Wednesday, 26 February 2014

A Relapse. And Sober is the New Black: PRICE SLASHED TODAY!!!

When I see titles like this ( a relapse) I immediately fear for the blogger that they have fallen foul of the wine witch. Rest assured I am alive and sober…..

But last night I had cake.

And it was just like my early days sans wine. I knew it would happen at some point. I felt miserable and deprived the day before and my sugar free creations were just not hitting the spot. So I gave in and had the cake. That first sugar hit was delicious and I realised how poor my sweeteners were at imitating the real thing. I ate and enjoyed a whole piece of carrot cake. And then another piece.

But I still wanted more.

Because two pieces (or glasses) is not enough.

And this morning I felt bad ( very hungry, and craving toast as opposed to porridge or eggs)

And it was hard to climb back up into the saddle…..(after porridge I was still hungry and had a mid morning chocolate bar a la hair of the dog me thinks.)

Which compounded my negativity

And allowed the day to spiral out of control.

24 hours on and the affects of eating that first piece of cake are still dominating my every moment and every thought.

Sound familiar?

A relapse of the diet variety is SO similar to that which I felt when I was continually trying to give up wine, albeit with the stakes somewhat lower. I continue to make the same behavioural mistakes, never learning from the awful symptoms, both physical and emotional. The next day, I feel down. I have failed. I have to start over. I feel as if I will never succeed. But if I accept that, I will never succeed.

So, a better way to manage this relapse is to accept I cannot change what has already happened, but I can change my thoughts about it, and therefore my future actions. I can change what will happen for the rest of today. I can choose how I want to react: I can moan and mumble about the unfairness of it all, leaving the flood gate open for more cake and all his little friends to come on in and ruin my life even more.
Or, I can choose to STOP. Stop eating cake, stop eating carelessly, stop the rot. And go back to my plan. I can spend the rest of the day eating well and not punishing myself with further restrictions in an attempt to compensate. I can remember my goal of long term health and well-being and keep my eye on that prize. I can choose not to give up what I want most of all, for what I want right now. I can distract myself and wait for my cravings to pass. I've done this before so I know they will pass and I will feel strong once more.
Yes, from now I will choose not to eat anymore cake and return to my healthy plan. I know I may relapse again (and again) but I know how I will nip it in the bud and get over it, without over-reacting and compounding its effects by further sabotaging my true craving for success.

On a cheerier note, SOBER IS THE NEW BLACK is PRICED SLASHED TO £1.99 TODAY ONLY on Amazon, follow the link

Saturday, 22 February 2014

The Camera Lied

Don't they look lovely? My healthy banana and blueberry muffins full of baby (sugar free)apple purée ( aged 4-6 months!), mashed banana and sweetener. 

Well they taste awful. In fact not even awful, they taste of nothing. A bland cake-like mass with no identifying flavour, texture or form. 

Like non alcoholic wine, when missing the key ingredients cakes (and wine) are just not the same and you have to question the point of it all. 

I am missing my toxic combinations of fat and sugar. But I no longer miss wine in that same deprived way which gives me a much better feeling than a cake would any day. 

Friday, 21 February 2014


I'm having a lazy day and decided to make some headway into a list of boozing related films I have on my To Watch list.

I've watched Sandra Bullock in 28 days (slightly humorous view on the serious subject of rock bottoms and rehab) and Meg Ryan portraying an alcoholic mother and wife in "When a Man Loves a Woman".
Its difficult to remember it IS fiction and I've been crying my eyes out at the husband /wife emotions and the daughters/mother relationship. The potential for a serious amount of harm to be brought upon two innocent children horrified me. I know they are actors but it makes me rewind to my drinking times of shouting, snapping, screaming at the kids to do their homework, not being interested in what they have to say and makes me contemplate. None of us can turn the clock back, but we can be reassured we did the right thing by calling a halt to 'it' when we did and sticking with this sober path in life. Late is definitely better than never.
The effect on 'significant others' is addressed too: the husband goes to Al-anon. I have never told my husband of the true struggle it was for me to give up wine. I never voiced my feeling that I HAD to give up as I couldn't control the amount I  drank, always ending up drunk regardless of my intentions. He still occasionally asks me if I want to 'treat myself' to one drink, naive to the irony of one drink. I always say no and he accepts this as part of my all or nothing attitude and character that he knows from other areas in my life. I only told him the other day I had written a book. He asked what it was about (hopeful that it was the latest fiction blockbuster or the next instalment of erotica to hit the headlines) and was surprised when I told him it was about me giving up alcohol. Surprised in a kind of- what's the big deal about that? kind of way.

