Simone was sober curious for awhile and finally decided the Naked Life was worth pursuing.
I tumbled into your book recently while watching Elizabeth Vargas’s 20/20 interview from several years ago regarding her story with alcohol. I read the description of “This Naked Mind” and saw the many, many five-star reviews. I’m no different than the masses in that I’ve been secretly seeking casting a wide net and slowly gathering the information that most made sense to me, while letting the scrum work itself out between the net holes. I had (and have been) searching literature, podcasts, academia, and video content to understand my increasingly outrageous need for alcohol. I’ve been sober curious, I guess.
I downloaded your book to my Kindle immediately. I have so many highlights (178 to be exact) that I could’ve easily highlighted the whole damn book! It’s been my companion and guide as I devoured it, and now your podcasts are a daily inspiration for me. In January 2016 I came up with a password for some of my online accounts: “free2beme!”, thinking surely if I manifest it, it would come to pass and I’d be free and on the right path to getting to the root of my drinking problem and getting a handle on it. Not so! From 2016-2018 were some of my darkest years.
Are you sober curious? You can preview the book and learn how to live life alcohol free! Start reading This Naked Mind today!
I was born in 1961 in middle America to an American father and a German immigrant mother. I was the third of three girls brought into an already fractured family. Alcohol was always present in my life. My dad grew up in the poor south and was able to join the air force before he was 18. He met my mom in Germany; they married there and had my two sisters there. When my sister was six weeks old and my oldest sister was one year old, they transferred to his new assignment in the States. Three months later, my dad was diagnosed with a sarcoma cancer in his left leg. That was 1960. They amputated his leg off at the hip. He was 25 years old. He was gone a complete year while my immigrant mom, with two young babies, was left to manage on her own. When he returned, they quickly got pregnant with me.
I grew up seeing my dad drinking, and his use increased as time went on. Much later, when he stopped drinking, he was diagnosed with chronic anxiety and managed with medication. My mom drank during my young years but I didn’t see her depend on it until after they divorced when I was thirteen. I was pretty much left to my own defenses during that time. I had started to dabble with drinking at thirteen with my best friend. Like many people, my first experience with drinking was not pleasant. It was Everclear with friends and I got sick. I drank occasionally when I could, but I did not have a huge need to drink. From the age 14 to 18, I drank, smoked pot, hash, did uppers and downers, acid a few times, and even shot up mescaline one time to see what it was like.
I had an unfortunate event when I was 14; myself and a friend were taken by knife point across from my middle school by 2 boys who were older than us and would hang around the school grounds. They let us go after the whole event , but I was terrified during the event that we would be killed. We saw a police officer while walking to my house
and told him what happened. There was a trial and a conviction. Things were complicated because the boys were black, my friend and I white. Being targeted daily at school with bullying from a lot of the black population who went there, I repeatedly asked my mom to let me change schools – it wasn’t going to happen. I lost interest in
school even though school was easy for me.
I hooked up with a boyfriend at age fourteen and mainly lived with his family for 2 years. I dropped completely out of school in the tenth grade. I’ve worked since I was thirteen. At age 16, I had my own apartment – set up by my dad and his then drinking buddy wife. Neither of my parents knew what to do with me, nor did they want the responsibility of trying to get me on the right track. When I was 17, I began a relationship with my first husband, who was nine years older than me. We got pregnant and started a life together. We always partied quite hard – alcohol and pot – even cocaine for awhile in the 1980’s. As time went on, I cut back, but my husband’s alcohol consumption increased.
Sober Curious – Round 1
I wanted something else. Starting college at twenty seven, I graduated with a BS in Nursing and a 3.7 GPA. During this time, my alcohol use was low. When I would drink though, I would drink to get drunk. Two years after I graduated, our marriage ended. I had a 17-year-old and a 7-year-old. I was still drinking occasionally, always drinking to get a buzz. I was single for 5 years and during those 5 years, I began to drink after work at home sometimes and my drinking in general escalated.
I began a relationship with my now husband (in a relationship now for twenty years). Our life socially revolves around drinking with friends, family, and coworkers. My husband loves to be the good host and always wanted to have people over or go out. Me – not so much, but I go along. His energy level is much greater than mine. He’s also an extrovert and I am an introvert. He always offers people alcohol when they come over even though he did not grow up in a drinking culture. He grew up in Bangladesh. His work environment (insurance and investments) has a huge drinking component with alcohol soaked events and trips. He’s always been able to take it or leave it with alcohol and I’ve never seen him drunk. What a perfect scenario for me and my love of alcohol!
Need To Stop
As the years went on, I began to drink more and more and started doing so daily. I felt worse and worse. I’ve embarrassed myself too many times to remember. My drinking has been a constant bubbling issue between my husband and I for at least the last 4-5 years and I’ve been concerned about it for longer than that.
Needing To Know Why
So, in my quest of being sober curious and delving into the why’s of my behaviors and addiction, several experiences led me to your book and now to your podcast. My husband and I loved watching Anthony Bourdain’s: “No Reservations” on the travel channel and then his series on CNN. When we learned of his suicide and that he had a high amount of alcohol in his blood at the time of his death, I was confronted with the reality that could happen to me if my trajectory with alcohol stayed the same. It scared the shit out of me! I mourn the loss of him to this day.
I started listening to “Armchair Expert” in the summer of 2018 with Dax Sheppard. It has been enlightening and refreshing to listen to his comments and stories about his triumph over addiction embedded within his podcasts, while not being the primary focus, and how much better his life is now. One of the anecdotal comments he made about getting through a low spot without turning to things he was addicted to stuck with me.
He said that whenever the feeling arose to check out with a substance when he was stressed, was to tell himself: “this will pass” it may be 30 minutes or 3 days, but he knew it would pass and that he didn’t need to go to a numbing substance.
One of his earlier guest was David Sedaris. David Sedaris is so funny and real. He is one of my very favorite authors. Their frank and funny discussions of the reasons and the thinking that led them each to stop their addictive behavior with substances were like a balm for my soul.
As people sometimes ask: “If you could have dinner with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?” Mine would be Dax, David, Anthony and Annie Grace. What a fun time that would be, sans alcohol or drugs!
Share Your Story
I feel so fortunate to have found your book, community, and podcast. It speaks to my intellect and understanding from a biopsychosocial perspective. I am still in nursing and have had a interesting career. I have a little over 2 months alcohol free and I am so grateful. Still learning everyday, my relationships are improving, feeling better physically and life is good and getting better each day. You are doing such great work. I admire your approach, your dedication and commitment to research, and the way that you then speak, write, and relay the
information. Brava to you, and to all of us on this journey! Do you have your own sober curious story? Please share your story and help others!