Ep 95: The Truth About Alcohol

Episode Summary

Annie Grace, author of  This Naked Mind and The Alcohol Experiment, dispels myths around alcohol with Andy and reveals her number one method for talking to teens about drinking. 

Show NotesParenting ScriptsWorkbook ExercisesInterview TranscriptGuest Bio

Full Show Notes

Drinking alcohol is a significant part of Western culture. Of Americans over 18, 86.3% say that they’ve tried alcohol and 55.3% report that they drink regularly. Nowhere is alcohol more culturally expected than in young adulthood. It’s almost assumed that college students will experiment with alcohol, and teenagers are becoming more and more likely to try alcohol before reaching adulthood.

But it’s nothing to worry about, right? Alcohol isn’t that dangerous, is it?  Unfortunately, the science says otherwise. In a recent federal report which rated the harmfulness of various drugs, alcohol was rated far and wide the most dangerous drug, with heroin coming in far behind in second and crack in third.  

How is this possible? The study examined the widespread dangers of different drugs on society as a whole, looking at how many people face serious damage from using. Alcohol is by far the deadliest, killing approximately 88,000 Americans a year. All illegal drugs combined kill about 22,000 a year, while pharmaceuticals kill 24,000. If we combine these two numbers, we can see that the amount of deaths caused by all other drugs is only around half of those caused by alcohol. 

And yet, most people are more informed about the various risks of taking Advil than they are about the dangers of alcohol! Our guest today, Annie Grace, is determined to change this. She’s the author of the book This Naked Mind: Control Alcohol, Find Freedom, Discover Happiness and Change Your Life.

The book is all about how to stop alcoholism with one simple tool–education. Annie dives into her own individual journey in the episode: how she developed a drinking problem in her mid twenties, how she tried all the traditional avenues of fixing the issue to no avail until finally, she decided to find her own unique way to tackle her alcoholism.

She asked herself and many, many others every question she could think of concerning alcohol use in order to get to the bottom of why we drink so much in America and how to stop. Does alcohol really help you to relieve stress? Is it truly an effective way to combat social anxiety? When Annie really took the time to become educated on the topic she found that, in the long run, alcohol actually ends up hurting those who consume it much more than it helps. Most of the time, drinking worsened the very problems people were using alcohol to solve.

Armed with this knowledge, Annie no longer felt the need to drink. Instead of fighting alcoholism the traditional way, a way in which the journey is viewed as a torturous uphill battle, Annie simply looked at the pros and cons and decided that there were no good reasons to keep drinking. In fact, she found that not drinking was a much more positive experience, so she just stopped doing it one day and never looked back.

Positivity plays a big role in Annie’s approach to curbing alcoholic behavior. Annie talks about how rarely we acknowledge the power of positivity when it comes to changing our habits. Instead of focusing on everything you’re giving up when you give up drinking, think instead about what you’re gaining: long term health, peace of mind, and freedom from addiction.

Annie took these ideas and compiled them into a pdf, which she then put online, expecting only friends and family to read it. Instead, the pdf was downloaded over 20,000 times in two weeks. After months of requests from fans of the pdf, Annie self published a book which contains all her experiences and methods. The book experienced great popularity, and became subject to a bidding war between five major publishers. Along with publishing another book, she also has a podcast, a website (thealcoholexpirement.com), and has been featured in Forbes, the Chicago Tribune, and more. People everywhere have begun adopting Annie’s strategy as an alternative to traditional treatment.

That’s because traditional treatment has a lot of issues, many of which we discuss in the episode. There’s a lot of things we believe about alcohol which—-according to Anna–are serious misconceptions. One of the biggest ones Annie and I discuss is the illusion of a binary system of classification when it comes to diagnosing alcoholism. As a society, we tend to separate people into two categories: alcoholic and non-alcoholic. This labeling causes a lot more problems than it solves.

One of the main issues with this is that it dissuades people from getting help. People assume that only those with genetic or personality disorders have alcohol issues. This makes them more hesitant to seek treatment, as they don’t want to be one of “those” people, the people with the problems. 

