About the Author
Annie Grace has had a unique life from the very beginning. She grew up in a one-room cabin without running water or electricity in the mountains of Colorado and then, at age 26, became the youngest vice president in a multinational corporation. Success, alternatively, led to excessive drinking and the possibility that she might lose everything. Annie recognized her problem but chose to approach it in an entirely new way. Annie’s program has been featured in Forbes, the New York Daily News, and the Chicago Tribune. Annie is successful, happy, and alcohol-free and lives with her husband and three children in the Colorado mountains.
I’m awake for about an hour. Sometimes I cry. Other times I’m so disgusted that all I feel is anger. Lately I’ve been sneaking into the kitchen and drinking more. Just enough to shut down my brain, fall back asleep, and stop hurting.
These early mornings are the only time I’m honest with myself, admitting I drink too much and need to change. It’s the worst part of my day, and it’s at all times the same, night after night. Tomorrow it’s as if I have amnesia. I turn back into a generally happy person. I will be able to’t reconcile my misery, so I simply ignore it. If you ask me about drinking I’ll tell you I love it; it relaxes me and makes life fun. In fact, I’ll be shocked if you don’t drink with me. I will be able to wonder, “Why on earth not?” During the day I feel in control. I am successful and busy. The outward signs of how much I drink are practically nonexistent. I am so busy that I don’t leave room for honesty, questioning, and bro- ken promises. The evening comes, the drinking starts, and the cycle continues. I am no longer in control, and the only time I am brave enough to admit it (even to myself ) is alone, at nighttime, at three in the morning.
The implications of what it could mean are terrifying. What if I have a problem? What if I am an alcoholic? What if I’m really not normal? Most terrifying, what if I have to give up drinking? I worry that my pride will kill me because I have no intention of labeling myself. I am afraid of the shame and stigma. If my choice is to live a life of misery in diseased abstinence or drink myself to an early grave, I choose the latter. Horrifying but true.
What I know about getting help, I know from my brother who spent time in prison. Prison in the U.S. frequently involves Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.) meetings. He says you start every meeting ad- mitting that you are an alcoholic powerless against alcohol. He says they believe alcoholism is a fatal illness without a cure. And I person- ally know self-proclaimed alcoholics who, rather than finding peace, fight a daily battle for sobriety. It seems miserable in our culture to be sober. To live a life avoiding temptation. Recovering appears syn- onymous with accepting life as just OK and adjusting to a new reality of missing out.
The idea of recovering seems to give alcohol more power even, and maybe especially, when I am abstaining from it. I want freedom. It’s now clear that alcohol is taking more from me than it’s giving. I want to make it small and irrelevant in my life rather than allowing it more power over me. I want change. I have to find another way. And I have.
I now have freedom. I am back in control and have regained my self-respect. I’m really not locked in a battle for sobriety. I drink as much as I want, whenever I want. The truth is I no longer want to drink. I see now that alcohol is addictive, and I had become addicted. Obvi- ous, right? Not exactly. In fact, in today’s drinking society, it’s not obvious at all. Admitting that alcohol is a dangerous and addictive drug like nicotine, cocaine, or heroin has serious implications. So we confuse ourselves with all sorts of convoluted theories.
I’ve never been happier. I am having more fun than ever. It’s as if I have woken up from the Matrix and realized that alcohol was only dulling my senses and keeping me trapped rather than adding to my life. I know you may find this hard, if not impossible, to believe. That’s OK. But I will be able to give you the same freedom, the same joy, and the same control over alcohol in your life. I will be able to take you on the same journey—a journey of facts, neuroscience, and logic. A journey that empowers you rather than rendering you powerless. A journey that does not involve the pain of deprivation.
I will be able to 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.
Experts imply that it takes months, even years, of hardship to stop drinking. A tough riddle can make you crazy, taking without end to solve. But if someone gives you the answer, solving the riddle becomes ef- fortless. I hope this book will be the answer you are looking for.
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, al- lowing you to without end change your relationship with alcohol. And remember, sometimes what you are searching for is in the journey rather than the destination.