Now’s surely not the time to consider giving up the booze Jim- Oh yes it is!

It’s already a cliche, but it’s true- we are living in strange times. But also counter-intuitive times. I’ve now had people with anxiety and depression telling me they feel oddly more relaxed and better than before the Corona crisis, isolated people saying how comforting it is to not be the only ones isolated, indeed the crisis has led some to be more connected than ever before. Strange times indeed.

That got me thinking about alcohol. I haven’t spoken much about this subject since the outbreak of the virus because it didn’t seem of much consequence, I was wrong. This is the perfect time to talk about alcohol and in a rare moment of Jim giving advice I would say to anyone reading this considering giving up alcohol- do it and do it now- it’s the perfect opportunity.

Steady on Jim. People are drinking at this time and for many it’s a welcome relief, a source of comfort and pleasure, only a sadistic bastard would advise people to give up at this time of most need. What’s wrong with you, show a little compassion man.

Yes, it does seem counter intuitive but hear me out. If I were still drinking, this lock down for me would be open season for binge drinking. It would be like being on holiday; no major work commitments, unstructured days, minimal driving and no censorial judgements. It’s lock down! Wear your dressing gown all day, binge on box sets, eat chocolate and ooh look its midday let’s have a G and T. I would be knocking it back slow and steady, spending days in what I would have considered hazy, disconnected bliss. Except it wouldn’t be bliss for long. I’d start feeling rough in the mornings, guilt would creep in as would post drinking anxiety. I would get grumpy and take out my self revulsion on my partner. In short I would quickly become a mess.

So clearly this is directed not at the glass of wine a day brigade but the serious drinkers, the ones who find it hard to stop in the absence of normal restrictions. Drinkers like me (I’m now happily 7 months sober by the way). So here’s the thing. Why is now the perfect time to stop?

Reason 1 If you don’t stop it will be easy to find yourself in holiday mode and your drinking issue could easily spiral into a serious drinking problem as outline above.

Reason 2 If , like me, your drinking is conditioned to a large extent by social events this is the perfect opportunity to stop because those social triggers have ceased to exist. No pubs to negotiate or restaurants to sit in watching others knock back the wine. No family BBQs or big birthdays. No Easter get togethers or beach picnics. Some of the key anxiety producing events for people trying to stop drinking have vanished. Even if you wanted them they do not exist for the moment. So sieze that opportunity. It’s like having a head start. My first two months of sobriety were spent dealing with these social triggers and having to summon up massive amounts of will power to get me through. It seriously does get easier after the first two months so this lock down situation is like being in rehab without the £1000 a week price tag. So you can see, you would be mad NOT to use this opportunity to give up drinking if you have been seriously considering it.

Reason 3 The BIG one! This is the one that could be the difference between life and death. Seriously. Alcohol is bad for our immune system. Fact. Don’t just listen to me I’m not a doctor, but listen to these guys:

Alcohol and the Immune System

Dipak Sarkar, Ph.D., D.Phil., M. Katherine Jung, Ph.D., and  H. Joe Wang, Ph.D.

“Clinicians have long observed an association between excessive alcohol consumption and adverse immune-related health effects such as susceptibility to pneumonia. In recent decades, this association has been expanded to a greater likelihood of acute respiratory stress syndromes (ARDS), sepsis, alcoholic liver disease (ALD), and certain cancers; a higher incidence of postoperative complications; and slower and less complete recovery from infection and physical trauma, including poor wound healing.”

The word sobering comes to mind! Let’s have some more:

“There are a number of ways alcohol impairs your immune system, making you more likely to get sick.  First, it’s important to know that the microbes living in your intestines, your gut’s microbiome, plays an important role in fighting diseases. This happens in many ways that we’re just beginning to understand. When you drink a lot of alcohol, it has many negative effects on your digestive system. It damages the epithelial cells in your intestines, making it harder to absorb many nutrients. It also severely disturbs your gut’s microbiome, significantly altering the balance of healthy and unhealthy bacteria. Alcohol affects the way health gut microbes interact with the immune system. Alcohol also disrupts the gut barrier, allowing more bacteria to pass into the blood. These rogue bacteria can cause inflammation in the liver and may lead to liver damage.  Alcohol doesn’t just affect the function of the digestive tract. It also affects the respiratory system. Excessive drinking may impair the function of immune cells in the lungs and upper respiratory system, leading to increased risk for pneumonia, tuberculosis, and acute respiratory distress syndrome, or ARDS. Because the immunity of the mucus is impaired in both the lungs and digestive tract, any disease can become more severe.” (Recovery Ways)

