It’s official. The way I was drinking alcohol, according to a training audit at work, revealed ‘possible dependence’. I did the audit on myself while undertaking some compulsory self-training on smoking and alcohol this week! Ironically.
It’s not exactly a revelation, it’s just highlighted something I already knew. I answered all the questions very honestly. The funny thing is, the help is there waiting to be offered under the NHS, but unfortunately when we see our GP’s and they ask us that million dollar question, “how many units a week do you consume”, the majority of us lie. I wonder what would happen to the research data base if everyone answered those alcohol related questions honestly. They would realise that more money is significantly needed in the NHS to offer more help and support, in the same way that they provide free support and medication for people who are trying to give up smoking.
Some twenty odd years ago I struggled to give up smoking, but I managed it and then I stupidly started again for a couple of years. I’m pleased to say that I did, however, succeed in giving it up again, mainly thanks to my eldest daughter who (at the age of thirteen) told her grandmother she was worried I would die of cancer. I wanted to reduce my risk of getting lung cancer (and to stop my daughter worrying). I managed to quit the second time round through medication and a support group via the NHS. Back then, agreeing (reluctantly) to go along to the support group was the only way you could get free nicotine patches, but the combination of both did actually work.
So why does giving up alcohol feel different? Because I want to significantly feel better about myself and reduce my risk of getting liver disease and cancer?!
When I announced I was giving up alcohol, the first thing my mother asked me was, “Does that meant you’ll be having an alcohol free holiday?” (we are taking my parents on holiday this year). “Yes,” I replied, and a look of disappointment was written all over her face. The fear of losing her wine buddy no doubt, but I will prove that we can still have plenty of fun without me providing all the drunken entertainment by staggering around the dance floor, thinking I look like some sex goddess on Strictly Come Dancing, when the reality is I don’t. I know that on-lookers must be wondering if I’m going to make it through the next song with out toppling over, or dancing on their tables. Just kidding about that one! Well, maybe I did the table dancing thing once or twice in my younger day, at least I survived without injury!
I haven’t been the perfect role model for my kids over the years where drink is concerned. They have seen me drunk too many times, they have seen me with hangovers, they have seen me drink socially (and not socially). A glass of wine while I’m cooking (and I love cooking), a glass of wine when I’m eating, booze with barbecues, a glass of wine watching TV. A glass of wine relaxing in the bath (well, they just know I did this), picnics, wine to celebrate, commiserate, the list is endless.
I started drinking very young, when I was two years old or so, my parents tell me. I managed to get hold of a little miniature bottle of brandy at home and drank it all. My mother realised there was something wrong when I was unable to walk in a straight line, swaying and bumping into the walls….I was drunk!
One childhood memory I have of alcohol was when my mum would put the Sunday roast in the oven on very low, and then my parents would take my brother and I out to ‘The Club’ every Sunday for a lunch time drink. It used to be packed with families socialising over booze on a Sunday afternoon. I would have been around 11 years old. This was when I would be allowed to have half-pints of (weak) larger shandies, which made me feel all grown up and giddy. A feeling I enjoyed.
I entered my teenage years in the eighties with music from Duran Duran, eurythmics, Midge, Madness, Human League blaring from my bedroom. Mods, rockers, New Romantics were the fashion, as were regular village hall discos all fuelled with large quantities of cheap lager and cider.
When I embarked on my nurse training at 22, I lived away from home in the nurses’ quarters and did we learn how to party. The trainee doctors occupied the top floor of a high block of flats and every week they hosted the party. Doctor’s parties were never complete without a long line of catheter bags hung up, filled with every imaginable cocktail ready to pour from the drainage tap! Most of the cocktails tasted like pee so having them in catheter bags was rather apt!
At no point did I imagine that I would be using alcohol down the line for any reasons other than socialising.
But here I am at 49, using it for mainly everything else but socialising now. Preferring to relax in the comfort of my own home where no one can judge me (apart from my husband) while getting blissfully intoxicated on my sofa to relax and unwind.
Have you noticed when you try and give something up, you’re reminded of it constantly?
Watching TV to take your mind off drinking is near impossible. Every other actor has a glass of wine glued to their hand in almost everything you watch. Although I don’t recall David Attenborough showing any funky gibbons delighting over a bottle of Shiraz, or Nelly the elephant trunking down copious amounts of chardonnay! So that’s clearly the answer, stick to watching David A (or start a blog :)).
Day 17 alcohol free
9 lb lighter
Clothes not so tight, sleeping better, head clearer. Constipated (must drink more water and eat more greens 😆)!
Yea yea yeah!