Jesse thought that after 40+ years it was too late to stop drinking. Once he read This Naked Mind he changed his thinking and is now on a path to live a life free from addiction.
An Early Start
I was young I started drinking. My dad and mom both drank, socially. Dad was a bit more of a drinker, Saturday night cards, etc. I was introduced young, worked for my dad, and was drinking beer by age 15, mixed drinks (whiskey and sprite) by age 18. I liked the ‘buzz.’ Married at 20 and could not afford alcohol at home except Christmas, one case of beer, one bottle. I was definitely in control.
I began consulting and spent a large amount of time on the road beginning at 30. I had a 3-year-old baby at home. While on the road, and overnight began drinking at bars while grabbing a sandwich. Mostly beer. Until something changed. I was 37, my mother committed suicide. I was the one to find her. Needless to say, I was a wreck. I could not sleep, so my doctor prescribed a nerve medication for me – ‘Xanax.’
I relied on it – washed down with a couple belts each night to get to sleep, to black out my mind.
More Tragedy, More Trauma
A few years later another event triggers me. My son ends up in jail charged with vehicular homicide. So, I ramp up the Xanax and alcohol. I ended up dependent on both very quickly. Xanax and alcohol will knock you out. It’s how I managed the next 20 years. I never missed work or drank on the job. I was a functioning, dependent consultant.
To compensate, at work I would send myself email reminders of project status and where we left things (work-wise) to catch up over coffee in the morning. Also, I never got ugly, as in violent (married 41 years now). Never ‘beat’ anyone, stormed around, or anything like that. I always considered myself a loving husband and father.
Too Late To Stop Drinking Now
Hell, I never raise my voice for that matter. Oh, there were times I was completely uninhibited and out of control. I was happy when drinking, ‘funny as all get out,’ or so I thought. Had to apologize more than once for out-of-control behavior.
Also, I was still running and exercising up to age 60 – then plantar fasciitis set in. I was not lying on the couch as a drunk. I was a 5-9 p.m. drinker. Bed around 9 or 10. I did not see a problem
Fast forward to age 59 – 20 years as a functioning consultant with a dependency on alcohol and Xanax.
I truly did not realize I was addicted to Xanax. Convinced I needed it for my anxiety. I did not think I had a drinking problem either. Never had a drink much before 5 p.m. But, drank every day. It was obviously too late to stop drinking now anyway!
Then one time in Michigan, I had forgotten my medication. By day two, even with heavy drinking I was up walking around at 2 a.m. in tight circles and it ‘hit me’ … God, I’m addicted to Xanax! I packed and headed home at 2 a.m. shaking white-knuckled driving. I got home popped 2 blues and was out like a light. Up 4 hours later feeling great!
I knew I was hooked. I attempted to back off – but each day I ended up downing 4 blues and about a fifth of alcohol, straight by now, on ice.
Rehab At 59
I checked into rehab at age 59. 10-day taper and 2 full weeks, just to be sure. It was dreadful … so sick I could not read or write for the first 4-5 days. Heartrate of 210 bpm for days on end. Sweats like you can’t imagine.
I was absolutely giddy about discharge. About being so clean and refreshed. I had done it. I never looked back at Zanax; it took a great part of who I was for 20 years. I knew if I relapsed I’d never get through that again, it scared me.
60 Is Too Late To Stop Drinking
I never felt the same about alcohol though. In fact, I did not drink for 6 months. Eventually began having a beer with pizza or wings. Maybe a beer while lighting the grill or playing cards. Mind you just a couple – I was never a beer pounder. It just bloats me.
Then one day I had a bourbon and ice. What a very strong taste. I had not remembered that but what a quick buzz. I liked that feeling. So, I bought just a small bottle to sip on at the end of the day. Led to a fifth and eventually a liter.
By age 63-64 I was back to a liter every 4 days or so. Did not really see this as a health issue or problem. Bloodwork always came back normal. I was working without drinking and never drove drunk, etc. I never felt tipsy or sick from drinking. My tolerance was too high.
