Monthly Archives: June 2015

Measuring Addiction Recovery

Following on from the William White presentation on Experiencing Recovery there is new research being collected and collated here in the UK pertaining to the recovery experience! 🙂

survey

This questionnaire is part of a larger research project that is being conducted by researchers from King’s College London, with the support of service users. The aim of the study is to produce a new tool for measuring recovery from addiction. This tool will only measure aspects of recovery that service users themselves think are important.

Measuring addiction recovery: development of a new tool for service users – survey

To complete the survey use the above link.  I’m completing it as if we want a clearer picture of how recovery is for us then this is an ideal platform for our voice to be heard in the research space.  They take a few personal details as part of it to enable them to follow up the research in 3 months time but otherwise it’s non identifying and will be presented anonymously when the research is published.

You can complete if if you live outside the UK too and for the question about being in drug and alcohol treatment I just put NA as in not applicable 🙂

Plus there is not one but two survey’s running presently it would seem as Paul over at The Alcoholics Guide to Alcoholism also shared a survey which is here:

If you live in the UK, are in recovery and have 20 minutes to fill in this very worthwhile survey you can make a difference to how we, as a society, perceive recovery and help reduce the stigma surrounding addiction at the same time.

The survey will be open until the 30th June 2015.

The first ever survey in the UK into Life in Recovery is in process – please click this link and contribute if you can?

http://www.sheffieldalcoholsupportservice.org.uk/index.php/component/k2/item/283-life-in-recovery-survey-uk-2015

Edited to add: Paul tells me that they are one and the same so you only need to log onto one of them to complete!!

Friday sober jukebox – reliving memories

This is one of my all time favourite tunes for tonight’s Friday sober jukebox and this post is about reliving memories.

massive attack

We saw them live at Brighton Dome 5 years ago.  I was drinking heavily and with a night away from the kids in a hotel I was, it’s fair to say, ‘in vino veritas’ that night.  All memories in tact for this one thankfully 🙂  Just hearing the opening bars to this track gives me goose bumps ……..

Like a soul without a mind
In a body without a heart
I’m missing every part

I used to think it was called Unfinished Symphony which worked really well with the idea that we are all unfinished symphonies, except it’s sympathy!

It’s Friday night and that used to be a major struggle night for me in the early days of stopping.  If you’re thinking about drinking then maybe watching the video to another Massive Attack track might stop those thoughts?  Be warned though that it might be triggery as it features heavy drinking and is like playing the drinking tape forward.  Sad to watch but a reminder of how it used to be.

Massive Attack – Live With Me

Plans and schemes
Hopes and fears
Dreams that deny for all these years …..

 

Irish teens are starting to drink at age 13

This was covered in the Independent Ireland in April and looks at research studies findings that Irish teens are starting to drink at the age of 13.

13

Alarming new figures that show adolescents are developing harmful alcohol habits from a very young age.

Irish teenagers are now consuming alcohol as young as 13 years of age and according to the most recent study, 83pc of our adolescents have drank at least once. However, experts warn the problem and solution do not lie solely on the shoulders of our young people because they are learning how to relate to alcohol simply by watching the adults in their lives.

In the last three years seven major studies, looking at how our young people consume alcohol, have been published and the most telling piece of research comes from data collected from 26 schools in Cork.

The results published just this year show that out of 2,716 teenagers, between the ages of 15 and 17, 2,424 said they had consumed alcohol at least once – that is 83pc.

Of these secondary school students, 50pc admitted to drinking between one and five units of alcohol in an ordinary week and 37pc said they had been “really drunk” on one to three occasions in the previous month.

Interestingly, the piece of research, which was published in the Irish Journal of Psychological Medicine, was focused on the association between parental and adolescent substance misuse. Two of Ireland’s leading experts told the Irish Independent that our teens’ drinking simply mirrors what Irish adults are doing.

