Alcohol, how do you feel about it?
"This Naked Mind: Control Alcohol, Find Freedom, Discover Happiness & Change Your Life" by Annie Grace, has literally changed the way I look at alcohol usage and my relationship with this sticky substance (both literally and hypothetically). I could perhaps say that in my early 20's into my late 20's, I was a weekend binge drinker. If I had to label my relationship with alcohol, I would say it not a good one at best. I would go out and drink way too much, fortunately, I had some good friends and my parents that saw me through this time. As I moved into my 30's and had my kiddos it seemed that drinking was less of a pull but still provided some relaxation. The bar scene was fun, do not get my wrong, but the morning after started to be very hard as the hangover ran its course. Additionally, with a kiddo or two that needed my attention and help, it was even harder if I could not sit on the couch all day and nurse the hangover.
As I grew into my mid-thirties, I started being aware that it just plain “hurt” to drink. My heart would hammer away, my head would hurt, I would try different techniques before I went to bed to avoid the feeling in the morning. Alas, it was hard work and how worth it was this, was there a better way? Well I decided to stop drinking for a while, my motivation was counting how many months I had gone dry and there would still be a pull to drink that cocktail or beer that others were enjoying. I felt I was missing out on something and ended up going back and drinking occasionally. This dry spell was almost a year, not to mention I would let myself know this by something like this happening in my mind, "hey wow look at you and your failure – the willpower only let you stop drinking for 8 months, great work" (enter in a personal eye roll here).
On a trip for my son’s class this past year, I had the opportunity to ride to the zoo with Annie Grace and learned about her journey and her book “This Naked Mind.” It was an amazing experience and I knew this was the universe at work in my life. I went home that night and downloaded the book on my Kindle and read it cover to cover within a few weeks. Ultimately, for me it was a different way of thinking about alcohol, how we grew up with it, what our culture says about it and critically thinking what we would like our relationship with this substance to look like. This stuff is way beyond “willpower.” I will not say much more about the book, because it would be a great read for anyone. But what I would like to share is that not drinking during the holidays, during happy hours is so much easier with the information from this book. Not to say I have not had those moments of feeling like I am missing out and need to join in. Afterwards there was less self criticizing and instead more self-love as I came back to the messages from the book.
After what I learned, it seems that this practice is acceptable in our culture. BUT it is actually poisoning our bodies and our kids as they begin to try the drinking scene. What I have found is, I am in charge of my behavior and ways that I relate to this world. What I know is I want to enjoy my life and this book has helped me to reveal what I would like to see for me. I am always working on it and continue to grow with this book's message and information.
A Little Snippet right from the book: "Your opinions about alcohol and your desire to drink spring from the lifelong mental conditioning of your unconscious mind. This desire has likely been compounded by specific neurological changes in the brain. The goal of The Naked Mind is to reverse the conditioning in your unconscious mind by educating your conscious mind."
No matter if you feel you have a problem with alcohol or if you believe you do not, this book is a great read and adds something to our toolbox of AWARENESS. Just another of my favorite things, see if it perhaps becomes one of yours!