Finding Peace with Alcohol – Tasha’s Naked Life

Finding peace with alcohol seemed impossible to Tasha until she discovered how life-changing The Alcohol Experiment can be. Today she bravely shares her Naked Life story.

finding peace with alcohol

One Year Ago

My story is not much different than hundreds of others you’ve heard, but I wanted to write you anyway.

One year ago today I was on spring break with my husband and 3 kids under 7. I was drinking cocktails by the pool, so many that one of the days I basically blacked out before dinner. Today, I’m on Spring Break again with my family and I sit here, Diet Pepsi in hand and surrounded by Moms and Dads and people of all types downing cocktails just as I was. Yet every time I consider a cocktail, I think of last year. About how I intended each day to only have 1 or 2 but ended up drunk in front of my kids. And I’m grateful to know that I will remember every day of this trip and I will not wake up one morning hungover.

Thank You

First, I know you hear this all the time, but I just couldn’t write you without saying what an amazing and courageous human being you are. I hope you go to bed at night knowing each day that you have quietly improved the lives of so many people in this world. It’s incredible to me that this movement you have started is still so under the radar. I have told both my primary physician and therapist about your program. They both knew nothing about it. I hope they pass the word on to many other patients!!

So, thank you. In my own life, I have chosen to go up against obstacles in my community. I know a bit about what it’s like to feel so passionate about something only to look around and find so many others still in the dark. It takes incredible patience but when it’s something you feel so deep in your gut I have found it impossible not to continue pushing forward. No matter the doubters or the obstacles.

Finding Peace with Alcohol

I started The Alcohol Experiment on February 15 of this year. It has changed my life in many incredible ways.

I have also read your book and listened to many of your podcast episodes. When my 30 days were up, I found I missed the morning routine of watching your video and reaffirming everything I had learned. I’ve found the podcast episodes to be a great supplement. They help me remain strong in my convictions as the world around me continues to push its alcohol agenda. I am finding peace with alcohol thanks to you and your programs.

My Story

My story is very similar to many. I have been a drinker for about 25 years. My first drink was when I was 15. I snuck alcohol from my parent’s house and brought it to a party. I was curious but I had a reputation as a straight-A class president. So, I actually hid it from everyone at the party I attended and got drunk on my own. I remember immediately liking how it took away my social inhibitions as I was also a somewhat shy kid.

My drinking really kicked into gear in college. For me, a lot of it was that it helped me feel more comfortable around the opposite sex. My self-esteem was always low due to some issues around my body weight and a fundamental need for approval. I think I liked that physical closeness with men (boys, really) but needed alcohol to feel confident enough to get there. Unfortunately, often that closeness ended after many one-night stands and the cycle of low self-esteem and shame continued. For many years alcohol was the only way I felt confident and “normal”. This is why the part of The Alcohol Experiment where you talk about how alcohol just gives you back what it’s taken away so resonated with me.

Finding Love

Fast forward to my early 30s and I was lucky to meet an incredible man. Actually, we knew each other in high school, back when I was not drinking (much) and I remember when we started dating, liking that he knew me back when. Back when I was my true self before alcohol and shame took hold. I felt he truly saw inside me, past all of that, for the person I truly am. We got married and 10 years later have 3 beautiful children.

Drinking Buddies

But, my husband is a drinker and we have done a lot of drinking together in the past 10 years. Our friends are drinkers and we both have large families of drinkers. It’s anywhere and everywhere we look. Like many, this is what kept me thinking for so many years that I could never give it up. What would that even look like? I had no desire to find out.

I had white-knuckled it through 3 pregnancies and couldn’t wait for my first opportunity to pump and dump. After my 3rd was born and through COVID, I was up to a bottle to a bottle and a half of wine every night. Chardonnay was my drink of choice. If it wasn’t in the fridge, and I had told myself it was a Monday and I wasn’t drinking, I’d quickly find myself paying a fortune to have it delivered. Waiting with bated breath for it to arrive. Relishing those first few glasses. Then the depression would set in like clockwork. Or sometimes I’d just keep drinking until I passed out to avoid that altogether. Just like you, I spent many a night with a glass of wine by my bed.

The Quest for Finding Peace with Alcohol

Then, the 3 am wake-up call of anxiety, dread, and questioning every decision I’d ever made. It’s horrible. No way to live. But you’ve heard all this before.

