Tag Archives: bottle

Britain Over The Limit

Saw this news piece from Channel 5 and thought I would share it here:

Britain Over the Limit: Would you drink a bottle that comes with a graphic health warning?

Interesting news piece: £800 million a year  is spent on advertising by the big drinks companies within the UK!!  The man from Diageo, the largest spirits manufacturers, pushes it back to personal responsibility as ‘demonising the product to everybody is not the solution’.

OK fair enough, then you won’t mind us sticking a picture of a cirrhotic liver on the side of a bottle of wine or spirits then.  How do people take personal responsibility unless they have all the facts?  In the medical world it’s called ‘informed consent’.

A poll carried out by Channel 5 found that 60% of those canvased thought it was a good idea.  So if minimum pricing is off the table may we suggest this as an alternative then?

Would it have made/make a difference to your drinking if alcohol carried health warnings like cigarettes?  What do you say? 🙂

Wine habits

Wine is rarely out of the press these days here in the UKs so I read this infographic with interest.  To summarise; we have 35% saying they will drink more and 65% saying they will drink less (but sometimes better quality wines) and 54% spend under £6 a bottle.

Wine

And I did read this and smirk a bit:

But the bargain-hunting habits of Brits are putting a real strain on wine producers, who are making virtually no profit on wines sold for less than £6 a bottle.

One supplier, who did not want to be named, said: “The fact is, it’s hard to make any money in Britain, but it’s a great market if you want to get rid of bin ends or if you’ve got tanks to empty for the next harvest.

“You chuck it in the UK’s direction because there they’ll suck in cheap wine.”

I used to think I was such a wine connoisseur but let’s face it when you’re past the first bottle you could be drinking paint stripper and not know it.  Because by then it isn’t about the bouquet or the roundness of it, it’s about pouring more booze down your neck.  It’s not about the pleasure of the taste but the effect.

And at 215 days without Mr HOF & I have saved a whopping £2550 smackers 🙂  How much have you or could you save?

Pregnant pause

Maybe it’s just me but since I stopped drinking I find myself reflecting on my past and what bought me to the here and now.  Everything happens for a reason right?

And whenever I reflect I wonder about times that my drinking wasn’t a problem – like when I was pregnant.  Now I’m not saying this as a joke because in the UK you can still have a drink during pregnancy whereas in many other countries they recommend not to.

pregnant1

So why is it, this wasn’t difficult for me?  Was it because during the first three months you feel sick and the thought of wine makes you want to vomit?  Did that 3 months almost count as a 100 day challenge and I just got used to it?  Why could I have my one glass of wine on a Saturday night and not want to inhale the whole bottle?  Was it because I knew that drinking more would be harmful to my on-board passenger?  I do remember in my first pregnancy being very vigilant but with my second was a little more laissez-faire and I found it more difficult to give up the booze but of course I did.

I guess if I’m honest part of me is still wrestling with the idea of ‘forever’ and looking for chinks of hope to draw from in the past.  Wolfie whispering ‘see you did it then and it wasn’t a problem.  You could go a whole week and only have one glass on a Saturday night and that was fine’.  I do remember being resentful that I could only have one, second pregnancy round.

I appreciate that this is a post of more questions than answers and maybe you want to chime in too?  What’s your recollections and thoughts?  I’d love to know 🙂

 

A river of tears

So last week-end I started on some Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) with an experienced senior practitioner.

Why?  Because I have this tiny little voice in my head that say’s ‘if I could get to the bottom of what my thinking around my drinking was and could fix it then all would be well and I could drink socially again’.  I know, I know – sounds like a wolf in sheep’s clothing right?

But this wolf/sheep is still struggling with how the rest of the flock get to drink and she doesn’t.  ‘Sheeple‘ is an oft used derogatory term for a person who follows the herd without thinking about their actions and this is part of my struggle too.  Am I wanting to drink again so that I fit in or is this just wolfie words to keep me struggling?  If the attitude towards drinking had changed as it has towards smoking, so that it was considered a more anti-social than social habit, would this decision be so hard?

These are all unanswered questions that I continue to struggle with.  I hate being a sheeple and feeling like one and usually rejoice in going against the flow so why is this issue different?  I struggle with the question of ‘am I an alcoholic?’ and that my inability to control my drinking isn’t a failing in me but a reflection of an addictive substance.  I know this isn’t new to any of you but that is what was going through my head when they asked me the question.

