Take a Break
Resenting Not Drinking
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Taking a break from drinking can feel extra hard when you’re around people enjoying their drinks.
You might hear a bratty voice in your head asking why they get to drink and you don’t.
Resenting them for drinking and yourself for not isn’t going to help you on this break or in changing your habit. The key is getting curious, and in this episode, you’ll find out why.
What You’ll Discover
Why noticing your resentment for not drinking is an opportunity.
What actually creates pleasure (hint: it’s not the drink.)
How focusing on your resentment prevents you from changing the habit.
Featured on the show
You are listening to the Take A Break podcast with Rachel Hart, Episode 298.
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, hello everyone. Today, we are talking about something that I know applies to a lot of you, resenting when you’re not drinking. Oh, man, this was such a big thing for me for the longest time.
I can remember going out to dinner with friends, and sitting across from them, while my friends were enjoying a fancy wine pairing, and I had my boring water. Or, you know, going out and watching a game, and everybody had a beer except for me.
And sometimes what happens in those moments, when you’re not really understanding what’s at play, what will happen is, you’ll hear this kind of bratty voice come out, that’s what would happen for me. I would get this kind of bratty inner voice, being like, this sucks. I hate this. This isn’t fair, how come they get to have fun and enjoy things? And, you know, watch the game with a beer and have the fancy wine pairing? How come I’m stuck missing out? I want to enjoy this, too.
And whenever I was feeling like I was missing out, I was also feeling resentful. So, I had this level of lack, this level of; well, things would be better if… I’d be having a better time if… This would be more enjoyable if…
And then, I also had this level of annoyance; it’s not fair. How come they don’t have a problem? How come they are able to enjoy themselves? What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I rein myself in? I was always believing that what I was doing in the moment would be better. I would be enjoying this dinner more, I would be enjoying this game more, I would be having more fun, I would be getting the full culinary experience. If, only.
And I think when that whiny voice comes up, one of the biggest mistakes that we make, is thinking that it’s a problem. Right? So, either we slip into like; I mean, I’m like an adult. I’m a grown up. I mean, I should just suck it up. Or, why do I have this kind of bratty voice?
Or, we go into trying to talk ourselves out of it. And when we do that, when we try to tell ourselves, we shouldn’t have these thoughts, we should suck it up, or we should just get over it, or we should just be more of an adult, we actually miss out on an opportunity to listen with curiosity. So that you can really understand how the habit is working.
I say this all the time; you cannot change what you can’t see. And so often, when you come to this work, when you decide that you want to change your relationship with alcohol; you want to drink less, you want to stop drinking, whatever it is.
When you come to this work, so often, people are really sure that they understand how the habit works. And they’ll say, “Well, I just really liked drinking, and I always have.” Or, “I just seem to be missing an off switch.” That’s something that I used to say for the longest time. Or they’ll say, “Yeah, I just, you know, I’m just a wine person.” “I’m just a beer guy. That’s who I am.” Or, “Once I start, I can’t stop. I have an addictive personality.”
So often, what actually blocks us from change, is believing that we already understand how the habit works. I’m going to tell you, all of those things that I just said, that is not how the habit works. If you are assigning; oh, the reason why I find myself drinking more than I want, it’s because of who I am. That is not the case.
If you find yourself saying, “Oh, well, I’m just someone who just loves to drink.” That is also not the case. I’m not saying that you don’t derive enjoyment. I’m just saying as soon as you make it a marker of who you are, a marker of your character, I promise you, that’s not what’s going on. Your brain learned to enjoy drinking.
Even if, this is important for all of you, even if the very first time that you drank, you drank too much. Or, even if the first time that you had a drink, you really enjoyed it, or you really enjoyed getting drunk. It’s still a habit that your brain had to learn.
And so, when we try to talk ourselves out of the whiny voice, when we try to tell ourselves that we should just suck it up or be an adult, and we don’t get curious with it, we miss out on such important information on how the habit works.
And not only am I talking about being curious in your mind, about the story that you’re telling yourself, but also being curious about what’s happening in your body. This is a place that is so often overlooked. But listen, your body is a vehicle for experiencing pleasure, for enjoying your experience.
And so often, we just have no attention, we’re not paying attention to that part of us, at all. So, I want you, if you can relate to this, I want you to really start to bring more curiosity. If you notice yourself feeling like you’re missing out, or feeling that sense of lack, or being resentful, or being annoyed, I want you to meet that voice with curiosity.
Curiosity about what is happening in your mind and happening in your body. And I want you to notice where your gaze is, where your focus is. Because what I discovered, is that whenever that voice appeared, for me, my gaze was always focused outward. I was looking at others, and I was wanting their experience. I was telling myself that their experience was better.
And what I didn’t realize that I was doing, was I was actually making my own experience worse, not because it was objectively worse not to have the wine pairing. Not because it was objectively worse, to not have a beer while I was watching the game. I was making my experience worse because I wasn’t even present with what I was doing. I wasn’t even present with the enjoyment that was there.
So, I’ll give you an example. I actually coached someone on this really recently, inside the membership. So, someone was talking about going out to dinner and their friends were having a wine pairing, and they weren’t. And I mean, I definitely had this experience myself. So, they’re drinking the wine pairing, I’m eating, but I was just stuck with my boring water.
When you pay attention to where your gaze is, you will notice that your gaze is not what you are doing; your gaze is what other people are doing. So, you are focusing on what you perceive as the absence of pleasure. And that actually blocks you from enjoying the pleasure that is there.
Because there is pleasure right in front of you. There’s pleasure on your plate. There’s pleasure in your experience of being where you are, of being who you’re with. There is pleasure there, but you can’t see it when your gaze is focused on how other people have more enjoyment, more pleasure, a better experience, than you do.