“One young person said to me they would wait until their mum had book club or their friends over because there’s so much drinking going on in the house among the adults that they don’t notice if some alcohol goes missing,” said Joanna Fortune of Solamh, a clinical psychotherapist specialising in child and adolescent psychotherapy.  “So be really aware that young people are looking and taking their lead from their parents’ relationship with alcohol,” she added.

Dr Bobby Smyth, a psychiatrist who specialises in adolescent addiction, agrees with Ms Fortune.

“I’m convinced the drinking situation for teenagers is no worse now than it was 10 years ago. My guess is that it’s actually a little better, but the way adolescents are drinking is mirroring the way adults are drinking, where people tend to drink to get drunk,” Dr Smyth said.

Both experts, who work with adolescents daily, also agree on the drop in age that our young people have started consuming alcohol at.

“Something I’ve noticed in the last five years is that the point of entry to drinking is getting as young as 13. In all honesty, five, six years ago we would have been talking about 16-year-olds drinking, that’s a significant difference in a short period of time and it’s something I hear a lot,” said Ms Fortune.

Dr Smyth added: “People are now routinely starting to drink at the age of 14, which is a couple of years lower than it was a generation ago. To drink in an unhealthy way in Ireland is sort of the norm.”

The World Health Organisation’s (WHO) global status report on alcohol and health in 2014 showed that Ireland has the second highest rate of binge drinking in the world. It found that 39pc of all Irish people aged 15 years old and over had engaged in binge drinking, or “heavy episodic drinking”, in the past 30 days.

This puts Ireland just behind Austria (40.5pc) at the top of the 194 countries studied and well ahead of our neighbours in Britain (28pc). Positively however, Irish research also published last year, indicated a decrease in the number of our adolescents drinking.

The Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) Ireland Trends Report 1998-2010 showed there was a 1pc decrease between 1998 and 2010 – 29.3pc to 28.3pc – in the number of children who had ever been drunk.

However, interestingly, that reduction was due to less boys getting drunk (34.8pc down to 29.7pc), while there was an increase in the number of girls who had been drunk during that period – 24pc up to 26.8pc.

A spokesman for AAI said that in order to address the alcohol consumption of our teenagers it is futile to just “point the finger” at them.  “When it comes to drinking, young people are, in many ways, a product of their environment and we have created an environment for them that is saturated with alcohol. We have normalised heavy drinking.”

Ms Fortune says adults play a vital role in changing how our young people relate to alcohol.

“Parents can help by being aware of how they relate to alcohol and how much alcohol is in the house. Talk openly to your children about alcohol, about what is and isn’t OK, talk about limits and boundaries and how to keep themselves safe.

“Be aware of whose house they are going to most often and get to know those parents and get to know the rules in that house.

“Be really open and say, ‘bring your friends over, I’d like to get to know them,’ and be the one that can be an influence and a positive go-to,” advised Ms Fortune.

And the psychotherapist believes one piece of advice is essential: “Make sure your teenager knows, that no matter what goes wrong when they may be out or however bad the situation can get, that they can call you.”

For more information on where to get help for alcohol abuse, contact your local HSE office or visit drugs.ie.

Case Study Aiseiri helped me get sober

‘I started drinking when I was 11 years old. A grandparent had died and there were cousins a bit older than me. I had a lot of feelings of loss and hurt, so when they were drinking on the sly I joined in. It didn’t become a big problem until I was about 13.

I’d say I was going to the cinema, but instead I’d be waiting outside the off licence with mates for someone to buy us a few cans or a flagon of cider. I lied to my parents a lot and I was good at hiding it.

I remember when I was about 16 a friend invited me up to watch the rugby with a few cans. I arrived with a box of Budweiser, and was half shocked to see them with three or four cans each. I remember thinking “what’s the point of that?”. Friends would ask me, why can’t you just have one or two and enjoy yourself, but I had to drink to get annihilated, never for fun.

