Lorraine was interested in learning not to drink after planning her entire life around alcohol. This Naked Mind helped her find her way.

learning not to drink

My Story

My father left my mother, sister, and myself when we were very young (I was 7, my sister was 3) because of his alcohol addiction. The 12 steps worked for him – he has not had any alcohol in 30 years or so. Eventually he made his way back into our lives after we were adults, but we are not very close to him. Every time I would see him, all his harping on alcohol and what a poison it was actually made me want a drink! I hate that he was right, but I don’t tell him that!

Learning Not To Drink

I grew up with my 2 maternal grandparents. When my mother moved in with her 2nd husband, I refused to go with them. My grandparents were big weekend drinkers – they worked hard during the week as a house cleaner and in construction. When the weekend came, they would get totally shit-faced and I would be left as a young teen to help clean up and bring my grandma warm washcloths the next day. They were often violent and I had to get in between them plenty of times. Usually my grandma got the better of him (usually because she was less drunk).

I thought I was learning not to drink. It turned them into crazy people. Anything that could be thrown at my grandfather probably was thrown at some point, including dinners, headlocks, screaming and even butcher knives and fireplace pokers were not uncommon.

Quick Study

I did not drink in high school. At my first job, I had a manager who liked to supply the teens that worked for him with beer & wine coolers and have parties at his house. Nothing terrible, he just liked to have fun and wanted to be the cool boss. I wasn’t learning not to drink after all. I went on a crank tangent for a few years, which included getting arrested and having to go to AA meetings when I didn’t even drink at the time. Guess NA was not a thing yet!

Through my 30’s it was mostly Bud Light every night. Usually a 12-pack between my girlfriend and myself. Then it started really cranking up when we broke up. I went back into the bar scene (because at that time, the only place you could meet other gays was at the bar, of course). I met my current wife at a bar!

Hiding My Drinking

Fast forward to my 40’s, and it just kept sneaking up on me. I needed a little more than my wife to catch a buzz, so I would hide bottles around the house to take a swig or two extra when I could sneak it. I acquired a taste (if you can call it that!) for whiskey, and loved Vodka and Gin. Mid 40’s –> I would wake up feeling shitty, but not throw up any more because my tolerance was pretty high. I’d think back and count about 8 drinks – maybe beer and whiskey and gin and then wine to cap off the night. Wondering what the hell I was doing and why I could not stop at two. Sometimes I did stop at two, but that was not the norm. My triglycerides were going up (same with my glucose levels) and I just didn’t feel good after drinking. I love mountain biking and there were too many mornings where I just couldn’t get up to go because I felt so shitty.

Alcohol is Everything

Even when I KNEW I had a problem; even when I was promising myself I would moderate, I would cut back, this is the last time, blah blah blah – I was always planning my life around alcohol. “Going to our friends house Sat night, they always have the best wine and maybe I’ll have a drink before we go; OK next Weds we are going to our friends to watch Survivor and that is when we drink a lot of wine; going wine tasting next weekend? YES!”

“Going to brunch (mimosas!!); going to a football game (make sure to drink first and only buy a few of those outrageously expensive beers); OH, its Friday, have to start drinking early; going grocery shopping and Whole Foods has a bar, so maybe a couple beers before I shop…..”

Planning My Drinking

Every week my mind stored the dates I would get to drink again and detail what I was going to drink and if I could get away with starting early. My wife drinks still, she has read your book also, but she can have one drink and leave it. But she was always pretty confused when she came home from work and I said I had one beer (when I was on my third strong beer) and I seemed pretty lit. I would just say I smoked some weed or I hadn’t eaten lunch so it was hitting me hard and then she blamed it on that.

Once I quit, I told her everything I used to do. She was pretty horrified at all the sneaking around and lying. If I started drinking again, it would really be a problem now! But I have absolutely zero interest. Once you learn the things you talk about in your book, you cannot unlearn them ever again. And after feeling so great, who wants to go back to feeling shitty all the time?

Learning Not To Drink

So I’m 51 now, and Dec 1st 2018 I went to see Green Book with a bunch of friends. I was stunned to learn that 2 of them, the absolute biggest drinkers I know, had been sober for months. I had about 4 drinks at the movies that day – I don’t know about Colorado, but in California the new trend is FULL bars at the theaters. If they don’t have booze, they can’t compete anymore with the other theaters.

My one friend looked great, she had lost weight, was really happy, and she told me she couldn’t explain it, just read “This Naked Mind” by Annie Grace. I woke up feeling like crap, the drinks were stronger than I thought, so I immediately downloaded your book and have not had a sip of alcohol since.

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Will It Last?

My wife is still looking at me sideways. Saying how proud she is of me, but that she still has a hard time believing that I just gave it up like nothing. I quit at exactly the right time. I said if I can make it through the holiday, I can make it through anything! We went to 3 or 4 parties in December, plus going back to Vermont (where she is from) with a couple friends. They brought 12 bottles of our favorite wine, 3 amazing bottles of champagne, Don Julio tequila, and some Baileys. Like, all the stuff I would have loved to drink! I had absolutely no problem saying no. Did I feel some twinges? Of course. But not even close to feeling deprived or really wanting a drink.

My wife tells me “You’re the one person that I know who loves to drink the most”. Yep, and I say “And I let myself drink whatever I want, whenever I want to, but I don’t feel like drinking at all right now”.

I’ve lost some weight, but damn, you would think 15 less alcoholic drinks a week would help drop more pounds, lol.

Still Learning Not To Drink

I’ve also read some of the books you suggested like the Untethered Soul and Alcohol Explained. I still have to get John Sarno’s book. I got Byron Katie’s book for my mother-in-law, and I will get that one at some point for myself, too. My extra “found” energy goes into work and school and yoga. I’m feeling better than I have in decades, saving so much money already, and have my weekend mornings back where I can actually get up early and have a life!

Share Your Story

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

If someday I open a Sober Bar, it will be because of you! I’ll make sure to have lots of copies of your book for sale there 🙂 Was This Naked Mind helpful in learning not to drink for you? Please share your story and help others!