I’m aware I haven’t posted anything for a while which is probably no great loss to the world of blogging but in terms of charting my progress for myself I need to put that right and provide an update if only for myself.
In some ways I think I have been avoiding posting because I simply needed a break from writing, reading and thinking about alcohol and associated issues. It was beginning to feel a little bit too self absorbed and intense so a few days away from that has been good for me. It’s probably a good indication that the alcohol free business is going pretty well that I didn’t feel the need to write about it. And it is going pretty well. No great compulsion to drink, no cravings but then no real situations where I would feel the pull of having to have a drink. Yes, I miss a glass or two of wine at night but set against that are the benefits that are definitely now coming through of slightly better sleep, some weight loss, near normal blood pressure and generally feeling a lot better physically and mentally than I did 7 weeks ago.
Friday though will be a challenge as I’m meeting an ex colleague who now runs a small school for young people with challenging behaviour. She is a drinker in my mould. She likes to go out and have a drink or 6. Prosecco is her go-to tipple as it increasingly seems to be for many women of her age (she’s 42) and she really can knock it back. In the past we would meet up – drink, loosen up, swap confidences and have many a laugh. She’s a good friend but she knows I’ll not be drinking and I know it won’t be the same kind of evening. That said it should still be good fun and I have suggested a meal out as that takes the focus away from just sitting in a pub drinking all night. I’ve also chosen to meet up in a pub that I know stocks some great Non Alcoholic beers. These have been a real help for me but I know they are not for everyone trying to stay alcohol free.
On this subject, yesterday I took delivery of months’ worth of alcohol free drinks, some are zero % and some have 0.5% alcohol but that means they can still be officially described as alcohol free. For me these beers have been a godsend, giving me the taste and feel of beer but without the alcohol kick or desire to start drinking “real” beers and spirits. I know this is controversial as some see these very low alcohol drinks as possibly leading to relapse but for me this is not the case. This is a key point for me. Everyone’s place on the alcohol consumption continuum will be different. I was never a down and out drunk or someone who frittered away my savings, career and relationships in favour of a drink. I was a sociable drinker that on many ocassions drank too much. Most of the time I enjoyed it but I didn’t want to continue to compromise my health and general well being. These new range of alc free beers FOR ME are great. I can enjoy the taste (and sorry Naked Mind writer, people can and do enjoy the taste of beer and wine) and it helps one “fit in” at the pub. The great thing is that some brewers like Brewdog (Nanny State) and Adnams (Ghost Ship 0.5) have made non alc beers that now are good drinks in their own right not some poor excuse of a drink. Some say they are still alcoholic drinks and it’s true that there is a very small amount of alcohol in some of these drinks (up to 0.5%) but it is such a small amount that it would be near on impossible to drink sufficient to equal even one pint of normal strength beer. We also need to remember that our guts produce alcohol naturally when we eat and digest yeasted products and even the humble ripe banana contains trace amounts of alcohol. So alcohol is a naturally ocurring substances and I can drink these drinks without feeling the urge to drink real alcoholic drinks. I respect the idea that for some people drinking such drinks will be a “no-no” but for me they are a massive help in staying alcohol free and they work for me.
So Friday will be meet at the pub, couple of Non alc beers or possibly tonic and lime and then a Chinese meal where I shall drink Jasmine tea. Not rock n’ roll but should be OK. I know I’ll have the urge to drink but with 7 weeks under my belt I feel confident that I’ll get through the evening. I’m hoping that the day will come when I don’t just look at evenings such as these and hope to “get through” them but actually enjoy and prefer them being sober. Time will tell.
Tonight I’m down the pub but playing music so no problems as I never used to drink and play anyway. I’ll also be with my playing companion who also doesn’t drink. That definitely makes things easier.
Be interesting to hear what others out there think about the non alcoholic beers now on offer. One thing’s for certain, the market for alternatives to alcohol based drinks is growing as is the range of alternatives on offer. That has to be a good thing.