Feeling all weird now: sad, teary and contemplative but happy, glad and reassured too!

Monday, 17 February 2014

To celebrate or not??

Next month I will be 1 year sober. I've heard it called a Soberversary or a Sober Birthday. It's still a few weeks away and I'm amazed that after a few short months I can confidently plan for it. I am not tempted to return to my ways of old and know I will not. I revisit my last weeks of drinking and my day zero of stopping, recognising them as some of the worst days of my life. I know that I will do nothing to risk going back there, other than in my mind.

This commitment to long term sobriety seems to have crept up on me almost when I wasn't looking. In the early weeks I used to ask anyone who would listen 'How long would until be until I stopped wanting wine?', 'how long until avoiding it was no longer an active pursuit?''how long until I had a background, incidental "oh, I don't drink", it just not featuring in my life? Of course no-one could answer the question: its different for everyone, but many gave me the advice of just sticking with it day by day and with time, the day of that way would surely arrive.

And so it has. I am no longer overwhelmed by the thought of 'never' and 'forever'. I'm not pleased about it particularly, but I've accepted that's the way it has to be for me and I'm glad I've found this out and acknowledged it.

Sometimes I don't think about alcohol for several days at a time. And when I do, it's NEVER to think about whether to drink it or not. This is part of the reason I cannot keep going to AA. I cannot adopt the principle that every minute of every day I have to actively avoid alcohol else it will be waiting to trip me up when I'm not looking. I don't feel the need to be on my guard like this. I have faith in myself. This seems completely unbelievable and unacceptable to the ethos in AA though. They consider me fool-hardy with this attitude.

I don't know if I should celebrate 1 year sober. I feel both that it is a big deal, yet it shouldn't be; does that make any sense? Why should I give my last drinking day a thought? A moment more of my time? Or should I celebrate my new found personality, my new life that developed in the subsequent 11 months to date?

Any thoughts or experiences on this more contemplative subject?

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Sugar Free Scones

Sundays are so much more productive now that there is never a hangover to be factored in or a day to be wiped out recovering.
After my piano lesson ( get me!) I made these sugar free scones using stevia. 

I think they look good but are from an American recipe of cups which I have roughly converted to ounces, so they may not taste quite right. 
Tea time tonight with sugar free diabetic jam or butter ( or both!) Mmmmm

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Sweet Treat- yeh!!

I took the plunge and decided to try the dried fruit thing. Never eat nuts or seeds or dried fruit as biscuits much nicer, but, knew I had some chopped dates in my baking cupboard (for flapjacks-sigh) and tried them. 
Chunks in rice floor so they don't stick together. They we're sweet and great to have with my cups of tea. Quite calorific though and easy to eat loads so I portioned them. 
This is what 30g looks like and is about 100 cals. So much sweetness goes a long way though!

So pleased with my discovery. I'm off to search for baking-with-stevia recipes, as day 5 completes. 

Friday, 14 February 2014

Day 4 Changing Habits

Last night DID pass and today I feel happy and healthy.

When I gave up wine, I changed a lot of my socialising patterns. Some I've re-introduced again as they still work without wine, others I've allowed to dwindle. I no longer arrange a weekly Girls' Night Out with one of various sets of friends. This was always instigated by me and always on the pretence of 'catching up' when really it was about creating an opportunity to drink more than on a normal night. I didn't fully appreciate that at the time. I always drank a lot those nights and regretted it the next day when the excitement had long passed and was replaced with a grumpy, munchy, irritable person who thought everything was RUBBISH and whom I did not like very much.