On the other hand, those who do end up being diagnosed with alcoholism and going into treatment are faced with an extremely intense amount of scrutiny over their habits They are expected to be entirely sober, to the point where one drink becomes a major source of anxiety and fear. This is because they are seen as chemically addicted individuals with genetic disorders. However, Annie informs us that 90% of those who drink excessively are not found to be chemically dependent on alcohol. Most of the problem is their mentality towards drinking which, with Annie’s methods, can be fixed.

So many of these misconceptions are fed by the media, something we may not even be noticing. Annie explains that a lot of the time, information about alcoholism in the media is misconstrued or exaggerated because people don’t actually want to believe that alcohol is dangerous. As we interact with the media, we don’t want to read or share things that make us question our preconceived ideas or opinions. We want things that align with what we already believe and confirm what we already think.

What this means is that if we’re a regular drinker, as many Americans are, an article that makes us question our reality too much or has something negative to say about drinking is not one we’re going to circulate among our friends and family. Instead, we’re more likely to click on an article that tells us that red wine is good for our heart, or that it helps us live longer. According to Annie, most of these articles use research that is taken out of context and misconstrued. We don’t want to be susceptible to this–and we don’t want our teens to be susceptible either.

As parents, how can we talk to our kids about alcohol to make sure they aren’t led in the wrong direction by these misconceptions? Annie dives into this in the episode. In short, she says the key is to use vulnerability. Talk to your kid honestly about your own experiences and mistakes you’ve made in the past. Basically–keep it real! If you fill your child’s head with antagonizing notions about drinking that are filled with hypocrisy, they’re not going to listen to you, nor are they going to keep you informed on their own drinking.

Additionally, you want to model the behavior you want to see your children exhibit. Your habits are very influential on the choices your children make. How much and how often you drink sets a precedent for your child’s drinking habits.

With all that being said, alcohol is a very nuanced topic. Have no fear, however, Annie is here to give her expert wisdom on the subject and help us all become more informed. In the episode we discuss:

  • The aspects of modern and corporate life that drove Annie into alcoholism
  • Why making a prison of rules for yourself is not effective
  • How to quit drinking without making your friends feel guilty for continuing to drink
  • The problem with viewing alcohol as an “acquired taste”
  • How research about alcohol is often twisted and taken out of context

Happy Listening!

Parenting Scripts

Word-for-word examples of what to say to your teen

1. Start a new kind of conversation about alcohol (1 of 2):

“Hey you know what, you’re probably getting to an age where people might invite you to drink, might have happened already, I don’t know. But I know one thing, that I never really knew what I was drinking. I know I drink today but I’ll admit to you I probably know more about the side effects of Advil than the side effects of my glass of wine. So I’m making a commitment to get really curious for my own behavior about education. If you’re curious too that’s great we can talk about it, but I just wanted to let you know that that’s what I’m doing.”

-Annie Grace

2. Start a new kind of conversation about alcohol: (2 of 2):

(Members Only)

2. Start a new kind of conversation about alcohol: (2 of 2):

“Hey I heard this podcast and I read some articles and I’ve really been starting to think about all the alcohol that we drink, how it affects our health and you know I don’t know what I want to do yet, but I want to do something, maybe make some changes in what we’re doing and get really conscious about it because it’s a powerful substance.”

-Andy Earle

Workbook Exercises

Step-by-step guides for applying the ideas from this interview

1. Share The First Time You Drank

By the time teens hit college, around 75% of them have tried alcohol. The number typically only increases after Freshman year. In her quest to uncover the truth about alcohol, Annie Grace spent time reflecting on the first time she drank and surveyed others about their first time trying alcohol. What she found out was perhaps unsurprising: most adults recalled hating their first sips. (This might not be true for everyone, particularly those whose first drink was a sugary mixed drink!)

In a notes app or on a piece of paper jot down your first encounters with alcohol. Do you remember the first time you learned about what alcohol was? When was the first time you tried alcohol? Were you at a party or with family? Did you feel pressure to take those first sips, either from friends or family? Did you like the taste? What would you change about the first time you tried alcohol, if anything?

