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All or nothing

Updated: Dec 2, 2023

I didn't wake up on the 11th of August 2019 and think "that was the last ever alcoholic drink I will ever have".

When one shot is not enough

I had been out with a friend the previous evening for dinner and drinks. The night had been fun. It had ended with us trying to keep hold of the night with the last orders. Shots of something, I think. Highly unnecessary for me, but I am nothing but committed.


I woke up and wondered why I put myself through these horrendous hangovers? Hangover shame where I tortured myself about something I said or did. This was how most of the days were spent after a night of heavy drinking....thinking that I was a terrible person.



Since the age of 16, I was an all or nothing girl with alcohol. It was ALL the drink. It could never be just a couple of glasses of wine. It had to be a whole bottle. Topped with shots. And then maybe a gin and tonic. And then maybe another shot. And then perhaps a cigarette


One of the best nights, where alcohol fuelled I met MC Neat. Life highlight

And so my life continued. All the nights were like this. Lots were so much fun. Lots were bad.


Blackouts, getting mugged, no inhibitions, staying out alone.


So, I didn't wake up on the 11th of August knowing that my last alcoholic drink was the night before. But it was.



Make mine a sparkling water now

I have been sorely tested (COVID anyone). Something is rewarding about reaching the end of the day and treating yourself to an alcoholic drink. A glass of cold rose on a hot day. It marks the end of the day.


I loved drinking. I love the taste of a G&T. I loved being fun (or I thought I was fun with drink).


But I love not drinking more. I am happier and healthier and there is not a single day that I regret my decision to not drink.


Because, for me, alcohol came with all sorts of side effects. Mentally, it made my depression and anxiety worse. Physically I would lose at least 24 hours to being sick, nausea, headaches and muscle aches.


For the first year of not drinking, I would have vivid dreams that I would drink alcohol; and I would wake with a crushing disappointment in myself. Only to search my memory and how I felt and to realise it was, thankfully, a dream!


I am of course not an expert, but in a world where drinking alcohol is very normal it can sometimes feel like swimming upstream when you decide to quit, and I am always here if you have questions.


Below you will find:

Love from Andrea

 

What options are there for non-alcoholic drinkers?

Here are some brilliant alternatives I have found:


This is an alcohol-free subscription box, delivered to your door. Based in Hitchin, Hertfordshire, I have just had the delivery of my first box and I went for a bi-monthly subscription (paid for by me).


The contents change each month but this one contained:

  • Two bottles of Calesco; one light and zesty, one dark and spicy. I had never tried these before, so they were a lovely surprise to find another new non-alcoholic drink

  • A can of Thomas Teetotal

  • Three mixers of Double Dutch

  • Chocolate bibbles from Doisy & Dam

  • Zesty garnish

  • Plantain chips

  • The cocktail card, which when finished with it, can be planted and grow flowers - love this!

  • JOMO magazine

Acupuncturist. Yes. Photographer. Absolutely not.

I brought this box to take to Ibiza, for my best friends 40th. I wanted to be fortified with a non-alcoholic option that still gave the illusion of 'I am still a fun person with a mocktail in my hand'. Unfortunately, I didn't make it to Ibiza BUT I am absolutely thrilled with my box, and I enjoyed it in Whitstable instead (although the weather wasn't quite the same, or indeed anything was the same)!


 

Using local native plants to their base in Cornwall, they have created non-alcoholic drinks with purpose and they taste brilliant. I loved their range of drinks but was also really sold on their ethos around sustainability at every point from picking to packaging. My favourite, stand-alone non-alcoholic drink by a long way.






 

If you like your drinks with a celebrity tag, then this might be the one for you. A minor celebrity Spencer Matthews (brother to someone who married someone who is the sister to a future queen) this comes with a personal journey of Spencer's own desire to quit alcohol. I admit I haven't tried this one, but really like their glass bottles.





 

Quite interesting ingredients and tag lines e.g. "euphoric guayusa" or "zen green tea" there are three drinks in the range, which are a complete drink. The Livener, the social elixir and the nightcap.


I have only tried the nightcap which has lemon-balm (a small study shows it can be good for painful periods) and valerian root.


I found it a little too sweet, but with everything it is just personal taste and choice




 

I am really trying to add more fermented foods/drinks to my diet. Fermented foods affect our gut health, which in turn can affect our mental and physical health.


Kombucha is a fermented tea originating from China in 220 BC. It is water, tea, sugar and SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast) that is left to ferment leaving you with kombucha.


It is an acquired taste, in my opinion. I have tried a few different brands of kombuchas and this brand was my favourite, plus I liked their design and story.

 

I would like to see a different culture around alcohol

I am not on a mission to make everyone alcohol-free. This is really just my experience. My thoughts. My life.


But alcohol is a socially acceptable drug, yet it amounts to:

  • 12-15% of all A&E attendances

  • 1.1 million hospital admissions have alcohol as a causal factor in the patient's diagnosis

  • In England, the age of death of those with alcoholic specific diseases is 54.3 years

  • More working years of life are lost in England because of alcohol-related deaths than from cancer of the lung, bronchus, trachea, colon, rectum, brain, skin, ovary, kidney, stomach, bladder and prostate, combined.

  • Alcohol abuse is double for those from the most deprived socio-economic circumstances

Source: https://www.england.nhs.uk/ltphimenu/prevention/alcohol-care-teams/


I wish we could see a different language and culture around alcohol. The occasional drink isn't harmful.


But, alcohol can be harmful, like any other drug. But unlike other drugs, this is a socially acceptable one.

 

How does acupuncture look at alcohol?

Chinese food therapy ascribes temperatures, directions and flavours to alcoholic drinks in the same way they do food. So, depending on your diagnosis, the alcohol you drink may or may not have to change.


For example, if you subjectively feel cold all the time then drinking cold glasses of beer will not be useful. You would maybe look to drink red wine.


Conversely, if you subjectively feel hot all the time, drinking your vodka and mixer of choice will be unwise. You would maybe think about drinking white or rose wine.


Below is a very simple diagram of alcoholic drinks and their temperatures. Typically the darker the liquid the hotter it will be i.e. rum will be hotter than vodka.


 

If you would like some more information

Clemmie Telford: Clemmie has talked openly about her life without alcohol and she has a great highlight on her Instagram which I have found really helpful.


Quit Like A Woman: a book that examines drinking culture, its problematic nature for women, and advice for cutting out alcohol


Nothing Good Can Come From This: a book of essays about Kristi Coulter's road of sobriety which is honest and funny.


The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober: this book looks at the joy of life after giving up alcohol, but also (which I always love) at the science behind why we drink and what it does to our physical and mental health. I didn't always enjoy her writing but she brought to life the aspects of being an alcoholic, that gave me a perspective, understanding and forgiveness of a dear and hugely loved family member who recently died due to complications arising from decades of alcohol abuse.


Drink Aware: a resource for help and advice for drinking







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