The Time For Rethinking My Drinking Habits – Tracy’s Naked Life

Like so many others, Tracy found that the pandemic changed her drinking habits. “It was time to rethink my drinking habits!” she says. Find out the pivotal role This Naked Mind and The Live Alcohol Experiment played in that.

my drinking habits

A Reason To Drink

I’ve had this inner voice telling me to write so here it is. The first thing I want to do is to thank Annie Grace and the entire Naked Mind team. I am forever grateful for the tremendous impact you have had on my life and my family’s future.

My 2020 started off very similar to most. It was a stressful time that turned moderate drinking up a notch. I often joked with friends about how everything resulted in a reason to drink. There’s a blizzard in the forecast, there’s no school the next day, a random tornado comes through town, it’s sunny out, there’s a cozy fire, it’s a pandemic which really meant all bets were off. For months I had heard a very tiny voice saying “Is this it? Is this what we live for? Weekends, drinking?” “Is this what my kids will live for?” The other part of my mind couldn’t fathom a future that didn’t include alcohol. Alcohol in my mind was at every single event, holiday, and experience whether it was a happy one or a sad one.  I have always been very aware of what I didn’t want my kids to see or hear about drinking, yet I felt that slipping slowly out of my grip.

Questioning My Drinking Habits

The only time I ever took a break was during my pregnancies and once during a Whole 30 which only lasted 27 days because that 27th day fell on Halloween and why wouldn’t I celebrate my accomplishment with a drink on Halloween?  Then I stumbled into Tik Tok and kept seeing a feed from a mom who was promoting a positive message about not drinking and suggested trying a 30-day alcohol experiment. She referenced This Naked Mind as a book to help those who are considering it. I liked the idea of a challenge but also was not sure 30 days would be possible. I sat with this for weeks, even months.

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Rethinking My Drinking Habits

Then it was Superbowl Sunday. We were still isolated due to the pandemic, but the tradition is to drink and eat during the game. During the pandemic, I made a conscious effort to exercise regularly and added to my workouts. I often wondered what kind of shape I would be in if I didn’t drink and how I worked out to be able to drink. I wasn’t truly happy with myself and felt that in the past few years as my tolerance had increased and so had excess pounds.  As I was having the beers,  I was noticing that I didn’t feel a thing. So, I switched to white wine. Then, a feeling of frustration came over me and an overwhelming thought of “what is the point of this?”. That night, as I lay in bed, I ordered the This Naked Mind book. I was nervous to have my husband see it, but when it arrived, I explained that I heard it was a great book and that I wanted to “re-think” my drinking habits. He was supportive and interested.

The Live Alcohol Experiment

Drinking was something we did together, at night to unwind and relax and I was nervous that about what a change might look like for us. I read the book and was ready to try the 30-day Live Alcohol Experiment. I reached out via email to ask if doing it during Lent was “ok” and if I had to not drink the entire time. The response was one of kindness, acceptance, and love. There was truly no judgment and no rules.  The response made me emotional and felt so genuine. To be totally honest, even sending an email made me nervous and concerned about taking that first step.

What if I couldn’t do it?

What if this means I have a problem?

So, the book arrived, and I kept it face down worried about what people would think if someone came in the house and saw it. Page after page resonated with me. I’m a social worker and I thought I knew all there was to know about alcohol and addiction. This completely reframed it all. I told friends and family I was giving alcohol up for Lent. The reaction was mixed, some were shocked and doubtful, but mostly supportive.

Mindshifts

At night I would tell my husband about everything I was reading with such excitement and enthusiasm. He thought cutting back on drinking was a great idea and said he wanted to read the book when I finished. I quickly realized from the readings that I had been experiencing significant anxiety the day after drinking. I also had stopped truly “enjoying” it. My tolerance seemed to take the fun out of what 1-2 drinks used to do. I was consistently waking up anxious and going over the night before with regret and trying to count what I had to drink. After a week into the live experiment, I also started to feel so much more authentic as a parent. I became proud of a clear mind, never worrying about driving home or calculating how many drinks I had had or feeling terrible the next morning and trying to play it off.

Tragedy Strikes

During the month of my March 2021 Live Alcohol Experiment, my dad died. It happened rather quickly, and my first thought was that if there was ever a time for a “pass” to drink this would be it. I emailed This Naked Mind asking for help and some advice. The response was life-changing as this led me to the information I needed to hear. I was already sad, and alcohol would’ve only made me sadder. I knew that I did not want to be sadder and that I wanted to be there, consistently showing up for my family and that is what I did. Looking back now, I can see that this was a pivotal moment for me.

Continuing To Change My Drinking Habits

As time went on and the 30 days ended, my thoughts were to keep going. I couldn’t commit to never drinking again and especially not on vacations, but over time my desire to not drink during these activities was much stronger than my fond memories of beers on the beach. Were they really that fun or was it the beach and being with family that was fun? I tried lots of new seltzers and nonalcoholic beers and found a few I really liked. For me, I enjoy the rituals and with nonalcoholic drinks, I don’t have to deal with any of the negative consequences. The first 5 months were also filled with lots of podcasts and blog reading. I consumed as much of This Naked Mind material I could get my hands and ears on. The stories and questions were extremely helpful to hear and relate to. This past summer was my first non-alcohol-fueled summer with vacations, beach days, family trips, friends’ trips, sporting events, and even concerts.

Thankful

I am now headed towards the holidays remembering how unhappy I was last year during this time with my drinking and overall health and how excited I am to celebrate these holidays truly present and in the moment. I think my children have seen a change in their lives as subtle as it might be. Our nights are now centered around a family activity and spending quality time together. Superbowl 2021 was my last drink. I’m not counting the days, but sometimes reflect on how many months it has been. The irony of it all is that alcohol has truly become small and irrelevant.  As a result of my husband reading the book he also doesn’t drink. I feel so much joy and contentment that he and I have made these changes in our lives for our future and our children’s future. There is so much that awaits us and them. So much more than booze-filled weekends.

It feels like we jumped off the train and escaped what could’ve been a very dangerous uncertain future. My goal is to help my kids navigate through a world that emphasizes and romanticizes drinking and show them by example how beautiful life is with a naked mind.  One of my favorite things now is going to social situations and showing up as the same outgoing person everyone knew while being completely clear-headed and my authentic self. I could have never done this without the amazing This Naked Mind Coaches, Mentors, and especially you Annie Grace. Saying thank you doesn’t seem to be enough for changing my future and the future for my children and family. I am eternally grateful.

With Much Love and Happiness and Gratitude,

Tracy

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