If you’re struggling through Dry January desperately trying to force yourself to stay away from the corkscrew, a new book promises that it can help – by taking away the desire to drink completely.
This Naked Mind by Annie Grace from Colorado examines the influence that alcohol has on our culture and society and reveals how the unconscious mind has been subjected to a lifetime of conditioning about the benefits of alcohol.
It doesn’t contain any rules, goals or scaremongering, but by exploring the reasons people drink and their fears that a life without alcohol will be boring or deprived, Jessica insists that you will want to drink less or give up altogether by the time you’ve finished reading.
And her claims are backed up by more than 600 five-star reviews on Amazon since the book was released a week ago, with people confirming that the programme has taken away their desire to drink completely, without any sense of deprivation.
Her programme is based on Annie’s own experience of giving up alcohol after becoming the youngest vice president in a multinational corporation at the age of 26 led her to excessive drinking as she dealt with the pressures of the job.
Below are three of the steps you can take to bust myths surrounding alcohol and lose the desire to drink for good.
This Naked Mind by Annie Grace from Colorado examines the influence that alcohol has on our culture and society (stock image)
Myth: Alcohol is vital to your social life
Before you ever drank a drop you did not need alcohol to enjoy yourself socially, yet as you grew older, you observed everyone around you drinking in social situations.
In fact, you almost never observed social situations without alcohol. You assumed alcohol was a key ingredient for a good party.
Your began to drink socially and initially you probably still didn’t find alcohol vital to socialising. Since alcohol is part of practically every social situation, soon you only experience social situations with alcohol.
Eventually you developed a small dependence and you missed alcohol if it wasn’t available. Your experience confirmed your observations. You didn’t have quite as much fun if you didn’t drink. You concluded, yes, alcohol is vital to social life.
Annie’s top tips for going booze-free
- Don’t put it off: There will always be an excuse from an upcoming wedding to stress in your life. Don’t fall for it. There’s not need to wait and no need to be frightened.
- It takes ten or more days for alcohol to fully leave your system. Since you have altered your dopamine levels you may experience cravings. You have to starve those cravings and allow them to die.
- Feel free to think about the fact that you no longer drink, but think of it in terms of ‘I don’t have to drink’ rather than ‘ I don’t get to drink’.
- Habits can linger, but if you pinpoint the reason why you actually wnat the drink, you’ll soon find that your craving will disappear.
- There’s no need to avoid your drinking friends or places you used to go to drink. You are free to do whatever you want. But be kind to yourself and only go if you truly enjoy the activity and the company.
Since you believe alcohol is helping you have fun, it does. Your mind is incredibly powerful. If you skip a drink you feel deprived. You believe you are not enjoying yourself as much as you would with a drink in your hand.
It’s not drinking that makes activities fun, we enjoy them because we are with friends and doing something we like. We didn’t need alcohol to enjoy them before, but now we have developed a habit of drinking.
Alcohol homogenises life, meaning you experience the same deadened sense of drunken reality as a jockey game as you feel at a fancy dinner. And you won’t remember much of either. Instead of enjoying the wide variety of social activities available to us, drinking makes them all blend together.
You don’t realise you are caught fast in your small life until you crawl out of it and re-enter the land of the living. Drinking ensures social occasions feel unmemorable and monotonous. After all, drunkenness feels the same no matter what you are doing.
When you stop believing you need to drink to have fun you won’t need to. You’ll realise that alcohol can actually hinder your fun.
School hallways are filled with laughter, shouts and jokes and there is no alcohol. The locker room after a winning game has a bouyant, joyful atmosphere, again with no drinking. Is it so hard to accept that what you enjoy about social activities are you friends and the experiences?
Annie Grace developed the programme after the stress of her job led her to drink excessively
Myth: I need to drink to fit in
You observe everyone drinking all the time. You experience all manner of conversations about alcohol at work, after work, at home, on the weekend and in the media.
You assume our culture is so intertwined with alcohol that a life without it will be impossible and you will find it too difficult and lonely to live without drinking.
Making friends, especially if you believed people who don’t drink are boring, might be a real concern.
The best way to overcome this is through experience. First you need to know without a doubt that you are the same person without a drink in your hand. This will take time. You will need to experience many different events without alcohol for your anxiety to fully go away.
But each experience will bring you closer to knowing, without a doubt, that you are the same person – even better, than you were when you were drinking.
Myth: I enjoy drinking, it makes me happy
You have observed people enjoying alochol in every conceivable manner for as long as you can remember. Advertisements promise alcohol will make us happy as we develop relationships, have sex, ignite the party and enjoy our everyday actitivities.
Her book has been praised by readers who say they no longer want to drink after reading it
It’s practically impossible in Western society not to form the assumption that alcohol makes people happy.
Each time you have a drink, can you honestly say you have been happy. Have you been uptight or argumentative when drinking? Have you ever been stressed out, felt depressed or cried during a drinking session? Have you become obnoxious or unreasonable?
In theory, if alcohol made you happy, every time you drank should be full of happiness.
But the effect of alcohol is to deaden all of your sense, to numb you, to inebriate you. If you are numd, how can you feel anything, happiness included?
You may argue that you see drinkers all the time who are happy. They’re drinking, joking, giggling and enjoying themselves. But it’s much more likely they are enjoying the situation, conversation and time with their friends rather than the booze.
You may argue that if the booze wasn’t present they would become sombre. If the drinkers believed, as most drinkers do, that they can’t enjoy themselves without alcohol it would. It’s not that alcohol makes drinkers happy, it’s that they are very unhappy without it.