Tag Archives: Drink

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? 🙂

Alcohol killed 3.3 million in 2012

This was a news piece on Reuters yesterday (source)

More than 3 million people died from using alcohol in 2012, for reasons ranging from cancer to violence, the World Health Organisation said on Monday, as it called on governments to do more to limit the damage.

“More needs to be done to protect populations from the negative health consequences of alcohol consumption,” said Oleg Chestnov, a WHO expert on chronic disease and mental health.

He added there was “no room for complacency”, warning that drinking too much kills more men then women, raises people’s risk of developing more than 200 diseases, and killed 3.3 million people in 2012.

On average, according to the WHO report, every person in the world aged 15 years or older drinks 6.2 liters of pure alcohol per year. But less than half the population – 38.3 percent – drinks, so those who do drink on average 17 liters of pure alcohol a year.

It found that some countries are already strengthening measures to protect people from harmful drinking. Those include increasing taxes on alcohol, limiting its availability by raising age limits and regulating marketing.

More countries should take similar action, WHO said. More also needed to be done to raise awareness of the damage alcohol can do to people’s health and screen for those who may need earlier intervention to cut down or stop.

This is where I start hopping up and down as a public health nurse!  We need to give people the facts about alcohol and we need to screen – as I suggested in my Guardian article (here).  If people don’t know then they can’t change should they wish too.  There has been  extensive research and evidence to support and show that alcohol brief intervention can have a profound impact on someone’s drinking and can be delivered quickly.

Climbing off my soapbox now.  Is it just me that gets so bent out of shape about this?

 

 

 

Drink and cancer risk TV advert

Love this ad! (in a public health awareness kind of way)

But more importantly I love that the alcohol industry’s complaints about it were thrown out 🙂

The alcohol industry tried to get the advertisement banned arguing that highlighting the link between alcohol and cancer was misleading and irresponsible.  Yes you read that right.  ‘Misleading’ and ‘Irresponsible’.  The irony of this is not lost on me as I’m sure it’s not on you either.

After considering the evidence the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruled that the Balance advertisement was not in breach of the UK code of broadcast advertising (BCAP) after complaints were received from, amongst others, the British Beer and Pub Association.  The Guardian covered the story here including this:

Colin Shevils, Balance’s director, said the parts of the alcohol industry that objected had been “highly irresponsible” in trying to stop the public learning that alcohol intake can increase the risk of cancers such as those affecting breast, liver and mouth. Surveys have shown that few people know that alcohol can be carcinogenic, and not just for those that drink heavily.

So hurrah for Balance for running the ad in the North East of England and let’s hope the message spreads 🙂  What did  you think of the ad?

 

Breaking our own promises

Great audio from Nicole Antoinette at Life Less Bullshit about the subject of ‘stopping breaking the promises you make to yourself’.

It’s particularly resonant because, as she shares in the audio, 3 years ago Nicole was one of us boozers struggling with daily drinking, getting up in the morning and promising she wouldn’t drink that day and then breaking that promise later that same day. Familiar stuff right?

Now she’s been sober 3 years and this is one of the things that helped her get sober.  So if it worked for her, and if you’re stuck in this daily promises dilemma, it might help you 🙂

Edited to add: 07.19am The promise I am making to myself today is that I have signed up to the Recovery 2.0 Beyond Addiction online conference this week-end.  I won’t have the time to listen to all the speakers but I will commit to listening to a few each day as part of my self-care routine this week-end.  What small promise are you making to yourself today?

 

 

 

 

Relapse Prevention Plan

A relapse prevention plan is something that you can write down that will offer you the best chance of reducing the risk of relapse.

In it you include:

  1. Your relapse signature
  2. What you can do at each stage to cope
  3. Any life or psychosocial events that you feel may have triggered you in the past
  4. A list of people you can turn to for support either by phone, email or within communities

It is important to have documented this and to stick to it because at the time we can get so caught up in the ‘feeling’ that we fail to action any ‘thinking’ and this can lead to us engaging in the very type of behaviour we were trying so hard to avoid.  I found myself becoming very ‘hard of thinking about my drinking’ when a relapse was on the horizon either because I was overwhelmed, or I didn’t want to do it differently, for whatever reason.  Drinking felt almost ‘hard wired’.

