Healing Our Bodies

Even short-term excessive drinking can have an effect on our physical bodies and long-term dependency and addiction definitely effects how our bodies work.
Once we have decided to tackle our drinking we need to start to look at how we take care of our bodies and look to improve our physical health and heal our bodies.
I am not talking here about turning into some gym bunny who is spending 8 hours a day working out, although if that's your thing that you think. No, I am suggesting here that a simple gentle exercise routine linked to a good diet can help us is in our recovery.
I am only a slim built bloke but at the height of my drinking, I was carrying a lot more weight than was comfortable and I had a big distended stomach, all caused by the drinking.
Once sober I felt better, a lot better but my health really started to improve both mentally and physically when I started to do some exercise.
Having a fit body helps us to have a fit mind and to maintain and enjoy our sobriety a fit mind is essential.
When we do even gentle exercise our body releases endorphins, that feel good drug out body produces naturally. For me walking, especially walking up hills in the countryside was the exercise I enjoyed the most.
I remember vividly doing a walk only 3 days sober and it was hard work man, I was sweating and felt dizzy at the start, but by the end was feeling so good. It was like my body was cleansing and detoxing with every step I took, I never looked back from that point.
I am not saying walking to be your thing, but it really is a great way to start with exercise because all you need is decent pair f trainers or shoes and you can get involved.
You may like to go to a gym, you could join a sports club, take u tennis, swim, anything that gets your body moving and becoming stronger.
When we quit drinking we can be left with a lot of time on our hands and if we don't fill that with other activities we can get a sense of boredom that can easily push us back to the booze.
Your body is the greatest instrument you will ever own, and one we really should take care of because I have learned one thing since I stopped drinking and that is without good health, nothing else matters.
So be kind to your body and look after it, you will be very glad you did.

Take CARE

GB

HALT

In yesterdays blog I talked about triggers and the importance of building self-awareness around ours.
Today I want to talk more about avoiding situations where we may be tempted into having a drink. The word HALT stands for the 4 things we should avoid and it is something I learned early in my recovery that has served me well ever since.
H.A.L.T stands for, Hunger, Anger, lonely and Tired. These are the states we can all get into at times and ones that are a threat to our sobriety.
When we are on our sobriety journey it is important to take care of ourselves. When we were running wild on the drink we never ate, slept or exercised properly and we will have spent a lot of time alone with our addiction.
So now we are looking to live sober we need to start to look at those areas we let slip and improve them.

HUNGER:- Get enough good quality food every day, try and avoid high sugar stuff as we need to reduce the sugar in our diet (Booze if full of sugar so expect a little uncomfortableness about reducing it)

ANGER:- Look for the triggers that make us angry and avoid them, if you feel like your getting angry in a situation walk away, you will thank yourself later that you did.

LONL:- Spend time with other people. This can be tough as we may have been solitary drinkers so may not have a lot of friends. But find activities, fitness activities are particularly good ways to spend time with people and avoid getting too lonely.

TIRED:- When we were drinking we were asleep a lot, but it was not good restful sleep, we need to get sleep back to being important.
Aim for at least 6 hours good restful sleep to avoid feeling tired. Sleep can take a while to come back but stick with it and I would really suggest you look at meditation, it does wonders for your quality of sleep.

Being mindful of the word HALT and what it stands for will really help you so spend some time making sure you are clear what it means and how to work it.

Need to know more, give me a shout.

Take CARE

GB

Triggers

Self-awareness is something I have got to understand a lot more in the last 5 years or so, and the more I learn about my own self-awareness the more I see how important it is.
It is especially important when it comes down to those things that cause us to get angry or behave in a way that is not good for us or others, these are called triggers.
Triggers are something we all have and they can take us from feeling wonderful and on top of life into a pit of despair and anguish in a very short period of time.
Triggers can be people, places, sounds, smells, sights, in fact, anything that we experience through our senses can become a trigger.
A good example of a sound trigger would be a song. Say you had something upsetting happen to you such as someone breaking up with you and at the time a particular song is playing, you will find that song when you hear it again can have you feeling just as bad again, even months or years after the event.
We can have positive triggers also. It could be a place that we associate with a happy time and whenever we go there we feel good and remember those happy times.
Triggers are everywhere, we cant avoid them so we need to understand them and make them work for us, especially when we choose sobriety.
It is important we avoid those triggers that are likely to make us feel upset or angry as these are the emotions that are very easy to use to drag us back to having a drink.
A good exercise is to start making a note of the things that make you feel good and happy and those that make you feel sad and angry. Then just avoid the later.
Oh, simple as that I hear you say, well yes it's that simple.

