Friends make you happier than alcohol
If you're struggling through Dry January desperately trying to force yourself to stay away from the corkscrew, a new book promises that it can help - by taking away the desire to drink completely. 

This Naked Mind by Annie Grace from Colorado examines the influence that alcohol has on our culture and society and reveals how the unconscious mind has been subjected to a lifetime of conditioning about the benefits of alcohol.

It doesn't contain any rules, goals or scaremongering, but by exploring the reasons people drink and their fears that a life without alcohol will be boring or deprived, Jessica insists that you will want to drink less or give up altogether by the time you've finished reading.  

And her claims are backed up by more than 600 five-star reviews on Amazon since the book was released a week ago, with people confirming that the programme has taken away their desire to drink completely, without any sense of deprivation. 

Her programme is based on Annie's own experience of giving up alcohol after becoming the youngest vice president in a multinational corporation at the age of 26 led her to excessive drinking as she dealt with the pressures of the job. 

Below are three of the steps you can take to bust myths surrounding alcohol and lose the desire to drink for good.  

Myth: Alcohol is vital to your social life

Before you ever drank a drop you did not need alcohol to enjoy yourself socially, yet as you grew older, you observed everyone around you drinking in social situations. 

In fact, you almost never observed social situations without alcohol. You assumed alcohol was a key ingredient for a good party. 

Your began to drink socially and initially you probably still didn't find alcohol vital to socialising. Since alcohol is part of practically every social situation, soon you only experience social situations with alcohol. 

Eventually you developed a small dependence and you missed alcohol if it wasn't available. Your experience confirmed your observations. You didn't have quite as much fun if you didn't drink. You concluded, yes, alcohol is vital to social life. 

Since you believe alcohol is helping you have fun, it does. Your mind is incredibly powerful. If you skip a drink you feel deprived. You believe you are not enjoying yourself as much as you would with a drink in your hand. 



Reality 

It's not drinking that makes activities fun, we enjoy them because we are with friends and doing something we like. We didn't need alcohol to enjoy them before, but now we have developed a habit of drinking.

Alcohol homogenises life, meaning you experience the same deadened sense of drunken reality as a jockey game as you feel at a fancy dinner. And you won't remember much of either. Instead of enjoying the wide variety of social activities available to us, drinking makes them all blend together.   

You don't realise you are caught fast in your small life until you crawl out of it and re-enter the land of the living. Drinking ensures social occasions feel unmemorable and monotonous. After all, drunkenness feels the same no matter what you are doing. 

When you stop believing you need to drink to have fun you won't need to. You'll realise that alcohol can actually hinder your fun. 

School hallways are filled with laughter, shouts and jokes and there is no alcohol. The locker room after a winning game has a bouyant, joyful  atmosphere, again with no drinking. Is it so hard to accept that what you enjoy about social activities are you friends and the experiences? 

Annie's top tips for going booze-free 
  • Don't put it off. There will always be an excuse from an upcoming wedding to stress in your life. Don't fall for it. There's not need to wait and no need to be frightened. 
  • It takes ten or more days for alcohol to fully leave your system. Since you have altered your dopamine levels you may experience cravings. You have to starve those cravings and allow them to die. 
  • Feel free to think about the fact that you no longer drink, but think of it in terms of 'I don't have to drink' rather than ' I don't get to drink'. 
  • Habits can linger, but if you pinpoint the reason why you actually wnat the drink, you'll soon find that your craving will disappear. 
  • There's no need to avoid your drinking friends or places you used to go to drink. You are free to do whatever you want. But be kind to yourself and only go if you truly enjoy the activity and the company. 
Daily Mail