somehow we already know how to do that. We don’t, because we are not taught the skills on how to drink responsibly. And what does that even mean?
We have another organization that helps us clarify what that could mean, don’t drink and drive. But you can handle alcohol irresponsibly without the car. So, there’s so much more to handling it responsibly without just operating a car. But nobody tells us how to do that so it’s like an empty message or an empty slogan.
It’s like saying, “Don’t get pregnant while having sex.” Well, that’s great but how do I do that? What are the steps I need to take in order to not get pregnant? Then that’s telling you the how. That’s not just telling you what you need to do, but it’s telling you how to do it and how to get that. So, I just don’t like this empty slogan or this empty message, drink responsibly. And of course, everybody’s going to handle alcohol differently. So, you have to learn what responsible means to you.
And then we hear things like once an addict always an addict. That’s totally not true. Look at all the people that give up smoking, or gambling, or overspending, or stop video gaming so much. There’s a wide variety of things that people they once did, they don’t do it anymore. I mean I have plenty of examples in my life.
I’ve shared with you in the past that how I’ve been QVC over-shopper, over-spender. I’d buy things and they would just sit in the boxes unused, untouched. I just got the dopamine hit of ordering them. I don’t do that anymore. I got to the root cause of why I was doing that and then just stopped.
Another example in my life is I used to yell and scream all the time as mom. I thought the louder I screamed and the more outrageous I was, the more people would listen to me. I’d smash dishes on my floor. I’d throw things at the wall. And here I was doing it because it felt good. It was my dopamine hit. It felt good to get out that anger. Now, people would probably just say, “Hey, stop yelling.” Well, that’s great, that’s the outcome you want but what is the skills that I need in order to stop yelling? How else am I going to handle this anger that’s boiling up inside of me?
I needed tools. I needed skills. And then I took an anger management class. Guess what? I’ve learned the tools. I’ve learned the skills. And now I hardly yell. You know what now? It doesn’t even feel good to get angry like it used to because I’ve retrained my brain with these skills and now it feels better to use these other skills and tools that I’ve learned instead of yelling. It’s the same thing with drinking. A lot of the skills I learned in the anger management program were the skills I learned to stop overdrinking.
How to cope with your emotions. What to do when you feel stressed. What to do when you’re not feeling heard. These are skills that you learn to do so that you don’t take these other behaviors or these other actions. But telling me, “Just stop yelling”, telling somebody, “Just stop drinking”, doesn’t help. It’s not giving you the tools and the skills on what to do instead. And look at another message we get from society.
We are told that we can’t control alcohol. And think about that. If somebody tells you, you can’t control something how does that leave you feeling? Hopeless, powerless. It’s like I can’t figure this out, I must be broken, something’s wrong with me. That’s totally untrue. You can control what goes into your body. You can control the amount of food you eat. You can control the amount of alcohol you take in. You can control who you have sex with. Of course, there is exceptions like rape. But generally, you’re giving consent to what is allowed to enter your body or you’re not.
Now, I’ve worked with women who have had eating disorders, whether they’re binge eaters, or bulimics, or anorexia. And they go on and tell me, in the past they’ve been to treatment centers or hospitalizations where they’re told they are powerless, that they can’t control it. And as soon as we work on that and we’re talking about how you can control it, and here are the skills you need to implement to control it, oh my gosh, they feel hopeful and they now see that they can control it. And now they have their power back. We should never strip somebody of their power.
People can learn skills to do things. And that’s what it takes. Maybe you didn’t know how to do your job but now you’ve learned the skills and the tools to be able to do your job. So, if you see, the problem isn’t that you can’t have control because you can. It’s now that you just have to learn to have the skills and the tools to execute that control.
And so, I mentioned that we had a bottle of champagne on the boat one of the days. And I had one glass of champagne from that whole bottle. It was fun, it was delightful, it felt elegant and romantic, it added to the experience. And I didn’t want another glass after that one glass. I didn’t want to be cloudy, or hazy, or numbed, or buzzed because it was a gorgeous day on the water and I was connecting with my husband who I love so dearly. It was amazing. And if I drank too much I’d want a nap and I didn’t want to do that.
