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Archive for the 'Sexy Sobriety' Category

Anxiety Rescue: How Coco Chanel and Leonardo da Vinci Can Help You Overcome Anxiety and Reclaim Youthful Joy

Monday, April 8th, 2019

 

Nature gives you the face you have at twenty; it is up to you to merit the face you have at fifty. ~ Coco Chanel

 

 

Like me, Coco Chanel loved to be surrounded by flowers and to spend time walking amongst, or gazing upon, nature to replenish.

“I often found her alone sitting at her dressing table, gazing down into the garden, looking at the chestnut trees,“ recounts Claude Delay, now an imminent psychoanalyst who once knew Coco in her youth.

We all know the physical benefits of nature—being amongst plants and flowers boosts mental well-being. A series of published studies have shown clear links between gardening and positivity.

One study found levels of the stress hormone cortisol in those who gardened were considerably lower those who people who relaxed by reading.

Even the simple act of looking out a window to green space has been linked to reduced stress levels and faster recovery from illness.

“The garden brings stillness,” says Lisa, a marketing executive who says she couldn’t have survived her working life without a garden.

“Touching the soil is one of the most reenergizing things I can do. Everything slows down. My mind works differently. I don’t set out to solve problems but the answers seem to come.  These days if ever I am stressed it will be because I haven’t been in the garden.”

Similarly, Cathy who suffers from anxiety and depression finds solace in a small vegetable garden she started behind her flat.

“When I become immobilized by my anxiety, the garden gives me something achievable to get started on. Gardening is methodical I can go out there and think, ‘What does my garden need?’ It could be as simple as pulling caterpillars off some broccoli. Tuning in to this helps me get more in touch with things outside of myself.”

As I share in my latest book, Anxiety Rescue: How to Overcome Anxiety, Panic, and Stress and Reclaim Joy, I have suffered from social anxiety a great deal of my life. Since my move to a lifestyle property immersing myself in nature has been one of my favorite rescue remedies. Just look at these wee beauties my partner and I grew and harvested this autumn.

 

 

Eating organics, time in nature, meditating daily and doing my best to stress less, are some of the many strategies I share in

 

As Coco said, Nature gives you the face you have at twenty; it is up to you to merit the face you have at fifty. This year I’m turning 54. Last year, when the photo was taken of me flying a with a friend I was 53. I think, all things considered, I do merit the face I have in my 50s. I don’t smoke, rarely drink, don’t take drugs and invest in wellbeing lifestyle strategies daily. I’ve worked hard and continue to work hard to be of service to myself and others—and to be of service to my vege garden.

 

Your Challenge

Experience the healing power of nature. Whether you’re blessed with green fingers or not, it doesn’t matter what you doing—just that you get outside in some green space every day.

Monitor how much time you spend indoors. Schedule regular fresh air time.

Beauty surrounds us, but usually,

we need to be walking in a garden to know it.

~ Rumi, Persian poet

 

My story—living well with anxiety

I’ve experienced some horror work experiences during my life and career—everything from toxic shaming, acute bullying, and being physically threatened. As recently as last year, I experienced the ruthless, underhand, malicious tactics of a narcissistic woman who tried to destroy my career.

Unsurprisingly, all of these experience increased my anxiety levels. Had I not trained to be a therapist and invested so much time and energy in self-care and resilience strategies I’m not sure I could have coped. Many of these strategies, and those that have helped my clients, I share in Anxiety Rescue: How to Overcome Anxiety, Panic, and Stress and Reclaim Joy

For most of my childhood, and well into my adulthood, I suffered from what I now know was social anxiety. For many, many years it remained undiagnosed and untreated.  Were it not for the wise counsel of a psychic when I was in my teens who encouraged me to turn my wounds into healing by training to become a counselor, I may still be suffering silently. Yes, folks, there is such a thing as the ‘helpers high.’ Helping others feels good.

The source of my anxiety can be attributed in part to narcissistic abuse and toxic shaming. Some healers have attributed it to a past-life trauma that I carried forward into this life. They told me that I walk the path of jealousy and that relationships are my greatest challenges, but also my most powerful avenue of healing.

You may not believe in past lives or reincarnation and you do not need to in order to benefit from the help contained within this book and others in the Anxiety Rescue series.

But, in the spirit of authenticity, it feels important to share how I have experienced much healing by journeying into the mystery of mysteries—both the body’s and the soul’s journey. It is for this reason, amongst others that I have devoted a whole section to spiritual health.

I learned later in life, and continue to learn, that healing my family trauma and helping others is my soul purpose in this lifetime.

My purpose can be summed up in one word—love.

To help others love and be loved in return, including self-love and valuing ourselves more than the poisons we may have ingested from people, experiences, circumstances, as we go through this lifetime, is a great joy.

However, it took me many years to find the gift of my anxiety. My hope is that by writing Anxiety Rescue, I may speed up this journey for you.

My anxiety was so bad for most of my teens I tried to drink my way to confidence and numb my anxious feelings with alcohol. In fact, for many years I was so acutely self-conscious I wore green foundation under my makeup to try to hide my blushing face.

People used to call me ‘beetroot’ and laugh at me. I was also mercilessly body shamed during my childhood and teenage years. Honestly, for so much of my life all I wanted to do was hide. Often I didn’t care if I lived or died.

Anxiety will do that to you—until you befriend it and learn what it wants you to know.

When I was planning my wedding in my late twenties,  I wanted a table down the back where no one could see me. Have you ever been to a wedding where the bride wanted to hide?

That’s why, untreated, anxiety is so cruel. It can make us want to stay in the shadows. It can prevent us from standing in the light. Anxiety left unchallenged can deny us from acknowledging our gifts. It can also leave us splintered, in denial or fear or shame, of those aspects of our personality we need to wield from time to time—but have been taught to devalue and deny.

Saying no to denying who we really are and who we truly want to be and showing up, warts and all reduces anxiety. Self-acceptance and integration of the polarities within us—the light and the dark, the fear and the courage, the sadness, and the anger, the anger and the joy, and the other dualities that, unless befriended wage war within, is the road to inner peace.

We’ll dive deeper into the value of integrating shadow work in Anxiety Rescue.

For many years I didn’t live authentically. I tried, somewhat unsuccessfully, to be someone else. I tried to be who others wanted me to be. Sometimes this was an act of self-preservation driven by fear. Often it was a mistaken belief about my value and the value of my gifts.

As I’ve shared in many of my other self-empowerment books, I was once told that I had the soul of an artist. Actively discouraged in childhood, for a long time I’d closed off that side of me. I began my career as a bank teller, then as an accountant, then as a recruitment consultant, followed by more ‘business-minded’ careers.

Each time I went further and further away from who I truly was and the things that gave me joy.

As you’ll discover in Anxiety Rescue, reclaiming joy and living on purpose is a powerful antidote for anxiety. It offers holistic, integrated healing on so many levels—mind, body, and soul.

Recently, in my early fifties, I was been diagnosed with generalized trauma. All I can say is “Wow! What a relief!”

No wonder life has felt such a struggle,

Generalized trauma is similar to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, except that rather than being caused by one traumatic event, it covers a multitude of traumatic events.

Essentially, as Dr. Diane Langberg, Clinical Psychologist and Co-Leader of the Global Trauma Recovery Institute,  says if you suffer generalized trauma you’ve effectively been marinated in trauma from an early age.

Talk about toxicity in the body.

I count myself lucky. Which may surprise you. But as you’ll discover in Anxiety Rescue, when we befriend our anxiety we can find great fulfillment, purpose, and joy.

As the Persian poet and philosopher Rumi once said, “Our wounds are where the light comes in.”

Light, love, kindness, hope—these positive energies provide the healing balm we all need.

My trauma,  my anxiety, and my depression have led me to my Dharma or my purpose in life. My hope is that all that I share in Anxiety Rescue will help you too.