Our sobriety journey is not always going to be easy and to be in the right mindset is vital if we are to stay on it successfully.

Over time we can change our reaction to triggers but that's for another blog. This blog is all about encouraging you to become aware of what triggers us in a negative way and aiming to avoid them.

I also encourage you to look for those triggers that make you feel good, especially music as this is always relatively simple to access and start to use these positive triggers if you feel like you need a lift in mood.

As I write this I am listening to some of my favourite music, it helps me keep upbeat and all I need to do to feel that way is press play on my iPhone.

So look for your triggers and see what comes up, once you know them it will change your life in a good way.

Want to know more, drop me a line.

Take CARE

GB

Getting some help

Way back in the late 90' when I admitted I had a drink problem, finding some help was not that simple.
I had AA meetings I could attend but I never really took to it. I went to the doctors, they gave me some drugs to detox but no long-term help or solution was offered and online help didn't even exist. Thankfullu it is different now and help is more readulit vailable and more options exist.
But what was true then and is true now, once you admit you have a problem you need to get help and you need to get it fast, you just can't do this thing alone, believe me, I tried.
Depending on where you are with your dependency there are different approaches you could take. Just wanting to cut down, maybe a book will do the job. Wanting to quit totally but you not that bad, a session or two with a coach or counsellor could be the thing for you. If you are experiencing real issues such as DT's when you try and stop, then a residential detox may be what you need. There are many more solutions now but you have to pick one.
What I want you to take away from reading this blog is the importance of actually getting help. Don't be put off by feeling like a failure or embarrassed at asking for help, its a brave move and if you don't take this step it is very hard to just sort it yourself, in fact, I would go as far as to say its impossible.
With any challenge we face, information and advice are needed but at the end of the day, you can know a lot of stuff and still not make it work unless you take action. 
So start that process today, get some information, some advise, some help and then take the steps to do the stuff the help suggests you do.
I can help in some cases so if you want to know more, get in touch, if I cant help you I am certain I can point you in the right direction f someone or something that will.

Take CARE

Telling those you love.

In my last blog, I talked about the important step of admitting we have a problem.  It huge, and the start of our recovery journey (if you have not read it you should)
But once we admit we have a problem we have the difficult task of telling those we love. Well, it may feel difficult be I would be surprised if they did not already know!
You see as much as a relief it will feel to you when you admit the problem, it will also come as a huge relief to your loved ones because they will have seen you suffering and be so glad you have made the choice to confront it.
People who genuinely love you want the best for you and they will be a big part of the support you need on your recovery journey. 
So if you are ready to tell your loved ones where you are at just make it a simple short conversation. Don't make it complicated and don't feel the need to explain too much. When I told my family I made sure I was sober (ish) and just sat them down over a cup of tea an explained I had to admit my drinking was out of control and I wanted to do something about it. That was it, done and it was a lot easier than I had imagined.
True to my expectations they supported my decision and indeed they were instrumental in getting me into rehab some months later.
Now admitting the problem and telling your loved ones is only the first couple of steps. The next step is to get some help, without that we stay in the same place and get even worse. But more on that tomorrow.
So if your reading this and putting off telling your loved ones, don't I am more than confident they will support you and will be just a relieved as you are that it is out in the open. 

Take CARE

GB

Admit there is a problem.

The first and biggest step in handling any challenges you have around you alcohol usage is first admitting there is a problem.
Without this admission nothing can work and in my experience the sooner we admit where we are the better it is.
A few things to remember about making such an admission are:-


1. There is no shame at all in admitting it.
Alcohol is a hugely addictive drug and one that is so popular in our culture that it is no surprise we see so many people suffering the effects of the addiction. If you have admitted it a problem to you the feel so shame it's a powerful step and one you should be very proud about.


2. It takes huge courage.
Never, never look at an admitting you have a problem with your drinking as a weakness, it takes massive courage to be so honest and you should take a great deal of pride in that. 
When we are in the grips of alcohol dependency we can feel really bad about ourselves and our self-esteem can be low. The fact you are strong enough and courageous enough to admit you have a problem is something you can take confidence in yourself from. 


