Annie Grace is my hero because her book, This Naked Mind, transformed my mind and my life forever! With her help, I finally stopped being a slave to alcohol.
When I was young, I was a straight-A student. I won a spelling bee as one of the youngest kids in middle school and was a Little League all-star baseball player. As a teenager, I started drinking alcohol and stopped caring about school and baseball. I began suffering from depression and anxiety and even contemplated suicide quite a few times. In fact, I shot a bullet above my head one night when I was 18 because I was so tired of living in psychological and emotional hell. I couldn’t see any other way out of the deep, dark hole I was living in; but I guess I had just enough hope to aim high.
I hadn’t even graduated high school and I already had a Ph.D. in getting fucked up and living in misery.
My addiction became my identity and I had no idea who I truly was anymore. I felt lost, alone, and hopeless. And I was drowning in guilt, shame, and self-hatred. My life was literally a merry-go-round of depression, anxiety, and addiction. These issues made me hate school, so I skipped so many days that I had to go to a truancy meeting with the school board to make sure I didn’t fail. I also started meeting with a few local counselors and none of them were any help.
I became a monster and I couldn’t control my rage.
A Slave To Alcohol
After high school, my alcohol addiction continued getting worse. My first DUI came just a few months after graduation. I had been day drinking with some friends and then my cousin had to leave to go to an AA meeting. I told him I would go with him, but he didn’t want me to go because I was drunk. When he left, I tried to follow him but I lost sight of his car and didn’t know where the meeting was so I decided to drive home. Still living with my parents and not wanting them to know I had been drinking and driving, I decided to drive around the neighborhood a few times to try to sober up.
A dumb idea.
After blacking out, I hit a truck parked on the side of the road. It’s probably a good thing I hit that truck because I might have driven into someone’s house or run over someone walking around the neighborhood.
I think I stopped drinking about 90 minutes before the accident and it took a little while for a police officer to show up to the scene of the accident, but my breathalyzer result was still .29 which is 3.5x the legal limit. The judge restricted my license for 6 months, only allowing me to drive to and from college and my job during certain hours of the day. It also required me to have a breathalyzer installed in my car.
But that didn’t stop me.
I taught people how to blow in the breathalyzer so I could keep drinking whenever I wanted to and driving wherever I needed to go. I was only 18, so I needed people to buy alcohol for me and I preferred drinking with friends and family instead of drinking alone.
Eventually, I got caught driving when I wasn’t supposed to be and the judge suspended my license.
At that time, I was in community college taking random courses because I was unsure of what I wanted to do with my life other than get drunk as much as possible. After a couple of semesters, I stopped going to my classes because I had enrolled in a university in Florida. I thought moving away and earning a degree would help me change the direction and quality of my life. It was how I’d stop being a slave to alcohol.
My addiction followed me and intensified while I was in college.
I Don’t Want To Be A Slave To Alcohol
I don’t remember much from my college days, but I do remember being incredibly drunk one night, falling to my knees, and praying to God to help me end my addiction because I was tired of living as a slave to alcohol.
There were nights I’d be driving back to my apartment – some nights so drunk that I would have to close one eye to try to see straight. Sometimes, I could barely see in front of me because my vision was so blurry and the lines on the road would appear to be moving. It’s an absolute miracle that I’m still alive and never accidentally killed anyone because I was so reckless for so long.
With a few months remaining before college graduation, my body developed an anal polyp. I used to believe it came from my poor diet and excessive drinking, but now that I’m writing this story for you, I believe it may have been God trying to answer my prayer because it caused me to drastically cut back on my drinking. The polyp was so uncomfortable and drinking alcohol made it worse. It was much worse than hemorrhoids and it made me miserable, even when I wasn’t sitting on one of the hard chairs in class. Amazingly, I graduated with a great GPA and then I moved back to Virginia.
When I returned, I had to move back in with my parents because I was a poor college graduate and didn’t have a job yet. I wasn’t drinking as much or as often as before, only because the polyp was making me miserable. So, I decided to have surgery to remove it. Afterward, my addiction kicked back into high gear and I began drinking even more than before.
Here We Go Again
I started working at a sports equipment store and within 2 weeks, I went to the liquor store one afternoon on my lunch break and never went back; except to collect my paycheck. Shortly after that, I had my second alcohol-related car accident.
