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    Change Your Relationship With Alcohol – How to Control Your Urge to Drink

    enJuly 17, 2023

    Podcast Summary

    • Navigating Conflicting Feelings and Gaining ControlUnderstanding and addressing conflicts in various areas of life, such as alcohol consumption, is crucial for gaining control and creating healthier relationships with those aspects.

      It's normal to feel conflicted about certain aspects of our lives, such as alcohol consumption. Mel Robbins openly discusses her own struggle with alcohol and the conflicting feelings she has about it. This conversation highlights the fact that many people have similar conflicts in different areas of their lives, whether it's about money, sugar addiction, or excessive screen time. Understanding and addressing these conflicts is essential in gaining control and creating healthier relationships with these aspects. Rachel Hart's expertise in helping people navigate their urges and create a normal relationship with alcohol can be applied to any area of life where there is a sense of conflict or lack of control.

    • The Complexity of our Relationship with AlcoholConflicting thoughts about drinking are normal, and seeking support to change our relationship with alcohol can lead to healthier alternatives and improved well-being.

      It is normal to feel conflicted about our desires and our relationship with alcohol. Rachel Hart emphasizes that having conflicting thoughts about drinking does not mean there is something wrong with us, but rather, it is a result of different parts of our brain caring about different things. Mel Robbins admits that her own relationship with alcohol is complicated, and she is tired of feeling conflicted and questioning herself. She seeks help and wants to understand how to change her relationship with alcohol. This conversation highlights the need to reflect on our true desires and the impact our relationship with alcohol has on our well-being. It encourages us to explore healthier alternatives and seek support in making positive changes.

    • The Complex Relationship Between Alcohol and SymbolismTo make lasting changes in our drinking habits, we need to address the emotions and associations tied to alcohol, teaching our brain new perspectives and reevaluating its role in our lives.

      Our relationship with alcohol is more complex than just liking the taste or enjoying the sensation. It becomes a symbol for various things in our lives, such as relaxation, connection, fun, and even sophistication. Our brain learns associations with alcohol, both consciously and unconsciously, through different experiences and environments. Examining our drinking habits requires understanding what our brain has learned about alcohol and its symbolic meaning to us. It's not just a matter of knowing it's not good for us or trying to be more responsible. It's about teaching our brain something different and reevaluating the role of alcohol in our lives. It's important to recognize that our desires and urges cannot be conquered solely by intellect. Instead, we need to address the deeper emotions and associations tied to alcohol in order to make lasting changes.

    • The Power of Brain Connections and Associations in Shaping Our BehaviorsUnderstanding the connections between our actions and our desire to belong or relax can help us make conscious choices about our behaviors and motivations.

      Our brains often create connections and associations between certain actions or situations and our desire to belong or celebrate. In Mel Robbins' case, she learned at a young age that having a drink represented belonging and being part of a group. This association has stayed with her, so whenever she is offered a drink or finds herself in a social setting with alcohol, her brain sees it as an opportunity to belong and connect. Similarly, after a busy day at work, Mel sees having a drink as a way to signal her brain to shift into relaxation mode and detach from work. Understanding these connections can help us have a greater awareness of our motivations and make conscious choices about our behaviors.

    • Exploring Boundaries and Understanding Urges for a Healthier Relationship with AlcoholSetting boundaries and understanding the underlying urges behind drinking habits can help individuals redefine their relationship with alcohol, reduce anxiety, and develop healthier habits.

      Setting boundaries and understanding the underlying urges behind drinking habits can be instrumental in changing one's relationship with alcohol. By recognizing that having a drink can serve as a boundary and permission to switch off from work, individuals can redefine their habits. It's important to dive deeper into the reasons behind the urges and conflicts associated with alcohol, rather than solely focusing on the drink itself. Interrupting autopilot behavior can be as simple as naming and normalizing the urges, acknowledging them as natural brain responses. This practice helps individuals take control and reduce anxiety levels associated with making changes. By understanding the underlying thought patterns and recognizing the need for boundaries, one can develop a healthier relationship with alcohol.

    • Understanding and Responding to Urges for Positive ChangeControlling our urges does not mean eliminating them, but rather understanding their underlying messages and responding in a way that aligns with our deeper desires and needs.

