Millions of people worry that drinking is affecting their health, yet are unwilling to seek change because of the misery and stigma associated with alcoholism and recovery. They fear drinking less will be boring, involving deprivation, difficulty and significant lifestyle changes.
This Naked Mind offers a new solution. Packed with surprising insight into the reasons we drink, it will open your eyes to the startling role of alcohol in our culture. Annie Grace brilliantly weaves psychological, neurological, cultural, social and industry factors with her extraordinarily candid journey resulting in a must read for anyone who drinks.
This book, without scare tactics, pain or rules, gives you freedom from alcohol. By addressing causes rather than symptoms it is a permanent solution rather than lifetime struggle. It removes the psychological dependence allowing you to easily drink less (or stop drinking). Annie’s clarity, humor and unique ability to blend original research with riveting storytelling ensures you will thoroughly enjoy the process.
In a world defined by ‘never enough’ Annie takes us on an intellectual journey through the world of alcohol and specifically the connection between alcohol and pleasure. She dispels the cultural myth that alcohol is a vital part of life and demonstrates how regaining control over alcohol is not only essential to personal happiness and fulfillment but also to ending the heartache experienced by millions as a result of secondhand drinking.
Finally, with perfect clarity, this book opens the door to the life you have been waiting for.
This is probably the most important book I've ever read. I was highly skeptical of the book's claims, as it flew in the face of everything I thought I knew about addiction. The simple act of reading the book and thinking critically transforms you and the problem with alcohol you have had. I went out the night I finished the book, to bars and stared at walls full of booze, shot girls going around passing out free liquor, and for the first time in my life, I felt absolutely nothing. No desire at all to drink. It was closer to smugly turning it down and celebrating that I didn't have to drink. And I had a tremendous amount of fun. This book is a miracle.
I thought This Naked Mind was a pretty decent book and I enjoyed the information in it on how addicting alcohol becomes and how prevalent it is in society. Annie Grace goes into how society and marketing has made alcohol into a substance that we have to have in our lives. She also talks about how addicting alcohol is and that most of us have no problem drinking poison.
Look at weddings, sports events, New Years Eve to just going to happy hour with friends. Alcohol is always present. What about when you cook? Do you have a glass of wine like I do? When you have a super stressful day, what's the first thing you think about doing? Drinking alcohol to unwind?
I decided to listen to this book after giving up alcohol for a year. (Disclaimer: It might be forever depending on how the year goes. I'm still new at this and I'm trying to go about this at my own pace. I want to be mentally happy with this decision.)
Over the last 5 years, I noticed that my professional life was going great! From getting a new job, making more money and having the ability to finally buy our first house.
But my physical body and health was taking a shellacking. My autoimmune disease was getting worse, my energy was nonexistent and the pounds just kept piling on.
So I had an AHA moment and thought,
"You drink a lot. You say you'll only have one glass of wine with dinner most nights but it ends up becoming half a bottle and then on really stressful days, it's a whole bottle. Why are you drinking so much? What are you getting from alcohol? What is alcohol really giving you in your life besides ranging hangovers, feeling like shit in the morning and not having any energy to work out?"
So, this is my journey for the next year and I can say, I've been alcohol free for two weeks now and I'm feeling really good. I started working out again, my body doesn't hurt as much and I'm getting up easier in the morning for work. I start at 6:30am so it's never going to be "that" easy. hahaha
Have I had alcohol cravings during the last two weeks? You bet your sweet ass I have.
And you know why? It's because alcohol is highly addictive, changes the chemical components like dopamine in your brain and over time, you become more and more addicted to it. It's really hard to stay a moderate drinker. Thanks for the info Annie Grace!
Let's do a test:
If I told you, "Hey guys! I quit smoking crack." What would you say? Likely, "Great job!!! You can do it!"
Now if I say, "Hey guys! I quit drinking alcohol." What do most people say? Likely, "Why?"
Just think about that the next time a family member, coworker or friend quits drinking. Try to support their decision, let them fight their dragons and try not to sabotage. I know you'll miss your drinking buddy but you can still do something else besides drinking!
If you are thinking of quitting alcohol, this book will provide you with greater conviction to help you stay on the right path. I never considered myself an alcoholic because I never got a DUI and didn't get really drunk. Plus, the word makes you sound like a drug addict who can't control himself. But I drank a bottle of wine (sometimes more) every night for a few years. It cost a lot of money and I put on a lot of weight. I tried quitting a few times, but it was hard because I still liked it!
This book showed me that (1) I was addicted (2) we are pressured by society and marketers to drink in order to promote a certain image of ourselves (3) I could quit if I decided I really wanted to.
(1) I never got really drunk and didn't drink in front of the kids, but the same time every night I would crave alcohol. If I went without it, I couldn't think of anything else. I thought I needed wine to relax, but in reality I was addicted so I had withdrawals if I didn't get my alcohol on time. The relaxation was not true relaxation, but a relief from withdrawal.