I passed out driving about 55 MPH on an overpass and the driver’s side quarter panel of the car smashed into a road sign in the median. My car spun 360 degrees as it bounced over the concrete median strip. I woke up and quickly turned the steering wheel to drive back over the median. I made it home to my parent’s house and passed out immediately. My mom woke me up a few hours later to ask what happened to my car and I remember looking half-dead after I sluggishly got out of bed and looked into my eyes in the mirror.
I was ashamed and resented myself for who I had become.
The back window of my car was busted out and the driver’s side quarter panel had a huge dent from hitting the road sign.
It’s hard to believe I didn’t kill myself or anyone else.
Time Goes On
Over the next 7 years, my drinking amplified and I was inevitably charged with my 2nd DUI. I was driving home around 4:00 AM and passed out at a stop light with my foot on the brake. I didn’t regain consciousness until I was in the hospital. To this day, I’m not sure how they woke me up, but I was still very intoxicated so I was acting belligerent and rude toward the police officers in my hospital room.
It was embarrassing and depressing. I knew I had to change how I was living, but I didn’t know how.
Since I was in high school, I had been prescribed a variety of depression medications, met with counselors, tried willpower, voluntarily went to 12-step meetings, and nothing worked. I thought I was “diseased” and “powerless” and destined to live as a slave to alcohol forever.
Eventually, I heard about Antabuse (disulfiram) and made an appointment with my doctor. She wanted to prescribe me some type of depression medication instead of Antabuse because she knew about my alcohol-related issues. I told her I didn’t want to try another depression medication and insisted that she let me try Antabuse. Reluctantly, she agreed. If you don’t know, Antabuse is a pill that “alcoholics” take to help them stop drinking.
By the way, I no longer use the word “alcoholic” because it’s an unhelpful label that can hinder recovery.
In fact, believing I was an “alcoholic,” “powerless,” and “diseased” were the main reasons I remained addicted longer than necessary. So, anytime I use the word “alcoholic,” I type it within quotations or use air quotes if I’m speaking.
No Stopping Me
Anyway, if you take Antabuse and drink alcohol, it will make you sick as hell. It blocks an enzyme that is involved in processing alcohol and produces very unpleasant side effects (such as fast heartbeat, chest pain, nausea, dizziness, flushing, and thirst) when combined with alcohol in the body.
I wanted to quit drinking, but I wanted a quick fix instead of dealing with my underlying problems.
Plus, as I mentioned, I thought I was doomed to be like this forever because of my so-called disease and powerlessness. I would take the pill with good intentions to stay sober, but a few hours later I would be drinking right through the sickness. I stopped taking it within a few weeks because it wasn’t worth the extra misery.
Killing Myself Slowly
A couple of years later, my doctor said I needed to stop drinking completely because of some test she did to check the condition of my liver. It was a little disturbing to know, but I wasn’t surprised.
Actually, the bad news was enough to make me want to drink more and more – and more often.
At first, I slowed down a little bit, but after a few months, I stopped thinking about what she said and just kept pouring shots like there was no tomorrow. My life was a nightmare, and I couldn’t wake up no matter how hard I tried. I was so upset with myself for allowing alcohol to control my mind and ruin my life, that I took my anger out on others – including the people I love the most.
I never hit my wife, but once I flipped the mattress while she was lying on it. I also yelled at her and said hateful things more times than I care to recall, and I hated myself for it. She didn’t deserve my verbal abuse and I’m so grateful that she stayed with me while I was trapped in that vicious cycle of depression, anxiety, and addiction. I also treated my parents, my sister, and some of my closest friends in the same way.
Reflecting back, I realize how cruel and reckless I was, but addiction puts a chokehold on your soul and that bitch doesn’t like to let go.
I kept drinking because that’s what I knew best; it was my comfort zone.
Bad day, I would drink.
Good day, I would drink.
Sunny day, I would drink.
Rainy day, I would drink.
During holidays, social events, birthday parties, road trips, poker games and everything else in between, I would drink and drink and drink and drink.
Even though my world didn’t appear to be crumbling on the outside, the internal conflict was hell. I had to apply for Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) because my addiction to alcohol was making my depression and anxiety unbearable. FMLA requires covered employers to provide employees with job-protected and unpaid leave for qualified medical and family reasons. Basically, FMLA allowed me to take up to 12 work weeks of unpaid leave during any 12-month period to attend to my serious health condition. As soon as my paperwork was approved, I took a leave of absence for about a month to try to get my life under control.
It didn’t work.
I went back to work and my issues were worse than ever. I started calling out and leaving early on a regular basis. About 6 months later, I quit working there and decided to start my own business.