Much love to you

 

 

I hope you enjoyed this wee edited excerpt from Anxiety Rescue: How to Overcome Anxiety, Panic, and Stress and Reclaim Joy.

Midlife can be magic—it’s largely determined by you. We can make midlife a mess or we can invest in creating something truly remarkable. If anxiety, depression, despair or any other cloud of negativity is robbing you of the life you truly want, take heart. There is a cure.

Join me in learning the success strategies of successful men and women throughout time—including two of my favorite muses, Leonardo da Vinci and Coco Chanel.

 

 

Praise for Anxiety Rescue

“Cassandra’s book is for anyone interested in ending anxiety issues, but also, for those who seek deeper meaning in their lives. Anxiety Rescue covers a range of healing methods and a variety of topics, from self-acceptance to prosperity. It’s a book about total well-being. Cassandra restates the wisdom of Leonardo Da Vinci, Coco Chanel and other important historical and modern-day figures who have much to teach about authenticity and success. An uplifting, informative and inspirational work! I highly recommend Anxiety Rescue.”

~ Valeria Teles

Author of Fit For Joy

 

“Cassandra explores the nature of anxiety and the effect it has on our physical, emotional, and spiritual self. She draws on much of her research and writings from others of her self-help books. In true Cassandra Gaisford style of practical application—this book is for committed self-helpers.”

~ Catherine Sloan

Counselor

 

“Lighthearted and uplifting! Anxiety Rescue is a book with a catalog of ideas, intertwined with the historical endeavors of Leonardo da Vinci and Coco Chanel. Learning about these two people while navigating how to rid my life of anxiety was fun and playful. I’m grateful to the author for taking this approach as I feel like I have a path that can easily be followed now. I highly recommend this book!”

~ Chelsea Behrens

Creator of Leading with Authenticity

#1 in Four Categories

 

 

 

This is an edited extract of Anxiety Rescue: How to Overcome Anxiety, Panic, and Stress and Reclaim Joy by Cassandra Gaisford. To order a copy for less than the price of coffee and cake go to Amazon:

US—https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07NKV6K9K

UK—https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07NKV6K9K

or your local Amazon store.

FREE for Subscribers of Kindle Unlimited

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Mind Your Drink—How to become sexier, slimmer, and healthier

Tuesday, February 26th, 2019

 

Me enjoying sobriety at Tisa’s barefoot bar in American Samoa in Feb 2019. Heavenly—and the coconut infused mocktail was divine!

 

Many people mistakenly believe drinking alcohol will increase their happiness. But alcohol is a depressant and in large quantities is draining on your body and mind.

Alcohol has been found in many studies to significantly reduce serotonin 45 minutes after drinking. The sleep rhythms of people who have drunk alcohol the day before are significantly different from control groups who didn’t drink alcohol but very similar to patients with depression.

Numerous studies suggest that low serotonin is the mechanism behind both depression and anxiety after alcohol consumption.

Experience may have already taught you that too much booze increases anxiety, muddles the mind, ignites aggression, reduces responsiveness, and ultimately depresses.

It’s also hard to quit—alcohol is one of the most addictive legal drugs on the planet.

It’s also a well-documented neurotoxin—a toxic substance that inhibits, damages, and destroys the tissues of your nervous system.

To improve their mental health many people limit their drinking or consciously decide not to touch a drop. Keeping their resolve often takes extraordinary willpower.

Author and public speaker Deepak Chopra gave up drinking. “I liked it too much,” he once said. Steven King, after almost losing his family and destroying his writing career, managed to quit.

Other people like Amy Winehouse devastatingly never made it. At only 27, she died of alcohol poisoning in 2011.

The risk of suicide also increases for stressed people who turn to drink. As I’ve already discussed, alcohol abuse and excessive drinking is a major cause of anxiety and depression, impairs mental reasoning and critical thinking—increasing the likelihood of making tragic and often impulsive choices.

There is also clear evidence between alcohol consumption and violence and other types of aggressive behavior. Aggressive behavior is also heavily linked to low serotonin levels. Some experts suggest that aggressive behavior after a period of alcohol may be due to alcohol’s disrupting effects on serotonin metabolism—as little as two standard drinks can ignite anger.

To better understand why people often become aggressive and violent after drinking alcohol, researchers in Australia used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans to measure blood flow in the brain. They noted that after only two drinks, there were changes in the working of the brain’s prefrontal cortex, the part normally involved in tempering a person’s aggressive levels.

Risking ruining your relationships, ruining your career, sacrificing your sanity, and in the extreme, taking your life, is a massive price to pay for a mistaken belief that to be happy, or to numb your anxiety or cope with stress you need to drink more booze.

Boost your resilience beautifully by exploring your relationship to drink and approaching it more mindfully. Consider, a period of sobriety. Instead of focusing on what you may be giving up, turn your mind to what you may gain—a better, more energized version of yourself.

The many benefits of reducing your alcohol intake, or not drinking at all, include:

• A stronger ability to focus on your goals and dreams

• Improved confidence and self-esteem

• Increased productivity

• Increased memory, mental performance, and decision-making

• Better control of your emotions

• Sweeter relationships

• Greater intuition and spiritual intelligence

• Authentic happiness

Your body never lies, but many people soldier on, ignoring the obvious warning signs that it’s time to scale back their drinking or lose the booze.

• Headaches

• Anxiety

• Depression

• Insomnia

• Aggression

• Blackouts

• Low energy and fatigue

• High blood pressure

…are just a few of many signs that it may be time to control alcohol before it controls you.

It’s easy to rationalize these feelings away, but the reality is that your mind, body,  and soul are screaming out for liberation.

Have the courage to say ‘yes’ to pursuing a more energizing alternative.

Your body is a great source of wisdom and counsel—one that is increasingly respected by psychologists and medical professionals. Somatic Psychology, a branch of traditional psychotherapy, addresses what for so long was missing in the field of talk therapy.

Soma is a Greek word meaning “the living body” and is grounded in the belief that not only are thought, emotion and bodily experience inextricably linked (creating a bodymind), but also that change can be brought about in one domain of experience by mindfully accessing another.

You may consider asking your body next time you feel tempted to drink or feel the first flush of alcohol hit your system, “what does this beer (or whatever you are drinking) want me to know?” This may seem weird, but stick with me!

When I tried this recently, my body told me, “This alcohol makes me feel sick. I don’t want it. Don’t drink any more of it.”

My mind, however, was telling me a different and conflicting story as it rattled through a range of old stories and false beliefs.

In this case, as in others, I trusted my body barometer.

Very often people don’t listen to their body barometers until it’s too late and health havoc can set in. Leonardo da Vinci once said that people were more motivated to act by fear than they were by love. I’ll let you decide, but whether the joy of health nirvana or the fear of health havoc rules supreme, as long as you heed the call for change you’ll always win.

Health Nirvana

Controlling alcohol consumption or quitting for good has numerous positive benefits. Everything is interconnected but let’s try to categorize a few of the health benefits you can expect with sobriety:

Physical Health

• Improved liver function and health

• Better sleep

• Better eating habits

• Younger, healthier looking skin, hair, and nails

• Improved vision and clearer eyes

• Weight loss or healthy weight gain

• Increased energy and vitality

• Strengthened immune system, warding off illness and disease

• Lower blood pressure

• Optimal digestive function

 

Mental Health

• Increased mental clarity

• Newfound motivation and determination

• Natural resilience

• Boost self-esteem and confidence

• Greater resilience to stress

• Improved memory

• Clarity

• Heightened intuition

• Heightened brain function

• Improved productivity

• Heightened sensory skills—everything looks, feels, tastes, sounds clearer and brighter

• Heightened willpower

• More truthfulness and honesty

• Long and short-term memory improves

• Aversion to negative thinking

• Improvement of coexisting conditions (anxiety, depression, bipolar, etc.)

