Here’s a post I wrote this time last year…who’d have thought it..I did dry Jan and didn’t look back! If you haven’t yet, follow me on instagram @janeyleegrace and also follow the charity I am working with @myyard.org.uk
We are hosting a #staydrytilljuly campaign and we have some cool self care treats to give away. Just use that hashtag and tell us your self care tips…see the suggestions at the end of this post for a great juice to energise you.
Don’t forget to subscribe and listen to my podcast free on itunes its called Janey Lee Grace Alcohol Free Life and the first few episodes have interviews with Laura from Club Soda, Clare Pooley author of The Sober Diaries and Catherine Gray author of The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober.
Recently at The Mindful Drinking Festival organised by Club Soda I hosted a panel on the topic of ‘How to Smash Dry January’, and ‘Beyond Dry January’ – Check out a bit of the session in these videos….
Meanwhile there are some helpful tips in this post…cheers to your sobriety..
For the first time ever I have ‘done’ dry January, not because it’s the trend, but because I decided it was time to give myself a break from the booze and it happened to be the beginning of January!
It’s all across the press of course, and there are millions of people ‘resting’ their liver and either staying in, or opting for non alcoholic drinks, but the big question is… come Feb 1st what happens then? If your new resolutions aren’t working too well, and you’re still coming up for air after blue Monday, for many people the end of dry January can’t come soon enough. Many people decide it’s a good time to give their liver a rest and opt for non alcoholic drinks along with the January diet or the switch to being vegan, (there’s currently also a veganuary trend) but what happens when we hit the end of the month? Going straight back to your old habits could lead to binge drinking which of course is even more harmful.
I’ve interviewed two interesting authors on this topic, Georgia Foster (more later) and Clare Pooley author of the hugely successful book The Sober Diaries, known as Sober Mummy, she wrote a blog called ‘Mummy Was a Secret Drinker’ as she battled with her cravings and stopped drinking, Check out my podcast featuring Clare (please listen on itunes and subscribe and rate (thank you!)
Before she quit, Clare used alcohol to escape the boredom and tiredness and often drank a bottle a day. In her book she eschews the AA approach but does advocate getting support, trying yoga, mindfulness and the importance of exercise. She found her hair looked more glossy (who knew?) she lost weight and gained copious amounts of energy, she was literally jumping around like the Duracell bunny…(I’ll have what she’s having…) She has now been three years without the booze and highly recommends the abstinence! Click the link to buy.
The Sober Diaries: How one woman stopped drinking and started living
(NB Update The paperback version of this great book is now out Jan 19)
Georgia Foster is a clinical hypnotherapist and alcohol reduction expert, her new book is called ‘Drink Less in 7 days’ and she agrees that drinking alcohol is a learned habit, a protective mechanism, and our subconscious mind often thinks it’s looking after us and giving us a nice way to relax and escape (true of course), but to avoid overdrinking we need to approach our own thoughts from a calm space. Georgia recognises that not everyone wants to give up completely, but they do want to drink less, she says it’s not about willpower, we need to discover what motivates us to drink, and she can help us to tap into the power of the brain to change habitual behaviour in seven days. The book comes with access to hypnosis recordings which help train the subconscious mind so that you control how much you drink, rather than it controlling you.
For Clare, the communion wine is the only alcohol that passes her lips now, for Georgia it’s a glass of wine or two, but she is in control of it. Click the link below to buy it.
Drink Less in Seven Days
What happens to your body when you give up?
For me it’s been interesting, I must confess I was expecting to feel grumpy, irritable and be battling nightly, come 6pm with the …as Sober Mummy calls it …’The Wine Witch’, but in fact I haven’t felt that way, it’s been relatively easy to choose something else to drink, (more on that later as I have been marvelously resourceful and have some great non alcoholic recommendations for you) but where as I had imagined instant weight loss and huge amounts of energy sadly it hasn’t quite been that way. In truth I have felt anxious, sleep has not been easy, (though at least I haven’t woken up wishing I hadn’t drunk too much of a Sunday morning) and I haven’t exactly found the huge increase in energy I was hoping for. I haven’t lost even a pound in weight either, though I was bright enough to measure my vital bits and I can proudly tell you I’ve lost a few inches from around my hips.
