It creeps up on you. The realization that I can’t handle my alcohol anymore. How did a few drinks a week turn into a nightly habit? John went through it and found his freedom with This Naked Mind.
I wanted to take the opportunity to thank you for writing your book. I wish I could remember where I first stumbled over the mention of it on social media. It has made a HUGE impact on my life. Upon getting and reading your book, I was transformed. Your story really spoke to me – it basically was me for the last 34 years of my life, starting late in my senior year of high school. Of course, I never thought I had a drinking problem because it never affected my work life, I did not drink in the morning, and I should be rewarded for working hard.
No Problem Here
I always made excuses on WHY I needed a drink and looked for the most entertaining offer when going out. Yes, where could I drink the most alcohol and try to get away with it. Also, no one would believe that I had a drinking problem since it was the common denominator every time I went with them. They also did not know that I could not wait until work was over or at least the clock struck the proverbial “happy hour” so I could have my first drink. I thought about it all day long.
Handle My Alcohol
There have been two other times that I tried to stop drinking, with strong advice from my doctor, therapist, and wife. I thought it would be all about willpower. Both lasted about 7 months and were terribly painful in my mind. I was mad that I was being denied the ability to drink. Eventually, I eased my way back into alcohol because I am a man and I should be able to handle my alcohol. First – only on the weekends, then only the last part of the week and the weekends (I earned it), and then back to every day. Each time I got in deeper than the past because I thought I needed to catch up for the time lost NOT drinking. You know the story, but it feels good to write it out.
After years and years of abusing my body with alcohol, I feel much gratitude that you helped me find a way to live without it. I honestly did not think it would be possible in my lifetime. I was a terrible binge drinker and would find anything in the house to drink. If I was out of beer (not that wimpy lite beer, IPA’s with 7 ~ 8% alcohol, and of course 16 ounces instead of 12 ounces at a time) I would turn to wine and then hard liquor…..sometimes, I would even have hard liquor first and then wine!
I have found a lot out about myself lately. Depression since 2014 (and probably a lot longer), Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) in 2016, and Adult ADHD in April of 2018. I am taking medications for all and feel a lot better, but my life has totally changed since I gave up alcohol for good. Never could I have done it without your book!! Your approach and the bravery you showed by telling your story is what I love. I almost did not read it because of the subconscious topic. I find that stuff hard to believe, but you have successfully changed my thinking and drinking with your approach.
Have you started to realize that maybe I just can’t handle my alcohol anymore? You can preview the book and learn how to! Start reading This Naked Mind today!
This is the reason that I am taking the time to write you and go public with my story – in hopes that someone might find comfort and at least give some thought to changing their drinking habits. I knew that it was time to give up the alcohol, but was always afraid to do so. I had convinced myself that I truly enjoyed drinking. I finally noticed that my depression was like a roller coaster when I was drinking, but it is so much better now. I feel more at ease and more stable with my life.
When I was a little over half way through your book, I decided that it was time to stop. I made up my mind to completely stop drinking the week of Thanksgiving 2018. On November 21st, I was getting a tattoo on my left arm and was finishing your book at the same time. I decided to ask my tattoo artist to add a “semi-colon” on the inside of my right wrist (my drinking arm). It is a constant reminder for me to pause every time the thought of drinking enters my mind. I know this might sound odd, but there is a microbrewery across the street from the tattoo parlor, so I went over and had my last drink…ever. It was like saying goodbye to a friend, but it felt so good to bury that friend before it buried me.
Yesterday marked two months of being sober and it has been absolutely great!! It is so different than the other times I tried to quit on my own. I have celebrated Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years completely sober and haven’t missed the drinking at all. Normally, those holidays are my excuse to let loose since that is what we do anyway. Also, my son recently turned 21 and I had always been looking forward to being able to drink with him, just like I did with my daughter when she turned 21. I could not wait until I could drink with both of them, which sounds so silly now.
My wife and I visited him at college for his 21st birthday and took he and his friends out to dinner. Even though we offered to buy him and his friend drinks, he chose not to drink. When we asked why, he said because he drove to the restaurant. I was impressed with his mature decision, but I am well aware of what happens in college. It is where I perfected my craft. He is very aware of my past drinking issues and we have had conversations about it recently. I worry about reading how children watch their parents’ habits (mine ~ just a few times passed out on the floor) and mimic them, thinking it is what adults do.
I have been very open with both my children about what I have been dealing with and my worries about how genetics might play in their decisions about alcohol. Now that I am sober and able to change my thinking about the possibilities of living without drinking, I have confidence in their decisions with alcohol.
Speaking of my wife – my patient, loving wife!! We have had many “discussions” about my alcohol consumption and she could never truly understand what I was doing with my body. I even got to the point where I was going to lose her, but for some reason, I was still choosing alcohol over everything else. I tried to hide it even more and still felt like I deserved to be able to drink as much as I wanted. Luckily your book came at the right time – before I spiraled further down and started losing the most important things in my life. I am sure I would not be granted too many more, if any, re-boots of the repeat episodes with my promises to stop drinking and then not being able to honor them.
She read your book to better understand what I was going through and hopefully shine some light on the decision process to drink or not to drink. I also read the book by Craig Beck ~ Alcohol Lied to Me ~ and I believe that it is a great follow-up to your book. My plan is to read your book again soon, too. I am sure I skipped quite a few episodes of my drinking excursion, but I am also trying to forget them.
Share Your Story
I am just getting comfortable telling my story and it feels GREAT! It is amazing to think that I have not consumed any alcohol since 11/21/18 and it made me think that if I continued to drink like I was, I would have consumed about 240 drinks over that time period ~ SCARY!! Again…Thank You, Thank You, Thank You!! Please share your story to help others!