Lisa knew from early on that alcohol is evil but needed to get Naked to believe it.
My first experience with alcohol was with my Grandpa who lived with us. He drank all day every day and would have me and my sister get him a beer and open it up. I remember his breath always smelled of it. He’d get angry when he drank too much. Once he and my mother (his daughter-in-law) got into such a big fight that my mom had to take me and my sister to McDonald’s for a happy meal. I remember sitting in the parking lot until my dad came home from work to talk with him. I was filled with fear and wondering if we’d be able to go home. My Grandpa was an angry drunk since my Dad was a kid. He’d beat up my grandma, even breaking her shoulder at one point. She stuck with him and when I was 7, he had a severe heart attack and had a heart valve replacement done. It was a night and day switch when he had to stop drinking, otherwise it would kill him. He was the kindest, smartest, and most wonderful Grandfather ever. He passed away at 80, 12 years ago, but him giving up alcohol gave us almost 20 more years of him as his true self.
Alcohol Is Evil
I grew up believing alcohol is evil, partially because of my Grandpa, but also because of our belief in God. My dad had quit drinking when I was only 2 and he became a Christian (spontaneous sobriety). Living in a dry house after that, I always said I wouldn’t drink – even in HS when my friends were going to parties. I was the ‘goodie goodie’ who didn’t have sex, drink or smoke pot. Senior year I went to my first party and drank. Weighing 90 lbs at the time, I drank 4 or 5 drinks. There I was, hardly feeling buzzed while friends were puking, falling down and making many poor choices. I went home and cried on my mom’s lap and told her about it the next day.
Fast forward to my adult life. I went to a Christian college, where I met and married my husband at just 20. After we got married we became youth pastors at a country church in the farmlands outside of the Seattle suburbs. All the farm guys drank beer – and so did the women. So I began occasionally having something and I continued to drink maybe once a month for years. I was surprised by how many other Christians drank, which was really weird for me. Social drinking (especially in Washington and Oregon where there is a microbrewery on every corner and where churches meet at pubs) became the norm. There, they don’t think alcohol is evil.
At the same time, my career in a high-stress, direct sales business was becoming very successful and so was my husband’s. He took us on a business trip to Sonoma for a wine and film festival. I forced myself to drink the wine there. As a novice, I mixed beer, hard liquid and rich foods at a gala and ended up puking my guts out and being so sick. That really made me think alcohol is evil. Wanting to fit in with the other successful people who drank wine kick-started my drinking regularly at home. However, it was still pretty moderate and always socially acceptable.
When I got pregnant (surprise!) with our son was right when I had started to question how much I drank. As soon as I had him, with the encouragement of my midwife and lactation consultant, I had a glass of wine at night after trying to breastfeed and pump all day.
This was the turning point for me. Struggling with depression and anxiety my entire life, having panic attacks as a kid, and after having my son and breastfeeding not working, I sank into the baby blues. I used drinking to calm myself. I eventually found out that I have a condition that makes me have anxiety when my milk would let down. At the time, I thought I was just crazy. But I persisted in nursing. After trying everything possible to breastfeed and pump 10 times a day while caring for a newborn and running a business, my lactation gal finally said I needed to give it up after 4 months of this insanity. I cried my eyes out for days. It was my sister’s girl’s night out birthday dinner, so I went and I told them all I might as well drink a lot since I wasn’t nursing anymore. That was it.
Drinking and drinking, eating my emotions, gaining 20 more pounds, my business started to suffer and so did my health. My blood pressure was almost to the point of putting me on meds. I remember throwing away the big box of wine and realizing I had just bought it a couple days before and not knowing how much I was actually drinking. I didn’t know what to do. No one knew how much I was actually drinking either. I’d hide it and sneak in drinks to family occasions and before I met with clients – anything to numb how much pain I was in. Within this time I could hardly get out of the house and my business tanked. I lost everything I’d worked for and along with the baby blues, I was grieving deeply for my career. I realized that alcohol is evil.
A year later I talked with a mentor in my “Mom” group who was a retired counselor. With her encouragement, I made the choice to find a counselor and to seek help. I began anti-depressants and started therapy. She wisely told me I wasn’t an alcoholic, but was abusing food and alcohol. That was the beginning of doing some of the emotional work. I began to curb my drinking, but still had more than I wanted to and never felt very good. I ate a lot too. At one point I looked at my husband’s plate and realized I had a bigger portion than him and I’d go back for seconds. I continued to drink and eat and when I hit over 200 lbs, I realized I had to do something.
It was a miracle when a special speaker visited my “Mom” group, sharing her story of alcoholism and getting sober and rebuilding her life and marriage. I attended her exercise class and I found a safe place to heal and begin losing weight even though I didn’t quit drinking.
Reason To Change
Then I got pregnant with my daughter (surprise again!). Not knowing I was pregnant for a while and continuing to drink during that time, I still wonder if what I did will effect her in the future and it scares me. She is my precious 1-year-old now who looks healthy and normal and I’ll love her no matter what comes in the future.
When I realized I was pregnant, I quit completely but continued craving it. I was feeling much clearer and calmer and starting to get healthy and even losing some weight. As soon as I gave birth I wanted that glass of wine. So I picked it back up almost immediately and since I tried again to nurse and couldn’t, I used wine to calm and numb the pain of another loss. I knew I wasn’t the person who could stop at just one glass but I also knew that most of my friends did the same! And I really didn’t want to give it up. Ugh! The cognitive dissonance was horrible! But I knew I wasn’t an alcoholic and would never feel comfortable at AA. I’ve been seeking help for months, trying to find a lifeline, stringing together a few days here and there without alcohol and I stumbled across the This Naked Mind podcast and found The Alcohol Experiment.
Are you wondering if alcohol is evil? Start reading This Naked Mind to find out things you never knew about alcohol.
Not Worth It
The first few days were rough but I feel like I breezed through the rest. I know how powerful the mind is and have used it to train women for 14 years, so many of the tools you use and people you cite are familiar to me. I considered doing my own drinking test but really, I know I won’t sleep, will feel like crap and will have to take care of my kids the next day. Just not worth it!
30 Days and Beyond
I really do feel free and excited to do another 30 days. If I tell myself I cannot have something, then I know I’ll want it all the more, which is why in losing weight, I’ve never cut anything out. So far I’ve lost 60 lbs and have about 20 more to go. I am currently teaching an exercise class and want to pursue the field of health and wellness in mind and body. Here’s to the next 30 and more!
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