Maladjusted?

Giving up smoking (again) and why I am quitting alcohol as well

with 6 comments

So…since my failure to quit smoking when I said I would, today is my new quit day.  Today is also the day that V quits smoking and a good friend of mine is also giving up – so it looks like moral support all round.  And also, nothing motivates me more than my competitive streak – and what I am doing with my friends is having a ‘giving things up smokingcompetition’ and I’m not prepared to lose!

So armed with chewing gum, chocolates (I figure I’m allowed to treat myself on the first day of a quit) and stamina here I am at work.  Feeling sorry for myself.

Last night I celebrated my last night of smoking by going out and getting more than a bit drunk and smoking about a million cigarettes.  As a result I feel like a piece of rubbish, my liver is probably like a bit of old sponge, and smoking is the last thing on my mind.

As is so true to form, I am once again promising my self pitying and hungover self that ‘I will never drink alcohol again’.

beer

There can be 2-3 units of alcohol in a pint of beer!

However, this isn’t the usual empty-soon-to-be-broken-promise – this time I’m seriously considering quitting alcohol for good…or at least for a while.

So why this sudden epiphany?  Well, its not because alcohol has a massively adverse effect on me – ok I may talk a bit more rubbish than normal when I’ve had a few drinks – but I have never become aggressive or maudlin or antisocial.  No, it’s more to do with the sheer quantity of alcohol that I find myself able to consume, which is getting increasingly worrying.

Take last night for example – I popped out to the pub with V and in the 5 hours I was there (yes, time flies when you are drunk), I managed to consume 8 vodka and sodas.

8 Vodka’s in 5 hours

8

That is hideous.

And I just don’t know why I do it.  Actually, I do know why I do it: while I don’t drink often, and very rarely at home, I find that when I am out in a social setting I just can’t say no, and often drink way more than I intended to.

There is 1 1/2 units of alcohol in a small glass of wine!

There is 1 1/2 units of alcohol in a small glass of wine!

So Sunday night was 8 vodkas.  It wouldn’t have been so bad if on the Friday night, I hadn’t gone out with some friends and managed to consume 9 vodka’s plus 2 shooters – that’s a massive 11 units of alcohol.

I believe the recommended intake for a woman is 14 units of alcohol a week.  But being the hardened binge drinker I clearly am, I can do that in one night.

Putting all of this down on ‘paper’ is a sobering experience (no pun intended).  I am honestly shocked at how much I can drink, and wonder what sort of damage that amount of alcohol consumption is doing to my system?  The NHS drinking ‘quiz’ tells me I am damaging my health…and I have no reason to disbelieve this.

There is a family history of alcohol abuse, my mother being a recovered alcoholic, and my father  still a very much practicing alcoholic.  So I am well aware of the high tolerance levels that an alcoholic will have, and how debilitating dependency on alcohol can be.

So am I dependent on alcohol?  No, I don’t believe I do, at least not in the physical sense.

The UK site http://www.dryoutnow.com describes physical dependency on alcohol as:

Physical alcohol dependence occurs when someone suffers from alcohol withdrawal symptoms such as tremor and sweating when going without a drink for a period of time.

Alcohol dependence is an illness, and research indicates that alcohol dependence not only runs in families but does have a hereditary (genetic) component.

I don’t have these symptoms, and I don’t crave alcohol per se, however, I do associate alcohol with ‘having a good time’.  I wouldn’t say that I need alcohol, but equally I would never dream of going out for an evening and not drinking.  And so, I suppose I need to admit that I am probably a bit dependent on alcohol in a psychological or emotional sense.

When I was a teenager, when my mother was very ill with her alcohol abuse, I promised myself that I would never emulate her. And so with this in mind I think it is time to quit/cut back on the drinking.  (In my mind’s eye I have an image of my liver waving a little white flag!)

And my final reason is, I’m trying to do everything in my power to stop my dad from drinking himself to death at the moment.  We lead by example don’t we?  No one likes a hypocrite – so here we go!

Its going to be a culture shock for me…as I always have a drink or 10 on a Friday night, but I’m hoping it won’t be too hard.

So wish me luck, I’ll keep this blog updated with my progress, and check out Drinkaware for more info on effects of alcohol.

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Written by Lores

January 12, 2009 at 1:01 pm

6 Responses

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  1. Good luck. I share your pursuit to call the bottle empty. I’ve had my share of drinks for a life time. Good luck, I know you can do it.

    jrcook911

    January 13, 2009 at 1:57 am

  2. Thanks jrcook911 – I think I can as well. What inspired you to quit?

    Lores

    January 13, 2009 at 9:42 am

  3. […] me explain.  In one of my previous posts, I said that drinking hadn’t had a huge effect on me…(and I quote) “…its […]

  4. In a sense I’m really ‘glad’ to hear you ‘say’ all this! M & I got to the point where we could each drink a bottle of wine at home on an average night and not be drunk, not be slurry and have no hangover – in fact after a party in early December where I had to myself the best part of 2 bottles of wine and woke up with no hangover I decided it was time to draw a line under it – I don’t believe I’m an alcoholic and I have no symptoms of withdrawal or anything, but when the recycling came round after Christmas and there were 16 bottles of wine (we did have a dinner party, in our defence, which made up for some!) we decided enough was enough! And sadly, we drink not out of need, but out of habit, and boredom and tiredness! I think it’s more about breaking the habit than the addiction!

    The funny thing, however, is I’ve had 1 half glass of wine since the 5th of Jan, and I don’t really miss it at all! Changing my attitude towards drinking (i.e. for enjoyment rather than for something to do!) is having a very positive change on me I think – not to mention the benefits to my bank balance!

    SO we’ll just need to do more non-boozy things doll!

    LVO

    January 15, 2009 at 6:58 pm

  5. To answer your question, I quit because my hand was forced to do so by my partner of 12-years. I too wasn’t what one would normally think of when they heard the term “alcoholic” but I drank out of habit. It is a progressive thing, this drinking, and I got to a point that it was natural to have my wine each night. I believe that with repetition, I came to only believe I was truly “relaxed” when I had a bottle of cold chardonney in the fridge and some great movie or documentary rentals. Over time, it just became a bad habit. Now that I’ve stopped, I don’t crave alcohol, but I do crave the RITUAL. I’ll just have to re-learn how to relax and enjoy myself without the use of alcohol.

    jrcook911

    January 16, 2009 at 9:17 pm

  6. […] a single measure of vodka there are 55 calories.  Not very much you may think, but as you can see here, I can do 10 vodka’s easily in one night.  That’s 400 calories already (and not […]


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