Monthly Archives: January 2018

Are YOU drinking too much?

Two articles that appeared in the news last summer that feel like they would be good to share now when we have our hair shirts on rather than our Hawaiian one’s!  One is from the UK Daily Mail and asks the question of ‘are we drinking too much?’ and the other is from the US and says the answer is yes!  Both are incidentally talking about the same JAMA paper that was published in August 2017.

Study Warns Of Binge-Drinking “Crisis” As Alcoholism Rates Spike 49%

The prevalence of 12-month DSM-IV AUD increased significantly from 8.5% to 12.7% (change, 49.4%) in the total population. Significant increases in AUD were seen in all subgroups except Native Americans and those residing in rural areas. Notable increases were found among women (83.7%), racial/ethnic minorities (51.9% for Hispanic and 92.8% for black individuals), adults 65 years and older (106.7%), those with a high school education (57.8%) and less than a high school education (48.6%), those earning incomes of $20?000 or less (65.9%), those living within 200% of the poverty threshold (range, 47.1%-55.8%), and those residing in urban areas (59.5%)”

From The Daily Mail article:

A DANGEROUS LINE

But when do your long lunches, after-work drinks or that ‘decompression’ glass of wine at home become a cause for concern?

‘Not everyone who drinks heavily will become dependent, or an alcoholic,’ explains Dr Mohiuddin. ‘But some of us are definitely predisposed to it.

‘It’s a mixture of genes and environment. Many people with a drinking problem have a family history of it – a parent, aunt/uncle, a grandparent. It doesn’t mean everyone in a family will suffer.

‘However, if the environment is there – perhaps a job with a heavy drinking culture – a problem can develop.’

Around 20 percent of people in Britain and the USA drink to a hazardous level, figures show.

‘It’s easy for many people to get through a bottle of wine a night, and over time, this can creep steadily upwards, to two or even three,’ says Dr Mohiuddin.

‘In my experience, a lot of heavy drinkers – both men and women – steadily move onto harder things. 

‘They may start with beer or perhaps wine and then progress on to heavy spirits such as vodka or whiskey.

‘However it’s not necessarily what you are drinking or where, it’s the amount and the effect it’s having on your life (see below). Some people will be able to cut down, while others will try and then realise they can’t – a sign of dependence.

‘There is a significant proportion of heavy drinkers who don’t realise or are in denial that they could be functioning – albeit progressively less functioning – alcoholics.’

THE WARNING SIGNS

‘The main problem is that it’s quite easy for some people to slip into drinking regularly – and the soothing effect it gives you becomes like using a tranquilizing medication such as diazepam,’ explains Dr Mohiuddin.

‘But over time, the benefits wear off quicker and you need more alcohol to get the same effect.’

‘Many people associate being an alcoholic with drinking in the morning, the old adage of ‘vodka on the cornflakes’ or sitting on a park bench with a can of cider – but there are many more subtle signs of dependence and/or alcoholism.’

The Royal College of Psychiatrists has produced a list of classic symptoms that show your drinking has stepped up to a worrying level. These include:

  1. You regularly use alcohol to cope with anger, frustration, anxiety or depression – instead of choosing to have a drink, you feel you have to have it.
  2. You regularly use alcohol to feel confident
  3. Your drinking affects your relationships with other people – they may tell you that, when you drink, you become gloomy or aggressive. Or, people around/with you look embarrassed or uncomfortable when you are drinking.
  4. You stop doing other things to spend more time drinking – these other things become less important to you than alcohol.
  5. You carry on drinking even though you can see it is interfering with your work, family and relationships.
  6. You hide the amount you drink from friends and family
  7. Your drinking makes you feel disgusted, angry, or suicidal – but you carry on in spite of the problems it causes
  8. You start to drink earlier and earlier in the day and/or need to drink more and more to feel good/get the same effect
  9. You start to feel shaky and anxious the morning after drinking the night before
  10. You get ‘memory blanks’ where you can’t remember what happened for a period of hours or even days

Before I stopped I had all 10 warning signs.  The articles recommendation:

HOW TO CURB YOUR DRINKING BEFORE IT’S TOO MUCH

  • Set yourself a target to reduce the amount of alcohol you drink.
  • Avoid high-risk drinking situations and work out other things you can do instead of drinking.
  • Opt for lower-strength options, such as 4 percent beers or 10 percent wines.
  • Involve your partner or a friend who can help agree a goal and keep track of your progress.