(2) "Alcohol is the only drug you have to justify NOT using to everyone". Paraphrase from the book, but it hit home. When you see scotch, do you picture a guy in a suit or in his chair in his den? When you picture Bud Light, do you picture football games, tailgating, or camping? When you picture red wine, do you picture it at a romantic white cloth dinner or some other type of relaxing atmosphere? If you want to be sophisticated and are wearing a suit, you can't go get a case of Bud Light--that projects the wrong image!
We are being manipulated by marketers. 88,000 people die a year from alcohol. Bloggers, the occasional news outlet, and drinkers quote a few studies that claim light drinking is healthy. That's like saying in small doses sugar is okay and gives you energy. But they don't give weight to the fact alcohol is high addictive and can cause health and behavioral problems. Just like smoking and cancer, the health problems are way down the road, so we tell ourselves future "me" will worry about it.
(3) I tried quitting, but I still liked it. After realizing I didn't want to use a highly addictive substance that is a depressant, I decided I didn't like it anymore. And I quit and haven't had one craving since.
This is not a book for critical thinkers. Grace is obviously a marketer and not a writer (though her prose is better than your typical business book authors). Although it appears to be marketed as something different from our standard AA treatment world, and even seems to be marketed as a way to cut back without quitting, in reality this is one long, repetitive AA meeting. The author claims the repetition will counteract the many years of alcohol marketing we've received over the course of our lives, but if anyone thinks 200 pages of logical fallacy-ridden tripe will override years of well-funded marketing and corporate control of the political machine, well, there's a bridge in Brooklyn ...
The book does contain some real science, but what is there--the kind of information I was really wanting--is delivered in the most dry, textbook-y way imaginable. And the practical advice? Essentially nonexistent. "Tips" like "you have to starve those cravings, allow them to die" followed by doomsday predictions of you in the gutter provide no real tools.
Grace is quite good at suspense, though. Her frequent exhortations to hang with her till the end, to get to the really great "secret" she has, kept me with her until the penultimate chapter, when I finally realized there was no "there" there.
I had high hopes for this read, but was somewhat let down. To preface, I didn’t see myself as having a problem with alcohol, however, since I did enjoy it regularly, I wanted to read this book as a way to become more aware of my relationship to the drug. Reading this did bring some awareness to my drinking habits, and ultimately changed my attitude towards alcohol, but I’m not sure I’d recommend it. Still, in part thanks to this book, I’ve decided to give alcohol a rest for a month, so on the other hand maybe I would recommend it.
If you do read it, this book should definitely be taken with a grain or two of salt. While I respect the author’s perspective, what works for her doesn’t necessarily apply to everyone else, but she seems rather oblivious of this. Furthermore, Grace writes of the symptoms as if it were the cause. Alcohol isn’t what’s making that “homeless guy in Las Vegas,” (who she’s continually referencing) miserable and living on the street; there are other causes that she’s ignoring. Many, if not most homeless people have mental disorders, and they use alcohol as a way to cope. Alcohol isn’t what made that man homeless, it’s just a way he tries to deal with what did make him homeless. Besides, how many successful and well-off people have some level of alcohol dependence?
One can become addicted to anything: video games, television, sweets, sex, exercise, etc... the problem isn’t alcohol, but a desire to avoid discomfort and escape reality.
Her arguments are sometimes dangerous. Some of her “facts” are presented in a skewed, incomplete fashion. She appears to blame social ills such as domestic violence on alcohol. The truth is that while alcohol might exacerbate violence, a partner who is willing to physically attack his/her lover doesn’t need alcohol to do so. Remember, alcohol certainly will never make a peaceful lover hurt their significant other. Her reasoning often doesn’t hold up.
Honestly, I’m a little surprised this book made it to market. The publisher is Avery of Penguin Random House. I think they knew it would sell because the title is promising and appears to be open-minded and almost Buddhist. However, what lies behind the cover is inconsistent and sometimes simply wrong.
There are some gems, however, and I will share them here:
1. It can take 10 days for alcohol to leave your system. This is good to know if you’re trying to detox.
2. Social activities can help prevent addiction.
3. There are some strong associations between alcohol and different types of cancer; ultimately alcohol is a poison.
4. Don’t believe the hype: alcohol will not make you pretty, handsome, young, happy, successful, fulfilled, or popular. Alcohol companies spend a lot of money on marketing to fool you.
5. You can and will enjoy doing things and socializing without alcohol and you’ll have more energy to do those things as well. Alcohol is not needed to have a good time with friends.
Many have praised this book and with good reason. It’s well researched on the negative impact of drinking, both physically and mentally, so there is a lot about the book that is interesting and illuminating. It's also good at unpicking the failings of Alcoholics Anonymous, and I liked its positivity about living alcohol free.
Unfortunately for me it didn’t deliver as a whole. Firstly, I feel that the title is misleading; ‘control alcohol’ suggests it’s going to help a drinker to moderate intake, but in the end the author advocates giving alcohol up altogether. Because I came to the book as someone who drinks a bit too much but not way too much, hoping it might help reduce my intake from around 25 units a week to 14, I found this irksome. I didn't want to give up drinking and I still don't. Half way through This Naked Mind I realised I was reading a book where the content didn’t match the way it was pitched. Like Annie Grace, I am a writer and for many years worked in marketing, and whilst I can appreciate ‘control alcohol’ will appeal to a broader readership than a ‘give up alcohol’ message, I came away feeling I had been misled.
