L dreamed of ending her champagne career. With the help of This Naked Mind and The Alcohol Experiment, she has found her freedom and clarity!
I Hate This
Today, I woke up 80 days alcohol free. I remember, not so long ago, going to bed with the crippling fear of not waking up. At 3:00 in the morning, my heart would be racing; my head spinning with guilt and shame; my sheets soaked with sweat – the weekend of binge drinking seeping off my skin. I would toss and turn, praying to God that if I fell back asleep, “Please God, let me wake up.” I would promise myself and Him that if I did wake up, I would do better. I would never drink again. I literally felt like I was on my deathbed. I was certain that my boyfriend would roll over in the morning and find that I had stopped breathing.
All Is Forgotten
The next day, I would go to the gym or spin class to burn off the two bottles of champagne I consumed the night before. Often, I didn’t remember popping the second bottle. After my workout I would go in the steam room to detox and cleanse myself. Really, this was all a miserable, self-punishing ritual. I would end up crying on my knees, begging for forgiveness and asking God to wipe away my shameful weakness, my champagne career. My embarrassing inability to have just one drink.
At the height of my champagne career, my hangovers would physically last for two days. Mentally, my anxiety was through the roof for the rest of the week. I never drank every day and sometimes not even every week. But, when I decided to, I knew exactly how it would go and that it would end in a blackout. My 3am wake-up call filled me with regret. I repressed the pain that caused me to drink – excused the pain of how drinking made me feel the next day. I tried to convince myself that hangovers were worth it because I’m still young and having fun. Young, wild and free, right? Everyone’s hangovers get worse when they’re 27.
Nope. I was young, wild and stuck. Deep down, at the bottom of my second bottle, I knew I wasn’t free. As you’ve mentioned in This Naked Mind, I was afraid to drink and afraid not to drink. I was stuck in a toxic cycle. A familiar cycle. So familiar, I should have known better.
My mom drank my entire childhood. I knew the horrors of drinking all too well. Alcohol threatened my family of three for decades. When I was five, I knew when mom had been drinking. At eight, I would wake us up for work/school to get us out the door on time. When I was 12, I would poor down bottles of wine in the sink so she wouldn’t drink anymore. My mother was the kid and I was head of the household. I cooked, cleaned, and took care of her when she didn’t feel well. My father traveled every week for work. On the weekends, I would look to him to rescue me from the loneliness. As an only child, living in alcoholism is incredibly lonely.
When my father was home, I had to overcompensate for my mom being checked out. I worked my hardest to make everyone happy and stable – forced to keep our secret. I asked to go to therapy and was threatened not tell her that mommy drank. Not only have I carried the shame of growing up in the dysfunction, but I carried the guilt of allowing alcohol to creep into my adulthood.
The First Change
On a lighter and wonderful note, my mom has been sober for 18 months! I am so proud and grateful that she got sober. I feel like I’m getting to meet my mom for the first time. My parents are still together (by the grace of God) and we all just vacationed in Hawaii. It’s not a perfect “family-ship”, but it’s progress. Most importantly, we are open and don’t have to hide behind masks anymore. This is where I still struggle.
Before I stopped drinking, I felt like an incredible hypocrite because I was still binge drinking on the weekends. I was living a double life. One time, I went to an adult children of alcoholics (Al-Anon) meeting – hungover. That was a new low. It was then that I knew there was a disconnect between me and alcohol. Moderating wasn’t cutting it. It was time for a break that lasted longer than 12 days. I just didn’t know how to make the leap of faith…until I found your book.
On March 16th, 2019 I made the life-changing decision that I was no longer going to let alcohol have the power. I was not going to let a liquid dictate my day. Now, I never hit a significant rock-bottom in the stigma sense. I never drank every day, and sometimes not even every week. But I had become uncomfortable with my drinking. I hit a personal rock-bottom. Drinking like I did in my college glory days wasn’t glorious anymore. Alcohol wasn’t serving me anything positive. As a little girl I told myself 27 was going to be the best year of my life. It’s been the best year, because at 27 I became sober curious. That curiosity has change my life.
Taking a break from alcohol this time felt different. I started by researching. I wanted to be hit with the honest truth. Luckily, I stumbled upon This Naked Mind two days into ending my champagne career and watched your free online workshop. In that hour, my mind was blown. I must have repeated “holy shit” a hundred times.
You were showing the truth (the ugly truth) about alcohol in a way that I hadn’t ever been exposed to before.
The science behind drinking. How it actually worsens my anxiety. How it actually doesn’t help me relax. How it affects my relationships and prevents me from connecting authentically with people.
Is it time to end your champagne career? Need some help to get started? You can get a sneak peek of This Naked Mind!
The Alcohol Experiment
After the free workshop, I bought and read your 30-Day Alcohol Experiment. With my morning coffee, I soaked in the daily lessons and encouragements. When I finished the book on Day 30, I signed up for the free 30-Day Alcohol Experiment to get the daily emails and keep me going for another 30 days. Then, I switched over to recovery podcasts. Of course, This Naked Mind is one of my tops. Here I am, Day 80!!
I have a master’s degree and I can honestly say that I have learned some of the most meaningful and valuable information in the past 80 days – more than I have in my entire academic career! I have learned to love and accept myself. The good, the messy, and the in-between. I’ve learned to be gentle with myself; how to have compassion for my mom; and understand that she was doing the best she could under the influence of an addictive substance. I’ve learned to have compassion for my dad – he was doing the best he could to cope with my mom’s drinking. We are all doing the best we can with the tools we are given. I have discovered new tools to cope with my anxiety, my obsession to be perfect, and the confidence to know that I’m enough.
I dreamed of getting 80 days free from my champagne career under my belt for 3 years. It’s only now that I’ve confronted my flaws and struggles head-on (with sober clarity) that I’m able to live my dream. It’s not easy (as you’re well aware). On my 32nd day, I wrote a “goodbye letter” to alcohol – I wanted to say goodbye to all the trauma it caused in my childhood and the guilt and shame it’s caused as an adult. Alcohol doesn’t get to rob me of my own life any longer. Most days, it’s hard as sh*t! Getting sober at 27 isn’t exactly cool….yet! I want to work to change that mentality. To normalize life as alcohol-free. Sometimes I feel on the outside when I’m at social events or when I was on vacation, but that FOMO is fleeting. The outside is a much better place for me.
I’m motivated to carry on and expand what it means for me to live alcohol free. I’m ready to take another step and find a community/tribe. Especially those twenty-something gals who are navigating young womanhood sober! Thank you, Annie, for getting me started on my new path. For giving me the truth. Thank you for giving me solace and permission to live up to my potential when I needed it most. For reminding me how resilient I am. Thank you for being a pioneer in alcohol freedom. I’m honored to walk this path with you and I am excited to carry on the torch.
Share Your Story
Did you end your champagne career too? Do you have a story to tell of how This Naked Mind or The Alcohol Experiment helped you? Please share your story!