It took Lesley 40 years, but with the help of This Naked Mind, she’s been able to go from wine to fine!
It has taken me about 40 years to change my relationship with alcohol. That’s right – 40 years. I hope it won’t take as long for other people to realize that alcohol is a real party pooper when it comes to being in charge of making the fun. No fun whatsoever. I started drinking around the age of 20, but mainly socially. I had 2 children and still seemed to be a moderate drinker, but this changed with life’s events. Before I knew it, I tricked myself into believing that the only possible way to really enjoy life was to drink wine. I loved it. I drank when I was happy, sad or mad. Why I even drank when I was anxious and when I wanted to celebrate (which was everyday when I finished work!). I’d go from wine to fine in a bottle!
It eventually became too hard to do without. I always noticed that other people didn’t need alcohol like I did, and how I would often be the one instigating or creating some social event or trip away where I could drink, imagining I really had my life together. My life was so messed up that it was like a loose jigsaw puzzle in a box!
By my early forties, wine was always there most days, but I was still managing things each day (although not very well). I couldn’t seem to get through a night without my faithful friend.
By my early fifties, it became a daily practice from 5:pm til 11:pm. One to two bottles. Now, I am not a big woman so this poison was really marinating me pretty badly. I tried desperately to stop many times but couldn’t. One day I decided to go along to an AA meeting. This was about 10 years ago now. I hated it, but it did stop me drinking for a time. A miracle.
I stayed sober for 14 months. Thinking I was all cured, I went back on the sauce. Before I knew it, I was back to the 1-2 bottles per night. Sometimes I would take a break or have nights off and I would exercise a lot also. Not sure how I managed to do this, as I was wrecked most days. My memory was awful and my skin was pasty and my eyes were yellowish. I knew my health was suffering, but guess what! I kept going. Cognitive dissonance in action!
Eventually, I was going out to get more booze at night after I had finished all the wine. I would get in the car and drive to the bottle shop in town. One night, I nearly ran into the median strip and another time found myself on the wrong side of the road. It was just terrible. Of course, the next day I couldn’t remember doing it. Scary stuff.
One morning I arrived at a client’s house late. I had a dreadful hangover and couldn’t manage myself very well at all. I parked my car awkwardly and tripped over the step leading to the house. The client said ‘Oh you are finally here’ and I apologized for being late.
Then they said something that left me gobsmacked…they said ‘And what have you been drinking this morning?’
I was horrified and quickly walked away into another room where I prepared myself for work. I was shaking with fear that I would lose my job if they called the office.
An Unexpected Gift
I went about my work quietly and as I walked past the china cabinet, I noticed a framed plaque. It held the “Serenity” prayer. It stopped me in my tracks. The client was a sober alcoholic. I read it over and over again. I emerged from the living room and very surprisingly, the client told me how they once drank every night, blacking out, and they decided to give it up altogether. They had gone to AA for a while but eventually they stopped going and just remained sober. That’s all they said to me. They told me their story. I listened and thanked them for what they had given me. They’d gone from wine to fine. Maybe I could too!
From Wine To Fine
The next day I drove to the waterfront and stared out to the sea. I was desperate for a drink, but knew I had to change what I was doing. Determined, I went back to the car and drove to a meeting and sat in the back and listened again. I did this for 90 days and not a drop of alcohol passed my lips. It went on for months, but I stopped going to meetings and found a host of online communities that have helped me on my journey. This Naked Mind has been so inspirational and I really enjoy the motivation it gives me to continue on my sober journey.
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Each day, I think back to those times that I was such a mess and couldn’t function hardly at all and I think – why? Why did I do this? I can’t really understand what drove me to such a dark place! But I am so pleased to be out in the light now – for the first time in many decades. I now have to figure out what I want to be when I grow up!
See? It’s never too late! If I did it, then anyone can.
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