Take a Break
Narrating Your Desire
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When you have the desire to drink, your brain produces lots of different thoughts.
Some of these thoughts can make you take a sip, others make you want to say no.
Narrating your desire to drink is a tool you can use to bring awareness and curiosity to your thoughts. In this episode, learn how to use this simple tool to ignite real change in your habit.
What You’ll Discover
Why this tool is so powerful for changing your drinking.
Where you can use this tool in your life outside your desire to drink.
How to narrate your desire to have a drink.
Featured on the show
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You are listening to the Take A Break podcast with Rachel Hart, Episode 309.
Whether you want to drink less or stop drinking, this podcast will help you change the habit from the inside out. We’re challenging conventional wisdom about why people drink and why it can be hard to resist temptation. No labels, no judgment, just practical tools to take control of your desire and stop worrying about your drinking. Now, here’s your host Rachel Hart.
All right, welcome back, everyone. Today, I’m talking about the power of narrating your desire. So, last week, I gave you the gift of editing your thoughts. And today, I’m going to give you the gift of narrating your thoughts. These are really easy, simple changes that you can make, that will be incredibly transformative when it comes to taking control of your desire and actually turning down the volume on it.
So, I want you to think about this; I want you to think about times when you have maybe been kind of fixated on a drink. I can think of times when I’ve been, you know, out to a restaurant with friends and we’re all having dinner together, we’re sharing a bottle of wine, and I was done with my drink. And, someone else was still working on theirs.
I was all up in my head; I was all up in my thoughts of like, “Can I pour another drink? Can we order another round? I can’t believe how slow this person is drinking. Are they gonna think it’s weird if I pour myself more?” Like, all of that kind of fixation on, you know, my desire, and whether or not it was okay to keep going. Or, I would keep going and then, “Oh, God, what are they thinking?”
I remember this happening to one year, at a Christmas Eve party. My family always has a Christmas Eve party. And my cousin brought some homemade peppermint bark. And I remember so vividly, I took a piece off the platter, and I went back for another and another.
And then I was like, “Oh my God, I want another. But is everyone around me noticing how much I’m eating?” Then, I was like, “Oh my God, who the hell cares? I just want it.” I just had all of these thoughts, right? Like, I was just kind of swimming in my desire, and swimming in my judgment of my desire.
Now, here’s the deal, the power of narrating these moments, becoming the narrator of the thoughts in your mind about your desire and judging your desire, is the power of taking control. So, I want you to think about a narrator; usually we think of a narrator in a book that we’re reading, or a movie that we’re watching.
But it truly is such a powerful skill that you can start to implement with yourself. Because a narrator is just a person who’s giving an account of the events unfolding. And when you start using this skill, you are just giving an account of the desire and the judgment that is unfolding inside of you.
Now, why is this powerful? Because when you start to narrate what is going on in your mind, and I just mean silently narrating to yourself. I’m not, you know, suggesting that you start saying it to everyone at the dinner table. Although, I will tell you, that I sometimes do narrate out loud to my husband what is going on.
But when you start to use this skill, you start to teach yourself that there’s the part of you that is thinking these thoughts, and the part of you that’s having the desire, and then maybe judging the desire, and acting on the desire. And then, there’s this other part of you that’s watching what’s happening. And making that distinction, is incredibly, incredibly powerful.
To see; oh, I’m not my thoughts, these thoughts that I’m having. They’re not who I am. There’s something that I can observe. And if you were listening last week, there’s something that I can edit and change.
So, I will tell you, I use this skill everywhere in life. I used it recently in the morning, as I was lying in bed. I woke up and I was immediately like, “Oh, I don’t want to get out of bed, but I should get out of bed. Maybe, I’ll just pick up my phone.” And then, I was reading the news on my phone, and I was like, “Oh god, why am I doing this? I don’t even care about this article. It’s just; get out of bed, but I don’t want to get out of bed.”