None of this is unusual, and it seems there are some downsides to quitting the booze, at least in the short-term and it’s as well to be prepared for it. Once I recognized that what I was experiencing was quite normal, I contacted a colleague Susan Donnelly who is an excellent holistic healer and nutritionist and she has researched the whole phenomenon of what’s needed when you ditch the alcohol.
Alcohol Recovery Programme
Sounds a bit heavy going doesn’t it? But I don’t need to check into The Priory or similar to detox, and I’m guessing you don’t either, but I do want to be in optimum health. Sue explained that everyone is different, but in many cases heavy alcohol dependency could have been ‘masking’ other problems, physically and emotionally. Over the years drinking affects our immunity, hormones et al and it’s rare to be able to stop and feel instantly different. She ‘listened to my various woes and niggling symptoms’ and prescribed a whole raft of supplements, I am literally ‘rattling,’ but it makes sense, it seems I really do need B vitamins (a whole range), a specific homeopathic remedy, omega 3’s, milk thistle and some practitioner strength supplements that are going to help ‘re calibrate’ everything. Don’t just reach for any old quality vitamins though. Be careful that you choose high quality supplements that don’t contain fillers and poor quality ingredients. Pure Balance Supplements contain the active ingredient and a vegan capsule shell, that’s it. They are the best on the market, and as a practitioner for over 30 years she has really seen what works. with clients. I’m am not on commission and Sue isn’t paying for this promo, I’m just a fan! You can read more about the products and contact Sue here. By the way Sue assures me that give it two months and the wine belly should disappear…watch this space!
She also recommends I drink a fresh squeezed organic juice daily.
1 small beetroot
Handful of spinach
Small bunch of parsley
Tastes great, if you are new to juicing, add half an apple to sweeten it, but the carrot and beet makes it sweet anyways. Don’t skip the fresh beets by the way, they are great blood builders!
What else can I drink?
Well of course there’s water, herbal teas and coffee et al, but sometimes you want a soft drink or something a bit ‘grown up’ and orange juice just doesn’t cut it, I strongly recommend that you don’t switch the vino to a fizzy drink, it goes without saying that the last thing your body needs is an overload of sugar. So I’ve been quaffing organic ginger beer (yes does have a bit of sugar…hell I’m imperfect) and sparkling water with lime – TOP TIP, Have it in a nice glass and add some ice and fresh mint.
But recently I have also discovered the awesome non alcoholic ‘pretend’ alcoholic drinks from Wise Bartender, a new brand who bring us non alcoholic wines, beers and even spirits that actually taste GREAT! I’m loving the pre-mixed Teetotal G & T, the chardonnay white wine (though in truth that one is 0.2 % ABV – not enough to affect your liver!) and for a celebration you can’t beat the Bees Knees Prosecco. I’m not a beer drinker (crikey don’t get me on that slippery slope too) but I’m told the AF beer is great too.
They sell online and do pop-up events too. I’m not on commission with them either, just think its SUCH a cool brand! Buy here.
You can get a whole array of amazing alcohol free drinks from Wise Bartender – see my behind the brand piece with Tom. Read my blog post about Wise Bartender here>>
So whether you intend to go alcohol free for the long term or just for a while longer, it’s always a good idea to have alcohol free days, you might want to check out the brilliant hypnosis recordings by Georgia Foster and see the post on the excellent hypnosis downloads by Ailsa Frank
Do follow me on instagram and send through those self care tips and if you have made it through dry jan, keep going, seriously its the best thing you can ever do for yourself, and as Clare said in my interview with her…Give yourself a hug!
Drink Less in seven days by Georgia Foster
Drink Less in Seven Days
The Sober Diaries Clare Pooley
The Sober Diaries: How one woman stopped drinking and started living
Subscribe and rate the new podcast Janey Lee Grace Alcohol Free Life