This is especially true when it comes to changing your drinking.
Evolving into that next version of you REQUIRES that you step away from your old relationship with alcohol. And it’s actually the change you want!
If it’s the change we are seeking, why are we fraught with discomfort? This episode will help you get to the place of leaving your drinking past behind…so you can be free.
You are listening to the Drink Less Lifestyle Podcast with Dr. Sherry Price, episode number 58.
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 friends, welcome to another episode of the Drink Less Lifestyle podcast. If this is your first time joining us, welcome, and if not, welcome back, so glad you are here. So, I want to start right in this week and talk about an email that I got.
I am on the email list for Seth Godin, I really admire his work, I enjoy his books. I haven’t read all of them, but I enjoy a lot of his thinking. And his blog is filled with so much great information. So, I want to start off by reading one of his blogs that he wrote, just a few sentences because it really hit me, and I want to expand upon why it hit me so deeply.
So the title of it is What Will You Leave Behind? 20 years from now you will have new skills, new customers, a new title and a new kind of leverage. All of this forward motion requires a less celebrated element, all of the things you are not doing any longer. To get a new job you’ll need to leave the old one behind. When you have a child, you’ve initiated a process that leads to an adult. Often, we try to pretend that growth comes with no goodbyes, but it does. Perhaps we can go in with our eyes open, understand that what we begin will likely end and when we plan for it we’ll do it better.
I loved this so much, so much. And I want to tune into this part where he says, often we try to pretend that growth comes with no goodbyes, but it does. Just like when he says when you get a new job, you’ll have to say goodbye to the old job. You have to leave behind something when you welcome something new into your life.
And sometimes when we say goodbye to things it’s a welcoming goodbye, like good riddance, we’re glad it’s gone. It could be like an old clunker or a junker of a car or some car that just wasn’t working and we’re just so delighted to get a new car or a new work car that works. Or maybe you can reflect back to maybe some of the first jobs you had, whether it was in high school, or throughout college and you just got a job because you needed to earn some cash over the summers or the holidays. But these weren’t the jobs you thought you would be in lifelong.
One for me was I was working as a deli worker in a supermarket and wearing the hair bonnet, and the white apron, and just smelling like lunchmeat all day long. And learning what customers like and what they didn’t like, and what extra thin meant to one customer was something different for somebody else. Saying that they wanted their ham, or their turkey sliced thinly, just meant different things to different people. And it was never a job that I imagined myself doing for the rest of my life, thankfully.
So when the summer was over, I was grateful to walk away from that job, hardly any heartfelt goodbyes, it was just like bye. But then there are so many times when we say goodbye to things and even though we’re pursuing and we know that they’re temporary, or they’re on the step or on the path to getting to where we want to go. So it’s a necessary step but it’s not the final step. It’s just one of the steps where we want to go but it still comes a time when we have to say goodbye to that step, and it could be a little unnerving.
I remember before we moved to where we live now, we rented a house in San Diego. And we knew it wasn’t going to be the house we were going to live in long term. We were renting, it was kind of that steppingstone to get us to the house that we wanted when we decided that it was the right time to jump in and where we wanted to be as newer parents. But that house that we lived in and rented had so many positive moments. When we left it, we just reflected on how much had happened at that house.
Our daughter took her first steps in that house. She met one of her best friends she’s still a best friend with now, in that house who lived just up the street. I was running my business and I remember fulfilling orders and packaging all these books that we sold. And just packaging them up for hours in our garage. Loading our cars up, running multiple trips to the post office before we were like, “This is getting to be a big deal, maybe we should offload this to Amazon.”
And we had a weekend there where we couldn’t keep up with the orders. We had a hire help to help us package up these books that were just selling like hotcakes out of our garage. It was wild. And we just kept running trips to the post office. And that business of mine that just boomed and blossomed happened in that house. So although we knew it was just a temporary place to be, when it came time to say goodbye there was just so many lovely memories, and moments, and experiences that we had in that house.
So I love it when he says, “What will you leave behind.” Because even though we knew we were going to move on and there was going to be another place that we would be living, it was like, but we’re going to be leaving this place behind. And of course we were willing to because that’s what it means when you evolve. When you evolve to the next phase of your life, or to the next step in your life, or to the next chapter of your life, or to the next version of you that you want to be, it does come with leaving something behind, it does come with some goodbyes.
