transcript from omm285. How to reframe celebrations
As you may know I do coaching calls with some of my pen pals or subscribers. You don’t actually have to be a pen pal to have a coaching call, but I do calls on the phone with people to talk about sober stuff and I had 3 calls today and each one of them presented a little nugget I think that I can talk about further as a One Minute Message.
The one I wanted to start with is: if you have a voice in your head that says for example, ‘I should be celebrating with alcohol’ …
There’s something to celebrate: job promotion, got through a hard thing, dealt with the kid thing, made the dentist appointment you didn’t want to make, your birthday. Doesn’t matter what it is.
But if your brain says, ‘I should be celebrating with alcohol’, my assignment to the person that I was talking to today, which I’m now going to share with you because you can do this too, is to do a little piece of writing, and write down 2 things.
#1 is to write down the dialog of what wolfie is telling you about how you need to celebrate with alcohol. What is the message that you get. What’s the wolfie message?
For example: How am I ever going to celebrate if I don’t have alcohol, a wedding toast won’t be the same unless I have champagne, it’s my birthday I deserve it.
What’s the language that wolfie is using?
#2 is to write down how you reframe the idea of celebrating without alcohol. What is the message you might give yourself instead?
For example: Turns out what I really want is a feeling of celebration, it doesn’t matter what’s in my glass.
And the reason I’m sharing this today is because I think that the coaching call today illuminated for both of us as we were speaking, that the reason I wanted her to write down the first part, which is – ‘what is wolfie saying’ – is to acknowledge that it exists. Not just to lay down new reframed ideas (ini concrete) on top of the old concrete, but to hear him out. What does he have to say? What is the message in there?
Because there’s nothing the matter with the message that says: “I need to celebrate.” The part of the message that needs to be dissected is: “I need to celebrate with alcohol.”
I think that wolfie’s message is exactly correct except for the word ‘alcohol’.
“I deserve it. It’s my birthday. I need to celebrate” … all of that is true. So you can’t dismiss that message in your head. You can’t dismiss it because it’s true.
The only part that’s incorrect is linking that to alcohol.
The wolfie voice that says: I deserve something, I need some me time, where’s my treat, where’s my celebration, how am I going to go to that wedding and not raise my glass … that’s all true, all valid and I think you need to acknowledge it.
Then the reframing part is where you simply change the word ‘alcohol’ for another word.
I needed a treat. I’m going to be at this wedding. I want to hold up my glass, so I’m going to hold up my glass with a tonic and a ginger ale because it turns out that what’s in my glass is not that important.
Or it’s my birthday. How am I going to celebrate my birthday without alcohol? And wolfie will say, ‘You know it’s not the same. Birthday’s require alcohol.’ And so you acknowledge that and you say, ‘I really want my birthday to be special. I have to think of a way to make it special. I have to keep all of the same feeling of celebration just not with alcohol.’
When you’re doing reframing, and whenever you’ve got the wolfie voice running around in your head, you can acknowledge it.
It’s sort of like when the 3 year runs into the room and says but mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy I want a donut. And you don’t say, ‘Fuck you, have a steak’. You don’t say, ‘That’s a ridiculous idea, of course you’re not having a donut’.
What you say is: “I hear you. I know you think you want a donut right now because you want some kind of a treat and I totally acknowledge that you have been good, cleaned up your room, whatever the kid thinks he deserves the donut for.”
You would acknowledge all of it. “Yes, and it turns out there’s other ways to get a treat that aren’t a donut, and you’re totally right you do deserve some kind of a treat. So let’s get a sticker and put it on the chart and let’s get some carrot sticks and dip them in hummus and how about you come and help me make supper. Those are all celebration-y treats.”
I don’t think you can dismiss the original message. It’s sort of like saying ‘I want love and attention so I try to make my boss notice me.’ There’s nothing the matter with wanting love and attention. It’s the ‘but I want it from my boss’ part that you may need to disengage and plug in a different phrase.
So if your head is saying “the only way I can celebrate is with alcohol,” look at the message and figure out how you can say the exact same thing but put something else in there in the place of alcohol.
There. I’m leaving you right there. How’s that for a six-minute One Minute Message. OK, good byyyyeeeee!