Alcohol was a liquid crutch for Andrew. This Naked Mind allowed him to no longer rely upon it.
I’ve been a drinker for most of my adult life, a generous mix of societal, occupational, and general relish. In 2018 after 30 years in the NSW Police Force I was diagnosed with PTSD, depression, anxiety, and alcohol dependency. Very hard to admit one is an alcoholic, I suppose it is a signal of change and mistakenly one of weakness. I’ve realised it’s a strength to admit fault and go forth to try and repair it.
I had previously given myself self-imposed alcohol bans, ranging from 1 to 3 and to 6 months. Always vowing to drink less upon my return. Always failing. Surprise, surprise.
Never Expected This
In September 2018 I detoxed myself a week prior to, and then spent just over two weeks in a psychiatric hospital. This was definitely not on my bucket list.
I was able to learn a few of the cranial issues associated with addiction and was sober for 7 months. Attending the outpatient programmes as well as some AA meetings. I was adamant I would not drink again, my line of thinking was I’d like to drink, I don’t need to drink. I was fit and quite healthy and knew the one drink rule would have my brain saying, “Yay, you’re back, where the fuck have you been?”
Missing My Liquid Crutch
Sobriety became my main topic of discussion and I suppose some resentment that I’d like to have a drink and was denying myself. So, stupidly and willingly I had that first beer (mid strength as I would prove science wrong). Trying to prove science wrong, that adage the definition of insanity is doing the same experiment over and over and expecting a different result. Well, the result was the same.
I was always a happy drinker, as in, projected a happy persona, far different to what was swirling within. Now, I became something I didn’t want to be. Argumentative, controlling, and over opinionated in relation to a girlfriend Fi and unable to control my vitriolic tongue. I should have been able to agree to disagree and accept and tolerate as I would want others to show me.
No Longer Myself
I turned into something I did not like. I could have days off the drink, but, when one was had, I would not stop. Being out for the afternoon or evening was not enough and on the way home I would stop into the pub and drink for several more hours and often waste money gambling on poker machines (the sport of lonely people and losers). Or, I’d go home and drink what I had.
Anyway, that final argument on Friday, 13 December 2019 was not good. I was cruel, nasty, and untrusting. It cost me the relationship status I had with Fi. Thankfully, we are talking and working out where we land and, if we can become a couple again. I say we will be better if that’s the road we choose. I had my last drink session on Sunday, 15 December 2019 and haven’t had a drink since.
A week later (22 December 2019) I told Fi about the drinking (she knew me sober and we did later drink together) I was doing after drinking and how I had lost control. She was to say, pissed off with me. Not for the drinking, more for the fact I did not tell her, and feel I had a safe place to land.
No one likes admitting failure, to themselves, and others. It’s hard and I felt I’d let her down, my family down and me down.
Fi recommended your book which I bought and read digital version on my phone.
It was such a refreshing and new approach to alcohol and giving it away. I finished your book and have some reflection. Now I don’t look at it as I would like to drink, but don’t need to. I look at it as I don’t need to drink and don’t want to. Fi also says I seem a lot calmer sober this time than when she first met me. I attribute that calmness to new found revelations courtesy of your book.
Are you ready to put down your liquid crutch? Get free today when you start reading This Naked Mind for free.
Three weeks in and I don’t miss the sensation of alcohol and cravings have dissipated. I certainly don’t miss the hangover and haze that hangs over me. I feel cleaner and clearer. Instead of alcohol I have a soft drink, a soda, and enjoy a non-alcoholic beer as well. It works for me.
I am able to go out and socialise (I did before with a little resentment). I commented to Fi that had I been drinking on a recent night out I would have had 10-12 schooners of beer in that 3 hour time slot. A schooner is 425ml and the alcohol content is 4.8% and probably more after. I have been out to dinners with mates, bbq’s, and the obligatory Christmas Day and NYE, all alcohol free, and not one regret.
So, that’s been my journey thus far with alcohol. You could write similar books for those who choose to use heroin, cocaine, MDMA, and other amphetamine – it may well help them. I know it’s only early days in, 21 days as of today, and the journey will continue. This time it feels different, less I’m missing out, and far more positive and calm. No resentment, no denial, a smarter well informed choice.
So, Annie, thank you.
I’ve written a poem below. The idea of the liquid crutch came to me in my last period of abstinence, your book and thoughts let me put it into verse.
This Liquid Crutch
4 January 2020
This liquid crutch
Upon which I lean
In times of good,
In times of bad,
Faux support of life.
Falsely required when?
Always a reason to pour
Weddings, parties, wakes, listless,
This liquid crutch,
Upon which I leant.
Was like a friend,
Until I really needed them.
Collapsing under my lean,
Causing me to fall.
I gave you my all,
My former friend,
Gave me nothing in the end.
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