EP #43

A Review of this Naked Mind by Annie Grace - Part one

alcoholic minimalist podcast

listen to



In this episode of “Breaking the Bottle Legacy,” Molly  discusses her experiences with fitness, triathlons, and the positive changes brought about by a mindful approach to alcohol. Molly introduces her books, “Alcohol Truths: How Much is Safe” and “Breaking the Bottle Legacy: How to Change Your Drinking Habits and Create a Peaceful Relationship with Alcohol”. She reflects on her reading of “This Naked Mind” by Annie Grace, highlighting both valuable insights and points of disagreement. Molly explores the concept of liminal thinking, challenging unconscious beliefs about alcohol, and emphasizes the importance of critical examination and self-awareness in building a peaceful relationship with alcohol. She questions societal norms, addresses the association between taste, dopamine release, and addiction, and discusses the challenges of moderation once addiction sets in.

You’re listening to breaking the bottle legacy with Molly watts, Episode 43. Hi, I’m Molly, after a lifetime living under the influence of family alcohol abuse, spending more than 30 years worrying about alcohol and my own drinking, believing I had an unbreakable daily drinking habit, I changed my relationship with alcohol forever. If you want to change your drinking habits than breaking the bottle legacy is for you. My goal is to help you create a peaceful relationship with alcohol, past, present, and future. Each week all focus on real science and using your own brain to change your relationship with alcohol. Nothing has gone wrong, you’re not broken. You’re not sick. It’s not your genes. And creating peace is possible. I’m here to help you do it. Let’s start now. Well, hello, and welcome or welcome back to breaking the bottle legacy with me your host, Molly Watts coming to you from well, it’s a pretty typical Oregon day here in the fall. At least it hasn’t started raining yet. So that’s happy and little cloudy and a little cooler for sure. It is Sunday and I have been spending time watching football today. For those of you that don’t know I am a diehard football fan. And though my fantasy team is not doing well at all this week, I am very much looking forward to Sunday Night Football where I will be watching the Seahawks take on the Steelers, my two favorite teams. I am a diehard Steelers fan but grew up in Seattle. And we will be enjoying that game with my 93 year old father who is still a Seahawks fan. And so we’ll be rooting against each other. But since he’s really the guy who kind of instilled a love of football in me from a very young age, it will be a real joy to get to watch that game with him. A little bit of housekeeping. Lots of great things are happening here on the podcast, in the Facebook group and with the books. So about the Facebook group. This is from Bruce, a recent new member who was listening to episode two I believe of the podcast. And here’s what he said in reference to that overwhelming emotion. With time and repetition. There seemed like no other choice but to drink when some negative circumstance appeared. The chemical science constantly seeking that feel good dopamine effect. Yes, 100% stunning when this realization and connection can be made. It’s overcoming and recognizing this effect is due to neuroscience, knowledge and awareness. He says I’ve spent the last decade working on my personal fitness and nutrition through the Beachbody p90x programs, which has enabled me to participate in regular triathlon events every year excluding 2020. My one vice, he says, ironic to fitness and nutrition is alcohol, a seemingly unbreakable vice at that. However, this new path and minimalist approach that has me very hopeful looking ahead, what I have long considered one of my greatest enemies, I am now looking forward to developing a new and peaceful relationship with he’s talking about alcohol. So I just love that the group just keeps getting better. And it’s because of the great humans who are joining and sharing their perspectives, their struggles, their small wins and cheering each other on. I really invite you to come join us you can search for it on Facebook in groups. It’s called alcohol minimalists, how to change your drinking habits. There is always a link in the show notes as well. So I also want to remind you that there are two books available to help you work on your relationship with alcohol. One is totally free. It’s called alcohol truths, how much is safe, and you can go grab that over on my website www dot Molly watts.com. That’s Molly with a why watts with an S. And the other is breaking the bottle legacy how to change your drinking habits and create a peaceful relationship with alcohol. It’s available on Amazon. And when you pick it up inside that book is a link to a free 30 Day resource that you can use in combination with the book to really take action on changing your drinking habits. So check it out. And if you are one of the folks who’ve already bought the book Thank you very much. It would be so awesome if you would go on to Amazon and leave a review. There are links in the show notes for the purchasing both the Kindle and paperback for both the I think for