Week 6 without alcohol
Once again, I am sat here and writing about my journey so far. I really feel that this time is different than other times, but always have in the back of my mind that I could bail on myself at any time. That probably sounds quite negative, but I am being realistic. After 20 years of hard drinking, to believe that these past 6 weeks without alcohol is ‘the one’ – the time that I actually sort myself out – it is taking some getting used to. But it is becoming a bit more of a reality.
As I write these blogs, I am looking at the days and weeks clocking up and I am getting a sense of achievement. A sense of pride in what I am actually doing. I am still not shouting from the steeple tops as it really is only 6 weeks without alcohol compared to many, many years with it. It will take a long time for a) me to believe it and, b)my family to believe that I am actually sober.
I have been reading quite a bit more this week. I am still quite reliant on ‘quit-lit’ books, and these have been quite a saving grace. Other than these though, I am reading more self-improvement books and joining quite a few Facebook groups that I can hang around in.
One particular path that has been attracting me has been the Intermittent Fasting (IF) lifestyle. It’s benefits are screaming of goodness, so this week I thought I would give it a try. The IF approach that I have chosen is the 16/8 approach.
This is not eating for 18 hours per day (including sleeping time) and only having an 8-hour window to eat in. The rationale behind this is that your body ‘kicks in’ to fasting around 12 hours after last eating, and this is when you start using stored fat rather than food to fuel your body.
Right now I am not particularly watching what I eat, but am trying to come around to eating only within an 8 hour period. After a period of time of getting used to this then I will consider watching what I eat. Maybe a few weeks. I am currently on day 5, so see how it goes there.
Sleeping at the moment has been quite hit and miss. Actually getting to sleep has been a bit more challenging, but as I have said to myself throughout all of this so far, I do have to be realistic in my expectations. And with this, struggling to sleep at the six weeks without alcohol point is a fair expectation really. 20 years of abusing alcohol, with just over a month without drinking, I have to expect this journey to take a while.
With this in mind though, I am finding that the quality of sleep that I am having has improved dramatically. I am starting to feel much more alive after sleeping, especially without zopiclone and the awful taste that this medication leaves behind.
The past few weeks, I have been getting up really early – read that as through the night, and going to the gym quite a lot as mentioned previously. While I think this has done me good, I think that maybe I have overdone it slightly and have noticed that I have been sleeping in the past few days. I say sleeping in…..waking at 630 am instead of 3 and 4 in the morning.
Still, this part of my own sober timeline is going well overall.
Over the past few weeks, my mood has been changeable at times….that is one way to describe it! My wife may use other choice words to describe with I have been like! There are times that I am definitely experiencing the pink cloud syndrome and that everything is going amazing. I flitting between this and getting a bit consumed when something is not quite right, maybe work-related or general life.
Writing this journal has definitely been a great help in putting my mood state into perspective. Reflection is a powerful tool and one that I whole-heartedly recommend if you are walking through this journey.
My appetite has been quite a funny one really. When we remove alcohol from our body and lives, we are also removing a lot of sugar from our system. Our body loves sugar, that white stuff really is another strongly addictive substance.
Stop drinking and the sugar craving really can kick in. And add to the mix the lack of smoking (taste buds back), intermittent fasting and also the ability to actually eat after quitting drinking….well that is a strong combination.
So, how have I managed with all of that this week? I have honestly been eating and eating then eating some more! I am conscious of the health implications for this, and yes I am limiting myself to a degree…but I really need to get a grip on my eating.
Strange to think that 6 weeks ago I could barely squeeze anything into my stomach due to a bloated alcohol stomach. Now, just over 40 days later and I am eating like it is a competition!
Body physical health
Pain and discomfort in my right side has definitely subsided now since stopping drinking. This is actually an amazing thing. Six weeks without alcohol and I can confidently say that something physical has improved. I may have noticed bits and bobs before, but up until now, I have always been aware that it could have just been a good day…coincidence. But now I am sure that there has been an improvement. That is a nice feeling to know.
I have not noticed weight loss as such, which is strange as I have cut well over 800 calories per day (and maybe double that) by cutting beer from my life. Also exercising a LOT more than when drinking.
But, as have just said, I am eating a lot. Now this ‘lot’, I am not sure in terms of calories or actual daily intake as it is not something that I have actually measured. This may well be something that I do in the future, but for now I am going with the flow.
I have found that it is quite easy to slip into focusing too much on what is wrong with bits of my body as I have been given all this time sober. All this time that I would have normally been pissed so wouldn’t worry about my physical health. Now I am not drunk, I seem to worry even more about it all. I do think that this is another amazing benefit of journaling or blogging my experiences. It allows me to be objective and look at it all written in black and white.
I will leave this here, for now, see you all in another week 🙂