Tag Archives: hangover

‘What does Hangover Free look like’ poll winners

So thank you to all of you who voted in the ‘What does Hangover Free look like?’ image poll (talked about here and here).  The final results were actually a draw with both Primrose and Soberlearning’s image drawing 27% of the votes each!

So what to do now?  For the next month starting today I will showcase Primrose’s image and then the month after Soberlearning’s as that seems the fairest thing to do.  Hope that this is okay with you ladies?

Our body speaks our mind

I read this excellent book last year by Caroline Myss called ‘Anatomy of the Spirit’ and it is about the power of the mind and how bodily ailments, aches and pains can be signs of unresolved psychological issues.  What you don’t express, or suppress, will find a way of expressing itself and you will leak psychological distress and it will manifest physically.  This is sometimes referred to as psychosomatic illnesses which can be as real and debilitating as any other physical ailment so should not be dismissed lightly.

For me I had a whole host of symptoms that were associated with anxiety and depression for example, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).  But when you are actively drinking or hungover it is really hard to get past the initial symptoms of a hangover to be aware of anything else.  It just took up too much time and space!  And because drinking made my anxiety and depression worse I couldn’t see that booze was part of the problem and just assumed it was a flair up in the underlying physical disorder nothing else!  Now I’ve stopped drinking my IBS has pretty much gone completely 🙂

As a nurse I was also plagued by back injuries.  An old injury sustained as a student nurse repeatedly came back to haunt me and I would end up off work for spells while the osteopath and rest allowed it to heal.  Now I’ve stopped I’ve noticed the weirdest thing.  I will feel my back start to go and if I stop and pause it won’t go completely.  This has never happened to me before and was really quite odd at first.

So I’ve been trying to interpret what my body was trying to tell me, with a little help from a friend 🙂  I thought it was trying to say I was ‘spineless’ or ‘had no backbone’ for the challenge of stopping drinking but my friend suggested an alternative view.  She said that maybe it was telling me to slow down as previously I hadn’t listened to it and so it had just gone with no warning whereas now I was getting warnings and if I heeded them the total stopping because of injury was avoided.

I’ve recently needed some more osteopathy to sort it out and when the practitioner assessed me initially he said that my spine was out of alignment in four different places.  I had literally ‘bent myself out of shape’ trying to manage my back problem because if you throw it out in one direction at your hips it will naturally try to compensate by throwing it out in the other direction further up and that’s what mine had done several times over.

Our body is such a beautiful, clever, robust but delicate thing and I abused mine so badly when I was drinking paying no heed to the warnings it was trying to tell me and trying to contort myself and my situations to keep drinking.  Now I listen more closely and have given up the contortionism (is that even a word?) 😉

What have you noticed since you stopped?

We owned the night!

Nike we owned it result

Well I’m just back from London Town after staying overnight post run.  We owned it!!

What a fabulous evening!  My running buddy and I went for Nando’s pre-race to pack some protein and that was a bad idea.  It made us late and too much protein too close to the race gave me a stitch pretty much all the way round – a learn for the next time.

The event itself was really well organised and there were 10,000 runners.  I tried to hook up with FitFatFood and we had plenty of text conversations but didn’t manage to find each other.  Again next time 🙂

As for my run time – well I didn’t make the sub 1hr but seeing as my last 10K personal best was 1hr 10mins my run time was pretty good.  Progress not perfection right? 😉

So run time? 01:05:43

As promised here is a picture of me having just crossed the finish line 🙂

Lou R owned it

So now you know what I look like, I’d better formally introduce myself.  My real name is Lou, but Lucy is a family nick-name so I’m just as happy to answer to that 🙂

We went for dinner afterwards at a fantastic restaurant called Bistrotheque where I had tomatoes, mozzarella & black olives followed by passion fruit and fennel seed mess served with a fine non-alcoholic cocktail called an Elderflower Spritz served with fresh mint.  My running buddy had a glass of Sauvignon Blanc.

Did I miss booze & was I jealous of my friend’s glass of wine?  Not at all.  Not only was booze not required it felt like it wouldn’t have added anything to the evening.