I mean, I was in all of my thoughts. And there I was, still stuck in bed, still judging that I was reading my phone, and judging that I wasn’t getting out. And then, all of a sudden, I remembered this tool. I remembered that I could be the narrator. I started to be like, “Oh, I notice that I keep telling myself that I don’t want to get out of bed, but that I should get out of bed. And I notice, that I keep looking for distractions to delay getting out of bed. Isn’t that interesting? I wonder what’s going on?”
So, becoming the narrator, it immediately switched me from being at the effect of my thoughts, to observing my thoughts, and being curious about them. So, there’s me, and then there are the sentences that my brain is offering up. But I am not the sentences. How do I know? Because I’m observing what’s going on. And, I can get curious about what’s going on. Right?
If you can watch what is happening, then part of you is separate from what’s happening. And as soon as I switched to the narrator, in that moment, I got curious about, like, “What is all this back and forth about? I don’t want to get out of bed, but I should get out of bed. I’m distracting myself, and then, I’m judging myself for distracting myself.”
And suddenly, just because I started being the narrator, all of a sudden, I had this realization of like, “Oh, I’m waiting to take action until it feels good. How fascinating.” I have all this experience in life, I’ve talked about this on the podcast before, I have all this experience, right? That like, waiting until something feels good is part of what keeps us stuck.
Because sometimes, we’re going to do things that will not feel good, right? That will be uncomfortable, yet, we want to do it because we know that it’s important. We know that we’re going to feel better, you know, later on in the day or the next day.
It’s true with our relationship with alcohol. It’s true with your relationship with getting out of bed in the morning. That’s why these skills are so powerful. Because the skills that you’re learning, to change the habit of drinking, the skills that you’re learning to change your relationship with alcohol, they’re not just skills that you apply in this one little realm. They’re applicable to everything in your life.
And I knew, in that moment, like, “Oh, I’m just waiting until it feels good. But I know that what’s really going to feel good for me later, is getting up now and having some time to myself and maybe moving my body. Or, even just having time, you know, to think before my kids and my husband and my puppy are all awake.”
And guess what? All of this applies to drinking, too. So, I was teaching a workshop, we’re doing this holiday workshop now, for the month of December, inside the membership. I was teaching a workshop on drinking less at holiday parties.
Now, just as an aside, if you join in the month of December, you’re gonna get access to the full series. So, if you want more on this, now is the time to join. But anyway, one of the examples I was giving was, when we feel pressured to drink, right?
So, someone’s like, “Hey, come on, have a drink.” And we’re immediately like, “I don’t want to be rude. I don’t want them to think that I’m not any fun, or I’m a stick in the mud. I just don’t want this person to keep asking me questions, or ask me any questions about why I’m saying no.” We have all these thoughts that make us feel obligated or pressured or insecure.
And it’s not just then, that we drink because we’re trying to get rid of those feelings. It’s not just that, it’s that we’re teaching our brain that we make decisions about whether or not to drink, based on what will make someone else happy, rather than following what we want. This is a habit that so many people are stuck in; not just with alcohol, a lot of people are stuck in this habit with food.
So, I was talking about this, and I was talking about, “Okay, so if you see that think-feel-act cycle unfold. If you can see what you are teaching yourself; you’re teaching yourself to make decisions about drinking based on someone else, rather than following what you want. Then, what would you need to think? How would you need to feel, in order to say, ‘No, no, thank you.’ Right? Someone says, ‘Come on, have another.’ What would you need to think and feel, in order to say, ‘No, thank you.’”
And, here’s the important part, let it be a little uncomfortable. Because it will be uncomfortable, at first. Too often, we keep waiting to take action. We keep waiting to say, “No thank you,” until we feel immediately comfortable doing so. And when it doesn’t feel immediately comfortable, when we say, “No, thank you,” and we feel a little awkward or, you know, a little worried, whatever, we immediately assume that we’re doing something wrong.
