Ep #212: Reducing Your Drinking with Sherry Price, PharmD

While refraining from alcohol can be the answer for some, it is not the answer for everyone who wants to be mindful of their drinking. Our guest today is Sherry Price, an over-drinking coach who doesn’t focus on urging people to give up alcohol, but instead focuses on teaching them to reprogram their brains to change the desire for alcohol to eliminate the craving.

Listen in as we discuss how to move past any shame, uncertainty, or resentment in order to create space for a healthier lifestyle that works for you. You will learn how to take control of your life and why it’s important to let yourself feel your feelings—and not mask them with substances. If you or someone you know wants help with drinking less, this is the episode for you.

Listen To The Episode Here:

In Today’s Episode, You’ll Learn:

  • How to control your drinking habits.
  • Why abstinence is not always the answer.
  • How research on alcohol dependency has evolved.
  • Advice for navigating setbacks and staying on course.

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Read the Transcript Below:

Katrina Ubell:      You are listening to the Weight Loss For Busy Physicians Podcast with Katrina Ubell, MD, episode number 212.

Welcome to the Weight Loss For Busy Physicians Podcast. I’m your host, master-certified life and weight loss coach Katrina Ubell, MD. This is the podcast where busy doctors like you come to learn how to lose weight for the last time by harnessing the power of your mind. If you’re looking to overcome your stress eating and exhaustion and move into freedom around food, you’re in the right place.

Oh, hey there, my friend. Welcome to this episode of the podcast. This is a really good one. I’m excited for you to hear about this. Even if you’re not somebody who struggles with alcohol consumption, maybe you don’t even drink at all, you definitely want to listen to this episode, okay?

It’s super, super good stuff. And if it’s not something that’s going to help you, it might be just exactly what someone you know or love needs. So, make sure you listen to this. I do want to just let you know before we dive in with Sherry, my guest today, I want to just let you know that in two weeks, on February 16th, 2021, I’m going to be offering a free training on how to lose the weight for the last time.

I know that when we think about weight loss, we are never thinking, like, “How can I lose this temporarily? How can I lose this and gain it back again later?” Right, we want to solve the problem, and we want to solve it for good. And that’s exactly what I’m going to teach you about on this training.

It’s also an opportunity for you to ask me any questions that you have, as well as an opportunity for you to learn about my upcoming weight loss for doctors only program that’ll be opening up in May. So just so you know, that will actually be the last time I offer my program at it’s current pricing, which we’ve been at for several years.

And so, if you’ve been on the fence or you want to know more, or you’re kind of like, “Oh, wait, the price is going to go up? I want to know more,” then for sure, you’re going to want to join me on this free training. So like I said, it’s on Tuesday, February 16th. It is at 8:30 p.m. Eastern, 7:30 p.m. Central, 6:30 p.m. Mountain, 5:30 p.m. Pacific. Look at me, I figured it out, time zone stuff in my head is sometimes a little more challenging.

So, the way to sign up for that to be able to join me live is to go to katrinaubellmd.com/loseweight, L-O-S-E, W-E-I-G-H-T. You go there, katrinaubellmd.com/loseweight, you enter your information. We’ll send you the Zoom link. All the information you need to join me live on Tuesday night.

Also, if you want all the information and you just know that that night’s not going to work for you, we will send out a replay. So make sure to register, and come and join me in a couple of weeks. Or maybe less than a couple of weeks if you’re not listening to this the day that it comes out.

Okay, so let me tell you about Sherry Price. Sherry Price is my guest today. She is an over-drinking coach, but she is not somebody who is promoting that you necessarily stop drinking. Now, abstinence can be the answer for people, and that might be something that they decide to do. But it’s not for everybody. It’s not everybody’s goal. And so I just want to let you know. We talk about this a little bit in the interview as well, but I want to let you know that this episode is not anti AA. It is not anti rehab. If those are things that you love and support and have worked well for you or for people that you know and love, that is amazing.

We both, Sherry and I, think that’s so great. We urge you to continue using it if that is something that is working great for you. The people that we’re talking to and about today are people who won’t go to rehab or don’t want to go to rehab, or don’t feel like rehab is necessary for them. It just doesn’t resonate with them as an acceptable solution. And the same goes for Alcoholics Anonymous.

They might be thinking that this just, there’s no way they’re ever going to attend a meeting, but they do want some help. So those are the people that we’re talking about today, just to be totally clear. I’m not anti AA. I am not anti rehab. I think it’s amazing for the people who really resonate with that work.

