Mindset, Alcohol, and Autonomy
this month in
Pink Cloud Membership Book Study
Mindset Chapter 1-2 Summary
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?
What is your view about yourself?
There is so much I could summarize on, but I would be writing another book. I’ll pull from a few of the highlighted texts and if you want to discuss further, post a question or a comment. And, of course, share your thoughts and experience of the reading.
“…the view you adopt for yourself profoundly affects the way you lead your life. It can determine whether you become the person you want to be and whether you accomplish the things you value.”
In reflecting on 2003, when I first stopped drinking, what was my view about myself? I was excited about the possibilities. I felt like I had this blank slate, tabula rasa; a colleague once commented about my approach to sobriety. I can create what I want.
Being open to the possibilities was a growth mindset. I didn’t see myself as having to fit a mold, black or white, all or nothing. But I had started my path living without alcohol without the most commonplace beliefs about all things recovery. The counselor running the outpatient treatment facility I attended was anti-AA. So, I felt I had some choices in identifying who I was and was in charge of my thoughts, actions, and choices.
Are you a learner or a nonlearner?
“I don’t divide the world into the weak and the strong, or the success and the failures…I divide the world into the learners and the nonlearners.”
A popular example of a learning mentality is when a baby is learning to walk or talk. Could you imagine if they just gave up? Of course, they don’t have one of the most crippling elements that hinder most of our progress, history.
I witnessed it in the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous and throughout the years being an observer of human behavior. Every time we try and fail, we feel defeated and lose our self-confidence and esteem. We decide who we are based on who we have been. Can you see any problems with this thinking when trying to break a pattern or habit?
Think about the following statements and my response to them:
- I tried not drinking, and it didn’t work. That was you then. Who are you now?
- I can’t stop thinking about drinking. That’s because your focus is on not drinking. What else could you think about?
- Life without alcohol, what fun is that? How much fun are you having now? I’m pretty sure it’s not drinking and then shaming and guilting yourself the next day until you do it again. Maybe a better question is, How do you define fun?
Instead of keeping our minds open and considering other possibilities, we paint ourselves into a helpless heap in the corner and reason that we might as well surrender to what everybody else is doing.
How else could you approach your drinking habit? You’re doing it right now – exploring, experimenting, expanding, eliminating, expressing, experiencing, and exercising alcohol autonomy. I call this alcohol autonomy with e’s.
When someone asks me if they are supposed to drink while going through Pink Cloud Coaching’s 28 Day Resolve assessment program, I tell them it’s their choice. I encourage keeping a journal handy and consider specific questions to learn from the experience if they drink. There is so much wisdom that can be collected when we are intentional, and it’s not surprising how our drinking experience can change with this simple exercise.
How can a growth mindset help with depression?
“…Fixed mindsets had higher levels of depression…because they ruminated over their problems and setbacks, essentially tormenting themselves….”
“…depressed people with the growth mindset felt (short of severe depression) the more they took action to confront their problems, the more they made sure to keep up with their schoolwork, and the more they kept up with their lives. The worse they felt, the more determined they became!”
Oh. My. Goodness. I share in a lot of detail the massive devasting destruction I faced while getting sober in my first book, Wholly Sober. Yet, I smiled through tears and kept moving forward. To have collapsed into hopelessness would not have gotten me through that time in my life.
I recently experienced a heartbreaking event while rebranding Pink Cloud Coaching and losing the sixty pounds I gained, trying to be what the experts said I should be to succeed in marketing my business. This past April, I unexpectedly lost my mother. She had been my inspiration, and she is my why. My mother never knew she could be the master of her own destiny. She didn’t think she could choose who she wanted to be. She was too afraid to be true to herself. She spent most of her life escaping, numbing out, and dumbing down with alcohol.
It wasn’t easy, and some days I smiled, typed, talked, read, watched, and learned through tears. Was I depressed? Most assuredly. Staying in that state would not change anything. My options were clear: either stay and wallow in the pain or keep moving forward. Time doesn’t exactly heal the wound, but experiences expand our heart and soul, so the wound isn’t as gaping.
Never once did I pause and think about whether I was practicing a growth or fixed mindset. I was just being and doing what has worked for me over the last two decades. I am not powerless. If I want something different, I have to do and be something different. Life doesn’t stop no matter how big or small the event or how sad or happy you are.
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.
This is one of my summaries in full from the Members Forum. We study one book each month and have the added accountability of breaking it down by chapters and then meeting in the forum. You cannot help but learn and grow with time, intention, and practice. The more positive content you add the less room you have for negative.
As always, if you would like to chat or have any questions either email me directly or schedule a free consultation by clicking here.
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