3. It's the start of your recovery journey.
Once you admit where you are and what you are facing you can take steps to make some changes and that's a big deal. The recovery journey is not always easy but it is always worth it. So celebrate the fact you have been brave enough to admit you challenges and like the courage, use this as a way to boost your belief and confidence in yourself.


4. You decided enough was enough, but WHY?
As you move forward into recovery it's important to remember WHY you are doing this. If it got to a stage you had to admit there was a problem it will have been sparked by some event so make a not of what that is. The WHY will work for you and keep you focused and moving forward.


5. Get the help you need.
Admission is the start but we have to get the help we need is our sobriety is to hold and be meaningful. There is help out there in all shapes and sizes and finding a way that works for you is important and once you have made the admission you need to get the help as soon as possible.

If you are reading this and you have admitted the problem, I salute you and wish you well on your recovery journey. And if I can help in any way just drop me a line and I will do what I can.

Take CARE

GB

The BBQ's are out.

I write this following May Day bank holiday in the UK that was the hottest on record.
Around my house, the air was filled with the smell of BBQ's and the sound of lawnmowers making their first outing of the year. The weather was good, the people looked happy and it had me thinking about the first Summer I had sober.
The BBQ and Summer drinks parties have become a bigger thing over the last few years and it seems that you are never far away from some advert for boxes of lager, cheap wine deals and offers on Prosecco to help you "enjoy" those gatherings around the charcoal.
The first year I was off the drink I remember feeling so out of place at BBQ's and garden parties where everyone apart from me seemed to be having fun with a glass or two of fizz. I saw myself as the weirdo who couldn't drink sort of sat by myself while the party animals took centre stage. But that was not the reality.
Very early on in my sobriety, I had a mindset change and I realised that sat believing that I was somehow losing something by not drinking was a myth. I embraced the fact my not drinking was a choice and one that had many, many benefits. 
I was soon able to attend any event where booze was and feel comfortable to spend some time there and enjoy the company and food on offer.
You see sobriety takes a bit of getting used to and we have to develop confidence in it and our mindset before we can really embrace it and enjoy it.
If you are reading this and are either just stopped, cutting down, or struggling with your relationship with sobriety, give it a little time and don't be so harsh on yourself.
Once you have done a few BBQ's and parties without drinking it will start to feel natural and you will also start to see that there are a lot of other people who either drink very little or nothing at all. We are not weirdos at all, we just think we are based on how drinking had made us think.
So as the Summer rolls on and the BBQ's and parties start to become a weekly event, don't fear them, enjoy them and enjoy the Summer with a clear head and by the time the Autumn comes and the BBQ's are put away for another year you will be able to look back at the Summer of 2018 in a fond way.

Take CARE
GB
 

New office, old feeling.

I write this blog while sitting in the new office that I took ownership of Yesterday, it was a big day.
Now, this is no huge space or even a huge commitment financially but it felt significant when I sat down at the desk for the first time. I have had some time to process my feelings around it and that's what this blog is about.
As I slung my backpack over my shoulder and headed out yesterday I had a feeling I have not experienced for a very long time, it felt like the first day on a new job.
I was nervous and excited, as I sat down for the first time I felt some pride and also this huge realisation at the size of the task I have ahead. I last started a new job in 1998 and then in 2015 I started a new business but this time it is different. Both these events from years back were a challenge but the challenge face now is much bigger. The job in 1998 was a simple warehouse job I could do standing on my head and the business I started was actually me doing exactly what I did in the job so no great change there. But now as I take on the alcohol addiction work I am starting with nothing. I have some funds to get going and a lot of experience but as far as a client list and potential new ones to add its all a bit sparse so I am building something from the ground up.
Now in many ways, this challenge is exciting, it already feels like the right thing to do and I know I have the experience and skills to pull it off, but every step I take is a first for something and with that comes an element of nerves and apprehension that I can feel deeply.
The main reason I started to drink back in the 90's was to try and block out the nerves and apprehension and give me the confidence to do things that I felt were out of my depth. So to feel those feelings again now and know I have the ability to handle them without the need for reaching for a bottle of vodka feels like a huge deal.
If you have stopped drinking or are looking to stop or cut down you will constantly be finding situations that you manage that in the past you would have drunk to cope with. With each of these challenges you face and come out the other end, you will pick up more confidence in yourself and your sobriety.
So don't worry if the sober you still feel nerves and apprehension, we all feel it and probably always will, but just keep the faith and know you can manage any situation and manage it without the need for a drink.