It’s there in black and white. It’s not controversial. Try this – https://www.consumeraffairs.com/news/why-drinking-too-much-may-cause-lung-disease-070714.html It’s established and known science. With this current virus there are no drugs that can cure if, no vaccine as yet. The medical interventions are there to support the body as it fights the virus. The only thing that will defeat the virus is our own body’s immune system. Our body becomes our life saving drug store. Would you take the one thing that could potentially save your life and weaken it, damage it and make it less effective? No, of course not, but that’s exactly what you will be doing if you drink alcohol, (let’s say excessively), during this crisis. Your immune system is damaged by alcohol so if you want to give your immune system the best chance of beating this virus, stop drinking. I’m against being directed what to do but these are indeed strange times. We are told to stay in. I follow that advice because it could keep me alive. If you have a problem with drink like I had, here’s my advice; stop drinking, it’s the perfect opportunity and it could save your life.

Oh and if you do decide to stop right now, follow some of the sober blogs I follow. You’ll get the support and encouragement you need and you’ll hopefully see that giving up isn’t about denial, it’s about opportunity and freedom. Post Corona you’ll be glad you did it.

Stay safe. Jim X

47 thoughts on “Now’s surely not the time to consider giving up the booze Jim- Oh yes it is!

  1. Addy

    Well done for nearly completing seven months. You must really be feeling the benefits by now. It is hard during these times, I would imagine. Even I, who rarely drinks alcohol, have had more glasses of wine in the last month than I did during the whole of last year. But I recognise the slippery slope it can become and will stop it after the Easter festivities. As one person joked, the proof will be in our recycling boxes!

    Liked by 2 people

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    1. Jim Simmonds Post author

      Thanks Addy, I love it , now I can tell you to take it easy on the booze😉I don’t think you’re alone but it’s the problem drinkers who could get seriously affected during this lock down. Stay safe. X

      Liked by 2 people

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  2. ceponatia

    I’m a government worker and get frequent updates from my county leadership on all of this and alcoholics are being thought to be one of the primary carriers of the disease because even when they get sick they still go out to the store to get their fix. Just be thankful you’re not one of those sad sacks! Previously they were just killing themselves with their addition now they’re killing other people. Facepalm!

    Liked by 1 person

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  3. gr8ful_collette

    This is good stuff, Jim. Backed by science. I liked your point about quitting now when there are no social obligations pressures to complicate things. That’s a good point. People can get a bunch of sober days in without having the pressures of social drinking complicating things. Well done! 💕👍🏻

    Liked by 2 people

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  4. clairei47

    I really enjoyed reading this post Jim and I think you are spot on. It’s definitely a good time to give it up, for the health benefits and, as you say, it will give people a good run at it without the pressures of social activities. Like you, I would be happily drinking every day and starting earlier and earlier if I wasn’t sober now. Congratulations on your 7 months … we don’t take enough time to consider how much of an achievement these milestones are. Awesome my friend, truly awesome.
    Claire xx

    Liked by 2 people

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    1. Jim Simmonds Post author

      Thanks Claire and it’s interesting what you say about the achievement of reaching certain milestones. I kind of now take getting to something like 7 months for granted and yet it is a big achievement and even a year or so I would not have believed I could have done that so we should pat ourselves on the back from time to time. If I recall correctly you are at about the 5 month mark? So well done to you too. I hope somehow the people considering giving up will be the ones reading this post, they are the ones one wants to reach to and say, “use this opportunity!” So hopefully some of them will find these posts via google etc. Anyway hope you are doing well and having organised a little meet up with some fellow bloggers in January hope that maybe as a fellow Brit we can do another one when this lock down finally ends😀 and you will be able to come along. There’ll be some mighty fine mocktails! Jim x

