Do This Instead of Drinking: A Simple Tool to Help You

Episode 123 July 26, 2023 00:22:34
 Do This Instead of Drinking: A Simple Tool to Help You
Alcohol Tipping Point
Do This Instead of Drinking: A Simple Tool to Help You

Jul 26 2023 | 00:22:34

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Hosted By

Deb Masner

Show Notes

In this episode, I'll show you a simple tool that can help you decide whether you want to drink or not. It's called a cost benefit analysis, and it's a way to compare the pros and cons of drinking in the short and long term. You'll need a piece of paper and a pen to follow along, or you can download the worksheet from the link in the show notes.This tool can help you pause and consider the consequences of drinking, and maybe even inspire you to try something different. 

Cost Benefit Analysis Worksheet:  https://www.smartrecovery.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/CBA-108-updated.pdf

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Episode Transcript

I wanted to give you a very tangible tool that you can use the next time you feel like drinking. This tool comes from smart recovery. And if you haven't checked out smart recovery is a great alternative to a, it is an organization that is a nonprofit. They have free meetings. They have lots of tools and resources. I did get trained as a. A certified facilitator for their program because I really liked. Their philosophy. They are very science-based and they're very compassionate based. And they work with all different kinds of addiction and, and just offer really tangible tools. I wanted to present this one to you that you could use next time. You feel like a drink and just let you know that. You can also check out smart recovery.org. And then if you're looking for even more tools and support for taking a break from drinking, If you're looking to quit just for a month and you want to reevaluate your relationship with alcohol, or if you are done, like I say, if you are divorcing alcohol, I would love to have you join our next alcohol a day, the live alcoholic day. And that is a month long group, private that you can join. And it has lots of information. You get daily content. You get lots of tools to help you change your drinking. Help you think differently about drinking? And really help you with your urges and your cravings. And you also are part of a small group and we have twice weekly group meetings, have another coach in there. Coach Judy from great Britain. She is just a wonderful coach. She's helping out with the meetings as well. You get lots of support. Lots of privacy. Lots of science and compassion based tools. And so if you want to join the next alcoholic day, I would love to have you. You can go to oh, call to pinpoint.com/alcoholic day. And you can use the code. Love capital L O V E and save 20%. All right, let's get started. So the next time you feel like you want to drink. And want you to do this instead. And what it is, it's called a cost benefit analysis. It sounds like we just segwayed into business or something, but this tool you can call CBA for short cost benefit analysis. It's just a way for you to look at your drinking. I look at whether you want to drink or not. And it also gives you a moment to pause. And consider the decision to drink or not. There's a couple benefits for doing it. What you're gonna do, and I'm gonna also include a link to the smart recovery tool for a cost benefit analysis. , if you want to pull up this worksheet, you can, but you can also just take a piece of paper. If you're somewhere, you can do this, or you can come back to this podcast at a different time. But you're going to have a piece of paper and you're going to divide it into four quadrants. So just a line straight down the metal. Horizontally and vertically. So you have four different quadrants. And what you want to first do is think about. What are the benefits of drinking? Y. Do I enjoy drinking? What does it do for me? And just get really specific. And you were going to answer those and you're going to put them in the upper left-hand quadrant. And so I, you know, some people are like, oh, I don't know if I want to go there. About all the benefits of drinking. And I think it's important to go there because we wouldn't drink. If we didn't get anything out of it, we just wouldn't do it. So there's something that you're getting out of drinking. And what you want to do is get really specific about that. Maybe it is helping you feel calm. Maybe you like the bus, maybe it helps you feel less anxious. Helps you have fun. You may enjoy the taste may help you relax, loosen up for some people, make sex easier. It helps you get rid of in hubby inhibitions, cause you some relief from depression. And write down that list. So that's all the benefits of drinking that's in the upper left-hand quadrant. And then what you're going to do on the upper right hand quadrant is write down what are the costs or disadvantages of drinking. And when you think about this, also think about the risks. Of something that might happen. And what are things that you hate about your drinking? What does it do to you? And I want you to think of as many of the bad undesirable results of drinking as you can. And again, just get specific and ask yourself and be honest about it. So some of the things you may write down are. Feeling hung over. Anxiety. Poor sleep. Weight gain. Disappointment. Fighting. Relationship problems, work problems. Spending too much money. Be more agitated with the kids. And then also thinking about the risks again, because this may or may not have happened to you, but there is a risk if you're you're drinking and driving and there's a risk of getting a DUI, there's a risk of legal problems. There's a risk of getting. Hurt. And then of course there's all the health risks and health problems. Maybe you already have high blood pressure. Diabetes or you're overweight or you have some other health condition something's going on with your liver. That may already be going on as a result of your drinking or you have the risk of something happening to your health because of your drinking. So you have these two lists that you started out with at the top