Isn’t it funny the reactions that an in depth study on drinking alcohol can provoke?
‘Oh it’s the Daily Mail, must be crap’ or ‘we’re all gonna die anyway, what’s two years less?’ or ‘so & so lived til 95 & they’re ok’
I think the point was missed.
Of course alcohol will harm you. No study needs to tell you that. We know it but we choose (mostly) to ignore it. Ingesting any kind of poison over a prolonged time will result in some kind of damage.
I know I’m going to die. No study needs to tell me that either, but I do have a choice whether I choose to damage myself to the point of no return or give myself a fighting chance on this amazing planet.
I’m sorry (not sorry) but I don’t want to die of liver disease or develop dementia or get cancer. I’m sure no one wants to. But having the attitude ‘we’re all gonna die anyway’ and cracking open another bottle in defiance ain’t gonna help the cause.
Sure, I’ve already increased my chances of all of these things during my lengthy career knocking back the wine like water, but now I have seen the very bright light. This stuff kills and maims worse than anyone has been telling us. It’s also not just about the hideous diseases to look forward to at the end of our lives, it’s also about the slow, torturous mental health issues that it brings on a daily basis.
There are always going to be the sober haters. I don’t give a shit. My life is nothing to do with them. This part of my life is about love and care for myself, not deliberate destruction. My body is clever and precious and mine. I have a lot to see and do and a lot of people to stay alive for. I need as many precious years as possible so two years tagged on the end for me is a Brucie bonus.
Nothing is going to take them from me.
So this is it. The end of my beautiful adventure. The adventure I was so apprehensive about but so looking forward to at the same time. The adventure that has and will continue to change my life.
I’ve always wanted to come to Thailand but was always waiting for the elusive person to go with. Turns out that was me.
It’s quite strange that we have become so reliant on other people accompanying us on journeys when we are more than able to do things alone. We don’t ‘need’ other people .. yeah sure, it’s great to have adventures with someone but it’s not an absolute necessity. The beauty of travelling alone is that now the whole world has been opened up for me. I can go anywhere I like now without ‘waiting’ for someone else. There are no restrictions.
Of course, the internet makes things very easy. You are never really alone or lost or unable to communicate. It really is a wonderful thing and I guess a bit of a comfort blanket. Losing my phone would be far more upsetting to me than losing my passport. At least if I lost my passport, I could stay forever.
I can honestly say that there hasn’t been one moment that I’ve wished I was with someone else. I’ve enjoyed pleasing myself. I’ve liked the things that have happened that have pushed me in a direction and opened up other opportunities.
I have been so aware of the ‘meant to be’ moments .. the tuk tuk guy in Bangkok that changed the course of my day, the amazing trekking tour in Chaing Mai, the plane detour to Phuket which ultimately made me decide to stay in beautiful Koh Lanta for longer, the Tinder dates. I’ve snorkelled when I didn’t really want to and taken back streets instead of main roads to find street markets & music. I’ve spoken to interesting people with fascinating lives, eaten incredible food and managed the whole thing using proper raw confidence rather than a fake alcoholic mask.
I’ve learnt that when people say ‘pack light’ they mean ‘pack light’. Next time, I will have a tiny rucksack & some Persil. I’ve learnt the sun is strong, the water is incredible, the people are beyond awesome. I’ve learnt I’m safe, that we are too conditioned to anticipate danger. Sure, bad things happen .. but good stuff happens too.
I’ve learnt that we are too addicted to ‘stuff’. ‘Stuff’ is not important. Life is. I will be assessing my ‘stuff’ when I get home & decluttering anything unnecessary. I will also be planning my next adventure.
If you have ever wanted to go somewhere but are waiting for the right time/the right person/the right whatever, forget all that and do it now. Life is short, the world is massive and it’s all there waiting for you.
Until next time Fish Followers 🙋🏻🐟🐟🐟🐟
When people say Thailand is beautiful, they’re not kidding. In fact, I’m not sure beautiful is the right adjective. It is outstanding, heavenly, stunning, amazing, literally perfect in so many ways.
I have finally made it to the islands. Utterly breathtaking. Yesterday was a bit stressful after my plane was diverted to Phuket as apparently Krabi airport was closed. Luckily, I had walked 4 miles in the airport while waiting for the first plane. There was no chance of walking anywhere before the second plane .. the airport was tiny, cramped & boiling .. like torture knowing how epic the weather was outside.
In typical Thai style, there was no explanation as to why the airport was closed or any hint when we would get to our final destination. I’m learning however, that getting stressed won’t change the situation. It is what it is, whether I go mental or get pissed or cry or moan. It just won’t change a thing.
Luckily, I met some great people from Vancouver in Canada .. Tom, Dennis, Laury & Debbie .. this blog is for you .. and Debbie, you don’t need to phone the Embassy! I’m safe! They kindly lent me their charger to charge my phone and also let me share their cab to our final destination .. thanks guys, you rock! Not you though Tom 😂
We eventually landed in Krabi after dark & negotiated a rate to get to our hotels. The Canadians were dropped off first and I was left alone. I think thoughts of ‘I hope I’ll be ok’ & ‘let’s hope he knows where he’s going’ will always occur as a girl, irrelevant of where I am or where I’m going, but he was so miserable, I knew I’d be ok.
