How to Sit with an Emotion and Not Drink at It

Episode 136 October 25, 2023 00:27:16
How to Sit with an Emotion and Not Drink at It
Alcohol Tipping Point
How to Sit with an Emotion and Not Drink at It

Oct 25 2023 | 00:27:16

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Hosted By

Deb Masner

Show Notes

Welcome to this episode of the podcast, where I will share with you some insights on emotions and how to deal with them without drinking. 

Many of us drink because we want to escape from uncomfortable emotions, such as anger or anxiety. We think that alcohol can make us feel better, but it actually numbs us and prevents us from processing our feelings in a healthy way. 

In this episode, I teach you: 

By learning how to sit with your emotions, you will be able to cope with them in a more constructive way and reduce your need for alcohol. You will also discover more about yourself and your true needs and improve your well-being and happiness. 

Ready to change your drinking? Join the next Alcohol Tipping Point Alcoholiday! Monthly dry group to help you take a break from drinking with online support and tools. Find out more here: https://www.alcoholtippingpoint.com/alcoholiday Use code: LOVE to save 20%      

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Episode Transcript

[00:00:03] Speaker A: Welcome to the alcohol tipping point, podcast. I'm your host deb Maisner. I'm a registered nurse, health coach, and alcohol free badass. I have found that there's more than one way to address drinking. If you've ever asked yourself if drinking is taking more than it's giving, or if you've found that you're drinking more than usual, you may have reached your. [00:00:22] Speaker B: Own Alcohol Tipping Point. [00:00:24] Speaker A: Alcohol Tipping Point is a podcast for you to find tips, tools and thoughts to change your drinking. Whether you're ready to quit forever or a week, this is the place for you. You are not stuck and you can change. [00:00:37] Speaker B: Let's get started. Thanks for tuning in to this episode. I want to take some time to talk about emotions and I want to give you a tool for just sitting with your emotion. So often we are drinking because of uncomfortable emotions. We may feel angry or anxious or sad, and so we drink because that gets rid of that feeling, that uncomfortable feeling, it gets rid of it really quickly. And so I just want to give you some background about emotions, why we feel them, where we feel them, and I want to give you a tool as well, just to sit with your emotions instead of drinking at them. And finally, I want to invite you to join the next live alcoholiday group. It is just a month long group that we do every month where you practice not drinking and you get lots of tools and resources so that you can replace drinking with something else, so that when you are feeling anxious or sad or lonely, that you have some other options for you. So it's full of science and compassion based tools and lots of support. We have meetings twice a week and we're in a private platform. There is a group chat so you can support each other and it's just a really great way to take a break from drinking. And it's also for you, even if you are sober, you've got a lot of days under your belt, but you just need a little bit more tools and support and accountability. It's a great group to join. You can find information about Alcoholiday Tipping Point alcoholiday, and I'll also link in the show notes. And as listeners, you always get 20% off by using the code Love with capital letters love and that will give you 20% off. And honestly, it's super affordable. It's less than $3 a day without the 20% off. So I also want to invite you if you are struggling. I know that we're entering into the holiday season and finances are tight, so please reach out if you need financial help and I would be happy to help you out and put you in the group. So let's get started. Let's talk about emotions. First of all, the word emotion comes from the Latin term emovair. I hope I'm pronouncing that right and that means moving. And the term emotion is a combination of the words energy and motion. And it just is an expression of how life is constantly in flowing emotion. Sorry, life is in flowing motion. And then you have emotion. And I think that's so great because sometimes when we're in an emotion, when we're stuck in sadness, we feel like it's going to last forever. And it doesn't. It comes and goes. All feelings come and go. No feeling is final. And that always gives me comfort because I know that even though I might feel this way right now, that I won't always feel this way. And I think we haven't given ourselves a chance to really process our emotions or allow them. We live in a society where it is so easy to get out of uncomfortable feelings. It is so easy to get a quick fix and feel better. A lot of times I've heard this saying that we're not like addicted to drinking or alcohol in modern society. We're addicted