So, if you are someone who doesn’t and wants some help possibly drinking less, or you have patients or people that you know or love who could use some of this help, you’re definitely going to want to learn more about it, because Sherry talks about how research on alcohol dependency has really evolved over the last several decades. And there really are some untapped ways to reduce your drinking that most people aren’t talking about. And this is exactly what Sherry does.

So, she’s a pharmacist. An actual doctor of pharmacy. Totally super successful. Worked in the hospital, like the whole nine, and found herself really drinking just more than she wanted to. And really was that person who was like, “Yeah, I don’t identify with rehab or AA or any of that stuff. I don’t think that’s what I need. I’ve got to figure something else out.” And that’s exactly what she did for herself, and now she helps others do the same.

So she’s awesome. She’ll tell you her whole story and her whole viewpoint on everything, and so I want to make sure that you listen and if this is something that could help anybody in your life that you know or love or care about, then make sure they get this information.

All right my friend, enjoy my conversation with Sherry Price, and I’ll check in with you again next week.

Sherry, I’m so glad to have you on the podcast. Thank you for being here.

Sherry Price:       Oh, thanks for this opportunity, Katrina. I’m super excited to be with you.

Katrina Ubell:      I know that everything we’re going to talk about today is going to be so helpful to so many people. Not only just anyone listening who feels like they could maybe put a little focus or attention on how much they’re drinking alcohol, but also just understanding how coaching can be used as a tool to help any patients of our listeners with … or you know, family members, friends. There’s, I think, just so many people, especially after 2020 who are like, “Wow, I’ve maybe been day drinking a little more than I used to.” Or things like that.

And I think with it being kind of dry January right now, it’s just such a perfect time for us to talk about this. So I would love it if you would just introduce yourself, give everybody a bit of a run-down review of who you are, your background, and what has brought you to this work.

Sherry Price:       Yeah, I’m a PharmD. So that means I have my doctor in pharmacy, and I love pharmacy. Love pharmacy. I’ve practiced for 20 plus years. And how I’ve landed on this work was that, I’d come home at the end of the day, take a drink. I’d take the edge off or to unwind. And didn’t ever have a drinking problem until one day, I felt like I woke up. And I’m like, “Wait a second, I’m doing this every day. I’m doing this a lot more than I want to.”

And I found that I didn’t really resonate with AA or being an alcoholic. I just felt like I had this habit, and it was growing. And as I got honest with myself, I was like, “Well, how do I take care of this?” And so, that’s when I stumbled into life coaching. And we could talk more about that journey, but it was really wanting to take care of this in a very private way for me. I was afraid, super afraid, to put it out there.

I was super afraid to look to physicians, and I admire you and respect you and worked side by side with you, but I was afraid it would hit my medical record. I was afraid if I got really honest and I said, “Hey, I’m drinking a bottle of wine or sometimes more a night,” that it would hit my medical record. It would follow me. It would somehow damage my license as a pharmacist, because now I can’t be trusted around opioids and whatever else.

I didn’t really understand how to help myself. Everything I read was just avoid it. Just don’t drink again, right?

Katrina Ubell:      Abstinence, yeah.

Sherry Price:       Yes, and that to me was not attractive at all. I remember telling my husband, I’d rather be an alcoholic than to abstain, which was crazy to admit that to myself and to admit that to him. Because I enjoyed it so much. I enjoyed the effects of it. I enjoyed the ritual of it. For me, it was making it to a certain lifestyle that I had put meaning around it. Like, now I’m accomplished and this is what you get to do as an adult who’s made it in the world. And you get to experience fancy wines.

It was so much part of my identity, Katrina, that I couldn’t imagine separating from it. I really couldn’t.

Katrina Ubell:      Yeah.

Sherry Price:       Mm-hmm (affirmative), and that’s when I started Googling. Because I felt if I’m active in my church, but if I went there I’d be like, “Oh, people are going to know that side of me.” And again, it was risk of my license, risk of my reputation, risk of putting that out there and for people to judge that and see that. I wasn’t willing to do that. My shame was so deep, and my reputation was so important to me, that if that’s what kept me trapped for so long thinking that nobody can help me.

Katrina Ubell:      Yeah. And you know, I know I’ve worked with so many doctors who work in a small town, right? Everybody kind of knows everybody and plenty of people don’t live, they can go across town to big city and maybe find some people to help them. That people wouldn’t find out. But it’s like, people love to talk about stuff, right?