After trying to drop me at two random hotels (he refused to look at my map or my instructions in Thai of where we going), I eventually made it, tired and a little deflated. I guess, like life, travelling isn’t always quite the dream you’d like it to be ..
After drawing breath, having a word with myself & assessing my new surroundings, I ventured out of the hotel. It was very quiet with only the sound of the waves crashing to the shore. I had a brief thought of ‘I wish it was a bit more lively than this’ and was quite pleased to find that there is still a glimmer of sociable Sober Fish in there somewhere! I carried on walking towards some lights and eventually found the ‘action’ .. a cluster of cute little beach bars, music playing & people chilling, and realised I’d stumbled upon a little gem of an area in Krabi. I had my standard coconut milkshake & chicken & cashew nuts to die for before heading to bed, excited about tomorrow and what this place would look like in the daylight.
After another fantastic nights sleep .. it’s all about the air con and the ear plugs and the mosquito bracelets .. only 1 bite so far .. I woke up with excitement to see outside. The sun was just coming up and I could see the sea from my balcony. It was stunning.
After yesterday’s waste of a day and the amount of travelling I’ve done since I’ve arrived, I’ve now made the decision to go to Koh Lanta tomorrow and stay there for 5 days rather than keep moving. I want to go on boat trips & enjoy the sun rather than continually packing up my case & wasting valuable time. Oh and to all those who said pack light, I hear ya. Next time, I’ll listen.
Today is about being lazy. I’m on the beach with my book & finally in my bikini, soaking up the rays. The sea is as clear as, warm like a bath. There is a slight breeze and I’m in my happy place.
I really couldn’t wish to be anywhere better. It really is Heaven.
Today, it became clear that this was the day I’d been preparing for. This was the day that all early mornings in the rain & the walking & the weight loss & Soberdom was all about.
And I didn’t even know it.
Pre Soberdom, I hated trainers & rucksacks & mountains & exercising & ‘wasting’ a day in the sun. I would never have been up before sunrise on holiday .. I would’ve only just got in .. and would’ve hated getting on a bus full of strangers, out of my comfort zone, to go & see waterfalls & pagodas & trek through the Doi Inthanon National Park.
I would’ve been hungover & moody & dehydrated .. in fact, the thought of doing anything like today would never have entered my head.
Today, after bolting down a coffee & a banana for breakfast, I was picked up at 7am in a van by my tour guide Boon. My fellow passengers were 3 solo girl travellers from Lithuania, Austria & Germany plus a lovely family of 4 from France.
We headed out of Chaing Mai at rush hour. This translates to no one going anywhere very fast but use whichever means possible to undercut each other, the size of the gap between vehicles irrelevant.
Our first stop was the waterfall .. it was spectacular! We walked up to it for photos then had a coffee, sitting & chilling & marvelling at its magnificence. Then we all piled back into the van to the next stop.
When we arrived at a clearing on the side of the mountain road, we were told this was where our trek began with a small Thai man who apparently spoke good English. This was a blatant lie but his lack of English actually made the trek far more real & endearing.
The trek started uphill. I was thankful for my recent trip to Manchester & my hill climbs! For once, I wasn’t the heavy breather at the back, the one in the stupid footwear, the one struggling to keep up. I was strong & confident & raring to go.
The trek took us through forests & through strawberry fields where we ate the fruit fresh from the ground. We saw coffee plants & bamboo & ate cinnamon fresh from the tree. We trekked on paths I would’ve been petrified of before & crossed rickety bamboo bridges to get to waterfalls on the other side.
Lunch was at a traditional Thai village. It was truly gorgeous .. rice, fresh soup, chicken & cashew nuts & vegetables, followed by fruit. Nothing was too much trouble and after all the energy exerted in the morning, was very welcome.
After lunch, we got back in our trusty van & went up to the Royal pagodas at the top of the mountain, built for the former King & Queen of Thailand. Each pagoda is at the top of a massive set of steps and is very opulent as are the grounds surrounding each one. We then headed back home.
I feel like I’ve just woken up. That this is what it’s all about. Getting out there, seeing things, immersing myself in culture, seeing how other people live. It is not about sitting by the pool & downing gin or hangovers & endless late nights.
It is about the moment, the here & now, being present.
Some people have asked if I feel safe here. I can honestly say I’ve never felt safer. I feel invincible, untouchable, ‘with it’ .. I simply can’t understand why I haven’t done this sooner and know, without doubt, that I will definitely be doing it again.
The Soberfish has landed! And has a bed! And WIFI! And survived 2 planes, 3 airports, 1 security check from hell, 1 baggage claim from hell & 1 taxi ride like no other!
I have no idea what the time is. Well I do but my body is all over the place. I can’t imagine doing this type of travel with alcohol in the mix. It will be interesting to see what the jet lag will be like as my last long haultrip, pre Soberdom, was to Vegas & the tiredness was pretty horrendous. I’m praying for a miracle this time.