the US the UK and Canada and also for how to leave a review. So check it out. Okay. And to make things more interesting, if you do leave a review of either the book or the podcast, just send me an email at Molly at Molly watts.com With your review name, and you’ll be entered into a bi weekly drawing that starting November 1, for some free at alcohol, minimalist swag that’s coming soon to the Facebook group and to my website. So go ahead, just tell me that you’ve left a review either of the podcast share your review title, or your reviewer name, and you will be entered to win. Alright, on to this week’s episode, which is actually part one of a two part episode. These episodes were actually motivated by a post that I shared in the Facebook group, I shared a screenshot of an ad that I was served on Facebook from Annie grace and this naked mind. The image was kind of weird, it had a person like hiding behind it tongue out smiley face balloon, which I thought was just strange. But the title was get back in control of your drinking in five days. With the subheadings and the subheadings, we’re get freedom from alcohol, and then change your relationship with alcohol in five days. And that really just got me going. So I decided that it was time for me to record an episode, which then turned into two episodes. Because I’ve got a lot to say all about the book and some of the resources available at this naked mind. This is not some sort of negative beat down on Annie grace, or this naked mind. As you’ll see, I’m going to share a lot of what is in the book and a lot of it. I agree with 100%. And just like how I prefaced my conversation on a previous podcast episode about Alcoholics Anonymous, I will say that if this naked mind has helped you, it certainly did me, then I am nothing but truly grateful. I know there are 1000s of people who have benefited from any grace. And I think that is absolutely amazing. Unfortunately, I also have come to believe that this naked bind has kind of turned to some fear based marketing strategies. And I also think they’re responsible for energizing, the kind of good bad black, white abstinence based focus on alcohol, that is detrimental to the actual conversation that we should be having around changing your relationship with alcohol. The conversation shouldn’t be focused on whether or not you choose to include alcohol in your life at all. But if you do, why are you and how are you? In my opinion, alcohol doesn’t have the power. You do. And I feel like this naked mind, though, through much of the book talks about conscious versus unconscious thoughts, ultimately doesn’t believe in the ability of your own very powerful brain to have power over alcohol. The message ultimately turns to you can change your desire for alcohol only if you quit drinking altogether. And if you don’t, you will never be able to have peace or freedom from alcohol. This despite saying at the beginning of the book, does drinking less mean drinking nothing? Do you need to quit forever, that will be up to you, you will make your own decision based on information that empowers you giving you back control rather than imposing rules on you. So that’s in the preface that’s in the early part of the book. That’s kind of the hook. Right? That’s what you begin believing. All right, let’s dig in. We’re gonna start with this naked mind the book first. The book is what started it all. And it was certainly a part of my own journey to change my drinking habits. I talked about that a bit in episode number 17, trying to moderate and hoping to abstain. I was actually one of the first to read slash here this naked mind when it was audio files back before the book was ever published. And that was back in March of 2016. The book didn’t actually publish until January of 2018. So I’ve been familiar with the concept in the book for quite a while. And actually before I was ever trying to change my own habits, I originally signed up for the audio program for someone else. Anyway, when I decided to work on my own relationship with alcohol in early 2019 I read the book cover to cover and I believe that because I was learning the behavior map and results cycle at same time, a lot of what was in the book made absolute sense to me until it didn’t. But we’ll save that for the end, just like it is in the book. So, here are some quotes from the introductory chapter. If you read critically consider and absorb the information in these pages, you will be inspired to sever or cut back on your relationship with alcohol without feeling deprived. In fact, you’ll be happy possibly euphoric about your decision, you will feel in control in part and empowered to make conscious logical fact based choices about the role alcohol will play in your life. So see right there, you can see that there’s a lot for me to agree with in this naked mind. Moving on to chapter one, we are introduced to the basic idea of the naked mind. And it’s all about the brain. And here is what Andy gray shares. First, we have to accept the premise that we have been conditioned to believe many things about alcohol, and those beliefs are running in the unconscious brain. So I 100% agree with this. And she even says, you can train your conscious mind in