Figuring out that our relationship with alcohol isn’t healthy might not be the hardest part. The journey to being alcohol free can be a story of try, try and try again. K.B.’s  Naked Life story is about not giving up and finally finding freedom that will last.

being alcohol free

Do I Have A Problem?

I want to thank you for providing so many of us with a different way and perspective to break free from the power of alcohol. For a few years I have struggled with “do I have a problem?”. However, the AA model was the only thing I knew, and it wasn’t a good fit for me. This summer I blew up my family’s 4th of July being way too drunk and doing it in front of my kids. The next day I woke up and vowed to make a change. I searched and found your book.

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I ordered it, read it, journaled about it, lived it. It made more sense to me than any other approach to being alcohol free I had read.

Second Attempt

I stayed sober most of the summer, but alcohol slowly crept back in as the fall approached, and while it wasn’t as bad as it had been in the past there were several days where I was hungover and pining for wine. Being alcohol free wasn’t working for me. So, I went back to basics. I re-read the book and then I accidentally had an experience that connected everything that you explain in your book. That experience was what I needed to 100% understand and feel like I don’t want to drink anymore.

Uncovering The Truth

In your book you explain the time when you record yourself drinking. You talked about wanting to objectively look at whether alcohol was helping you have a good time. I remember reading it this summer and being skeptical. I thought,
“Alright, I get most of what she is saying, but I DO have fun when I drink. It’s the hangover and the blackouts that aren’t fun.”
This was a clue that at the time I wasn’t quite ready for all that I discovered to be true about alcohol.

The Experience

The experience that changed everything isn’t earth shattering, quite the opposite in fact. I had drank too much the couple weeks before Thanksgiving and again decided I should quit drinking because I hate the hangover. It was time to re-read the book once again. For the first time in my adult life, I went through Thanksgiving with no wine, and I didn’t miss it at all. This was the best Thanksgiving I had ever had! I loved waking up Friday feeling great and spending the day with my family instead of in bed napping away the hangover, piecing the night together.

A few days later I was cooking this amazing ratatouille. We had recently received a shipment from our wine club and I had the perfect bottle to go with dinner. Opening the bottle I was planning on having a glass with dinner, only. I opened it right before dinner and by the time we sat to eat I had almost finished that glass. I thought about topping it off, but my son had a friend over, and I was worried what she might think. Instead I told myself, “As soon as she leaves I can have another glass.” Dinner was delicious, and as soon as the friend left I poured another glass to take upstairs.

My husband asked how I like the wine and mentioned he might try a glass later. My thought, “Ugh! If he wants a glass that means I can only have one more glass after this one so I can save some for him. If I don’t save some for him it will look like I have no control. I don’t have any other good wine in the house, and I really don’t want that cheap red that’s been sitting in the house for a month. Maybe I’ll have a beer? No, I hate beer after wine. Oh yeah, there is part of a good bottle of Reisling left. I don’t usually go red to white, but that’s what we have.” I went upstairs. Sucked down that glass and munched on a few crackers. Came back downstairs for that 3rd glass. I drank that too.

My husband came up to watch TV with the rest of the wine in his glass. I got a little panicked that I was out and needed something else to drink. Again, I was worried about what he would think if I went back down for another glass so I tried to distract him and suggested I make us a snack that way I was already there and could grab that Reisling. As I was pouring the wine I remembered I needed a 1/4 cup for a recipe the next night. So I poured as much as I could less about a quarter cup. I brought it upstairs. We ate our snack and sipped our wine.

Typically I think of this as a relaxing thing to do with my husband and time well spent together. This time I honestly don’t even remember enjoying his company. Not because I blacked out, because I was still thinking about alcohol! Now, at almost 5 drinks in (that last glass was huge!) I was thinking, “My husband is going to go to bed soon. Should I stay up and go back downstairs and have some more to drink? I could open that cheap red if I had to.” I ended up going to sleep.

Third Times The Charm

When I woke up the next day I was very hungover. I thought I was going to vomit at work several times. However, the worst part of the day was realizing that I literally spent the entire night thinking about when/what my next drink was. My feelings weren’t especially happy or sad. I didn’t have a great time or feel like I spent quality time with my husband. This was the experience that connected it all. I felt like Annie when she describes recording herself drinking.
While I had not planned for this incident it certainly illustrated for me that I was only drinking to have another drink.
It wasn’t for taste, pleasure, stress, etc. It was only to have another drink. I immediately journaled every detail so that I could reflect and remember why I was drinking and see how powerful alcohol can be. Being alcohol free was the only way I could have control again.
Last night I went to a Christmas Tree display event. It was at an event center, and right in the middle was a bar. There were tons of people walking around with wine. My friend went right to the bar upon arrival and offered to get me a glass. I didn’t even think about it. No thanks! She downed a free martini on the way out as well after only 45 minutes there. I didn’t judge her, but I thought that was me. Knowing what she was thinking, “I need to get my next drink,” I left that event feeling so thankful and fulfilled in my choice.

I’ve crossed over from “I can’t drink” to “I DO NOT WANT TO DRINK!!!!!” And this seemingly insignificant experience coupled with remembering Annie‘s experience made it happen. Thank you Annie for giving me my life and control back! Thank you for letting me free up my thoughts for things that are so much more important than alcohol!!!!

Being alcohol free may not happen on your first or second try but it can happen. Share your story with us so you can inspire others as they work on being alcohol free like you!

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