We walked back to the hotel and collapsed into bed at 12.30, slept well and awoke feeling sore but refreshed.  A resounding success and another first as hotel stays in the past were typified by banging hangovers the morning after and struggle – but not this time.

I really enjoyed the whole thing and if there are other sober bloggers/readers who run, or who would like to start running, then maybe next year we could get a posse of sober runners together and all do it together.  What do you think?  I’m up for it if you are 😉

So thank you for the well wishes and sponsorship so far.  If you would like to thank me for my blog or sponsor last night’s run then you can go to http://www.virginmoneygiving.com/ahangoverfreelife and through supporting me support Alcohol Concern 🙂

Oh what a night out!

Recently the children went to stay with their grandparents overnight and we had not asked for this gift.  It was simply offered – lovely 🙂

So what do you do when you have no kids, no planned reason for them to be away and a whole evening to  yourselves?  It takes no guesses to figure out that in the past this was a genuine reason to cut loose and get trashed – just because we could with no repercussions or responsibilities until 5pm the next day.  But we don’t do that anymore right?

Initially I found myself feeling sad and wistful for what might have been but that was quickly replaced with the thought of ‘there are so many things I want to do tomorrow and if I had a hangover none of it would get done’ and a feeling of relief.  I could keep my plans intact and not sabotage myself.

So we headed into our nearest city and looked for things to do that don’t involve drinking.   We found a cool Mexican restaurant where I had a ‘Big Ass Burrito’ accompanied by Agua de Horchata, a traditional Mexican drink made with rice milk, vanilla and cinnamon.

Then we wandered into the chocolate shop, Chocolat Chocolat and picked up 100g of the finest salted caramel milk chocolate to have when we got home as a sober treat.

We also found this weird tea shop called ‘Ooshi The Bubble Tea World’.  Never heard of it, never tried it so in we go.  From their site which you can visit here:

“Created in the tea shops of Taiwan during the 1980’s, Bubble Tea has become one of the most popular drinks around today.  Also known as Pearl Milk Tea or Boba Milk Tea it comes in a wide range of flavours that blend tea with either fruit or milk.  With the addition of ice, fruit syrups and tapoica pearls hundreds of tastes combinations can be created to delight the taste buds!  The ‘bubble’ in Bubble Tea comes from the gorgeous bubbly froth you get by shaking up the drink just before you have it!”

I had a jasmine green tea with apple flavour ooballs.  Sounds odd but actually tasted rather delicious.

So we had a great time, drove home, early to bed and up with a clear head to accomplish everything on my to do list before the terrors returned home.  Perfect 😉

What would your perfect sober night out include?

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? 🙂

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?

What does hangover free look like?

Now this isn’t some philosophical question, more of a visual representation question.  I’ve been thinking about changing my blog a bit and was trying to think of what ‘a hangover free life’ looks like visually.

I suspect for all of us this will look different but for me this is what I see in the daytime:

Girl_on_Beach_Hammock_Maldives

And this is what I see come evening time:

bubble bath and candles

Why?  Well we honeymooned in the Maldives and at the time I described it as being what I imagined heaven on earth would be like.  Just looking at these picture makes me happy, optimistic and inspired, plus candles and bubbles in a bath are part of my sober treats already 😉

All those pennies and pounds I’ve been saving need to be put to good use for a BIG sober treat in the future.  When I was training to run the London Marathon I used a similar image on the wall next to my running machine to keep me motivated and it’s no different now.

Plus I have this dream of one day in the future running sober celebratory retreats where all us cool sober people hang out, catch some rays and generally live the good life for a week or so to remind us why we started on this journey and to reward our hard work and continued growth.

If you had to visualise what it means to you what would it look like?  Could you email me with an image that most represents the goal of sobriety for you and I’ll post them all up and we can have a poll to decide which one goes on the top of my blog (or maybe more than one image who knows!)  Send them in over the next two weeks and I’ll share them all after that 🙂

Can’t wait x

Edited to add: 22/04/14 Was so excited to be able to change the header on my blog after the site being down all Easter week-end that I couldn’t hold off putting a new image up temporarily.  I will share all the other images you suggested on 2nd May as promised and we’ll change it again then 🙂 xx

Angry Bird (s)

Yep we all know the game and I have spent many hours trying to improve my score on it and beat my kids at it.

