This little chap and his three siblings were playing in my garden today and came near enough for me to take this photo. I am so glad to be alive to enjoy moments like this.
I am not sure I have ever come across someone in the Lloyd's of London market stoned on Cocaine but there is no denying we are a market that likes to enjoy a glass of wine or two. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
I quit alcohol nearly seven years ago and at the time I thought it would be a nightmare having to work in the London market and stay sober – it wasn’t.
Before that I was like many of my peers who joined the market in the 1980’s when drinking seemed to be the norm and was almost expected of you. Many of the colleagues I worked with are no longer with us including my elder brother who died from liver failure and I was well down the same path to oblivion before I decided the only escape was to quit forever.
I still work in the market, and I still have business lunches and drinks after work with colleagues, but all alcohol free. If anything, I have far more fun now than I ever did when I was drinking, and I remember everything. No more missed meetings or forgotten content. No more hangovers, illness or being late to the office. No more stress. No more finding scraps of someone’s chewed-up business card in my shirt top pocket after it has been washed and wondering who the hell I met and what we discussed. No more missed opportunities because of drink.
There is still a massive drinking culture in the market however, and a ban won't make that go away. It will just push people to work outside of the market. It will however be very very stressful for those addicted to alcohol who have to go into Lloyd's in the afternoon.
I have offered to do some free talks at Lloyd’s for those who might want to learn how I managed to quit. I also have two books which will and do help many thousands quit alcohol. If you know someone who might be interested here is my website www.Idontdrink.net but in case you think this is an advert all proceeds from my books go to the homeless. I just want to help others get out of the alcohol trap like I did. I have lost enough friends and family thank you.
This weekend was the annual swimathon and once again I managed to do 5000 metres (200 lengths) in a good time. Unfortunately I got cramp in the final ten lengths and this messed my time up as I was on for another record of breaking two hours. The cramp was mostly due to the fact the lane was crowded and there were some slow swimmers which meant it was impossible to maintain any rhythm which messes your muscles up. I also became dehydrated probably because of the stress of the number of people and the chaos and that can bring on cramp. It wasn't the pool organisers fault however, we had to allow another swimming pool join us as some bloody kid had pooed in the water at their pool and it had to be closed - bloody kids hah hah
This was my 24th swimathon and the 7th since I quit alcohol. There is no way I would still be able to cope with that distance had I still been drinking, even if I was still alive. When I started all those years ago I certainly never expected to still be doing the event into my sixties. Onwards until next year although I might do the open water swimathon in September if the green algae stays away this year.
PS, I wasn't happy having to wear that pink hat!
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.