I also found it jarring that the author describes herself as ‘a moderate drinker’ but says she was drinking ‘two bottles of wine a night’ prior to stopping, which isn’t my definition of ‘moderate’ - far from it! Nor was I convinced that she is a hoot sober. Grace may well be great company and funny (she claims to be both), but here perhaps the book might have benefited from more ‘show’ and less ‘tell’ - as it stands the writing isn't witty. In particular there is no irony and as a Brit I longed for some.
Perhaps most crucially of all, I was not persuaded by the notion of ‘cognitive dissonance’ as a motivation for abstention. As I understand it, the argument is that we are mentally distraught because we know alcohol has many negative effects overall, yet we are still drawn to drinking because we are conditioned to do so. I don’t disagree that western society heavily promotes drink, and I agree that we drink because we believe it is going to relax us and make us feel sexy, witty etc. However for many individuals the relationship with alcohol (as with other drugs) is very complex; it’s frequently used to numb anxiety, depression, grief and so on, and giving up may leave us very exposed other fronts. Being 'naked' all the time mentally is not that easy. Grace touches on these motivations but only lightly, whereas in my experience key to overcoming dependence is tackling these issues too. I’ve lost a partner to alcohol - he could not overcome these demons - and I can’t see that the cognitive dissonance argument is one that would have helped him to stop.
Furthermore, whilst perhaps there is something I failed to grasp, I believe living with cognitive dissonance is part of life. Uncertainty, ambiguity and conflicting responses to people, circumstances, experiences - in fact just about everything - are inevitable - not everything can be ironed out to resolve any sense of incoherence or discomfort. Otherwise it strikes me that we end up with a very black and white world, where anything that doesn’t make sense cognitively is ‘wrong’. Accepting conflicting parts of ourselves seems healthier and more pragmatic; I accept I have conflicting feelings about alcohol, just as I accept that I have conflicting emotions about my mother, my desire for chocolate and pros and cons of driving a car. I even have conflicting feelings about this book - part of me wants to give it 4 stars, part of me 2, so I’ve ended up with a compromise and given it 3!
"Another study links 11% of all breast cancer cases to alcohol."-p. 68. The source for this statement is here: https://ww5.komen.org/BreastCancer/Ta... which only states that a meta analysis of several studies links alcohol consumption with an 11% increase of breast cancer RISK. I do not have time to go through over 200 sources to check their accuracy but am very concerned at how wrong that one is. Alcohol is definitely linked to a higher risk of breast cancer, but is NOT directly responsible for 11% of all cases according to the source that was cited. This hands down the worst book I have ever read and I am glad it's going back to the library and I did not purchase it. I am looking to moderate my drinking by following a 9-step moderation program that involves 30 days of abstinence, close examination of motivations to drink, setting clear limits, and keeping track of weekly drinking. I picked up this book because there is an online 30 day sobriety "challenge" linked to it, which seemed perfect. The intro started out very open minded and fine; this is an experiment, draw your own conclusions, you don't have to stop drinking forever, no stigma, etc. The rest is a series of very broad generalizations based off of the author's personal experiences and views. She states that nobody likes the taste of alcohol, we all claim it's acquired because that's what society expects of us. I'm sure that this is true for some, but it isn't true for me at all. She equates alcohol with the ethanol found in gasoline, and claims that drano mixed with enough sugar and milk would taste just like Bailey's. She spent an entire chapter bashing AA/group sobriety, rehab type setups in favor of just quitting cold turkey because that's what worked for her father, but then runs a site for a community 30 day sobriety challenge. She'll continually have lone sentences about you making up your own mind from her conclusions and making your own decisions towards drinking, but will then ramble for paragraphs at a time about how you will certainly decide to never drink again and how to not be holier-than-thou about it to those who still drink. She explored some moderation management programs, and then immediately assumed that all participants are still consumed by drinking even worse than before because of how they're keeping track of it...without having done this approach herself (she did try to cut back on some occasions, just by drinking less-not by following one of these programs-which she admitted didn't work for her, but isn't the same as going with a program). Her response to someone who asked her to teach them about moderation was "I asked her if she wanted me to teach her how to drink motor oil in moderation. She looked at me as if I were crazy-why in the world would she want to do that? That's exactly the point. If you see alcohol as it truly is, nothing but an awful tasting poison that is destroying our society, our families, our relationships, and our bodies, why would you want to drink it? Even on occasion?" p. 193 At one point, she blames alcohol entirely for the increased rates of sexual assaults on college campuses but then devotes a good chunk of one chapter to exploring why college students aren't drinking. But then mentions that drinking problems are worsening in college students in later chapters. Which is it? She also equates choosing to drink less or not at all to her inability to eat eggs due to an allergy. Which...is not the same thing. Her viewpoint is her viewpoint; she's welcome to it, and I'm not interested in trying to change it. My main issue lies with the fact that this book appears to be on exploring alcohol and its effects with an open mind and then coming to your own conclusions about it, but instead is nearly 300 pages of the author's personal views with the word "we" thrown in as though she speaks for everyone. My secondary but tremendous issue is the contradiction and incorrect citing of information. She lumps everyone who drinks at all into being misinformed and just trying to fit in with society. I know people who abstain by choice; others who moderate extremely well, some who have had their drinking questioned but haven't yet crossed into dependence, and some who are recovering and have nearly died from alcohol consumption. Everyone's choices and experiences are different. There is no one-size-fits-all solution or view. Alcohol can be dangerous and it also can be handled safely. If your goal is permanent sobriety (which, seriously, awesome and good for you!) there are some decent points here and there and her overall attitude towards drinking might work for you. If your goal is to just learn more, maybe to cut back, this book is extremely narrow minded and I do not recommend it.