So, in giving up sugar I realised my routines would have to change too. Today is my day off work. I had an appointment at 9 and afterwards I would usually have arranged some scone eating: be it meeting a friend in a cafe or buying 2 and bringing them home (1 for the freezer for another time, but always eaten before it froze). My self-indulgent time would not be complete without a scone and jam or some other sweet treat to tide me to lunchtime. Lunch would be minimal to allow for biscuits afterwards. I continually spent a lot of effort micro-managing calories to accomodate and restrict in some way, the biscuits which littered my day. I ALWAYS wanted more. I used to think I was just greedy; even after my toast and jam at breakfast I would immediately want more. I would hardly be finished one biscuit when I would be off to get the next. I now wonder if, this was truly the sugar -inducing- sugar -seeking-cycle?

Today I progressed from porridge and had brown toast with sugar free jam. (sweetened with sorbitol and made for diabetics). It was nice, sweet, and for once did not leave me wanting more. When I got home at 10 I kept myself busy rather than immediately having a cup of tea (and wanting another biscuit). I stopped at 11 and had 2 cheese flavoured oatcakes (80 cals) and once again, managed to stop at 2 without herculean effort.

The proof is in the scales and I have not yet weighed. I would be disappointed not to have lost weight and would be tempted to jack it in. I'm sticking to my plan, staying within my calories and looking forward to the day I no longer want the sweet stuff. I may weigh in next week, let's see. Rx

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Day 3 and reality bites

ah well, back to reality. Very much craving sweet things this evening.
Managed all day staying full with soup, oatcakes and yoghurts.
Had a healthy dinner of chicken, carrots and white rice (white rice isn't strictly allowed as it's high GI and equally refined as sugar sending glucose levels up too quickly, but I can't do no carbs longer than 48hours before I become a bread seeking ogre).
I'm interpreting the plan sensibly: cutting out biscuits (of which I used to regularly eat 600 cals worth per day) and the like, and reading food labels.
It is suggested to have healthy carb-y breakfast cereal at bedtime. This is good news as I LOVE breakfast cereals, all sorts, especially all mixed together. I was disappointed to see there is 20g of sugar in 100g bran flakes! I mean 20%?! They are supposed to be a healthy option. Instead I had shredded Wheat with stevia (the natural sweetener that doesn't cause glucose spikes) which was yum. I'm so living the dream!!
But, I digress.
I'm now craving sweet things big style, but I'm not going to give up at this first hurdle. It's nowhere near as hard as giving up wine was those first few evenings and also I'm now more experienced in this giving stuff up malarky and know that while I feel edgy and unable to settle, I know, this too will pass
(please let it be soon!).

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Day 2

Day 1 of no sugar went well (but then it always did post wine due to the hangover). Maybe I was nicely topped up with sugar yesterday. I'm certainly hungrier today but am off work so am less busy, which always makes me want to snack more.

Instead of biscuits throughout the day I've had oatcakes (sometimes with sliced babybel on top) or fruit, which is allowed as it is a different type of sugar. I managed this even though my family had kindly baked cookies and scones during the day. AAAARRRGHH, they smelt good but………I know I would not have stopped at one and I would be having more today.

So I continue to choose not to take the first bite, for today.


Monday, 10 February 2014

Point of change

After 11 months of sobriety and a 10lb weight gain I will be drawing the line under it tomorrow. I'm excited and nervous at the same time. 
I'm going ahead with removing refined sugar from my diet. The last book I read on it was full of surprisingly familiar sound bites:
Don't take the first bite
Choose not to, just for today
It's not giving up, it becoming freed from
You cannot be deprived of something that makes you feel so bad. 
It gets easier and soon you will no longer miss sweet stuff. 

I don't believe it all really, but then neither did I believe I could give up wine at first. So maybe it will get easier and I will be freed from my sweet stuff deprivation, control, binge cycle. I'm so fed up of it ( read sick and tired of being sick and tired) that I'm wiling to do it. Starting tomorrow ( after my long weekend). Perhaps I'll fall off the sugar wagon a few times too before I stick with it but this is definitely the beginning of the end. 
Wish me luck. 
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