of your page. Which are the, the pros or the benefits of drinking. And then the cons or the disadvantages of drinking. And when you look at those side by side, I want you to think about. If, if they are short term, Or long-term. You'll notice when you look at all the benefits of drinking, the calm, the buzz, less anxiety. Taste relaxing. You'll notice those are all short term. They only lasts just as long as you're drinking that night. You may notice that you wake up and you are still worried. You may wake up feeling anxious. You may wake up and, and you're more depressed. So even though in the short term, they're helping relieve those, those symptoms in the longterm. You're still feeling that. Then when we're looking at our costs or disadvantages of drinking, Those things like, Hey, being hung over the anxiety, the poor sleep, the, the health problems, the relationship problems. You'll notice that those are all long-term long-term costs of drinking. And, and it's just. Important to kind of look at these and think about them and, and just realize. How much. We give up how much we do just for like four hours of drinking. Right. And then what we want to do is actually take it one step further from just the benefits of drinking and disadvantages of drinking. We want to use those final two quadrants on the bottom of your page. And what you want to do on the bottom left-hand side of your page. Is bright out all the benefits of not drinking. What will you like if you give up drinking? And so you're going to think about how you're going to feel if you don't drink and you could get specific and just do it, like, okay, how am I going to feel tomorrow if I don't drink tonight? And you can also think how am I going to feel if I'm a non-drinker. And so what you'll notice on that side, some of the things that people tend to write are clear-headed feel better, improved relationships, more focused. Well rested. Increased confidence, saving money, looking better. Calmer handling kids better, less stress, less anxiety, weight loss. Job performance is better. Those are some of the benefits of not drinking. Some of the things that you'll like. About yourself when you are living an alcohol free lifestyle. Or even just the next morning. I mean, you can also just feel better just having, not drank the night before. So that was the bottom left hand side. And then on the bottom right hand side, you're going to write out what are the costs of not drinking. So, what do I think I won't like about giving up my drinking. And again, that's going to be either, either for tonight or for a longer term. One of the common things is just feeling different from others. You may feel shame and not being a quote unquote normal drinker. Maybe you feel you're losing your stress relief. You're losing friends. Those are some of the costs of not drinking. And so when we look at these two lists, again, we're comparing the advantages of giving up drinking the advantages of not drinking tonight with the costs of not drinking. And you'll notice that there are way more advantages of not drinking. Then disadvantages. And when we compare the short term, Effects to the long-term effects. When we look at the benefits. Those are typically long-term benefits, improved health, better relationships, improved work improve finances. Family life is better. Increased self-respect like those are all longterm consequences of not drinking. And when we're looking at the costs of not drinking. Feeling different from others. That could be short-term. That could just be that social awkwardness that you feel at first. It could be. You know, you're, it might be your stress relief. That you that you're tapping out of, but that can also cause more stress to when you're drinking. Right. And so. When we're looking at the costs of not drinking. Those are things we want to find alternatives for. Those are things that maybe we need to work on a little bit. Like how can we find other ways to relieve our stress? How could we feel more comfortable talking to people? How can we be in a social setting where we are comfortable, where we don't feel awkward? And maybe that looks different and maybe your friendships look different. The other thing is, you know, you'll get used to not drinking around people at first it's new and anything new feels kind of uncomfortable. I'm thinking about like your first sober wedding, your first sober birthday party, your first game, where you're not drinking all those different things. They feel different because you haven't done them without drinking, but when you start to practice, not drinking, when you start to go to these events and be around people. And you're just rocking a diet Coke. Use that becomes your new norm. And you'll also notice. You'll end up having deeper friendships. Deeper conversations, more connection, a closer connections when you are fully present. Because when you drink your numb out and you're just not present, you're just not fully there. You don't always even remember what you have done. So this is the big list we're looking at when we're doing the cost benefit analysis. And if we go back up to our first. Quadrant, which is the upper left-hand quadrant, all those benefits of drinking. So if, if you were doing it to feel more calm or less anxiety or have more fun or. Get relief. Those are the things that you need to find replacement for. So if, if you're looking for that feeling of calm, what are other ways you can feel calm? What are other ways you can have fun. What are other ways you can relax? What are other ways you can loosen up and just get really creative about that? Because that's what drinking is filling. And you may also, you know, there are some things. That you won't be able to replace the, I would say the main thing is, is the buzz. The intoxication like you're, I mean, I guess you could use an alternative substance, but you're not going to replace that. However you can work on these other sorts of feelings that come up, these other, this other relief that you get when you drink. And that would be something to really work on, to have other tools, to tap out, to have other ways to get calm, to have other ways to address your anxiety and your