It was nice to have another go based on what I drink now.
This calculator is from the new NHS related website https://alcoholchange.org.uk/alcohol-facts/unit-calculator I thought I would give it a go based on what I used to drink - sometimes I drank much more! It is a scary amount of units and calories when totaled up and no wonder I was such a physical wreck and so overweight. The NHS say I should eat 17500 calories a week to stay healthy - I was drinking nearly as much as this! What would yours look like if you are completely honest with yourself?
It was nice to have another go based on what I drink now.
I just discovered this free course on the OU website. It teaches about the effects of alcohol on the liver etc. and I am using it as some background for my new book on quitting alcohol. There are already some scaring facts in here such as ethanol converts to methanol which in turn produces formaldehyde inside your body! Ethanol is also used as a disinfectant as it destroys the cells it comes into contact with! Worth reading if just for the nightmare effect if you go to bed after a heavy session.
My latest free newsletter is now released to all subscribers. In this one I talk about my Christmas holiday in Costa Rica and coping with an all-inclusive hotel where the drink was literally in your face. If you are planning your own holidays this year, this is well worth a read. All the best, Julian
It seems like ages since I wrote a blog and so my next newsletter s about to be launched. Make sure you subscribe at www.idontdrink.net This time I discuss my Christmas holiday in Costa Rica and my experiences in my first ever 'all-inclusive' hotel. Not all of it good I hasten to add! And yes I did see lots of Sloths.
Here is a wishing all my blog readers a wonderful Christmas and New Year. This photo was taken on the Southbank a couple of weeks ago. It was great to touch some genuine Greenland ice and I would love to go there one day. This is the only ice I am likely to see apart from my drinks however as my wife prefers it hot, and we are spending some of the tons of money we have saved by not drinking on a holiday in Cost Rica over Christmas. All the best and God Bless. Until 2019, Julian
My wife spotted this wine advent calendar in John Lewis this week. I thought the chocolate filled advent calendars were a bad enough temptation but a wine filled one!
On investigation the calendar contains a small bottle for each day leading up to the obviously mega drunken event. The bottles contain just enough to leave you desperate for more and so are probably intended to send you scuttling off to the nearest Waitrose.
Whatever happened to the days when Christmas was all about baby Jesus, goodwill to all and a Satsuma in the Christmas stocking. Perhaps next year John Lewis will also do a vaping calendar with a different flavour for each day and even a cannabis one for their Canadian clientele.
I was lucky enough to attend a wonderful dinner last night in the Long Room at Lord's Cricket Ground - probably the most famous sporting venue to eat in world-wide.
One of the sponsors was Veuve Clicquot so as can be imagined, the champagne was flowing liberally from the outset. Then there were some fine wines with the excellent dinner, brandies, and then the Long Room bar was open afterwards for beers and more of whatever people fancied.
Fortunately this was a respectable event so although much alcohol was consumed there wasn't any roudy behaviour and much genial conversation and some amusing speeches instead.
Attending the entire thing with nothing stronger than water in my glass not only did I not feel at all left out and had at least as much fun as everyone else, I enjoyed the copious praise I received from my colleagues and their guests on our table once they spotted the fact I don't drink and could see how completely unfazed I was by this.
I never make a point of mentioning the fact I don't drink as I hate to preach or to have to explain my tale unless asked, but it is a nice endorsement of my life decision to remain sober when people appreciate the fact I have achieved something worthy and that is worth mentioning.
There is so much more to enjoy in life once you escape the alcohol habit, even the little moments like last night are worth remembering.
Think of the worst hangover you have ever had. You wake up with your head pounding, it hurts to open your eyes, your mouth feels dry and parched, you smell of sweat, your body feels like a damp rag, you alternately shiver and feel hot and you know you need to throw up. As you turn your head on the pillow the nausea sweeps over you and you feel you are going to be sick, but you don’t have the strength to get out of bed to go to the bathroom. You lay like this for what seems like ages, tossing your head from one side to the other, desperately hoping the desire to be sick will go away - It doesn’t. Then, you finally courage up the effort to go and be sick in the toilet. The vomit burns your throat and now you feel like fainting and the shivering gets worse. You crawl back to bed, cover yourself in the duvet and wish the pounding headache would stop. But you know it won’t stop for ages because you have been though all of this many times before, and last time, just like the other times, you vowed it would never happen again.
