If there was one thing Jess could count on in her life, it was always alcohol. Alcohol was always there no matter what. And that became a problem as well because there was always alcohol in Jess’s life. Learn how she finally found freedom and how This Naked Mind and The Alcohol Experiment helped!
Alcohol has been a constant in my life since my college years, the late 90s and early 00s. From that time there was always alcohol in it. I was the party girl, who could out-drink any guy and I was proud of it. I loved rum and Coke and couldn’t stand cheap beer. When I turned 21, I enjoyed going to dinner with my mom and stepdad on Friday nights at a restaurant that brewed their own beer, called John Harvard’s. This was before the craft beer craze we have now. I loved chocolate stouts but never got drunk in front of my mom. My mom wasn’t a heavy drinker. She was a casual drinker. A beer or two and she was good and only on a Friday night so the binge drinking I developed wasn’t learned from her or anyone in my family, actually.
Drinking remained a constant in my 20’s and 30’s. I was a ballroom dance instructor and worked late so we were always drinking after the day. I left that industry in 2014 when pregnant with my second child. For the next 4 years, drinking was kind of casual. Still could drink a lot but wasn’t all the time. Fast forward to 2018. A dear friend of mine got diagnosed with post-transplant leukemia in January.
He was 41, I was 38. My good friend and I went to Maryland to visit him on the last weekend of his life. It was an emotional but memorable weekend. There was a party for him and lots of laughs and tears. All he wanted was a glass of wine but no one would give it to him. I was pretty drunk that whole weekend but remember it clear as day. I got to spend quality time with him and hold his hand and talk. He passed a few days after we left in February.
My husband said his death will be very hard. This wasn’t the first death I’d experienced that was painful but this was the first friend I’d lost. That year I found myself drinking a lot. Drinking because of life’s unknowns and I wanted to live as I wanted. But the drinking was constant, there was always alcohol in my hand it seemed like, and I was gaining weight all while being a fitness instructor. I got a new position at the gym where I still work and was tired all the time. That year I joined Weight Watchers. While on their social app there were a group of women who called themselves “Sober Sisters”. I marveled at their stories of not drinking and how it was positively impacting their life.
One woman I befriended told me about Annie Grace, This Naked Mind, and The Alcohol Experiment. I told my husband about it and ordered the books on Amazon so no one saw my purchase. At the end of 2018, I started The Alcohol Experiment. I spent my New Year’s Eve sober for the first time. It wasn’t easy as I was early on in my AF days. But I did it and did 35 days AF then started drinking casually again. I had lost weight, hit my goal, and had my drinking under control. Or so I thought. I would do spurts of weeks AF then go back to drinking. In fact, I even started teaching Saturday mornings to make me not drink Friday nights. Still, I drank regardless. Teaching hungover a lot with horrible anxiety. Then 2020 came.
Always Alcohol in Lockdown
We all went through that hell together. The weekend before lockdown I had just turned 40. I went away with a group of family and friends. I got very drunk. The next weekend the world shut down. I was happy because I loved being home. As 2 weeks turned to months of quarantine I turned drinking into a daily all-day thing. There was literally always alcohol during lockdown. No work, no school, I thought this is the end and I’m going to drink my way through this. So I did.
I drank a lot, gained 15 pounds, and was depressed, anxious, and miserable. We sold our house in April of that year and bought a new house in a new school district and neighborhood. It was great! I still wasn’t back to my job but was back teaching aerobics and still drinking a lot. Nothing horrible ever happened, thank God but I was not present in life anymore.
Breaking All My Rules
My days consisted of waiting to pour that craft beer or glass of wine. I was not a one-drink woman. I was an all-in drinker. Drinking to get drunk. Period. I hated going out because I just wanted to drink at home, I wanted to drink as much as I wanted. Embarrassed by how much I could physically drink. I made rules about my drinking and put reminders in my phone that said, stop drinking you’ll regret how you feel, only to delete the reminder. I was losing control and I knew it. On October 30, 2021, I drank so much at a friend’s. I once again had my rules but broke them. Woke up Halloween morning so hungover and depressed. Why am I doing this to myself?
That day I took out The Alcohol Experiment book and finally the This Naked Mind book, which I never read. I told my husband I’m done with drinking. This time I meant it. I logged onto the app and started doing my work. Reading the lessons daily. I watched the videos. Posted and read others’ posts. I kept my journey a secret and hid from the world for a bit. Spent time with my kids and made excuses for not going out as I wasn’t ready yet. I needed to be strong.
Is there always alcohol in your life?
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Getting Totally Naked
About 45 days in I got curious and tried moderation. Started off as a success to only fall back into Christmas Eve drinking in the passenger seat of the car while looking at Christmas lights. Then the day after Christmas I drank a lot of wine and woke up so upset with myself. I hated alcohol and what it was doing to me. That would be the last time I drank.
Finally, I read This Naked Mind front to back. Listened to podcasts and found complete freedom from alcohol. It was a process. A lot of crying and breakdowns. Thankfully I’d found a church I felt welcomed in, so I started going to services weekly. I started sharing that I wasn’t drinking anymore with people. If asked why, I’d say I’m just over it, which was the truth.
Since December 26, 2021, I’ve celebrated NYE sober, celebrated my 42nd birthday sober, celebrated Easter sober, and went away for a weekend with my husband sober, which was the first time I actually got to hike and be active and come back rested, I recently celebrated a wedding sober. On top of all those firsts, I lost 15 pounds in the last year, 10 of those coming off once I left my relationship with alcohol, I got a pay increase and more responsibility at my job.
There is No Longer Always Alcohol
My mind is clear. I go to my kid’s events if my schedule allows it. I teach better group fitness classes. Most importantly, I laugh a lot. My anxiety, depression, fatigue, and looking ragged went away. I thought it was old age but found out it was alcohol. I call friends and don’t cancel plans. If around company I drink NA craft beer or just drink water with no problem. I have deep conversations with people about not drinking which are just beautiful. Do I get little pings of wanting a drink? Sometimes but now I sit with it and ask myself, why do you want to drink? What will it do? Once I answer those questions it passes and I’m fine.
I have a friend on the app who is on the same day as me and we cheer each other on and talk about our days. My life is 1000% better without alcohol. I even got my first tattoo on day 95. Something I’d been anxious about and doubted myself if I’d been drinking. My confidence is better and I truly don’t care what anyone thinks of me anymore because I am finally me. Truly me. Kinda hippy, kinda hood but truly caring and just enjoying this beautiful splendor of life. I can’t fix the world but I can fix my problems without the crutch of alcohol destroying everything.
Without Annie Grace’s diligent research on this who knows if I’d ever be where I am today. What started off as 50 days, then 100 days, has turned truly into a lifestyle. A year is my goal but I think by then it will just be a part of me. As someone mentioned on the app, we are unique rebels. And I love being unique! Thank you for listening!
Share Your Story
Was there always alcohol in your life as well? Did This Naked Mind help you find complete freedom just as Jess has? Whether it was our books, the app, the podcasts, or another program we want you to share your story here and inspire others on their journey!