Alcohol has been a part of Kerry’s life since she was a pre-teen. With the help of This Naked Mind, she has found a new take on happy hour. This is now a time with no regrets and pure joy thanks to being alcohol-free.
Alcohol is for relaxation
Growing up my weekends were spent boating and hanging out at a local marina with my parents’ friends and their children. It is actually a wonderful memory. We had a blast. The kids all could be off exploring together in the water and streams surrounding the boat slips. It was like the neighborhood kids of all ages hanging out while the parents socialized (which often included alcohol). I related alcohol with relaxation time and having fun with friends. Our annual family vacations at our camp on a lake in Maine also included a lot of drinking and water sports and family time. The kids were all encouraged to drink when we were younger and safe with our families.
A safe way to enjoy happy hour
My parents, like many others, thought they were helping us all get accustomed to how you feel when you drink and to experience when you have drunk too much. My parents felt if we threw up at our family camp in a safe area we would be prepared for the real world when we were off at college. I truly believe they felt they were preventing an even worse situation if we went to college naive. For most of my life, I agreed it was a good plan and that I was thankful they exposed us to the negative consequences of alcohol at such an early age. It wasn’t until recent years listening to my child’s views on alcohol that I changed my perspective on that.
Using the wrong tools
I have always believed alcohol was a tool you used to be social and let loose that you needed to be cautious with and you needed to experience. No longer do I see it in this way. I don’t ever want my child to drink so much that they puke in order to understand the consequences of overdrinking. That is likely because my child is very open about their negative associations with alcohol. Associations I did not have or make growing up. I am learning and growing and am thankful for my child and This Naked Mind for opening my eyes.
A New Take on Alcohol
Only recently have I become aware of different perspectives on drinking. I have drank since I was probably 12 years old. Drinking often and a lot when a teenager. I drank more but less often in college because I was studying to be a nurse. I drank every weekend during my 20s and 30s and in my early 40s midweek or weekend no matter whether it was all situational and it was my way of rewarding myself for all of my hard work and my way to both relax and be social and silly. Not until my late 40’s did I start to see that I relied on it to relax and numb out and now at age 49 I am seeing so much clearer thanks to This Naked Mind.
It Was Always Happy Hour
During the pandemic, living in my basement and working as a nurse, drinking wine became my escape. Using it to numb out all the chaos and keep me company in my basement away from my family because of my exposure to Covid at the hospital. I wanted to stay far away from my family to decrease their risk. There were many times I would finish a bottle by myself and fall asleep. As that year went by my tolerance increased. Instead of just wine, I fell in love with screwball peanut butter whiskey. I didn’t drink that very often but when I did I started to notice myself feeling angry.
Happy Hour Becomes Less Happy
Often my husband was the one that got the other end of my anger. I specifically remember being so angry at him while driving home in our big F150 truck from a friend’s gathering for Thanksgiving that I wanted to get out and walk home. When I demanded he stop and let me out and he refused I literally opened the door to get out while the truck was moving. Luckily my husband stopped and pulled over and I got out. I hate to think how it may have escalated if he didn’t. He was just as angry at me at this point. Knowing we were only a couple of miles from home he drove away and let me walk. I stopped by two homes of people I knew along the way to chat and use their bathroom. I was enjoying myself and being social I thought.
What A Scene
I can only imagine what those people saw from their perspective. I was drunk at noon on Thanksgiving morning walking home and it was raining. Did I forget to mention that? Yes I was soaked in my clothes and drunk and I even found a path through the woods from my neighbor’s house up the hill to my road behind them to cut some time off my walk home. I don’t remember what we ended up doing or where we went that Thanksgiving if we went anywhere. I believe it was the Thanksgiving that wasn’t. It is a memory I will always have of a situation I would like to avoid at all costs in my future.
I tried limiting my drinks to “just one” or “at most two”. Tried weekends only. I tried “only when being social with others”. Bargaining with myself. I tried and failed. I drank more.
Now I am not sure how I came across Annie’s programs. I believe an ad for The Alcohol Experiment was likely it. My husband and I did “sober October” and both listened to the alcohol experiment app videos every night. We talked about the videos and took a look at our drinking habits. I was more sober-curious than my husband was but he was supportive and did it with me. We made it through the 30 days and celebrated with a drink together.