Schedule a time for you to share with your teens your first time drinking. If you want, choose a family dinner and recruit your parenting partner to share their first experience as well. 

2. Learn Alcohol Science Collaboratively

(Members Only)

3. The Free Pass

(Members Only)

4. Have Compassion…For Yourself!

(Members Only)

Complete Interview Transcript

Andy: A good place to start usually is just who you are and how you came to be kind of doing all of this, writing this book, your podcast, or websites, apps that you’re building, and everything that you’re doing.

Annie: Awesome. Well, thanks for having me, Andy. I appreciate it. It’s really fun to be here. So my journey started very personally, I was 25 years old and I had taken alcohol, left it, it wasn’t a big deal in my life at all. And I got married and we moved to New York City. And although I had not really been drunk very many times, I hadn’t really drank much in college, and in college, it’s so interesting because it’s depending who you’re hanging out with really, it’s so influential what you’re doing. So I just happened to fall into a crowd of people that weren’t really drinking that much. So I wasn’t really drinking that much.

Annie: Then we moved to New York City, and I remember my first day on the job there, I was working for a huge bank, and they’re like, “We’re going to take you out for happy hour.” So we went out for happy hour and I was like, “Well, what am I going to order? I don’t even know. Okay. But I’ve watched, Sex in the City, so I’ll order a Cosmo, and that’s a good idea,” which is not really what they drink in New York City, even back then. And it was very awkward and funny, but it ended up that it cost 25 bucks. And this is in 2006. And I was like, “Oh my gosh, that’s ridiculous. I’m not going to spend my money drinking.”

Annie: So I just stopped going to happy hour. Then I got promoted a few times, I was working at a different company, we’d been there a little while. And my boss was like, “Hey, why aren’t you coming to Happy Hour?” I was like, “Well, I don’t really drink.” And he’s like, “No, that’s not what it’s about. It’s really about the networking and the showcasing your ideas. So you need to show up.” And I was like, “Okay.”

Annie: So I had this method and I was like, “All right, I’m going to drink a glass of wine, then a glass of water, and a glass of wine and a glass of water, so I never get too tipsy.” Sometimes I would even go back like fully aware, feel like I was getting too tipsy, and I’d go into the bathroom to throw up the glass of wine, just so I could drink another one, so I could keep my tolerance going. Like it was so important for me to be with all these older executives and just be part of this whole thing that I was like, “Okay, I’m going to be really methodical about this.”

Annie: But alcohol does what alcohol does, and over the next decade, drinking at work started to be drinking at home, and fast forward. I was very successful in my career. I was now Global Head of Marketing in charge of 28 countries, flying around the world all the time, visiting up to 20 countries a year, and I was drinking close to two bottles of wine a night. And being on these international first class flights, what time I would leave New York City at 8:00 PM, but then I would land in London at like 6:00 AM, but it was really 2:00 AM. So I was like, “Well, I’ll just have another drink in the lounge where I go shower, before I go into the office.” And it’s just, everything started getting blurred. So I did what most people would do is, I was like, “All right, this isn’t fun anymore. I’m going to just drink less.”

Annie: I didn’t find it easy. I actually found that, very much like all the science shows, about going on a diet. If you go on a diet, you actually gain more weight. That’s for most people, the majority of people yet, for me, that’s what it was like. It was like I was going on this alcohol diet, which ultimately over the years had me drinking more, and does not have peace around it. I talk about it in my book about cognitive dissonance, both this desire, like, I want to pick up a drink because it’s going to relax me, and I don’t want to pick up a drink because I promised myself I wasn’t going to.

Annie: We talk so much about like how much external conflict hurts. If you just see somebody fighting, it hurts or see it on TV, your heart rate can go up, but we don’t talk about this internal war and how much that can affect your wellbeing, because you’re just always fighting with yourself. And that’s where I was. And then something really radical happened to me, in hindsight, it didn’t feel radical at the time, but I was coming home from Heathrow in London. I was flying back to the States. I was coming back to my husband and my two little boys, and I was just so hung over and I’d had a few drinks that morning in the hotel bar. I’d actually asked for a mimosa because that was totally kosher to drink first thing in the morning, which is like-

Andy: Totally, right.

