Go Sober for October

Can I still have fun without alcohol?

Like Comment

I am happy to say I enjoy drinking socially, most people who know me will agree. I have always suffered from hangovers and as I approach 50 they are getting worse and lasting longer.  I try and avoid drinking in the week on a “school night” but sometimes Friday will creep into Thursday evening and I often regret it.  My hangovers do vary as to what I have drank, I tend to drink white wine (13%) and prosecco (11%) and the higher percent white wine is responsible for making the hangover worse.  I don’t drink huge volumes of alcohol, 3-4 glasses of wine is enough to give me a hangover and I am beginning to ask myself is it worth it?  I did stop drinking during pregnancy from day one so I know I can do it but can I still enjoy myself?

I have tried adding soda water to wine which dramatically improves the hangover and have all sort of remedies to help re-hydrate myself as my symptoms range from:

  • Waking in the night and not being able to get back to sleep so I am not getting enough sleep
  • Gall bladder pains if I have overdone it
  • Leg cramps
  • Headaches
  • Heartburn
  • De-hydration
  • Heightened anxiety (as alcohol is a stimulant)
  • A feeling of alcohol induced depression and low mood
  • Craving junk food

My daughter was admitted to hospital for 10 days in 2018 and during a very stressful time I realised that I hadn’t had a drink during this time and it contributed to some weight loss. I realised that I sometimes have a glass of wine at the end of stressful days later on in the week like a lot of people I know do.

I have never drunk alcohol every day, more on a weekend and holidays. The NHS defines binge drinking as “drinking lots of alcohol in a short space of time or drinking to get drunk.” Because everybody is different, it is not easy to say exactly how many units in one session count as binge drinking. The definition used by the Office of National Statistics for binge drinking is having over 8 units in a single session for men and over 6 units for women.  The NHS guidelines are 14 units per week for men and women with one 75ml glass of wine being one unit. 

Most people who are making impulsive or habitual use of drink are not totally happy with their situation. Alcohol problems usually develop as a way of coping with problems. It can help a person to relax, to reduce tension and lends itself to being used to avoid or manage some difficult situations.

I am always keen to improve my own well-being and have decided to take part in Go Sober for October, so during the month of October I am not going to be drinking alcohol and have started a Facebook private group should anyone else want to take part for some good old fashioned support.

I am hoping at the end of October I will have been hangover free, had some great night’s sleep, have a better clarity of mind and perhaps have some new core values around alcohol and fun.

To join the group go to  https://m.me/join/AbY9VMLwNVKXDh69


Gail Donnan

Interdisciplinary Psychologist, Trauma-informed EMDR Psychotherapist, Director and Practice Lead, The Trauma Centre - Ripon

I have been working in the wellness industry since 1995. I have a Master's Degree in Interdisciplinary Psychology (Leeds), I am a trauma-informed EMDR psychotherapist, Director and Practice Lead of the Trauma Centre, Ripon which is a community interest company.  I am a qualified teacher, assessor and IQA. I am a trained Meditation Teacher, Bach Flower Essence Practitioner, Qi Gong Instructor and Reiki Master Teacher Practitioner.  I specialise in mental health issues arising from trauma, anxiety, depression and am the published author of two books -"The Gateway - A journey to re-claim your power from Stress and Anxiety" and The Gateway Junior Edition - children's mental health. I have a huge interest in somatic psychotherapy and have an interdisciplinary approach to mental health.