      Controlling our urges is not about making them go away completely. It's about understanding them and responding to them in a way that aligns with our deeper desires and needs. Mel Robbins and Rachel Hart discuss how urges can be a source of inner intelligence, trying to communicate something to us. They explain that the Urge is not about the specific action, like drinking alcohol, but rather about what lies beneath it, such as the need for boundaries or a break from work. They emphasize the importance of not trying to eliminate urges, but rather gaining control over our responses to them. This understanding and control over urges can lead to positive changes in various aspects of life.

    • Normalizing Urges and Practicing Managing ThemInstead of expecting urges to go away completely, it is important to recognize and normalize them. Taking breaks from drinking as an experiment can help understand one's relationship with alcohol and develop skills to manage urges.

      Urges are a normal part of the human experience, not just related to drinking but also to other aspects like eating or exercising. It is important to recognize and normalize these urges instead of expecting them to disappear completely. Rather than pressuring oneself to stop drinking forever, it can be helpful to focus on making daily, weekly, or monthly decisions based on personal desires and goals. Taking breaks from drinking as an experiment can be powerful in understanding one's relationship with alcohol and practicing skills to manage urges. This approach differs from popular concepts like Dry January, as it emphasizes the use of specific periods of time to develop and hone necessary skills rather than simply avoiding temptation.

    • Changing habits and developing a healthier relationship with commitment.Adopting a flexible mindset and using tools to manage urges can help in reducing alcohol intake. Breaking a commitment is an opportunity for growth and self-reflection, rather than a sign of failure.

      Changing habits, such as reducing alcohol intake, requires a shift in mindset and a different relationship with commitment. It is not about having an all-or-nothing approach, but rather learning how to use tools and techniques to manage urges and overcome excuses. The focus should be on the process of change and understanding what works and what doesn't. Breaking a commitment does not make someone bad, but is an opportunity to reflect on the underlying emotions and beliefs that led to that decision. Recognizing this helps build a stronger muscle when it comes to commitment, as it shifts the perspective from being either good or bad to a more compassionate and growth-oriented mindset.

    • Shifting Perspective: Embracing Mistakes as Learning ExperiencesFocus on the underlying goal, embrace mistakes as learning experiences, and see them as opportunities for growth rather than failures.

      When taking on a challenge or making a commitmen, it's important to focus on the underlying goal rather than just the specific action itself. Mel Robbins initially thought that the goal of the 30-day challenge was to not drink for 30 days, and when she messed up on day 12, she believed she had failed the whole challenge. However, Rachel Hart reminds her that the actual goal was to use the tools provided and learn about commitment and self-understanding. Mistakes or slip-ups along the way can actually provide valuable insights and opportunities for growth, rather than being seen as failures. It's about shifting the perspective from seeing mistakes as screw-ups to seeing them as learning experiences.

    • The Power of Language and Understanding UrgeBy reframing our language and acknowledging our desires and cravings, we can regain control over our actions and make more informed choices.

      The language we use to say no to something can greatly impact our feelings and behaviors. Rather than saying "I can't have a drink," which can make us feel frustrated and rebellious, it is more beneficial to say "I am choosing not to have a drink." By framing it as a choice, we regain our power and control over our actions. Furthermore, it is important to recognize that urges are a part of the human experience. We all have desires and cravings, whether it's for alcohol, food, or relaxation. Instead of trying to eliminate these urges, we should learn to name and acknowledge them, activating our higher brain and understanding our psychological drivers. This understanding empowers us to make more informed choices and know ourselves better.

    • Managing Urges: A Key Life SkillAcknowledging and understanding our urges, whether it be for alcohol, food, money, or procrastination, empowers us to effectively navigate and manage them in all areas of our lives.

      Urges and desires are a natural part of human behavior, and they can be managed if we understand how to approach them. Rachel Hart highlights that urges are not limited to just drinking alcohol but can also apply to various aspects of our lives, such as food, spending money, or procrastinating. Learning to navigate urges in one area can translate to other areas as well, making it an essential life skill. However, the frustration arises from the fact that society often emphasizes what we should be doing without providing the necessary tools or techniques to handle these urges effectively. By acknowledging and naming the urge, we can gain a better understanding of our own behavior and realize that these desires are normal, empowering us to manage them more effectively.