Sherry Price:       Yes.

Katrina Ubell:      People love to, you know, and then I also feel like then it’s like the game of telephone where what actually happened, by the time it gets passed down, now you were like, passing out drunk, got a DUI. You know, it’s like, turning into this big story. No, that’s not what it was. I just wanted to drink less.

Sherry Price:       Yeah.

Katrina Ubell:      Yes, I can totally see that.

Sherry Price:       And then, what I found interesting about AA is, I would often think, “That’s not really anonymous, because you see me. You know me. You know my—”

Katrina Ubell:      Right.

Sherry Price:       This is not really anonymous. And yeah, just all that shame and not putting it out there. And then, I was also worried that my story wasn’t that dramatic. I mean, it’s just a habit. I didn’t have a bottoming out. I didn’t live on the streets. My life wasn’t a mess. My life was beautiful and perfect, which made me feel even worse about myself. Like, why can’t I figure this out? I have a great marriage, great family, I’m living the life of my dreams.

Katrina Ubell:      Right, yeah.

Sherry Price:       And I’m going to go to this scenario where people are going to be like, “Why is she here?”

Katrina Ubell:      Right, right, exactly. And I know that part of … So first of all, let’s just say we’re not bagging on AA. If you love AA, if AA works for you, if that has been a Godsend for you or someone you love or know, we’re all in on AA. We’re not saying you shouldn’t go to AA. There’s just certain parts of that program that not everybody resonates with.

And so what they’ll find is, they won’t seek help, right? Like you were saying, you’d rather be an alcoholic than go to AA. So, we’re talking about those people. We’re talking about the people who will not set foot in AA. But let’s also talk about how part of AA is deciding that, or believing that you’re powerless to the substance. That didn’t resonate with you either.

Sherry Price:       Not at all. And that’s actually, most of the other steps, I’m fine with. I believe in a higher power. I don’t have issues with that at all. I’ve sought out the higher power on many, many years, many, many prayers. And it just wasn’t changing for me. So my issue was, I didn’t want to be told I was powerless. I didn’t feel that that was true.

I felt that I have a human brain. I’m given free will by my creator. And I get to choose if I pick up that glass or not. I get to choose what I put in my mouth, right? So just that whole concept of powerlessness didn’t make sense to me. It didn’t grab me intellectually, and I like to think that I’m a very intellectual being.

And it also made me feel that I’d have to carry around this cross for the rest of my life.

Katrina Ubell:      Right, right.

Sherry Price:       Right, like I’d have to carry a label. I’d have to carry a diagnosis. I’d have to carry this thing that I didn’t want. I didn’t want to be shepherded and watched, and reporting into somebody. I would like the autonomy of, I could take care of this. I just need the tools.

Katrina Ubell:      Right.

Sherry Price:       So, the powerlessness really didn’t draw me in at all.

Katrina Ubell:      Mm-hmm (affirmative), yeah. And what about other terms? Like, being sober or being in recovery. There’s people are like, “I’m in recovery,” 25 years later. And that’s something that is very helpful for them.

Sherry Price:       Yeah.

Katrina Ubell:      But for you, you’re just like, no thanks.

Sherry Price:       Yeah, it didn’t intrigue me at all, because I just wanted to say, “This is a problem. It’s like your oil light comes on with your car. You take it to the mechanic. They fix it, and the oil light goes off or whatever, the engine light.”

Katrina Ubell:      Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Sherry Price:       I felt that if I just had an understanding and some tools, that that’s what it would be like for me. I didn’t want to identify it. I didn’t want to carry it around with me forever. I just wanted to say there was a time in my life where I relied on alcohol. It felt like it was controlling me more than I was controlling it. But that’s the past.

Katrina Ubell:      Yeah.

Sherry Price:       That’s no longer me, right? And I’m not counting days. I’m not celebrating. Because recovery, alcohol free, sobriety, all of that to me, I don’t know why, it just felt heavy and it didn’t feel attractive to my brain.

Katrina Ubell:      Yeah, yeah. Well and then, it’s so much harder when you’re like, that sounds really not fun and really heavy, and something I don’t want to do. And you’re like, “Well, guess I got to make myself do that.” What are the chances that’s going to really, really help you because you’ll probably be trying to rebel against it or rejecting it just from Day one.

Sherry Price:       Yeah.