more positive or negative thought patterns, which ultimately alters how you feel. These repeated conscious thoughts eventually influence your unconscious and therefore your feelings. So this is exactly what I share with regards to the result cycle and choosing conscious thoughts to change how we are feeling. What she doesn’t do is link the feelings to the actions we take and the results that we have. But fundamentally, there is still a lot there that we agree on. The chapter goes on to outline liminal thinking, and she uses that throughout the book. This is what she says about that we will be bringing unconscious messaging we believe about alcohol into the conscious through a process called liminal thinking, defined by author Dave Gray. liminal thinking defines how through conscious exploration and acceptance of new ideas and true this, you can influence your unconscious mind. This gives you back your ability to make rational and logical decisions about alcohol, no longer influenced by illogical emotional or irrational desires. It will give you control and freedom by changing your understanding of and therefore your relationship with alcohol. So you can see that there is a lot that I agree with in this naked mind. In fact, in this chapter, it says, The goal of this naked mind is to reverse the conditioning in your unconscious mind by educating your conscious mind. By changing your unconscious mind we eliminate your desire to drink. This whole concept parallels the information I share about the prefrontal cortex which would be the conscious mind being able to take control and make those logical rational decisions, and not making decisions from the more primitive brain or the limbic system, where illogical, emotional and irrational desires are happening. liminal thinking happens in our conscious mind, the prefrontal cortex. Sub liminal, is what happens in our subconscious or primitive brains. By educating ourselves and changing what we believe about alcohol, becoming aware of the unconscious stories that aren’t logical, and are based in primitive emotional responses. We can retrain our brains and actually decrease our desire for alcohol. Again, from this naked mind, through this book, you will think critically about your deeply held beliefs about alcohol and strip away those that are faults. So, so far, as you can see Annie grace, and I agree, and as I said, there are many places where we do agree. In chapter two, she actually challenges the disease model of alcoholism presented by a in much the way same way I see it, though she still uses the term alcoholic throughout the book, which by most standards today is not considered helpful. From the book and regarding Alcoholics Anonymous, she says while I don’t agree that alcoholics have lost control due to a physical, mental or emotional defect, I concur that an alcoholic should be defined as someone who no longer has the ability to restrain their drinking. I actually kind of questioned the decision to use the label alcohol of alcoholic here and not share information from the DSM five which was published in 2013, five years prior to this book’s publication. She does eventually refer to substance use disorders in later chapters, but much of the book focuses on addiction and alcoholism and why out The hall itself is the problem. So I will link to the DSM five again in the show notes. And I do share this in my book in the chapter titled losing the alcoholic label. And this is where the term severe alcohol use disorder. That current terminology that we use really comes from. There’s another quote from this naked mind where she says the point of addiction or dependence is unknown to the drinker, and is generally not known until the drinker attempts to cut back. The obvious problem is that you can’t know when you aren’t in control. So I take exception with that as well, because the self assessment tool from the NIA that I out add that I also share in my book, and I’ll link here really kind of debunks that idea. And while I disagree, I agree that a lot of people don’t realize that their own drinking levels are passing the thresholds from mild or moderate use disorder. I don’t believe that that means that they are not in control, or that they’ve reached a point of addiction or dependence, at least not physical dependence, right, maybe psychological dependence. And I definitely talk a lot about that, in my book in terms of the difference between physical versus psychological dependence. And I know, you know, Annie Grace talks a lot about the word addiction, and she believed that she was addicted to alcohol, psychologically addicted, and whether or not you want to mince you know, mince words, in terms of a habit versus psychological addicted, addiction or psychological dependence versus addiction. I think it’s just a little bit convoluted, and, and it makes confusion, because we actually have like addiction treatment programs. And so that’s why I think it’s really important to steer clear of that word for me personally. And because we talk about people becoming an addict, right, and that is an addiction to a with an basically a physical dependence on some sort of substance or use, or drug. Anyhow, sorry, I get it kind of went off the