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Sandra Dean – Registered Member

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Diary of my one month off alcohol, blog two; days five to eight, plus some facts about regular or heavy drinking

Volcanic Lanzarote

Volcanic Lanzarote

Firstly, here’s a few more facts about heavy or regular drinking…

Alcohol is a depressant, which means it slows down the brain and the central nervous system’s processes.  Apparently, over time, heavy drinking interferes with the neurotransmitters in the brain that are needed for good mental health. It lowers the levels of serotonin in your brain – a chemical that helps to regulate your mood. Alcohol may help deal with stress in the short term, which I have found, but in the long run it can contribute to feeling of depression and anxiety and make stress harder to deal with. I totally relate to this. People who drink heavily are more likely to suffer from mental health problems. In Britain, people who experience anxiety or depression are twice
as likely to be heavy or problem drinkers. For some people, the anxiety or depression came first and they’ve reached for alcohol to try to relieve it. For others, drinking came first, so it may be a root cause of their anxieties

A person’s sex life can be affected negatively, with heavy drinking – experiencing less sexual sensitivity – and people can find they have changeable moods which can lead to arguments and social/interpersonal issues, especially with those close to them. Sleep may become disturbed, lethargy and tiredness may overcome a person, and a person may experience anxiety in situations where they are normally comfortable. Work performance can be affected, or the ability to be a caregiver to a child, leading to more problems, and so a person may drink to alleviate the stress… And so the vicious circle continues.

So, here’s my diary up to day eight.

Night five and I am feeling like having a drink. It has been relatively easy so far, but tonight I feel low. My ear issue from diving a few days ago is not getting better, despite being on anti-biotics, nasal steroid spray, ibuprofen and an expectorant. I am on holiday, in Lanzarote, the weather is fairly cold (albeit no-where near as cold as at home) rather than being sunny and warm as expected, and it’s very windy, which irritates my ear. I do not like where I am staying much as it’s a cold, damp uncomfortable room, people in the communal area outside our room are drinking wine and beer tonight and getting drunk (they kindly offered us wine too which made me feel even worse) and it’s rural and quiet, which would have been lovely but I am just not feeling it. The hotel we stayed at for the first 6 days was lovely in contrast and we had a couple of warm, sunny days.

I have been getting out each day, but all the wonderful walks and sights have been a little marred by my ear pain and concern about not being able to fly home because of it. As I write this I think I just feel rather negative! We’ve eaten great food and I can taste really well. Perhaps I should have a cigarette at some point because maybe doing drink and cigarettes at the same time is too much after so many years.

We could go out tonight, but I just don’t want to – I want to be at home and I am worried that my ear will not be better (it is blocked inside) to fly home on Monday. I have been to two hospitals in Lanzarote so far about my ear, and I must go tomorrow (Sunday) to find out if I can fly Monday or not. I do hope so! I miss my cats so much! And my home.

Talking of home, someone close to me got burgled a few days before we left to come here, and the day before we left I realised there were marks on my door and frame where someone had been trying to break in by prising the door open. They didn’t succeed, but it really worried me and didn’t start my holiday well. The police know about it, of course.

Strangely, last time we were in Lanzarote, our villa was burgled!

Stress has always made me want to have a drink, so it’s a tough one today, but I will not give in!

Despite all of this, Lanzarote is such a beautiful volcanic Island, driving round it does give us some spectacular sights, so I have added one to this blog.

Day six was easier, especially as my pain subsided. We had a lovely day out and went for dinner in a lovely, small restaurant. Michael nearly gave in to a cold beer as the man on the table next to us was enjoying a pint of lager. I wouldn’t give in, despite really wanting one, so we didn’t have one and once we got our delicious food it was fine. So that was me being strong, yay! We are eating mindfully, enjoying our food more than ever.

Day seven was easy as we were on the plane home and although one person near me was having a can of beer, everyone else was drinking tea and soft drinks, like us.

Day eight – I have lost weight! A kilo! And I put this down to walking a lot and no drinking, so this is even more of an incentive. I had a fantastic day counselling my clients, and our takeaway curry in the evening was not accompanied by beer but Pellegrino sparkling water with slices of lemon – mmm refreshing and delicious!

The amazing thing is that I have still not had a cigarette even though I hadn’t given up. I just keep thinking I will have one in a minute, and then don’t.

Day nine – this is my first day back on my own, since we stopped drinking, as Michael has now gone home, so this will be the real test – can I be alone, possibly feeling lonely, and not have a beer?

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