to feeling comfortable. And that's everything from externally. Think about it. We have air conditioning, we have heat, we have clothes. People don't even want to sit on a two hour flight. Lots of people are like, I can't sit in that seat. I don't want to feel uncomfortable. I need to be in the first class or Whatnot? We have so many ways to feel comfortable right away that we're not used to feeling uncomfortable. And I always say, like, if you can master feeling uncomfortable, if you can sit with uncomfortable feelings, that is going to make you so much stronger in the long term. I just want to share that and just let you know it's totally normal. I'm so guilty of it too. I, for the longest time was in this mindset of, I need to be happy all the time. I need to be on all the time. I wasn't allowing myself to feel sad or anger or disgust or whatever that emotion looked like. I felt like I had to always be on, and I had to hide those quote unquote negative feelings. And so when I was able to recognize, like, oh, it's okay. It's part of the human experience. All these emotions are part of the human experience. And they are helpful. They are messengers. They're telling us, they're helping us understand and interpret what's going on. And they're so normal. Like, yes, there are times you should be angry. That's a normal feeling. That's your body telling you something's not right. Sadness is, something sad has happened. And that's okay to feel sad. We are allowed to feel that. But what happens is we've been taught that we're not allowed to feel it, that we should just put on a happy face, buck up little camper, right? And so we've gotten really good at suppressing emotions, pushing them down, using distraction, using our phone, drinking at them, whatever that looks like. And so you find, like, when you first give up drinking because that's been your go to. You've given alcohol a job to suppress your emotions. So when you first give up drinking, it's just raw emotion time. I remember when I first gave up drinking, I just felt like a raw nerve, just vulnerable and exposed, just walking around feeling everything. And that was everything from joy to sorrow to anger or whatnot, feeling it all. And that was uncomfortable. That is really, really uncomfortable. So I just want you to know like your emotions have a purpose. They're normal and they're a whole rainbow of emotions and that's what makes life interesting. So when we do typically talk about emotions, what we're talking about are the basic emotions and then you can even make that even more detailed if you want. But the basic emotions are anger, disgust, fear, sadness, joy. Those I all I didn't just happenstance upon them. A lot of researchers have these like five core emotions, but those are also the ones that come from the movie Inside Out, which is such a great movie. And if you want to just have a fun way to think about and learn about our emotions in our brain and our mind, revisit that movie. It is really well done. Within that group of five are more nuanced. Within happy, might be playful, content, proud, accepted, peaceful, creative, loving. All of those kind of what we say. I try not to call emotions positive or negative just because I want you to know that there's no bad emotion. It's just they're all messengers and they have a purpose. So maybe comfortable or uncomfortable or whatnot because when we start to label them as bad, then we think we shouldn't feel them and we're trying to push them away. And so what I really want you to get out of this is allowing all emotions and processing them so that they go away naturally. And so going back to again, our different emotions within them, within anger is humiliation, bitter frustration, maybe annoyance, skeptical, disrespected. All of those kind of are related. In the anger family, in the fearful family, that's where the anxiety lies. Maybe the rejection or feeling threatened or nervous or overwhelmed in the sad side, that's where loneliness lies and vulnerability and despair and grief, all of those lie there. So all that to say, our emotions have names, but sometimes it's useful just to feel the experience of them. And when I walk you through this exercise later, I think that will make more sense to you. I do like to point out that they have found that when they do heat map scans, like body scans of people who are experiencing emotions, they can identify where they are in their body. And it's really interesting, there's this picture of a heat map of people with different emotions. So the outline is just a basic body and then the picture shows where they're lit up basically because of that emotion. So the picture of the person who is feeling anger. You can see they're all lit up in their fists and their hands and their heart and their head, their upper body. Like they look ready to fight. The person who is feeling sadness. They're actually blue. They have blue and black and just a little bit of color there, very