WHAT TO KNOW IF YOUR’E DRINKING HEAVILY

If you are drinking heavily, do not stop suddenly – see your GP or another medical professional, says Dr Mohiuddin. 

‘Some people manage to stop suddenly without any problems, but others may have withdrawal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, shakiness, sweating, increasing anxiety, headache and even hallucinations. In fact, going ‘cold turkey’ if you’re a very heavy drinker is highly risky and could be fatal. Hence, it is not recommended.’

And if you fear you can’t stop or cut down on your own, there are many specialist alcohol workers who can help. Your GP should be able to tell you about services available in your area.

Some people, especially those with a possible or real dependence, will need more comprehensive help and treatment. For example, says Dr Mohiuddin, if you’ve been using alcohol as a de-stressor, or to try and block out your worries, therapy can help you address these issues and find other, non-destructive ways of dealing with them.’

In the case of alcohol and certain drugs a medical detox is essential – there can be serious health implications linked to sudden withdrawal. 

There are also a wide range of tests to help staff ascertain the damage done to the body by drugs and alcohol, allowing patients to get tailored treatment plans that suit their needs with the help if therapists, doctors and a full nursing team.

‘Another option is to attend a support group for drinking problems, such as Alcoholics Anonymous, where there are other people in your situation who understand and can give you support,’ says Dr Mohiuddin. 

‘There are meetings all over the world and they’re free to attend.’

And for friends or relatives worried about someone they know or suspect has a drinking problem, there is Al-Anon – a spin-off of Alcoholics Anonymous. 

All good advice which I would advocate.  You can always reach out to me here and I will do my best to signpost you to the relevant services and support you need.

Guest Blog Post: Veronica Valli, Chip Somers & the Soberful programme

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s blog post comes from my friend Veronica Valli.  Veronica and I have worked together in the past where we discussed AA and the 12 steps and recorded our interveiws which you can revisit here.

V and I also have a shared connection in that she worked for Focus12 as did I!  Sadly by the time I joined the organisation both V and the legendary Chip Somers were no longer there but I have heard a great deal about him and know that he is a local hero in the rehab and recovery community.  So it is my great pleasure to feature this guest blog post and share their work with you here.  Over to V:

For a long time, I have been thinking about developing a program where I can mentor anyone who has an alcohol use disorder. Putting my 16 years experience of working with addiction and my own experience of recovery into an affordable and accessible format.

One of the biggest mistakes I see people make in sobriety is believing that drinking is the problem when it is a symptom of the problem.

Our real problem is how we think and how we feel. We have to develop new and better ways to deal with our feelings and emotions. Because when we feel differently, we act differently. Alcohol loses its power over us.

The Soberful program is made up of the five essential components that you need to implement to not just successfully stay sober but to be happy, fulfilled and free also. Because who wants to be sober and miserable?

The five components are;

  • Movement
  • Balance
  • Connection
  • Process
  • Growth

These are the tools I have been using for over 17 years to stay sober and to live a life beyond anything I could have dreamed of. In my 6-week program, I teach you how to implement these components in your life. In the process section, we go deep to look at relationships, peer groups and dealing with fear. In the first week, I teach you an easy and effective tool that will help you relieve stress and eliminate cravings.

I am also deeply honored that Chip Somers has come on board as one of the instructors of the Soberful program. Chip is the first person Russell Brand thanks in his book ‘Recovery.’

In the video below I welcome Chip to the Soberful community and ask him how he went from being a ‘right social liability’ to the man he is today.

If you are interested in learning about Soberful living and the five pillars of successful sobriety, then please sign up for my Masterclass here. I will pack in a lot of information that you can apply to living a successful sober life.