Take CARE

GB

Just Keep Going

I write this blog with slightly achy legs after a long walk over the weekend. My partner Sue and I took on the Yorkshire 3 peaks challenge on Saturday. The route is just shy of 26 miles and takes in 3 of the highest hills in Yorkshire. We had done the challenge 3 times before this weekend and it is never easy.
We approached the start full of enthusiasm and energy for the miles ahead and we had made all necessary preparations around food and the clothing we needed to cover us for all weather eventualities. As we took our first steps on the challenge we could not have been better prepared. 
So what has me walking got to do with you and your drink problem?
Well, as I was walking I started to see how taking on a challenge is taking on a challenge, be that a physical one such as a long walk or the challenge to change our drinking habits.
I will explain more...
Firstly all challenges start with the decision to take the challenge on (I talked about making the decision in my last blog..check it out) Then once you have decided to do it, you need to make sure you are prepared and have the right mindset and equipment. Then thirdly you have to set off and take your first steps.
Walking like sobriety is easy to talk about, it easy to just imagine how easy it all looks and sounds, and as you set off it can be easy, right until you hit the first uphill section and it gets hard. This is the point we just need to keep going.
A lot of people quit when it gets tough. When we are feeling the pain of the challenge it can be easy to find reasons to give up and I know in my time especially around my drinking I have used them reasons to give up and I know every time without question regretted it.
As I walked on Saturday there were times when every fibre of my body wanted to stop, my feet ached I was slowing down and there was such a long way to go. But when the tough times came I just concentrated on one thing, just taking the next step.
And when it gets tough in your recovery from alcohol some days that's all you can do, just do one more, day, hour minute, whatever it takes to just move forward without stopping or giving up.
But why? 
Well, I will tell you why, If I had chosen to give up on the 3 peaks when it got a bit hard I would have been back at my car after 7 miles feeling like a failure. And with my drinking, if I had given up when it got tough I would have been back on the booze in a few weeks and can't imagine where my life would be now.
But I did not give up I just kept taking that one more step. So on Saturday some 10hours and 45 mins after setting off I was back at my car having completed the Yorkshire 3 Peaks challenge and feeling so good. Once I was in my car all the pain and hard times were forgotten and I was left with a huge sense of achievement.
Now sobriety is a bit different as there is no finishing line, no point at which we can say it's done and we don't have to do it anymore, no sobriety is a lifelong challenge. But it's one we can take on and be successful in just by keeping going when you feel like slipping back and heading for the bottle.
But on this long journey, there will be many points you get that feeling of achievement. Your first week, month, year sober are all points you get a feeling of "Yes" I did it, and you should celebrate these moments because they are hard won.
So if you are on your journey into sobriety and are finding it hard, just keep going and if you need some positive encouragement and someone to cheer you on when you feel like quitting, drop me a line and I will be the push you need.

Take CARE

GB

It starts with a decision.

Everyone who tackles the challenges they have with drinking all have one thing in common, the made a decision to change.
This decision can be hard and can take a while to make, but once you make that heartfelt the decision to change things the magic happens.
So many emotions can come up around our drinking, fear, regret, shame, embarrassment, the list could go on. But these emotions are temporary and move away quickly once we feel what life in control or our drinking is like.
It's a leap of faith, especially if you are showing signs of addiction, your head will try to convince you in some weird and wonderful ways why continuing to drink is a good idea, don't listen to it. 
Once the decision is made all we should be focusing on is all that we will gain from making the decision and not what we are giving up.
I can tell you from my own personal experience that life after booze is so much better than the life I had with it. 
Right now that may seem hard to believe but you will look back in a few weeks and wonder why you ever did the things you did, and why you did not make the decision sooner.
It's not an easy decision and you will need support and encouragement along the way and that's where I come in, I give that support and encouragement.
So if you are ready to make the decision and want someone to walk you through the early days get in touch and I will show you the path.

Take CARE

GB