Katrina Ubell:      So, you teach about something you call gray area drinking, which I think is actually quite brilliant. And so, I was wondering if you could tell us a little bit more about that.

Sherry Price:       Yeah, so I find that … And the statistics show if you look at the CDC’s website, they say that 90 percent of people who over drink are not at the stage of severe alcohol use disorder yet. So, 90 percent of over drinkers, right, I think are in this area that we don’t really know what to call it. So somebody coined it gray area drinking. And I think this is huge. Because it’s our way that we can serve as healthcare workers for prevention.

And it’s not waiting till you hit rock bottom or things are so unraveled in your life that you need treatment, right? You need rehab, you need abstinence and that phase. But it’s like a spectrum that this area that you feel like, well, you’re doing it a little too much. You feel like you’re doing it a little too much, because you’re getting the symptoms and the side effects and the consequences coming from it.

But where are we talking about prevention? It’s kind of like how I like to equate it to how a few years back, we decided to look at diabetes earlier. And now, we’re able to prevent diabetes by having this category calling pre-diabetic. Test A1C, monitor patients, and so, they are empowered to take action and do those lifestyle modifications and all of that so that they don’t develop diabetes.

And we just don’t have that, I don’t think, prevalent in healthcare. And so I was like, we got to reach these people who are 90 percent on their way. So if we can just learn preventative strategies and help them so that this doesn’t become a bigger issue in that they can get the treatment or the support that they need.

Katrina Ubell:      Yeah, so kind of thinking about it like, you’re non-alcoholic, pre-alcoholic, or alcoholic. And so, the people that you’re working with are the people who you’d call pre-alcoholic.

Sherry Price:       Yes, if we were to make the assimilation to the pre-diabetes, diabetes thing.

Katrina Ubell:      Yeah, yeah. Thinking about it like it’s a spectrum.

Sherry Price:       Yes.

Katrina Ubell:      It’s not all or nothing. Like, “Am I an alcoholic or not? And I don’t really know.” And it’s like, it doesn’t necessarily have to matter, right?

Sherry Price:       Right.

Katrina Ubell:      If it’s something that you think you do too much of and you’d like to stop, then that’s something that you can work on. Yeah, I think that’s great.

Sherry Price:       Yeah.

Katrina Ubell:      And what I also think is good about it is that, so many of the … Just the addiction model is, if you have an addiction to something, then the best thing to do is abstinence. And like you were saying, there are plenty of people who are like, “Listen, I’m not going to stop drinking for the rest of my life.”

Sherry Price:       Right, or change my friends, or empty my house of it. Or you know, we want to be in certain social situations. And I’d rather have confidence and control over it, than having to avoid it and empty my house. And saying I can’t hang out with these people anymore, and changing my whole circle. I didn’t feel I was there yet, and that I needed to do that.

Katrina Ubell:      Mm-hmm (affirmative), right.

Sherry Price:       I felt like if I just understood this a little bit more and had some tools that I could learn to drink less.

Katrina Ubell:      Yeah, do you think it was kind of like a conditioning type of thing where your brain had been conditioned through various different inputs that like, “It’s the end of the day, this is what we do. We drink.” You know, and would you say that essentially, what you did was de-condition yourself from that?

Sherry Price:       Absolutely, because I think I was … Once you like something, and I started to look for it everywhere, right? It was kind of like, “Oh, these friends are getting together on a Saturday afternoon to drink. That sounds fun, let me join. Oh, we’re bringing our kids? Great.”

So it was a way to make play dates more fun. It was a way to mingle with people. It was a way to connect with people. I started giving it so much more meaning. You know, the Mommy wine culture is huge, right?

Katrina Ubell:      Mm-hmm (affirmative), yes.

Sherry Price:       And the alcohol industry knows that. That’s why they’re targeting us. And if you look at last year, COVID rates for drinking went through the roof, but mostly amongst females. We’re just accepting now that it’s Mommy’s little helper. We’re accepting now the memes out there, the tee shirts. I mean, I saw tee shirts in Target and Nordstrom, like, all spectrums, right, celebrating wine. It’s Wine Day, or it’s Rose All Day.

Katrina Ubell:      Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Sherry Price:       And I think we’re being culturally conditioned to think this is normal.

Katrina Ubell:      Yeah.

Sherry Price:       And for so long, I thought it was normal and this is what high end society does. And this is what we do on date nights. And it gave me, my brain just kept seeing it everywhere, and it made me think, “I want to be part of that club.”