Rather than, and this is the beauty of the narrator, rather than that narrator being like, “Right, this is discomfort. Discomfort is how I teach myself to make decisions based on my needs, instead of the needs of others. Because I’m creating a new neural pathway in my brain, and I cannot create that new neural path halfway, without a little bit of discomfort.”
I often liken it to going to the gym, right? You go to the gym. You’re lifting weights; you want to get stronger. You wouldn’t go and, you know, be lifting 20 pounds, being like, “Oh, my God, why is this hard?” Right? I mean, at least for me, I’d be like, “Yeah, it’s hard because I’m not used to lifting 20 pounds. It’s hard because I need it to be hard. I need those muscle fibers to be challenged, so that I get stronger.”
But when we don’t have the skill of being the narrator, all we’re doing is we’re just kind of like in the discomfort, and then, making the discomfort mean that something has gone wrong. But the beauty of narrating all of this, instead of suddenly being like, “Oh, God, I don’t want to be rude. I don’t want to have to answer any questions. I don’t want them to think that I’m a stick in the mud.”
All of a sudden, it’s like, “Oh, I noticed myself thinking these thoughts. I noticed myself thinking that I don’t want to be rude. And I know that that thought leads to reinforcing that I make decisions about what I put in my body based on someone else, and not what I want. I notice that it feels a little uncomfortable to say no, but that’s normal. Right? I don’t need to think that something has gone wrong. Because, right, I know that this is just me, lifting weights. This is me, creating a new neural pathway.”
Imagine, if every time you felt a little discomfort when you were doing something new in your life, if you had that narrator being like, “Yeah, totally, of course, you feel uncomfortable. You’re creating a new neural pathway.” It’s so much easier when you’re able to do that, because then, all of a sudden, you’re not at the effect of the discomfort.
All of a sudden, you’re putting purpose to it, you’re observing it, you’re getting curious about it. That’s why this narrating tool is so powerful. People will say all the time, when they’re working with me inside the Take a Break membership.
They will say, “Rachel, you know, I had an urge. I noticed myself being like, ‘Yeah, I want a drink. A drink sounds good. I deserve it.’ And then, I thought to myself, ‘Oh, this is the urge. Of course, it’s here right now. It’s no big deal. I’ve trained my brain to desire a drink when it’s five, or when I see someone drinking on TV, or when I’ve had a very stressful day.” And, they are always so amazed.
I mean, I watch it all the time. When people come on, and they want to share on coaching calls, that they’ve used this tool. And, they are always so amazed at how powerful it is. Literally, just the skill of narrating their craving, narrating their desire, immediately turned down the intensity. It immediately made them feel more in control.
Because suddenly, it’s not; I just want to drink. It’s Oh, I’m watching my brain want a drink. And, I understand why. And isn’t that curious? I wonder what’s going on? So, I want you to think about this; narrating your thoughts, it is so easy. It is totally free. It takes almost no time. Right? You don’t have to write anything out.
All you have to do is silently notice and narrate what’s happening. And doing that, will immediately open you up to curiosity, and curiosity is how you start to change. Narrating your thoughts is a gift that you can give yourself, right now. Try it out. It will feel a little strange at first. But I’ll tell you, I use it everywhere in my life. I teach the people I work with to use it everywhere in their lives. And, it is so easy and so transformative.
Alright, that’s it for today. I will see you next week.
Okay, listen up. Changing your drinking is so much easier than you think. Whether you want to drink less or not at all, you don’t need more rules or willpower. You need a logical framework that helps you understand and, more importantly, change the habit from the inside out.
It starts with my 30-Day Challenge. Besides the obvious health benefits, taking a break from drinking is the fastest way to figure out what’s really behind your desire. This radically different approach helps you succeed by dropping the perfectionism and judgment that blocks change.
Decide what works best for you when it comes to drinking. Discover how to trust yourself and feel truly empowered to take it or leave it. Head on over to www.RachelHart.com/join and start your transformation today.