Happy for a Dry January
My first sober October was such a great experience that I decided to do Dry January just 3 months later. This time I wanted more. I joined the January LAE -Live Alcohol Experiment and enjoyed the Facebook group and reading others’ comments about the content of the program. I got more out of it but I didn’t last the 30 days this time. Thinking moderation was my goal made it okay. All the emails with amazing stories and reminders about how good life can be alcohol-free did keep me motivated.
I just kept wanting more exposure to this positivity surrounding sobriety. Truly sober curious. Wanting to educate myself and living in the alcohol-free community. I bought the audiobook and have listened to it twice in full. Now I skip around and listen to different parts while in my car driving places. I love listening to content every day to reinforce all the facts in my brain!
Are You Ready For A New Take On Happy Hour?
Could you use a new take on happy hour? Kerry found hers through This Naked Mind and you can too! Start reading for free right now!
What I love most is the neuroscience of it all! Being a nurse I thrive on knowledge and research. Annie Grace and Scott Pinyard gave me all of the facts and supporting stories and analogies I needed to start to change my perspective on alcohol and what it did for me. I bought “This Naked Life” as well and enjoy listening to those stories over again as well. Finally, I found Annie’s podcast last. I have recommended her books and her podcast to many people and look forward to listening to every one of her podcasts at some point. I’m thankful there are 300 or 400 of them for me to enjoy!
Particularly, I am interested in any podcasts regarding going off anti-anxiety medications as that is a plan of mine in the future but not now. I plan to stay on my Wellbutrin and Prozac for quite some time before I attempt that. Recently I joined The PATH for this July and have been enjoying the new Companion App very much. My plan is to engage more with the community, the coaches, and the content than I did for the January LAE. Also, I plan to journal even though writing in a journal does not bring me happiness. It is a chore and my handwriting is messy and it causes me anxiety. Even if I only write one or two sentences a day it is worth the effort.
I am giving myself grace. I want to practice positive habits. And speaking of habits I just devoured the book Atomic Habits by James Clear. I am motivated and happily alcohol-free for a few weeks now. Not counting specific days and I still take sips of my husband’s beers that I enjoy the flavor of. I also will continue to sip my favorite wines but I don’t plan on having a glass. I’m doing this for me. To do my own research on how I feel sober while doing all the things and more!
A New PATH
I am traveling more and enjoying non-alcoholic mocktails and coffee drinks. Iced tea and kombucha. I am lucky enough to be able to take a “sabbatical” from nursing having quit my full-time nursing job last August. My plan was to spend more time with my teenager before college, practice self-care, and “just be”. Be more present and focus on my health and the health and wellness of my surroundings including my family. I am learning all I can and experiencing all I can in the form of self-care and love sharing my experiences with others. From acupuncture to hypnosis, salt cave halotherapy, meditation and chiropractor visits, yoga daily, weekly massages for chronic neck pain, weight training with a personal trainer, to life coaching and mindfulness. Networking and sharing my experiences brings me joy.
On a Knowledge Journey
Knowledge about the neuroscience behind habits and emotions and of course drinking is now a passion of mine. I can’t seem to get enough of the content. Constantly I am consuming all the content that supports the life I am experiencing and the life I want to live going into my 50th year of life. I have my AirPods on while cleaning the house, out on walks, lying in bed at night. I have a trip to Madeira, Portugal next month with friends and our families and I am over the moon excited to experience the country and remember it all! In fact, I am excited to be the designated driver even!
A New Take on Happy Hour
Life is ever-changing and if you want to see ALL that life has to offer you need to allow yourself to change along with your circumstances. My old way of life was not bad. It was actually super fun! I do not regret my drinking. It served me well for the time and my circumstances at the time. I loved partying and being silly. At the time, I loved drinking and I still love the atmosphere of a happy hour. In fact, I plan to partake in it with some changes in my behavior and drink preferences, that is all. I just want more and right now drinking less is more. So I would tell myself to be open to self-growth and experience it all with an open mind. Believe in science. And don’t always believe your thoughts as they are just thoughts, not facts.
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