And I just think of this as how it’s related to a drinking habit. Many of us have a way that we are used to being around alcohol. We have a certain pattern with it, we have a certain relationship to it. It could be that you have a binge relationship with it, or you call yourself a weekend warrior because you overdo it just on weekends. Or you have this relationship that you feel once you start you can’t stop.
Or maybe you have this willpower relationship with it where you restrict, you restrict until you can’t restrict anymore and that causes you to cave and then have absolutely no control. Or some people have a problem with it only at home, but they have no problem maintaining control when they’re out and about, especially if they’re operating a car. And some people it’s the vice versa. They have no problems restraining or being in control of it when they’re at home. But when they go out with others, they just don’t know what happens, they just keep drinking.
Or maybe you’re like me and you just do it most nights of the week and that was my pattern for years, for decades. I know I’ve worked with some women who they feel that they are the alcohol encourager when they’re out. When they show up with their friends, they are the ones that are going and charging the bar when they walk into a restaurant or wherever the friends are meeting up. It’s like, “Okay, what are we drinking, ladies?”
Or they’re the ones buying the next round or they’re the ones suggesting the next round, or they’re the ones that go to the bar whenever they go out, whenever they’re at a social event. The bar is the first thing they stop at. So that’s the relationship to alcohol, that’s the current relationship. So we have this certain way of behaving around it. And here’s the thing, if you want to be different around it, if you want to follow a drink less lifestyle where you’re imbibing less, you’re fully in control of it, you will have to experience your own form of goodbyes.
Because this is what’s required when you evolve to the next version of you, when you evolve your relationship with alcohol it requires that you step away from your old relationship to it. Just like if you think about a snake, they grow out of their skin to develop a new skin and turtles do that. They move shells or hermit crabs, or they just shed this old version of them so they could step into that new version, just like I did on a podcast a few episodes ago talking about stepping into that future self.
And it’s something we talk a lot about inside Drink Less Lifestyle because a lot of us really find it difficult to navigate into this new version because we’re not addressing saying goodbye to that old version. And there is some uncomfortableness that comes with that. And yes, drinking less is hard when you’re going through it alone and you have questions and people around you that may not understand why it’s so hard, especially if they haven’t been there or haven’t had the habit themselves.
And so when you are behaving differently around alcohol than you used to, you do get a sense that something is off, that something is different. I guess this is now how life is. And just because it feels unique, or different, or a bit awkward, it doesn’t mean that that’s going to last. You’re just in that phase of moving from one version of you to a new version of you. And that period of change will feel a little uncomfortable because here’s the thing, the brain likes what is familiar, that feels safe to the brain.
And so when you’re moving to this place where you’re changing the relationship, when you’re changing the pattern that you may have had for decades it’s going to feel unfamiliar and a bit unnerving.
It’s like when somebody gives up smoking and you talk to somebody who gives up smoking, they say, “Oh my gosh, I just don’t know what to do with myself. I had this whole ritual that I no longer do. I had this ritual where I pull out a cigarette and I light it up or I ask for a light. And I get entertained by smoking this cigarette”, which generally takes three to five minutes for most smokers, sometimes a bit longer. So they have this ritual that occupies them five to ten minutes out of the day several times throughout the day.
So when this ritual goes away of course they feel, oh my gosh, what am I going to do with all this free time? What am I going to do with my hand? What am I going to do with this repetitive behavior I’m so used to doing that now I’m not doing it? It feels so weird, so awkward. So not only do they have this time, extra time on their hands, they also don’t have this excuse. So when a conversation gets boring maybe they relied on, hey, now is the time for a smoke break, I’ll be right back. And they just exit a boring conversation.
It was a way to excuse themself from the environment that they didn’t want to be in. Well, same goes true for alcohol. How many of us might be on a Zoom call and they’re like, “I really don’t want to be doing this Zoom call so what else can I do to entertain myself while I’m on the Zoom call? Nobody knows what’s going to be in my glass or in my cup.”
Or my friend calls on the telephone and I hear her going on, and on, and on about the same thing that she talked about last week, or talked about last time, or maybe she’s just a longwinded friend and how do I exit this conversation? Well, I don’t know how, or I don’t even think that’s an option. What do I think first? Just pour a drink. So now when you stop doing that, when you stop numbing out during a Zoom call or numbing out from conversations, now you have to say, “Okay, I’m this new version of me. Now what do I do when I’m bored on these calls?”
