Notes & Quotes: This Naked Mind by Annie Grace

The following are my favorite quotes from Annie Grace's This Naked Mind: Control Alcohol, Find Freedom, Discover Happiness & Change Your Life.
  1. If I can just make myself see the horror of how far I've fallen, maybe I can regain control. Next come the vows, my promises to myself to do things differently tomorrow. To fix this. Promises I never keep.
  2. I want freedom. It's clear now 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.
  3. 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.
  4. "We can't be afraid of change. You may feel very secure in the pond that you are in, but if you never venture out of it, you will never know that there is such a thing as an ocean, a sea." C. JoyBell C.
  5. Don't beat yourself up for anything you have struggled with in the past (including unsuccessful attempts to quit). It's counterproductive.
  6. An inability to control how much you drink is not a sign of weakness. So let's stop any self-loathing right now.
  7. Change often occurs when the pain of the current situation becomes so great you become willing to change without fully understanding what the future holds.
  8. When we want something to change in our lives, we usually start with a conscious decision. However, drinking is no longer a fully conscious choice in your life. Therefore, when you make a conscious decision to drink less, it's almost impossible to adhere to that decision because your larger, more powerful unconscious mind missed the memo.
  9. Without desire, there is no temptation. Without temptation, there is no addiction.
  10. Your physical response when you drink alcohol is to want more. Alcohol hooks you through its addictive and dehydrating nature.
  11. "Truth rests with the minority...because the minority is generally formed by those who really have an opinion." Soren Kierkegaard
  12. A growing body of research suggests our unconscious minds cannot actually tell the difference between a real experience and a vividly imagined fake experience.
  13. The obvious problem is that you can't know when you are in control. Nothing seems different, and in fact as humans we tend to feel in control until something significant shows us that we are not. Even then we will vehemently deny we have lost control.
  14. "First you take a drink, then the drink takes a drink, then the drink takes you. F. Scott Fitzgerald
  15. Recent neurological studies demonstrate that the brain changes in response to alcohol. These changes increase tolerance, diminish the pleasure derived from drinking, and affect the brain's ability to exercise self-control.
  16. "The chains of habit are too weak to be felt until they are too strong to be broken. Samuel Johnson
  17. Our health is the single most important thing we have, and without it, nothing else matters.
  18. Since alcohol is addictive, it has created an imperceptible craving for itself, which, when satisfied, gives him the perception of enjoyment.
  19. I find it strange that, with thousands of beverages in existence, we only use this excuse with alcohol. We don't hear people claiming they drink Coke because it enhances the flavor of their hot dog. It strikes me, as a marketer, that this is a genius marketing tactic. If we can marry the product (alcohol) with the authentic pleasures of eating, we have a much higher chance of selling a glass of wine, at its incredible markup, every time we sell a steak.
  20. When no one else is drinking you feel quite dumb standing around drinking something that is making you lose control of your faculties. If everyone is doing it, there must be good reasons -- it must not be that bad. It's amazing how far we will go to delude ourselves. Tell a lie long enough and convincingly enough, and even the liar will believe it. 
  21. There is ten times the evidence to support the dangers of alcohol, yet it's the small fraction of the research supporting the benefits of drinking that is published and shared, often with the purported benefits taken out of context.
  22. It won't surprise you that severe, chronic depression and heavy drinking are closely linked.
  23. Just one bout of heavy drinking, meaning five drinks in two hours for men or four drinks in two hours for women, can cause permanent alterations in your nerve cells and reduce the size of your individual brain cells.
  24. Your liver acts as your first line of defense. It breaks down the alcohol so that your body can rid itself of the poison as quickly as possible. When breaking down alcohol, your liver releases toxins and damaged liver cells into the bloodstream. These toxins are more dangerous to the brain than the alcohol itself. The toxins released into your brain are responsible for bad sleep, mood imbalance, personality changes (like violence or weeping), anxiety, depression, and shortened attention span, and they can result in coma and death.
  25. Abstinence can help reverse the negative effects on thinking skills, memory, and attention. And over several months to a year structural brain changes have been shown to self-correct.
