Once you have had type 2 diabetes they insist you have an annual review which is a good idea anyway. Everything was fine for me with no issues and a sign off until next year. The best bit was answering the 'how many units of alcohol do you consume each week?' question.
Strange how things happen. I had only just posted my last piece about hangovers and my time in the Territorial Army and I hear from two guys who were with me, but with whom I haven't had any contact for 30 years. It seems they also had drink problems and have since quit alcohol completely. Obviously that culture takes its toll. I look forward to meeting them again for a really good non-piss up, which just shows you don't need to want to have a drink in your hand to know you are going to enjoy yourself.
I recently received a letter from one of my readers serving with the British Army in Germany. It reminded me of my worst ever time to be suffering from a hangover.
Many years ago I was attached to the Territorial Army and spent a hot summer weekend away classed as a ‘shooting weekend’. On the Saturday night I was in the NAAFI bar and my friends and I were tanking up madly because the bar shut sharply at midnight. I probably had about ten pints of very strong cider. Great fun?
At 5.30 the next morning we were rudely woken up, and given two minutes to get ready for a three mile run at fast Army pace with our fellow Territorial Army platoon members. Half way through the run I was dreadfully sick as were most of the others who had been drinking the night before. I wanted to curl into a ball and sleep forever, but this was the Army – no chance.
At the end of the run we were given a generous 15 minutes to change and have breakfast before lining up on parade in full kit with rifle.
A five mile march followed, leading to the shooting ranges on the Kent coast at which point we were loaded up with lots of heavy live ammunition and split into sections of ten men (and women). It was now 8.00 a.m. and I was shaking with illness.
My section was first to be tested. This involved running in full kit and with loaded rifle down a steep pebble beach towards a set of targets. Running on stones is hard enough at any time, but in full gear, carrying a heavy rifle and being shouted at by Sergeants was nigh on impossible. By this stage it was about 24 degrees C, we were all sweating madly and I felt like dying.
Dehydration had set in to the point my mouth was so parched I couldn’t speak, but we were forbidden to take even a sip from our water canteens without permission. This is all part of making sure you only drink when the whole platoon drinks so that water is distributed fairly. Water distribution is a serious affair in the Army and rightly so of course.
By now the cap band on my beret felt agonisingly tight as my aching brain sought to escape, I thought my head would burst.
The order came: drop to a kneeling position; aim at the cardboard target of a soldier and fire three rounds in rapid succession. Despite wearing earplugs, the BANG of each shot hurt and shook my brain as if it was a ball inside a baby’s rattle, and I felt so weak I could hardly raise the rifle to shoulder height.
The orders continued: sprint 100 metres to the next position; drop to the ground and fire another three rounds; rapid fire. Get up; sprint 100 metres further towards the target, kneel and let off another three rounds, independent fire.
This carried on for 15 minutes. It was now about 9.00 a.m. – The ranges exercise was due to finish at 1.00 p.m. I didn’t expect to live that long.
I am actually a good shot and could have made marksman that day but I felt so ill I had to eventually close my eyes when I fired just to be able to cope with the pain and the nausea. It was almost impossible to see with the salt-laced sweat running down my brow into my eyes anyway.
Somehow I made it through that morning, but I remember promising myself I would never drink again about a thousand times that day. Even when I got home later that afternoon, the hammering inside my skull wouldn’t stop, and I went straight to bed much to the disgust of my little two-year old daughter who hadn’t seen me for two days, and who wanted to share the Sunday night with her soldier Daddy. After all I had promised to play with her.
If I close my eyes, I can still remember how I felt that day - and the day after, and the day after that.
It does you good sometimes, to remember what wonderful times you are missing once you quit alcohol forever! Can you better my story? I would love to hear from you.
I am looking for the one word to describe a state or mind or feeling. If you have ever smoked it relates to the stress you feel when you only have 5 cigarettes left in your pack, you are not able to buy any until the next day, and there is no-one you can borrow any from. You have to make them last so you focus on what you will be doing each hour ahead of you. When should you have your last cig, should you save one until morning, what time should you go to bed etc. Most smokers will be able to relate to the feeling it gives you, is it anxiety? apprehension? or is there a better word that fits? When you quit alcohol you finally realise you have been living with this same feeling every day but related to drink. Unlike the smoking analogy however, there are no drinks to count in your packet so you don't realise you are doing the very same thing in working out how drinking will be dictating your life. It is when you experience the massive freedom from losing this feeling that you appreciate it ever existed at all. Suggestions for an apt word please. Many thanks.
I was hypnotised for the first time to day. Dan Jones and I were making a video talking about how self-hypnosis works and was the guinea pig for demonstration purposes. I used to love treacle pudding, but no more! Video to follow soon.
Here is a link to a great site for any men looking to lose weight and who need some inspiration. I lost two stone when I quit alcohol and that despite eating far more sweet stuff than I had ever eaten before. I even started having puddings! It just shows how much sugar there is in alcohol. http://manvfat.com/stopping-alcohol-weight-loss-transformation-julian-kirkman-page-amazingloser/
Now its July I have achieved a whole two and a half years without any alcohol, and that includes no Christmas cake either. It is hard to believe what an easy journey this has been once I got past the first week or so with the inevitable doubts about how I would cope with holidays, birthdays, Christmas and the like. Yesterday I was in the City for the hottest day of the year so far. The old me would have been drinking heavily in the Sun somewhere and commuted home feeling dehydrated, tired and physically exhausted. The new me got home tired from the three hour commute (thank you Southern trains for being so useless) and went straight for a kayak in the ocean with a friend of mine. Once well offshore we went swimming, it was so refreshing and an incredible thing to be able to do. Then my wife and I had dinner in the garden and watched a wonderful sunset, and we then read by paraffin light until bedtime. The old me would have been in bed much earlier on, would probably have missed dinner, and would generally have wrecked a day of my life. I love my new life.