Annie: Yeah, it’s fine. Mimosas.

Andy: Bloody Mary or mimosa, you’re not an alcoholic.

Annie: Exactly. It’s one of those invisible lines that somehow we’ve convinced ourselves of, but the waitress, she’s like, “Oh, I’m not going to open the whole bottle of champagne because it will go flat.” And she’s like, “Unless you’re planning to drink the whole thing.” And I was like, “Oh, no, no, no, never.” So I was like, “Okay, fine.” And she’s like, “But I could make you a screwdriver, which is basically vodka and orange juice.” And that was another one of those lines. I hadn’t drank hard alcohol first thing in the morning, but I was like, “Okay. Yes.” And so I had two of those and I was sitting in the airport just feeling like, “What am I doing? What is happening?” And feeling really hopeless, because feeling like all these rules, I tried to put in place, it wasn’t working. And it was actually seeming to make things worse and definitely making my internal fight worse.

Annie: So I had this moment of, “Why is it different?” And all of a sudden this question came is, “Why is it that I used to be able to take it or leave it? And now it feels like it’s so important to relax, or to have a good time or to go on a sales call or to do any of these things, what changed?” And so that question, I was like, “You know what, I’m going to get off this crazy rollercoaster of making and breaking rules to myself. And I’m just going to answer that question.” And I was like, “I’m going to let it be as long as it takes, but I’m going to stop trying to stop drinking. I’m going to stop trying to cut back. I am just going to drink what I want, but I’m going to promise myself two things. Number one is that I’m going to have total compassion for myself, because this beating myself up continuously is not working. It is not the solution, and it’s just making it worse. And number two, I am going to find out why. I’m going to understand this, at least.”

Annie: So I started just really, something close to your heart, Andy, would be, I just started to dive into the science, and I made a list of all of the reasons that I had drank. And then I asked my friends all the reasons that they drank, I had this huge list and I just started going through them one by one, like, “Okay, I drank to really stress.” Is it true? Is that what it does in the body? I drink to loosen up, or combat social anxiety. Is it true? Is that really the outcome of alcohol? I drink to have a good time. Is it true? Is that really the outcome? And over and over, what the science says is, “well, no. No and no. And really, no. And actually it makes that worse.” Your happiness levels, your wellbeing levels, no, alcohol really negatively impacts those, but you don’t see it in the short term, right.

Annie: So I started to see all this stuff, and it was probably close to a year later that I just told my husband, I was like, “If you want to drink with me again tonight’s the night, because I think I’m done drinking after tonight.” And he was like, “What? Who are you?” I was like, “Yeah, I just don’t see the point anymore.” And so we split a bottle of wine and that was really it. I say, “I drink as much as I want whenever I want, I just haven’t wanted to have a drink in almost six years now.”

Annie: And it’s from that place, and since then, I’ve now realized that actually, why this is so successful. And now, I’ve written two books about it and all of this sorts of stuff is because positive emotion, a researcher at Stanford, just this year, BJ Fogg, he’s doing research on like what correlates with habit change, and he found out pretty much definitively that it’s not time. It’s not the 60 days, or the 21 days or any of that stuff. It’s actually emotion. So my emotion about this change in my life was like, “Oh, don’t need that. Don’t want it better off without it, good for me.” Whereas usually when somebody is looking to make a change in their relationship with alcohol, it’s like, “Oh, poor me, this sucks.”

Andy: “I guess I’m going to have to limit myself, and I can only have one tonight,” and yeah. Right, right, right. It’s the coveted thing that you’re not letting yourself have, up there. Yeah. So that sets you up for failure.

Annie: It really does. And of course, I didn’t know that at the time. I’d been trying that way for many years and it hadn’t worked. And so it has been really different for me. In fact, I have a group of five college friends, and one of them had gotten sober years before. And when I stopped drinking, another one of our friends came up and she’s like, “It’s so different with the two of you. I don’t feel bad drinking around you. I don’t feel guilty for it. Why is it so different?” And I was like, “Well, because I don’t feel sorry for myself, because I’m really, I’m not triggered by your drinking. I’m not worried about it. I don’t have to project that on you.” It’s not a big problem.

