After multiple rock bottoms, Lisa found help with This Naked Mind. Now she’s giving back to This Naked Mind and those who helped her.
Where the story changed
3 September 2014… I got up; Drank, a lot. I am miserable. I already had an appointment booked with my doctor/counselor for late morning. Finished off the scotch bottle (yes, before breakfast – scratch that, it was breakfast). Something made me just want to get the hell out of the house and GO, so I left and found myself standing at my doctor’s reception at least an hour earlier than my appointment. Desperate for help. How had I let it get so bad?
How the story began
My story starts in childhood, like a lot of people’s. An “only” child, there was trauma and neglect. As an adult, this led to the development of my people-pleasing skills, to an over-thinking/”what-if” mindset. An admin/executive assistant for much of my working life, I found myself attracted to highly stressful jobs where I felt needed and relied upon. I used alcohol to not only fit in but also to help with my “edginess.” Thinking alcohol calmed me, “brought me down” after another crazy day. Using alcohol to manage my emotions over my childhood, issues not yet resolved. Used to handling life on my own, I didn’t seek counseling. I would, could figure out things on my own.
Drinking was never the issue (to me)
I married a wonderful man, my best friend who was one of life’s natural moderators with alcohol. Over time, my drinking increased. I needed more and more of it to achieve the same result. While I had a good doctor, I always waved aside any comments about my latest blood test results which of course indicated my high level of alcohol abuse.
I became the “functioning alcoholic” (or so I believed at the time). My high-level alcohol abuse led to stomach disorders, fuelling my “edginess” into full-blown panic attacks, agoraphobia, and constant migraines. I developed depression. I didn’t eat well and my weight ballooned because I was now also abusing food for comfort as well. Going from someone who could always be relied upon to someone who was sick with something all the time. I still kept drinking.
The first rock bottom
It all came to a screeching halt 10 ½ years ago. By this time I was drinking a bottle of scotch a night (having already had several glasses of wine). One day, with yet another migraine, I had to leave work early promising to be in the next day. That didn’t happen. After a week or so at home constantly physically ill, I asked my husband to take me to the hospital. I was there for two weeks and one day. In addition to the health issues I knew I had, I was diagnosed with pneumonia, diabetes, and an enlarged heart. Suddenly I was under the care of a Cardiologist and an Endocrinologist. One doctor told me my potassium levels were so low, it was the level they usually saw in dead people. I didn’t really comprehend even then that I had been near death.
People talk about “rock bottom.” You’d think that would be it, wouldn’t you? I had something like 3-4 months off work, recovering. Within a year, I had beaten diabetes. Initially, I stopped drinking entirely but then the odd drink would creep in. Then the new lie I told myself appeared: I can moderate, can’t I? I did do some counseling at this time. I wasn’t entirely honest with him about my alcohol intake – I still believed I could fix myself.
The year I turned 50 I started going to a personal trainer (PT). I had lost a lot of weight when I was sick but I had gained it all back, plus some. I would see the PT after work, but then go home and drink – a lot.
Bottoming out again
And then, another “rock bottom.” Made redundant from a job I loved – totally out of “left field.” I did find another job but all my abandonment issues reappeared. I missed my old “work family.” My drinking escalated. Over the next year, I would miss work and PT sessions regularly because I was home either drinking or passed out on the couch.
By now it was sinking in that alcohol was responsible for making me sick – my health was suffering in the same ways, again. Alternating between trying to quit and trying to moderate. I had so many “Day 1’s” and then I would have a bad day or a panic attack, or a good day, a good PT session – I didn’t need much of an excuse. I realized I had no “off switch.”
Exactly when was it all going to be enough to stop doing this to myself? In the months leading up to September 2014, my husband was at a loss as to what to do or say. Our once happy home was now full of my depression, anxiety, and self-destruction. How much fun was I to live with?
Getting help from This Naked Mind
So I found myself in September 2014, at my doctor’s office, early for the appointment, begging for help. He immediately told me to stay home from work for a month while we did intensive and regular counseling sessions.
All of this was just before This Naked Mind came out. My doctor/counselor started the healing process well with mindfulness techniques. However, I am a person who has to understand the why behind the things we do and when Annie’s book came out not long after I started this process, everything finally fell into place: identifying the science behind it all, the way the brain is trained, really helped me move forward. I finally understood why alcohol inflamed my anxiety and depression. Annie’s book dealt with so many beliefs and misconceptions I had around guilt and shame, addiction, the need to fit in, what was “normal.” I learned about dealing with all the “firsts” – those events that happen in the first year you’re alcohol free. It was a learning curve that I grabbed ahold of with both hands.
Through this knowledge came empowerment. This Naked Mind gave me a new, healthy life, helped me renew my marriage, and – quite frankly – gave me freedom! I learned new tools, new habits, new ways of looking at myself. No longer am I on any medications for diabetes/gut health or anxiety/depression. I became – and am – so well, I never want to go back. I have had my last “Day 1.”
Lisa is now giving back to This Naked Mind, but it started with getting the information that set her free. Access that information now for yourself! Totally free!
Finding The PATH
In 2020 I learned the magic behind connection. I joined The PATH in June. Some “firsts” happened earlier in the year and I felt the need for community. I reached out and This Naked Mind, already a part of my self-development journey over the years (through social media and Annie’s podcasts), reached back. I had outstanding support from the Coaches and became part of a compassionate and non-judgemental group; many will be friends for life.
I now pay it forward as a Mentor in the TNM Live Alcohol Experiments, holding a hand out to others as was done for me.
Giving back to This Naked Mind
I am very excited to have been accepted into the This Naked Mind Institute’s coach training, commencing in March 2021. I hope I do them proud. To become a This Naked Mind Certified Coach would bring my TNM journey full circle as I continue to pay it forward, living life with gratitude and joy.
Share Your Story
Lisa is giving back to This Naked Mind by becoming a Certified coach. You can also give back by sharing your story of how This Naked Mind, The Alcohol Experiment, or The PATH has changed your life. Others want to be inspired by your victories.