Merry B Sober THREE Months

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I don’t even know how many days…over 90.  I simply decided on December 6, 2017 to stop drinking on December 7, 2017.  I went through the fear of asking myself if this was going to be forever…but having been sober for 25 months a few years ago…it only took a few weeks of sobriety to know that this was a FOREVER decision for my life. I just feel to amazing to ever go back to THAT again.

I am feeling the FREEDOM that Annie Grace mentions her book: The Naked Mind: Chapter 13: The Mystery of Spontaneous Sobriety.

Not only are people who simply quit, without programs or outside help, more successful in maintaining a healthy relationship with alcohol, they appear to be more at peace with and happier about their decision.  A significant portion of their time and energy is not dedicated to maintaining success.  (p. 131)

For me, I’m doing okay on my own.  I’ve found resources such as Vale and Grace’s books which have helped me to develop a better mindset and clear out some unconscious clutter about the role alcohol played in my life.  Fear was replaced with logic and common sense for me.

And the freedom!  Woohoo.  As Grace states,

Instead of sobriety becoming a daily focus with meetings, readings, and devotionals, it fades into the background allowing them to be truly free. (p. 131)

This wasn’t easy.  I put in some effort the first 60-75 days.  I blogged everyday.  I read a ton of sobriety websites and books.  I participated online with all of you readers and even started a social media presence for Merry B Sober.

But then I started to just live my life….and the hyper focus of checking on all my supports started to fade away as I shifted to focusing back on myself and my family’s needs.  (It also helped that I took my “merrybsober” gmail account off my regularly checked email feed).  I’m blending my first 90 days of tools into a lifestyle that I can live forever.

It feels really good!

I feel peaceful.

I feel free.

Book Notes: This Naked Mind by Annie Grace (Preface – Chapter 14)

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This Naked Mind: Control Alcohol, Find Freedom, Discover Happiness, and Change Your Life by Annie Grace

PREFACE:

  • …realized that alcohol was only dulling my senses and keeping me trapped rather than adding to my life. (p.16)
  • …getting rid of alcohol is the easy part. The hardest part is going against groupthink…(p.16)

INTRODUCTION

  • “What if, by reversing years of unconscious conditioning, you could return to the perspective of a non-drinker?” (pg. 18 – first line of the introduction to the book!)
  • “I will show you how altering your drinking habits will not cause pain, but instead allow you to enjoy your life more than you ever thought possible.” (p.21)

1: THIS NAKED MIND: HOW AND WHY IT WORKS

  • “We’ve been conditioned to believe we enjoying drinking.  We think it enhances our social life and relieves boredom and stress”. (p. 23)
  • “Reality is uncertain and uncertainty causes fear.  We try to protect ourselves from this fear by staying inside our bubble of belief until something happens that we cannot ignore.  At that point we are forced to confront reality.” (p. 31)
  • Alcohol is addictive….Your physical response when you drink is to want more.”(p.33)

2:  THE DRINKER OR THE DRINK? PART 1: THE DRINKER

  • The Blame Game 1.0: Me…  “when we discover we are unable to control alcohol, we blame ourselves.” (p. 39)
  • The Blame Game 2.0: AA and Alcohol Allergy Theory…“The Alcoholic themselves confirm they are ‘different’ from the normal population.  So millions of ‘regular’ drinkers go through their drinking lives with no fear that they might become alcoholics.” (p. 46)
  • The Blame Game 3.0: Alcohol Genes… “not that everyone who sips alcohol is addicted, but that everyone who drinks alcohol has a chance of becoming addicted” (p. 48)
  • The End of the Blame Game: “…entertain the idea that you might not be fully in control of your drinking…when exactly did we lose control?” (p. 48)

3: THE DRINKER OF THE DRINK? PART 2: THE DRINK

  • “The Nectar of Death…Pitcher Plant [metaphor]” (p.49)
  • “…you eventually find you are drinking more than you ever set out to.” (p. 50)
  • “…like the bee in the pitcher plant, the more we struggle, the more stuck we become.” (p. 53)
  • “Losing control is different from realizing you  have lost control.” (p. 53)
  • “You can find freedom and it may be one of the most joyful experiences of your life.” (p. 55)

4: LIMINAL POINT: IS DRINKING A HABIT

  • “It is fear that keeps us drinking, and the alcohol itself creates the fear. We fear that we will never be happy…and that stopping will mean we feel unhappy – that we are missing out.” (p. 59)

5: YOU: SIMPLY NAKED

  • “Drinking is like removing the red indicator light on your immune system. ” (p. 65)
  • “We need to see that we are strong, whole, and complete.” (p. 67)

6: LIMINAL POINT: ARE WE REALLY DRINKING FOR THE TASTE?

  • “It’s remarkable how, given enough time, senses grow immune to the most unpleasant things”. (p. 71)
  • “Herd mentality makes it easier to believe or do something…” (. 72)
  • “Dehydration from drinking can actually shrink your brain and its ability to function.” (p. 73)
  • “It’s not drinking alone…that bothers us.  It’s drinking by ourselves in the company of people who are not drinking that makes us question our choice.” (p.73)

7: YOU: POLLUTED

  • “Abstinence can help reverse the negative effects…And over several months to a year structural brain changes have been shown to self-correct.” (p.82)
  • “…binge drinking raises your likelihood of having a stroke by 39%” (p. 83)
  • “…alcoholism reduces life expectancy by 10-12 years.” (p. 86)
  • “According to the most up-to-date research….there is no risk-free level of alcohol consumption.” (p. 86)

8: LIMINAL POINT: IS ALCOHOL LIQUID COURAGE?