I read this at the advice of Georgia Hardstark. She is the Regina George of Murder Podcasts. So, I read it. #itwasawesome
Anyway....holy moley!! My mind was blown!! 🤯😍 It was a really good book and I am amazed at the facts and science behind alcohol and it’s effect on the human body.
Things I already knew? Yes, mostly. But, something about the way it was explained really resonated with me. Especially the lab results. 😳
I love my evening beer. Sometimes wine. Some times I don’t have it, some times I do. But whether you drink a few times a week or only when you’re out, it wouldn’t hurt you or anyone else to educate yourself.
"These marketers know that the most effective sale is an emotional sale, one that plays on your deepest fears, your ultimate concerns. Alcohol advertisements sell an end to loneliness, claiming that drinking provides friendship and romance. They appeal to your need for freedom by saying drinking will make you unique, brave, bold, or courageous. They promise fulfillment, satisfaction, and happiness. All these messages speak to your conscious and unconscious minds."
Just browsing the Kindle Lenders Library for my next "free" read and came across this gem. The topic of alcohol has always amused me. It has amused me for the last 15 yrs of my life to be exact. The ups and downs (all negative if I really think about it) of the drinkers life. Hangovers, embarrassing moments, and the ever shrinking bank account due to (as I now realize) one of the dumbest purchases one can make. Don't get me wrong, I had never felt the NEED to quit, but I always sensed that alcohol played a negative part in my life but I tuned it out and went on with the party. If I wasn't hungover, it was my friends or family members. All part of adult life, right?
I would say the turning point for me, and the reason I decided to delve into such a topic was because of my fitness goals I was/am after. I wold go heavy 3-5 days a week in the gym for what? For the weekend to come by and drink 10 beers, some wine, and make horrible food choices accessible at one in the morning? Talk about time and energy well wasted. There was something always holding me back in achieving my goal, never really could put my finger on it, or perhaps, didn't want to.
The author hasn't re-invented the wheel, what she has done is write a great book that presents plenty of information on how our brains are wired into believing alcohol is, and should, play a part in our life. And this is where the "wow" moment for me was.
It was in the topic of marketing and how they sell us the idea of alcohol. I never really took a moment, not even a second, to truly question and analyze. I try to do that with just about everything, and if it doesn't make sense, I kick it to the curb. Alcohol, however, always got the pass. Hell, I bought into the "most interesting man in the world" beer advertisements. I bought into the world of craft-beer and their breweries and came up with a list of my favorites. Well, after 15 yrs of experience and some research, here is what I learned: It is all a bunch of nonsense. Being able to taste the quality between great wine and bad wine is nonsense. And unlike unnecessary clothing or electronics in which society tends to spend a good amount of money on (I am guilty with the electronics) booze has taken the lives of so many. Whether they slowly destroyed themselves from the inside or got crashed into driving home from work by a drunk driver.
Another key moment from the book is the concept of liking how alcohol tastes and the concept of "acquired taste". I can say that I was the first person in my group of friends and fellow drinkers to try Guinness and trained myself to like it. Everyone I told to try it told me the same thing, "how can you drink this shit?". Slowly but surely, they forced themselves as I did and now Guinness is a staple in our circle. I honestly believe the reason I forced myself to drink it was not because of the taste, but because it was the "healthiest" full bodied beer. Instead of you know, not drinking, I maneuvered alcohol in a way to still play a part in my life without affecting my progress at the gym too much. However, one Guinness turned into 3 and then 5 and then I was throwing up blackness. That healthy lifestyle...
The book was well written and provided many sources to the studies in which she draws her statements from. If you have an open mind, whether you want to quit or not, this book is well worth the read. The money I have saved from buying booze alone has made it worth it for me. Even though I have access to the free version, I will be buying this book because it is a very powerful book in which the author deserves to get a bit extra.
This is not even an original book, just a rewrite of Allen Carr's "Easyway To Stop Something and Something Else". Some personal anecdotes are added, and oh god they are so boring. The author seems to be under some sort of illusion that if she tells us that alcohol is bad, really really bad (no doubt about that), we shall all stop drinking it. This is not the case.