• A desire to help others

 

Emotional Health

• Persistent and lasting feelings of joy

• Authentic happiness

• Improved relationships

• The increased joy of looking and feeling healthier and better about yourself

• Increased ability to create lasting, loving relationships

• Improved interactions with people

• Feeling younger

• Feeling empowered, in control and free

• More laughter and spontaneous joy

• An improved general sense of contentment and wellbeing

• Greater self-awareness

• Higher emotional intelligence and ability to self-regulate

• Improved sleep-related benefits

• Increased interest and engagement in new activities, hobbies or learning

• Feelings of freedom, hope, self-worth, and self-empowerment

 

If alcohol is a known cause for more than 60 different adverse health conditions, I’m betting sobriety is a known cause of more than 60 different positive health conditions—maybe even triple that. But finding data to back me up is hard to find. It seems more money is poured into measuring harm than keeping statistics related to health.

Keep your own stats and set yourself up to succeed. To support and maintain your sobriety, really absorb all the benefits.  Enjoy the anticipated positive results of sobriety at the start of your day, in the evening, or whenever you have a spare moment.

When you are sober, be sure to be mindful and really enjoy the results of your efforts. For example, as I write this chapter,  notice I’m feeling energized, clear-headed, purposeful, and excited. I have the youthful expectant energy of a child. I feel a sense of self-worth with all that I have achieved today. I think I may take a wee break now, reward myself and go out and play!

I also draw my attention to how much I appreciate and value my improved relationship with my partner and my mother, and I love, love, love that I’m a positive influence on my 26-year-old daughter who has chosen to go alcohol-free and is not only loving it but is positively influencing all her friends. Her anxiety has disappeared and she is glowing.

I have way more self-belief and am both less critical of others and myself, and no longer hypersensitive to others barbs and attacks when I don’t drink.

Did drinking less alcohol do all that? Not entirely. As I said earlier, controlling alcohol requires a systemic approach and making lifestyle changes both in health behaviors and other factors which I discuss throughout my sobriety books, Mind Your Drink and Your Beautiful Mind.

Putting the spotlight on the harm alcohol caused me, my family, my loved ones, within my community and the world at large also drives me. Negatives can be positives when seen in the right light and used constructively.

I no longer feel like the booze hag who once wrote this:

“Pretty much four months after I decided to say no to booze, but the little bugger has slipped into my psyche again. Last night and the night before I had two vodkas and orange—freshly squeezed. 4pm-ish. I watched myself, observed myself. The knowledge that I was tired, weary, that I needed to meditate.

But I wanted that quick fix.

That nice little forgetting of alcohol. But who’s paying now? 12:15 A.M. and I’m wide awake. I haven’t woken like this in months. I don’t feel flash either. Yesterday I was excited about my book Flight of Passion—now I feel like it’s crap. It’s the depressing booze, my head aches, my throat and chest burns.”

 

Instead, in my journal ‘sober me’ wrote:

Hello Sunday Morning! I’m so grateful for John’s drunkenness last night. It’s strengthened my resolve. I want nothing to with the poison of drink—unless it’s with a refined meal or a celebration. I’ve woken up clear-headed, clear-hearted, my energy bright, looking forward to the day.

“When you are full of food and drink an ugly statue sits where your spirit should be.” ~ Rumi

Even if people think it’s no big deal to drink a glass of wine at dinner it’s important to know your body’s reaction to alcohol and not just go along with the crowd.

I’d forgotten my assignment on spiritual approaches to the treatment of alcohol addiction. I must revisit it.

A blackbird rustles amongst Autumn leaves. John is at his desk. The door is shut. I walk past the front window. “Would you like an orange juice?”

No, he wouldn’t.

His eyes are dead, remorseful—as though regretting his foolishness. His skin is gray, pallid, like that of a dying man.

Rumi is right….an ugly statue sits where his spirit should be.

Even the Romans once ate and drank from a lead cup. Poison in poison.

 

You’ll find plenty of yummy, sexy, and sober recipes in Mind Over Mojitos: How Moderating Your Drinking Can Change Your Life—Easy Alcohol-Free Recipes for Happier Hours & a Joy Filled Life

 

Health Havoc

When you pollute your body with alcohol, a known carcinogen, and neurotoxin, it’s going to play havoc with your health. Big time. Perhaps not today, not tomorrow, but it will happen, and when it does, I doubt you’ll be happy about it.

You may even swear and curse your stupidity, as my step-father did when he was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer, “You bloody stupid fool,” he said, sadly and stoically accepting his fate when told he had a month to live. Having enjoyed smoking for many years, I know he would have done anything to undo the wrongs of the past.

Alcohol, as I have said, is a known cause for more than 60 different adverse health conditions, listed below are just a few:

 

Physical Health

• Carcinogenic—causes cancer in living tissue. Strong links between cancers of the liver, breast, bowel, upper throat, mouth, esophagus and larynx

• Negatively affects brain development in young people

• Depresses your entire nervous system

• Compromises your immune system, making you less resistant to illness and disease

• Interferes with the body’s ability to absorb calcium, resulting in bones that are weaker, softer, and more brittle

• Kills cells and disrupts cellular metabolic processes

• Distorts your eyesight, making it difficult to adjust to the differing light and compromising clarity

• Diminishes your ability to distinguish between sounds and perceive their direction

• Slurs your speech

• Dulls your sense of taste and smell

• Damages the lining of your throat

• Weakens your muscles

• Inhibits the production of white and red blood cells

• Destroys your stomach lining

• Poisons you and can cause death

• Disrupts your sleep cycle, reduces rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, creates insomnia

• Suppresses breathing and can precipitate sleep apnea

• Increases weight or causes unhealthy weight loss

• Strips your body of vital nutrients and causes malnutrition

• Increases the likelihood of indulging in risky, unsafe and unlawful behaviors

• Heightens suicidal thoughts

 

Mental Health

• Causes anxiety and depression and other mental disorders

• Lowers the levels of serotonin in your brain—a chemical that helps to regulate your mood

• Destroys your brain cells

• Increases suicidal tendencies

• Negatively impacts memory

• Causes permanent damage to your brain

• Alters your brain chemistry

• Escalates aggression

• Increases stress levels

• Triggers dormant mental illnesses (bi-polar etc.)

• Disruptions in REM sleep may cause daytime drowsiness, poor concentration, and low mood

• Depletes willpower

 

Emotional Health

• Undermines your self-esteem and self-respect

• Depletes your courage, confidence

• Undermines your relationships with your partner, family, and friends

• Contributes to depression

• Reduces self-control

• Increases the difficulty in maintaining healthy relationships, including with bosses, co-workers and, clients

• Creates financial strain, leading to more stress, worry any and anxiety

 

And that just a few ways that alcohol can play havoc with your health. The increased risk of developing arthritis, cancer, heart disease, hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia, kidney disease, obesity, nervous disorders, and many psychological disturbances can all be attributed to alcohol abuse. And as you know, acute alcohol poisoning can cause death.

Find out more about short and long-term effects that drinking alcohol has on many different parts of your body here—https://www.alcohol.org.nz/alcohol-its-effects/body-effects.

Your mind and body may seem like separate entities but when you let your body override your craving mind you find a reservoir of unbridled power. Your body barometer never lies, and as we’ve seen, can save your life by expelling toxins from your system.

 

When you drink alcohol or feel hung over what do you notice? How does this differ from times when you feel sober?

If you fall off the wagon and start drinking again don’t be too hard on your beautiful self. Practice mindfulness and self-compassion and tune into your body barometer.

How do you feel? Have the headaches, nausea, depression, aggression or anxiety returned again?

Journal your experience as I did to reinforce your awareness and to strengthen your resolve to stop drinking again.

You’ll find helpful sobriety journalling tips in my book, The Sobriety Journal: The Easy Way to Stop Drinking: The Effortless Path to Being Happy, Healthy and Motivated Without Alcoholgetbook.at/SobrietyJournal

 

The Path to Sobriety

In my books Mind Your Drink and Your Beautiful Mind, I break down the path to sobriety in ways you can easily understand and apply to your own life.

