I know that when I was drinking, which was pretty steadily for around 40 years, I thought of stopping as a daunting, complicated, nearly impossible challenge. In recent years, I’d just resigned myself to drinking until the day I died, since it seemed I was a done deal. Without going into my extremely convoluted history around alcohol, let’s just say family and society set me up for a lifetime of drinking. You know how people brag about their ability to consume copious amounts of alcohol and still survive? It’s a danger to be so “functional.” I’m a walking miracle.
I did stop drinking for a few extended periods, once, after a humbling experience, with Rational Recovery for a few months, and then for another few, but it never stuck. And pregnancies don’t count, as they were periods of abstinence for a better cause.
I also did Scott Kiloby’s Natural Rest for Addiction intensive, read the book and did a bunch of facilitated inquires, but it seemed the process of looking at urges and images, and resting with them actually strengthened the images and sensations at that time. But, this work was very powerful and was one piece of the big puzzle of getting free, as my conscious awareness was greatly enhanced. As Shunryu Suzuki said, “Leave your front door open. Leave your back door open. Allow your thoughts to come and go. Just don’t serve them tea.” My doors were open but I was still entertaining. 🙂
Along the way I’d taken up smoking again after many years of being a non-smoker. It was like I was testing these modalities of “effortless” cessation. Before I knew it I was hooked on cigarettes again, too. The reason I mention this is that all addiction is the same. The thing you imbibe in to fill the “need” is the thing that creates the need in the first place.
A few months ago my friend Annie Grace asked for beta readers for This Naked Mind. The promise was that it would change my relationship with alcohol. The hook was: “Do you want to drink less?” For an addicted drinker, that is the perfect hook, because we can’t see our way clear to stopping altogether. I approached the book as a fellow writer helping a friend hone her book – with a deep down hope that reading it would cause a miracle to happen and I would effortlessly stop drinking. I read the book twice, marking it up with the eyes of an editor. But I didn’t miraculously stop drinking. Heck, it took 40 years to get me here, it would probably take a while to get me out. When Annie released the finished work, I downloaded it with plans to read it with new eyes as a person who wanted to change my relationship with alcohol.
Sidebar: Annie references many addiction experts and works in This Naked Mind, especially Allen Carr. She recommended his Easyway to Stop Smoking to me. I read it, and Boom! I stopped smoking effortlessly! The process just clicked like a combination lock and sprang open. So, I was on a roll, and ready to do it with alcohol.
I read This Naked Mind with eyes wide open. I’d also downloaded Allen Carr’s Stop Drinking Now. After finishing This Naked Mind, I still had not drunk my last drink. But I was getting ready. I took a few days to read Stop Drinking Now where I was really preparing to stop. By the time I finished the book, I was so ready to have that last drink that I had to force myself to do it. So, that’s what it took.
The fact that a 63 year old drinker needed to read that last book takes nothing away from the other works. In fact, I needed those others just as much as that last final blow. If I hadn’t done the work with the Living Inquiries and Natural Rest for Addiction I would not have the acute consciousness and alertness to recognize those sneaky cues (little monster) when they arise. And if I hadn’t read This Naked Mind I never would have gotten what I needed to get to get it done. So, thank you all very much. I’m free!