Niki faced the challenging environment of trying to be sober in the service industry. Read about how she found This Naked Mind while sitting in a bar.
From My Bar Stool
I discovered This Naked Mind, ironically, at a bar. I was three beers in and it wasn’t even 2 in the afternoon. And yes, it was in the middle of the week. I work in the service industry, so my hours are all over the place. It is common for me to drink during the day, even before work, and especially after work (plus I don’t have to pay much for alcohol at my job). I don’t know moderation. I can’t just have one drink. One drink leads to however many drinks I can conveniently get my hands on without raising suspicions.
I am only 25 years old and I’ve known for years that I have a problem, which probably began my senior year of high school. I’ve never attempted to quit because the thought of living without alcohol scares the shit out of me. There’s a deep longing in my body that yearns for the taste of alcohol. Tequila is my drink of choice.
Although I’ve known I have a problem, it’s only been the past several years where I’ve had to directly examine it. My boyfriend is not a drinker and he finds it very unattractive when I let alcohol get the best of me, which is almost every time I drink. I can’t tell you the countless times he has seen me covered in my own vomit. It’s honestly a mystery why he would still want to be with me given the amount of times he’s seen me in such a bad state. Alcohol is the only thing we fight over. It was very frustrating for me to justify my drinking to him, because he can’t understand it and well, I can’t logically justify it. I really couldn’t understand what my problem was, why I was stuck in the terrible cycle of self-destruction. That is, until I stumbled upon This Naked Mind.
Finding This Naked Mind
I’m not sure how I came upon it online. I was slightly drunk and googling a bunch of random things, when I started to research books on alcoholism. I love self-help books and opening my mind to different modes of thinking. This Naked Mind was highly recommended on several blogs, so I wrote the title down in my notebook. I was driving to Dallas from Pittsburgh with my friend that was moving there and I wanted some reading material for the flight back. Once in Dallas, I downloaded it, then proceeded to consume 8 drinks in the next 6 hours (7 of those were doubles). I got 3 hours of sleep before we had to leave for the airport to catch my early flight.
At first I felt alright, probably because I was still drunk. Waiting for my plane, and then sitting in the plane, I began to feel the hangover creeping in. I even threw up in the bathroom on the plane. It was the longest two-hour plane ride of my life, worrying the whole time if I would need to pull out the complimentary barf bag during our descent and subsequently embarrass myself in front of the whole plane. When I got home, rather than spending time with my amazing boyfriend after not seeing him for several days, I slept for 15 hours (only after I projectile vomited all over my bathroom).
I Need To Do This
I had begun reading This Naked Mind as my hangover was setting in at the airport and I was instantly touched. Within the first several pages, I felt the freedom Annie speaks of. I knew I wanted to quit more than anything. It was liberating to learn the reasons I couldn’t quit in the past – because of the disconnect between my conscious and unconscious mind. See, I am a “healthy” person. I practice yoga and meditation daily. I am very aware of the foods I choose to put in my body. Honestly, I even consider myself on the path to enlightenment. Alcohol has no place in the lifestyle I’ve created for myself, yet I couldn’t imagine a life without it before reading this book. The addiction and the craving was so real that I would sacrifice all I believe in to validate why I needed to drink.
Nothing Funny About It
I’ve joked for years about being an alcoholic, but in reality, it wasn’t a joke. There seems to be a belief that you can’t really be an alcoholic until you are a bit older and it has visibly messed up your life. Despite only being 25, I was completely enslaved to alcohol. Because of alcohol, I’ve wrecked two vehicles, chronically cheated on my ex-boyfriend, done things I could never have imagined doing while sober, blacked-out (too many times to counts), woke up with killer hangovers, thrown up everywhere, gotten into cars with random stranger, done drugs with random strangers, and the list goes on and on. Honestly, I am very lucky to be alive. I hid these things pretty well from my loved ones. Since moving in with my boyfriend, my problem has really come into the spotlight and it has become harder and harder to push to the side or mask with more alcohol.
Curious if it’s possible to be sober in the service industry? You can preview the book and learn how to! Start reading This Naked Mind today!
This Naked Mind has truly changed my life. Working in a restaurant/bar, I see all types of social gatherings. Business meetings, holiday parties, happy hours. There’s always that one person that just asks for water, while everyone else consumes heavy amounts of alcohol. I’ve always envied these people, wishing I could have that willpower. How liberating it must feel to not desire alcohol when you are surrounded by it. I couldn’t even imagine this. This Naked Mind hasn’t provided me with willpower, per se, but with a new way of thinking about the poison that I was happily consuming, which is more powerful than anything.
Because of my yoga and meditation practice, I am well aware of the powers of the mind. This book compliments so nicely the other aspects of self-care I am instilling in myself. My new perceptions of alcohol are so powerful, that I have been in a constant state of awareness and gratitude since I began reading this book. I just finished it, and I was originally not going to share my story, but Annie’s words to pass it forward resonated with me and I was compelled to instantly write this. If you had told me a week ago that reading one book would “cure” me, I would have laughed at you. Today, even though I’ve only been sober a week, I know I am on a better path than ever before.
Sober in the Service Industry
I do have some reservations, though. While I’m not afraid to attend social gatherings and not drink, I do come from a large Italian family that drinks a lot of wine. I don’t live near them, so it’s a special occasion anytime I get to see my parents and sister. In March, it’s my mother’s 60th birthday and my aunt is having a surprise party for her. Although I understand that alcohol is poison and does nothing good for me, I can’t shake this desire that I will want to have one drink during this visit. And this is causing me some unnecessary anxiety. Actually, just putting this fear into words has alleviated some of the stress from me. I will continue to view alcohol for what it really is and will take each day in stride. Perhaps my living life without alcohol in the meantime will make this thought undesirable when the time comes.
Getting The Message
I want to end with one last story to show just how effective This Naked Mind has been for me. It is a common occurrence for me to dream about alcohol. I dream about it a lot – always consuming it. I’ll even feel “drunk” in my dreams. Three nights ago, someone handed me a beer in my dream and told me to drink it. I can still remember my reaction to this, saying “No! That’s poison. I don’t want to put that in my body anymore.” I woke up mind-blown! My subconscious is actually getting the message! This is honestly so crazy to me, I’m still in shock that it was this simple. The thought of never having another awful hangover, never worrying about saying stupid things, or wrecking my car, it’s truly liberating! I realize that there will be hard days, and I may find myself slipping back into old habits occasionally, but I am confident that my addiction is on its way to dying, and I have never felt better about myself or more optimistic about my future.
Share Your Story
Thank you so much Annie! I fully intend to pass your message on to as many people as possible though my actions. Thank you for giving me this courage. Please share your story to help others!