The flight from London to Mumbai was pretty good. As I’m tight and refuse to pay any extra for the seat I’d already paid enough for, I checked in for free within the last 12 hours before take off & by some small miracle (even though I obviously saw the seating plan), bagged a seat with an exit directly behind it so had no annoying person kicking me for 8 hours. Result!
The people next to me were fairly calm & normal .. the people in front of me were not so calm & normal. There were severe ‘chair wars’ for the first few hours .. the guy next to me battling back and forth with the bolshy teenager in front. Luckily I escaped the agro, even when she moved to the seat in front of me. I swear it was my PMA (positive mental attitude) that did it .. or maybe it was just because she finally fell asleep.
Mid flight however, I had a massive wave of anxiety .. it literally overtook my rational mind .. ‘what the ACTUAL f**k was I doing?’, ‘what if I miss my connecting flight?’, ‘what if I get lost?’, ‘what if my bag doesn’t get there?’.
Jesus. #overthinkersanonymous anyone?
I literally had to ride it out, patiently telling myself ‘it’ll be fine’ and ‘it’s a bit bloody late to start freaking out now’. Like most unwelcome thoughts, it passed and was replaced by excitement again. A pure emotional rollercoaster!!
My anxiety reminded me of alcohol cravings. It arrived out of nowhere .. unnecessary, irritating, fierce. It’s quite interesting that if you remove any options … in my case, to escape and run .. and HAVE to deal with it, it will eventually go away. It’s all about confronting how you feel head on & battling it out. Ahhhh the power of the mind.
Soberfish 1 Brain 0 ✅
In other news, the J Pillow is the best £19.95 I’ve ever spent. And I had an aisle seat! It’s like your own personal portable shoulder without protruding bone. Who needs a man?!!
I urge you to get one, even if it does look a bit phallic. For extra kudos, you could even pair it with a Love Honey blindfold like I did … now that’s what you call cougar fashion.
The flight landed 45 minutes early in Mumbai which was extremely lucky as the fiasco that was the security area took way longer than the 2 hour stopover. There were hardly any staff so they were multitasking spectacularly badly between check in staff, baggage control and any other jobs that may need a human! It was more Faulty Towers than Faulty Towers. Just what you need with no sleep!
And now I am here. The final destination for the next two days. I’m writing this by the roof top pool, surrounded by high buildings and smog. And it’s hot. Gloriously hot. I plan to have a snooze and a shower before going for a wander nearby and grabbing some food.
Until later Fish Followers 🐟🐟
#day442 (I think) the adventure has begun
So you’ve done it. Achieved the unthinkable. Battled through the cravings & the moods & the misery & remained sober for 31 days of hell. So now what?
Dry January is a brilliant concept to give your liver a break after the excesses of Christmas. It is also good for your dire bank balance & for the diet that you started with gusto & will contribute massively to your new gym regime. But tomorrow is February. And you’ve been paid. And it’s a Thursday, which is almost Friday yeah? And you’ve been sooo good right?
I was always part of the ‘it’s February 1st, let’s get slaughtered’ brigade. I can barely remember any February 2nd’s. Being ‘allowed’ to drink again meant the diet was ruined, the gym forgotten, the cigarettes started again & I got well & truly smashed.
So, does that make 31 days of abstinence a complete waste of time? Well, yes .. and no.
My attitude today is ‘you’ve done 31 days, why stop now?’
My attitude before Soberdom was ‘I’ve done 31 days & that’s quite enough, thank you very much’.
Of course, everyone has their own reasons for giving Soberdom a go but one of the common reasons is the illusive ‘off switch’. It would appear that quite a few of us have been a little bit faulty from birth! However, if you’ve completed Dry January though, you’ve kind of proved that the off switch does exist, even if it’s a little loose in its socket.
Dry January has probably made you assess your drinking habits and a month of abstinence might make you determined to be more mindful going forward rather than give up for good. I wish you all the very best with this but my personal experience is that by the end of February, you might be right back where you started.
The longer I remain sober, the more I can’t see the point of intentionally picking up a drink after a period of abstinence. I mean, if you’d given up smoking for 31 days, you’d be chuffed and have no intention of doing it again right? And you certainly wouldn’t celebrate 31 days free from heroin by shooting up a syringe.
Why is alcohol so different?
Over the last month, I’ve read numerous posts about people being disappointed they are not losing weight quickly enough or that they are feeling impossibly tired or feel unable to stop feasting on sugar. These are all common symptoms of alcohol withdrawal. After all, you’ve been systematically putting a drug into your body for the whole of your adult life. Did you really expect no comeback for the years of self abuse?
In my experience, the first 3 months of Soberdom are the hardest. It takes roughly 90 days to see proper results such as weight loss, clearer skin, boundless energy & steadier emotions. Of course, there’ll be exceptions to the rule but I think you need more than a Dry January to get the results you want.
Tonight, there is a New Moon, the symbol of hope & new beginnings. You’ve done so well! Do you really want to undo all that hard work & go back to the start? Do you really want to contaminate your now alcohol free body & reward yourself with the hangover from hell? I hope the answer is no and that you will continue your already amazing journey into a new, fresh month. Give yourself the gift of an alcohol free February. I promise you won’t regret it!