And I’m telling you all this because I know the consequences of having too much alcohol. But this was not actually going on in my brain on that day. I just felt like one glass, I had it and that was the end of the mental chatter because I was satisfied. I was loving the life that I was living right then in the moment so I didn’t need more. And this is a skillset you learn. And because I’ve learned that I now feel satisfied after one glass. I don’t mindlessly drink now. I tune into my body and I know exactly what feels good for my body and I stop after it stops feeling good.
Think about that, we have that system that we come programmed with from birth. Think about when you come into this world. You have a baby then enters this world, when it gets hungry, what does it do? It cries. And then we give the baby, food. The baby gets food, whether it’s breast milk, bottle milk, the baby gets fed. And what does the baby do? It stops sucking when it’s full. It knows when it’s full so it ends the eating process because it’s satisfied. It gets the internal cues that say, hey, now we’re full, we don’t need to keep eating.
Now, the problem is we are conditioned by society as we grow up to not listen to our internal cues. We’re told other things to listen to. We are told other stories that basically override our internal knowing of when to stop. So, for instance, think about a mom who’s feeding their toddler that they’ve now transitioned to baby food. So, whether they made it in a blender or they’re using canned, baby jar food, they make a certain amount or the jar comes with a certain amount and you give the baby the food.
Oftentimes what happens is the last three scoops let’s say of the baby food that’s left, the baby starts turning its head left and right and saying, “No, I don’t want anymore.” And the infant’s like, “No, I’m full, I don’t want anymore.” So, you try feeding it and it lands on the cheek or it lands on the bib. And you get frustrated because the baby’s signaling to you, I am full. But you have in your mind as the mom or the parent that I need to finish these three last spoonful’s of baby food.
So now that you’re trying to make this infant eat more food than it wants, what are you telling the infant? To override your hunger signals and eat because I’m telling you to eat, not because you’re hungry. And then we get more cues throughout life. How many of us grew up where we were told, “You’ve got to finish everything that’s on your plate?” So regardless if you’re hungry or not, you need to sit there and finish your meal. How many of us had to sit there at the table until we finished our peas or our carrots? And we might have sat there half hour or 45 minutes.
And we’re told to finish our food because the adult thinks you need to eat all that. But think about your hunger. Your hunger is not the same each and every single day. Some days you’re more hungry, some days you’re less hungry. Sometimes when it’s really hot out, I’m not very hungry. I’m more thirsty than I am hungry. I can’t eat when it’s baking in the sun. So that influences our hunger. Think about infants and toddlers, when they’re in a growth spurt, they eat a lot, just like teenagers. When they’re not in a growth spurt, they don’t eat a lot.
So as an adult it makes sense that their hunger level is going to fluctuate. So why do we force the same amount of food despite their hunger? So now the child grows up, and many of us have grown up, that we need to finish what’s on our plate. We need to clean our plate. And then we might add an extra dose onto that saying, “If you don’t finish your plate, that shows the chef you didn’t really like it”, or, “If you don’t finish your plate that shows you don’t really respect what I cooked.”
Now we add on another level of guilt and shame to not finishing the food. So not only are the kids told, “You should be eating when you’re not hungry.” Now they have an emotional component associated with that. Now I’m a bad person because I’m not hungry and mom thinks I am hungry. So just think of all this conditioning we get. Another one was, at least it was for me, is not to waste food. I grew up when we had those commercials and I know they’re probably still running about, hey, there’s people starving in Africa, or Ethiopia and so we can’t waste food.
But if we wasted our food or we didn’t waste our food the hunger that’s happening in other countries is still going to be there. So why are we confusing and conflating the two and making it sound like cause and effect when it’s not, or that it has correlation or influence when it doesn’t? They’re two separate issues.
So now we’re adding more shame and more guilt about not finishing a meal and so again we’re conditioning humans to not listen to their internal process going on, and if they’re hungry or not hungry we’re telling them to ignore that and do what I say. Become people pleasers, do what I say. Listen to the external world to understand how you should be internally. And when they don’t match, the kids are really confused. It’s like, why do I have to eat when I’m not hungry?