Because now you’re saying to yourself, I’m no longer this person who just orders another drink, or this party is really dull, I guess I have to keep drinking to make it fun and entertaining. And I see this a lot in the women that I work with is particularly when they’re out with other women. They think, oh my gosh, in order to stay here the whole time, to stay at the party, to be entertained, to go along, to feel like fun, it requires me to order another drink. But that’s just their old self talking.
Now, you can stay out with those girl friends, you can stay at that party, you can stay on the phone and drink water. And then they will say, “But it’s so weird to just order water or to say, “I’m going to switch to water.” And do you know why it’s so weird to order water? Because you’re not used to ordering water. You know how you get over it for being weird? You start ordering water and then it doesn’t feel so weird.
I’ll tell you what, when a bartender comes over or the wait staff comes over and you’re out at a restaurant, they don’t have expectations of what you’re going to order next, not unless they know you and you’re a regular there. And if that’s the case, no problem, their expectations will change as you change. But what has to happen first is you have to change the expectations you have of yourself, because I’ll tell you what, the wait staff really doesn’t care.
The people on your Zoom call really don’t care what’s in your drink and most likely they don’t want you drinking alcohol is my guess unless it’s just a friend’s party, but even so, they don’t even care what’s in your glass. They just want to be the ones having fun. They don’t really care what’s in your glass, they really don’t.
And another area I see this coming up where people are like, “Yeah, but it just feels so awkward or it’s so different”, is when they’re watching TV, or it could be Netflix or a movie. And they’ll say, “I’m just so used to having wine, or sipping some good tequila, or having a nightcap, or having some beers while watching TV, it just doesn’t feel the same without it.” Yeah, so it doesn’t feel the same without it because yes, for years you’ve practiced this one way of watching TV and movies, and now are switching to this new way so you have to be willing to say goodbye and leave that behind.
And I get it. I used to drink six out of seven nights of the week, some weeks, seven out of seven nights of the week. I drank nightly for years. So when I cut back, I felt, wow, I don’t even know what to do with myself. How am I going to entertain myself? And oh my gosh, here’s my anger and frustration again, what do I do with it? And, oh, I’m kind of bored. My husband and my daughter are out of the house and woohoo, I usually celebrate with wine. Now how am I going to celebrate?
It was like who am I now if I am not this wine drinker? And just like the smoker who quits, the smoker figures it out. Because to go from being a smoker to a non-smoker you have to figure it out. You have to be willing to leave the smoking behind. So if you want to drink less, you will figure it out. And I want to let you in on a little secret. After years of coaching hundreds of women, I will tell you, the women who are willing to let go of how they used to be around alcohol and embrace this new future version of themselves, they break the habit so much quicker.
I was just telling this story inside Drink Less Lifestyle, I worked with this one woman. She was a rockstar, total firecracker, total I get it done, don’t waste my time, just send it to me and send it to me straight. She was such a joy to work with. She was a busy lawyer who didn’t have time for any fluff, none in her life. She extricated that fluff out so quickly it was awesome. Our calls would be like, “Sherry, I have got 10 minutes, tell me what I need to do and speak fast.” She was on a mission. And each call she was this way.
She would always tell me, “I’ve got 20 minutes, go, tell me what I need to do, tell it to me straight and I’ll do it.” And she showed up to all of our calls like that. She just wanted to know what to do, and she would get it done. She was the get it done woman.
And by her fifth session, she said to me, “Sherry, this has been so easy. I can’t even believe I don’t want to drink all the time. The skills you have given me have been miraculous. I used to drink every night just like you and now I don’t even want it. I got to the root of why I was doing it and I’m done. Cancel all my future sessions with you because I’m a changed woman.” I love how she took ownership of that. She was so ready for the change. She was willing to say goodbye to what was holding her back. She was just so ready to leave the drinking habit behind.
She wasn’t looking into the rearview mirror of her life, she wasn’t looking backwards and saying, “I miss that version of me.” She was done with that version of her. She was focused on the road in front of her. When we look to the past we create more of the past and we just keep repeating the past. But we have the power to reinvent ourselves whenever we choose. And that means we step into our future self. And when we do that, we have to be willing to leave behind identities and habits that don’t serve us anymore.
So what are you willing to leave behind? Are you willing to leave your drinking habit behind? Are you willing to say goodbye to that version of you? Because if you are, you can slide into the cockpit of your new self and to your new habits because airplanes don’t go backwards, they only go forward. This is what it means to evolve, to move forward. It requires leaving the past behind.
Alright my friends, I love you so much, be willing to leave it behind because what’s waiting for you is so much better. Have a great week and I’ll see you next time.
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.