Brian credits This Naked Mind with saving his life. The best part is – after 68 years, he doesn’t feel like he’s missing out on drinking.

missing out on drinking

My Story

I started drinking at 16 and fell hopelessly in love with alcohol. It took away my anxiety and made me feel relaxed and happy. At first it was just weekends. Then at college it progressed to midweek plus every time there was a party. I am now 68 and have been drinking quite heavily most days for the last 20 years. Slightly concerned but just assuming I was the type who enjoyed drinking. Then about 12 years ago the depression set in and I realized I was in trouble.

Fixing Myself

I am a qualified psychologist. Knowing about the relationship between alcohol and depression, I decided to do something about it. Once I put my mind to something, I am usually successful, so I was sure I could get this under control. Knowing I had to work on my unconscious mind, I decided to use hypnotherapy. I paid for professional hypnotherapy and also bought some online courses which aimed at reducing alcohol intake. To my surprise, it did not work. After listening to This Naked Mind, I realized what I had done wrong. In the end, I gave up and branded myself as alcohol-dependent and that there was nothing more I could do. I expected that the drinking would kill me – and sooner rather than later. I even thought about AA but felt that their approach would not be right for me.

Discovering This Naked Mind

I was going on a vacation that involved an 11-hour flight, so rather than watch the on-board movies, I decided I would listen to an audiobook. Having signed up for Audible the first book that came up was This Naked Mind – probably because of me looking for help online. I looked at it and thought, ‘not another self help book’, but something made me decide to give it a try. Mostly because I was worried about going away as I always drink more when on vacation. I was worried about liver failure while I was abroad.

Settling down with my first Jack Daniels, I started listening. I liked the style – no psychobabble and I was enjoying the book. At dinner I had my usual wine and my wife asked me if I was having cognac with my coffee. I hesitated but agreed. I now believe that brandy at 40,000 ft will be my last drink. Annie suggests listening to 2 chapters at a time, but I was hooked and binged on it. I do not know quite when, as I listened to most of the book on that flight, but I was aware of a major shift in my thinking.

If someone had suggested spontaneous sobriety to me before I started, I would have thought they were nuts. Incredibly, that is what happened to me.

The thought of missing out on drinking is gone.

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At Peace

When I arrive at a hotel I always pour a stiff drink, but this time I did not want it. Throughout the whole trip I had no desire for alcohol and did not drink any. Part of the vacation was an all-inclusive cruise and we had a day at sea. I used this day to listen to parts of the book again – reinforcing my new thinking. All around me people were drinking. I realized how normalized this has become in our society. Part of the holiday was a road trip in a rental car. One evening my GPS stopped working. I got lost in a strange city in the dark driving on the side of the road opposite to home. It was rush hour and I was stressed. Navigating by use of landmarks, I got back to my hotel. Normally I would reach for the bottle to reward myself for getting through it. This time I felt calm and did not want a drink.

Not Missing Out on Drinking

I am home now and have never felt better, I am almost certain I will never drink again. This weekend, I am going to a friend’s house for lunch. They are going to be surprised when I ask for sparkling water. I am just going to say that I have given up alcohol and feel much better for it.

Now I know where I went wrong with my own attempts to quit. All my efforts revolved around moderation rather than stopping and for me, this was never going to work. I had decided that I would only drink on vacation and out with friends. At best, I lasted about a week then rewarded myself with a binge – so of course went back to my usual pattern.

I could not conceive of giving up altogether, how could I ever enjoy a night out if I was not drinking?

The book taught me that I could. I enjoyed my garden and liked to sit out in the evenings with a glass of wine. After about 3 glasses, everything looked better and I seemed to enjoy it more. Now when I sit out, it is as if I’ve had the 3 glasses – although I have not taken any – I needed the wine just to feel normal! How could I not have seen this before? I know some people can cut back and drink in moderation, but I am not one of them.

Enjoying Myself Without It

I have a large circle of friends and we take turns in hosting garden parties or lunch parties. Alcohol is always involved. Personally, I hated it when it was my turn to drive as I did not expect to enjoy it very much. I have now been to two of these since I quit.

The last one was only a few days ago. The host is not a big drinker himself, but is very generous with the booze. He starts by offering large gin and tonics. Always very nicely presented. When I said just tonic for me he took a step back then felt my forehead. Deciding I was not going to explain, I just said yes just tonic for me. He is a bit of a wine buff and had paired wines for the different courses. When I declined and took water he looked surprised but did not push it. There was port with the cheese. Next came good cognac and liquor. In the past I would have indulged in the lot and may even have had more when I got home! Did I enjoy the party? – yes very much and more than I would have if I had been drinking.

As Annie pointed out in the book, if you go with the belief that you are not going to enjoy it, then the chances are you will not.

I was aware of one of my friends drinking a lot and having more than one brandy – his wife was giving him a look which said STOP. I was so glad that that was not me anymore.

Share Your Story

I always assumed that stopping drinking would be a long and painful process with lots of will power and struggle. I still do not quite understand why this book is so powerful, but I have no sense of loss or missing out on drinking. Finally, I feel happy and at peace – more so than I can ever remember. I cannot thank you enough Annie for this book – you are a star. Please share your story and inspire others!

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