different from the person who is feeling happiness. That person shows up in the heat map glowing. Their whole body is glowing. And when you think about how you're feeling it in your body, you're like, oh, that does make sense. When I feel happy, where do I feel it? When I'm anger or when I'm angry, where do I feel it? And when I'm in shame or embarrassment, the heat map shows these flushed cheeks. And so think about when you feel shame or embarrassment. Some people even have that physical response. They actually flush your face flushes. And so I just think it's really cool that they can capture this scientifically kind of, this capturing of the woo and science. Those are the heat maps. And that's just to show you like, your emotions are sensations in your body and they're real. I think sometimes we don't think that they're real, but they're real. And so I like this quote about emotions. It says, our feelings and emotions are like the tides of the ocean, never constant and ever changing, as unpredictable as waves. So expect to feel the unexpected as your emotions wash through you, over you, within you and around you. On the shores of your soul, ride the tide of your feelings wherever they flow. And I think that's such a good description because like I said before, your emotions are never constant, they're always changing. And so when we can get good about riding the tide of our feelings wherever they flow, then we get good at navigating life and we get good at just not drinking at it anymore. And also just a reminder, urges or cravings, that's an emotion, that's a desire and that also does not last. And I know it feels like it will, and sometimes it goes on all night, this drinking craving. But part of that is because we're trying to suppress it and get rid of it. We don't want to feel that, especially when we're changing our drinking. We're trying not to drink. We're like, oh, I don't want to have a craving. Now I'm feeling a craving. What do I do? You're trying to push it away. You're distracting yourself. You're pulling out all the tools which are good, and you definitely need that in the beginning. But what happens is we try to push down our emotions. We try to push them down, like you might do with a beach ball in the pool or the water. You try to push it down and then it pops back up. And so what we really want to practice are allowing our emotions. There's another saying that which we resist, persists. And so if we can just get curious and acknowledge like, okay, I'm having a craving. What does that feel like in my body? Or I am angry, where am I feeling that? Just get really scientific about it and you can do that with all of your emotions. And then you'll find that you just start to process them when you allow them instead of fighting them. And so next I want to take some time just to walk you through this exercise where you are allowing an emotion. And if you're listening to this, if you're walking or maybe driving, you might want to pause and come back to it. Or I just don't want you to close your eyes and not be safe, basically. So if you want to do this in a safe place, you can do that. You can just listen along and then relisten later. But this is like a guided mindfulness exercise. So what I want you to do is just close your eyes and take a deep breath in through your nose, a slow breath out, another deep inhale in and exhale out. And now I want you to bring to mind an emotion you have and just pick one. And it might be related to something that happened recently. Maybe it was something that caused you some anxiety or anger, maybe you're having an urge to drink. And just see if you can narrow it down to that one feeling. And when you become aware of that feeling, go ahead and name it. And we allow these feeling sensations in our body, these emotions. We call them feelings because we feel them in our body. Now that you have your emotion or feeling, want you to answer the following questions. If your emotion had a size, what size would it be? It it a quarter, a book? Where is it located? Is it located in your heart, your gut? Your head? And what kind of shape does it have? Is it solid, wispy? Rough? And if your emotion had a color, what color would it be? What temperature is it? Is it hot? Cold? Once you've answered these questions, imagine the emotion out in front of you with the size, shape and color you gave it. And just watch it. Watch it and recognize it for what it is. And when you're ready, you can let the emotion return to its original place inside you and just allow it to be there just as it is. Allowing means letting the thoughts, emotions, feelings or sensations we've recognized simply be there without trying to fix or avoid it. Let it be. Just breathe into it. Acknowledge it. Notice if it's changing shape, changing color, changing temperature. You might feel it slowly fading away. Thank your emotion for bringing you a message. Tell yourself it's okay, you are safe, you are going to be okay. Go