When I was 18, I was in deep, physically and mentally. My parents knew there was something wrong, but I was never home and when I was, I was in bed. I was barely 10st at 6ft 2in, was in serious debt and was alienating all my family and friends. I was in deep despair, self-harming and I eventually broke down to my parents and said I couldn’t do it anymore.

I really wanted to get clean, I was going to go in to Aiseiri for six weeks. In the past I’d been willing to give up some parts of my lifestyle and not others, but this time I really wanted to stop. The staff were so supportive and taught me so much – about my triggers, the people I’d been spending time with, dangerous situations for me to be in. They helped me figure out why I was drinking, and how I could stop.

I’m now 22, nearly four years sober. The after-care for two years was really important because it’s easy to stay clean when you’re in treatment – it’s afterwards that’s tough, but I was able to phone them if I needed to.

The first year was especially tough because I had to delete my Facebook and change my phone number, basically give up my old life and friends, and it was quite isolating. The release isn’t like in the movies! But it was totally necessary, and now life is absolutely brilliant. I’m working with my father, have a great relationship with my family and I’m genuinely happy.”

www.aiseiri.ie

I’m really impressed with both Scotland and Ireland’s tackling of this issue head on.  Historically and culturally alcohol has been a large part of their heritage and so it is coming to a head sooner for them.  Have no doubt though that we will follow if things don’t change and more isn’t done to counter the prevailing attitude towards alcohol in this country too.  What are your thoughts – are we already there and I’m in denial?

PS Would you mind adding your voice to this survey too?  I have 🙂

Consumer survey on communication of alcohol associated risks

We invite you to complete this questionnaire which will enable us to map consumers’ opinions on the topic. Results will feed into RARHA work and will contribute to the discussion on how to communicate information about alcohol-related risks. This survey is carried out through the European Union Joint Action on Reducing Alcohol Related Harm (RARHA) bringing together expert organisations in public health from 30 European countries | EuroCare, Belgium

Alcohol use in films linked to adolescents’ drinking habits

Earlier this year new research was published in Pediatrics from Bristol University looking at how alcohol used in films was linked to adolescents’ drinking habits.

alcohol_storysize_650_052314032455

The more adolescents witness alcohol consumption in films, the more likely they are to try alcohol and participate in risky drinking behaviour, according to new research from the University of Bristol, published today in Pediatrics.

The researchers, including Dr Andrea Waylen, studied data on more than 5,000 adolescents with an approximate age of 15 years from Bristol’s Children of the 90s study.

They found that adolescents with the highest exposure to alcohol use in films were 1.2 times more likely to have tried alcohol than those least exposed, and 1.7 times more likely to binge drink.

Those with the highest exposure were also 2.4 times more likely to drink weekly and twice as likely to have alcohol-related problems than those less exposed.

The study authors suggest a review of film-rating categories and that alcohol ratings for all films may help reduce alcohol consumption in adolescents.

Between 1989 and 2008, 72 per cent of the most popular UK box office films depicted alcohol use, but only 6 per cent were classified as adult only.

Paper

‘Alcohol Use in Films and Adolescent Alcohol Use’ by Andrea Waylen, Sam Leary, Andrew Ness and James Sargent in Pediatrics

When I was studying Understanding Addiction with Kings College recently one of the lecturers on policy stated how important it was for us to continue to build an evidence base around the subject of alcohol because the industry would always remain critical of any research and evaluation work.  This is all good evidence linking gut instinct to confirmatory research.

 

Shadow comforts and feeding our spirits

So continuing on from yesterday’s post talking about Brene Brown‘s awesome book Daring Greatly we now turn to how we take care of ourselves when we realise we are numbing whether with booze or any other substance or behaviour.

JenLoudenBefriendingMonsters390px

Brene cites Jennifer Louden who has named our numbing devices ‘shadow comforts’.  In her book, The Life Organizer, Louden writes “Shadow comforts can take any form.  It’s not what you do; it’s why you do it that makes the difference.”  Brene argues that when we’re struggling with anxiety, disconnection, vulnerability, feeling alone and  helpless, the substances and behaviours – be it booze or food or work or endless hours online, feel like comfort but the reality is they cast long shadows over our lives.

