Happy New Start!

DSC_0045Ok here is the last installment of my Dry January saga. Just a very brief one as I have covered the month-long journey in my previous posts and as they say it’s the journey not the arriving that counts.

Midnight tonight is the official end of my abstinence from alcohol and it has been a loooong month, no, actually it HAS because there are 5 weeks rather than 4 in January!  I have totted how much I have saved by not drinking and donated to Alcohol Concern. I hope that by my and many others endeavours this month we have raised awareness of an ongoing increasing problem worldwide.

It has certainly made me aware of my own drinking patterns and given me a kick-start in re-establishing more healthy habits. January is a dull depressing month at the best of times (if you are in the UK) and it felt doubly so at times but now I am here and the Champagne that I didn’t drink on New Years Day is still chilling in the fridge (you see I DO have willpower!) Maybe it will keep for next year, either way,  a little late but as of  tomorrow the 1st of February I wish you all a HAPPY NEW YEAR and a HAPPY NEW START!

The Final Countdown – Dry January

OK,water_processing_plant so here I am with 4 days to go on my self-inflicted booze free month! Sipping a cool glass of sparkling water. How’s it going?  Generally very well. Sleeping like a baby! (tell the baby that keeps you up all night that he/she should sleep like one!) I love the clear-headed feeling every day and fresh alert feeling in the mornings, I love that my body feels healthy and detoxed to the max.

However, I have learned that I hate rules, even more annoying are  my own self inflicted rules because I can’t possibly break THOSE can I? I also now have a vow that all my friends and family are waiting to see with bated breath if I break or not. To be honest if it wasn’t for that, I may well have cracked by now. Of course ultimately I am doing it for myself, to start  healthier habits, to feel more zesty and vibrant, to prove a point to myself, hey, in truth I made the rules I can break them too if I really want BUT ultimately to let down those who believe in me would be the worst case scenario.

So here I am the last weekend behind me looking at 4 measly days left, I have resisted on New Years Day, family nights out, restaurant meals, stressful days at work, even my daughter emigrating for who knows how long, to go to New Zealand. But last night, on a plain old boring Sunday I have never wanted a glass of wine more! I hate rules and restrictions and the fact that I couldn’t have one  made me want it all the more.

However, and here is the great bit, once we reach Feb 1st and all restrictions are lifted, there are no more rules and I release myself from my contract, I will most likely say, you know what, I don’t even want a glass of wine! ‘Bring on the sparkling water’ or I might not, but I will have the choice and to have choices are a privilege and it will make me use those choices wisely.

The Snow Cat shows his Inner Dog

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Max, let loose in the newly fallen snow overnight was a joy to see. He ran around at such a speed, swerving, jumping, pouncing, like a child full of wonder at this new strange world. Climbing trees and knocking off the snow from the branches, diving under the bushes and clearly having a blast.

You think that cats show no expression? Then you are havent seen this cat in the snow. It was clear to see the fun and amusement on his feline face and his eagerness to get me to play. The photo shows him pouncing on a bit of snow I had just thrown. He acts more like a dog than a cat but perhaps his shadow shows his alter ego!

 

 

Alcohol and Pink Elephants

 Baby elephant

Since Midnight on New Years Eve I have not touched a drop of alcohol in my endeavor to sustain a Dry January (see previous blog) There have ups and down so far but I have maintained my resolve and I will finish this! However it has made me acutely aware of the subliminal and not so subliminal power of advertising.

When you are trying hard NOT to think about something it is inevitable that you do it all the more. For example, DO NOT think of a pink elephant!  You just did didn’t you? Well how much harder is it when everywhere you look there are pink elephants, in restaurants, pubs, at home on your TV, whilst shopping in the supermarket! Yes those damn pink elephants are everywhere. Of course I am not talking hallucinations here, Im  talking about actual alcohol  but the same can be said of  food (for those dieting) and cigarettes!?

Aha! NOT cigarettes!  As I have never been a smoker I never fully grasped the power of all those cues around that would make made someone want to smoke but they are now largely eliminated. 1st came the non endorsement from advertising, then the ban on portraying characters smoking on TV and film and now the recent shrouding of these ‘evil’ products from view in supermarkets. I get it! Perhaps some smokers and ex smokers might comment to let me know whether this has made it easier for them to quit or not but personally I can only see it as a good thing .

So back to the Dry January and the pink elephants everywhere! We are all aware I’m sure, that  as a nation we collectively drink way too much and a good night out almost always involves alcohol, you only have to see the Twitter and Facebook messages commenting on how good a night was as being relative to how paralytic someone was or how big their hangover is. It always strikes me whenever I go abroad how FEW drunken people you see out in the balmy evenings (true I don’t frequent  Kavos or Benidorm, but plenty of  drunken Brits do)

We have a problem with drink in this country and I can see how that has come about over the years. Perhaps it is time to treat alcohol in a similar way to cigarettes after all it damages health (to a lesser degree ) and makes people antisocial (to a greater degree) It is an escalating problem and the health savings made by all the new non smokers out there is neutralised  by the increasing amount of excessive drinkers.

Whilst I am not an advocate of the nanny state, I do think that people should be able to make their decisions on their own terms in a neutral environment, not where things are pushed at you from all angles, hardly unbiased.

My Dry January has focused my sights on alcohol all the more whilst not indulging and brings me to think that we should not make it appear to be the norm to always reach for alcohol to enhance our enjoyment of life. The differences the changes have made to smoking is tangible so perhaps it time to target alcohol. In the meantime I am NOT going to think about pink elephants, damn there’s another one!

Comments welcome.

Dry January

Well like a lot of others I have undertaken to not drink any alcohol during the month of January and I suspect like a lot of others it seemed a good idea in the midst of crazy overindulgent December! I missed my glass or two of wine massively in the earlier days, it even crossed my mind to resurrect my religious beliefs so that I could indulge in a sip of communion wine on a regular basis because that is surely not cheating!

So I am now just over halfway and wow I never knew January was such as long month! I have had a few wobbles and near cracks, the closest was last week when we saw my eldest daughter off to New Zealand for a year but I stuck stoically to my Sparkling water and Lime.

So what are the benefits? I am sleeping more deeply and longer than I even thought possible. I dont wake up to  pin drop noises several times in a night and don’t wake up feeling like I just got to sleep. The wierd intense dreams are an added bonus!

I feel more alert and can concentrate for longer and the desire for a glass of wine is getting less and less. Thats not to say when I see a cool  Pinot Grigio glugging into a frosty glass I am not just a bit jealous but my cool bubbly Pellegrino is a good substitute for now.

So what next? The purpose of this for me was to break a habit to allow me to structure a new more healthier one. So instead of opening a bottle as routine I will put limits on when I drink and why. I am also donating the money I have saved to Alcohol Concern so I help a good cause in the process. There has been a few articles lately pooh poohing Dry January as pointless but it has been far from pointless for me, at the very least an exercise in self discipline and any attempt for people to improve their health or lifestyle can’t be bad in my book.

Cheers!

A Champagne Cheers!