As I read your book last week, I was beyond inspired every day. As each day passed, not only did I not have a drink, but I realized I don’t want to drink. Your research and book, particularly the audio for me, is incredible. I told my husband that I’ve been hypnotized!
I am a 37-year-old mom of 2. My daughter is about to turn 8 and my son 5. I did lose a pregnancy last summer pretty late, which I believe contributed to my drinking spiraling downhill even more. I am pretty much the person you described in the book as yourself. A hard-working, high-functioning woman who loves(d) her wine. I live in a beautiful home and work as a 4th grade teacher. For the past 20 years I have been able to function pretty well on habitual hangovers.
All The Usual Excuses
I consider myself a good mom and I have plenty of hobbies besides drinking, which have been a nice cover-up for me. It was an excuse for why its been okay for me to drink over the years. I work hard, love my kids, exercise, cook for my family, engage in fun family activities such as hiking, biking and kayaking. Surely I can’t have a problem with alcohol dependency – or so I thought.
Why I Don’t Want To Drink
Your book hit home for me in so many ways…(1)alcohol is the only drug that is looked down upon to say no to (2) the poison that it really is and yet we have been conditioned to believe it tastes good (3) our society and how alcohol is literally everywhere! I was in awe throughout reading your book and even laughed at times when your points were beyond true and basically me!
Don’t want to drink? Start reading This Naked Mind today to find out how to stop.
How It Started
My drinking started in high school and I would say from day 1, I was a binge drinker. I am your typical party girl. With a couple drinks I felt like I was more fun, could dance better, converse better and all the other points you made about what we believe alcohol does for us and why we need it. My mom (who also just quit drinking) had a couple times she had to throw me in the shower as a teenager because I was so passed out that she was afraid I had alcohol poisoning. BUT…I had to live up to my partying reputation so it just kept on going. I also wanted to unconsciously be like my mom who was also the life of the party with her quick wit and incredible sense of humor – or at least I thought this was due to alcohol.
I continued to drink heavily throughout college and my twenties, taking breaks throughout pregnancy and infant baby stages. Then I picked right back up where I left off when things got a little more manageable, or less sleep depriving, as a mother. When I started working as a teacher, hangovers started to become less desirable, so I decided I don’t want to drink more than a glass of wine or two on the weekdays, but proceeded to get black out drunk on either Friday or Saturday, usually curing my hangover with a Bloody Mary the next morning. It doesn’t help that I am still surrounded by high-functioning, dependent drinkers regularly on the weekends, as we spend a lot of time with friends and family at a family vacation home. When visiting here, we all highly associate the atmosphere with drinking cocktails, hot tubbing, boating and commiserating the next morning about our hangovers.
Twelve days ago (the morning after the day of my last drink), I woke up in a hotel room with my two kids in between my husband. I felt miserable, was in a definite fight with my husband, and reflected on the night before. My husband woke me up calling me “kbomb”, as the big joke of the night for the bride was that her drunken name was “jrose”, which also was an alter personality of herself. Surely I needed a special name for the “other person” I became when drinking too much.
I did not want to think about how the night ended. I wanted to blame others, including my husband. What was the big deal? I was just having fun. Then I wanted to blame everyone else, including the bride and groom. They had wine served at the ceremony (best thing ever – I thought then!!). Their drink of choice for the night was a whisky smash. If you’ve never had one they are delicious (the whiskey lover I was then), but is basically straight whiskey on the rocks. Long story short, I was the first one on the dance floor and last thing I remember is being the first one being pulled off – by my husband. His aunt told him I was getting a little inappropriate on the dance floor. My sisters-in-law insist I was not inappropriate and I still feel like I probably would have fit in just fine if it was a “friend” party and didn’t have aunts to sit on the outside to judge me and tell my husband.
Those Days Are Over
My denial days are over. The fact of the matter is that I was too drunk and probably would have been more mindful when I was “getting down” that my dress was riding up, had I not been. The part of the evening that was the worst, is my children witnessing my sloppy behavior after being pulled off the dance floor, having a huge fight in front of them and not remembering most of it. My daughter the next morning saying, “Mom, you were so drunk. You were bumping into people on the dance floor.” Me not knowing if this was the truth or not because, in fact, I wouldn’t have had a clue either way. Then having to face all the older aunts the next morning at the family brunch who watched me from afar the previous night. That morning I said to myself – “I don’t want to drink anymore”. That evening, this decision was solidified while I was reading to my children and my daughter said, “Mom, can you stop drinking so much alcohol?” Could still make me cry just thinking of it. “I will, babe. I promise.”
My friend Sharon from work, also one who loves her wine after a long day, had come back from the summer and shared that she didn’t have a drop of alcohol, even while in Aruba. I was shocked to say the least! How can anyone go away without drinking unless they’re pregnant, of course? Even then I would try to think of a reason to fit in a glass or 2 a week after the 1st trimester. She shared that she and her father both read your book and neither one of them has had a sip of alcohol in 4 months. “Wow!” I thought.