She extends the invitation to think about the intention behind our choices and this really resonates with me and the work I’ve been doing during meditation on Headspace.  Andy asks us to reflect and focus on our intentions before each daily meditation and as I’ve been doing this for over 6 months now it is becoming part of my daily awareness.

Brene continues:

“There aren’t any checklists or norms to help you identify shadow comforts or other destructive numbing behaviour.  This requires self-examination and reflection.  But ultimately these are questions that transcend what we know and how we feel – they’re about our spirit.  Are my choices comforting and nourishing my spirit, or are they temporary reprieves from vulnerability and difficult emotions ultimately diminishing my spirit?  Are my choices leading to my Wholeheartedness, or do they leave me feeling empty and searching?

And that’s where I am.  I don’t drink anymore and the recent exercise in sugar free has been instructive.  Anything we do can be used to nourish or deplete we just need to be aware of the underlying driver.

I don’t struggle with the shame of drinking now but I do still struggle with the shame of hiding the fact that I’m in recovery.  I’m proud that I stopped but our culture stigmatises those who are daring greatly in recovery.  This is the next change that is needed and I have my intentions firmly focused on that 😉

Daring Greatly and shedding shame

So over the Easter break I read Brene Brown‘s Daring Greatly.  I felt a little guilty that it had taken me so long to get to read it as I had read her earlier books quickly and voraciously.  Maybe I needed to be ready to read it and I wasn’t until now?  Who knows but WOW.  This book was as applicable in recovery as it was when I was drinking which is when I read her first two – I was looking for an answer then but still had the glass in my hand! 😉

daringgreatlybadge

For me the focus has to be her work on the subject of the vulnerability shield of numbing.  Yep I had an A* in numbing and escaping myself.  In fact when I think back I’ve been trying to escape myself almost as long as I can remember.  As Rachel said recently quoting Caroline Knapp ‘same dance, different shoes’.  In childhood it was escape into books, films, sweets and chocolate.  In the teenage years it was friendships, boys and booze.  In young adulthood it was boys, sex, booze, drugs, overspending and debt and food again.  As an adult I added in over-working and ongoing study and then along came the internet!  Perfectionism was always present – perfect house, job, marriage, children, life ……..   When one substance or behaviour stopped working – I switched to another or had them all running simultaneously so I never had to come up for air or have to deal with being ‘me’.  As Brene says ‘We’re desperate to feel less or more of something – to make something go away or to have more of something else.’

So I read this chapter carefully and with great thought and reflection.  I’m going to share some of the key bits but really recommend you read the book in its entirety.  She postulates that anxiety and disconnection are also drivers of numbing in addition to trying to avoid our vulnerability and shame.  Her data described a range of experiences that included depression, loneliness, isolation, disengagement and emptiness.  And this paragraph really resonated with me:

Shame enters for those of us who experience anxiety because not only are we feeling fearful, out of control, and incapable of managing our increasingly demanding lives, but eventually our anxiety is compounded, and made unbearable by our belief that if we were just smarter, stronger or better, we’d be able to handle everything.  Numbing here becomes a way to take the edge off of both instability and inadequacy.

I read this and it was like a fire alarm going off in my head.  Ding ding ding ding ding!!

Brene continues:

For me, vulnerability led to anxiety, which led to shame, which led to disconnection, which led to Bud Light.  For many of us, the literal chemical anesthetizing of emotions is just a pleasant, albeit dangerous, side effect of behaviours that are more about fitting in, finding connection and managing anxiety.

Yep I hear you Brene …..

So her research findings from those who lived Wholeheartedly:

  1. Learning how to actually feel feelings
  2. Staying mindful about numbing behaviours (they struggled too)
  3. Learning how to lean into the discomfort of hard emotions

As regards anxiety she was quite clear that there were different types of anxiety and levels of intensity, that which was hardwired and best addressed with medication and therapy, and that which was environmental – the ‘crazy busy’ overextended and overstressed.

