Change is the only constant

Change is the only constant

Taking a mind altering substance will rarely end well. In fact, it’s pretty guaranteed that at some point in its misuse, there will be some kind of disaster. 

You’ve now reached the point that you’re sick of feeling sick, tired of waking up knowing that you have failed again, bored of the same repetitive pattern.So you decide this is it. You’re going to give up alcohol. For good. No more regrets, lost nights, embarrassing moments. You are going to become sober. 

All you need to do is continue as before but just substitute poison with water right? Wrong.

I read so many posts where people try and give up alcohol but fail. Lots of times it’s because they need extra help such as a support group or medical assistance. But sometimes, they just need to do things differently, to think about their triggers and how to avoid them. 

For example, if you were allergic to horses, would you go and sit in a stable for the afternoon? Or if you had given up smoking, would you ask to sit in the smoking area? Of course not. You would stay as far away from the source of the problem as possible.

So why, in the initial stages of trying to give up alcohol, would you go to an alcohol fuelled party? Or spend the day in a pub? It’s like torturing yourself and that won’t help you in your quest. 

Part of becoming sober is accepting your life has to change. Some things will stay constant but lots of things will either have to be discarded or adapted and this will be the biggest test of all. This could be friendships, relationships or activities such as the pub. You may be able to reintroduce some activities later on in your recovery but as time goes on, you may find you don’t actually miss them anyway. 

You will not succeed if you are not willing to change. Our clever minds make associations with lots of things .. sometimes just a song can remind us of a crazy night out and be a trigger, or simply the sun shining on a beautiful day can make us think of having a drink. You have to replace the triggers. Do something on a sunny day that you think about the next time the sun shines. There is more to life on a sunny day than getting bladdered!

You have to break the cycle. You have to fill your time with different things than you did before. Take up a new hobby, go for a run, read a self help book, listen to a podcast. You have to change your associations in order to succeed. You can do this but it will take hard work and determination and a willingness to change. This is your new life, a second chance. Make it happen. 

#day170

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The Hangover

The Hangover

A definition of a hangover – ‘A hangover is the experience of various unpleasant physiological and psychological effects following the consumption of ethanol. Hangovers can last for several hours or for more than 24 hours. Typical symptoms of a hangover may include headache, drowsiness, concentration problems, dry mouth, fatigue, gastrointestinal distress (e.g., vomiting), absence of hunger, depression, sweating, nausea and anxiety.’

My question is, after reading this, why would we intentionally do this to ourselves?! If you read these symptoms on a medicine, would you take it?!!

Isn’t it funny (or not), how we laugh about hangovers? After a good night out, the first thing we gauge the next day is the level of hangover. What type is it? Is it a wam bam, in your face, crippling one? Or is it a slow burner? Is it a headache? Or has it paralysed you on the bathroom floor? Can it be cured by a glass of water and an Alka Seltzer, or does it need serious medication like a Big Mac & fries? Will it completely ruin your day or just the majority of it?

Apparently, the most effective way to avoid a hangover is to ‘avoid alcohol or drinking in moderation’. No shit! I wish I’d been paid to write that!! How else would you get a hangover without it?!! But still we succumb. 

Isn’t it quite sad that we deliberately sabotage our bodies to such an extent that we literally make ourselves ill? If you woke up with half the symptoms of a hangover on a Monday morning without drinking, you wouldn’t go to work for sure. You’d believe you were dying. Yet our culture determines that it is totally acceptable to make ourselves feel this way, week after week, at a severe cost to our health and our bank balance. 

Isn’t it also strange that we never think of the long term effects that constant hangovers are doing to our bodies? Not only are we damaging our livers every time we drink (with the excuse that it can repair itself) but we are killing brain cells, destroying stomach lining and sucking the life out of our skin. 

I don’t miss hangovers in the slightest. I get a buzz knowing I’m nurturing myself both inside and out, rather than self inflicting illness and pain. I’ve never felt or looked better. There is nothing more satisfying than waking up sober at the weekend and enjoying feeling good. Give it a go! Be kind to yourself, you deserve it.

#day162

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Be the game changer

It’s scary, being the odd one out. The one who sees things differently. The one who dares to be different. Why do we all strive to be the same? Wouldn’t life be boring if we were?

From early age, we follow the crowd. It’s easier, less hassle. It’s how crazes start. It’s how addictions start.

I don’t really remember my actual first drink or the actual first time I was really drunk. I do have vague memories of drinking to excess at parties but not really enjoying how it made me feel. I certainly had my first cigarette to ‘fit in’. If I’m honest, I didn’t really like either enough to ever want to do it again but you just do, because ‘that’s what everyone else does’.