auto track there. But there’s, there’s reasons that I’m very clear in my book about the fact that my book is not for people who are physically dependent on alcohol. And she never really makes that clear in her book. So I think that’s why it’s kind of confusing from front cover whether or not she’s ever talking about physical or psychological dependence in the next chapter, called the drink. While the basic premise is that alcohol is an addictive substance, which of course is not really up for debate. Right, she does begin to paint the picture that drinking alcohol in any amount is not possible. Her words, remember, this is not your fault. You have been caught in a deadly trap that was designed to ensnare and slowly kill. It is subtle and insidious, and millions of people are deceived every day. The trap is designed to keep you a prisoner for life by making you believe you drink because you want to, we will expose the truth. So if you’ve listened to the podcast for any length of time, you know that I like to use science and facts to guide my drinking choices and truth, I believe, quote unquote, is highly subjective. That’s why I actually titled my ebook The way that I did alcohol truths. Because there isn’t just one truth about alcohol there are several. And while it is absolutely true that the safest amount of alcohol for physical health is zero, and I’ve never claimed otherwise, but to declare that there is only one truth to be exposed. Well, this is another place where Annie Grace and I diverge. In the following chapters of the book, Annie Grace presents liminal points, which are really unconscious beliefs she believes that keep people drinking. And here’s how she describes this, you will find the narrative chapters of this book interspersed with many chapters called liminal points. A liminal point will take you on a journey through certain ingrained beliefs about alcohol. I want to deal with these beliefs throughout the book instead of all at once, to allow you to test the logic in the midst of your daily life. Her first liminal point asks us to question whether drinking is truly a habit as opposed to an addiction. Which she makes a pretty Cavalier comment here. We may have vitual a drink but drinking is not a habit it’s an addiction. Yet the majority of drinkers believe they drink because they want to they enjoy it and they choose to do it. In Annie grace this book if you are a habit drinker, you already addicted to it. And so I don’t, I don’t really think that there’s any I’m trying I try to decide, Is there a problem with that? Do I care about that, but I think that, really the addiction comes with a lot of negative baggage to me. But also, because it says, yet the majority of drinkers believe they drink because they want to they enjoy it and they choose to do it. What we know about habits is that we start to do things on autopilot without a lot of conscious thought or mindful intention. And while there may be reasons that we do enjoy drinking, that are fueling the desire to drink, there is absolutely a habit response with drinking that is formed out of our own behavior over time, and how we use alcohol in response to emotions or situations or, you know, whatever, it definitely becomes a habit. Whether or not you want to decide that you’re addicted to it, psychologically, or whatever. I guess that you know, is up to you. For me personally, I think that having a habit and here’s what she says. Now she does, she doesn’t make a delineation, again, between physical dependence versus psychological dependence here. But she also says if heroin was a habit, perhaps the addict could shoot up a syringe of saline with some effort, Aren’t most habits relatively easy to break? Well, no, I don’t know about you. But if habits were that easy to build, or to break, I don’t think that James clears book atomic habits would have sold over 5 million copies worldwide, spent over one year on the top of the New York Times bestseller, bestseller list and have been translated into 50 plus languages. No, I think that habits actually are very real. And I don’t think that that they are simply that easy to break. So whether or not it’s important to to figure out whether or not you have a an addiction of psychological addiction to alcohol versus a habit of drinking alcohol, I’m not sure. But anyway, that’s just a conversation on that topic. We’re not talking about physical dependence, at least, I’m not because again while inside the book, and he doesn’t do a very good job of delineating between physical and psychological dependence. I know for a fact that, obviously, the conversation between true physical dependence and addiction to a substance is very different. It needs to be different, just because of the Medical Necessities that need to happen for someone before they can address the psychological. And I say that in my own book. So I wanted to proceed sent believe that I’ve developed a daily habit of drinking that was fueled by my unconscious beliefs about alcohol. I also know that my brain, not alcohol, have held the power to change that habit, which while any Grace starts off supporting, ultimately she pivot to make alcohol appear to be a different habit than other habits that don’t serve