Andy: Right. You’re not gazing with longing at the drink in her hand as she takes a sip of it.

Annie: Yeah, exactly. And it’s funny, too, I think it’s more like becoming a beacon or something where you’re like, “Yeah, I really want to do this. So I’m not going to be drooling over your hamburger if I’m deciding not to eat meat, right?” But usually people don’t want to do it. They don’t want to make that choice. They feel like they have to, because of a series of unfortunate events, and the whole mentality is different.

Annie: So, anyway I had all of this research and I just put it into a PDF and I shared it in a few places, and I didn’t even know, it was very dirty, very full of typos, but I was like, “Other people need this.” And so I shared it in a few places and 20,000 people downloaded it in two weeks and it was crazy.

Annie: I started getting letters all over the world like, “Oh my gosh, this is what was missing. This is what I need too, this is amazing.” And somebody said, “Hey, you should really make this a book.” And it was actually an email. And I was like, “Okay, I’m going to do that.” And so I started actually properly reading other books, taking other views into account, I think we’ve read probably a lot of the same ones, and actually trying to figure out how to streamline some of this research into an actual narrative. And then I, ended up self-publishing, This Naked Mind, and then it went again, same thing, it just started really gaining momentum, a life of its own. And so it’s now traditionally published. It actually went through a whole bidding war with the top five publishers, and ended up going with Penguin Random House, and wrote another book, which is the, 30 Day Alcohol Experiment, which is just like dip a toe, you don’t have to be ready. You don’t have to change anything. Just try it out. And yeah, so that’s the long and short of it.

Andy: What about the idea that alcohol is an acquired taste? You talk about your French friend, Yani, whose parents encouraged her to you have sips of wine at dinner from the age of eight, much like your parents encourage you to eat the spinach on your plate, and they kept encouraging her, “I know you don’t like it now, but one day you will, just keep trying it.” And now she does. So they were right, right?

Annie: Yeah. Now she loves to drink. And it’s interesting, if you think of an acquired taste, first of all, if most of us think, and I’ve surveyed so many people about this, but if you think back to your first drink, most people were like, “Oh yeah, I remember spitting it out. I remember not liking it. I remember choking it down just to fit in.” Now there are some exceptions. I had a friend, she literally had Malibu and Coke, and that was her first drink. And so it was perfectly fine, because it was really just loaded with sugar, and so she couldn’t even taste the alcohol. But also alcohol itself, ethanol, the thing that makes alcohol alcoholic, tastes horrible. You couldn’t even probably get it down without puking. You’d have an instant gag reflex and why you’d have an instant gag reflex is because your body would say, “That’s poison. Get that out of my system immediately.”

Annie: So we have to dumb it down with all of this stuff. We have to make our beers only are like three to 8% alcohol because otherwise we couldn’t physically ingest it. And even beer though, to a child, doesn’t taste good, even wine to a child doesn’t taste good. I think one way to look at this choir taste is like, it’s a little bit of an immunity to the taste. It’s your body saying, “Okay, we’re doing this anyway. So I’m going to make it less painful for you.” So my brother, he has a goat farm, and I pull up to his, we visit him just a few weeks ago, and we pull up in there, and we’re like, “Whoa, here we are.” It’s so intense, the smell, and he and his family, they don’t even notice it. They’ve acquired the taste for goat shit, to be honest with you. They don’t notice that they’re surrounded by goats. But for us-

Andy: Yeah. Right. It’s very noticeable, probably from miles away coming down the road, you’re aware of that. Yeah. Yeah. It’s so true. We do that with so many things, I think, that the human body is very good at habituating to things. So yeah, I think that’s just such a good point and it’s so true. And it’s something I hadn’t really thought about too, but, and this is something that’s happening, I think, during the teenage years, people are having their first experiences with alcohol. And if this is your mentality that it’s an acquired taste and you know it’s probably not going to taste that good at first, but you should just muscle it down and be cool because eventually you’ll like it, and grownups do, and you see it as that way, then you want to quickly acquire it as fast as possible, so you can be like the adults and be like the cool people who seem to be drinking it so effortlessly.