You can also join my FREE Facebook group where I provide mentorship and support to anyone wishing to overcome an alcohol problem.

I never had the pleasure of hearing Chip speak about recovery and this video is well worth your time!

Here’s the link to the Masterclass again:

http://veronicavalli.com/the-5-secrets-to-successful-sobriety-and-the-3-mistakes-to-avoid

Bach Flower Essences for Breaking Addiction

This recommendation for a Bach Flower remedy for breaking addiction was shared with me by Feeling a good while ago and it has taken me this long to follow it up!

Flower essences provide strong support to help you break addictions. Whether your addiction is to food, sugar, sex, drugs, tobacco or alcohol there are many Bach flower essences to help you end your addiction. This special combination of flower essences will support you on deep emotional and psychological levels to put an end to addition.

Treating addiction with flower essences is easy because it takes aim at the emotional and psychological roots of addiction. Flower essences give you added emotional and psychological support that herbs and supplements don’t provide. This is important because of the strong emotional component addictions have.

http://www.essencealchemy.com/2012/09/19/bach-flower-essences-for-breaking-addictions/ please note this formula is preserved with apple cider vinegar

You can pick it up on Ebay for delivery from Australia if you are in the UK

What is in the Bach Flower Essence for Addiction Formula?

Agrimony: this flower essence is for emotional honesty; it treats the painful emotions that are often the root  of addiction.

Cherry Plum: is for when you feel you are at a breaking point, experiencing great suffering and are about to lose control. You may also find you’re trying desperately to control feelings. Cherry plum is a light-filled essence that promotes growth and calmness while dealing with inner turmoil.

Chestnut Bud: this flower essence is for learning from mistakes. Addiction is a repeated pattern, this essence helps to break the pattern by strengthening the mind to make a new choice.

Crab Apple: this flower essence is for Obsessive/Compulsive behavior and the feelings of shame and/or uncleanliness that can accompany addiction.

Honeysuckle: this flower essence supports living in the present. It supports us to leave the past behind and focus our emotional energy in the present. This flower essence gets you out of addictive patterning that is tied to the past. It helps you to accept life as it is.

Pine: this flower essence frees you from guilt and shame that can accompany addiction.

Rock Rose: this flower essence is for intense feelings that accompany the end of an addiction. This essence helps one to stay centered and remain grounded and deal with challenging circumstances.

Sweet Chestnut: this flower essence supports positive hopeful feelings when we feel we are stuck in the dark. Sweet chestnut offers spiritual support in times of struggle.

Walnut: this flower essence is a spell breaker, helping to ‘break the spell of the past.’ Addictive behavior can linger in the the mind and walnut frees the psyche from past limiting influences. This helps you to make a healthy transition and give you the courage to follow your own path in life.

These Bach flower essences for addiction provide support while you are trying to quit and end the cycle of addiction. This formula should be used 4 times a day or more often if  needed.

Thank you Feeling 🙂  Plus just a word of warning that all other Bach Flower Herb remedies are dissolved in a grape alcohol solution!

Acudetox

This information on Acudetox was sent to me by my friend Daisy a good while ago – thank you Daisy!

AcuDetox is also known as: acupuncture detoxification, auriculoacupuncture, auriculotherapy, ear acupuncture, and five-point ear acupuncture.

The needles we use are fine gauge, disposable, sterilized, and stainless steel. If you are afraid they might cause you pain, don’t worry—you’ll barely feel a quick prick as each needle enters your skin.

Each of the five points in the ear corresponds to a specific point in the body. One affects the parasympathetic nervous system and the others affect the heart, lungs, liver, and kidneys. By activating these points through acupuncture, your body will become more relaxed, while also becoming more effective at cleansing your system of any toxins.

The benefits of AcuDetox are numerous. Studies have shown that it can relieve withdrawal symptoms, reduce cravings, ease stress and anxiety, improve sleep, lessen depression, and alleviate aches and pains. For more information about studies that have been conducted on the use of AcuDetox in the treatment of addictions, read “Evidence for the NADA Protocol: Summary of Research” by the National Acupuncture Detoxification Association.

