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This Naked Mind: Control Alcohol, Find Freedom, Discover Happiness & Change Your Life (Volume 1) Paperback – October 14, 2015
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About the Author
Annie Grace has had a unique life from the very beginning. She grew up in a one-room cabin without running water or electricity in the mountains of Colorado and then, at age 26, became the youngest vice president in a multinational corporation. Success, however, led to excessive drinking and the possibility that she might lose everything. Annie recognized her problem but chose to approach it in an entirely new way. Annie's program has been featured in Forbes, the New York Daily News, and the Chicago Tribune. Annie is successful, happy, and alcohol-free and lives with her husband and three children in the Colorado mountains. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
3:33 a.m. I wake up at the same time every night. I briefly wonder if that is supposed to mean something. Probably not, probably just a coincidence. I know what’s coming, and I brace myself. The usual thoughts begin to surface. I try to piece the previous evening togeth- er, attempting to count my drinks. I count five glasses of wine, and then the memories grow fuzzy. I know I had a few more, but I’ve now lost count. I wonder how anyone can drink so much. I know I can’t go on like this. I start to worry about my health, beginning the well- trodden road of fear and recrimination: What were you thinking? Don’t you care about anything? Anyone? How will it feel if you end up with cancer? It will serve you right. What about the kids? Can’t you stop for the kids? Or Brian? They love you. There’s no good rea- son why, but they do. Why are you so weak? So stupid? If I can just make myself see the horror of how far I’ve fallen, maybe I can regain control. Next come the vows, my promises to myself to do things differently tomorrow. To fix this. Promises I never keep.
I’m awake for about an hour. Sometimes I cry. Other times I’m so disgusted that all I feel is anger. Lately I’ve been sneaking into the kitchen and drinking more. Just enough to shut down my brain, fall back asleep, and stop hurting.
These early mornings are the only time I’m honest with myself, admitting I drink too much and need to change. It’s the worst part of my day, and it’s always the same, night after night. The next day it’s as if I have amnesia. I turn back into a generally happy person. I can’t reconcile my misery, so I simply ignore it. If you ask me about drinking I’ll tell you I love it; it relaxes me and makes life fun. In fact, I’ll be shocked if you don’t drink with me. I will wonder, “Why on earth not?” During the day I feel in control. I am successful and busy. The outward signs of how much I drink are practically nonexistent. I am so busy that I don’t leave room for honesty, questioning, and bro- ken promises. The evening comes, the drinking starts, and the cycle continues. I am no longer in control, and the only time I am brave enough to admit it (even to myself ) is alone, in the dark, at three in the morning.
The implications of what it could mean are terrifying. What if I have a problem? What if I am an alcoholic? What if I am not normal? Most terrifying, what if I have to give up drinking? I worry that my pride will kill me because I have no intention of labeling myself. I am afraid of the shame and stigma. If my choice is to live a life of misery in diseased abstinence or drink myself to an early grave, I choose the latter. Horrifying but true.
What I know about getting help, I know from my brother who spent time in prison. Prison in the U.S. often involves Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.) meetings. He says you start every meeting ad- mitting that you are an alcoholic powerless against alcohol. He says they believe alcoholism is a fatal illness without a cure. And I person- ally know self-proclaimed alcoholics who, rather than finding peace, fight a daily battle for sobriety. It seems miserable in our culture to be sober. To live a life avoiding temptation. Recovering appears syn- onymous with accepting life as just OK and adjusting to a new reality of missing out.
The idea of recovering seems to give alcohol more power even, and maybe especially, when I am abstaining from it. I want freedom. It’s now clear that alcohol is taking more from me than it’s giving. I want to make it small and irrelevant in my life rather than allowing it more power over me. I want change. I have to find another way. And I have.
I now have freedom. I am back in control and have regained my self-respect. I am not locked in a battle for sobriety. I drink as much as I want, whenever I want. The truth is I no longer want to drink. I see now that alcohol is addictive, and I had become addicted. Obvi- ous, right? Not exactly. In fact, in today’s drinking society, it’s not obvious at all. Admitting that alcohol is a dangerous and addictive drug like nicotine, cocaine, or heroin has serious implications. So we confuse ourselves with all sorts of convoluted theories.