  26. Binge drinking raises your likelihood of having a stroke by 39%
  27. Alcohol causes or contributes to cancer in different ways. When your liver breaks down alcohol, it produces a toxic chemical called acetaldehyde. Acetalkdehyde damages your cells, rendering them incapable of repair and making them more vulnerable to cancer. Cirrhosis also leads to cancer. Alcohol increases some hormones, including estrogen, contributing to breast cancer risk. It also causes cancer by damaging DNA and stopping our cells from repairing this damage.
  28. "The secret to happiness is freedom. The secret to freedom is courage." Carrie Jones
  29. The fear scales tipped against cigarettes when new research proved smoking causes lung cancer and takes thirty years off your life. Many people quit because their fear of dying from lung cancer outweighed their fear of a life without cigarettes.
  30. Cowardice is when you do not act according to your moral compass, failing to do what you know to be right, because of your fear. In my experience, drinking to shut out life and avoid actual issues I knew I needed to deal with, was, without a doubt the act of a coward.
  31. Humans are not satisfied with simply existing. We look for more. No other animal questions their purpose in life or how they fit into the universe. This is one of the remarkable features that makes us uniquely human. But this questioning often creates a void inside us. We have more questions than answers, which causes tension. We desire more. This affliction is often called "the wound of existence."
  32. Generally, the more we consume the more we desire.
  33. Existentialist psychotherapist Irvin D. Yalom identified what he calls humans' ultimate concerns: death, isolation (loneliness), freedom, and meaning.
  34. The absolute best marketing firms on the globe, firms with psychologists and human behavior specialists on staff, are hired to create the ads. These marketers know that the most effective sale is an emotional sale, one that plays on your deepest fears, your ultimate concerns.
  35. The reality, when the sexy advertisements have been stripped away, is that the actual product is ethanol. It is a horrible-tasting, addictive poison. So we sweeten it with sugar and flavoring or process it to make it more palatable. The product's product is inebriation, a gradual deadening of your senses until you become completely intoxicated. And the side effects that are never disclosed are many.
  36. Would we allow cocaine to be advertised in the same way? Can you imagine a $12 million commercial playing during the Super Bowl, with millions of young minds watching, proclaiming how amazing their lives will become if they snort a few lines? Why do we see cocaine and alcohol so differently, especially when, in the United States, alcohol kills 241 people per day and cocaine kills only fifteen people per day? Why do we glamorize the benefits of drinking?
  37. "Alcohol doesn't permit one to do things better but instead causes us to be less ashamed of doing things poorly." W. Osler
  38. I am appalled by how many awful things I did under the influence. Addiction is humbling, and I have been humbled enough to know that I am capable of anything, no matter how abhorrent, if the circumstances are right. Anyone is.
  39. The more you dwell on reasons not to drink, the more upset you feel when you abstain and the worse you feel when you give in to temptation.
  40. "You cannot find peace by avoiding life." Virginia Woolf
  41. Alcohol erases a bit of you every time you drink it. It can even erase entire nights when you are on a binge. Alcohol does not relieve stress; it erases your senses and your ability to think. Alcohol ultimately erases your self.
  42. Alcohol suppresses the release of glutamate, resulting in a slowdown along your brain's neural highways. You literally think more slowly. 
  43. "No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path." Buddha
  44. All addicts lie to themselves and others. They do this to protect themselves and minimize the internal trauma caused by their conflict of wills.
  45. It's not that alcohol makes drinkers happy; it's that they are very unhappy without it. 
  46. Scientists and doctors now agree that there is no such thing as an addictive personality.
  47. Alcohol addiction is so scary that contemplation of suicide is 120 times more likely among adult alcoholics, with alcohol involved in a third of all suicides in the U.S.
  48. "Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself." Rumi
  49. Nothing says addicted more than trying to prove we're not.
  50. You only struggled to make rational decisions about alcohol because your unconscious mind had been conditioned to believe lies about alcohol and because alcohol's addictive nature physically affected you. The key is to make a conscious decision to see alcohol in its true form. To allow yourself to see what it really is and smugly decide that it is the last thing you would ever want to put in your amazing body.
  51. This is a journey, not a destination. It is a road that no one can walk but you. These are choices that no one can make but you. But know that by committing to a different future, no matter how many battles you have ahead of you, the war has already been won.