Then they asked me to scale/rate how hard this was for me to unpick and manage and that was a resounding 10.  This is some of the hardest shit I have ever done, and I’m doing it sober, and I am crying a river of tears.  It’s like a wine bottle cork was plugging the dam of tears that have been building up and been kept in check for as long as I can remember.   The no booze and tricky therapeutic conversations has finally forced the cork out of the hole and the full force of my tear ducts had been released.  As the lovely Mrs D would say ‘water keeps falling from my eyes’ and I feel unable, and unwilling, to control it like I did in the past.

I will share how the CBT goes and what I learn because I wonder if I am not alone in how I think and how it relates to my drinking and I find this therapeutic in itself.  I sense I know the answer to the question already but I’m just not yet ready to accept it and this is my way of delaying the inevitable.  But what a fantastic learning opportunity too and what doesn’t break us makes us stronger right?

6 month sober-versary!

I can’t believe I’m here.  I never thought I could not drink for 6 months and feel so well.  The moments of missing booze are now fleeting and pass without angst.  This song and video expresses how I feel completely.  I used to think that I could only reach this place of nirvana after a skinful and now it is how I feel most of the time.  No need to spoil it with booze.  This is now my default setting not my only achieved after a bottle of wine state.

It’s not been an easy journey and the early days were tough but once you get through the gritty bits the potential for joy is endless.  This is why I started this journey and I am so glad that I did.

Enjoy!

Edited to add: this is hilarious, but I emailed Belle and she told me that it was my day 180 yesterday!!  When I drank I always peaked a day too early (you know got over-excited and overdid it the night before insert celebration so felt god-awful on the actual night) and now I’m sober I peak a day late!?  😀

Levelling out

This week had the potential to be a triple witching.  Not only is it half term but for the ladies reading this it is approaching a time in the month when I can be, shall we say, a little more intolerant and quick to temper IYKWIM.  Sorry to my fellow male sober bloggers for this post but we’re in female only territory here.

Again travelling back in time to me when I was still stuck staring into a glass or bottle on a far too regular basis and I would have been really really unpleasant company.  Hangover, half-term and PMS – not a good look or mix 😉

Now 5 months in tomorrow and no witching at all.  Yes I am still a little hair trigger snappy than usual and extra sensitive to what people say and how I interpret things but compared to how dragon-like I used to be at this time of the month, it is a revelation!  It’s taken me this far into the sober journey to actually tease stuff out and recognise all the subtle components of what used to make me unhappy, grumpy and generally not much fun to be around before.

Each day that goes by the reasons not to drink again just keep stacking up and up.  It really is the gift that keeps on giving 🙂

Psychological preparation

I learned when training to run a marathon that the psychological preparation was as important, if not more so, than all of the training runs, drink and snack choices, warm up and down stuff put together.  If you didn’t believe you could do it – it became so much more difficult on the final miles of the course or when you ‘hit the wall’.

These are some of the things that I did to psychologically prepare for stopping drinking:

Reading everything I could about it in books or on blogs.  Knowing about PAWS was particularly valuable.

Starting a daily gratitude practice.  Fear stopped me from even considering a life without alcohol for too many years and was the fastest at driving me back to it in the past.  Gratitude is the antidote to fear for me.

Developing other ways of relaxing that didn’t require picking up a drink, such as a long soak in the bath, a run or meditation

Finding other sources of positivity such as Notes from the Universe or The Daily Love

Now I don’t want to come across as some hippy-dippy Pollyanna type but believe me stopping drinking stirred up a sh*t ton of deeply buried negative and painful thoughts and emotions in me that I needed to learn to manage if I was every going to climb out of a bottle.  Drinking  had become my emotional anaesthetic and the only way to counter-balance the negativity that was triggered by stopping was to up the amount of positive stuff that I was exposing myself too, both in terms of what I read and how I thought.  All of these things together made the journey from drinker to non-drinker easier for me.

If you’re on the journey already what would you recommend to someone to fortify their psychological defences?

The moderating game part two

So how did I moderate?  Every which way and any which way. I tried:

Starting drinking later

Finishing drinking earlier

Not drinking at lunchtime

Not drinking on a school night

Having two days off a week

Drinking on alternate days

Not drinking for more than a month

Only drinking when I had something to celebrate

Counting units as I drank

Only drinking a certain amount in one day and then stopping

Only drinking with food

Eating a carb heavy meal before

Alternating each drink with a soft drink or glass of water

Not drinking shots

Drinking spritzers rather than wine

Drinking shandy rather than beer

Using additional mixer to make a spirit drink very long

Starting with beer or cider before drinking wine and following the old adage: beer then wine – fine, wine then beer – oh dear