you or habits other habits that release dopamine and impact the reward center of the brain. The other liminal points of the book, things I do agree with and have offered here in my book and as thoughts you need to challenge with science to change your thinking around alcohol include, are we really drinking for the taste, Grace’s take here isn’t totally different than mine. In my book, I talk about clinging on to the belief that I just loved the taste of beer far too much to ever give it up. And how that perpetuated my habit. The truth was, it wasn’t the taste of alcohol that I loved. And I say this in my own in breaking the bottle legacy. No one really likes the taste of alcohol. All of the alcoholic beverages people drink include different fruits, grains and sugars to cover up the taste of ethanol. Think back to the first time you tasted alcohol. For many adult children of alcoholics like me, that was fairly early. I know for me, it was a ceremonial, small pour of wine in a glass at a holiday meal before my mother’s addiction truly took hold. What I remember most is how awful I thought the wine tasted. I didn’t even consider finishing the small amount in my glass because it was disgusting. Later in my teenage years, when I snuck booze with my friends, I can literally remember plugging my nose to down hard liquor, even mixed with sugary sodas. It’s pretty clear that if developing a drinking habit, were solely based on our sense of taste, alcohol wouldn’t be the problem. It is for many people. It’s despite the smell and taste of alcohol that people drink alcoholic beverages, and it’s because of the chemical interaction of ethyl alcohol with the brain that we choose to drink. It was important for me to bring that unconscious belief about the taste of alcohol to Mike conscious brain and to challenge my thinking. It just there just as Annie suggests to do, she tries to separate alcohol here from other things we enjoy because of the chemical interaction with the brain, saying that if you pay attention, you will start to notice how conversations about alcohol are not balanced. When eating a doughnut, we will probably mention the calorie count or how much sugar it has. And for good reason, it helps us limit ourselves to just one. Yet when discussing alcohol, you never hear someone say, this booze is delicious. It enhances my taste of food, but I do worry about liver damage. Well, I think the notion here that we should concern ourselves with the negative consequences of alcohol is important, but also interesting that she illustrates the ability to use the information with regard to sugar and a doughnut to limit ourselves, but doesn’t believe that we can apply the same logic to alcohol. Interesting because there is scientific evidence that sugar impacts the release of dopamine and might be considered addictive. From a study published in 2018. Sugar is noteworthy as a substance that releases opioids and dopamine and thus might be expected to have addictive potential. I would contend that while there is no question that alcohol is addictive, and given time and width, and given time, and with increased use, anyone can become physically dependent on alcohol. I would also remind you that as I’ve shared before, according to the 2014 study conducted by the Center for Disease Control, and the substance abuse, Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, that study confirms that even among excessive drinkers, nine out of 10 were not physically alcohol dependent. It is the psychological dependence we need to address long before any physical dependence, and changing our thoughts about these quote unquote, addictions, or habits or whatever you want to call it. And I’d apply that term to anything that releases dopamine in the brain is how we can address psychological dependence. It’s the same theory, whether it’s alcohol, nicotine, gambling, sugar exercise social media work, we need to figure out the connection between trying to change how we are feeling with whatever substance or behavior we’re using. We know we need to understand how to use our own brains to change how we are feeling. And we also have to understand how our unconscious thoughts drive our habits. Some of the other liminal points that continue throughout the book, and many are the same unconscious beliefs that I’ve shared here. beliefs that we need to question challenge and so we can practice new thoughts about alcohol. One is, is alcohol liquid courage. My basic message has always been that alcohol has a very limited therapeutic effect in the brain. Alcohol has a biphasic effect, and it is the additional euphoric feeling that people associate with the concept of quote unquote liquid courage. When you first start to drink alcohol, you may feel the buzz or the pleasant effects of alcohol. The more and faster you drink however, the less you will experience the pleasant effects, and the more you will feel the depressant effects. A blood alcohol concentration of point 055 Is the point of diminishing returns, and drinking more will add negative effects not increase the positive. For me, understanding this science based fact helped me change my beliefs about alcohol, helping me be more brave. What I could do to feel