PJ became alcohol-free through This Naked Mind after 50 years of chasing that buzz. It is not your typical TNM progression of events in the course of becoming AFAF.
Starting at 12
I am 62 years old and a retired occupational therapist. Drinking started at age 12 and I blacked out the first time I drank. Growing up in a not-so-happy home fraught with conflict, confusion, and abuse, I found alcohol to be my greatest method of escape. I convinced myself it was the answer to all of life’s problems despite MULTIPLE consequences, including inpatient hospitalizations, MH facility stays for severe depression, and physical manifestations.
I cycled in and out of AA, but never felt that it was the right fit for me. Rejecting the labels and claims of powerlessness; I had felt both keenly since early childhood, so why would I wholeheartedly embrace a program that propagates the same? I continued to filter in and out of AA when things got bad; hating it the whole time I was there but not knowing any other way. The most success I ever had was close to five years of sobriety. I was miserable.
Fast forward to December of 2020. An ongoing medical condition I had struggled with for a decade permanently ended my career and forced me to retire early. This was late fall of 2019 and it literally left me reeling; I couldn’t wrap my head around the many implications that came with the loss of a major life role. Then just as I started to adjust and look at options for reinventing myself, COVID hit and I was totally isolated. It was a final blow, and I hit the bottle with abandon.
The Wake-Up Call
November of 2020 found the local police and fire department at my home one evening; in a blackout, I had fallen and my partner could not wake me or get me off the floor. Panicking, she called 911. According to her, I was out of control and hurling insults and profanity at the rescue squad. When sober, I am not that kind of person so I was mortified. I knew I needed help and sought out a therapist. I was brutally honest about my drinking and depression and she encouraged me to find help.
Refusing to return to AA, I had heard about This Naked Mind and googled your website. Immediately, I signed up for The Alcohol Experiment and began looking at the recommended pre-course videos. I had just started reading This Naked Mind and I was beginning chapter three when I watched “Becoming Mindful of Drinking.” That! Believe it or not, THAT was what changed my life!
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Becoming Mindful of Drinking
I did exactly what you said to do in the video, I observed. I was so frustrated and angry with the stronghold alcohol had over my life that I found myself getting livid as I stared down that glass of vodka. At that moment, I wanted nothing more than to have that substance permanently eradicated. At that moment, I saw alcohol for the great deceiver it was; as I stared at my glass, my mind coursed through a litany of all the lies alcohol had told me and I saw them one by one.
I told alcohol that I was done with the pain it had caused; it was at that moment I believe the miracle of spontaneous sobriety occurred because I put down my glass after not even drinking more than half my nightly amount. Something had shifted and I felt it. The next night I didn’t even want to drink but worried about possible detox symptoms, I had half of the half I had the night before. Then came my third and final night of drinking: again, fearing withdrawal symptoms I had half as much again which equated to about two ounces of vodka. My partner of 32 years watched incredulously as I opened a $40 bottle of vodka, drank two ounces, and poured the rest down the drain.
Alcohol-Free Through This Naked Mind
Later that night I awoke from sleep and looked at the clock. It was 12:01 a.m. and it was my first AF day in 16 years. I was alcohol-free through This Naked Mind, and I knew it! I went to the TNM Facebook page and told the story. Finally, I was “all in” and ready for the experiment; this was December 19, 2020. I got through Christmas and New Year without one craving and started the Live Alcohol Experiment. It was on the private Facebook page that comes with the experiment that I began to question what had happened to me.
I read so many posts of people who were really struggling, and it dawned on me that I wasn’t! This was truly mind-boggling considering how miserable I was every other time I had tried to sober up. I would usually come dragging my ass to an AA meeting, white-knuckling it and hating myself and everyone else only to be met with “back again???” Ughh.
What Was Different?
So I was perplexed, why wasn’t I miserable now? What was different??? I got on the Facebook page and started asking questions because I couldn’t even ascertain what had happened to me. Thank God for my friend, Lance, who was a mentor for the 30 days. He explained that what happened to me was what they called a “magic trick.” In those moments when I called out the lies to that glass of vodka, my conscious and subconscious mind became one and I was done.
I asked him if it was permanent or could I expect my misery back at some point in time? He said those he knew who shared my experience had not returned to drinking. And so it has been with me. Only being a Star Wars fan, I prefer to call it “Annie Grace’s Jedi Mind Trick.” (By the way, I came up with that before I heard Scott say it. 😁)
I’m writing this almost six months alcohol free. How has my life changed? I could write a novel!!!
I live my life as if alcohol was never, ever a part of my life. I can stand in the middle of a crowded bar with pretty martinis all around me, and it doesn’t even register because I couldn’t care less. Just recently, my partner and I went to a local restaurant and had to wait for a table. I suggested we sit at the bar to wait. She looked at me like I had two heads. “Won’t that be too hard,”, she asked. I told her no and took a seat. Yes, I registered all the sights, sounds, and smells associated with that of any bar; but I couldn’t have completely cared less.
As far as alcohol is concerned, I’m finished.
I’m a young 62, and now I’m all about finding my next great purpose. And you know what’s really cool? The sky’s the limit!!! Jane Fonda (a woman I admire greatly) calls this time the “third chapter of her life.” What does my third chapter entail? Thanks to you, it’s anything and everything I can wish it to be; currently, I’m in exploration mode. It’s a work in progress, a really joyful work thanks to being AFAF!
Share Your Story
Are you alcohol-free through This Naked Mind? Please share your story as PJ did and inspire and encourage others on this transformative journey!