Support for me has been the single biggest factor in keeping me on the sober path.  I talk to Mr HOF, I blog on here, I read and comment on others sober blogs, I hang out in sober communities whether it be here in the wider public sober blogging community, or whether in more private communities such as Soberistas, or the Booze Free Brigade on Yahoo, or any other kind of community.   You could attend an AA meeting or organise outpatient support through your GP if that is available.

Recovery is hard and can feel very lonely at times.  It can begin to feel like a relapse is inevitable, but it isn’t.  We always have a choice to pick up or not pick up a drink and I hope that these posts have added to your sober toolkit for the next time wolfie comes a-whispering in your ear  😉

Are there other sober tools I should add to my toolkit to make a relapse preventable?

Psychosocial stress

We all have days where we feel stressed or low and what is important is to learn to recognise what is your normal ‘ups and downs’ and the early warning signs.  For me if I notice a change that goes on for longer than a week then I would become more watchful and mindful.  These changes might be in my:

  • Mood/feelings
  • Thoughts/beliefs
  • Sleep pattern
  • Eating habits
  • Personal care
  • Socialising/relationships

There are some life events that we cannot control and we have to learn to live with them without falling prey to the drinker’s reflex of picking up a drink to cope.  This is not always easy but the longer time goes on the easier I find it to not resort to this old coping strategy.

Things to consider would include:

  • New job/promotion/redundancy
  • Moving house/leaving home
  • Relationship/friendships/family – loss/divorce/death
  • Holidays/social events/outings
  • Birthdays/anniversaries/Christmas/New Year
  • Health issues
  • Major news events

You can reduce your risk of relapse by:

  1. Changing the things you can change
  2. Learning to recognise your sources of stress
  3. Learning better ways of coping with the things you can’t change

Are there any other life events that are stressful that I’ve forgotten that I need to watch out for too?

 

Coping Strategy Enhancement

We all have ways of coping when things aren’t going well in our lives or when we feel stressed.  For me one of those coping strategies was I used to drink.  I used to do other things too like run, read, escape into a film or music, talk to friends and I still do all of those things now – except the drinking 🙂

I didn’t realise that drinking was an unhelpful coping strategy, in fact it had a habit of making the situation feel worse, but it was a habit that I had got used to and I had never tried to find a more helpful way of managing my stress.

So for me getting drunk in the short term was helpful because I was able to forget about the problem and it would allow me to feel relaxed and confident.  But if I overdid it I would feel sick and dizzy, I would do things that would embarrass myself, I might feel more angry or depressed and that would lead to me getting what my friend would call ‘tired and emotional’ i.e. crying, or getting into fights.  I would have a hangover and spend too much money that I could ill afford to spend.

And long term it became an over used coping strategy leading to dependence, it created minor health problems, I offended friends and family, fortunately I never got in trouble with the police (but more by luck than judgement) and it caused money troubles.

So what I needed to do was ‘beef up’ my non-drinking strategies to counter-balance the choice of not drinking!

So I developed new strategies, such as this here – my sober blog.  I also connected with other sober people both real and virtual, I focused my attention on other activities that didn’t revolve around drinking, like the cinema, going for walks, meeting for tea not beers.  You need to think creatively about how you spend your time and where you focus your energies and attention.  You can look at each of your coping strategies and create a decision table to help you decide if what you are doing is positive and helpful or negative and unhelpful, both in the short term and long term.

When you are feeling negative about not drinking I found I had to work really hard at it, and at times it felt like a slog, but ‘faking it till you make it’ does work!  Connect when you don’t really feel like it, reach out when you don’t want to.  My wanting to withdraw was ALWAYS a sign of a relapse in the making.

What coping strategies have you used that I could benefit from? 🙂

Relapse signature

Working on our early warning signs is one way of avoiding a complete relapse.  They are a set of symptoms that can occur in a specific order, over a particular period of time, that indicate a relapse is possible and impending.