The solution to the environmental ones are about setting boundaries and limits to lower our anxiety and the research participants related this to worthiness with boundaries.  We have to believe we are enough to say ‘Enough’.

For me this was saying ‘Enough’ to alcohol and so I am closer to living wholeheartedly and tomorrow I’ll talk about the other shadow comforts that remain …..

PS Can I welcome a new face to my neck of the sober blogging world: https://1mum3kids0booze.wordpress.com/2015/05/31/day-148/

Go say hello 🙂

Seeing through the glass darkly?

Whilst studying the Kings College Understanding Addiction MOOC recently a commentator in the discussion thread linked to this research which was a qualitative exploration of GPs’ drinking and their alcohol intervention practices called ‘seeing through the glass darkly’.  Granted the research is almost 10 years old but I felt it gave a great window into the dilemma for healthcare professionals who are advising patients about drinking when they themselves may be drinking harmfully.

Booze IV's

This would have been me prior to my stopping and one of my many motivators to quit was the hypocrisy of my own actions and advice giving – and with smoking it was no different either!  How do you expect people to take your health advice seriously if you don’t even follow it?  Less ‘do as I say not as I do’ and more social role-modelling.

The whole published article is worth a read as its qualitative nature means there is some really rich data to observe.  I’m only going to share the discussions which is exceptional on its own.

Alcohol has long been regarded as a ‘difficult business’ for primary care23 and indeed alcoholism the dirty work of medicine.31 Part of this difficulty derives from the fact that problem drinking is ill-defined, multifaceted and surrounded by arbitrary notions such as ‘social drinking’ and ‘safe limits’.25 Thus it may be difficult to establish clear boundaries between what is safe or unsafe and what constitutes alcohol use or abuse. Moreover, uncertainty surrounding sensible drinking limits plus differences in patients’ physical and social circumstances requires clinical judgement in determining when drinking moves from being a social pursuit to risky behaviour.

However, alcohol intervention work may be further complicated by clinicians’ own alcohol use. Most GPs in this study drank and many reported minor adverse effects. Several respondents also referred to more serious drinking problems in colleagues. A serious concern raised was the perceived lack of care facilities for clinicians with substance-use problems. Nevertheless, some GPs in this study reported drawing on their own drinking experience to initiate discussions with patients about alcohol. However, other GP-colleagues were more reticent. A number of GPs described problem drinking as something that exceeded or was different to their own pattern of alcohol use. Such bench-marking by GPs drinking at higher-risk levels would mean that some risk-drinking patients might not receive the care they required.

Primary care nurses have reported overlooking patients whose drinking behaviour was similar to their own.22 It is interesting that primary care nurses, most of whom are women, were less likely to deliver brief alcohol interventions to women rather than men.12 For GPs, brief alcohol interventions tend to be under-delivered to better-educated, higher social-status patients; individuals much like themselves.8,13 Thus the mechanism underpinning inconsistent delivery of alcohol-related care may be perceived social-distance from patients.

Clinicians’ personal and social characteristics are likely to influence their own health behaviour and risk-taking activity. However, our data suggest that clinicians’ personal and social characteristics may also influence their perception, or indeed recognition, of health risks in others and their tendency to deliver preventive care to different ‘types’ of patients. The latter is little explored in the healthcare literature and requires further careful research including whether inconsistent delivery of preventive care extends beyond alcohol to other lifestyle issues such as obesity or smoking.

It would seem that if we are to tackle alcohol as an issue within wider society we need to address it’s usage and abuse within the healthcare profession.  If we within healthcare can’t acknowledge and resolve our own issues leading to poor advice giving to those who come to us for our professional support what hope do we have?

At the same time as this research this news story was covered by The Telegraph and the BBC stating:

The British Medical Association has called for action over alcohol and drug abuse among medics after a BBC survey showed the problem was widespread.

