Boozy to Butterfly

5 Books to Stop Overdrinking

July 13, 2021 This Brain of Mine Episode 18
Boozy to Butterfly
5 Books to Stop Overdrinking
Chapters
Boozy to Butterfly
5 Books to Stop Overdrinking
Jul 13, 2021 Episode 18
This Brain of Mine

This week Emily talks about 5 books that helped her gain control over alcohol. She often gets asked to recommend books to help people stop overdrinking or quit drinking. Rather than pick one or two of the many quit drinking books on the market, she will typically recommend one of her favorites along the mindfulness movement.  So tune in as she discusses five books to help you on your stop overdrinking journey.

Looking for more support on your stop overdrinking journey? Head over to https://thisbrainofmine.com/stopoverdrinking to sign up for my free 10-day training course. 

If you're ready for private coaching, email me at [email protected]

Show Notes Transcript

This week Emily talks about 5 books that helped her gain control over alcohol. She often gets asked to recommend books to help people stop overdrinking or quit drinking. Rather than pick one or two of the many quit drinking books on the market, she will typically recommend one of her favorites along the mindfulness movement.  So tune in as she discusses five books to help you on your stop overdrinking journey.

Looking for more support on your stop overdrinking journey? Head over to https://thisbrainofmine.com/stopoverdrinking to sign up for my free 10-day training course. 

If you're ready for private coaching, email me at [email protected]

Episode 18: 5 Books to Stop Overdrinking

Hello and welcome to episode 18. I frequently get asked about what books are great to help you quit drinking or stop overdrinking. And I don’t normally recommend books for this topic because I’ve found not only are there a lot of books to help you stop drinking that you can find by Googling but the results vary widely. The effectiveness of them is subjective and very personal. If you think about writing anything or communication in general, it’s written in a certain tone and voice which resonates with some people and doesn’t help at all for others.

 Just like this podcast, you know? Some people message me that they love it and others not so much. I can only reach the people that can relate to my experiences and my words and the same is true for the plethora of quit drinking books. I caution people to think one of these quit drinking books will actually do the trick because if it doesn’t it just adds to the mental anguish and negative self-perception that you can’t be helped or you have a very deep problem and as you know I believe the most important factor in getting control over the booze is your mind.

 So, I am actually going to share five books that really helped me control overdrinking but they’re not quit drinking or take-a-break books. If you want those books, you can just Google them but I realized myself after reading a few and researching some of the content that most of them ripped off Allen Carr’s The Easy Way to Stop Drinking anyway. It’s kind of the original quit drinking book but again the voice of the author matters so if you read it or get an audiobook and it doesn’t resonate, don’t beat yourself up about it. 

 The five books I’m actually going to share are about managing your mind and all the clutter in your head and weeding out the drama the mind creates to allow for more mental clarity. These books offer tools for personal growth and direction to evolve beyond thinking with that cave woman brain. The cave woman brain that wants you to keep overdrinking. 

 And you know overdrinking is an escape whether it’s from your own swirling thoughts, a painful circumstance in your life, a stressful day, or to lower those inhibitions and really let loose. Alcohol allows you to get transported to another world for a few hours so the books I’m sharing focus on building the skill of doing this on your own without the need for a drug.

 These five books can assist in realigning what’s really important in life and bring you back to center. It can help you focus on how to truly feel alive without all the pain and how to accept that life isn’t about happiness, it’s about serenity. I mean everyone has heard the serenity prayer, right? Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

 Life is not going to be fun all the time and only filled with positive experiences. Bad things happen around the globe all the time. The key is to surrender to the sadness when it’s time to be sad but not live in it. Not wallow and stay stuck in the sadness. You can move forward and in fact, you can experience joy during times of sorrow. You can be both happy and sad. You just have to surrender to your emotions and then push forward through them toward serenity. Sometimes your brain needs a little push to move out of sorrow, that’s the great thing about this brain is its ability to create new emotions, experiences, and realities. And that’s what these 5 books can offer.

 So, let’s start with Book 1: don Miguel Ruiz’s The Four Agreements. So The Four Agreements has been coined a code of conduct but there’s much more to it than that. It’s a practical guide to personal freedom and it’s THE book for stress management and personal growth. The book not only shares four agreements with which to be guided by, but the real meat is in the how and why you should live by these four guidelines. The book can help your mind transform to a new experience of freedom, joy, and love. 

