The James Swanwick Show

“If you’re doing the things you want to do, people will hone in on that energy, and you’ll attract the right relationships into your life.” - Dr. Michael Friedman

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Are you the sort of person who is constantly looking to better yourself? The kind of person with boundless energy for improvement, who wants and plans to do really big things in the world? Will you stop at nothing to accomplish your goals? And one last question: Do you really think that spending the weekend hungover is helping you get there?


Today’s guest on the James Swanwick show is Dr. Michael Friedman. Dr. Friedman is a clinical psychologist, and today’s show is all about how that drinking habit of yours, which may be no major problem, might not be helping you in any way, and may in fact be hampering your success in more significant ways than you realize.


One of the most powerful tools that Dr. Friedman recommends is what he calls “motivational interviewing.” This process consists of laying out, in a very honest fashion, the pros and cons of drinking. And, as Dr. Friedman points out, it is essential that the pros be adequately represented - as there are in fact pros to drinking! Things like being less inhibited, feeling more accepted by groups, and other aspects, should be considered real and significant pros! But then reposition and look with equal honest at the cons, because when the cons of drinking are approaching with this level of honesty, most will find that alcohol is indeed a net loss for them in their life.


This episode is all about the importance of taking a careful inventory of yourself and your relationship with alcohol. Ask yourself why you’re drinking, and choosing to get drunk. For most people, the answer is that they want to be more sociable, and maybe even find a mate. But consider the absurdness of this plan! To think that you will be able to attract and cultivate better relationships, whether romantic or platonic, in a state of drunken stupor is ludicrous!


So prepare to be enlightened about alcohol in society! Dr. Michael Friedman will help you understand when it does and does not make sense for you specifically, and how you can really start to take control of this area of your life. All of this, of course, leading you to a better, healthier and happier life, on this episode of the James Swanwick Show!

“One of the dangerous things about moderate drinking is that you can end up being dependent on it in a very subtle way.” Dr. Michael Friedman

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Notes on the Show

  • Alcohol might not be a major evil force in your life. But is it helping you in any way?
  • Motivational interviewing is the process of asking yourself honestly: What are the pros and cons of drinking?
  • When doing the motivational interview, don’t hold back about the pros - because there are pros!
  • But also be honest about the cons 
  • Ask yourself: How much drinking should you do to get all the pros, while limiting the cons?
  • That number (number of drinks), which may be zero, is what you should shoot for
  • Calculate the cost of drinking, including more than alcohol, such as taxi’s, binge eating, etc…
  • Experiment on yourself, and document the results, to really understand what is working
  • Ask yourself: What is your purpose in going out? Then ask yourself if alcohol is truly helping you accomplish that purpose
  • If you’re spending time around people who are not supportive of you trying to be your best self and continually improve, maybe it’s time to get around other people
  • Moderate drinking can be harmful in a sneaky way: When you use alcohol as a crutch to help you relax or be social, over time you can’t accomplish it without alcohol, and then you’re dependent
  • Choose to spend your time with people who are like what you want to become



Jame’s Method to Get Unstuck: Ask Yourself...

  • How - am I going to get out of this situation?
  • What - am I going to do?
  • Who - am I going to get to help me?
  • When - am I going to do it?

“The best way to convince anyone to do anything is to be the best example yourself.” - James Swanwick

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Resources Mentioned:


James Swanwick’s Interview on Brick by Brick





Learn More About Dr. Michael Friedman:


Psychology Today Blog: Brick by Brick by Dr. Michael Friedman



Full show notes available at:


Direct download: michael_friedman_video.mp4
Category:general -- posted at: 3:11pm PDT