It’s a brave decision to venture out on your own. Most people admire you for having the strength to do it but some can be negative, usually because they don’t have the strength themselves. People are curious, inquisitive as to whether it might be a better decision to leave the herd. Some people have been waiting forever for you to make the break so that they can come with you and ultimately won’t be alone. 

There’s strength in numbers, it’s true. But you seriously don’t know how many others feel the same as you unless you have the strength to break free, to be who you truly want to be. 

So be the game changer. Be the leader of the pack rather than the lost sheep at the back. What have you got to lose? A few unsupportive friends? An expensive habit? Nights you barely remember anyway? 

In fact, you only have everything to gain. New friends who are inspired by you and want to be in your gang. Your health, your wealth, your sanity. 

Be the game changer. It will be the best thing you ever did. Fact.

#day158

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The Need to Reward

The Need to Reward

As well as drinking to oblivion, a lot of us drink/drank as a reward. We drink/drank because we were happy or sad, bored, had survived an hour/day/week at work, got a promotion or got dumped. Any excuse.
Being rewarded starts very early on in life and therefore is cemented in our brains by adulthood. 

Before Soberdom, I would reward myself with food, alcohol and cigarettes. I remember being a member of the gym in the past and the minute I’d finished, would have a cigarette ‘to celebrate’. Oh the irony!

Friday night has always been treat night for me. After all, I’d worked hard for 5 whole days. I deserved to get smashed. 

Imagine the excitement as a binge drinker, two whole days and nights off work, lots of time to sleep (badly), chill & drink. I would go to the shop on the way home, buy cigarettes, at least two bottles of wine (6 if there was an offer on) and a nice fattening ready meal that I intended to eat to ‘line my stomach’. I would also have gin on standby, just in case.

Once stocked up, and if I was staying in, I’d get home as soon as possible. The first thing I’d do is pour a glass of lukewarm wine (the bottle would then go in the freezer) and have a cigarette whilst hanging out the window of my flat. Beautiful. Then I’d have another cigarette straight away. The weekend had begun. 

Even as I write this, I’m cringing. Drinking lukewarm wine in absolute desperation to get the party (for one) started. And chain smoking! I literally couldn’t get enough. I chose to ‘reward’ myself with two things that were slowly killing me. It seems ridiculous now but at the time it was the best thing ever. Or so I thought.

Once the initial euphoria was over and I settled down in front of the TV, my brain would start. It didn’t really matter if I’d had a good week or bad, alcohol made me feel depressed. Which led me to drink and smoke more. The reward to myself had now transformed into a cycle of misery.

Friday (treat) night subsequently became my trigger night when I stopped drinking. How was I supposed to reward myself now? What was the point in working hard all week when there was nothing to look forward to at the end of it? I’d stopped smoking and stopped drinking. What was left? Oh yeah, food. Oh, and of course Elderflower. 

And so I changed my Friday night. I would still stop at the shop but I would buy food that took me a while to prepare. And I’d buy something nice to drink. I would cook whilst listening to music or a Podcast and I’d take my time. In the first few months, I’d read self help books and go to bed early, just so that I didn’t dwell on what I thought I was missing. 

After several weeks of doing this, the trigger started to lessen. Instead, I would get excited about what I was going to cook or what new drinks I could try. I actually started to look forward to an early night, to recharge my batteries, and to a hangover free Saturday. 

Now, 5 months on, I barely think about having a drink. And I definitely don’t think about smoking. The urge to binge has diminished as I become happier with who I am. The need to ‘fill the void’ is more likely to be with chocolate or ice cream once in a while now, rather than every weekend without fail. My reward is a hangover free weekend, lots of good quality sleep and no sign of the usual Friday night misery.

Have a great sober Friday!

#day153

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Things I have learnt #5months

Things I have learnt #5months

– Alcohol made me cry 

– Strangers are wonderful

– Sober isn’t boring

– Blossom is beautiful

– Sunshine is beautiful 

– I am beautiful

– Alcohol made me fat. Fact

– People love my story

– Slimming World actually works

– I don’t like parties

– I love Elderflower cordial

– Coffee is my friend

– You can’t have too many friends 

– Some people are toxic

– I’m not as argumentative as I thought 

– I have empathy. Fact 

– I am nice

– I have less chins

– I have more money

– Alcohol is evil

– I love sleeping properly every night

– I love writing 

– People love before & after shots

– I am a machine

– I don’t miss drinking

– I love inspiring people 

– I love being inspired

– Alcohol = chaos

– I love Podcasts

– I love memes

– Video blogs are HARD

– There needs to be more help for alcohol recovery

– I might run for Prime Minister

– Sleep is the nuts

– A little kindness can go a long way

– There are lots of hours in just one day 

– I have more energy 

– I actually quite like myself 

– Alcohol was not my friend 

#day152 #5months

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