more brave was addressed my thoughts that were causing me to feel fear in the first place. All of the following liminal points in the book are all similar to unconscious beliefs that I’ve shared here and discussed here. And they need to be challenged with some science around alcohol with an understanding of the conditioning from society, and the alcohol industry that fuels our primitive brain. In all of this is aligned with this naked mind in bringing our unconscious beliefs into our conscious mind to be able to change that thinking. These liminal points include drinking helps me loosen up and have better sex. I drink to relieve stress and anxiety. I enjoy drinking, it makes me happy. Is alcohol vital to social life? It’s cultural I need to drink to fit in. I’m not going to go into each of these liminal thoughts because I’ve covered most of them in previous episodes. And fundamentally, as I’ve said, I agree with the whole idea of three thinking thoughts that we believed about alcohol unconsciously into our conscious awareness, and to change our thinking about drinking? All of these thoughts are simply thoughts that we’ve practiced over time. They’ve been reinforced by society by advertising, by social media by our friends and families. We can and should question all of that thinking about alcohol because those thoughts drive our feeling of desire, which leads to the action of drinking. In between the mini chapter liminal points is the narrative of this naked mind. Again, there is a lot that I can agree with within the narrative chapters. But there’s also some contradictions that I just cannot understand. We’re going to dive into the narrative of the book in next week’s episode. But as a little teaser here, these are just some of the ultimatum type statements that I really don’t understand, especially in the context of liminal thinking, right. In the final chapters, Grace says, when I talk about drinking less, I mean, much less. In fact, I mean, nothing. She goes on to say, what is important is that you are weary for all the reasons we’ve discussed of moderation. There is no half way once you are addicted, your brain physically and chemically changes, which makes moderation next to impossible. If your brain hasn’t suffered chemical changes, they can happen at any time. 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 the brain doesn’t simply forget it. Dopamine is the learning molecule, and your brain has learned to crave alcohol, you can abstain and these cravings will disappear. But if you drink it, again, your brain immediately remembers. This is why a single drink can lead you back into the painful cycle of addiction. You go directly from the enjoyment of one drink to the lowest point of your descent. And lastly, she says, and don’t forget, if you do give in and have that one drink your enemy addiction can immediately move back in, he plants himself in your brain in and starts exactly where he left off. The pathways of addiction are still there. Oh, wow. I struggle with these statements as they really appear to fly directly in the face of what she says is the goal of this book. Remember, this is her goal. The goal of this naked mind is to reverse the conditioning in your unconscious mind by educating your conscious mind. By changing your unconscious mind we eliminate your desire to drink. So is it our unconscious thoughts that need to change? Or is it simply that alcohol is addictive and no matter what we believe we are all at the mercy of an addictive substance. I really am going to dig into that in next week’s episode, we’ll complete the conversation of this naked mind and address that pesky advertisement that got me so riled up in the first place. We’ll also talk a little bit more about other information available through this naked mind some of her other resources. But again, this isn’t beat down on this naked mind or Annie grace, but I do want to bring it up because I think it’s important. She talks a lot about science. She talks a lot about changing your unconscious beliefs. These are things that I totally agree with. But at the end, she runs it all by telling everybody that if you take one sip, you’re back to the beginning. And that just simply I can’t agree with that. I don’t agree with it. And it’s not true. It’s not true. For me. It’s not true for a lot of people that I know who are very successfully moderating or becoming hashtag alcohol minimalists. Right? That’s us. We are creating a peaceful relationship with alcohol I can absolutely take it or leave it I can absolutely enjoy life with a glass of wine without a glass of wine and I don’t have the anxiety that I used to have. I know that I am aligned with myself both conscious brain and my unconscious brain. And therefore, I will only say this. Until next time, choose peace, my friends. Thank you for listening to breaking the bottle legacy. This podcast is dedicated to helping you change your drinking habits and to create a peaceful relationship with alcohol. Take something that you learned in today’s episode and apply it to your life this week. Transformation is possible. You have the power to change your relationship with alcohol. Now, for more info nation please visit me at www dot Molly watts.com