 It discusses the self-limiting beliefs that rob you of the joy that does exist in your everyday life creating unnecessary suffering. Your excess suffering is created by you with your beliefs and thoughts and there is a way out. It’s based on ancient Toltec wisdom from don Miguel Ruiz’s culture. 

 If you choose to read this short book, keep in mind the goal is not to live under this code of conduct in a regimented, strict manner. The goal is enlightenment and awareness of the suffering you can create with your own mind.

So if you read it with a bit of balance and openness, it can bring sweeping changes to your life.

 Book 2: Byron Katie’s Loving What Is. I listened to the audio version of this book on Audible and it was wonderful. What I like about the audio version is Byron Katie has this tool called The Work and she includes real audio from sessions with workshop attendees moving through The Work. You can hear it applied and the awakening that’s occurring for people.

 Loving What Is is titled with perfection. That’s exactly what the book is about, learning to love what’s present in your life and not fighting with life to be different whether that’s wanting someone to be different or something to be different. I don’t want you to think this book creates powerlessness because it’s actually the opposite. When we can let go of trying to change things about others or certain situations, we are free to live. There’s a huge amount of freedom that comes with letting go.

 The concepts in this book are fairly easy to grasp and again can be life changing. You can actually download her worksheets and do the work yourself as you read or listen along. They can be applied to simple disturbances like not getting along with your neighbor or constantly picking up after your kids, or she also touches on some deep trauma, too.

 The Work is simply four questions that, when applied to a specific problem, enable you to see what is troubling you in an entirely different light. As Katie says, “It’s not the problem that causes our suffering; it’s our thinking about the problem.” Contrary to popular belief, trying to let go of a painful thought never works; instead, once we have done The Work, the thought lets go of us. At that point, we can truly love what is, just as it is.

 Byron Katie’s personal story of awakening and enlightenment is powerful. She talks about entering into ten-year-long downward spiral into depression, agoraphobia, self-loathing, and suicidal despair. She drank to excess, her husband brought her pints of ice cream and codeine pills that she ate like candy, and she ended up weighing over two hundred pounds. She says every day she prayed not to wake up the next morning, and it was only because of her concern for her children that she didn’t kill herself. For the last two years of this ordeal she could seldom manage to leave her house; she stayed in her bedroom for days at a time, unable even to shower or brush her teeth. 

 Finally, she checked herself into a halfway house for women with eating disorders—the only facility that her insurance company would pay for. She said the residents were so frightened of her that they put her in an attic bedroom and booby-trapped the staircase at night; they thought she might come down and do something terrible to them.

 After about a week at the halfway house, she had a life-changing experience. She was laying on the floor (she says she didn’t feel worthy enough to sleep in a bed), a cockroach crawled across her ankle and down her foot. She opened her eyes, and all her depression and fear, all the thoughts that had been tormenting her, were gone. She felt intoxicated with joy. The joy persisted for hours, then days, then months and years. 

 She says when she went home, her children, who had lived in fear of her outbursts, could barely recognize her. Her eyes had changed. She was happy all day long, every day, and she was brimming over with love and this has sustained ever since. Her moment of awakening was in the depth of despair a similar experience to what I’ll share about Eckhart Tolle when I get to book 4.

 Book 3: Michael Singer’s The Untethered Soul. This book is amazing and a little more complex. You may need to read it a few times and what’s interesting is each time I go back to read it again, I get something new and great out of it that went right over my head the previous times I read it. It’s in this book that Michael Singer talks about walking around with a thorn in your arm that I’ve used as examples in previous podcast episodes.

 He talks about not healing wounds properly and addressing painful experiences which accumulates to carrying a painful thorn on your arm expecting the world to not bump into it and reinjure you. You become defensive and guarded and build walls around yourself to protect yourself from any more pain. You think you’re living a happy life because you’ve protected yourself from being hurt again but you’ve isolated yourself from the world and your pain is now self-inflicted.

