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  • Teresa Rodden
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    What is your mindset around alcohol?
    I chose this book because it’s essential to understand the difference between fixed and growth mindsets. Carol Dweck has done extensive research, and although it’s not specific around alcohol, that’s how I learned my way to sober freedom. I didn’t follow the traditional path. It wasn’t a good fit for me, and I would have ended up drunk. I couldn’t adapt to the belief system that I was told to accept. I felt like I was not in charge of myself.
    How many people do you think delay the process of living in sober freedom, finding a new way of experiencing life without alcohol, or learning to experience alcohol differently because they believe it’s all or nothing?
    How many believe there is only one way to think about alcohol or see themselves with alcohol?
    Mindset Chapter 7-8 Summary and how and what I apply to the topic of drinking habit.
    Chapter 7 Parents, Teachers, and Coaches: Where do mindsets come from?
    Chapter 8 Changing Mindsets
    “Every word or message can send a message. It tells children (us) – how to think about themselves (ourselves.) It can be a fixed mindset message that says: You have permanent traits and I’m judging them. Or it can be a growth mindset message that says: You are a developing person and I am committed to your development.”
    This doesn’t just apply to childhood, our parents, teachers and coaches. This applies to our inner dialogue, spouses, friends, siblings, and social media connections. Criticism is sticky and the filter we receive it through matters greatly.
    Growing up I was told on repeat: You are worthless, you’ll be just like your mother welfare and hopeless, and as I developed defiance, I was called a bitch on the regular.
    The bitch would carry me through my 20’s and into my 30’s. Until I was nearly destroyed by the anger, hatred, and bitterness.
    My mid-thirties I stripped down and got naked. Who am I really? And piece by piece, I started rebuilding by what mattered to me most. I dreamt of who I wanted to be. What would she do? How would she spend her day? How would she feel? What would her friends be like? And so on.
    When I first landed in AA, I thought okay, this is who I am. I am a member of this AA. I do meetings, I repeat slogans, I read the Big Book, I have an incurable disease that’s trying to kill me, I am powerless, I will have to fight this for the rest of my life.
    Around six months, I started feeling trapped, hopeless, and helpless. I recognized those feelings were the same that I treated with alcohol. What is causing these feelings? What can I do to change these feelings?
    The clearer my mind became the more curious I was about the possibilities. But I had this limited idea of who I could be and what I could do based off my assumed identity.
    Is this as good as it gets?
    I took a risk and ventured out into the wilderness without a leash and found I could navigate the wild and did not need the safety of a traditional path to survive. I would have gotten drunk again in captivity. It’s been over eighteen years now.
    What I needed was the ability to explore and experience life without the supposed to’s to learn that I can love and trust myself.
    I am a developing person and committed to my development.

    “Even when you change, the old beliefs aren’t just removed like a worn-out hip or knee and replaced with better ones. Instead, the new beliefs take their place alongside the old ones, and as they become stronger, they give you a different way to think, feel, and act.”
    A belief is nothing more than a thought we think over and over and look for evidence to support.
    How to best shift or change a belief is to realize a belief isn’t always true. Try to figure out what gave a belief that feels harmful legs. Where did it start? Who did you learn it from? When have you experienced contrast that challenges that belief?
    My sponsor gave me the book, You Can Heal Your Life, by Louise Hay to read after I had dumped a load of pain from my childhood and into adulthood. I believe she was trying to help me heal. But I don’t think she considered that I would question, if I can be healed from my painful past, why couldn’t I be healed from the disease of alcoholism? Why do I have to be labeled to be healed? Why would I keep myself stuck with the identity of an alcoholic?
    I’m far more than this experience in my life.
    The beliefs that everybody around me preached, taught, and lived left me feeling boxed in. I have nowhere to go from here. This can’t be all there is.
    Questions came to me as I described in my book Wholly Sober, what if I stop thinking about drinking? What if I shift my focus to how I want to live?
    I started feeling my way and forming new beliefs. The most powerful belief of all was I am not who I was.
    Who you are now is not who you once were. Who you become is up to who you decide to be.
    You can either accept who you are is all there is or challenge yourself to see what else.
    Question your beliefs. I believed I was worthless. I believed, despite my success, that I would never be self-sufficient. I believed to survive I would have to be tough, uncaring, and unfeeling, a bitch. These traits are in contradiction to the essence of who I am. No wonder I needed alcohol to get by.
    Undoubtedly, if you are misusing alcohol to accept a situation, lifestyle, or relationship, it stems from a belief that can be replaced with a new empowering and hopeful belief.
    What do you believe that is keeping you stuck?
    The books that I chose for the final quarter of 2021 were on purpose. They contributed to who I was becoming on my journey to alcohol autonomy. It’s exciting to revisit these books at THIS stage in my life. It’s like, oh yeah, I forgot about that, and I am interpreting the content much deeper and broader than before.
    And taking notes and recording thoughts for your benefit is taking it to the next level. Thank you for being a part of my journey too.

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