Alan Carr's How To Control Alcohol was a much better book. The author actually uses his concept of a pitcher plant and quotes him extensively. There were also a few statements in the book that are not scientifically accurate, for example the idea of stress causing ulcers. It is well proven that ulcers are caused by h. Pylori infection and treated with antibiotics. Made me skeptical of the whole book's level of research.
A Facebook friend recently completely a 30-day alcohol free challenge and mentioned this book. It sounded interesting, so I checked it out from the library.
This could have been half to a third of its actual length and not lost anything. The author warns you up front that she would be repetitive, and she was. Unfortunately, it didn't seem to serve her thesis very well—in fact, it had the opposite effect, as the repetition made me wonder when she would get around to her thesis. I found it preachy, smug, and condescending, peppered with far too many endnotes to compensate for its bloviation. Some of her proofs I completely disagreed with as well.
If others found it helpful, good for them. To each their own.
This book is full of one sided arguments and skewed facts, like this example: "More people die of alcohol related conditions than those dying as a result of their heroin addiction." Of course! Because only a fraction of society takes heroin. I constantly argued with the author in my head and I felt like I needed a drink just to calm myself down reading it. It clearly did not achieve the desired effect.
This book has helped change the course of my life. I was not a heavy drinker (one glass of wine per night, bit more on the weekends), just someone who wanted to cut down.
I went into the book not wanting to give up, but by the end.. I did and (lucky for me) my supportive girlfriend did so to. I joined the community (which has been fascinating to be part of) and have been over 2 months without drinking. I don't feel I am missing out and have gained so much.
I am so glad I read this book, its not an amazing read (8/10), but it is one of the most important books I've read. If you want to have really positive effect on your life, health, money, relationships... actually everything.. then consider reading this book.
Update: I have now been T-total for 10 months. In that time I have not felt the need for a drink at any point and I can honestly say my life is different/better and I am far more focused. It helps that I have a very supportive girlfriend and we do lots active things together. I find myself now with more time and energy to do those things you never get round to and I feel very good about my long term health also.
2nd Update: I have now been T-total for over 4 years and everything prior still applies. I think it's safe to say that reading this book and acting on its message has been pivotal. I hope it can have a similar effect on others.
We all know that alcohol is bad for your health and the leading cause of harm in most societies. This book explores the issue, showing that alcohol is an issue for every drinker not just for alcoholics, and suggests that life would be much better without drinking the sense-numbing liquid that we have created a bunch of myths around.
It's written in such a way that you get the benefits of this thinking (meaning, the changes to your unconsciousness in how you think about the effects of alcohol - something you have been mislead about since birth) by just reading. The author has been inspired in this method by Dr Sarno (who is the author to read if you have any chronic pain; spoiler: it might be caused by your brain!).
My biggest takeaway was that I’m now very conscious of drinking alcohol: avoiding it mostly and feeling great about it, but when I do drink, enjoying the hell out of it!
I docked a star because the book was a bit repetitive (it warns so in the beginning) but it certainly is an important book as it will likely have an effect on your daily life, perhaps even for long-term happiness.
Here are some points from the book (in the order of appearance): * Pretending that alcohol is a physical flaw (like Alcoholics Anonymous) lets drinkers "off the hook" for recognizing that our mind is the actual problem of drinking * Alcohols numbs the instincts, which are our most valuable sensors for our health * There are 10 times more mentions in popular media about the benefits of alcohol (as it makes a good reading) than the risks, even though there are many more risks * When body breaks down toxins it gets from alcohol, it releases them into bloodstream. These are more dangerous than the alcohol itself, causing personality changes, bad sleep, depression, all kinds of bad things * Alcohol numbs your fear instead of giving you courage, because it numbs your feelings in general. Author brings the example when she prepared for an important presentation with alcohol, she stayed up late before the night and did not rehearse. Fear was useful in that made her prepare the presentation and rehearsing many times better * In advertising, the unconscious buys the message, even if conscious does not believe in it. So next time you are going to buy something, your unconscious produces the desire that you would not rationally have. * People like the "taste of alcohol” mostly because of sugar, not for the alcohol itself * Rats only drink alcohol after they have been forced and have developed physical addiction * If you drink to relieve stress, you are curing the symptoms, not the stress itself. Things go to worse when you add alcohol dependence to the mix * There are three things that cause a stress, the first is something you forgot to do. Write it down and do it as fast as possible. The second thing is something that you thought you messed up, make a note to look into it. The third is the new idea, if any idea comes up, then you should write it down and act on it as soon as you are back in the office. * I love being alive, I love being me, this is true happiness * The cumulative effect of any drinker is unhappiness, not happiness * Hindu wedding is a good example: it can go on for days and there is nobody there drinking * The three-way cycle is more cravings, less enjoyment, increase tolerance * What to tell friends. I feel better when I don't drink. * Business trips that she went to always included dinners in the evening and late night drinks. These drinks were not fun sober, the reason was that she had to have her mind dolled by alcohol to even enjoy the company of her office colleagues and customers. Nowadays she goes home back to the hotel after dinner and has a good time reading, writing or Skyping with kids * We build bars like shrines to booze * Alcohol is a known carcinogen * Be mindful of the constant barrage of messages that you are subject to everyday * The mind of an addict has been changed, therefore he should never have that one drink * Number one killer men between 15 and 59 * Craving is easy to deal with, it's the belief that alcohol is good for you that isn't so easy
Yeah I just couldn't finish this. But I have a lot to say.