ahead and take another deep breath in and exhale out, letting go of that emotion. Slowly bring yourself back into the room or wherever you are. Maybe wiggle your fingers and toes, open your eyes and just consider how you feel. Now after allowing that emotion and processing that, a lot of times people find that it starts to dissipate, it starts to go away. And that meditation that we just did, that was just a couple of minutes. And that's just something that you can do the next time you're feeling an uncomfortable emotion like, okay, I'm going to sit with it. I'm going to allow it, and I'm going to see what does it have to say to me? And this goes along with the Rain method, which comes from Tara Brock. And what that stands for is the Rain is an acronym and the R stands for Recognize. Recognize what's going on? Why are we feeling this way? What are we feeling and where are we feeling? And the A in the Rain method is just to allow the experience to be there just as it is. Just accept it as it is. Okay, I recognize I'm having the thought that I'm angry. I'm noticing that I'm anxious. I'm noticing I'm having the urge to drink. And we're just going to allow that instead of trying to get rid of it. And then the I in the Rain acronym is investigate with Interest and Care. So that's where we get really curious. And so you might ask yourself, what else is going on? What am I believing? What do I need? And a lot of the times when we're having the urge to drink, it's also like, well, what else is going on? What do I need? Do I need to rest? Do I need to connect with someone? Do I need to feed my body? And so we're just investigating just out of curiosity, seeing what's going on. And then the N in the Rain method is nurture with self compassion. And so that's just recognizing that you're human and you're having a human emotion and this is normal. And so it's a lot of the times your body maybe you need a message of reassurance or forgiveness or love or some kind of kindness to yourself. And it might be that you can whisper to yourself, I'm here with you. I'm sorry and I love you. I love you and I'm listening. It's not your fault. Trust in your goodness. You're going to be okay. And so that's just another way we can process and sit with our emotions, is use that Rain method. If you haven't looked into the work of Tara Brock, she spells her last name B-R-A-C-H. She does a lot of mindfulness. She does a lot of work on radical self acceptance, self compassion. And I talk about it a lot with you all because I think it's so important when you're making this change, when you're making any change, is to lead with kindness and self compassion. Be on your own team. You are on your own team, be your own cheerleader, and what does that look like? And so part of that is sitting with these emotions and doing something else, doing something that will nourish your soul and your body. And we know that alcohol is not going to nourish, it's going to take away. And so want to make sure that you know that there's different ways to sit with your emotions. There's this quote from Dr. Rebecca Ray, and it says, sit with it, sit with it, sit with it, sit with it. Even though you want to run, even when it's heavy and difficult, even though you're not quite sure of the way through. Healing happens by feeling. And it's so true. It's so true. It's really hard. It's really hard, and it's true. And it's worth it. I hope that you found this helpful for just sitting with an emotion. A lot of people ask, how do I do that? How do I manage my cravings? How do I sit with an emotion? And so I hope that this gave you some relaxation and some just compassion for yourself and just something that you can do for yourself next time you are feeling an uncomfortable feeling. And I want to invite you again to join the next live alcoholiday group so that you can get some more science and compassion based tools to help you on your journey, wherever you're at with your drinking journey, your life journey. So again, you can find [email protected] alcoholiday and remember to use your code love love to save 20%. I want to thank you so much for listening and I will talk to you next time. [00:26:31] Speaker A: Thank you so much for listening to this episode of the Alcohol Tipping Point podcast. Please share and review the show so you can help other people too. I want you to know I'm always here for you, so please reach out and talk to me on Instagram at Alcohol Tipping Point and check out my website, alcoholiday Tipping Point Free Resources and Help. No matter where you are on your drinking journey, I want to encourage you to just keep practicing, keep going. I promise you are not alone and you are worth it. Every day you practice not drinking is. [00:27:03] Speaker B: A day you can learn from. [00:27:05] Speaker A: I hope you can use these tips we talked about for the rest of your week. And until then, talk to you next time.

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