And if this didn’t lead to a big problem we wouldn’t be talking about it, but it leads to a tremendously deadly problem. Being overweight, when you are overweight like 60% or more of Americans, when you’re overweight it’s going to lead to chronic conditions, chronic illnesses, cardiovascular disease. You shorten somebody’s lifespan, you shorten somebody’s quality of life. This is deadly to be teaching this. But yet generations keep going on and we keep teaching our kids the same way.
Really we have to wake-up to society’s messaging because it’s not helping us and it’s killing us. So, this is around food but think of how many people translate that to alcohol. Once I open a bottle of wine I’ve got to finish it all because I’m told, I had to clean my plate so I need to finish the whole bottle of wine because I can’t waste. Wasting is bad, people are starving. Waste the alcohol please, it’s killing you. It’s destroying relationships. It’s ruining your life. Yes, waste is a good thing but we’re told it’s not.
Now, I’m not saying buy it and have a sip and waste. Maybe you should even contemplate if you should be buying it at all. But certainly, to say waste, we waste all the time. We waste money. We waste time. We waste food. We waste alcohol. And that’s not impacting as we think it is directly on the bigger issues. The bigger issues need to be solved by different mechanisms, not by waste. So, it’s so interesting that we’re fed these sentences. We’re fed these thoughts. And we continue to live them out and these thoughts are the thoughts that are killing us.
Now, I know it’s well-meaning and it’s not to say, “Hey, I didn’t know this was happening.” But once you know that this is happening. Once you know that that’s the conditioning, don’t ignore the information, use the information to say, “Whoa, I’m not going to do that in my household.” I’m going to stop thinking that way for myself. I’m going to stop doing that in my household, just like we stopped in our household. We don’t make our daughter finish her meal just because it’s in front of her. She gets to eat when she’s hungry and she stops when she’s full.
And a lot of us look to societal cues about when to drink, not only when to eat but when to drink. My coworker’s getting an extra drink and he offered me one. I should go along. Really? Your coworker’s male and he’s twice the weight you are. You don’t need to go drink for drink to that person because they have a different dynamic with the alcohol. They’re going to metabolize it differently, they weigh more. We might be thinking that way with our spouse. Our spouse is pouring another drink so let me pour one too. That’s an external cue telling you when to drink.
What is your body telling you about another drink? Many of us don’t even tune in. I knew on that boat one drink would satisfy, I had it and I didn’t even drink the last sip, I just left it, I didn’t want it. I was done, I was satisfied.
Here’s another thing a lot of people do, they think the party is six to ten at night, I get to start drinking at six and I won’t stop till ten. So again, another external factor that we’re putting in our mind that means I’m giving myself permission to drink for four hours. When in reality it has no relevance. You wouldn’t go to that party and say, “I’m going to eat for the entire four hours, or smoke for the entire four hours”, or whatever thing it is. You might not even be connecting and conversing for the entire four hours.
There’s bathroom breaks, there’s times of silence, there’s times when you’re moving from person to person so you’re not connecting during those times. And here’s another thing, maybe you don’t even want to stay for the whole four hours. But it’s so interesting to me when I hear people saying, “Oh yes, I’m going to the party so I’ll be drinking for the four hours.” But you’re conflating the two, they don’t need to be conflated, they are separate instances. They are separate things going on.
Just because a party is four hours doesn’t mean you give yourself permission if you don’t want to, to drink for those for hours. And again, it’s turning to the external to tell you how you feel about the alcohol, not the internal. So, for me when we had this boating excursion, we got on the boat at 10:00am, we popped open the champagne around noon with our lunch. I had a glass and then I didn’t touch it, one glass and that was it. We were on the boat till four but it’s not like I felt I needed to keep drinking until 4 o’clock.
Just because I’m on a boat doesn’t mean I need to be drinking and it doesn’t mean I need to abstain either. It means I tune into my body and I drink until I’m satisfied and then I stop. And I have trained myself to be satisfied with very little. It’s a skillset. And I see many, many, many women fall detriment to this. They think, once I start drinking I can’t stop. And I see it in my free Facebook group a lot.
And here’s what I think hurts people is when we provide too much sympathy and empathy. Now, I’m not saying not to be sympathetic and empathetic. But here’s the thing, when you see a post like that, people say, “Yeah, me too, yeah, me too, that’s been like me for years, that’s been like me for years. Once I get started I can’t stop either.” Or, “I can’t do it with wine but I could do it with beer or vice versa.” Well, if you have the skillset with one liquid you can learn the skillset with another.