Andy: It really struck me, reading your book, that a lot of this stuff is so important for teenagers because we already have false beliefs about alcohol in our teenage years, and even as we’re taking our very first sips of alcohol, we already have this whole constellation of attitudes and beliefs about what it is, and what it means. And that really, really influences the drinker that we become, how soon we start and the type of drinking that we do.

Andy: One of the first things that you touch on is this idea of the physical flaw theory. So what is that, and why is that a problem? Even for people who don’t view themselves as alcoholics?

Annie: So a lot of our programming, the things that we believe without even realizing we believe them, has just come by default around alcohol. So one of those things is that there’s a subset of the population that are alcoholics, and if you’re not an alcoholic, then you don’t necessarily need to worry about your drinking. And if you are an alcoholic, it’s probably genetic, it’s probably an addictive personality. There’s probably some sort of physical flaw in your makeup that makes you this type of person that can’t drink responsibly. But the science disagrees with that completely. There’s no good science for that. Even the people who have researched the most, neuroscientists, say, “Yeah, there’s genes that are loosely correlated, but you can’t identify a certain gene. And it’s definitely much more to do with emotional events in somebody’s life, or different levels of exposure.”

Annie: I think the easiest way for me to explain this is like comparing diabetes type one and type two. People are pretty familiar with this, right? And one type of you’re born with it, you have to have insulin from pretty much day one because there’s something physically wrong in your body that your body does not produce enough. In the other type, you have had so much exposure externally to these different types of toxins that you have created an imbalance. Therefore you need to still treat it the same way, with insulin, but it’s very different, right?

Annie: And we’ve been putting alcohol in this, “Born with it, physical flaw, something’s wrong with a certain subset of people,” and the problem with that is that it encourages, and this was my story, my friend actually came up to me after going and getting sober with AA, and I said, “Well, I drink as much as you drink.” And she said, “But, Annie, you’re not an alcoholic. I learned I was born this way.” No, she learned this because somebody told her this at a meeting, there was no science behind it, but for her, she could make much more peace with the idea she had to stop drinking by believing she was born that way. And for me as this person who did not consider myself an alcoholic, still don’t, was at this point where like, “Well, then, okay, I guess I’m just going to keep drinking because either I’m an alcoholic and I stop or I just carry on.” And that’s really where the alcohol experiment came from. It’s like, shouldn’t there be something in the middle? Why is it that we?

Annie: And this is true in, by the way, if you go to your doctor about your drinking, it’s the same sort of thing. So you go to your doctor about your drinking, start to tell them about it and they’ll say, “Oh, okay, well,” either they say, A, “No big deal,” because they know they’re actually drinking more than you, or at least as much. And so they encourage you that you’re fine. Or they say B, “Oh, that is sounding like a big deal. You are doing stuff that really crossed the line.” And they say, “You need to go get sober and go to AA.”

Annie: And often people come to their doctor when, imagine your wrist hurts, right. And you’re like, “Oh, my wrist hurts.” And so you go to your doctor and be like, “This is a problem. This is starting to impact my life. I can’t do all the things I used to do. I have pain.” And your doctor says, “Oh, well, you know, either you have to live with it or we’re going to amputate at the arm. Those are your options. So what are you going to do?” And so you’re going to walk out and you’re going to live with it, of course, because amputating at the arm, getting sober, going to meetings for 90 days, and then the rest of your life, who wants to amputate at the arm? Right. And so I think it really does affect people who are questioning their drinking. It doesn’t give us this safe place to land.

Andy: Yeah. And for everybody else, it lets us just think that, “Hey, we’re fine. Because I don’t have a problem. So I can just keep drinking, because I’m not one of those people, those problem people.” So it doesn’t work for anybody, it’s a flawed way of thinking about it, I think, it’s a mentality that doesn’t serve us, but it’s so pervasive.