Katrina Ubell:      Mm-hmm (affirmative), mm-hmm (affirmative).

Sherry Price:       Yeah.

Katrina Ubell:      So, how did you … Walk me through the process of undoing that.

Sherry Price:       Well first, I have to say the hardest thing, I felt, was being honest with yourself.

Katrina Ubell:      Yeah.

Sherry Price:       And just being aware. So, I was also experiencing a lot of stress at the time. My daughter received the diagnosis of Tourette Syndrome. And knowing what I know about Tourette, my brain just went to a dark space of “Oh my gosh, I’m not the right mom for her. How am I going to manage this? I’ve not been around this type of disease in the past. I don’t know what to do.”

So, life circumstances made it feel even more of a relief at the end of the day. So, I had to be honest. It’s like, “Okay, Sherry, what benefit are you getting from this? Why do you keep doing this?” And I didn’t want to know that for a long time, because I didn’t want to change.

Katrina Ubell:      Mm-hmm (affirmative), right.

Sherry Price:       So I think for me, it was the most painful part or the most, this stepping stone to get started was like, I do want to change. Why do I keep telling myself I don’t want to change? I don’t want to feel this way the next day. I don’t want to be at … I mean, I’m a control freak. I think a lot of people in healthcare are, right? That’s why we go into it because we’re like, we want to understand how the body works. We want to understand how to fix things and solve things.

And so, just getting a little bit of courage to look at why am I doing this, and just understanding what benefit I was getting from it, rather than, because what my brain would tell me is, “Oh, you just like the taste.”

Katrina Ubell:      Yeah, right.

Sherry Price:       You know, right? Like, your brain’s going to give you all the smoke screen. Like, “Oh, it’s just what you do at 5:00.” And that’s excusing it a little.

Katrina Ubell:      I told myself, like, you’re a nicer mom. Alcohol has not actually been much of a thing for me. It really hasn’t been. But there’s been one period in time where I was a very stressful time where I did start to notice, oh, I am drinking more than I usually do.

But seriously, just telling myself these stories about how it made everything better, that I was more fun and a nicer mom. And not nagging my kids so much.

Sherry Price:       Happier.

Katrina Ubell:      Happier, exactly.

Sherry Price:       Right. It’s like the treat at the end of the day. I deserve this. Like, all of that. I’m not saying we don’t deserve things, but it’s just, is that the real reason I’m drinking? And I found for me, once I pushed all of that aside, there was a lot more coming up. And that’s what I felt I needed, was to go there into those emotions, into those areas where I felt inadequate or not enough, or just breaking all that down through coaching has been so beneficial.

Katrina Ubell:      Yeah. It’s like you have to get to know yourself.

Sherry Price:       And it’s loosened my grip.

Katrina Ubell:      Yeah.

Sherry Price:       Yes, because alcohol takes you away from the present moment. It takes you further away from yourself, because you’re just numb. So you don’t know what you’re feeling. You don’t understand. I didn’t know I had frustrations so much underneath me. I thought, “Oh, I’m a healthcare practitioner, I’ll figure this out. Just give me some more time, I’ll figure this out.”

But I was relying on my intellect so much, that I didn’t realize how much I was blocking the emotional component, and how much you can learn from that.

Katrina Ubell:      Yeah, yeah. That’s …

Sherry Price:       Because numbing, numbing doesn’t allow you to understand what’s going on.

Katrina Ubell:      Right, you’re just glossing over it.

Sherry Price:       Yes.

Katrina Ubell:      And I think just like, with anything that you’re overing, whether it’s food, it’s alcohol, it’s spending, it’s working, it’s exercise, it’s whatever it might be, it’s all an escape from what’s really going on for you.

Sherry Price:       Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Katrina Ubell:      And that’s why for some people, creating a drink protocol may not really work because you don’t even know why you want it in the first place, and you don’t have the tools to deal with what’s coming up for you when you don’t have the alcohol. So then it’s just like, “I don’t even know why, I said I’d have one glass and I ended up with four.” Well, we know why, right? From a conceptual standpoint.

What we then have to do is dig into no, what really is going on for you? And that takes some courage, I think. I think that with weight loss too, it’s just, it takes some courage to just be like, “You know what? I’m ready to do this.” But I think there has to come a point where you really are like you said, ready to make a change.

Sherry Price:       Yes.

