“I started drinking again.” Those words might be the end of some stories but for Bonnie it was the beginning of learning how to live a Naked life!
Take inventory of what is not serving you in this one beautiful life that you have – and cut that crap out.
For me, it is alcohol.
My relationship with alcohol
I’ve had an interesting relationship with alcohol. Like most, I had my first drink in high school and made it a part of my life in college. Drinking was fun and a socially acceptable way to relax. Alcohol wasn’t a drug (I thought) so what could be the harm? Only losers would let it get the best of them.
When I was going to Georgia Tech I remember starting my school day with a drink and downing a beer on the way home. My high school class president self was extremely insecure about being a little fish in a big pond, and I found that having a drink made me not care as much. It worked except when a professor would call on me to answer a question. Then I just felt foggy and full of shame.
Turns out, alcohol was the gateway drug to other drugs (that have permanently altered my life) AND the culprit of most of my bad decisions.
Not drinking wasn’t an option
But NOT drinking was never on my radar. I was a grown-up and I could make my own decisions (dammit). When I got married my drinking increased because…well…we were celebrating! Drinking made me feel confident and sexy and funny and fearless – until I woke up the next day feeling shameful and nervous and anxious and guilty. But by the time the evening rolled back around I felt better and that first drink always made the yucky feelings go away.
But there came a time when my choice to drink on the weekends extended through the week. And one glass of wine turned into bottles. I had a problem. Throw in some anxiety, depression, and infertility and I had mixed up dangerous cocktail.
It wasn’t a fast or easy decision, but my choice to live a sober life was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
Eight years of clarity and waking up guilt free.
I started drinking again
I’m not sure why I decided to drink again.
I guess I felt like I was in such a good place in my life. I had a wonderful husband, three amazing kids, and I was finally pursuing my dream of writing. On the beach that day, the idea of enjoying a drink – toasting my beautiful life – seemed romantic and glamorous and perfect.
At first I felt liberated. I am a new person after all – a confident, successful woman who has her head on straight and who would never go down a dark path again!
I was relaxed after one drink, funnier after two, and sexy as hell after three.
“This,” I thought, “will be a good addition to my wonderful life.”
My recovering alcoholic life coach actually interrupted herself during our session when I was sharing this with her, to cuss me out. She’s good at her job.
Here’s the TRUTH:
I used to have a drinking problem. I still do, but I used to also. (Mitch Hedberg style)
When I have a drink, I am no longer present. Alcohol hijacks my mind and I am laser focused on one question: When can I get another drink? I am no longer on a date with my husband, I’m on a date with my drink. I’m not really listening to my children, I’m listening to the voice telling me to drink more.
The reality of rehab
My brother-in-law recently went through rehab. Heroic. We were all so proud of his decision. It opened up some uncomfortable and necessary dialogue with our children and the conversations began to stir up a lot inside of me. We visited him near the end of his stay there and being there (on the other end) made an impact on me. I looked around the room. Couples, brothers, sisters, friends. Hugs and tears and lots of stories written on all of the faces. But one table caught my eye. A family. I studied the faces and figured out that it was the mother who was staying in the facility. THE MOTHER. Her husband sat beside her and her children gathered around her and I was overwhelmed.
It’s not supposed to be the mother.
My kids sat around the table, sipping water out of Styrofoam cups and staring bored as we listened to their uncle tell us about the food. For a moment I imagined they were visiting me. With my history with alcohol, who knew where I would be had I not been sober for those nine years. God, what was I doing?
I started drinking again and I needed to stop
Honestly, I was at war with myself. I remember Google searching “Am I an alcoholic?” to see if there was some “proof” that I needed to quit drinking. I also reached out to some sober friends and BOTH of them recommended Annie’s book This Naked Mind. The subtitle caught my attention: “Control Alcohol” that’s what I needed I thought – control. But somewhere deep inside I knew the TRUTH. Alcohol didn’t serve me. I inhaled the pages of the book, furiously highlighting the parts that spoke to me.
Looking to control alcohol?
“I started drinking again.” That statement doesn’t need to be how your story ends. Start reading This Naked Mind for free right now just like Bonnie did and change your story around.
The next chapter of my story
I woke the hell up.
I know two things about alcohol for me.
1) I can have a drink any damn well time I please ’cause no one is the boss of me thank you very much.
2) It’s a slippery slope.
Eyes wide open.
This January I celebrated 2 years RE-sober (for a TOTAL of 10 if you add them up – and I do.) But I prefer the term AF (alcohol free) and I feel good AF (the other one).😁
I choose to be SOBER and vigilant.
My husband was also sober with me for eight years and started drinking again when I did. When I made the decision to be re-sober he did not. I chose to be attractive, not persuasive in my sobriety AND I also recommended he read This Naked Mind. He loved the book. He stopped drinking (again) about a year after I did. I’m so grateful.
Share Your Story
Our stories are so inspiring and can be the catalyst for change in others. If you’ve changed your relationship with alcohol using This Naked Mind, The Alcohol Experiment, or The PATH, we’d love to feature your story on the blog. (You can remain anonymous!) Share your story here.