And when you have too much empathy and we just play out the empathy piece, you know what we’re telling people? “Yeah, I have that too.” But we’re not helping them out of their misery or out of their pain point. So, I like to be empathetic but I also like to help people solve the problem.
And a lot of us may even further by enter this concept because we hear taglines like from Lays potato chips, you can’t have just one. Of course, Lays would love you to think that way because it wants to sell more potato chips but what if you are just satisfied with one potato chip? You wouldn’t want more if you were satisfied. And when I had one drink it totally satisfied me and I just loved having one.
And when you tell yourself the story that you can’t stop after one, guess what you’re going to find? Yeah, you’re going to find that you can’t stop. And then I know a lot of women that punish themselves and go, “Why does this keep happening?” Or they workout at the gym more to try to get the calories off and so they’re punishing themselves in that way. What about prevention? What about learning the skills and the tools so that doesn’t happen or rarely happens?
And I think it’s much easier to learn the skills and invest your time in preventing the problem rather than spending hours looking at your ruins and bruises and punishing yourself for the problem. That only makes you feel like a bad person.
It’s like if you went on a hike and you walked by poison ivy and you got poison ivy then you go home and you have to treat it and cure it and heal that poison ivy. Well, if that happened most likely you would choose a different trail to hike next time. Because if you choose the same trail and you come across the poison ivy and touch the plant you could get poison ivy again. So, you’re back in the cycle of here I am treating the poison ivy when why don’t we just prevent getting poison ivy in the first place?
It’s the same thing with overdrinking, let’s prevent that from happening rather than worrying about treating the hangover, treating how you feel the next day. And I’ll tell you, our whole healthcare system here in America is based on treatment. Your insurance doesn’t kick in or cover procedures or medication until you’re a high risk or you actually have the disease. We’re all about treatment but we’re not really about prevention. But prevention is where it’s at. Instead of dealing with the pain problem for longer, and longer, and longer, let’s just nip it in the bud and stop the pain from coming.
So, for instance I gained a couple of pounds while I was in Italy. I wanted to eat what I wanted. I didn’t want to worry about any rules. I wanted to have pasta and bread. And that’s what I created. So, my weight will fluctuate. No big deal. But now that I have these extra pounds and I tell my girl friends and they say, “That’s not so bad, it’ll come off. That’s alright, it’s not so bad, it’s just five pounds.”
But saying that and providing me that level of sympathy or empathy like, “It’s okay it’s only a couple of drinks, two or three drinks. You don’t have that much of a problem.” Really starts to make me think it isn’t a problem and it doesn’t motivate me to get the pounds off. I will never tell my girl friends that. If somebody comes to me and says, “I have five pounds that I want to lose.” I say, “Great, how are you going to do it? What are you doing?”
I don’t want to commiserate with somebody and leave them there in their pain. I’d rather move them out of their pain. I’d rather solve their pain point. And so that’s what I mean by too much empathy going around. It’s like, two to three drinks, this is a problem for you each night? Great, let’s solve it. Rather than masking over it and thinking it shouldn’t be a problem, I do that too, and normalizing it. Because your body will tell you signals and will tell you signals that hey, this is too much. Even if it’s just two drinks, it’s too much.
So, I always love to deliver empathy with a solution, empathy with problem solving modalities. Because those five to seven pounds if they’re not taken care of guess what they become? Yeah, 10 to 20, 20 to 30, 30 to 40. And then you start getting used to being at that weight to the point your body’s accepting it. And your body also starts to think, your brain starts to think I probably can’t lose this, this has been on my body for the past year, two years, three years, whatever it is. But stop believing that.
You can lose weight at any point in time, whether it’s five pounds, whether it’s 35 pounds. You can break an overdrinking habit at any point in time whether it’s two drinks a night, or a bottle, or whatever it is. If it’s causing you concern it’s a problem. Let’s not sweep it under the rug, or put our head in the sand, or just say, “Oh, I have that too. Let’s sit in our pain and commiserate together.” Yeah, misery loves company but it doesn’t solve the misery. Let’s solve the mystery.