Annie: It also really perpetuates this black and white mentality, which by the way, isn’t true. Okay. So what else in the world, tell me one other thing that a hundred percent is success, but 99.9% is, is failure, right? If you’re trying to run, and you run at 365 days a year, but if you miss a few days, you’re not a runner? That doesn’t make any sense, right. But here we’re saying, “The only answer to anybody questioning their drinking is sobriety. That’s not actually true.” For a lot of people, especially when they go through my work and they realize that alcohol really isn’t doing what they thought it was, they do choose not to drink it anymore, but they don’t actually even choose to be sober as much as they just choose not to drink. They don’t even take on that identity of a sober person.

Annie: But I think it’s really interesting, because that black and white thinking of, “Okay, number one, if you have a drink you’re no longer sober, you’ve failed,” just perpetuates the whole thing. It’s so loaded with shame. It’s so loaded with stigma. And by the way, it’s just not true for most people. According to the CDC, 90% of excessive drinkers are not chemically dependent, right? So these are people that are drinking inn excess far over the recommended guidelines, but they’re not chemically dependent. They’re not going to go into withdrawals or have any of these things, yet it’s like we have a hammer, so everything’s a nail and we’re just pounding the same message, “Well then, if you even question your drinking, your only option is to just go ahead and get sober with AA,” which, it’s not relevant. It actually turns people off all at the time.

Annie: For me, in my life, and that’s really where I can speak to with most authority is, I probably started questioning my drinking six years before I actually started to do anything about it, because the question wasn’t, “Would I be a bit happier drinking less?” The question was, “Am I an alcoholic?” And that question is terrifying.

About Annie Grace

Annie Grace is author of two books and founder of This Naked Mind. After seeing success with self-publishing her book This Naked Mind, the book received looks from big publishers who, with the serious efforts of Annie, have led it to be a national bestseller in its own right. Realizing that her voice was greatly needed in another sphere, Annie left her lucrative position as Vice President in a multinational company. Today, she helps others across the globe take a fresh look at alcohol and the common beliefs we have. She’s created a brand new way to look at the role of alcohol in our lives, establishing a safe space with This Naked Mind for people to question their drinking without using the label “alcoholic.”

Annie’s expertise and work has been featured all over: Forbes, Good Morning America, NPR, The Chicago Tribune, New York Post, People, ABC News, The Huffington Post, to name a few.  Following the success of  This Naked Mind, Annie put together a 30-day alcohol experiment challenge, which you can find for free online, or in book form, The Alcohol Experiment.

Annie lives with her husband and tween sons in the mountains of Colorado.

Want More Annie Grace?

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Ep 98: From Insecure to Marvelous

Episode Summary

Shanterra McBride, author of Love Your Jiggle and founder of Marvelous University, joins Andy for a talk on how to help our teens through their most awkward years and what to do to prepare them for the big world ahead. 

Show NotesParenting ScriptsInterview TranscriptGuest Bio

Full Show Notes

Drinking alcohol is a significant part of Western culture. Of Americans over 18, 86.3% say that they’ve tried alcohol and 55.3% report that they drink regularly. Nowhere is alcohol more culturally expected than in young adulthood. It’s almost assumed that college students will experiment with alcohol, and teenagers are becoming more and more likely to try alcohol before reaching adulthood.

Parenting Scripts

Word-for-word examples of what to say to your teen

1. Start a new kind of conversation about alcohol (1 of 2):

“Hey you know what, you’re probably getting to an age where people might invite you to drink, might have happened already, I don’t know. But I know one thing, that I never really knew what I was drinking. I know I drink today but I’ll admit to you I probably know more about the side effects of Advil than the side effects of my glass of wine. So I’m making a commitment to get really curious for my own behavior about education. If you’re curious too that’s great we can talk about it, but I just wanted to let you know that that’s what I’m doing.”

-Annie Grace

2. Start a new kind of conversation about alcohol: (2 of 2):

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Complete Interview Transcript

Andy: A good place to start usually is just who you are and how you came to be kind of doing all of this, writing this book, your podcast, or websites, apps that you’re building, and everything that you’re doing.

About Shanterra McBride

Annie lives with her husband and tween sons in the mountains of Colorado.

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