    • Understanding the Underlying Motivations to Make Healthier ChoicesInstead of fixating on the negatives of drinking, it is important to explore the underlying desires and emotions behind the urge to drink to develop healthier coping mechanisms.

      Instead of fixating on the harmful effects of drinking, it is more powerful to explore the underlying desires and emotions that drive the urge to drink. By understanding the true motivations behind the desire to consume alcohol, individuals can gain insight into themselves and make healthier choices. Focusing solely on the negative consequences of drinking can lead to shame and self-judgment, which ultimately perpetuates the cycle of unhealthy behavior. Instead, by practicing self-awareness and curiosity, individuals can uncover the deeper needs they are trying to fulfill through drinking and explore alternative ways to meet those needs. This approach allows for personal growth and the development of healthier coping mechanisms.

    • Understanding and Overcoming Urges: A Path to Freedom and FulfillmentBy recognizing and observing our urges without judgment, tapping into our own wisdom, and finding alternative ways to fulfill our needs, we can break free from guilt and shame and experience a greater sense of freedom and fulfillment.

      It is important to recognize and observe our urges without judgment. When we have a strong desire for something, whether it's food, drinks, or material possessions, it's natural to feel like we're punishing ourselves by not giving in. However, it is crucial to understand that these urges do not define us and should not be a source of shame. Instead of seeking validation or instructions from others, we need to tap into our own wisdom and listen to what feels right for us individually. This process involves identifying our feelings, acknowledging our needs, and finding alternative ways to fulfill them without relying on external sources. Through self-reflection and self-compassion, we can break free from the guilt and shame cycle and discover a greater sense of freedom and fulfillment.

    • Taking a Deeper Look at Mindset and BehaviorUnderstanding your mindset and the reasons behind your behaviors is crucial to gaining insight into your thoughts and challenging the "black and white" mindset. Giving up habits doesn't mean giving up fun.

      Many people struggle with a "black and white" mindset when it comes to their relationship with alcohol or other habits. They often ask themselves, "Do I have a problem or don't I have a problem?" This narrow way of thinking can be frustrating for those who feel like they are in an in-between phase. Rachel Hart emphasizes the importance of understanding one's mindset and the reasons behind their behaviors. By asking questions about what they make it mean when they struggle to say no or follow through on commitments, individuals can gain insight into their thoughts about themselves and their ability to change. It's crucial to break free from the idea that giving up alcohol or certain habits means never having fun again.

    • The Importance of Recognizing and Understanding Our FeelingsBy acknowledging and accepting our emotions, we can make informed choices and navigate through difficult situations while staying aligned with our goals and values.

      Identifying and understanding our feelings is crucial in overcoming challenges and making positive choices. Rachel expresses concerns about missing out on various activities and social occasions if she stops drinking, feeling like her life will be miserable. However, Mel points out that the worst thing that will happen is simply a feeling, not the end of her life. Rachel emphasizes the importance of recognizing and naming these feelings, without making them a problem. By acknowledging and accepting disappointment, for example, she can make an informed choice about whether to drink or not. Mel has an "aha" moment and realizes that her desire for a drink on Sunday nights stems from a conflict between her desire to relax and her commitment to abstaining. Ultimately, by understanding and addressing our emotions, we can navigate through difficult situations and make choices aligned with our goals and values.

    • Breaking Free: Addressing Internal Conflict and Escaping the Trap of Alcohol DependenceBy normalizing internal conflict, understanding the underlying reasons for alcohol cravings, and utilizing tools for managing urges, there is hope for breaking free from the cycle of shame and reliance on alcohol.

      Internal conflict and the desire to escape it through alcohol can be addressed by normalizing the conflict and exploring alternative ways to cope. By acknowledging the deeper reasons behind the desire for a drink and understanding the need for boundaries and self-awareness, one can create a more peaceful and fulfilling life. It is possible to break free from the cycle of shame and reliance on alcohol by embracing tools and techniques that help in managing urges and desires, and operating from a higher brain function. By committing to a 30-day challenge and utilizing these tools, one can learn to navigate internal conflicts and create a better life for themselves. It is easier to face and overcome challenges when done together with support and courage.

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