Now as you lay there feeling sorry for yourself you try to recall what happened the night before and you can remember snippets of what went on but by no means everything. Suddenly you are gripped with fear that you did or said something terrible. You sweat with the stress and worry. Will it matter? Was it job threatening? Wasn’t there something important you were supposed to do today? Is there someone you should apologise to?
‘I hate being like this’ you say to yourself. ‘I want my life to change.’ ‘I wish it was yesterday and I hadn’t had a drink.’
You are on the verge of making that momentous decision to quit alcohol forever. But this is perhaps the hardest part of all. How are you going to cope? Surely you can have just a few drinks and be more sensible next time, after all you really like the taste of wine even though the thought of having some now is repulsive. Your head continues to ache, and you feel too ill to argue with yourself. Better to try and sleep and let another day slip by, wasted and lost forever.
This is when my book ‘One Less for the Road’ can really help, or perhaps even better the audio version so you can lay in bed and listen to me talk you through my being in your exact same situation and what made me realise that I could face life without another glass of wine.
I read this article in last night’s Evening Standard about an insurance broker who, after spending the afternoon drinking with his City pals then got into a fight and will probably lose his livelihood because of it. The judge said at his trial that he needs to reassess his drinking.
I feel sorry for this chap. I too work in the same City insurance environment where lunchtime drinking is still considered the norm and drinking to excess with your business colleagues can be expected. But it doesn’t have to be.
I was nearly always to be found drinking at lunchtime and into the afternoon, and I used to convince myself this is what I needed to do. But the fact is, the people who really want to achieve are back at their desks doing deals rather than ‘talking business’ over yet more booze. In fact, if you listen to most of the conversations being held in afternoon bars and pubs you will hear nothing but drivel, sport and waffle.
I still have lunchtime meetings with people who might have a beer or a glass of wine. It doesn’t bother me, and it doesn’t bother them that I Don’t Drink. What I deliberately do however, is avoid the people who I know will drink to excess and end up achieving nothing of value. In other words, I avoid people like I used to be.
If this man quits alcohol and gets back on his feet he will look back in a few month’s time and rue the day he ever started drinking, realising how much it has damaged his life and for absolutely zero benefit. Pretending you need to drink as part of your job is simply that – a pretence, and an awful habit you get in to if you allow the peer pressure of the City to get to you.
Alcohol affects your brain and your thinking. It makes you feel free to do things you wouldn’t otherwise dream of doing, it numbs your reactions and it takes away all common sense. That is why you can’t drink and drive and why no-one would leave a drunk in charge of a baby.
I hope this chap seeks help, and if I see him in Lime Street I will give him a copy of my book. I have lost and messed up so many business opportunities in my life because of drink I know what he will be going through. I am so grateful I saw the light and that I will never have to suffer all that distress and misery again, and all because of some bloody fermented grape juice that was only destroying my health anyway.
If you are trying to quit alcohol. Make a written note of all those opportunities you have lost or messed you because of drink. There will be lots. Why risk doing the same again?
I was delighted to see the statistics this morning that seem to confirm that far less young people are being caught in the alcohol trap. The percentage of young people avoiding alcohol altogether was certainly impressive and hopefully it does show a new trend away from alcohol.
For anyone struggling to quit alcohol after many years of drinking, it should send messages of comfort. Firstly, that they are not alone in not wanting to drink and that being sober is becoming the new accepted norm. But also, it proves the point that alcohol is a habit, and that knowledge makes it far easier to give up. If alcohol addiction is an ‘illness’ or somehow ‘inherited’ as many will have you believe then how have all these young people avoided ‘catching it’ or being ‘born with it’ in their system? These are purely excuses to continue drinking or spending your money on expensive counselling sessions or putting the blame for your drink problem elsewhere.
Alcohol addiction is a habit. Huge swathes of the young generation are avoiding getting into that habit, and you can break that habit. Accepting it as a habit is the first step to quitting forever.