Katrina Ubell:      Ready to stop drinking around and figure this out. Because staying with the life that you have is not acceptable anymore, so you are willing to move forward into something else that might be more uncomfortable for a little while, with the idea that once you go through that, it’ll be so much better on the other end.

Sherry Price:       Right, and I find that if sometimes you’re not willing to change until there’s enough pain.

Katrina Ubell:      Totally.

Sherry Price:       It’s actually in our pain, in our current pain, that we are willing to now accept a new pain, knowing that there is the other side, at least, on that pain.

Katrina Ubell:      Yes, yes.

Sherry Price:       Because if I stay in this pain, there’s no relief unless I keep doing what I keep doing. But the self-loathing that comes from that, and just feeling out of control and just not in charge of the greatness that life brings, right?

Katrina Ubell:      Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Sherry Price:       Is kind of dampens your spirits over time.

Katrina Ubell:      Yeah, yeah.

Sherry Price:       You get into this low level depression that I feel, and then the alcohol is a depressant on top of that.

Katrina Ubell:      Right.

Sherry Price:       So you kind of get in this space. And I work with a lot of women who are like, “I just don’t care about things any more like I used to. And I lost my motivation, I lost my joy.” And of course, it makes sense if we’re buffering all the time and numbing out. We are buffering the good feelings too, right?

Katrina Ubell:      Mm-hmm (affirmative), exactly.

Sherry Price:       You just kind of can’t feel. And you don’t know what feelings are like.

Katrina Ubell:      It’s like a total neutralization of everything.

Sherry Price:       Yes.

Katrina Ubell:      What we’re hoping for is that it’ll neutralize the negative and amplify the positive.

Sherry Price:       Right.

Katrina Ubell:      But that’s not what happens. Unfortunately, that’s not how it goes.

Sherry Price:       It actually neutralizes the happy, and amplifies the negative.

Katrina Ubell:      Yeah, right, exactly. Exactly.

Sherry Price:       Which is the exact opposite of what we’re hoping for. I mean, maybe the first glass, right, you get the dopamine hit with the first bite of a donut or whatever. You get those neuro hormones that are going that make it feel nice.

Katrina Ubell:      Yeah.

Sherry Price:       But then, it’s the law of diminishing returns.

Katrina Ubell:      Right.

Sherry Price:       And it’s awful.

Katrina Ubell:      Yes, yes. So, I know you are very well versed in the research. And what research shows in terms of different … There’s all kinds of different ways to help people who drink more than they want to. And so, we don’t need to go into all of them, but I would love it if you could share how research does support coaching as a legitimate modality for reducing drinking.

Sherry Price:       Yes, and so where I look to is the National Institutes on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. And in their options for treatment on their website, they talk about how people just think of rehab and 28 day rehabs, or outpatients or inpatient and abstinence as what most people think of for treatment options. But they say there’s a variety of treatment modalities out there that are currently available, thanks to the advances in the field over the past 60 years.

And they even go on to say that it’s not a one size fits all approach. Some people will resonate with one approach. Others will resonate with another approach. And then, they talk about all the different treatment modalities from behavioral treatments to medications. And I think that’s where life coaching really can help. It’s because we want to get why the behavior exists in the first place, right? Really understand that behavior.

Not from a judgmental standpoint. Just like, if you’re doing it, there’s definitely a benefit your brain is getting from that. And let’s just look at that, and let’s see if we can change that pattern, interrupt that pattern. And lesson this behavior. Not to say that everybody has to be in abstinence or avoidance.

Katrina Ubell:      Yeah, yeah. Absolutely, so you think of coaching as … I mean, it can stand alone as what somebody needs, or it really can be used in conjunction with some other options, right? Depending, yeah.

Sherry Price:       I do. I do, I’ve worked with women who have been in rehab and have relapsed. And then tried coaching. And this seems to be their magic bullet, right? This seems to be that missing link that they didn’t get in rehab. And then people maybe want to use it alongside of okay, I want to abstain. But in AA or in whatever, other models that they’re trying, they don’t teach me about my feelings. They don’t teach me about how I create my own deprivation. They don’t go to the next level of it.

Katrina Ubell:      Yeah.

Sherry Price:       Right, it’s all about just, we’ll support you through abstaining from alcohol. And so, but to take it to a deeper level, I think helps us move on quicker without any guilt or any of that.