Drinking low alcohol drinks e.g a Radler

Drinking less when it was my turn to get up with the kids

Going to bed early

Only drinking spirits when I went out

Not mixing beer and wine

Putting my glass down between drinks

Putting the glass or bottle on the other side of the room

Not joining rounds

Not topping up my glass as I went – finishing it then refilling

Counting how many bottles or cans I was taking to the recycling a week

Sipping a drink – not gulping

Drinking but not drinking to get drunk

Drinking one drink per hour

Sitting down to drink not standing up (as apparently you drink more)

Starting with a soft drink

Not drinking because of boredom

Giving up smoking

Not mixing drinks

Taking only a little cash out so that I couldn’t buy much booze (and no card either)

Not getting a tab at the bar

I’m sure there are more things I tried over the almost 10 years and I’m sure there are others you could add too.  We can all be very inventive when playing the moderating game and in our efforts to keep drinking without stopping completely 😉

Midlife crisis or renewal of life vow?

I’m at the age where this spell of not drinking could be observed and perceived to be a ‘midlife crisis’.  For me that normally conjures up images of women getting facelifts or men going out and buying a fast car or motorbike – trying to turn back the clock of time and recapture their youth.  But if you’re a ‘kidult’, as the UK media likes to label us Brits who have refused to grow up,  and you have spent the last 25 years kicking the arse out of life with drink, drugs and other risky behaviours then why would you want to recapture your youth?  I never left.

So if this isn’t a midlife crisis in the typical ‘normal’ meaning of the expression then what is it?  For me it is about a renewal of my vow to life.  I spent that 25 years of my young adulthood mostly having a blast but now it is time to move on and do something different.  Einstein’s definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.  There is so much to this life and to see on our wonderful planet.  It’s time to reach beyond the limits of the bottom of a bottle and the inside of a pub, bar or club.

Yeah I could make this vow of renewal and keep drinking but would I keep my word to see and do more with my life?  I suspect not.  So much of that 25 years was spent dreaming up plans and adventures that never amounted to anything more than hot air – oh and time and money pissed down the drain ….

Time to keep my word to myself because I’m feeling good

🙂

Day 100 in the house!

Not mine but my other halves 🙂

In honour of his achievement I am posting something he wrote back in January 2008.  We were both struggling with our alcohol dependence and firmly in the camp of denial at the time and this piece of writing reflects his desire to escape the prison of booze even then.

Goodbye, Al

Rose’s bloodshot eyes leap out at me from thick black outlines smudged with tears. ‘If I’d have known it would end up like this I’d never of gone near you in the first place, Al. All those years ago. All those precious years. The best years of my life. Potential. Wasted. My career as a dancer. Dancers never last long… but I didn’t even get started. Because I met you, didn’t I?’

With her weaker left hand, Rose pulls me in as close to her barren chest as she can. Her right hand grips the smooth metal handrail that encircles the balcony of her flat, fifteen floors up, in that area of London where Hackney pushes its grubby nose up against Islington’s kitchen window.

She brightens all of a sudden, saying, ‘But you gave me the confidence to try new things that I never even dreamed of doing before. You made me feel special… made me feel young… made me feel clever and… articulate. For a while, in my innocence, I saw you as a… door? To the Big Wide World. A more exciting existence. A more dangerous one, at least. I remember it was you who introduced me to all kinds of narcotics, so that I could spend the night in your arms, taking you deep inside of me, til the light of dawn broke through the cocaine cocoon.’

‘My friends tried to tell me that you were bad for me. One by one, they gave up on me and left, saying that you’d changed me. But you always stuck nearby, didn’t you Al? Sometimes you were my only friend. I didn’t care. I didn’t think I was missing out on anything. I thought I only needed you. You didn’t judge me like they did; didn’t laugh at my foolishness; didn’t talk behind my back; didn’t conspire against me.’

Rose takes a deep breath of the night air, lets it out between her peanut brittle teeth and quivers like a cold clarinet in her black satin nightie.

‘You’re the reason that I never married, Al. Every time I met someone special, they disappeared off the face of the earth as soon as they found out about you and the hold that you have over me. I try as hard as I can to keep you away, sometimes for months. You always come back and ruin it for me. Like a bad smell. Your odour seeps from my every pore. I kill myself with the guilt.’

Rose gulps and seems to be holding back tears, croaking, ‘I think you’ve done enough damage now… don’t you?’

I say nothing. I have no feelings. No remorse. No desire. And Rose expects none of these things. I don’t even have the faintest idea what she is about to do next.

She holds me out beyond the railing, gripped in her trembling hand and whimpers, ‘Goodbye Al.’

With those words she pours me out of my bottle. Then with a dramatic flourish, she sends it hurtling after me, smashing into my liquid, soaking into the concrete of the car park.