BBC One’s Real Story found over the last 10 years 750 hospital staff in England had been disciplined over alcohol and drug-related incidents.  The BMA estimates one in 15 medics have a problem with drugs or alcohol at some point in their life-time.  But the figures, obtained via the Freedom of Information Act, may seriously under-represent the scale of the problem Real Story reported.  Ethics Committee chairman Michael Wilks said the profession was in denial.

Doctors are known to be at least three times as likely to have cirrhosis of the liver – a sign of alcohol damage – than the rest of the population.

 

In the research I found this opening sentence very telling Alcohol has long been regarded as a ‘difficult business’ for primary care and indeed alcoholism the dirty work of medicine.  If this is how it is still perceived then this is where we need to start first and if we don’t then I’m not sure that healthcare is the right place for substance misuse issues.  One of the reasons for the success of AA is because of the non-judgement and support of others who understand.  If we can’t develop that same level of non-judgement and understanding in medicine then I am saddened and disappointed in my own clinical profession, particularly as one of those who needed that help, and is now trying to offer it but from outside the healthcare system …..

Scotland’s new drink-driving law is so successful it’s damaging the economy

This headline just makes me irritated reading it.  This story was in The Independent in April following a Bank of Scotland report looking at the impact to the economy of the change to the drink-driving law in Scotland.

drink driving

Scotland’s tough new drink-driving law is proving so successful at stopping people from indulging that it is damaging financial growth, according to one of the country’s top economists.

A Bank of Scotland report published yesterday said it had been a “poor month” for the private sector of the country’s economy. The bank’s chief economist, Donald MacRae, said the new drink-driving law was partly responsible as it had forced people to alter their drinking habits.

“Manufacturing exporters have been affected by the falling Euro, while services businesses in hospitality are seeing a changing pattern of spending resulting from the lowered alcohol limit while driving,” he said.

The new law, which came into force in December, reduced the legal alcohol limit for Scottish motorists from 80mg to 50mg in every 100ml of blood. Drivers have been warned that having “no alcohol at all” is the only way to ensure they stay within the limit – and to avoid planning car journeys for the morning after a night drinking.  This is a good thing right so why is it being portrayed as a negative?

In February, a survey of the hospitality sector suggested that Scottish businesses had seen bar sales drop by up to 60 per cent in the two months following the introduction of the new limit.

Paul Waterson, chief executive of the Scottish Licensed Trade Association, said the new law was so draconian that it amounted to “a form of prohibition” which attacked moderate drinking and frightened people into staying away from alcohol altogether.  Really? Draconian.  Prohibition.  Strong language.  How about more road traffic accidents.  Death by drink driving.  You’d rather that instead? 

“It’s stopped people having a drink at lunchtime, or having a drink on the way home from work. People aren’t coming in for food with their families on a Sunday afternoon,” he said.

“We feel it’s had an effect far worse than the smoking ban had in 2006. There’s questions being asked about the future of the trade – it’s probably the last nail in the coffin for independent operators.”

He added that while the Scottish Government had been able to reduce the drink-drive limit, it had not been able to introduce lighter penalties by Westminster, meaning that a driver with only residual alcohol in their bloodstream could still face a criminal record. “The penalties aren’t in line with the crime.”

Ray Lorimer, chair of the Scotland branch of the Institute of Hospitality, said that while the new law was affecting pubs and restaurants, some were “managing the change” by putting on social events during the day to attract new customers. “The smoking ban hurt the pubs, and now the drink-driving – so they’ve got to try and do something different,” he added.

Police Scotland said quarterly drink-driving statistics showing how many motorists have fallen foul of the new law would not be available until the Autumn. In the three weeks after it came into force, 255 people were found to be driving under the influence of drink or drugs compared to 348 a year earlier, a decrease of 27 per cent.

A Scottish Government spokesperson said the country was “leading the way across the UK” by introducing the new law. “Alcohol at any level impairs driving, which is why our message is if you’re driving, the best approach is none,” they added.