  • “I now realize alcohol actually chipped away my confidence” (p.88)
  • “Alcohol numbs your senses and prevents you from feeling natural fear…”…”if you’ve numbed feelings of fear you cannot be courageous”. (p.88)
  • “Think about an athlete or a soldier…by removing natural apprehension, they rob themselves of important skills” (p. 89)
  • “While illegal drugs kill 327 people per week, and prescription drugs kill 442 per week, alcohol kills 1,692 people per week” (p.90)
  • “Alcohol just makes you less aware of your instincts.  In this instance alcohol makes you stupid rather than brave.” (p.91)
  • “It’s harder to go against the grain, skipping the drink and showing your children a different way, than it is to be swept along in our drinking culture.  That is courage. (p.92)

9: OH S#*%! WE’RE STUCK

  • “Marketers actually create need by speaking to your vulnerabilities”. (p. 98)
  • “Alcohol commercials promise friendship, acceptance, gratification, happiness, and youth” (p.99)
  • How to Sell Poison…”and the side effects that are never disclosed are many” (p.100)
  • “Why do we see cocaine and alcohol so differently, especially when, in the United States, alcohol kills 241 people per day and cocaine kills only fifteen per day?  Who do we glamorize the benefits of drinking?” (p. 105)
  • “Drinking has been so ingrained in our culture and upbringing that we’ve practically been trained both consciously and unconsciously to ry alcohol.” (p. 106)

10: LIMINAL POINT: DRINKING HELPS ME LOOSEN UP AND HAVE BETTER SEX

  • “When we take time to get to know someone, asking questions instead of speaking to fill the silence, the result is amazing.  It’s a gift to learn from other people.  Asking questions, listening, and learning, these things make YOU a more interesting person.” (p. 110)
  • “Losing inhibitions is dangerous in sexual interactions”.  …”when you are drunk, what seemed like a terrible idea suddenly makes sense.”  “The majority of drunk drivers don’t mean to drive drunk, but when drinking they can no longer judge how drunk they are.” (p. 110)
  • “The problem with alcohol is that once you start drinking you can’t judge the point where a little is good and a lot becomes a disaster.” (p. 111)

11: A QUEST FOR SOBRIETY

  • “When quitting is hard, it reinforces our belief that alcohol holds a great deal of power over us.” (p. 113)
  • “In fact, rats only voluntarily drink alcohol after they have been force-fed it and developed a physical addiction.” (p. 114)…. “So we work hard to develop a taste.” (p. 115)
  • “We never make a conscious decision to drink as much as we now do.  It just happens…Consuming this much was never a conscious decision.” (p. 115)
  • Key Reading: Pages 116-119
  • “Alcohol is physically addictive, and physical dependence on alcohol can occur in anyone” (p. 119) 
  • “When you stop drinking by sheer willpower, you start to see the benefits…the reasons you quit begin to fade…Humans have selective memory…You forget your misery, and the reasons you quit no long seem important…You heal, and in healing the reasons to avoid drinking lose their immediacy…You find excuses for just one, and suddenly you are back i the mental misery of alcohol addiction.”  (p. 121)
  • “When you completely change your mental (conscious or unconscious) perspective on alcohol, you begin to see the truth about drinking. When this happens, no willpower is required, and it becomes a joy not to drink.” (p. 121)

12:  LIMINAL POINT: I DRINK TO RELIEVE STRESS AND ANXIETY

  • “Glass by glass I poured stress into my life, all the while deluding myself into believing alcohol helped me relax.” 
  • “It’s not the pace that is the problem; the problem is poisoning my body and mind so that I am physically unable to keep up with the life i want to live.” (p. 124)
  • “If you are truly happy and relaxed, you have no need or desire to change your state of mind.” (p. 126)
  • …”Alcohol slows down your brain function…You literally think more slowly…Drinking creates a compulsive need for alcohol, but you don’t actually receive any enjoyment from it.” (p. 127)

13: THE MYSTERY OF SPONTANEOUS SOBRIETY

  • “And the secret to spontaneous sobriety has everything to do with reconciling the internal conflict caused by your desire to quit drinking and your fear of missing out.” (p. 130)
  • “Instead of sobriety becoming a daily focus with meetings, readings, and devotionals, it fades into the background, allowing them to be truly free. (p. 131)
  • “Contrary to popular belief, it’s not the physical consumption that destroys our lives but the internal conflict and our determination to fix it while retaining an unconscious belief that the drug is somehow vital to our lifestyle.” (p. 135)
  • “Conflict causes pain, which explains why we are, by nature, adverse to conflict.  …I lost trust in myself”… “I didn’t know who I was; I lost myself….there are few benefits to drinking.” (p. 137)

14: LIMINAL POINT: I ENJOY DRINKING IT MAKES ME HAPPY

  • “That initial tipsy feeling passes, it won’t come back in quite the same way, no matter how much you drink.” (p. 141)
  • “Wouldn’t it make sense that if a little alcohol made us a little happy, a lot of alcohol would make us a lot of happy?” (p. 142)
  • “There are a million reasons why I am happier now…I feel comfortable and confident in my own skin” (p. 143)
  • “If you believe you can’t party or hang out with friends without a drink, you won’t be able to.  Drinking has frayed your nerves, and you are less prepared to deal with the reason you began to drink to begin with.” (p. 144)
  • “If you feel you need alcohol to make you happy, relax you, or help you enjoy your evening, you are already in trouble.” (p. 145)