 This book can transform your relationship with yourself and the world around you. It can help you discover what you can do to put an end to the habitual thoughts and emotions that limit your consciousness. By tapping into traditions of meditation and mindfulness, he shows how the development of consciousness can enable you to live in the present moment and let go of painful thoughts and memories that keep you from achieving happiness and self-realization.

 This book is full of “ah-ha” moments and helpful analogies to gain a better understanding of how to separate yourself from your mind or your thoughts. It talks about the egoic self but not in the sense you commonly hear in everyday language…the ego. He references the ego, as many other spiritual seekers and guides do as the thought mind, the false pleasures and mental trappings of the physical world and your perceived reality of where your identity fits in. The false sense of self and who you are versus the true essence of your being.

 This book does center on spirituality; however, he does a good job at staying away from one particular religion and instead weaves the doctrines of many religions and philosophies in a way that draws their wisdom together in unison. 

 Book 4: Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now. I’ve probably referenced Eckhart Tolle in more workshops and training than any other author or spiritual guide. His teachings are truly remarkable and I’ll add that there is a podcast called Eckhart Tolle: Essential Teachings you can listen too, as well. 

 The central theme of the book is the importance of living in the present and enjoying the current moment of life. He correctly points out that for all practical purposes, past and future is nowhere as important as the current moment. His personal story of enlightenment is really amazing. 

 He talks about his deep depression and being near suicide. He was very seriously thinking about taking his own life in order to stop the painful existence of living in his own body. He was living in a constant state of dread and fear and he woke up one night thinking, I can’t live with myself any longer. And this led him to a moment of awareness where he started seeing the thought, I can’t live with myself any longer and thought, hmmm that’s strange, then there must be I and there must be myself. Am I one or two, I seem to be two. Think of this when you have self-talk or self-criticism when you say to yourself, you shouldn’t have done this, why did you do that…this separation exists all the time you’re just not really aware of it.

 His awakening started with asking the question, who is the self I cannot live with and who am I? And he explains that this was the moment his ego dissolved, again that ego word, but the ego was his identity, the false self, the unhappy story. His ego died and his full consciousness came into being. He talks about this in more detail in this book and I think it’s really fascinating and available to all of us.

 And Book 5: Dr. Joe Dispenza’s Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself. This book is less spiritual and more cognitive. He writes, you are not doomed by your genes and hardwired to be a certain way for the rest of your life. All human beings have the power to create the reality they choose. He really uses science to share how your brain works by combining the disciplines of quantum physics, neuroscience, brain chemistry, biology, and genetics to show you what is truly possible.

 He provides knowledge (my favorite) to change any aspect of yourself, and teaches step-by-step tools to apply what you learn in order to make measurable changes in any area of your life. So this book can get a little complicated but only if you let it. Don’t get caught up in trying to understand some of the lingo, read it more for the overall understanding that your brain is malleable and changeable. And while I’m thinking about it, another great book is a recent publication Livewired by David Eagleman.

 The more you understand the capabilities of your brain, how to use it, and how it can actually be changed, the more tools you’ll have to create the change you want in your life including quitting drinking. I always heard the word neuroplasticity in reference to the brain but didn’t know the full extent to which we can change our lives with intention. By knowing how my brain helped me become an overdrinker, I was able to use it to stop overdrinking. It helped me realize there was nothing wrong with me, sick about me, or incapable of changing. All those ideas leading back to mindset and its importance on your journey to stop overdrinking or quit altogether. 

 The journey to create the sustainable change you seek is best traveled with tools and knowledge. Understanding that excess drinking is an escape and finding what you are trying to escape from; understanding that you have the power to change your circumstances with your mind; understanding that life is not meant to be filled with happiness all the time; and understanding that sadness and sorrow are okay, too. 

 The more you take an interest in learning about your mind and brain the more change feels possible and dare I even say exciting. Knowing that you are separate from your thoughts helps you stop judging yourself so harshly and can remove the self-critic keeping you stuck.

 The real key is empowering yourself with curiosity and seeking answers. To not only ask the questions and question your beliefs but asking the right questions and trying to learn about more than you thought you knew. Learn more than what you’ve been taught your whole life because it’s likely all wrong. Be an advocate for your mental and physical health by arming yourself with an open-minded curiosity and grace.