In early sobriety I was dutifully working my way through the QuitLit, but one day I picked up a book that changed everything for me – The Naked Mind by Annie Grace. That book was a revelation – I finally understood how we are manipulated endlessly by the liquor industry to believe that we need their toxic product to enjoy our lives.
I started to see things quite differently. I started to laugh when yet another booze advert came on TV or another glamorous movie heroine poured herself a huge glass of wine!
I realised what the missing piece had been all along – it was mindset.
Until I read The Naked Mind I was white knuckling my sobriety so I was missing the most important piece of all. That’s why we say the objective of our workshop is to create a mind shift – we know that we have to enable you to change your thinking – about drinking – if you are to go on and actually thrive in your alcohol-free life.
Check out our Courses – Kickstart online , Zoom Private or Group – you can get more info!
So now you’ve heard how what a gamechanger The Naked Mind was for me, you will understand why I’m thrilled to welcome one of Annie Grace’s Mindset Coaches as my guest this week…
Kathryn shares her personal story with us and explains why binge drinkers often don’t even realise that they have a “problem”…
In this Episode
- Kathryn was a teenage drinker. With a friend, she got through a bottle of gin and a packet of cigarettes at the age of 14 – the results were not pretty and involved a lot of vomiting, but this did not deter her.
- Drinking is so normalised in Australia, that she almost felt an obligation to “push through” these early experiments until she got to a place where she was enjoying it – and she did!
- In fact, she discovered that once she started drinking she didn’t really have an “off” switch.
- Now that she works with a lot of binge drinkers in her coaching career, she hears many of them say that they don’t have an “off” switch.
- Kathryn would be in a cycle – go for it, recover, go for it, recover.
- She didn’t really see this as a “problem”, even when she started having blackouts at age 16 – some blackouts which involved driving.
- She could go for weeks without drinking and challenges like Dry January were easy for her, but she would always see these dry periods as permission to binge before and afterwards!
- As Kathryn looks back on those short periods of abstinence, she realises they did nothing to help her understand her binge drinking habit.
- Women need to understand that binge drinking is particularly dangerous as it can take up to a month for our liver to recover from a heavy session.
- We tend to think that once the hangover has gone we can start drinking again, but that just piles more damage on top of the existing damage.
- Both Kathryn and I spent far too much time in the “Moderation Trap” as we couldn’t imagine our lives without alcohol. Even if we white-knuckled our moderation for a while, the binge drinking would return.
- We are also both health-conscious so can now appreciate the irony of going gluten-free, eating organic, doing yoga, exercising daily – and then drinking far too much!
- It’s as if it’s the last piece of the puzzle for our health – we are prepared to do all sorts of other things (even run marathons!) so long as they don’t take our wine away!
- Kathryn always imagined she would “grow out” of her binge drinking, but by the age of 42 she realised she had been stuck in this pattern for nearly 30 years and something would have to change.
- There were two incidents in her 40’s which were a catalyst for the change – getting drunk at her brother’s wedding where she fell over and hurt her hand and then had a row with her mother.
- The second incident was a family holiday where she frightened her teenage children by being unable to walk.
- The next day she sat on the beach and cried – she realised she would have to quit.
- I call this the “moment of truth” and it comes to many of us – that feeling of “I’m done, I just can’t do this anymore”.
- Kathryn joined The Alcohol Experiment with Annie Grace, with the intention of trying a year of sobriety. She learned a lot and got huge comfort from the community, realising that she was not alone in this. It was not her fault that she got addicted to an addictive substance!
- We both agreed that the recovery community is special and we love being trailblazers for the alcohol-free lifestyle.
- Like me, Kathryn is a breast cancer survivor and she talks of the moment she was diagnosed.
- She reflected on the fact that her default position for dealing with trauma was to drink, but, in fact, she realised that she needed all her mental and physical strength to deal with her breast cancer.
- My diagnosis was back in 2006 when I still drinking and I remember seeing it as a perfect opportunity to slip into victim mode and step up the drinking!
- Neither of us realised just how strong the link is between heavy drinking and breast cancer – in fact just 3 or 4 drinks a week will increase your risk by 15%, so it was unsurprising that I got breast cancer after putting away a bottle of wine a night for decades!
- Many ladies in our community have had breast cancer and its nearly always been estrogen-driven – as alcohol increases the amount of estrogen in our bodies.
- Kathryn took comfort from her decision to quit drinking as she realised she would be reducing her risk of a recurrence.
- She trained as a Naked Mind Coach and loves helping people to change their lives.
- She uses 3 pillars to help people change their relationship with alcohol:
Knowledge – be curious, learn everything you can, “throw the book at it” as we say at Tribe Sober
Emotion – challenge your limiting beliefs – change your thoughts and create new neural pathways
Action – as Kathryn says, once we question our beliefs, our sub-conscious will kick in and help us to take the actions we need to
- Kathryn’s tips for newbies – dip your toe into sobriety, join sober communities, listen and learn – and of course Annie Grace’s book The Naked Mind is a great place to start!
- We talked about binge drinkers and the interesting thing about binge drinkers is that they often don’t see themselves as “problem drinkers”.
- They see themselves as “normal drinkers” who go over the top now and again!
- I was definitely in this category.
- So, the first step is to accept that even if you go for weeks without drinking – but then sometimes you go over the top and you don’t seem to have an off switch, you probably need to make some changes.
If you would like to work with Kathryn, then please go to her website: https://www.thealcoholmindsetcoach.com/
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