So my story is typical, but to me that is comforting. I found so much solace knowing it wasn’t my fault. Alcohol had a hold on me and I just did not have the tools to fix that until I stumbled upon The Alcohol Experiment. I can’t even really remember how, I know I read something briefly about TAE in the news months ago, it was a negative piece about how it is challenging AA. But there wasn’t any big night or one mistake I made to trigger my desire to try it.

It was many months of finding myself on a Tuesday night after the kids were down, completely drunk knowing something about this just wasn’t right.

My worst moments

  • My husband was trying to get into bed with our 6-year-old son after drinking all day and me pushing him away so hard he fell and my son saw the whole thing happen.
  • The same son told me once “Mom, you seem drunk” on a random weekday night.
  • One day after drinking heavily the night before I woke up with a terrible stomach ache. I ended up in the ER. The doctor asked about my drinking. I was honest. He warned me it could be pancreatitis. I broke into tears when I read it could be an early sign of pancreatic cancer, often developed by heavy drinkers. I was 38. In that moment, I told myself, this is it, I can’t drink anymore. When my panels came back clean (he actually said my liver and kidney were in “very good shape”). It was just a bad case of gastritis. I was disappointed; I hoped this would be the kick in the pants I needed. Unfortunately, it likely achieved the opposite now that I knew my liver was healthy even despite my unhealthy ways.

In my darkest moments, I’d tell myself this version of me, drunk and incredibly flawed, was all I could give my kids. I wasn’t capable of any other version.

The Alcohol Experiment was Behind My Finding Peace with Alcohol

Within days of starting it, The Alcohol Experiment had changed my life. I was truly in awe. I was on a ski trip with my and my brother’s family. Apres skiing being a serious trigger for me, it was challenging. Somehow I stayed strong and relished in my late afternoon naps. Fallin in love with feeling amazing in the mornings, up early and ready for the mountain. My family was curious about my soberness but I chalked it up to wanting to shed a few pounds. They seemed satisfied with that.

But all weekend I kept noticing all of these people, lazily reclining in the sun with their beers at 1 pm. One lady next to me ordered a beer at 9 am. I just kept thinking, in 30 minutes these people are going to feel like shit. How are they going to make it through the day?

I did, many times yet now, thanks to you, that sounds unbearable.

The Struggles

These 2 and a half months have not been easy. I have had many cravings and times when I’ve doubted the process. I have struggled with depression all my life. Going in and out of therapy and on medication for several years now. I knew alcohol wasn’t helping, but as you know that is just often not enough to make someone give it up. Now I think my subconscious felt strongly alcohol was actually helping me cope.

Now that I’m not drinking, the feelings are real. I’ve been through a lot of highs and lows. I tried to go down on medication dosage, but then panicked and told my doctor to bring my dose back up. Then I sat with the panic for a few days and realized, I’m ok. These are just a few dark days. So I went back down in dosage. And I learned to sit with the “ick” – the bad feelings, the fear, anxiety, stress. It doesn’t make it any easier but just feels more manageable somehow.

Learning Self-compassion

Another one of your messages that really resonated with me and that I will always remember is when you said that depression is just a chemical thing. It comes and goes. Sometimes for no reason, you can determine at the moment. I always felt guilty about my depression. I felt like I have this perfect life with a beautiful family and a roof over my head and so many things to be grateful for. My depression must somehow be my fault. Now, I see it as separate from me. That it may come and go and sometimes I won’t be able to decipher a reason for it, and that’s okay. I don’t have to, I just have to learn to sit with it and manage it in a healthy way. Not numb it.

Life Isn’t Perfect

Another one of the most powerful messages I’ve taken from The Alcohol Experiment is that life just isn’t perfect. There are always going to be problems, stressors, sadness, fear, and tragedy. But I’d rather choose the awkwardness of having to face friends’ questions about not drinking or the fear of disappointing them or of my relationships changing over all. I’ll take that instead of fear, anxiety at 3 am, a deep-down feeling of shame, and knowing I’m not doing right by my kids.

Setting My Rules

That said, following your advice, I’ve decided to keep my future with alcohol non-commital. I have however made 2 rules for myself:

1) never drink to cope

2) never drink out of a sense of obligation or to make someone else feel comfortable.

