CJ realized that drinking as a reward was punishing her instead. She found This Naked Mind and discovered an alcohol free life is the true reward!
My background: English/Australian. 27 year old female.
Alcoholic father. Grew up away from him with my mother and my older brother.
Education: Loved school, loved learning. Primary (elementary) school were the happiest days of my life by a long way. Thrived. Won awards for academic work, sports, extra-curricular activities and even earned behavioral awards. I was top of the class in every subject. Everybody expected great things. Secondary school – I encountered problems. Bullied both by friends and enemies. I found it difficult and confusing to navigate my way around life at high school. I acted out in class and was getting in trouble a lot, which made me devastatingly unhappy. I got bad grades on purpose in attempts to stop people from calling me a “boffin” (an innocent word in retrospect) but boy, did that word affect me. Eventually, at 14, I was asked to leave the school for continued bad behavior and I had to find another institution that would enroll me.
Fast Forward A Few Years
I began “really” drinking (though I drank intermittently since 15) at university, at 18 – that’s the legal drinking age in England. At university, I would get black out drunk every time I drank (3-7 times a week), for 3 years. Oh, the things I did and said. Just not remotely funny. The problem was, during this period I was highly encouraged. I was drinking as a reward. I would do something horrific and people would label me hilarious. I rarely faced the consequences of my poor behavior. “No” wasn’t a word in my vocabulary – I drank to please others – I made a fool of myself so that others wouldn’t have to – I needed to be liked, even if I didn’t like myself.
Side note: Something that resonated with me when I listened to your book was the part about internal conflict. I am sooo familiar with this feeling. But I’d never thought about it in relation to alcohol before and it makes so much sense.
Drinking As A Reward
Since graduating from university, I’ve been in no man’s land. Underachieving. Making bad decisions. Some terrible decisions, but mainly just average decisions. My drinking crept up on me. I tried to quit many times, but never made it past 5 days. I tried to moderate, but became depressed (though, not outwardly). A year ago, I was living and working in London, surrounded by a great social life, heavy drinkers, social drug users, party-goers, etc etc. I made a secret checklist. The idea of this checklist was that if I scored higher than a 7/10 on a night out, I “passed” and was permitted to reward myself in any way I saw fit, but 7 or below was a fail.
– Don’t take drugs
– Do not smoke
– Don’t lose anything
– Do not go over budget
– Don’t have regrettable sex
– Do not “befriend” people you don’t respect
– Don’t lie
– Get enough sleep
– Don’t cancel plans the next day
– Have a good time
My Reward Was A punishment
Sigh. I meant well. The obvious flaw here: let’s say I went on a night out, had sex with somebody I didn’t want to, lost all my belongings and cancelled all my plans the next day… my checklist score has deemed a “reward” appropriate. Also, more shamefully, I always failed. Still, I was drinking as a reward.
I begun to HATE myself. Hate hate hate. I never remembered anything when I got drunk. I stopped trying to remember. Instead I would avoid friends for weeks after a night out because I didn’t want to hear what I’d said or done. None of this stopped me from drinking, though.
Until……For Christmas this year, my Mum sent me some home videos from when my brother and I were little. Primary (elementary) school age. I expected to have a good giggle watching them. I did, at first. And then, a few tapes in, I began to cry. Where had that little girl gone? I’d drunk her to a grave. I was done.
A friend recommended your audio book to me when I told her I absolutely must stop drinking. She had decided, too, that she needed to stop and was in the process of listening to it. A few chapters in, I was free. I listened to the whole thing anyway, because I wanted to really condition my subconscious; I wanted the repetition. But I was free, and I knew it. My goodness. The elation was out of this world.
Tired of drinking as a reward and being punished instead? You can preview the book and learn how to live life alcohol free! Start reading This Naked Mind today!
Now, I am living in Canada. Working at a reception desk at a law firm – a very junior position. I immediately printed off 5x LSAT practice tests and went to a cafe that weekend with a pencil and a timer. I had the BEST day. Currently, I am 10 days sober and I already know I am free. I can’t wait to live my life with Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Oh, how I’ve missed them. Thank you so much, Annie.
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