May 02

Annie Grace: Does Alcohol Make You Happy?

In the 2018 book This Naked Mind: Control Alcohol, Find Freedom, Discover Happiness & Change Your Life by Annie Grace many quotes from others on the subject of alcohol overuse are provided. (See my previous post.) One, for example, is from F. Scott Fitzgerald: “First you take a drink, then the drink takes a drink, then the drink takes you.”

Below, though, are selected quotes from the increasingly respected Annie Grace herself (from This Naked Mind):

For simplicity, let’s define addiction this way: doing something on a regular basis that you do not want to be doing. Or doing something more often than you would like to be doing it, yet being unable to easily stop or cut back. Basically, it’s having two competing priorities, wanting to do more and less of something at the same time. 

It wasn’t that there was always a reason to drink. It was just that there was never a reason not to.

Let me ask you, from a purely physiological perspective, how could alcohol possibly make you happy? The effect of alcohol is to deaden all of your senses, to numb you, to inebriate you. If you are numb, how can you feel anything, happiness included?

It’s not that alcohol makes drinkers happy; it’s that they are very unhappy without it.

Our society not only encourages drinking—it takes issue with people who don’t drink.

We’ve been conditioned to believe we enjoy drinking. We think it enhances our social life and relieves boredom and stress. We believe these things below our conscious awareness. This is why, even after we consciously acknowledge that alcohol takes more than it gives, we retain the desire to drink.

After all, alcohol is the only drug on earth you have to justify not taking.

Why do you think drug addicts and heavy drinkers hang out together? Could it be because no one makes them feel guilty about how much they are consuming?

Alcohol erases a bit of you every time you drink it. It can even erase entire nights when you are on a binge. Alcohol does not relieve stress; it erases your senses and your ability to think. Alcohol ultimately erases your self.

Ask yourself if you are happier than before. Ask yourself if you want to spend the rest of your life dumber, with your senses deadened, experiencing tunnel vision, and unable to concentrate on more than one thing at a time.

I have been the lone sober person at many of these occasions. Here’s what happens. The wine comes, and the mood changes, so the conversation is intelligent, quick-witted, and full of life. Fast-forward two or three glasses, and conversation grows a bit dull, even among some of the most intelligent people. The wine does exactly what it is supposed to; it slows your brain function and dulls your senses.

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. When you are making a fool of yourself, or when your conversation skills wane, you remain unaware. Even if you could gauge the exact amount to drink, booze doesn’t make you cleverer, funnier, more creative, or more interesting. There is nothing inherent in alcohol that can do this. 

But when you completely change your mental (conscious and 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. This is the mystery of spontaneous sobriety…

Feb 01

“Dry January” Didn’t Help? Try “This Naked Mind”

Dry January can be extremely positive or can actually reinforce the stronghold alcohol has on someone. Here’s why. When we give up something we feel is benefiting us, we feel deprived. While you might be able to get through the 31 days of January without drinking, there is a good chance that…you have actually created more of a desire for it. As soon as we tell ourselves we can’t have something we tend to want it even more. Annie Grace to Jess Cording, Forbes

If you’re concerned about your drinking and not sure Dry January has helped, consider Annie Grace‘s strategies, which you’ll find in her book This Naked Mind: Control Alcohol, Find Freedom, Discover Happiness & Change Your Life. Grace, who has successfully worked on changing her own alcohol use, has already helped many individuals in similar circumstances via various other resources.

From the publisher’s blurb:

Many people question whether drinking has become too big a part of their lives, and worry that it may even be affecting their health. But, they resist change because they fear losing the pleasure and stress-relief associated with alcohol, and assume giving it up will involve deprivation and misery…

This Naked Mind will give you freedom from alcohol. It removes the psychological dependence so that you will not crave alcohol, allowing you to easily drink less (or stop drinking)…

Disclaimer noted by Grace: This is not for those who may be physically dependent on alcohol, which can require a different kind of detox under a professional’s care. From her website: “It is strongly recommended that you seek professional advice regarding your health before attempting to incorporate any advice…Withdrawal symptoms due to a physical dependence on alcohol have the potential to be severe, and in some cases life-threatening.”

A book excerpt posted on Amazon elaborates on Grace’s mission:

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…

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, allowing you to forever change your relationship with alcohol. And remember, sometimes what you are searching for is in the journey rather than the destination.

Did Dry January fail to work adequately for you? Consider reading her blog or listening to her podcast. Or join her support community. Or all of the above.

Want to try her 30-day Alcohol Experiment? Click on this link if the following five possible benefits, per Grace, interest you:

  1. clarity and focus
  2. your time becomes freed up
  3. better health and sleep, increased libido, reduced anxiety, no hangovers, etc.
  4. whereas failing is not possible, learning is inevitable
  5. mindful relationship with alcohol

Several selected quotes from Grace in This Naked Mind:

You will no longer suffer the mental division caused by one side of your brain wanting a drink and the other side feeling like you should cut back.

While illegal drugs kill 327 people per week, and prescription drugs kill 442 people per week, alcohol kills 1,692 people per week.

I drink as much as I want whenever I want. The truth is I no longer have any desire to drink.