Now, listen, we do this with alcohol, we do this with food, this is not unique to drinking. I mean, think about, for all of you out there who have ever made choices around what you’re going to eat, because you tell yourself; oh, well, this is healthier. Or, I’m trying to lose weight. Or, I really shouldn’t eat this thing, right?
So, I think about this a lot when I would see like, for example, my husband getting like a big old plate of pasta. And I’d be making the choice to eat a salad. And I’d be looking at his plate of pasta, and I’d be thinking; God, that is so much better. Looks so much better than my food. Now, here’s the thing, when I tell myself that, I think that I’m just stating the truth; that these are just the headlines.
But the problem is when your gaze is elsewhere, you cannot even enjoy, you cannot even register the pleasure right in front of you. Because your brain is not paying attention to it. It’s only focused on how something else would be better. And it doesn’t have to be, you know, watching your friends having the wine pairing, it can be watching the game.
Everyone is watching the game. And it seems like everybody has a beer in their hand, except for you. Now, again, when your gaze is focused on everyone else, you will block the ability to experience a pleasure that is there. The pleasure of rooting for your team. The pleasure of being with your friends. The pleasure of dips and chips, or whatever you’re eating.
You’re not going to register any of that, because this belief, it acts like a block. You’ve decided that you’re missing out and that’s just the truth. What you don’t realize, is that you’re blocking enjoyment from yourself. It’s like you give yourself tunnel vision, and you’re certain, oh, the pleasure is over there.
I’ve decided that the pleasure is in the wine pairing. The pleasure is in the beer that my best friend is drinking. The pleasure is in the plate of pasta. Your brain has decided it’s elsewhere, so it’s not even going to look for it. It’s not going to look for any enjoyment, it’s not going to look for the pleasure that you could be experiencing, because it knows where it is. It’s not where you are, it’s with that other person.
When you are focused on how you’re missing out, you’re actually blocking the enjoyment that is there for you to experience. What you’re telling yourself is; I can’t be happy with X because Y is better. And when you tell yourself that Y is better, it really acts as a block. It really prevents your brain from even considering or tapping into any kind of enjoyment that is there.
So, it’s kind of like; I can’t access the pleasure of what I am doing and where I am and who I’m with, because I’m telling myself that something else would be better. Listen, it’s a little mind-bending, but I want you to spend some time thinking about it. Your brain is so convinced that the reason you’re not enjoying yourself, is because you aren’t drinking or you aren’t eating, right?
But the reason you’re not enjoying yourself, is because that thought has created a block from looking for or accessing other pleasures that are there. And, that can happen with drinking. It can happen with eating, it can happen with your body, right? And you look at someone else and you think like; oh god, they’re gorgeous. Why are they, you know, able to be so effortlessly skinny?
Soon as you see that the pleasure is over there, in that other body, guess what? You’re not going to be feeling a lot of pleasure in yours. It can happen with what you have, or what you perceive you don’t have, right? I wish I had that. I wish my house was like that. I wish I had a car like that.
Again, it’s going to block your own enjoyment. It can happen with your relationship status, it can happen with your work life, it can happen with your job, it can happen with your accomplishments. We do this all the time. And we think that we’re just stating the truth; I would be happier, I would have more pleasure, I would feel better if… What we don’t realize is that statement actually prevents the brain from accessing the enjoyment that is there.
Now, here’s the thing though, the little whiny voice, it’s a sign for us to pay attention. When you feel that kind of resentment bubbling up, when you feel that inner kind of, I don’t know, 13-year-old saying; but it’s not fair, how come I can’t? That is actually something that you can use as a cue to be like; Whoa, whoa, whoa. Wait a minute. I hear those thoughts, all about how I missing out, and feeling kind of annoyed, and feeling kind of resentful.
You can use that then, as a cue to say; well, what is enjoyable? What pleasure is accessible to me? What could I be relishing in this moment? Otherwise, if you’re just trying to talk yourself out of it, you actually miss the opportunity to use this moment to start to train your brain to expand its vision, expand what it sees might be enjoyable.
Okay, so maybe you’re not doing the wine pairing. Maybe you have this beautiful entree in front of you. Maybe you’re not having a beer with the game. But maybe you’re really enjoying watching the game and being with your friends. Starting to expand your vision, your brain’s kind of vision, it really is so important in helping you start to see; oh, pleasure is not in what I consume. Pleasure is, actually, in what I allow myself to register.
I’m going to say that again. Pleasure is not in what I consume. It’s what I allow myself to register. And when we’re telling ourselves that the pleasure is over there and not accessible to us, we actually don’t allow ourselves to register enjoyment and pleasure, that we could be registering.
This is a huge thing. You cannot change the habit if you’re not focused on this piece of pleasure and enjoyment. This piece really is key. If you’re trying to say no, if you’re trying to drink less, but every time you feel like you’re missing out. Every time you feel like things aren’t as good, aren’t as fun, aren’t as enjoyable, then you’re never actually going to create lasting change.
The key is to start to see that you have so much more power to create enjoyment and access pleasure, just by starting to shift the focus of your brain. So, that’s what I want all of you to do today. If you are noticing that you have that kind of resentful self-talk, right? And that voice, that’s just like; this sucks; it isn’t fair. How come they get to, and I don’t? I want this, too. I hate this.
When that comes out, let that be a cue that your brain is experiencing tunnel vision in that moment. Let that be a reminder; hey, maybe all of these thoughts are actually blocking my enjoyment. Maybe they’re actually limiting my ability to perceive what could feel good in this moment.
The pleasure piece is so key. Don’t try to talk yourself out of this. Use this inner voice as a cue to redirect your brain elsewhere.
All right, everybody. 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.