As a drinker I could also be an angry ‘bird‘. I grew up around arguments as a child and so was pretty avoidant of any confrontations as I didn’t like them and they triggered negative memories and associations for me.  So I would swallow any angry feelings down with my booze and then when I reached trigger point would explode either whilst drinking or in the fog of a hangover the next day.  This just caused a cascade of guilt and shame on top of the anger and remorse and I would resolve to not behave like this again and then the cycle of the building of unexpressed emotions would start again.  I could be pretty passive-aggressive as a result.

If you want to do a good online test about anger go here.

If you struggle with anger either as part of your drinking, or as you try to moderate or stop, then once again those fab peeps at Mind have it covered.

Their tips for managing anger include:

  • Learn your triggers by keeping an anger diary so that you can identify patterns.  If you find it difficult to identify triggers you may need more professional help.
  • Look out for you physical warning signs.  For me I start to clench my jaw and get a radiating heat out from my stomach, what’s yours?
  • Try some calming techniques, like counting to ten, deep breathing or walking away.
  • Learn to be assertive and to express yourself verbally in an assertive way
  • Look at your lifestyle and see if you need to change anything such as exercise, sleep or causes of stress

I still get angry now but it is less often and I handle the feelings differently.  Now I feel that I am more assertive due to an increase in self-confidence and self-esteem and speak out before it reaches explosion point.  Happier Mr HOF and kids as I am less volatile as a result 🙂

New perspectives

Last week-end I went to the 18th birthday party of a close family member.  It was a lovely evening where the young person was surrounded by family and friends cheering on their coming of age.

But boy do I see things through different eyes now I don’t drink!  In my old drinking days this would have been a bona fide excuse to get absolutely ripped.  The kids would have been amused with a film whilst I got down to the job of drinking and smoking myself to oblivion.  They would have been put to bed at the host’s home and we would have carried on carousing until the early hours.  Mother’s day the next day would have been completely ruined as I would have been hanging from a major hangover and Bloody Mary’s would have been the order of the day for an early lunchtime to try and manage the pain in my head. But I wasn’t an alcoholic was I because the drink at lunchtime when I had finished drinking in the early hours of the night before, and struggled out of bed at 10 or 11am,  wasn’t a drink first thing in the morning was it? 😉

The amount of booze at this party could have sunk a small ship.  When did it morph from taking a four pack of beer to taking a whole slab or case, from one bottle of wine to three and bottles of spirits?  The total units of alcohol sitting inside this house was mind-bending, liver failing and made me feel quite sick at just the thought.

Is this a marketing thing where it is just cheaper to buy this larger volume?  It would seem so as this week Dame Sally Davies, the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) has criticised the “deplorable” tactics of supermarkets designed to encourage customers to buy “ever-greater quantities of alcohol” in the latest annual report on the state of the public’s health.  Within this report she also says ‘in popular culture, drinking alcohol to excess is sometimes portrayed as normal behaviour. An analysis of six weeks of soap operas in the UK in 2010 found 162 instances of characters drinking to excess, with negative consequences rarely shown’.  Do people just drink more and is the normalisation of this behaviour in the soaps supporting this excessive drinking?  We used to say that people should bring their body weight in booze to a party but we weren’t being serious!!

But I did not want to drink any of it I’m happy to say.  What other people did was absolutely fine by me but I was not tempted in the slightest.  I nursed a couple of AF beers (which threw some people who knew I’d stopped drinking as they thought I had started again until I pointed out that it was alcohol free) and we took the kids home at 10pm when they got tired.  People were unsurprisingly fairly well oiled and starting to get worse for wear by the time we left.

But the next morning I was struck by the question, how do you celebrate an 18th if you don’t drink?  OK turning 18 means you can also vote but most young people are excited by the prospect of legally drinking.  In the British culture alcohol is so embedded as part of our coming of age rituals that this really foxed me.  How do you mark this milestone without booze??  Any thoughts or suggestions from you? 🙂