This New Year will see me really throwing down the gauntlet and challenging myself to not only follow a vegan diet but also to give up alcohol too!
The alcohol issue of my challenge is very personal to me because I have seen first hand that the use of alcohol as a “treat” can then become a dependency. This can be quite insidious, you start off with the odd glass of *insert tipple of choice* and gradually you are having it daily and then you increase the quantity you have each day until ~ before you know it ~ you have become dependent and addicted to it. This then can impact on your family life, your work, your physical and mental health and eventually, if left unchecked, can end in death.
Sadly I have lost a few friends to alcohol abuse which has been heartbreaking. These people died too young, they had so much life left to live and have left those who loved them devastated and the hole they have left can’t be filled. We remember them and in that way we can keep them alive in our memories.
My personal wake up call came through family concern and I realised I was using alcohol as a crutch and coping mechanism. It was due to a dive in my mental health and after seeing my GP and increasing my antidepressants I was able to go back to drinking now and then and not a bottle of wine every night. However, the past few weeks it was noted that the drinking was going up a notch again and so I have vowed to do Dry January and then try to maintain that for as long as I can ~ this is not just for my own health but also in memory of my friends. I want to succeed in battling these demons as I am in stage 3 Kidney disease and want to either stabilise or improve this condition.
My hope is to raise funds to achieve my target of £200 for Alcohol Change UK ~ but if I don’t make it I hope to at least raise something.
I have been told that being alcohol free and animal product free may help reduce my pain and inflammation plus make me feel less sluggish and fatigued. For me ~ as well as raising funds I would find any bonus regarding my health will also make this endeavor worthwhile, I am currently taking 15 tablets a day plus 2 sachets of medication, not including the standby medications for exacerbation of diverticulitis pains and extra antihistamines for stubborn allergies if the daily antihistamine isn’t enough.
I am imagining the bank balance may see a little extra buoyancy with me not buying any wines and meats. I have some great vegan recipes to batch cook, curries, chilli and mushroom bolognese mince for a start and should I wish for anything sweet then I have a great cake recipe too.
I have decided to keep a sort of blog diary of how I am getting on throughout January and how I feel ~ I am picturing some detox issues to begin with but hope that by the end of January I will feel much better. If I do then I will have a decision to make on what I take from my experience moving forward ~ will I remain vegan, or will I consider vegetarianism? Then what about alcohol ~ will I fall back to my old ways or perhaps change them by being more drink aware or keeping it out of my diet altogether in the future?
Who knows what will happen ~ I’m a little anxious but also determined to complete the challenge and see what results will come of it.
Below is a little information copied and pasted from the website of Alcohol Change UK followed by the link to my fundraising page along with the text code for any donations made via mobile phones ~ the text codes are 4 letters followed by 2 numbers, so the O in DRYO is a letter not a zero.
“Alcohol Change UK is a leading UK alcohol charity, formed from the merger of Alcohol Concern and Alcohol Research UK.
Alcohol is a part of many of our lives. We use it for celebration, for comfort, to socialise, to wind down, to cope. We treat it differently to other drugs; it’s legal, socially acceptable, even encouraged.
Yet in the UK one person every hour dies as a result of alcohol. Alcohol harm ~ mental health problems, liver disease, one of seven forms of cancer, economic difficulties, and so much more ~ can affect any one of us, from any walk of life.
The harm doesn’t end with the individual; each of us who drinks too much is part of a family and a community who feel the effects too, whether through frequent use of emergency services, drink driving, violence or neglect.
We are not anti-alcohol; we are for alcohol change. We are for a future in which people drink as a conscious choice, not a default; where the issues which lead to alcohol problems ~ like poverty, mental health issues, homelessness ~ are addressed; where those of us who drink too much, and our loved ones, have access to high-quality support whenever we need it, without shame or stigma.
The problem is complex, and so the solutions aren’t simple. But we’re ambitious. Driven by our belief that every person deserves to live a full life free from alcohol harm, we create evidence~driven change by working towards five key changes: improved knowledge, better policies and regulation, shifted cultural norms, improved drinking behaviours, and more and better support and treatment.
Driven by our vision of a world with no serious alcohol harm, we work to create five evidence~based changes:
The Alcohol Change UK charity launched in November 2018. Our vision is of a world free from serious alcohol harm.”
As promised here is the link to my fundraising page..