“We know that licensees do not wish to place their customers or other road users at risk, and if people act responsibly, for example by nominating a designed driver, this will help mitigate any impact on trade. 

“We are determined to end the tragedy of deaths caused by drink driving, and if this new law saves one life, then it will be a success.”

As one commentator to the piece says ‘What’s more important: profit for the alcohol industry or peoples lives?’  Indeed.

Edited to add: 11th April 2016

Alcohol to be sold at M9 and M80 service station

Alcohol is set to be sold at one of Scotland’s busiest motorway service areas for the first time | Scotsman, UK

WTF?

Laughter Is a Better Social Lubricant Than Alcohol

Now this was a happy piece of research to read recently.

Laughter
Laughter

Scientists are finding how laughter — more so than alcohol — can be a great social lubricant. BPS reports that after laughing, people seem willing to divulge personal stories or quirks that they wouldn’t otherwise reveal.

In order to test this idea, Alan Gray and his team of researchers write:

“We tested this hypothesis experimentally by comparing the characteristics of self-disclosing statements produced by those who had previously watched one of three video clips that differed in the extent to which they elicited laughter and positive affect.”

The participants watched an “inoffensive observational comedy,” a clip from the nature documentary Planet Earth, or an instructional video on golfing. None of the clips was more or less positive than the last, but the comedy video differentiated itself by eliciting more laughter from participants.

After watching one of the three clips, the participants were instructed to write five pieces of personal information they were willing to share. Observers then rated how intimate these personal details were on a scale of one to 10. Researchers reviewed the observers’ ratings, and found that the comedy clips yielded more personal tales. For example, one participant in the comedy group wrote, “In January I broke my collarbone falling off a pole while pole dancing.”

The researchers believe “that this effect may be due, at least in part, to laughter itself and not simply to a change in positive affect.”

What’s more, when participants rated how intimate they thought their own writings were, compared to observers, they thought what they had disclosed was quite tame. This effect has led researchers to suggest that “laughter increases people’s willingness to disclose, but that they may not necessarily be aware that it is doing so.”

For businesses, you’ll be happy to hear that a recent study shows a meeting with laughter tends to garner more creative ideas.

The authors conclude that this state-changing power of laughter earns it the moniker of “grooming at a distance”, and they suggest further research down these lines may build the case for laughter’s function as social lubricant, amplifying and speeding intimacy and creating the conditions for durable social bonds. This might mean a comedy night is the ideal way to bond a team, or get to know a prospective partner.

Read more at BPS.

Although I applaud the research study and findings that laughter enables us to share more I think the Big Think article header is somewhat misleading as there was no comparative data for alcohol!!  Oh well …..  maybe that’ll get a laugh from you? 😉

Friday sober jukebox :)

message in a bottle

Friday warbling with the sober juke box time!! This band is the one that got away for me.  We had tickets to see them in Paris but then I got pregnant with my daughter and money was tight and so we sold them on 🙁

This is a hat tip to my friend Paul over at A Message in a Bottle blog too 😉  He stopped penning his journey but you can find him and converse on Twitter here.  His blog is superb and well worth a read at whatever stage of the drinking/not drinking place you are in.

There is something about the lyrics of this tune that resonates – yes the obvious reference to a bottle is a dead give away but also the loneliness that is encapsulated in the song and the hope of being heard.  Some say the lyrics are a direct referral to someone who is lonely and turning to drink (the bottle), but only as a cry for help. They’re hoping that someone will notice how f*cked up they are by the amount they’re drinking. hence: I hope that someone gets my message in a bottle.  Plus the joy of finding billions of other bottles washed up on the shore – all looking to be heard and realising we are not alone.

So if you’re sending out an SOS, feeling alone and looking to be heard by someone about your drinking drop me a comment or send me an email.  I’m another bottle washed up  on the shore and happy to be here alongside you so we are not alone at being alone 🙂

bottle 2