EP 135: The Pitfalls of 30 Day Alcohol Free Challenges with Annie Grace and Scott Pinyard

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Annie Grace sits down with Scott Pinyard, This Naked Mind’s head coach, to discuss tips and topics that will help you be successful with a 30-day break from alcohol – The Alcohol Experiment! Annie and Scott will walk us through six things that we can do to help us enjoy our vacation from alcohol and avoid the pitfalls that threaten to sabotage our efforts. Some of these topics include changing our mindset, having the right tools, and finding a buddy – to name just a few. Today’s episode is packed with helpful information that you won’t want to miss – especially if you’re planning on a dry January!

Alcohol Free Challenges

Today, for the end of the year, we are going to do an episode on the pitfalls that can go wrong with dry January or taking a 30 day break, specifically for the month of January. The New Years resolutions that is so many people’s intention to just kind of cleanse, reset, and enter into the new year in a kind of different frame of mind without alcohol, but it can be harder than you think. I speak from experience.

It's Not All Bad

We want to talk about the pitfalls, and we also want to talk about how to get through it positive. If you choose to do one of these things what are the things to watch out for, what are the things you can do to be successful and actually make it a positive experience instead of just 30 days of gritting your teeth.


We have six things we’re going to go through. Number one, of course, This Naked Mind is going to be mindset. Mindset is the single probably biggest predictor of your success. I think the biggest mistake people make is that they go into this thinking about what they’re giving up in these alcohol free challenges. It’s completely okay, I don’t get to drink for the next 30 days and I’m not allowing myself that. The things we tell ourselves are very much in the frame of lack and deprivation.

The Approach

People who do things like Dry January or Sober October at the end of it they’re always saying, “Oh, I learned a bunch. I feel better. ” But at the beginning of it they’re upset and they’re like this isn’t going to be very fun. I’m not going to enjoy it. That first week is no good. One of the ways I like to talk to people about it is that if you want to come out of this with some positive lessons, whatever they are, maybe you want to cut back, maybe you want to do something different, maybe you want to quit all together. Going in with that open mindset will get you more of that time to learn. Instead of that first week being really difficult and you being grumpy and unhappy, you can just be open to what you’re going to see and what you can learn there. That’s just going to get you that much farther in those 30 days.

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Look At the Positive

Enter this with what you’re going to gain, not what you’re going to give up. Really start to focus on the things that you can gain. Studies show that 92% of people who give up alcohol for four weeks are not just a little happier, but significantly happier. A huge majority of people sleep better, tons less anxiety, they lose weight, there’s so many statistics. In fact, if you go to www.alcoholexperiment.com, which is our 30 day challenge, you can read all of these statistics that are very well documented of everything you gain.

You start looking forward to this. What’s it going to feel like to be a few pounds lighter? What’s it going to feel like to be sleeping better at night? How will it feel not to wake up with a pit in my stomach? What’s it going to feel like just not to have hangovers?


You start anticipating and looking forward to that. You change your mindset in such a way that this actually becomes something not only doable, but enjoyable, which actually really leads me to point number two, because I think these really go hand-in-hand.

Seeing Is Believing

Positive affirmations do not work if you don’t believe them. We do that so often, we’re like, “I’m a success. I’m a success.” But your self conscious mind is like okay, no you’re not, and so you don’t believe them. What happens when you get curious is that you’ll avoid that pitfall of saying something like, “I’m going to enjoy this. It’s going to be amazing. It’s going to be incredible.”

You get curious about how is this going to be? Can this be incredible? Does this have the potential to be amazing? When you get curious, your mind actually believes that positive thought and really bumps out the negative thought.

Positive Associations

I think part of the problem with the idea of these alcohol free challenges is that we have so many positive associations with these things. Whatever it is for you in a 30 day challenge, whether it’s alcohol or marijuana or drugs, whatever it is that you’re going to try to give up for 30 days, the reason that we call it a challenge is that we seem to really be having a hard time letting go of it. It’s something that we have a lot of positive association about. Being curious about the idea, like maybe this isn’t all great, right? Maybe there is another way for me. Maybe there’s another way for me to look at this. There could be another way for me to live my day-to-day without being judgmental. That’s why I think curious and open mind kind of go hand-in-hand. It’s like we can have both thoughts.

It makes all the difference because when you’re in a curious mindset if you run across some material during the 30 day challenge or you have a thought or emotion or something and you’re curious about it you’ll be able to follow that down to it’s roots and really explore it a little bit more and get that much more out of the program.

Try Something Different

That’s in fact why we don’t even call ours an alcohol free challenge, we call it an experiment. It’s the alcohol experiment. It’s all about dipping a toe, seeing what it could be like, you know, exploring this. The word challenge just invokes this will be hard. This is going to be punishment. I am going to suffer, you know? But the word experiment is like okay, I’m just going to see what happens. I’m just going to go through this and say if this is great, great, but I don’t actually have any expectations.

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Find out more about the pitfalls and positives of alcohol free challenges by listening to the complete podcast.

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Special music thank you to the Kevin MacLeod Funkorama (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License