This Naked Mind
Book review by Laurel
Sub-title: Control Alcohol, Find Freedom, Discover Happiness and Change Your Life
Author: Annie Grace, 2018
This book is a refreshing and insightful look at the insidious embracing of alcohol in our society, where we seem to be in something like a mass delusion about its dangers. In our alcohol-centric culture, we give alcohol a “free pass”, even though it is scientifically considered to be the most dangerous drug in the world. (Page 186)
Grace brings together all of the damning information about the problems with alcohol into one place and strives to convince our unconscious to be a support rather than an obstacle to our conscious decision-making in about our drinking. This book is helpful to anyone feels ambivalent about the drinking.
There is really no such thing as a healthy relationship to alcohol.
Alcohol creates a craving in us. That is the nature of alcohol. “It is the accumulation of alcohol in your body, no matter how little you drink each time, that creates pathways of addiction in your brain. The problem with alcohol is that, in-between, the brain doesn’t simply forget it. Dopamine is the learning molecule, and your brain has learned to crave alcohol.“ (Page 204)
Alcohol is actually a poison, and has been acknowledged as a carcinogen since 1988, on the level of asbestos. (Page 83)
It is helpful to reframe giving up alcohol as freedom rather than deprivation.
Grace explains how entrenched our conditioning towards alcohol is: we believe it is an essential ingredient to having a happy, interesting life. She shakes up our “groupthink”.
“Drinking just pours more stress into your life” (Page 215)
She describes an excellent reframe from “I don’t get to drink” to “I don’t have to drink”. (Page 216)
Grace considers the question we are all thinking: why quit altogether instead of moderation?
Moderation means that you have to make decisions all the time — do I have a drink this time? Do I not have a drink THIS time? Decision-making is stressful and takes willpower, which, therefore, is fatiguing. By making one single decision to not ever drink, one removes the need to make decisions all the time. (Page 181)
Why do we give alcohol, as Grace frames it, a "free pass"? Why are there no labelling requirements for this substance like there are for all the other potentially harmful substances? (Page 83)
I appreciate the candid sharing, clear writing, and thorough research Grace brings to her quest to support others' in shifting their relationship with alcohol. I recommend this book to everyone, since most of us have some kind of relationship with alcohol. It may be especially bolstering to those who have or want to quit because it flips the narrative of deprivation on its head in an encouraging and empowering manner.