Knowledge is power. Ultimately long-term success in winning the war on alcohol can be explained through medical science and psychology—and understanding the psychological warfare tactics of the world’s best marketers. You do realize that the booze barons act narcissistically to encourage you to act against your best interests, right?

Understanding alcohol from all angles offers substantive reasons for why it keeps you hooked.

Importantly, what I’d love you to take away from reading this book, and those focused on controlling alcohol is that there is no one path to sobriety. You may or may not be able to go it alone, you may need help, you may need therapy, but regardless of the approach you take, controlling alcohol is a long-term lifestyle change.

Very often, as I’ve said, it may mean spotlighting and healing the wounds of your past.

In my books Mind Your Drink and Your Beautiful Mind comedian and former addict Russel Brand shares his story of childhood sexual abuse in his book Recovery: Freedom From Our Addictions. In his book, he reinterprets The Twelve Step recovery process and champions the call for abstinence.

Similarly, Duff McKagan, the former bass guitarist of Guns N’ Roses and one of the world’s greatest rock musicians, shares how he used alcohol to self-medicate his agonizing anxiety. The origin of his pain he says stemmed from being asked to lie to his mother about his father’s affairs, their subsequent divorce, and his father’s own heavy drinking.

McKagan devised his own program of anxiety treatment and alcohol recovery. Read the inspiring story of a man who partied so hard he nearly died, in his book It’s So Easy and Other Lies.

Anne Dowsett Johnson, a journalist and self-described recovering alcoholic, and the daughter of an alcoholic herself, urges us all to wake up to the willful blindness to the damages of drinking in our culture, and explores disturbing trends and false promises peddled by alcohol barons in her book Drink: The Intimate Relationship Between Women and Alcohol. For Dowsett, medical intervention through prescribed anti-depressants played an instrumental role in her recovery.

AA’s 12-step approach didn’t work for stressed entrepreneur Russ Parry. But years of therapy, couple counseling, renewing his faith and a program of recovery offered by his church did—alongside changing his relationship to work. He shares his journey to abstinence in his book, The Sober Entrepreneur.

These are just some of the many people and books I have come to admire as I embarked on my own journey to understand why I once drank so much and why I couldn’t stop.

For these people, sharing their stories was part of their healing process—that and the desire to pay-it-forward. In my book, Employ Yourself from my bestselling Mid-Life Career Rescue series, I share how health coach Sheree Clark numbed her anxiety, stress and job blues by over-drinking until she realized booze was never going to be a long-term sustainable solution.

She’s sold her business and created a new career as a healthy living coach. She still enjoys a drink—but that since her career change that she couldn’t be happier or healthier.

As the former addict and leading neuroscientist Marc Lewis writes in this book, The Biology of Desire: Why Addiction is Not a Disease, alcoholism, and addiction “can spring up in anyone’s backyard. It attacks our politicians, our entertainers, our relatives, and often ourselves. It’s become ubiquitous, expectable, like air pollution and cancer.”

Shaming, blaming and naming is not the cure, compassion understanding, and living life on your terms is.

As Lewis also notes, “Many experts highlight the value of empowerment for overcoming addiction. In fact, most former addicts claim that empowerment, not powerlessness, was essential to them, especially in the latter stages of their recovery. Sensitivity to the meaning of empowerment in recovery may be greatest for those who’ve been disempowered in their social world, including women, minorities, the poor, and those with devastating family histories.”

Abusing alcohol is not a disease. It’s a coping strategy—one, before reading this book, you may not have been aware of.

As you read this book, you’ll reclaim your power and decide whether alcohol has anything positive to contribute to your life at all, or whether you’d be better off putting your money, your energy, your time, your happiness and your health into something, or someone, who’s a less abusive lover.  Yes, you will decide—it’s that simple, and at times, that difficult.

Not everyone battles with booze. Whether you cut back or eliminate alcohol entirely, the choice is ultimately yours. Only you know the benefits alcohol delivers or the success it destroys.

You may enjoy reading my blog post on spiritual approaches to the treatment of alcohol addiction—http://www.cassandragaisford.com/spiritual-approaches-to-the-treatment-of-alcohol-addiction/

If you’d like to experiment with a period of sobriety or you need help to you moderate your drinking, Mind Your Drink: The Surprising Joy of Sobriety, available as a paperback and eBook will help.  You can also find a range of books and resources offering help to quit, including alcohol-free alternatives on my website—http://www.cassandragaisford.com/books-and-resources/control-alcohol/

 

My daughter, Hannah, and her fab partner Josh, enjoying alcohol-free wine at Christmas.

 

 

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 Why Being Inspired Matters: The Spontaneous Fulfillment and Healing Power of Joy

Why Sobriety is Cool, Sophisticated, and Savvy

How stepping away from your work can boost your mood, reduce anxiety and spark joy

The fastest way to go from stress to joy without being overwhelmed

The Life-Changing Benefits of Unplugging

Does talk therapy actually work?

 

Here are three more things you might like:


Interesting interviews: Listen to my best interviews on topics like overcoming obstacles, finding joy in adversity, following your passion to prosperity.


Online Course: Find Your Passion and Purpose with my best-selling self-paced course made for busy people.


Keynote speaking: Hire me to speak to your organization or team about Resilience, wellbeing, innovation, and motivation.


You can get more of my thoughts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


For personalized help schedule a session with Cassandra here >>

 

Discover the joy of sobriety. Listen to Cassandra’s interview with Melinda Hammond—https://writerontheroad.com/128-name-poison-writers-alcohol-creative-muse-cassandra-gaisford/

could you do Christmas sober?

Thursday, November 22nd, 2018

The holiday season is meant to be a time of family togetherness filled with joy and peace.

But the reality is what we see in our communities, read about in the newspapers, and witness on television is the opposite.  Many people experience a flare-up of anxiety, stress, depression, and guilt, others are victims of domestic violence, and innocent people are impacted by others booze-fuelled antics.

To make matters worse, the most common way people deal with the stress is by emotional drinking, bingeing and in many cases using alcohol and other substances just to survive.

We all know the harm excessive alcohol consumption does to families—child assault, fractured relationships, financial stress, aggression, murders of loved ones, drunk driving leading to death or disablement. ..and these are just some of the “avoidable” effects of our drunk culture. And then, of course, there’s a possible stint in prison.
 I know how stressful Christmas can be, but trust me when I say, alcohol is not the road to happiness. I hate to see you get derailed on your wellness, health and weight goals but what I hate to see even more is the guilt it can bring and the self-loathing and self-doubt that comes with it.

Could you do Christmas sober?

Would it be easier for you to control your alcohol consumption if it wasn’t so readily available? What if it wasn’t shoved in your face every time you walked down the street or went shopping for groceries? Many people say, ‘yes’ but they feel powerless to stop the spread of alcohol in their lives and communities.

“A lot of people are deeply dissatisfied by the diminishing control they have over their lives, because of the way our system of government is set up, to cater to the powerful, cater to the wealthy, cater to the corporations, and not to the individual citizen,” says activist Josh Fox.

Do you know how much money litigious alcohol lobbyists spend each year trying to convince governments and local bodies to relax attempts at alcohol restraint? Where one party is motivated by protecting people from avoidable harm and creating safer communities, the other appears to be motivated purely by sales-driven, self-serving profit.

Let me be clear, I’m not against alcohol companies per se, and I don’t believe a nice drink now and then is an abhorrent evil. What does get my back up is underhand tactics, misinformation, and self-interest at the expense of others. That, and not sticking around to mop up the harm.

According to figures published by the Center for Responsive Politics in 2017, the total lobbying expenditures in the US for Beer, Wine & Liquor was a staggering USD $22,607,510—and this is just the money that was reported.

Incentives and kickbacks to aid and abet favorable practices abound in many industries whose primary goal is to maximize profits and returns to shareholders.

