Consciously give up alcohol, not just abstinence

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This is the season when many of us think about our relationship with alcohol, because what starts off as the holiday season can turn into a summer full of alcohol.

Annie Grace was one of those social drinkers who turned into something she didn’t like, drinking two bottles of wine every night. She has found a way to change her relationship with alcohol, preaching awareness and not just abstinence, and has helped thousands of people around the world to do the same with her “This Naked Mind” books and podcast.

She has a new book that challenges others to think about drinking. It’s called The Alcohol Experiment Journal: 30 Day Alcohol Free Challenge.

Photo: RNZ / Nathan McKinnon

Grace tells Summer hours that she was happy in her career and in her marriage and that she had a good life, but alcohol was the only thing that was out of control.

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“It wasn’t outwardly out of control, it wasn’t that people came up to me and said things… but in my mind and heart I felt like I was drinking a lot more than I wanted to.” . I’d set limits for myself like two glasses of wine, then I’d have four or five and wake up with a hangover the next morning.

She says there wasn’t a single wake-up call, but several little ones instead. She remembers once asking her son to come and sit on her lap and he told her that she smelled bad and had purple teeth.

Another time, she spilled beer on her children and they continued to smell the beer for the rest of the day.

“Having these two little kids who smelled like a pub was in itself heartbreaking.”

Grace says alcohol is responsible for more damage and death than any other drug in the United States, but it’s still freely marketed and widely considered acceptable.

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“I think, collectively, we turn a blind eye to the harms and make it clear that if you start talking about these harms, you have a party mentality and you are not welcome in some places. It becomes a really delicate conversation.

She says there is a stigma in deciding not to drink. People, for example, may assume that you have a drinking problem or, if you are female, that you are pregnant.

Another problem is that if people think they might have a problem with their alcohol consumption, or that they are alcoholics, they believe they should stay sober forever, which is a off-putting choice.

“It’s actually not necessary for most people, a lot of people can change their drinking habits.”

This approach caught the attention of Grace of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) who advocates complete abstinence from alcohol for members of their program.

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“A lot of it is based on this idea that we have this alcohol allergy. It’s not science-based, it’s not reality-based, and depending on which group you go to, I’ve heard stories that they don’t have a lot of compassion or grace for them. people who start drinking again.

However, she says it is a beautiful thing that anyone can find an AA meeting anywhere in the world and that she attended a meeting and found everyone to be charming and compassionate.

“Where we differ is on this word alcoholic. I really believe we can be empowered to change, AA thinks you have to declare that you are powerless before alcohol, but I think our power comes from recognizing alcohol for what it really is and having that. power.

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