The above information is taken from a US treatment centre web page but it is available here in Scotland too.

Drugs, Alcohol and Psychotherapies Ltd (DAPL) provides a complimentary service in which Auricular Acupuncture is offered to interested DAPL clients. This complementary therapy is specifically geared towards any form of addiction.

All our acudetox workers have completed training as practitioners through SMART UK and hold their accreditation certificate and membership.

Have had acupuncture myself for back pain but not for treating addiction so although I can’t recommend this treatment approach personally I can speak of the benefit of acupuncture more generally.  Have any of you tried this?  What was it like?

Oz Dream 2018 comes true!

This weekly dose of daring from Brene Brown sums up perfectly how I’ve been feeling for the last 6 weeks since we found out I’d secured a job that has helped us fulfill our dream of moving to Australia.

So our hope was fading that I’d be able to find a professional position with employer sponsored visa and the week-end after my birthday I decided to give it one more push of responding to jobs advertised and approaching agencies with my resume.  Little did I know that this final act would turn everything around.

Having emailed them on the Saturday I got a phone call from Brisbane on the Monday morning.  And then 3 weeks later a phone call came on a Friday morning saying that the job they had put me forward for, although not the one for me, had put my CV in front of someone who knew someone who was looking for a nurse with skills and experience just like mine.  So much so that they wanted to interview me the following Monday morning!  And they were so keen they offered me the job on the phone then and there – twice!!  And of course I said yes because this was the job:

Clinical Nurse (Consultation Liaison) Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs Service
Queensland Health (Organisation site)
North West Hospital and Health Service, MOUNT ISA

The Clinical Nurse (Consultation Liaison) Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs Service position provides a range of alcohol, tobacco and other drug assessment, screening, early and brief intervention, treatment and intervention services that address the health needs of clients with substance use issues.

The North West Hospital and Health Service covers an area of over 300,000 square kilometres and services the rural and remote communities within North Western Queensland and the Gulf of Carpentaria. The Health Service includes the City of Mount Isa and the towns and areas of Burketown, Camooweal, Cloncurry, Dajarra, Doomadgee, Julia Creek, Karumba, Normanton and Mornington Island.

So my dream job in my dream country – the universe had my back all along 😉  This blog and all the resources I’ve developed were an important factor in my being successfully employed which just thrills me and fills me with pride.  Everything I’ve been doing since I got sober has played a part and led to this moment and opportunity.  As Belle said to me:

if you’re sober, then shit happens. and you’re living proof of that 🙂

It’s in the same state as my family who are a 3 hour journey away by plane and car.   It’s a 4 year work visa but we’re hoping we can turn that into longer so that my children can finish their secondary education in Australia but we’ll see.  Right now we don’t know and that’s okay.

Huge thanks goes to Tyler Dewar at HealthX who has been superb in sorting things out and supporting the process despite the time difference between here and there!

And where would I be without all of you?  This blog, and by extension my sobriety, may have stumbled and ceased without your ongoing support, love and compassion and for that I am eternally grateful.  I don’t know what the future holds or how the blog will proceed but I’d like it to continue to share my ongoing journey.  I have enough blog posts scheduled to see us through until April and by then I’ll have had 3 months to settle in and learn how my new employer and this alcohol addiction and recovery blog will work in documenting both my professional life and my ongoing personal story of recovery.

We fly out in the next weeks in preparation for me starting my new job so bear with me over the next few months as there may be delays in my responding to requests and replying to comments while we find out feet in Oz.  I never thought I would be typing those words and that this dream would become a reality.  In the words of Faithless & Dido: ‘It’s been a long time coming but it’s well worth waiting and I raise my hands and ask for nothing more‘ *cue happy tears*

So my word of the year for 2018 is fulfilment which follows on from abundance in 2015, clarity in 2016 and liberation/freedom in 2017.  All have been incredibly prescient!

If you’d like to follow me in Oz I’ve set up a new Instragram account specifically for it which goes live today!

https://www.instagram.com/ahangoverfreelifeinoz/