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  5. nomorebeer2019

    Yes to FREE REHAB !!!!!! It’s common sense: anyone who has been thinking about stopping (or even taking a break) would be insane not to take this advice 🙂 Alsooooooo on a more personal note: it’s so great to hear (ok… “read”) you say “HAPPILY” sober 🙂 it’s true, I would also say I am happily sober. We were nowhere near this mind frame 7 months ago and look at you now, uncle Jim !!! 🙂 So proud of you/us !!! Happiness really was at the end of the line 🙂 xxxx Anne

    Liked by 3 people

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    1. Jim Simmonds Post author

      Or maybe happy Jim and Anne’s rehab at a very reasonable 500 a week! Two ex drinkers will show you the path to happy sobriety. Is that a business plan? Get it set up in Nadine’s back yard maybe get Claire to join us – yoga in the morning, drama sessions in the afternoon, lots of introspection some tree hugging and lots of tea! X

      Liked by 2 people

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      1. Jim Simmonds Post author

        No no no. Ping pong is a completely different game played with pimples but no sponge. The scorings different as well. I wish people would take these things seriously. I play table tennis – the sport of kings and emperors!

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Jim Simmonds Post author

        Claire , I had thought you were a nice, intelligent woman but now????
        I V will prepare a lengthy paper on the differences between ping pong and table tennis- this is serious! To call table tennis ping pong is like calling God a ninja turtle. I’m not one for hyperbole but table tennis is the highest level of existence to which one can aspire! 😇

        Liked by 1 person

      3. clairei47

        God might be a ninja turtle Jim. We don’t know what forms he took on. I think you need to consider how the ping pongers are feeling reading your comments. It’s a very ‘us and them’ attitude Jim. Most unlike you 😁🤗

        Like

  6. sobrietytree

    Really really good. Yes, about the immunity! I have to admit I feel super healthy and I just take that for granted much of the time. Thanks for the reminder. (Knocking on wood, as I kick myself out of the room… or just touching wood, as you “kings and emperors” say. ;))) Hugs Jim. Keep up the good work. 🤗🏓

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Jim Simmonds Post author

      Good that you feel healthy . It’s the most important thing right now. Puts everything in perspective. Stay healthy ( oh and can I recommend the sport of TABLE TENNIS! ) but avoid ping pong😉

      Liked by 1 person

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  7. Lovie Price

    ty Jim for this..and to the others i follow making similar posts..it has gotten to a point where i only check on here every 4 days or so..probably some mental block( depression/anxiety) i have going on. But it is an awesome reminder ..and these words of wisdom are what gets us through:) hugs!

    Liked by 2 people

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  8. drinkingthetruth

    Awesome post. Very enjoyable. In my experience, that is exactly how people are behaving through this whole thing. It’s a mini booze holiday for most! I couldn’t imagine drinking through this lockdown. I would feel so claustrophobic.

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. Jim Simmonds Post author

      I agree- Even my sensible drinking friends are telling me how they are slightly concerned about how much they are drinking during this lock down. I know I’d be drinking way too much and getting increasingly moody, anxious and ill. I’ve never felt so grateful that I stopped!

      Liked by 2 people

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  9. habitdone

    Just read all this, funny timing since Reason 3 was my main one this time. I keep re-reading your post. Uggh. I am now convinced I have done myself in for sure! Time will tell but I won’t be buzzed in the meantime! Good words of wisdom that you shared. Congrats on 7 months sober. Considering how you kicked off sobriety with true over indulgence, I am awestruck. Its neat to read about all the different paths to sobriety and what works for folks. Thanks for continuing to post through your journey. Oh….and…..ping pong!

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. Jim Simmonds Post author

      Now now it was great until ping pong! Seriously though Im really glad you got something out of the post. I really hope it works out for you. These bloggers are great and if you reach out for support they are here for you 100%. It worked for me. Jim x

      Liked by 1 person

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