Thursday, 4 May 2017

Is the booze tide turning?

I have to admit I was surprised to see this headline, that as a population the UK are drinking less, particularly when the largest decrease is in the younger generation. That has to be good news. Some things never change though and the graph showing that alcohol consumption goes up with income is quite profound. I guess we think we deserve a drink if we have work pressures or continually feel 'stressed'. As always, it's those of us who can't stop at one who have to make the biggest changes to stay well. Happy reading.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-39785742

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Learning Learning All the Time

With Easter and the long weekend just passed I'm pleased to return to my routine and pick up on my better habits again. It's almost a relief to have decided that today is not a day for grazing and nibbling around the house taking bits of chocolate egg shells, snaffling the odd mini egg (every 5 minutes) and being unable to resist the smell of toasted hot cross buns. Seems I can get too much of a good thing.

This should come as no surprise as it is EXACTLY what I did with wine. And I did it so many times that I recognise the cycle clearly.

1. Decide that you have been good of late and deserve a treat.

2. Be mindful of what happened the last time and recall the horror of your feelings and emotions. Re-assert that you do not want to over-indulge again.

3. Re-state the rules: THIS TIME you will only have one. THIS TIME the one will not represent the start of the slippery slope and THIS TIME you will not compound your error by having a f*** it moment, throwing the baby out with the bath water because THIS TIME you know this is black and white thinking.

4. Tell yourself you are an adult and you can control something as simple as having and enjoying one cake/bun/biscuit without making yourself mentally and physically ill.

5. Have the first one.

6. Have another.

7. Briefly pause before the 3rd to find a 'yes but just now it's different' excuse, reassert you will do it right the next time. Have the 3rd, 4th and 5th.

8. Continue to over indulge in the substance of the moment until an end is reached. Sometimes I think with food it takes longer to reach that point. With alcohol I was limited by so many things: ultimately passing out or puking up. The side effects limited my ability to continue. This is not the way with food. Now the end is reached when I literally cannot move, my stretched swollen stomach aches and I am wailing at myself WHY OH WHY have I done this again?

9. Lie still and depressed in food 'coma', vowing NEVER to do the same again. Thinking back to that FIRST ONE, recognising it was the unravelling of your intentions.

10. 24 - 48 hours later the bloat and despair becomes less intense and desire returns to the front of your mind. Again it has to be managed and restrained until you decide that one REALLY won't hurt, not if you only have one.

11. Repeats steps 1-10 again and again and again

My positive change today has been to avoid unhealthy carbs and focus on feeling full with good quality foods thus:
Poached egg and toast for breakfast
Roast beef and avocado flatbread for lunch (weird combo I know but needing using up)
Tuna salad for dinner (followed by 2 small biscuits)
then spiriting myself away upstairs to blog. So far so good. Day 1 done dare I say?

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Round 3


I've just passed my 4 year soberversary and feel I'm back at the very beginning. I've not relapsed with drink I'm pleased to say but the events of my life this year so far have intensified my binge eating to a point that I can longer ignore it as a problem. Nor do I want to. I am now definitely fat and bloated.

I've been controlled by food all my life and now I'm really going to sort it out. While I've been reading around the subject, I recognised lots of familiar themes and felt reassured by their familiarity. I'm talking about choosing what to eat (drink) or not, knowing I can satisfy my craving any time I choose to, delaying and deciding that if I still really want it tomorrow then I can have it then, just not now, at this moment (when it is really tough). I recalled always being able to justify it, always allowing myself to have it now and stop later on, always planning 'new starts' and always failing. Always making the same mistakes.

At first I felt scared of not collapsing into an evening of biscuits, having to sit with that yearning, that want, acknowledging the discomfort but then I read that by doing this, the urge fades. Suddenly I felt optimistic because I already know that.

From my experience giving up booze I know the cravings go and new habits form and life goes on in a much better way, a way which you just cannot imagine at the start. I remember feeling as though I was taking a big leap of faith giving up booze and believing all that others ahead of me said. What if they were wrong? What if I was different? What if it didn't happen to me? 
I couldn't comprehend not wanting to drink wine then and I feel exactly the same now with the chocolates and stodge EXCEPT I believe the want will fade as long as I can hang on tight through these early days. That's where you guys come in!

I did it once before when I stopped smoking (16 years ago) although could not have articulated it this way back then, I did it again 4 years ago when I gave up booze and I know I'll be able to do it a third time and give up junk. And yes, I do believe in the theory of serial and substitute addictions. I know I have it, because smoking and cakes were never a problem when I was drinking, and while drink is no longer a problem, cake has become so.

I'm not talking about serious starvation here. I'm talking about eating my 3 pretty healthy meals a day as usual and then stopping. No afters, no snacky bites, no ice cream cos its sunny or chocolate because its raining. No cake cos someones leaving work/having a birthday/ raising money for charity. In isolation these things are fine- but just like the booze- once started I cannot stop.
So I'll bore you all here with my tales of cake and biscuit resistance- if you don't mind of course?

Sunday, 22 January 2017

Non-enforced sobriety

This is an interesting account of someone who did not plan to become alcohol free forever, yet found the benefits of "Dry January" so great that she chose to. A different slant on the way we choose to live. Read it here

Friday, 18 November 2016

Still here, wherever that is

My poor little neglected blog has been noticed by others in the time I've been largely ignoring it. (no reason other than a change of computer access at certain times of day which has upset my blogging routine).

BUT

Sober is the New Black has been listed as one of the Top 20 Sober Blogs by Port of Call, a private company helping those in recovery. Kudos! And look at the snazzy little badge I get for the site!
As always, a little positive feedback makes me feel all smiley inside. Happy Sober weekend everyone!


Monday, 17 October 2016

Amazing Feedback

Almost reduced to tears of emotion/ happiness/ loving the world in a psychedelic moment when I received this message from someone who read MY book and subsequently changed their life around. Powerful stuff and grateful to play a part:

Proud to say I am nearly 20 months sober and living a life beyond any dreams I ever had. I credit you because I wasn't someone who could do AA and I never even knew there were online sober support groups until reading Sober is the New Black. With that one book you changed not only my life but the lives of those I love. I was sober for my first grandchild's birth and every special milestone in his little life. I am here and I am being real for the first time since about age 12. Making all sorts of mistakes and often overwhelmed and never sure of anything except: I will never ever touch that stupid poison again. Thank YOU.
Follow @SoberRachel