Emma was the epitome of success – smart enough to know better, yet pulled down by drinking. This Naked Mind led her to embrace an alcohol free life.
My name is Emma and I am 52 years old. I am a University lecturer in Journalism. I worked for several years as a BBC TV news reporter and news producer, working on the BBC news channel and a documentary channel called Panorama.
My father was a world famous mathematician and academic and vice chancellor of a University.
Smart Enough To Know Better
I only mention all of this because part of my shame and guilt about my drinking has always manifested itself to me in words like “I am bright, successful, highly educated with an Oxford degree and a PhD – and I’m a drunk. How could I be all of those things?”
Your book has shown me just how I can be all of those things- no problem at all!
I am now two weeks into a sober life and I am determined not to drink again. Even though I’m afraid I haven’t yet found that euphoria talked about in the book – but I am more and more hopeful that I may find that one day.
Feel like you’re smart enough to know better than to drink so much? This Naked Mind explains why alcohol draws us all in. Start reading for free today!
Reasons To Drink
I was a big drinker. I could easily drink two bottles of wine a day. I suffered little hangover reaction and functioned (or so I thought) every day whilst waiting for the next drink (bottle). I never drank spirits or beer, so I was one of those sad, middle-class people in the UK who thinks drinking wine is OK!
Well, as a journalist we all drank really heavily – it was part of the turf. Part of the territory. So, I have actually been drinking ALL of my adult life – since I was 18. It seems ludicrous when I actually write it down. But there you go.
In my 20’s and 30’s I drank and still stayed slim, attractive and highly functioning. I thought this was great! But I did lose my driving licence in my mid 20’s. Even then, though I couldn’t drive for a year, I didn’t even think, “is something not quite right?”. What an idiot I was, really!
So roll on a good 25 years and here I was drinking every day. Copious amounts. Firstly, my marriage fell apart. Never did I dream of blaming the alcohol, but in reality there were three people in my marriage – me, John and alcohol. Alcohol got more attention than anyone.
I was living alone and five years ago my dad died from cancer after a terrible illness. I was devastated ,and drinking became a real friend then. So much so, that I was diagnosed with depression and was off work for six months. Did I stop drinking? I was smart enough to know better, but I kept going. Then three years ago, suddenly and completely out of the blue, at the age of 51, my sister died of a brain aneurysm. She left two children behind – one of whom was only 9 years old.
I relied on drinking all through these very troubled and extremely sad times. I drank to oblivion many, many times.
Two years ago I decided to try dating again and I met an amazing man who is now my partner. Graham and I have been together for 2 and a half years. He had been in the music business where drinking was a massive thing and he had given up drinking for 15 years but started again about a year before we met.
So we drank together, though I think my levels of drinking were worrying to him.
Last year we went on a trip in our camper van to France. One evening on a campsite, I decided we would “try all of the wines of the region”- one of my excuses for drinking loads, but putting a plausible and respectable steer on it.
We got plastered. And I fell over, breaking my arm so badly that I had to have an emergency operation in France. I have spent the entirety of this last year trying to get my arm to heal. It just wouldn’t. I had a massive plate put in it and then had to undergo a second operation in the UK in January of this year. The pain has been horrific and the time totally wasted, but did I stop drinking? You know the answer…of course not!
Time To Change
Well now is now. My arm has finally healed and I am now okay again. This year I’ve outlived my sister by a year. These two things made me start thinking about what I want for the rest of my life. So I am here now – two weeks sober and really, really hoping I can stay that way. Graham has joined me as well and is being supportive and is as adamant as me that our lives should be alcohol free. We are smart enough to know better!
I feel buoyed up by achievement right now but hope this wont fade and I slip. I am not sure I have managed to deconstruct my cognitive dissonance as you refer to it. In fact, I am worried that I may never manage that. Such is my drinking life, but I want to!!! I really want to and I am hoping I can make my poor old subconscious mind see my point of view.
Share Your Story
I’m on a very scary road right now, but one I should have taken years ago. All along I have been smart enough to know better. I only wish my sister Kate could see me now. She would be so proud of me even for getting this far. I want to live the rest of mine (and her) years through me – sober. Please share your story and inspire others!