Finding freedom with the whales

Dreams of Sea Creatures

For many years I dreamt of huge sea creatures in the ocean. Initially in these dreams I would feel fear then would realise that there was no need to be frightened. I loved these dreams which I later learned are a link to the things unknown, in my unconscious that I had yet to explore.

A few weeks ago I had a close up encounter in real life with  humpback whales. I experienced these same familiar feelings. The scene was one that filled me with terror, sitting in a small rubber dinghy bobbing about on the deep blue ocean in search of real life huge sea creatures.

The Whale

As I followed the guide and the others over the side into the water, I  realised there was nothing to fear from these beautiful, gentle creatures. We floated on the surface, watching in amazement, while our whale sang his beautiful song and then rose gracefully to the surface to take breath before diving down again. Wonder and majesty overcame the fear and I was left with a deep sense of connection to the mystery and beauty of life.

Quitting Drinking

My decision to not drink alcohol was a bit like this. I was terrified as I didn’t know how I would actually manage myself in the world without my safe little prop. I knew on the surface it was just a liquid in a glass, but one that I had become reliant on to give me confidence; a sense of relaxation, a rest from a busy mind and just a little pick me up treat that I felt I deserved. I could so easily forget that the flip side of this liquid would cause me to feel slow and sluggish, eat more than my body needed, not sleep well and wake up feeling vaguely seedy even after only one or two glasses. In other words it was toxic to my system. I knew things had to change.

Sober Life

I swam into this new world of sobriety and faced situation after situation completely raw and real. It was both challenging and confronting and in time deeply rewarding. I now have a freedom I didn’t have before, I no longer need alcohol. Like floating on the ocean I have a newfound sense of peace, connection and wonder with the world.

Sober Coaching

If you have made the decision to remove alcohol from your life expect to face challenges. These challenges can soon become opportunities. A sober coach will  help you identify your unique strengths to find these opportunities. If you have been thinking about removing alcohol from your life for a time or for longer, then know that the journey is one that is worth taking.

Lets talk more…

What is it about Sugar?

Why is sugar so hard to resist?

A few years ago I read “Pure White and Deadly” by John Yudkin. This book pretty much changed my whole thinking around sugar,  the food industry and the detrimental affects sugar has on the body. Recently there has been copious amounts of media messaging about the evils of sugar and how it is hidden in most processed/convenience foods. The crazy thing is that even with all this knowledge and trying to avoid most processed foods, the craving for a sweet treat still remains and once its unleashed it goes nuts! Continue reading “What is it about Sugar?”

Alcohol is like a snake in a glass

“But I didn’t mean to get drunk! ” So many people have said these words, myself included. I often felt like an accidental drunk,  it was never my intention and I would really beat myself up  about it afterwards. Now, I dont blame myself for those times, blame is a waste of good energy.

I know now its nothing to do with weakness, intelligence or worth, its just the power of alcohol on the brain itself.  Alcohol is a highly addictive substance that when consumed in quantity leads us down the path to eventual unconsciousness.

How alcohol affects the brain

As a tutor I used to do right and left brain learning assessments with students and as background we looked at the triune or 3 part brain.  To help illustrate in very lay terms how the three parts worked, we looked at how they are affected as we drink alcohol.

The first part to take a hit is the neo cortex, the front part of the brain that is associated with higher thought processes, judgement and motor control.  As we drink our judgement and values are compromised, along with our balance and we may do or say things that are out of character.

The limbic brain, responsible for all our emotional reactions, is the next part to go, hence the warm gushy drunk person, the sad weeping person or the irate angry crazy person. With this combination of impairment going on its easy to see how the previously viewed  unattractive stranger becomes a dashing prince and regrettable “beer goggle” decisions are made.

Finally, and this is getting into seriously dangerous territory, the reptilian brain is all that is left. This part is the brain stem, essentially responsible for keeping us alive, our heart beating, our temperature regulated and lungs breathing. When alcohol affects the reptilian brain we can end up in a comatose state,  the basic functions working but without any conscious control. The lights are on but no one is home.

The way alcohol affects the brain can make it very difficult to try and control it

Trying to control drinking can be difficult. When we  begin to lose the sense of reason and rational thought in phase one, our plan made earlier in the evening to limit drinks to 2 or 3 can easily get thrown out the window as the internal party warms up.

Alcohol can be a bit like a “snake in a glass” the more we drink the more we lose control and the lurking reptile hiding in the shadows takes over.

Its lovely to be free of regret or shame, yay to being sober!

 

Stop the shame in addiction

Its time to stop the shame. For a long time the shame in addiction prevented me from quitting alcohol. If I stopped drinking, to my mind, I would be  telling the world that I had a problem. Even though the whole world probably already knew,  that to some degree I did, I was not ready to deal with it. 

I know that some people can moderate without any difficulty at all. I find this highly admirable and at the same time really hard to understand. How can someone really just enjoy “a” glass of wine and not want another? It  is something I have consciously tried to do over the years without any consistent success. I tried many different techniques that work well for some, but sure as eggs, I would trip again.  I decided for myself the only way forward was to just stop altogether. 

Admitting you have a problem moderating alcohol is associated with shame. This is actually crazy. Alcohol is a highly addictive substance and it works in such a way that once you have a bit, the body wants more. This is especially true for those people who have a propensity toward  addictive behaviour. No one chooses to have an addictive personality but 10 – 15 % of the population do. I am speaking very generally here as it has been argued by some that there is no such thing as an addictive personality but all can agree to addictive behaviours.

Addiction

An addiction can be to many things including drugs, alcohol, chocolate, sugar, sex, work even adrenaline. Wine certainly ticked a few boxes for me. General behaviours indicative of addiction can be:

  • Lying – this can be as simple as not admitting how much you really had to drink
  • Manipulation –  Have you ever hidden empty wine bottles or rushed them out to the recycling bin?
  • Impulsive behaviours – there are many versions of this, usually doing or saying things totally out of character
  • Criminal behaviour – the obvious one here is driving over the limit
  • Blame-Shifting – commonly known as denial. It’s always someone or something’s fault never your own
  • Sensation seeking – loving the rush of the substance whatever it happens to be

Stop the shame

Shame needs to be taken away from addiction. I could not reconcile my life with one that had no control over alcohol, when clearly, I had very little control over it. Without a sense of shame but with one of understanding and compassion toward myself I know I could have faced this sooner.

 For 482 days now I have been alcohol free.

I am comfortable being a sober person, it took a while and some work to get to this place but its now my norm and I am loving it.

If these words are resonating with you and you would like to talk more then please get in touch x