The owner of our local liquor store, for example, was rewarded for selling the highest volume of 1125ml bottles of rum with an all expenses paid trip to Jamacia. That’s quite a juicy incentive to up the volume of sales.

Many booze barons and the companies they create operate similarly to banks—fair weather friends while you’re spending but less than benevolent when you’re drowning in debt or reeling under the impact of alcohol-fuelled harm.

 

Here are just a few things that alcohol lobbyists strongly oppose:

• Advertising and promotion constraints

• Alcohol control—including raising the legal age for drinking

• Increases in product-specific taxes (designed to offset harm or reduce consumption)

 

Let me give you several home-grown examples of how lobbyists can exert their influence.

In 1999 the legal purchasing age in New Zealand was lowered from 20 to 18. Despite several calls for legislation against the change, and repeated attempts to raise the drinking age again, it’s proven easier to reduce the drinking age than it has to raise it.

Lawmakers continually and overwhelmingly support the status quo and, despite the increasing scale of harm, the legal drinking age remains 18. MPs, swayed by lobbyists successfully argued “If we say to people that you can vote, you can marry, you can fight for your country and you can die, then logically you shouldn’t say to them you shouldn’t drink in a public bar.”

Compelling logic if one accepts that teenagers should go to war, and ignores the issue that alcohol is a highly addictive drug.

Phil Goff, the Labor justice spokesman at the time of the changes, vehemently argued for a tightening of the 20-year age limit, citing overseas evidence linking increased road deaths to lower ages, and also citing public opinion polls that were against a lower age.

But the research was rejected as not relevant to New Zealand.

Māori Pacific MP Tukoroirangi Morgan said he had seen on marae and hui the results of young people drinking and driving.

“It would be a tragedy if this House was to say yes we will lower the age to 18. You may as well go and shoot 75 young Maori,” he said.

Almost a decade on and the concerns of Morgan and other opponents of lowering the drinking age are well-justified. Along with alcohol-related deaths from drunk driving, domestic violence assaults resulting in death, 2012 statistics reveal 119 Māori deaths from suicide—accounting for 21.6 percent of all suicide deaths in that year. Alcohol is said to have been a contributing factor in many of these tragically avoidable deaths.

Add to these sobering statistics the appalling and imbalanced incarceration rates and you’ll quickly appreciate the escalating harm caused by alcohol. In New Zealand, Māori make up only 14.6 percent of Zealand’s population, but a staggering 51 percent of its prison population.

Prominent businessman Gareth Morgan wants to see the age limit raised. “It was lowered in 1999 to appease the alcohol lobby, and we were promised at the time that if evidence showed harm went up after the change they would reverse it,” Morgan said, in an article in Fairfax Media.

“All of the evidence, all of the reports, have pointed unambiguously to harm going up.”

Research also shows the lowering of the age had resulted in the “de facto” drinking age falling to between 14 and 17.

“The data is showing us that in secondary schools six out of ten students are drinking. Nearly half of them consume more than five drinks in each session. And one in five is saying their aim is to get drunk. That’s where the problem is,” Morgan said.

In another example, official papers published by Fairfax New Zealand revealed that in 2012, former New Zealand Justice Minister Judith Collins met liquor industry lobbyists repeatedly in the weeks before the Government’s controversial U-turn on measures to restrict sales of alcopops.

The documents, released under the Official Information Act and published in 2012, reveal the extent of the pressure exerted by the industry, including a joint letter to former National Prime Minister John Key warning him his Government was about to “make a very serious and highly public mistake”.

The industry hinted that legal action was possible if the crackdown went ahead.

In late August of 2012, the Government backed away from its plan to ban from off-licenses the sale of RTDs (ready-to-drinks) with more than 6 percent alcohol.

Not only are RTDs stronger and cheaper than other forms of alcohol, but they’re sweeter (therefore masking the task of alcohol) and easier to consume.

Instead, the Government gave the industry the right to draw up its own RTD code of conduct.

Really? The alcohol industry regulating itself to reduce harm? Until there are disincentives for them to keep increasing the volumes of alcohol consumed, such as an about-turn in public opinion, it is highly unlikely they will regulate against their own interests. Until then, what possible motivation would they have to scale back their reach?

In the following chapter, you’ll discover how alcohol companies profited from the sale of RTD’s to society’s most vulnerable—including children as young as 12.

Collins, in announcing the backdown, said, “Frankly, I think we can stop treating everyone as though they’re fools and can’t make decisions for themselves. It was a bit too much taking away people’s responsibility. About 80 percent of New Zealanders drink extremely responsibly.”

This sounds like the same ineffective logic applied to the sugar barons.

Unsurprisingly the sugar barons are also powerful lobbyists—ones not beyond using a raft of diversion tactics. For example, during the ’50s, when colas and junk food begin to gain traction, the US sugar lobby managed to divert the onus for children’s’ obesity onto dairy products, while their flunkeys invented a narrative about cholesterol and harmful fats.

By saying that people who can’t control alcohol are ‘fools’ and should be able to make informed choices, Collins may as well be saying that people should be left alone to decide whether to wear a seatbelt in a car or a safety helmet while riding a bike on the road. Statistics reveal that lives are saved, and harm reduced, when laws are introduced to help people to help themselves.

One may well ask where are the booze-barons when people are shelling out a fortune for rehab? Where are they when people are so sick they cannot work? Who picks up the tab when a beloved mother, father, son, daughter or friend dies of alcohol poisoning, alcohol-related cancer, or at the hands of a drunk driver?

Equity, Fairness, and Justice—Let’s Level The Field

Do these booze barons pay an equitable share of tax? Are the costs of social harm factored into ongoing costs to individuals, families, and communities?

Who, for example, is going to pay for the childcare costs, mortgage payments and healing of the psychological trauma inflicted on Abdul Raheem Fahad Syed’s wife and child? This innocent man, a beloved father, and husband was working to provide for his family when he was killed in a horror smash by a drunk ‘joy-riding’ teen just before Christmas in 2017.

Who will pay the hundreds of thousands of dollars of judicial and penitentiary costs when the 20-year-old drunk, driving an expensive late-model BMW is sentenced? The Government—and by default law-abiding taxpayers? Why?

And why is the driver charged with careless driving? Why not murder? We all know the dangers and risks of driving drunk.

I’m being provocative, I know. But I’m sick of feeling afraid and worried when I drive at night that I might become the next victim of a marauding drunk. And I’m sick of my tax dollars being spent so needlessly.

I’m not alone. In the following chapter, you’ll discover research conducted by the University of Western Australia in 2016, summarizing the revenues generated by excise taxes, and questioning the fair, or rather citing the unfair allocation of the burden of harm.

 

Nobody’s  Fool

Mindful or conscious drinking is not only being aware of why you drink, how much you drink, and how to regulate or control your drinking—but also becoming aware of the powerful economic forces lobbied at encouraging you to drink more, and disempowering individuals from making rational, positive choices.

Mindful drinking is also a commitment to refusing to remain blissfully ignorant and becoming aware of the horrific and escalating costs of alcohol harm, and deciding whether you want to be part of the problem—or the cure.

Is all this new knowledge enough to cause you to rethink your relationship to alcohol? I hope so. With knowledge comes wisdom.

The following excerpt from a 2013 report published by the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health spotlights the collaborative efforts and sharing of formidable financial resource that alcohol and tobacco companies pour into ensuring high sales and profits, manipulating governments and turning people into fools.

You may argue that pooling resources is simply smart business. Yet, it’s worth considering is it a fair or ethical practice to target:

• Minorities

• Vulnerable people, including youth

• Socio-economically deprived and those at risk?

• You?

Perhaps you don’t count yourself in any of the above brackets. But the truth is that alcohol harm is all pervasive—and expensive. Suicide, car crashes, injury, mental-health related violence, the high cost of incarceration, expenditure on addressing alcohol harm at the cost of increased spending by Governments affects us all.   