I’ve never been happier. I am having more fun than ever. It’s as if I have woken up from the Matrix and realized that alcohol was only dulling my senses and keeping me trapped rather than adding to my life. I know you may find this hard, if not impossible, to believe. That’s OK. But I can give you the same freedom, the same joy, and the same control over alcohol in your life. I can take you on the same journey—a journey of facts, neuroscience, and logic. A journey that empowers you rather than rendering you powerless. A journey that does not involve the pain of deprivation.
I can put you back in control by removing your desire to drink, but be forewarned, getting rid of your desire for alcohol is the easy part. The hard part is going against groupthink, the herd mentality of our alcohol-saturated culture. After all, alcohol is the only drug on earth you have to justify not taking.
Experts imply that it takes months, even years, of hardship to stop drinking. A tough riddle can make you crazy, taking forever to solve. But if someone gives you the answer, solving the riddle becomes ef- fortless. I hope this book will be the answer you are looking for.
I offer a perspective of education and enlightenment based on common sense and the most recent insights across psychology and neuroscience. A perspective that will empower and delight you, al- lowing you to forever change your relationship with alcohol. And remember, sometimes what you are searching for is in the journey rather than the destination. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
Top customer reviews
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I was on a quest to improve my relationship with alcohol, be able to moderate, slow down, and make better choices; my ultimate goal was simply to feel in control around alcohol. This book changed my relationship with alcohol without any feelings of deprivation or suffering, nor the need for willpower or stressful exercises in self-control. I had previously read Allen Carr’s Easy Way to Stop Drinking and some of the information stuck with me, but the language was a bit dated and the motivation to keep improving my relationship with alcohol was short lived.
After finishing This Naked Mind, it felt as if any temptation to drink and the struggle to control cravings were wiped clean from my brain. For the first time in a decade I feel in control and empowered to effortlessly make informed conscious decisions about drinking, where before I consistently gave in to physical and psychological cravings to drink even when I didn’t actually want to give in. That’s the battle most of us face when we become regular drinkers, and This Naked Mind will help you win that battle. I am able to do everything I did as a drinker, including hanging out in bars with friends, without any of the anxiety that I used to experience struggling to moderate or resist temptation. Life is just more enjoyable now.
Annie Grace offers a lot of personal accounts in her book which I found helpful and relatable. Some of the information is repetitive but that is intentional and most of all it is important, because repetition is needed to undo the deep conditioning from society where drinking culture dominates!
You don’t have to label yourself an alcoholic or addict to benefit from this book. No matter how much or how little you drink, if you are seeking to improve your relationship with alcohol, This Naked Mind is the answer. I would even recommend this book to those who feel they have a healthy relationship with alcohol, because the information contained in this book is invaluable and we are all better off for knowing it!
I think the Audible narration is what sealed the deal - the narrator sounds genuine, so the advice in the book sounds like it is coming from somebody that actually cares.
The coolest thing about the book to me is that as long as you pay attention, and think about what the author says, the actual change happens subconsciously. It's not about 'abstaining' from alcohol - admitting that you want it but that you can't have it. It's about giving it up because it's bad, and you don't want or need it any more.
By the time I finished the book the second time - the Audible version this time, I was ready to give up alcohol. Unlike past efforts where I might be inspired to dump any alcohol we had or some other gesture like that - this time I just let it sit, and it was fine because I don't WANT it any more. I went to a local pub about a week ago while waiting for my kids to finish up an evening activity, and I didn't miss ordering a drink at all - something that should have been a major trigger was now not one at all.
That's about the highest praise that I can give the book - it worked for me, and I haven't had, or wanted a drink in about 2 weeks now. I feel better, my weight is coming down (slowly, darnit!), and I no longer go through that cycle of regret every morning that gets so tiring!
I STRONGLY recommend the book - especially the Audible version. Listen to it on the way to and from work each day. If it doesn't quite sink in the first time, then give it a month, and listen to it again. Eventually it'll work for you too!