And that’s what I love to do is to help women with these skills and these tools to get the life and the lifestyle you want. Because when you learn to drink less with confidence and control, that’s what creates freedom. Same thing with your weight, how do you lose weight? It’s not by always following a specific meal plan if that meal plan does not fit into your lifestyle. You have to first define your life and your lifestyle and what you want. And then you find a meal plan that supports that, that will also lead to weight loss.
And this is why so many people when they come to me, they’ve tried so many other things. There’s a lady in my program right now who she’s used the app, Cutback Coach and she’s used some other apps to try to reduce her drinking and they’re not working for her because they’re missing big pieces of the puzzle like what is the root cause of her drinking. When we started to uncover that her drinking started to lessen.
Also, those apps don’t teach you the skills. They just tell you to count the drinks. They’re not teaching you skills and tools to manage what’s causing the drinking. And also, it doesn’t take into account the lifestyle you want to live. It’s solely just focused on the alcohol. And when you focus solely on the alcohol, guess what? That expands your desire. What you focus on, expands. This is why we want to create a lifestyle and how does alcohol play into that? Alcohol is always secondary, tertiary, non-important to the lifestyle that you want to create.
And as I put together my new program that I launched this year as Epic You, I have a better understanding of how to create that life that you want without apologies. And it’s without society influencing how you think about success. Because society’s definition of success left me feeling unfulfilled and unsatisfied. So, when I began defining what I wanted, what I wanted to create in my life I became results focused. And boom, things started to radically transform in my life.
And that’s one thing that’s actually bubbled to the surface for me in doing this work. I wanted to create romantic vacations with my husband. Now, they don’t always have to be as glamorous as they were but I wanted that connection time with him. And I didn’t want to wait for retirement. Whereas a lot of people, that’s what they do, they keep saving, saving, saving and in retirement they’ll go. Or what I hear a lot of people say is, “When the kids leave the house then I will do these things with my husband.”
But I didn’t want to put it off. I didn’t want to wait till retirement. I didn’t want to wait till our daughter is fully grown and out of the house. I want to enjoy him now. I want to enjoy us now. I wanted to prioritize that now. And for me it looked like getting away. Now, here’s the thing, some of my friends, when we were telling them this and say, “Hey, can you watch our house and look for things?” And have a backup number to the person who’s caring for our daughter. They totally didn’t understand why we would leave our daughter behind. They just didn’t get it.
And I didn’t expect them to, it’s not their life, it’s my life. I get to create it the way I want it and live it the way I want it. And when I live it by other people’s rules, it doesn’t feel good because I don’t feel like I’m living my authentic life. I don’t feel like I’m living with integrity and the way I want to be doing life. And when you’re living by other people’s rules it can kind of feel stifling and unfulfilling. And that’s why I love these tools. I love helping women create the life that they love. And I have ways that I can help you do just that.
Inside Drink Less Lifestyle you will learn the tools and skills you need to have an amazing life with or without alcohol. You won’t feel like you need it or desire it constantly, or even be thinking about it each day. You’ll learn confidence and control which leads to freedom. And you get my help along the entire way until we reach your goal. And right now, anyone who enrolls in Drink Less Lifestyle, they will get access to my other program called Epic You.
Now, Epic You is a separate program, I’ve talked about it before on the podcast. And it’s where you learn the tools that improve the quality of your life. It’s where you learn the self-improvement tools to become your best version of you. And each month we break down a different topic. And for October we will be focusing on how to set effective boundaries. Because here’s what I find, most people are doing it wrong.
Most people put the burden and the onus of the boundary on the other person. But that leaves you feeling powerless and dependent on that other person. Instead, what you’ll learn is to set effective boundaries, which means they come from a powerful place where you have control over the outcome. And if you need help setting effective boundaries in your life, come on and join us inside Epic You this month. So, I will put the links to these programs in the show notes so you can check them out.
Okay my lovely ladies, so good to be back with you and I can’t wait to see you next week. Ciao.
Thanks for listening to the Drink Less Lifestyle. If you’re ready to change your relationship with alcohol, check out my free guide, How to Effectively Break the Overdrinking Habit at sherryprice.com/startnow. That’s sherryprice.com/startnow. I’ll see you next week.