 

Your Feelings Matter

Heightened knowledge may not be the total catalyst to sobriety, but it has played a large part in mine, and also my devotion to this book and spreading the truth about alcohol.

Feelings, as you’ll discover in my books Your Beautiful Mind and Mind Your Drink, matter. They are the gateway, the portal, to transformational change.

When you feel compassion, empathy, sadness, rage, love for those who suffer needlessly, and this includes yourself, you will find freedom from alcohol. In the chapter, Get Angry, I look at how healing and cathartic channeling your anger into a higher purpose can be. You’ll also learn how the New Zealand Police were taken to court by local government (the Wellington City Council)—and the ridiculous reason why.

We’ll also explore why we are incarcerating so many people with drinking problems and the need to spend more money on offering treatment and support.

But first, let’s take a peek into the darker and fascinating side of advertising.

Specifically, we’ll look at the psychological warfare and advertising ploys that booze barons use to manipulate you to act against your best interests. Just when you thought you were in control!

My aim is not to scare you sober, but perhaps you’ll feel a sense of relief, as one person said, “It’s great to finally understand I am not to blame.”

One day, this same person may encounter, Judith Collins and say, “Hey, Judy, I say wanted to say—I am nobody’s fool.”

 

This is an edited extract of Cassandra Gaisford’s new book Mind Your Drink: The Surprising Joy of Sobriety (Control Alcohol, Discover Freedom, Find Happiness and Change Your Life), available in print and eBook from all good bookstores, including:

Amazon: getbook.at/MindYourDrink

 

 

True Stories: Your Beautiful Mind: Control Alcohol, Discover Freedom, Find Happiness and Change Your Life: Justin Raj’s Journey to Joyful Sobriety

Tuesday, May 29th, 2018

 

“Two of my close friends have quit alcohol inspired by my sobriety. I’m really happy and proud about that. At least I could make changes to the life of others.”

 

Giving up alcohol is a heroic journey—it’s not easy and it’s not a quick-fix, but inevitably there is a happy ending and you are rewarded with a life more beautiful. The journey to sobriety very often takes extreme courage, tenacity, and resilience in the face of obstacles, setbacks and, occasionally, defeat.

Alcohol addiction remains a hidden and stigmatic problem marked by denial and fear.  There are millions suffering alone, afraid to ask the question, ‘am I drinking too much?’ Reading and hearing about others who felt similarly and share their stories of triumphing over addiction is inspirational and transformational. I know this personally and professionally.

I honor and give thanks to Justin Raj for being willing to share his hero’s journey (I use this term in a gender-neutral way). The word “hero” comes from a Greek root that means to protect and serve. The hero is connected with self-sacrifice. He or she is the person who transcends the ego and incorporates all the separate parts of themselves to become a true Self.

I asked Justin that as he responded to the questions he may like to recall the details of his journey from alcohol to sobriety as though his journey was a movie, recalling all the aspects that had the greatest impact and both his decision and his success in controlling alcohol. I have structured the questions I asked Justin by drawing on Christopher Vogler’s Story Structure.

“The reader is usually invited to identify with the hero”, says Vogler. “You admire the hero’s qualities and want to be like him or her, but the hero also has flaws. Weaknesses, quirks, and vices make a hero more appealing” – again, I honor Justin for not sanctioning his responses. He has been brutally honest, shared from this heart, and spoken the truth in the heartfelt desire that those who read his story may be emboldened and inspired to join him in joyful sobriety.

 

Q. You recently gave up alcohol. What was your life like when you were drinking? What, if any problems, or issues did you face?

 

I started drinking at the age of 18, I still remember clearly the day I experimented with alcohol.

It was during a Christmas party at my home. I took some brandy from the bottle from which my dad was drinking. I felt dizzy after two drinks and I puked. Next day I woke up with a headache and I was not well for two days.

During my days of higher studies, I started drinking with friends and it became a norm to celebrate with drinks.

It was when I started my own business in 2011 that I realized that my drinking was affecting my business and life. In 2014 my business failed terribly.

I joined an Alcohol Anonymous group in my hometown. I thought AA could help me quit drinking. But, AA here is filled with spirituality, prayers, boring lectures and public confessions. I quit the group after two months and continued with drinking.

When I was drinking, I was failing at any endeavor I undertook. The only thing I thought about was getting drunk and having fun. I even thought of making money just to have drinks. I was penalized for drunken driving several times, ended up in a number of illicit sexual relationships and also involved in a fist fight with strangers and friends in a bar.

 

Q: What was the catalyst for change?

The catalyst happened on the night of 24th February 2018. I had a road accident in which I hit an elderly pedestrian with my motorbike. My left forearm was broken and dislocated. I had to undergo a surgery. My family and friends came to know that I was drunk when I had the accident.

Even after the accident and surgery, I continued drinking regularly. I visited a nearby bar with my broken hand resting in an arm-sling. After observing this addictive behavior of mine, my family took my drinking seriously.

One of my cousins who is a psychiatrist-counselor recommended me to attend a counseling session with a friend of hers. It was after the counseling session that I decided to quit.

 

Q: Was there ever a point when you knew you needed to stop drinking but refused ‘the call’ or had second thoughts about giving up? What obstacles did you face in order to stay firm in your decision?

 

Yes, whenever I decide to quit alcohol, I had second thoughts: ‘why should I?’ Alcohol is the only answer I have to escape from my boredom, to have fun and pass my free time. I didn’t know anything other than drinking alcohol to engage myself with. To me, peer pressure was less. I don’t have any friends who compelled me to drink. I can’t blame anyone other than myself.

 

Q: What sources of aid did you receive to continue on the path to sobriety? i.e. Did anyone appear to help you? A mentor, friend, adviser, support group etc.

 

Counseling sessions were great. It was those three days of counseling, that changed my attitude towards drinking. Then the books the counselor recommended. One of the books was yours, Your Beautiful Mind: Control Alcohol, Discover Freedom, Find Happiness and Change Your Life.

Your Beautiful Mind happened to be the first book in my life I read on alcoholism. It was a well written, informative and inspiring book.

I spent three weeks after the counseling sessions to read books on alcoholism. Reading helped me a lot. Knowledge is real power. My family and friends also gave great support. Two of my close friends have quit alcohol inspired by my sobriety. I’m really happy and proud about that. At least I could help make changes in the lives of others.

 

Q: At what point did you truly commit to giving up drinking and follow with action? Describe the point when you crossed the threshold.

 

It was the road accident, counseling sessions, reading books on alcoholism and knowing more about the menace of alcohol, that motivated me to strongly decided to quit alcohol for life.

 

Q: Once you gave up drinking did you face, or were you confronted with, any difficult challenges (ranging from minor struggles to setbacks) that threatened your resolve and may have defeated a lesser person. What tests did you face, what allies did you meet?

The only enemy I have to face was myself. As I said earlier, none of my friends compelled me to drink ever in my life. It was my decision to start drinking and it is the addictive nature of alcohol which kept me hooked. Today, I’m getting great support from my family and friends. The happiness my mom, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends experience after I embraced sobriety is priceless.

It has been two months. I have been sober and I will remain so for the rest of my life.

 

Q: Did you emerge wiser from these trials? In what way did these tests help you prepare for the ultimate test—unwavering sobriety. Looking back now, what advice or warning would you give to others about what could go wrong, and possibly derail their decision to give up drinking?

Our life is a great teacher. Out of my drunkenness and reckless riding, I hit an innocent, elderly pedestrian with my motorbike. He was 73 years old. Still today, I can’t recollect how I hit him or what happened that night. If that elderly person was dead, I would have ended up in jail. To me, thinking about that incident is still scary.

Alcohol is a legally available addictive substance. People cant stop drinking because they are hooked by its addictive nature and nothing else. People think drinking is fun. Even I thought so till a few months ago. But the truth is, I still can’t remember the fun I had while I was drinking.