Out of Control
Getting clients was a struggle, so the alcohol kept flowing to “help” me cope. I started going to AA meetings again, online and offline. They weren’t helpful at all. I would start drinking as soon as I left the meetings. You see, I’ve never been like the people who stay sober all week and then get shit-faced on the weekend because it seems like the cool thing to do.
Never could I have two drinks with dinner and call it a night. I don’t even know what it means to be a “social drinker.” I was like Billy Bob Thornton in the Bad Santa movie.
The movie is funny, but when your whole life turns into a roller coaster of hangovers and blurry memories, the laughter fades away. I was drinking a fifth, liter, or a half gallon of whiskey almost every night by myself. Drinking until I blacked out or passed out. I would put food in the oven and then pass out until the smoke alarm woke me up. Passing out with a lit cigarette in my hand and burn our chairs, couches, and the carpet. Thank God I never burned our house down while my wife and daughters were sleeping.
I’ve also been so drunk that I’ve passed out and peed in my bed a few times.
Now, as a man, how do you think I felt when I woke up soaked in pee with my wife beside me?
But I wasn’t a man back then.
I was a slave to alcohol.
I was allowing it to dominate my life. Constantly feeling worthless, soulless, and lifeless because alcohol controlled the majority of my thoughts and emotions. Eventually, after driving home incredibly drunk from a friend’s house around 5:00 AM one morning, I finally made the decision to quit when I woke up feeling worse than ever. Seriously, it wouldn’t surprise me if I had been just one sip away from death the night before. So, I decided to quit drinking for good and I was going to do whatever it took to make it happen. I used willpower and didn’t drink for 9 months.
I couldn’t believe it.
How was this possible?
But then I went on vacation to the beach with my family and got drunk a few nights we were there.
I learned that willpower will fail you when you need it the most.
I started drinking again for more than 2 years. It was devastating, but I didn’t give up. I kept trying to figure out how to conquer my addiction so I could become a better role model for my daughters, a better leader for my family, and live a more fulfilling life.
Working On Myself
I started reading more and more books about personal development, psychology, addiction, and recovery. I started making some progress. Only drinking 2-3 days each week and cutting way back on drinking liquor. I would mostly drink beer and sometimes wine. However, one night on a family vacation, I was angry with my sister so I decided to buy some whiskey. I stayed up late, drinking straight from the bottle. The next morning I was hungover and very tired because I only slept a few hours.
On the way home, I fell asleep driving with my wife and 4-year-old daughter in the car with me. I was driving about 65 MPH and woke up when my tires hit the ridges on the left side of the road. I jerked the steering wheel and zipped into the other lane. We’re so lucky there wasn’t a car beside us. Plus, if I had jerked the steering wheel just a little bit more, I probably would’ve flipped the car and killed us all. Not only that, but if there hadn’t been ridges on the edge of the road, we would’ve definitely crashed into the embankment and been seriously injured or died right there. But guess what?
I still didn’t stop drinking.
Still A Slave To Alcohol
Alcohol had put me within inches and within seconds of death multiple times, and now I was within an inch and within a split second of killing my wife and daughter along with me…
AND I STILL DID NOT STOP DRINKING.
About 4 months later, by the grace of God, someone recommended This Naked Mind to me. A couple of days later, I bought the digital version of the book and I haven’t had any alcohol since the day I bought it.
And it was practically effortless to stop drinking.
I immediately went from getting lit AF all the time to living AF (Alcohol-Free). I read the whole book in a couple of days and my mind and life have been completely transformed. It’s literally a miracle.
Tired of being a slave to alcohol? Start reading This Naked Mind for free today and break free from the chains of alcohol!
A Changed Mind
Trust me, there’s nothing as a powerful as a changed mind.
You can change your clothes, your hair, your address, your spouse, your job, your car, and many other things, but if you don’t change your mind, the same experience will perpetuate itself over and over again, because everything outwardly changed, but nothing inwardly changed.
Since I was so impressed with This Naked Mind, I also went through Annie’s 30-day online challenge, The Alcohol Experiment.
It was phenomenal and I highly recommend it to people all the time.
No Longer A Slave To Alcohol
I also bought multiple hard copies of both of her books, This Naked Mind, and The Alcohol Experiment, just to share them with my clients now that I’m a Nationally Certified Recovery Coach. I’m fully recovered and my life has never been more peaceful, joyful, and full of love.
Want to know the best part?
I know I’ll never be a slave to alcohol again.
So, as I said at the very beginning, Annie Grace is my hero.
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