stress relief. And other ways to socialize to it might look differently for you. It might not be going out to the bar or doing happy hour. It might look like a farmer's market or meeting people for walks or coffee or breakfast or something like that. But I think the other thing about doing this cost benefit analysis that stands out to me is that. The effects of drinking are, are so short term. Andy. The effects of not drinking are longterm. And that is really hard for our brain. Our brain is hardwired. To move us towards pleasure and away from pain and the quickest way possible. And so drinking has really. Ben the solution to that for our brain, our brain has just learned like, oh, if I drink, I'll feel better. And so what we're really doing. When we're taking a break, if you're doing an alcoholic day, if you're changing your drinking. You're really retraining your brain to find other ways to move towards pleasure and away from pain. Other ways besides drinking. And the other thing is. And that's why I call this the tipping point. Right. You were changing your drinking because you've gotten to a point where your drinking is taking more than it's giving you are. Having more pain from drinking than pleasure. And so what you want to really focus on is really rewarding yourself and really. Enjoying your alcohol free time. Because you want to show your brain and prove to yourself that it feels better. That you are better when you're alcohol free. And your brain is going to learn. Oh, when I drink, I feel like shit. I feel more anxious. I get more worried. I have hangover. I don't sleep as well. And so again, you're tipping your you're using the tipping point again, where you're having more alcohol free days than drinking days, and you're feeling better sober than drinking. And that's how you make change and that's how you make lasting change. And that's how. You get to the point where you just feel better without alcohol and it becomes an easy decision. Like, I, I don't even want to drink anymore because I can fast forward to the next day. So quickly. I look at the costs of drinking. And the. And I look at that and I go. Not worth it is not worth it. To have a few hours of pleasure for 20 hours of pain. My brain has learned that that's not worth it. And so it makes the decision easier for me. Now, this is why I always say like, oh, we will have to practice. That's why we practice not drinking because you're going to be in different situations that you don't have a lot of practice at. I, you know, you have a lot of practice every day, coming home from work. Just your day-to-day life. You're going to get a lot of practice, not drinking in that situation, and you can pull out different tools. Like having replacement drinks or NAB or mocktails or, or going on a walk or just. Making sure you eat. You y'all know. My number one tip is eat. So you can work on that practice that. But you don't have a lot of practice going to weddings. Maybe you go to a one or two a year. If that I honestly, guys I'm like, I don't even know the last wedding I went to because I'm at an age where people aren't really getting married as much, but I know like for younger people, there's a lot of weddings. Or vacation times or holidays. I mean, Christmas only comes around once a year. So you just have that one time a year. To practice, not drinking during Christmas. And so I just say that to give yourself a break and be kind to yourself as you're learning to break this habit, break the habit of drinking and make a new habit of being alcohol free. So that's why I wanted to give you this tool. This cost benefit analysis. It's something that you could do. Every day for the first 30 days. You can. Add to a master list, like keep a running list or you can do it for each specific day. Each event, the more specific you get the better off you're going to be. And there's also just something about actually writing something down. It helps our brain learn better than typing. Yeah. I mean, you're welcome to type. You can do a fillable one. The link I give you is, is a fillable PDF. And you could type it in and that's fine. But if you were able to like write it out, longhand. It's going to help you remember it more too. And it also just helps you process your feelings. And like I said, it gives you a moment to pause. Before you decide to drink. Take some time to write out your cost benefit analysis, and then you can decide if you're going to drink or not, but do give yourself a time where you can think about, okay, is this really what I want? What I'm in a field like, and is it worth it to me? One of the things we talk about is like, choose your heart. Would you rather feel. Some uncomfortableness at the restaurant at the party because you're not drinking. Would you rather feel, you know, like an hour or two of uncomfortableness? At that moment. Or 20 hours of uncomfortableness after having drank all night and waking up. In the middle of the night and then feeling. Like shit the next day, but also feeling the shame and disappointment in yourself. Again, it's kind of like, Hmm, what would I rather choose your hard? And, and for me, I've gotten to the point where I'd rather feel a little awkward, socially awkward and uncomfortable. Maybe a little anxious at the restaurant or with friends or, or even after work, I'd rather have that, those few moments, because I know they don't last. No feeling lasts, no feeling is final. Same with urges. That just doesn't last. I'd rather go through that uncomfortableness. So that I have a better tomorrow. Yeah, there. There's a quote that drinking is borrowing tomorrow's happiness. And I think that's so true. So once you learn to just like sit in the comfortableness of the short term, It's going to help you in the longterm. It really will. And then it will become easier and easier. I hope that this tool is useful for you. I have lots more tools in the alcoholic day. If you want to join, I would love to have you again, you can just go to alcohol to pinpoint.com/alcohol a day. And use the code love. L O V E all capital letters for 20% off. Thanks so much for listening and I'll talk to you next week.

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