It is saddening that our society and media is all praise for drinking and smoking just trapping youngsters into the mindset that drinking and smoking are essential for a fun-filled life.

Life is more beautiful if you take away alcohol from it. We can have everlasting, memorable fun and experiences without the influence of alcohol. My advice is don’t try alcohol if you haven’t already and quit it if you are using it.

 

Q: What were your deepest fears during this time? Some people describe this as a battle with “the dark villain” – an inner battle whereby they faced and overcame their own demon and inner fears. Was this your experience? In what way?

The dark villain is me. I was engaged in an inner battle with my own demon. If we need to change our life, we have to take that decision by ourselves, don’t we?

Even before going to counseling I had determined with a half-heart that I had to quit drinking. My family has a background of alcohol and drug abuse. My father died from alcohol-related disease, my maternal grandfather died due to heavy drinking. My paternal grandfather was also a heavy drinker. A few of my uncles, cousins, and family friends are also suffering from alcoholism.

I started experiencing alcoholic depression for the past few years which I didn’t recognize. It was only after counseling that I realized that I was suffering from depression—not from a hangover. I have a great many reasons to quit alcohol not a single reason to continue with it.

 

Q: Describe/recount the time you truly knew you had succeeded in defeating the enemy of alcohol when you transformed into a new state of being – where fears were vanquished and the new you was born.

When you find no reason to drink alcohol, you will quit. What I thought was fun wasn’t fun anymore. When I get bored I have better things to do today other than drinking.

Why should I drink and invite trouble as well as create a deep hole in my purse, if I can do productive, enjoyable things like reading, writing, working out and talking with friends which add value to my life and myself?

We are basically our thoughts. When we change our thoughts, ultimately we change ourselves.

 

Q: What rewards did you reap—external (knowledge, a promotion, career success, improved relationships, better health etc.) and/or as an inner reward (personal growth, fulfillment, freedom, self-respect etc.)

As I said earlier, I don’t have any reason to drink. Moreover, I have more reasons not to drink. Even after two months of alcohol-free life, I can really feel the changes in myself and things I do.

First and foremost, my financial situation has improved. I spent too much money on this destructive habit of mine. I started doing things I love with more vigor and passion. I’m getting an everlasting, joyful and positive high from it. Alcohol disconnected me from my life, my business and myself. Today, I feel that connection is back. It is priceless.

 

Q: Having gained the rewards, and with nothing left to prove, how was your early experience of sobriety?

For the past four years, I was struggling with my drinking. I tried to quit in all ways I can but in vain. I couldn’t stop drinking even for a week. I never read any books like yours in those days.

Today, I feel if I had read the books I read today or attended a good counseling session, I should have got the power to quit alcohol for life earlier. And also I should have avoided all the troubles I had to overcome in those alcohol-filled days.

 

Q: Was there ever a point where you felt lulled into a false sense of security, but in reality, there was one last challenge you had to face? Perhaps the desire for alcohol was not completely vanquished or perhaps something plunged you into a temptation to drink—just when you thought it was safe to breathe easy again?

It was my lack of knowledge and the addictive nature of alcohol. You know, I quit sugar two years ago when I learned the bad effects of it on my physical and mental health. I was too much addicted to sugar from my childhood and when I learned that it was doing me harm I quit.

Why couldn’t I do it with alcohol, even though, I knew it is bad for health, mind, and my purse?

The only reason is alcohol is addictive. It is normal that we defend our addictions by stating ‘today is Saturday’ ‘my friends are here so we are going to party hard’, ‘I can stop it anytime and many more excuses. These defensive mentalities last only until the day we realize the habit we are nurturing is gradually destructing our mind, body, finances, and relationship with our loved ones. I have met with that stage of self-realization and freed myself from a self-imposed prison of my addictive behavior.

Do you think, I want to go back to the prison again? I don’t think so.

 

Describe the moment when you felt truly reborn into a new, joyous form, with your beautiful mind – able to control the desire, temptation or compulsion to drink alcohol. In what way have you been rewarded for your courageous and determined journey?

I can give full credit to the psychiatrist who counseled me. He has a decade-long experience in dealing with alcohol and drug addicts. His level of knowledge fascinated me. He made me realize that drinking alcohol, which I thought was joyful fun, is, in fact, an illusion.

The counseling sessions usually last for three days. By the second day, I learned that what I was doing is wrong and decided to quit alcohol for life. The last day of the session was just a friendly talk and he recommended a few books to read including your book.

Today, I’m not thinking the way I used to be. I have changed and I can feel that transformation. I have got myself back. My business has grown, my passions have started blooming and my financial condition has improved. Today, I started welcoming mornings without hangovers and regrets. It feels great!

The book I prefer from all those I have read since committing to sobriety is your book: Your Beautiful Mind: Control Alcohol, Discover Freedom, Find Happiness and Change Your Life.

 

I’m so thrilled to have been able to help! As I write this post, Justin is working on his business plan and also preparing for an entrance exam for his doctoral degree in journalism—something he doubts he’d be achieving if he was still drinking.

Below is a copy of the review Justin Raj left on Amazon.

5.0 out of 5 starsDiscovering my beautiful mind!
21 May 2018

Cassandra Gaisford’s book- Your beautiful mind – is the first book I read after completing my three-day counseling session at a major alcoholic rehabilitation center in the Indian state of Kerala. Her straightforward way of writing hooked me and motivated me to hold on to my decision to quit alcohol, strongly. She handled the menace of alcoholism from the level of basics to the level of an expert in a language even a layman can understand.

‘Your beautiful mind’ inspired me to think beyond my alcoholic lifestyle, which wasn’t possible before and helped to transform my mind completely. She motivated me to take up my passions- reading, writing, stock market analysis- as fruitful addictions rather than following self-destructive addictions like alcohol, nicotine, and drugs. Today, I can enjoy my life more and feels like I have been freed from a prison – a self-created prison of addictive behaviour. Keep inspiring and keep up your great work, Cassandra!”

 

It was lovely feedback to receive! All power to Justin… I’m so proud of him!

 

Are you struggling with alcohol abuse or alcohol addiction? Are you worried you’re drinking too much? Or are you curious about the life-changing magic of sobriety?

I hope Justin’s story of self-empowered, purpose and passion-filled sobriety provides hope, courage, and determination for you to achieve the same.

“Reading helped me a lot. Knowledge is real power.”

 

Life really is more beautiful sober. You can learn more about Justin Raj and follow his blog here—www.justyjots.com

 

 

This is an edited testimonial for Cassandra Gaisford’s new book Your Beautiful Mind: Control Alcohol, Discover Freedom, Find Happiness and Change Your Life, available in print and Ebook here—getBook.at/Controlalcohol

You’ll also find plenty of ongoing support and cheerleading in the Facebook community https://www.facebook.com/Sobrietyexperiment/. Pop along and join us now.

 

The truth about Alcohol Addiction and Recovery—Wrestling With the God Thing

Thursday, January 11th, 2018

“Spiritual and environmental factors are starting to make a bit of an impact but are not fully accepted as a mainstream approach yet (particularly spiritual approaches). But every approach has its day …. and as they do become more accepted maybe it is a matter of watch this space …”
~ Dr. Gillian Craven, Massey University (personal email, 2014)

As I wrote in the foreword to this book, while finishing my psychology degree at the young-old-age of 49 I decided to take a spiritual approach to the treatment of alcohol addiction. The topic proved challenging.

It was the final assignment needed to complete my third-year paper, Abnormal and Therapeutic Psychology. A lot was resting on it. I’d failed my first assignment where I had researched the causes and treatment of obesity. I was told this was because I hadn’t consulted enough empirical data and scholarly articles—relying instead on people’s personal accounts. I was keen to avoid the same mistake.

But I quickly discovered a lack of psychologically-validated research to cite.

Perplexed I asked my lecturer why, when so many alcoholics swear that taking a spiritual approach was instrumental in their recovery, there was a dearth of research?