In that vein, I have had 2 nights of light drinking since starting The Alcohol Experiment. The first was out to dinner with my husband and in laws at one of my favorite restaurants. More than anything, I was curious what it would feel like and thought it a good environment since the night wasn’t going to escalate much beyond a drink or two. So, I looked forward to ordering my favorite Chardonnay. And…. it was frankly underwhelming. I had one, I didn’t notice much of an effect and felt little desire for a second.

Playing The Tape Forward

A few nights later, I was at a school fundraiser that historically has been a booze-soaked late evening with friends. I had visualized not drinking, and how that would go. I still have not talked to many close friends about my experiment. Somewhat out of hesitancy at their reactions which your lessons have largely helped me with. But I decided to wait until the issue came up naturally. Without feeling, I needed to make some big proclamation or promise about my drinking. This in the spirit of it being an experiment and giving me the space to explore what I want my relationship to be, without any outside pressure. If I tell everyone I’m not drinking and then decide I want to have a drink or two at some point, I just don’t want it to be a big thing. I’d like to decide for myself.

Anyway, after ordering club sodas on the sly, a friend followed me off the dance floor to the bar to order a drink. I let her get me a glass of wine, thinking I’d just hold onto it for a bit and then put it down. But, after about 10 minutes I decided to just have a sip and see how it went. I trusted I could be mindful of its effects. I finished the glass slowly and of course immediately wanted another one. But knowing now what I know, about dopamine and the brain’s counter chemical release, I expected it and held off.

I ended up driving everyone to a local bar after where I had a second glass of wine. I admit it tasted good going down but afterwards I knew I was done. Went to bed feeling mostly satisfied at my relatively minimal amount of drinks, especially in comparison to previous years at this event where I was drunk when I arrived and blacked out before the night ended.

Keeping My Peace

I also knew no matter what I was not going to beat myself up in the morning because the choice I made was mindful. It was later in the day, when I started to get stressed about the week ahead and the craving for alcohol to cope was incredibly strong. I got through that without a drink, reminding myself it wasn’t going to actually take the stress away. We were invited to my brother’s house for dinner that night and upon walking in the door I was offered a margarita. I could just see myself slipping into old drinking patterns so easily. So I resisted. And felt so much better for it. But it was a learning experience for me, a drink is just the first step back down a slippery slope.

Using My Tools

I am proud however that soon after that I went through an incredibly stressful week. I was up until midnight and awake at 6 am without alcohol, when only a few months ago I would have been using it to cope and keep me awake. And every time I had a craving, I walked through what alcohol would actually do to me in that moment and it went away. Thats thanks to you and this experience. I am so incredibly grateful.

Life is Better Without Alcohol

Everything in my life is more vibrant. Everyday pleasures like birds chirping, a gentle breeze, a beautiful view, my kid’s laughter… all feel so much richer. I still fall into pits of self-doubt, guilt over parenting mistakes, and anxiety around relationships and others expectations of me. The difference is it’s all feeling more manageable overall. I never understood how it could possibly be true that life is just better without alcohol.

I know I will continue to learn exactly how this is true as I go through this next year of life experiences… a 10 year anniversary trip to NYC with my husband, a close friend’s wedding. I keep reminding myself just to get through these tough times when you think not drinking will be so difficult and boring. Even just dinner with in laws. Then you can have a chance to really see if that’s true. But I needed to learn this first hand from experience. It’s all part of the process and I see that now.

Experience It For Yourself

Are you interested in finding peace with alcohol? Check out the This Naked Mind Companion App where you’ll find over 700 videos, podcasts, a private community, and the free Alcohol Experiment. Download it in the App Store, on Google Play, or visit thisnakedmindapp.com!

The Effect on Others

By the way, in case you’re curious, on the husband front, he has told me multiple times that he’s proud of me and that I basically seem happier. We’ve gone out a few times when he is drinking and I’m not and it’s been fine. He’s also cut way back however and comments on the positive effect it’s had. We have a long road ahead, but I’m confident. Thanks to you and TAE.

How do you thank someone that has so profoundly changed your life? Who has made you a more confident, happier version of yourself you never really thought you could be? I don’t know. But I’m trying. Thank you, Annie.

Share Your Story

Are you finding peace with alcohol thanks to This Naked Mind’s books, The Alcohol Experiment, The PATH, or another program we offer? Share your story to inspire and encourage others to do the same! Learn how here!