You need to think about what changes that you experience in your thoughts, perceptions, feelings and behaviour prior to your last bout of drinking, whether you were moderating already, or had stopped completely .  It is also helpful to identify events which might trigger these sorts of changes and I’ll cover those in more detail in another post

The early warning signs can take place over a period of several weeks or months and are usually noticeable between four weeks and two days before a relapse and include:

  • Subtle changes in thinking – in terms of the way you think and what you think about.  For me this is getting wistful about drinking, the cravings being rekindled and becoming preoccupied with the thought  of drinking again.
  • Change in the way you feel.  So I get this sense of ‘f*ck it’ that gets stronger and stronger.  I can almost taste the booze in my mouth.
  • Changes in the way you behave.  So I start to look for, or provoke, reasons to drink or I withdraw.
  • Changes in relationships with other people.  I might pick a fight to enable me to storm off to the off-license because I’m upset and I deserve a drink now.  I might stop reaching out to the communities that would challenge these thoughts, feelings and behaviours.

If you were to look back you could almost pin-point the moment when you went from happily not drinking to unhappily not drinking, from happy sober person to dry drunk.

So if you find yourself experiencing what feels like early warning signs you can practice asking yourself questions such as:

  1. “What am I thinking about?”
  2. “How am I feeling?”
  3. “Is this my usual way of thinking/feeling?”

I usually out myself to Mr HOF or you guys 😉  What was your relapse signature?

Hangover Heaven

Happen to see this news story and had to post it up here!

Hangover Heaven is a new service being offered in Las Vegas and those boys from the film ‘The Hangover’ would probably have appreciated this a whole lot!

What is it?  It’s a mobile medical service staffed by a team of 25 doctors and nurses and was started by Las Vegas anaethetist, Jason Burke.  They can pick you up from your hotel and treat your hangover on the bus or take you to one of their nearby clinics and if you can’t make it out of your bed they’ll provide a VIP service where they provide the service in your hotel room.  Jason says that it has become so popular with British tourists that they are in talks to bring the service to the UK.

Here is their price list and you can read the full article here

HANGOVER HEAVEN PACKAGES

REDEMPTION – £59

  • One litre of hydration fluid
  • Vitamins and antioxidants

REDEMPTION 2.0 – £77

Everything above plus:

  • Your choice of nausea medicine or headache medicine
  •  Glutathione

SALVATION PACKAGE – £106

  • One and a half litres of hydration
  • Nausea Medicine
  • Headache Medicine
  • Vitamins and Antioxidants
  • Anti-heartburn medicine
  • Antioxidant and vitamin pills to go

RAPTURE PACKAGE – £142

  • One and a half to two litres of hydration
  • Nausea Medicine
  • Headache Medicine
  • Vitamins and Antioxidants
  • Anti-heartburn medicine
  • 30 minutes of oxygen
  • Super B shot (similar to a B12 shot, but five times better)
  • Potent mix of Amino Acids to combat inflammation and fatigue
  • Antioxidant and vitamin pills to go

So a hangover cure that will cost you more than it cost you to drink yourself into the state requiring their services in the first place!  And more importantly, that innocent glass of social lubricant has this kind of impact that requires an extraordinary and expensive level of intervention to put your body straight again afterwards.

Just imagine what you could spend the money you spent drinking, and recovering from drinking, on instead?  Hell, that £142 would buy me a really nice spa day locally with massage, facial and 3 course meal included, and still have change for a bit of retail therapy!  What would you splurge this on instead?

Britain’s Binge Drinkers

This programme was aired on ITV on Thursday 17th April at 19.30 as the Easter Bank Holiday kicked off here in the UK.  This used to be a drinking fest for me as you could drink from the eve of Good Friday all the way to the end of Easter Monday if you wanted to.  One of our locals holds an Easter Beer Festival Week-end with bands and guest beers running and I’m sure they are not the only one.

Jonathan Maitland takes a look at Britain’s binge drinking culture and the impact it is having on the health of young people including premature liver disease.  If you would like to watch it you can find it here:

https://www.itv.com/itvplayer/tonight

It makes grim viewing particularly the group of 4 students who are followed before and after a regular night where they are seen pre-loading (or prinking as my neice informed me) and then out on the town consuming anywhere between 26 and 48 units in one night!  It also covers the stories of one teenagers death from alcohol poisoning in one night, a teenager who is now a recovering alcoholic and a man in his early twenties who died of liver failure caused by drinking.  Plus plenty of experts sharing their opinions and views.