I want to start this review off with 3 caveats:
I don’t really drink very much. But alcoholism has affected a lot of people I love. I don’t disagree with many of the points in this novel: alcohol is bad for you, advertisements/Hollywood glamorize it, etc. I think a lot of people can benefit from either quitting alcohol or being mindful about when they choose to drink (mood, quantity etc). If this book helped you get sober or helped you live a life with alcohol in a healthy way, I am genuinely happy for you. I work in the recovery space (not as a clinician in any way) and have read a lot about it. That is why I decided to read this book. I am sure I will get some things wrong. But so did Annie Grace (she got a lot wrong).
Now here are the juicy bits (everything I hated about this book):
It is not well-written.
On the first page she knocks AA (much like Holly Whitaker does in her book), basically saying that her “way” is the only way to live a happy and carefree life. She says something like, “My brother works with incarcerated people and AA is the only way for people in prisons and AA leads people to a life of longing for booze.” I have so many issues with this. AA helps people. It does not help everyone. That’s okay. Sobriety takes many forms. Substance use disorder is complicated. My understanding (from both literature, talking with patients and providers) is that struggle is a part of recovery. That is okay too. It is about saying, “I struggle. But it’s okay. I am sober in this minute. I am sober in these ten minutes.I am sober in this hour. I am sober today.” Relapse, unfortunately, is also a part of recovery. There are many reviewers that point this out.
This is emotionally manipulative drivel from a marketing executive peddling some truths couched in a whole bunch of lies. She is not a recovery expert, a neuroscientist or a psychotherapist and she manipulates data to get her point across.
There are a lot of really excellent books written about women and addiction. This is not one of them. But here are some: Drinking, A Love Story (Caroline Knapp), Drunk Mom (Jowita Bydlowska), The Recovering: Intoxication and its Aftermath by Leslie Jamison.
I feel like this can be a good resource for people struggling with alcohol, but am concerned about her sweeping statements and declarations. One problem I have is that she assumes everyone drinks for the same reason, which is simply not the case. And promising throughout the book that everyone's addiction will be healed by the time they finish it is just unrealistic. But on the plus side, she does offer some unique perspectives and food for thought. I would recommend this book with astericks
There are some bold claims in this book—heck, the title itself is pretty bold, but I like the author’s radically different approach to overcoming alcohol addiction. It took me a while to realize what she was doing, but the more I read, the more I realized the point of the whole book is to get the unconscious mind on the same page with the conscious mind about alcohol. One of the book’s main points is that people have trouble stopping or even recognizing their drinking has become a problem because we live in a culture in which the majority of the population drinks, and where drinking is celebrated. This affects us on an unconscious level so that even when a conscious decision to quit drinking is made, there’s cognitive dissonance which sabotages efforts to change. One thing the author said that I’ve never heard before is that everyone has the potential to become an addict, not just people with a particular temperament or gene. Alcohol is a drug, and addiction comes with frequency of use. Everyone who drinks travels a path that leads to addiction. Not everyone travels at the same pace or reaches the end before they die, so some never reach the end point of addiction, but it’s still the same path. This actually makes a lot of sense to me. The author details her own negative experiences with alcohol which fueled her desire to give it up, relates facts about the damage it does to the body and brain, and argues that the way we consume alcohol doesn’t make sense when compared with the way we consume any other food or drink. She’s adamant and persuasive, and I’m right there with her and her anger toward alcohol and the damage it does. I read this out loud to an addicted loved one, a chapter or two at a time. He needed a fresh look at things, and I hope this approach unlocks something important.
Disclaimer: I’d say my once-per-month drink is not an issue but I’ve heard this book recommended several times and wanted to find out why for myself. At the very least, I can say it made me very aware of the odd blind acceptance of alcohol in our culture. When we imagine alcoholics, we picture it happening to “them”. The drunk homeless man on the street. Nothing proves this to me more than the fact that I can spend an entire shift caring for a EtOH withdrawal patient, and at the end have someone say “You had a rough shift. Go home and have a drink.” I just spent 12hrs seeing the true colors of alcohol, and yet it’s separated. We all do this for some reason. But the reality is, it’s a drug and we’re all susceptible to at least an emotional attachment to it, not to mention physical. I’d recommend this book to anyone to at least gain some awareness. It’s important knowledge to be armed with as life marches on.
