Tom discovered he needed to go beyond AA and embrace a Naked Life to really be alcohol free.
Relationship With Alcohol
I’ve only recently read your book and I am so glad that I did because it has helped me so much in thinking about my relationship with alcohol.
I’ve been going to AA for over four months now. While I fully appreciate and enjoy the fellowship, it was not exactly a great fit for me concerning the 12 step program. Your book helped me to understand that I can stop drinking without needing to change my life completely by forcing myself to adopt a program. It allowed me to go beyond AA.
I had my first drink at 14, but was a ‘regular’ drinker for many years. I call myself a functional alcoholic. Mostly because I continually drank for the last 30 years (from college up to about 4 months ago) while at the same time being very successful in my personal and professional life. I never had a DUI, lost a job, got in a fight, or wrecked my car because of alcohol.
When I was drinking, I never really felt out of control. In fact, controlling my alcohol consumption was a huge part of my life. My life was all about control and I thought of it constantly. I was, however, powerless to fully stop drinking. I just couldn’t stop and stay stopped. It was easy to start drinking and stop once I was drunk, but could not stay stopped for more than a few days. I would drink most every night, just not so much that I couldn’t fulfill my life responsibilities the next morning – go to work, etc. I wanted to quit most mornings, but found myself once again drinking most every night. It was all very progressive. Over the course of many years I started first with a couple glasses and then worked my way up to a couple of bottles or more when I was free to recover the following day.
I don’t have the crazy dramatic drinking stories that I often heard in AA. Mine is more of a slow, gradual, wasting of a life. I got drunk to some degree almost every night (but not too drunk) for my 20s, 30s, and 40s. Sometimes I wish I had fallen harder or faster because I think it would have saved me decades of time. I drank in a mostly controlled, but unstoppable manner for 30 years. It took me 5 years to get started drinking and then I really had my groove on for the last 25 with no real desire to quit. I drank with others but mostly drank alone. I loved alcohol, it helped me live my life and excel in my career. Me and alcohol accomplished great things together – started several companies, held leadership and director roles, and created some great technology.
Hitting The Bottom
My bottom came when I started to push the amount that I was drinking too much due to some new major stresses in my life. I was no longer able to stop before becoming too drunk too often. My control was slipping away and I was getting much less functional. Eventually, I just became sick and tired of drinking and thinking about alcohol all the time. I knew life was more than this and I also knew that I was killing my self with booze. No longer could I deny what alcohol was doing to me. I could feel that my body was starting to fail and I got serious about quitting.
I started going to AA. That made all the difference to me – being in the company of others and having that common connection gave me strength, confidence, and hope. I am one of the lucky ones in that my cravings were spontaneously taken away. No desire at all remains. Your book helped me to understand this. I actually felt that my life depended on quitting for the first time. That was enough for me to be able to follow through and do it.
Do you need to go beyond AA? Start reading This Naked Mind today!
Now, I love being fully aware and intentionally living and feeling like my full self. I am far more functional than ever – I feel like I have the brain of a teenager, everything is so clear and vivid. The thought of drinking has zero appeal for me anymore.
The Why and How
Before I found your book and podcast, I couldn’t really explain to myself the mechanism as to how I was finally able to quit after all those years. I had never heard of your book until after I had already quit drinking, but it and your podcast have helped me so much. I quit with the help of the fellowship of AA, but I feel that your book explained to me how I was able to do it and go beyond AA.
Share Your Story
Tom discovered he could go beyond AA and find an alcohol free life. Have you found the same to be true? Please share your story to help others!