Katrina Ubell:      Mm-hmm (affirmative), mm-hmm (affirmative). And I think one thing that makes alcohol just a more challenging over drinking a little bit, I’m not going to say more challenging, because people are going to be like, “It’s more challenging.” But it’s a different challenge than with weight loss is because overeating is socially acceptable, right? You can totally go and eat. And you know, we still might be like, “Oh, people are watching.” And we’re hiding, eating the food or whatever.

But it’s different than becoming the person … You know, you might overeat and then feel really full, but you’re not stumbling, throwing up, saying ridiculous things, slurring your speech. It’s not going to make it so that you’re not able to operate heavy machinery. It’s a different kind of a thing. And just, culture looks at it differently.

So I think there’s … I mean, we’re all experts at creating shame for all kinds of things, but I think there’s this kind of extra different level of shame and of hiding. There have been events or things that I’ve gone to where I have thought to myself, I feel so bad for anybody who might identify as an alcoholic or really be trying to abstain in this situation. Because it’s just so expected that you drink.

Now, I know people who don’t drink. They just, for religious reasons or actually, someone that I worked with for many years, he just never developed a taste for it. Just wasn’t his thing, and he just didn’t do it. And I think that you can become that kind of person who’s just like, you know how there’s people who don’t like sweet stuff. They don’t like sugar.

Sherry Price:       Right.

Katrina Ubell:      And it’s like, you can become someone like that. But do the people who struggle with alcohol get the guidance and the help, the really, the tools on how to deal with that on a really deep level so that they go into any party or any event, any wedding, whatever, like, “I’m totally good, totally solid on this. I’ve got my back.”

I just think it’s different, and I think that having the coaching help is just brilliant for that. So good.

Sherry Price:       And I want to just highlight two things that you said there that are key. The first is, I think what makes this different than overeating is, in my mind … I could be wrong, but in my mind, when you overeat, it starts showing up on your body.

Katrina Ubell:      Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah, people can see it eventually, yeah.

Sherry Price:       Exactly, right? It’s no hidden secret, let’s just say.

Katrina Ubell:      Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Sherry Price:       But trust me Katrina, if you were to talk to me after a bottle of wine, you would have no idea. I mean, my tolerance was so high. I didn’t slur. My gait wasn’t disturbed. You wouldn’t know. So I think you can be an over drinker and still appear normal. People wouldn’t know. It’s such a thing you can hide easier than overeating.

Katrina Ubell:      Yeah.

Sherry Price:       And then the second thing is, I think our society is very polar on alcohol. We glamorize it, right? Let’s get together, it’s Super Bowl Sunday, it’s the New Year, let’s cheers with champagne. We glamorize it, and there’s wine tours and wineries, and we’re swirling it. There’s just beautiful ritual around it, and it’s how you sell things, right? I mean, cruises, there’s always the older couple on the back of the boat with their wine glass or something. So, it’s glamorized.

And then yet, it’s stigmatized.

Katrina Ubell:      Yeah.

Sherry Price:       So oh, it’s great to do it, as long as you’re in control and you do it responsibly, as the commercials tell us. But then when you can’t, then it’s like, “Oh, sorry, you’re one of those.” And now, “Oh.”

Katrina Ubell:      I was going to say, “You’re one of those people. Oh.”

Sherry Price:       Right, right.

Katrina Ubell:      That’s really sad for you, yeah.

Sherry Price:       So, to me, there’s no happy medium.

Katrina Ubell:      Yeah, yeah. There are so many parallels to overeating, though. It’s like the bikini model who’s eating like all of this food. It’s just kind of like, this whole idea of you should be able to eat all the things and be totally rail thin at the same time. It’s like, interesting.

Sherry Price:       Right, right.

Katrina Ubell:      Yeah, yeah. I do think that with alcohol though, there is … I mean, we don’t need to get into a shame competition, that’s for sure. But I do think that there is … That a lot of people have a lot of thoughts about how they shouldn’t be drinking as much as they do.

You know, a big argument with food is like, well you have to eat. Now, you don’t have to eat all different kinds of food, but you do have to eat. With alcohol, you don’t have to drink. And then, some people would be like, “I wish alcohol was my problem, because then I could just abstain forever.” But then all the people who have trouble with alcohol are like, “No, I don’t know that it’s actually so great.”

It’s just a challenge regardless.

Sherry Price:       Right.

Katrina Ubell:      Yes, yes.

Sherry Price:       Yeah.

