I'm on the last leg of my April challenge - it's just a matter of days before I can taste the sweet nectar of a crisp Australian Chardonnay. I may even break all the rules and have a glass on a school night to celebrate my month off the demon drink.
It's been a very busy couple of weeks at work and I've been asked by every one of my clients 'how are you coping without alcohol?' I obviously have a reputation!
My answer surprised me. I am miserable. Never did I imagine that giving up alcohol would be so hard. I've had three children and was able to abstain from drinking while pregnant and for many months after giving birth each time, I even gave up for a year in 2010 after having a bout of low self-esteem. So why have I found this particular challenge so tough?
This got me thinking about cravings and how it could be possible that the 'stuff' between my ears, commonly known as the brain, may be the culprit. I was right and during my research I discovered that alcohol cravings are linked to low blood sugar, this therefore explains why I have been stuffing my face with four Wispa bars a week!
The part of our brain which is affected by addiction is also the same part which allows you to exercise willpower - no hope for me then! Heavy alcohol intake can cause changes to our brains which then takes a while to return to normal. The advice handed down from the professionals suggests changing your habits and mental association with alcohol. This makes sense as I often find myself pouring a glass of wine at 6pm on a Friday evening from habit.
If this sounds familiar then why not try to retrain your mind and body. Instead of pouring a glass of wine, put the kettle on. If you always have a bottle with a chinese, order a pizza and make a jug of squash. By doing something different you are altering your brains associations and making it easier to cut down on your alcohol intake. Try it out for yourself or see what other habits you can change; I always have a blueberry muffin when I go to Costa out of habit - there lies my next challenge!
As I trawled the web looking for like-minded souls I came across Tara Gladden's Wonder Woman blog at The Telegraph, she gave up drinking in January to support Cancer Research and her Diary of a Dryathlete is definitely worth a read.
Will I do it again? Yes I would, but I think giving something up for a good cause, as Tara did, gives you a reason and therefore tricks the grey matter into thinking it's a good idea.
If you are planning to give up drinking whether it's for charity, health and weight loss reasons or you just want to cut back,then the internet is full of useful information. The Drink Aware site is a marvelous resource and for those with a more serious addiction Alcoholics Anonymous have a refreshingly helpful website.
Six days left - why not join me for the final weekend and let me know how you get on.
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