Can I Stop?
My mom had recently quit drinking cold turkey and I started to reflect on the “fun” I was having with alcohol and if it was really fun at all. Thinking back on my memories with alcohol prior to my last one…binge eating and waking up feeling like shit after I was told by my husband what I managed to consume; videos of myself drunk in college and how then I thought they were so funny. Thinking of my children in that situation made me sick – the hookups in college that I luckily managed to escape without any problems. Waking up with a massive bump on my head and a concussion from falling back and hitting my head on a coffee table. I don’t remember that one either. At the time I had to live up to my reputation of wine drinking and partying while hanging out with my sister and brother-in-law’s wine drinking and partying neighbors. The list goes on and on…
Don’t Want To Drink For Fun
Of course there were plenty of fun times too. I was forced to think about the influence alcohol actually had on the “fun” I was having. Even now, I am still afraid I may miss it. Dance parties with my sister and my friends on random nights, red wine or hot totties by the fireplace. Pumpkin beers and spiked hot apple cider in the fall while trick or treating. Beers and white russians in the winter after skiing. The thought of alcohol still randomly pops into my head as habit. I quickly remind myself that it did nothing good for me. It is poison – and we have all been conditioned to think that is what we need for happiness.
God, is that so true! I am realizing now – 12 days without alcohol, after going an entire summer having a drink every day, that I really don’t need alcohol to be happy. I really do feel happier, more confident, energized, relaxed, peaceful, joyful, clear, organized, mindful and present.
My 12 days has actually been fairly easy in the situations I thought it would be the hardest. The beginning was tough, as 3 days into my commitment I had an “After Open House” party to attend with a bunch of parents I am still getting to know – being new to the town. Most of them seem to be drinkers who already know each other. Definitely not the best situation to start off knowing I don’t want to drink. There was a group of women sitting around the island of the kitchen who all knew each other and they were chatting and drinking away. I normally would have been right there with them after a drink or two of wine. The first day of school was the next day. I took a few breaths to relax and really had to take it all in the first 15 minutes.
As I got more comfortable in my new state of sobriety, I became more relaxed and conversations started to come naturally with others around me. I forgot I wasn’t drinking and didn’t even think about it. What I did notice though, was the moms getting a good buzz on at the island. Sharing the Booze Cruise deals they got and how much alcohol they were able to drink and so on. I realized if this is the “Cool” group, I am all set. If a relationship eventually develops with any of them naturally, great. I am not going to force it based on booze. I felt so good about this and the thought put me more at ease socially than ever.
It Got Easier
My next event was another BIG one, BUT was somehow easy. My brother-in-law has an insanely gorgeous lakefront property with every toy known to man. Private beach, boat, kayaks, paddle boards, a separate “carriage house” with a game room, volleyball courts, and four-wheelers. The list actually goes on. He had a massive 100 + people party that he had been talking about all summer. He even got a really awesome band that we love. For he and his wife (being our best friends), this was a big event that everyone was looking forward to. Before reading the book and facing my new revelation of not drinking, a party like this without alcohol would be unheard of for me.
It ended up I was, from what I observed, the only one at the party not drinking. The beauty of it though was no one had a clue except for my husband. This alone made it that much more fun. Everyone was ready to party and pour their favorite drink. They don’t want to be around me who’s not drinking. So, what did I do?..LIE! I was asked several times (at least 5) what I was drinking. My answer was always something alcoholic that could be believable in my Dixie cup. Best lie ever as I ended up still being the “life of the party”, first one on the dance floor and getting everyone else up dancing. There was one point where I was having so much fun that I actually almost felt drunk. I even had some of the drunk people that I met for the first time call me their best friend haha.
It Feels Good
The best part of the night though, was that I was not drunk. No regrets the next day. I had some of the best conversations ever and was a great mom to my kids all night. I realized how much they love me and need me. Shockingly, I even went to bed way later than I probably would have had I been drinking (2am). It was funny though, because my husband let me sleep in the next morning and I didn’t wake up until 11. This was strange to me. My husband and I were both laughing because even after a night of drinking I am up by 9:00. The only sense I could make was that I would have been up way earlier, super parched, and trying to hydrate had I been drinking. I also observed things that others, who were drunk, did that if it was me, I would have been really embarrassed. Although, I do not judge, I have been there. Really, I just enjoyed reflecting on why I’m happy with my decision that I DON’T want to drink anymore.
The Beginning But Also The End
So, the journey for me is just beginning, but I have overcome 2 big obstacles. I also just started work again, which is also very stressful. Surprisingly, I have not been interested in drinking a glass of wine after work like I usually am. I’m interested in how the upcoming weekend of just doing yard work and hanging out at home will be. Before, I always looked forward to my first weekend drink. I think it’s going to be great though.
Share Your Story
Thank you so much Annie for writing your incredible book! I am so happy to have a “Naked Mind”. Now, I am really looking forward to what else this journey has to offer for my future. I look forward to following up and supporting others ready to take the leap for true happiness! Please share your story and help others!