When I decided to write the top ten most influential books in my life, I considered writing them in an order of least influential to most. I thought that it would be interesting for the reader to read each one while creating a sense of anticipation of what would come next. In the end I decided that a more educational method would be to write them in chronological order. That way not only could you learn from the inspiration behind why the book had such a profound effect on me but also learn the journey of life itself. If I were to have placed them in order of least to most influential, then the number one most influential book in my life would have been Easy Way to Control Alcohol by Allen Carr.
I mentioned in my coverage of The Easy Way to Stop Smoking that Allen Carr should have been knighted because of the number of lives he has saved with his techniques on giving up smoking. To many in the world, smoking is a destroyer of lives, but in my view nothing comes close to destroying life more than alcohol. Pitching smoking in a battle with alcohol would be like throwing me in the ring with Mike Tyson. Alcohol is the silent killer, the destroyer of families, the creator of lies and deceit and it has created such a powerful illusion that nobody even sees it.
The first time I remember drinking was after a friend and I stole alcohol from our parent’s cupboards. In an attempt to steal without getting caught we smuggled a small amount of various bottles into one two litre pop bottle. It tasted disgusting and I was violently sick before passing out in the middle of a football field. I was 14 or 15-years of age. For me this was a part of life, every adult I was acquainted with drunk alcohol and so it wasn’t a question of whether or not I should drink only when I should start and how much I should consume.
As a young child, drinking seems fun. You laugh with wondrous joy as Uncle Freddy comes over to you after spending hours in the pub. You like the way he throws you around and gives you a £1 from inside his trouser pocket. You go to bed hoping one day to be just like happy uncle Freddy. You are sound asleep by the time he has told his wife to f@ck off, vomited on the floor and fallen asleep at the top of the stairs.
I drank that poison, under the illusion that it provided me with a benefit for 20-years, when all it did was bring me abject misery. One day while I was walking through a bookstore I saw Easy Way to Control Alcohol and so I bought it. I was attracted to the word control because it did not mean I had to quit. I couldn’t quit because my whole life was built around alcohol. How could I function in life without it?
When I started to read, I remembered the impact that Easy Way to Stop Smoking had on me. I had quit smoking and now I was going to quit alcohol. I had gone from trying to control it to wanting to destroy it. When I turned the last page of the book I was a teetotaler. For the next three and a half years I abstained from drinking alcohol. But this journey was so very different from when I quit smoking. You see, even smokers realise that what they are doing to themselves it stupid, but they just can’t stop. When you give up smoking there isn’t a welcoming committee whose sole focus is to get you back onto the fags. With drinking it is different. Society is not ready for people to tell them that alcohol offers them no benefits. When you stop drinking alcohol people become afraid of you. They think you are strange and that there must be something wrong with you. After all you are the minority so how could the majority be wrong?
The other problem with becoming teetotal is you avoid the very places that you hang around with your friends. Having a conversation with someone who is legless, while you are legless, is a different prospect than having that same conversation when you are sober. It is a socially awkward and unpleasant experience. All of a sudden the parties you used to frequent become places of terror.
Once again Allen Carr had changed my life, but this time it was different. Not only had Carr shown me the myth behind the booze but also he gave me the belief that I could achieve anything. I must personally know hundreds of people and not one of them had given up drinking apart from my Granddad. That gave me the belief that I could accomplish anything. If the world could be fooled by this little bit of poison then what else was I not seeing with these socially controlled eyes?
What is the most influential book you have ever read? Please share it with us.
My friend has recently read Easy Way to Control Alcohol after seeing me change my life. He contacted me the other day very excited about all of the new energy he had buzzing through his bones. He had developed a new sweet tooth but despite that had instantly shed 6 pounds without doing any exercise. He was convinced he would never drink again. I felt amazing that I could be the influence that propelled him to change his life.
I have so many horror stories about alcohol’s influence on my life that one day will fill the pages of a book I have already tentatively called Poisonous Tales. I will write it in the style of The Goal and I will release it chapter by chapter on my blog. What is truly horrifying about these stories is everyone will find them normal. They will see their own experiences in my lines of text and think that I am describing normal life.
If you are interested in quitting alcohol then contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to enquire about my six-week programme aimed at helping you create better habits surrounding your drinking.