For the first time in her life, Jennifer can say – alcohol no longer controls me. Read how This Naked Mind got her there.
Different This Time
Nine months sober. . . not my longest streak of sobriety, but this time is different. After a 20+ year cycle of binge drinking and trying to moderate my drinking, alcohol no longer controls me. Since I have finally found freedom from the grasps of alcohol, I have felt a constant nagging for several months to share my story. . . I can’t get it to go away. It is constantly on my mind. I am a very private person, especially when it comes to admitting my weaknesses, so sharing this is scary for me, but I can’t ignore this nudging – that maybe sharing my story can help someone else. So for some reason, today is the day. Today is the day I share my story of how joining a Facebook support group and reading one book changed my life!
Alcohol has been an issue for me for 20+ years. I tell myself I am only going to have 1 or 2 drinks, but it always becomes more. Often times, I drink until I black-out and then can’t remember what I did the night before. I would wake up the next morning feeling guilty and wondering what I said and did the night before. I wake up with a hangover, but pretend I feel fine because I don’t want my husband and kids to know how much I drank the night before.
Then comes the guilt and shame. . . Why am I so weak? Why am I so stupid? Why can’t I get this under control?
Next comes the promises. . . promises to myself that this is the last time. I am not going to do this anymore. I know I am drinking too much. Something has to change.
But I don’t want to give up drinking. I don’t want to NOT be able to grab a drink with co-workers or watch a Huskers game with friends or socialize at a work event without drinking. It scares me. I don’t want people to know I have a problem. I don’t want people to think I’m no fun.
So I tell myself I can moderate. Next time, I’ll only have one or two and stop. I mentally prepare myself for hours, sometimes even days before the next opportunity to drink presents itself. But eventually, I end up back in the same cycle of drinking too much, feeling guilty, making myself promises, and letting myself and my family down. I want to stop drinking so much, but I can’t. Why can’t I stop?
I’ve tried stopping on my own, tried counseling, tried support groups. . . but nothing ever worked. I eventually always went back to drinking and I would fall harder and faster and deeper than the time before.
I eventually found an online support group – One Year No Beer. Well, there was no way I was going to give up drinking for an entire year, but they also offer a 30-day challenge, so I signed up for that. . . I could give up drinking for 30 days, but I didn’t want to think about going any longer. I read posts from people in the group and their stories were my story, their shame was my shame. I no longer felt alone. I no longer felt like I was the only one with a problem with alcohol. There were others like me who questioned why they can’t just “moderate” and drink like everyone else.
People in the group recommended Non-Alcoholic beer and reading This Naked Mind by Annie Grace as tools to tackle the 30-day challenge of not drinking. I discovered my struggle wasn’t because I was weak.
It is often the strongest, smartest and most successful people who drink more than they should.
In other areas of my life I am distinctly strong-willed, so why do I seem so weak-willed when it comes to alcohol?
I discovered my drinking problem was a battle. A battle between my conscious mind (where I made a decision to quit or cut back), and my unconscious, where the desire remained unchanged. I was unconsciously rejecting my decision to stop drinking without me even knowing it.
To change my relationship with alcohol, I first had to forgive myself. I had to accept that my inability to control my drinking was not a flaw or weakness in my personality.
Are you yearning to be able to say ‘alcohol no longer controls me’? Start reading This Naked Mind for free today and break free from alcohol’s grip!
Setting The Trap
As I continued to read “This Naked Mind”, I slowly came to the realization that from my very first drink in college, I had started down the path of addiction. Alcohol is a highly addictive substance and over the years, my drinking had “re-wired” my brain and had created a mental craving for alcohol. While my conscious mind knew that my drinking was harmful and causing problems in my life, my physical craving for a drink and my unconscious belief that alcohol was bringing something positive to my life remained. I was experiencing COGNITIVE DISSONANCE: the mental stress experienced by someone who holds two contradictory values or beliefs at the same time.
Every time I tried to quit, my unconscious mind still believed I was getting something positive from alcohol. I felt like I was giving something up, I was going to be missing out, and I’m happier when I’m drinking.
When I decided I wanted to give up alcohol, my body and mind craved a drink and I would be miserable. The desire to drink was intolerable. I knew consciously that alcohol was not providing me enjoyment, but unconsciously – my mental desire for a drink was far stronger than my conscious desire to stop.
Alcohol No Longer Controls Me
I can tell you, peer pressure still exists – even as an adult. Giving up alcohol scared me. I didn’t want people to think I wasn’t fun anymore if I wasn’t drinking. We are conditioned to think that drinking alcohol is the norm; we have to have it at every event to have fun; we have to have it to relax from a hard day at work; we have to have it to deal with the stresses of parenthood; we see it in movies, on TV, and in the commercials. Our society has conditioned us to believe we need alcohol in our lives and that alcohol makes our lives better.
Have you ever thought about why is alcohol the only drug you have to justify NOT taking?
And what are we teaching our kids about alcohol? I am not proud of my actions, but I pray that my children have seen how addictive alcohol is and how STUPID it can make an otherwise intelligent person. I pray that they make the decision to NEVER take that first drink. While every single person that drinks can become addicted, my kids are 4 times more likely to develop an alcohol addiction because of my addiction.
A Naked Life
I can’t explain it and I don’t understand how reading one book changed my life. But before I even finished reading the book, it is like my desire to drink had been surgically removed from my mind. I no longer crave a drink. I no longer feel left out and angry when others are drinking. Instead I actually ENJOY going out with people even though I’m not drinking. I drink non-alcoholic beer. I don’t wake up with a hangover. Now, I have mental clarity that I haven’t had in years. I am finally FREE!
So, if you are questioning if you are drinking too much, chances are alcohol has a grasp on you that you don’t even realize. If you need someone to talk to, reach out to me. I’m here! If you want to read the book, contact me and I will get you a copy. Check out the FB group “OneYearNoBeer“. I know everyone’s journey to addiction and path out is different and what helped me won’t help everyone. But if I can help one person change their relationship with alcohol and improve their lives, then sharing my struggle was worth it!