“The theoretical etiologies of disorders do focus on cognitive, genetic, neurobiological, personality-based theories —this reflects the bias of both the authors themselves and the current Western approaches,” my lecturer, Dr. Gillian Craven, wrote back to me.

“This is for better or worse the zeitgeist of our time. Spiritual and environmental factors are starting to make a bit of an impact but are not fully accepted as a mainstream approach yet (particularly spiritual approaches). But every approach has its day …. and as they do become more accepted maybe it is a matter of watch this space …”

This was back in 2014. In my view, spiritual approaches were, and continue to be, adopted by mainstream practitioners, including Deepak Chopra who offers addiction recovery programs at his Chopra Addiction and Wellness Center.

Alcoholics Anonymous also addresses spiritual issues, and many followers attribute placing their faith in God to their recovery.

The challenge for many psychologists, particularly those focused on academic research, is their inability to measure, quantify, and place spirituality in a test-tube.

“Science has sometimes been at odds with the notion that laypeople can cure themselves,” writes Jarret Liotta in a National Geographic article, ‘Does Science Show What 12 Steps Know?’

The purpose of Your Beautiful Mind is not to prove or disprove anyone beliefs or to discredit any profession, but to present you with options, backed by my own experience, and the experience of others who have struggled to control alcohol—and succeeded.

An increasing number of people also adhere to the belief that God lies within us all—we are God—and it is time to connect to our inner guidance and the ultimate source of empowerment. Many great minds, including Leonardo da Vinci, subscribed to this view.

As we explore an eclectic and holistic range of strategies—spiritual, cognitive, feeling-based, and scientifically validated, to help you control alcohol, I encourage you to adopt an open mind and ‘do a Leonardo da Vinci’ and experiment with different approaches until you find what works for you.

 

This is an edited extract of Cassandra Gaisford’s new book. Be the first to know when, Your Beautiful Mind: Control Alcohol, Discover Freedom, Find Happiness and Change Your Life, is released. Sign up for her newsletter here http://eepurl.com/cQXY4f

Would you like to drink less? Cut back or quit drinking entirely without becoming a hermit, being ostracized, or cutting back on an enjoyable social life.

Cassandra Gaisford’s new book, Sexy Sobriety: Alcohol and Guilt-Free Drinks You’ll Love: Easy Recipes for Happier Hours & a Joy-Filled Life. Available in ebook and paperback here—getBook.at/SexySobriety

Love is the Drug: Mindful Drinking—How to Follow Your Passion to Sobriety

Saturday, January 6th, 2018

Lose the booze and replace the desire for alcohol with a healthy, positive addiction.

Passion is a source of unlimited energy from your soul that enables you to achieve extraordinary results. It’s the fire that ignites your potential and inspires you to be who you really are. When you do what you love it’s like hanging out with your best friend—with less pinot and fewer craft beers.

Following your passion and claiming your authentic self is a great way to boost your vitality. Whether you call it joy, love or obsession or desire, these powerful heart-felt emotions are natural opiates for your mind, body, and soul.

When you’re feeling anxious, depressed, stressed, hungover or drunk, doing things which feed your soul are often the first things to be traded. Nothing seems to spark joy. But, when you do something that enlivens your spirit you may be amazed at how quickly fire ignites.

Passion brings the energy or chi of love, giving you energy, vitality and a heightened sense of well-being. It’s one of the greatest stress-busters and most powerful drugs of all— promoting the generation of endorphins, the feel-good chemicals that will give you a natural high.

The Power of Passion

“Nothing great in the world has been accomplished without passion,” the philosopher G.W.F. Hegel once said. Denzel Washington and many other successfully sober people agree. “You only live once, so do what you feel passionate about, take chances professionally, don’t be afraid to fail,” Washington says. 

Washington also said, “I made a commitment to completely cut drinking and anything that might hamper me from getting my mind and body together. And the floodgates of goodness have opened on upon me—spiritually and financially

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• Passion is energy. Without energy, you have nothing.

• To be passionate is to be fully alive.

• Passion is about emotion, feeling, zest, and enthusiasm.

• Passion is about intensity, fervor, ardor, and zeal.

• Passion is about fire.

• Passion is about eagerness and preoccupation.

• Passion is about excitement and animation.

• Passion is about determination and self-belief

• Passion, like love and joy, is contagious

• Passion can’t be faked. It’s the mark of authenticity.

 

Passion fuels inner purpose and fires the flames of your imagination. It gives you a reason for living and the confidence and drive to pursue your dreams. Passion enables you to unleash latent forces and God-given talents.

When you find and follow your passion, you’ll find your sweet spot.

You’ll be emboldened by love— thus powering your creativity, courage, resolve, and tenacity. You’ll also bounce back from setbacks, and refuse to allow failure to stop you—increasing your likelihood of achieving extraordinary success.

 

What’s your drug of choice?

Before Grant Cardone built five successful companies (and counting), became a multimillionaire, and wrote bestselling books… he was broke, jobless, and addicted to drugs and alcohol.

Cardone had grown up with big dreams, but friends and family told him to be more reasonable and less demanding. If he played by the rules, they said, he could enjoy everyone else’s version of middle-class success. But when he tried it their way, he says that was when he hit rock bottom.

Then he tried the opposite approach. He said NO to the haters and naysayers and said YES to his burning, obsession. He reclaimed his passion to be a business rock star, a super salesman, a huge philanthropist. He wanted to live in a mansion and even own an airplane.  Obsession, he says, made all of his wildest dreams come true. And it can help you achieve massive success too.

Instead of drinking focus on what excites you.

“I find things I like and I do them,” says James Patterson, arguably one of the most financially successful authors today. Patterson is also the son of an alcoholic.

Feel the power that comes from focusing on your passion obsession. What do you love doing? What inspires you? What makes you feel joyful?

Channel your passions into your career or pour it into a hobby. Even five minutes a day doing something you love can give you back your mojo and take your mind off the need to drink.

Laurie, a hobbyist lepidopterist escapes the need to drink by studying and enjoying his collection of exotic butterflies.

“Knitting saved my life,” the waitress at my local cafe told me recently. She told me how her hobby has provided the ultimate cure for her anxiety, and of the joy she finds in knitting for friends.

I love to write—it’s one of several favorite obsessions, and the perfect activity to do instead of drink, especially when I write books like this to help and empower others. It’s a similar ploy that’s worked well for Russell Brand (Recovery: Freedom From Our Addictions), and Julia Cameron (The Artist’s Way), and other creatives who’ve channeled their creative energy into help others.

Your passion may start as a hobby or as a way to cure your blues, but could very well turn out to be your ticket to a more fulfilling career.

That’s how things rolled for Claire Robbie. At a low point in her life, and drinking way too much, what started as a way of healing became an essential part of her sobriety process, and as her love for her new practices grew, so did the sense that she had discovered a new vocation.

Robbie founded No Beers? Who Cares! to encourage and support people to jump on the alcohol-free bandwagon.

Another go-to-booze-replacement strategy I love is to head off for a swim in the sea or go for a brisk walk.

In the next chapter, we’ll take a look at the life-changing magic of exercise, including how Duff McKagan, bass guitarist of Guns N’ Roses, and one of the world’s greatest rock musicians, cycled his way back from vodka-induced near death.

This is an edited extract of Cassandra Gaisford’s new book, The Sobriety Journal: The Easy Way to Stop Drinking: The Effortless Path to Being Happy, Healthy and Motivated Without AlcoholAvailable in ebook and paperback here—getbook.at/SobrietyJournal

Bonus: Alcohol-Free Drink Recipes You’ll Love!

Pop along to Cassandra’s Facebook page and join the 2018 Alcohol Detox challenge. The best New Years present to give yourself and others may be the gift of your beautiful sobriety https://www.facebook.com/YourBeautifulMindControlAlcoholBook/

 

#Sexysobriety #AddictionFree #TheSobrietyJournal #happy #AuthenticHappiness #teetotal

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