This has broken the shackles. It has given me perspective. I am not a lost cause and I can help "not drinking" and still live a peaceful mind. I am a severe alcoholic and this book seems to have lifted 16 kilos of weight from my shoulders. Time will tell but the process has started...
I recently listened to the audiobook on Annie Grace’s ‘This Naked Mind: Control Alcohol: find freedom, discover happiness and change your life.’ For reasons I almost don’t need to explain, on starting the book I did not add it to my currently reading list on Goodreads. This is despite the fact that I ALWAYS add whatever book I’m reading to Goodreads, even if it’s embarrassing. I’ve added self help books aplenty this year, and although I’ve felt a little awkward admitting to reading them, I always added the damn book. Because ultimately I’m not ashamed to be striving for personal growth, even if it means adding books on depression and anxiety. (That adding books on anxiety to my reading list causes me anxiety is an irony that is not lost on me.) But this was different. In adding this book, I was admitting that I didn’t have full control over my relationship with alcohol, and that’s something massive, or that’s what society has always told me anyway. Alcohol dependency has such a stigma attached to it that we don’t want to let on even to ourselves that we think we might have a problem in controlling it. If I publicly admitted to reading this book, then it felt like I was publicly admitting to having a problem.
Let me back up a bit. The reason I listened to this book (and can you hear the self-defence creeping in here already?) is because I’m getting really into health and fitness at the moment, going to the gym a lot, and wanting to gain some muscle and lose some fat. I was searching my library’s overdrive section on healthy lifestyles, came across this book, and thought ‘Why not? It might help to keep me motivated, plus, if I drink less, that’ll mean better health and less calories.’ I had no idea what I was letting myself in for. I had no idea that this book would challenge me so much, and make me rethink so many of my deeply held beliefs about alcohol.
It’s set out in such a way that each commonly held belief about alcohol is addressed and picked apart, with plenty of detail and anecdotes along the way. As a scientist I did think that one flaw with the book was its lack of references, but overall I bought what it had to say even without specific links to the data that backs it up. This book made me think that actually, maybe none of us has as much control as we think we do, and maybe that’s because alcohol is an intrinsically addictive substance to which we are all potentially susceptible. It opened my eyes to the fact that most people do gradually drink more each year than they did in the previous one, and that this cannot be healthy.
Now, I have drunk some alcohol since reading this book, but I can count the number of times I’ve done so on one hand, and each time I’ve consciously thought about the decision to drink. I have imbibed less on each occasion, and there have been fewer occasions in total when I’ve had a drink than there would have been otherwise. I don’t think I��m ready to give up alcohol 100%, that seems like a decision with far too much permanence and weight, but I’m definitely doing January alcohol free, and maybe longer into 2019. I’m going to add the book to my Goodreads now, because if I’ve found this much value in it, maybe some of my friends could do with reading it too.
This book was never written for me. I don't care much about alcohol, it's not that I despise or even avoid it, it's just never been an integral part of my life. I read this book after hearing it mentioned on Pete Holmes podcast "You Made it Weird" and out of sheer curiosity only. And still, I felt like I learned something.
Alcohol is difficult. We don't question that drugs like meth or heroin are bad for us, we'd never have anyone do a line of coke in front of our children for example. Alcohol on the other hand is, as Annie Grace states early on, the only drug you have to justify not taking.
The book is clearly targeted at people who reached that point of realizing that they lost control, that they drink too much and find themselves unable to stop. She differentiates between the conscious and the unconscious mind, the first of which has these rational thoughts, the latter however being the one that keeps falling for it. Her book tries to break down the role of alcohol in society, in our lives, part by part changing your perception of the liquid.
"We've been conditioned to drink our entire lives. We're told alcohol calms and relaxes us, gives us courage, gets us through parties and work events, and makes us happy. Yet no one wants to admit that they're influenced."
Eye-opening to me were making the connection between advertisements and alcohol, how we're conditioned to seeing benefits in something that, rationally, has absolutely none. How it doesn't wield the power to make us happy, but how we're just lead into thinking that it's what makes us enjoy situations and people.
"You have enjoyed tons of occasions, but can you separate the drinking from the activity and realize you had fun because of the company of the event, rather than the 'joy' of poisoning yourself and numbing your senses?"
Her line of argumentation is (obviously) very one-sided and as it's written to reach out to even the unconscious thinking, there are a lot of points which were being made repeatedly and got boring to someone that didn't need to be helped. But definitely a book I would recommend to people who do have issues, particularly since it does seem to have helped a lot of folks.
This is a phenomenal book. It's a modern and expanded take on Allen Carr's work. Leave it to a woman to come up with something better. Annie Grace has given her life to researching alcohol and it's impact on the body, mind and spirit. She has a Podcast, Website (of course) and several online programs to choose from, including a free (free!) 30 day gig called The Alcohol Experiment. She doesn't proselytize. She informs with facts and compassion.
It's up to you if you want to quit alcohol, moderate, or remain the same. C'mon, this information won't hurt you. It will help you.
I've always thought the alcohol and other drug abuse (AODA) field was messed up. That's why I changed my professional goals halfway through my Master's program at age 23. I wish I could've seen my way to revolutionizing the field like Annie has. I'm so happy she did.
