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Book Review : “This Naked Mind” | By Mary Gavin: CO Yoga + Life Mag

This book is a total game-changer for those looking to cultivate a mindful relationship with alcohol. “This Naked Mind” is of particular benefit to those wishing to limit alcohol intake, although author Annie Grace makes it clear that giving up the sauce is not a requirement. She gives you the facts and empowers you to choose for yourself the role that alcohol will play in your life.

I had the pleasure of meeting Annie Grace at an author event at a Colorado bookstore, The Bookworm of Edwards, and it was an honor to hear about the inspiration for writing this book — her personal experience and subsequent success with sobriety after years of alcohol abuse. She credits her change in perspective to Dr. John Sarno, whom she worked with to cure her issues with chronic back pain. Dr. Sarno’s approach investigates the mind-body connection and implements practices to address the deepest root-cause of an affliction rather than simply remedying symptoms alone. Her success with this methodology got her wondering if this approach could be successful with addressing alcohol abuse. She used herself as the “guinea pig” and found tremendous success. This was the initial impetus for her writing and publishing “This Naked Mind: Control Alcohol, Find Freedom, Discover Happiness & Change Your Life.”

The subconscious mind is said to be the driving force behind desires. Although we can make the conscious decision not to drink, without addressing our subconscious beliefs and desires, therein lies cognitive dissonance. Grace defines cognitive dissonance as “the mental stress or discomfort that is experienced by someone who holds two contradictory values, ideas or beliefs at the same time.” She explains, “It’s so much easier to tell myself that it’s OK to have a drink at 8 a.m., because it’s 10 p.m. at home, than to experience internal conflict.”

In her book, Grace lays out the facts. What is really behind our desire to drink? She delves into brain science to demystify the physical reasons behind the urge to have that second drink and questions “Are we really drinking for the taste? ”or does drinking really give us “liquid courage”? These commonly-held beliefs are explored in detail offering perspective and awareness. This awareness brings subconscious beliefs and desires to the conscious level in order to inspire deep and lasting change.

What deeply resonated with me as a reader and now fellow non-drinker is the idea (fact) that wholeheartedly embodying my happiest and most vibrant self has nothing to do with alcohol. It’s not about shame or re-hashing past events. It’s about creating a new image. Grace shares, “The real surprise was how my life improved in ways I didn’t expect … We believe we lack some vital ingredient necessary to the enjoyment of our lives. We conclude that we are deficient; we need substances to enjoy life and deal with stress. We’ve been unconsciously conditioned to believe that alcohol helps us compensate for this deficiency.”

Alcohol doesn’t make me funny, I do. Alcohol doesn’t actually ease anxiety, listening clearly to my body and my spirit does. And if I “need” to drink to enjoy something, do I really enjoy it? I cannot possibly recommend this book enough, especially to those who venture into the “yogic” lifestyle. This book is about awareness, empowerment and choice. It’s about non-violence, truth and a deep level of self-love. It is essentially yoga “off the mat.” And it changed my life.

It’s about non-violence, truth and a deep level of self-love.

Additional resources:

The Alcohol Experiment: A 30-day alcohol-free challenge to interrupt your habits and help you take control (2019)

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