Friday, 31 January 2014

Time to address sugar?

There is a school of thought that says addicts will always replace one addiction with another. I guess the key there is to find a non-harmful pass time to become addicted to. Sugar in general, chocolate specifically, does not meet this criteria, nor, in fact, does eating!

The simple reason for eating too much sugar is that wine (and all types of alcohol) are full of it. When that source of sugar is stopped, the body senses the shock and another source must be found. Many drinkers deny having a sweet tooth: I would never dream of having wine and chocolate together, it was always savoury snacks with wine and a cup of tea with chocolates.

When I stopped drinking wine I took the advice not to bother too much about what I was eating. I took this as a green light for pretty much anything goes and for the first few weeks, anything did go!

Since christmas I've acknowledged that the reason I did not lose weight when I stopped drinking was because I replaced it entirely with sweet treats, and still do. I have been wondering increasingly about addressing this now. The problem with them is, surprise surprise, once I start it's difficult to limit or stop .

There are a few 'give up sugar' diets in the press but what I'm more intrigued by is the bottom line they all have: reducing it is hard, better to go cold turkey and get it out of your system and white-knuckle it until your tastes change and you don't miss it anymore. Sound familiar?

This sounds drastic and again, as I once was with alcohol, I am not yet committed to giving up sugar completely.
I decided I would try it for one day. That I would cope by telling myself I could have biscuits etc (I eat a LOT) of biscuits the next day. I had planned to do it yesterday when I would be busy at work but as I left the house in the morning I suddenly thought  AAARRRRRGGGGHHHHH, NO!!!!!!! CANNOT COPE, without at least, my little handpick of 4 belvitas that I grabbed before I left.

So I didn't manage yesterday. I am not trying today (as I am off). But I have progressed from recognising it's a problem, to deciding to address it, to thinking of a small manageable goal to start with…
Now I just need to DO IT. And I will do it one day soon, before Easter comes around!

Your thoughts or experience on this matter?

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Burns night : just another excuse….

Tonight (1 day late) we had a Burn's supper at home to celebrate that big Scottish tradition "Burns night".
We had the traditional Haggis (vegetarian though, don't even think about what's in the normal stuff), neeps (turnip or suedes to most) and mashed potato. My daughter gave the 'Address to the Haggis' reciting a poem she had learnt at school. It felt all homely and pleasant. I felt content. I know that tomorrow I will still feel great and I will remember the whole event.

The Burn's nights of my drinking days were completely the opposite. Firstly, I didn't care, or care to learn, who Burns was (he was a Scottish poet from Ayrshire 1759-1796),  what we were celebrating (his birth), or any of his work. I didn't even care for the traditional scotch whisky.

No, all I was interested in was the wine, lots of it, just keep it coming. I would be at some celebration or another with several like-minded individuals, and we would chat and drink and drink and drink and end up drunk then go home. In fact it was pretty much the same as every other social occasion.

It was never about the occasions

It was just another excuse to drink.

Here is a link to the best Burns website for those sufficiently interested, and a summary from it for those who prefer to cut to the bottom line!
The annual celebratory tribute to the life, works and spirit of the great Scottish poet, Robert Burns (1759-1796). Celebrated on, or about, the Bard's birthday, January 25th, Burns Suppers range from stentoriously formal gatherings of esthetes and scholars to uproariously informal rave-ups of drunkards and louts. Most Burns Suppers fall in the middle of this range, and adhere, more or less, to some sort of time honoured form which includes the eating of a traditional Scottish meal, the drinking of Scotch whisky, and the recitation of works by, about, and in the spirit of the Bard.

Friday, 24 January 2014

What now?

I finally managed to give up alcohol for the last time almost a whole year ago. It was not easy and I gained a lot of support from reading other people's blogs on the same topic (although stayed well under the radar!).

Only now do I feel confident in my own ability to remain free from alcohol that I can openly say 'I don't drink' and committing myself to a black and white blog is a big step for me: it means I have to stick with it! My mindset has changed over the months since I stopped and although I still sometimes wistfully sigh and think how nice a chilled glass of white wine would be, I can remember well enough where one glass will inevitably lead me. After one glass the booze takes control and runs its own agenda and my own good intentions fall to the way side. I know how the movie ends and right now I want so much to never go there again, that I can reason with myself that there can be no 'just one' or 'just once' for me.

To mark my upcoming year of sobriety I gathered together all the ramblings and scribblings I wrote during the emotional roller coaster of those early days of abstinence. I continued a journal in a 'Then and Now' format as I tackled all the usual events in my daily life, alcohol free for the first time. They have recently been published as a book:

and I plan to post excerpts from each section here on this blog. As well as sharing my experiences, I want a good reminder for myself of how bad it actually was, and which will not fade as time passes as memories are inclined to do.

Now I'm at a cross-roads. I am wondering whether I need to consider doing AA and the 12 step thing. I've been to a few meetings but never committed to any single one. The advocates of it seem positive there is a new level of calmness, serenity and self acceptance to be gained by this process. If this were the case, of course I would want it too, but I'm not sure I believe in it enough at the moment.

If you have any thoughts or experience of AA or the 12 steps I'd love to hear them, while I  continue to consider what to do next to keep on living alcohol-free.

Back soon.

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Where to start?

I am Rachel Black and I am newly sober. I am going to post about my trials and tribulations along the way and I find as I follow an alcohol-free life. Sounds easy? More to come, very soon. 

Follow @SoberRachel