The author ends the book by admitting that she has been lying the entire time. I get that she did it for rhetorical reasons but that's still a really bad foundation for a book. The book started off very well by saying that what people need is facts, not judgment. What follows is a horrendously judgmental and unoriginal book. There's not a single new idea in the book, everything she presents is already known to anyone who has spent a little time researching alcohol with Google. The author also assumes that because she is surrounded by problem drinkers in her life, everyone is. None of my family or friends behave like the people described in this book, making her personal anecdotes completely inapplicable.
If you've ever woke up at 2:30 in the morning questioning your alcohol choices, this may be the book for you. Very similar to Allan Carr's "Easyway to stop drinking", and she quotes Carr often. Actually, I'd say the bulk is pretty much his core content. However, Grace is a much better and more interesting writer than Carr was. And, having read both of them, I really enjoyed the updated cognitive science aspect of Grace's book. I completely disagree with the reviewer who said this book "wasn't for critical thinkers" maybe he's not ready to give up that pint at the game, yet.
Definitely helpful in reaffirming and strengthening much of what I've already come to know about alcohol. But the author's statements are not always fully accurate, in my opinion: like her assertion at one point that people who drink are not truly enjoying it at all. That initial buzz of euphoria after the first few sips, even when drinking alone with no other stimuli, is undeniable. I also was not on board with her comments about how you can and should feel smug knowing things about alcohol the drinkers around you don't know. Not exactly a healthy attitude to have towards people you may otherwise love and respect. Undoubtedly a helpful book for those wishing to quit, but couldn't ignore these few things.
First of all, let me preface this review by saying that if this book helps even one person stay sober, then it is a good book whether I got something out of it or not. Different ideas work for different people.
What I didn't agree with is that Annie Grace's theory seems to be that everyone who drinks has a problem with alcohol and that there is no such thing as an "allergy." Well then, that lets her off the hook now, doesn't it. Needless to say, I had trouble being open-minded because some of what she said went against what I've been taught about addiction. Then again, I must use the disclaimer that I have only managed to stay sober for long stretches of time, but then I have relapsed. So there is the possibility that even with experience. I don't know what I'm talking about.
So far as I could see, this book is for normal people who want to stop drinking. This is not for actual alcoholics who still have problems living life on life's terms once you remove the alcohol. It does not provide tips on how to cope with stress or serious personal issues. She doesn't even suggest therapy.
There is also a lack of personal accountability throughout the book. For instance, Annie Grace actually blames instances of rape and sexual assault on alcohol itself and even blames victims for drinking it and putting themselves in dangerous situations in the first place. I don't care how much you drink, alcohol does not cause you to rape somebody and it does not cause you to get raped. People choose to rape. Alcohol by itself is an innocuous liquid. It does not cause rape and cannot be used as an excuse for deviant behavior. Nice try.
I feel like she's trying to simplify issues that are way more complex based on what is true for her personally. Some of the science was interesting, some of the possibilities of the unconscious mind intrigued me, but the rest of the book can be summed up in one sentence: Alcohol is bad and the key to living sober is awareness and acceptance. I don't feel transformed by this knowledge. I knew cigarettes were bad and it didn't stop me from smoking for over 20 years. This book doesn't tell me what I really need to know: directions on how to get, stay, and live sober. If it should work on me subliminally, I'll retract my review and let you know.
The rest of the book goes to be a repetitive diatribe against alcohol itself. I am not worried about what moderate drinkers are doing. It is not my business. She has a global agenda for the world to quit drinking and selfishly all i care about is myself and others who WANT to quit drinking.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Very interesting. I found the idea of reprogramming the unconscious mind really compelling. That and the fact alcohol is a carcinogen, which I didn't know and seems insane I didn't know. I wanted to give this book five stars but I have a huge problem with the way Annie Grace framed alcohol as it affects college rape incidents. I found her comments tantamount to saying 'those boys regret what they did! They didn't want to rape before the nasty alcohol got there. See how horrible alcohol is?' To which I say, uh, that's an incredibly naive, hypodermic needle approach to sexual assault, lady. If it was that simple I would have been sexually assaulted by friends and strangers and sexually assaulted them right back at least once a month since I was eighteen. And I was only sexually assaulted a single time, while I was asleep, by a guy who was mad I wouldn't hook up with him. You can be drunk and you can be a shit cunt, but you'd have to be a drunk shit cunt to rape someone and act like the booze made you do it. Alcohol + young people does not= rape without pre-existing entitlement coming into play. I know this book was written before #metoo, but goddamn, this isn't a new idea. Graces' thinking echos the 'pass the buck to the booze' excuse we've let Good, Upstanding Boys with Bright Futures use whenever they get munted at parties and force themselves on girls, since, oh, the beginning of recorded patriarchal history? Anyway, there's still some really good shit in here and I admire Grace for getting sober and producing such a comprehensive and useful guide to sobriety. I will probably re-read at some point.