What I did wake with was heartburn, a cough, and headache. Acid reflux is not pleasant.
Not sure why I continued to drink. (Addiction did not enter my mind, in your 60s it is too late to stop drinking. Or so I thought.)
The Turning Point
What made me decide to ‘give it up’, for good? A friend of ours, Suzi, was hospitalized with severe health issues – when we inquired, her comment was ‘too much drinking.’
For me, it just kind of all clicked – could that be me next? Why am I drinking anyways?
To relax, unwind? I have no major stress in my life now that requires tranquilizers. I thought about it for a couple of days, about the pros, could not mention one, and the cons – acid reflux, headache, sluggish feeling. At this point, I was convinced I should slow down. The thought of ‘stopping’ was quite terrifying actually. I did not see that as possible.
Discovering This Naked Mind
I began to research and everything kept pointing to the book, This Naked Mind. So I downloaded it and read it. What caught my eye was the ‘truth’ about alcohol being a poison and an addictive drug.
I never considered that before.
Once I let that sink in I was convinced – I mean why in god’s green earth would I intentionally pour poison down my gullet to strip my esophagus lining, stomach lining, decrease my heart efficiency, shrink my brain, and leave me with a morning headache and heartburn? It makes no sense … I must be addicted.
It’s Never Too Late To Stop Drinking
Have you been drinking all your life and you think it’s too late to stop drinking now? Start reading This Naked Mind today and discover why you keep drinking and how easy it can be to stop! Download the first chapter for free right now!
Today is 1/5/2021, I’ve tapered myself for 10 days now. I did have a beer today (one) with tacos. It’s a habit. I did NOT have a ‘drink.’
Tomorrow I am hoping to be finished … completely. Free of the beast called addiction. I’ve come to realize alcohol is a drug. Just like cocaine or heroin. Just as addictive. Personally, I do not believe in the idea of an ‘addictive personality’ or an alcoholic gene.
Moderate ‘drinkers’ want to portray this illusion of some sort of ‘personality defect’ among those who are dependent. This view protects their ‘drink.’ They are in control. Really?
I do believe what Annie says. Alcohol is an addictive drug and given enough drink over a long enough period of time anyone can develop the addiction.
Finding Our Freedom
We addicts are not guilty of anything except being misled by advertisers and falling prey to the addiction. I’m not shifting blame here, but it crept up on me. Alcohol in our society is not seen or treated as an addictive drug like heroin. It’s legal and socially accepted. Yet more die from alcohol than heroin. There is no warning label on a bottle. ‘Potentially Addictive.’ Why is that?
Not An Alcoholic
I am not going to live with the stigma of being an ‘ALCOHOLIC’ either. That’s crazy. The word ‘alcoholic’ is itself a marketing ploy, which explains why some get addicted. ‘Well, they must have a propensity to alcohol addiction, they have a personal defect.’
NO, I am a human being who developed a dependency on alcohol via consumption over an extended period of time. It’s just that simple.
Why I Quit
Quite frankly, I’ve finally realized I don’t need it, the poison, the addiction. After all, alcohol never did me any favors …
I do not believe I’ll feel like I’m denying myself a drink … to stay sober (this is what terrified me originally, 2 weeks ago).
I don’t need or want a drink, so there is no struggle mentally, no denying myself of a drink.
So the addiction is lifted. That’s a big point in my journey.
That said, I do understand I have to be careful with my first 2- 4 weeks of sobriety. To not get complacent or let the subconscious, physical yearning creep in while I completely detox my body and mind.
I may have to remind myself of the fact that alcohol is POISON a couple of times. But, with time and my newfound education and understanding of alcohol I’ll be in a much better position to say thanks, but no thanks as I continue my journey.
Hoping this story may have an impact on someone to begin to think about your relationship with alcohol. What favor has it ever done you? Take time to think about it. Alcohol is a poison we can surely do without. I’d also very much recommend This Naked Mind. It truly helped me see the truth.