Katrina Ubell:      So Sherry, tell us more about how you work with women who are looking to either reduce their drinking or stop drinking, or get support around their drinking?

Sherry Price:       Yeah, so I work with women who want to cut back. And I have a podcast called Drink Less Lifestyle. You can join me over there. And also on my website, there’s a ton of free resources you can recommend to your patients, or just have them kind of just consider cutting back.

Because I think for a lot of us, going from where we’re at, and I was at, like, 42 to 47 drinks a week, right? So that was bottle, bottle and a half a night, plus a little more on weekends. To zero, seemed like I couldn’t do it. I would be a failure. It’s just too hard. So just having that discussion, saying, “Hey, just cutting back, maybe you can just learn to be one of those who cuts back, and you change your desire around it,” all of the ways that you talk about with your clients. And so, they can find those tools on my website at sherryprice.com.

Katrina Ubell:      Okay, perfect. And it’s S-H-E-R-R-Y, P-R-I-C-E.

Sherry Price:       Correct, just like the red wine.

Katrina Ubell:      I was thinking, I’m like, the irony of your name, right?

Sherry Price:       No, it gets better, Katrina. Can I tell you, my dad, he was in bartending school when I was born. So I was either going to be called Brandy or Sherry.

Katrina Ubell:      Oh my God, that is great.

Sherry Price:       So, right on.

Katrina Ubell:      Right, that’s awesome. Awesome, and so you work with women in groups, which …

Sherry Price:       I do.

Katrina Ubell:      … we were talking before we started recording how groups are the best, and groups are really how you learn so much about yourself and do so much work yourself, but also learn in a really safe space and a very confidential space with other women going through the same thing.

And so, if anyone’s interested in that, can they get that information about working with you on your website?

Sherry Price:       Yes, it’s under the Work With Me page.

Katrina Ubell:      Okay.

Sherry Price:       Yeah, and I love the group format. I used to do one on one, but when I switched to groups, I found that the shame just dropped a lot quicker.

Katrina Ubell:      Yeah.

Sherry Price:       Because we feel we’re the only ones. We feel how can, nobody thinks of it as a problem if I tell my friends, my family, because I’m still going to work every day. I’m still raising my kids. But just to be around other like-minded women who are working and doing all the things and seeing that oh, they’re drinking a little too much too, just really helps us drop the shame quicker.

Katrina Ubell:      Yes, I a hundred percent agree. You start to realize you’re not as broken as you think you are. You’re not the extra special person who really … It’s like, no, I’m really the one who has the problem. You start to realize, oh no, we all are doing the same thing.

And I love what you said about this is for people who are very functional. We’re not talking about people who are waking up, the proverbial in the gutter kind of a thing. Like, you’re going to work. You’re totally successful. You’re doing all the things that you’re supposed to be doing and want to be doing. Except you think you might be drinking too much.

Sherry Price:       Yeah. And actually, a lot of my women are, they would say, they would say, “I’m killing it in all areas of my life. I eat organic, I’m doing all these things. It’s just this one area. I don’t know why I can’t get control over it.”

Katrina Ubell:      Mm-hmm (affirmative), yeah. So yeah.

Sherry Price:       And it doesn’t have to be the quantity …

Katrina Ubell:      So if anybody listening resonates with that … Yeah. Right, it doesn’t even … Yeah, right? It’s not like, I mean, there are the guidelines of what people should drink and not drink. But that’s not even relevant. Even if what you drink falls within the guidelines and is too much for you …

Sherry Price:       Exactly.

Katrina Ubell:      … only you know that in terms of how you feel.

Sherry Price:       Exactly.

Katrina Ubell:      And even your intuition just kind of telling you, this isn’t the right thing. Like, you’re not in alignment with yourself. Whatever, however much that may be, and then just figuring out what that is. Yeah, I love that.

Sherry Price:       Exactly.

Katrina Ubell:      Yeah, this is so great. Yeah, so anybody listening who struggles themselves to check you out, and anybody who takes care of patients who struggle with their drinking, but are not identifying with the addiction kind of models, they should definitely be referring onto you.

Sherry Price:       That’d be great, I’d love to help them.

Katrina Ubell:      Wonderful. Sherry, thank you so much. It was so great to talk to you.

Sherry Price:       This has been fun, Katrina, thank you.

Katrina Ubell:      Ready to start making progress on your weight loss goals? For lots of free help, go to katrinaubellmd.com and click on free resources.





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