A World Without Wine

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How to Quit Drinking Workshop story

In 2015, Louise Rowlinson ran several of her popular ‘How To Quit Drinking’ workshop in Central London. These were always a full house as people arrived to teas and coffees at 11 am, for what would be a full day of learning. Below is an article written by one attendee Janet Gourand on her blog World Without Wine. She wanted us to share it with the Club Soda Community, as the article sees her explore the teaching of the day to her own personal sober journey with honesty and humour.

Downsides of alcohol imageTried to moderate

I love this image presented to us by Louise Rowlinson during her excellent “How to Quit Drinking Workshop” in London last Saturday.  Louise is a health care professional who (like me) tried to moderate her drinking for years and eventually decided that it was just easier to stop altogether.  Her blog is A Hangover Free Life if you would like to follow her journey.  She will be running regular workshops so check out upcoming dates at Club Soda to sign up.

After barely touching the ground in Marseille was off to London for workshop and catch-up with family & friends.  Thankfully knees down to sensible size and full mobility restored. The one and a half hour flight passed in an instant compared with epic 11 hour flight from SA so not too much temptation to drink on board.  Easyjet flight insist on payment for refreshments so too much trouble even to get a soft drink!  Not sure how Kate Moss managed to get quite so hammered on recent Easyjet flight if she had to dig out her purse everytime she wanted a drink.  Still puzzled by Kate travelling on Easyjet when she can afford a private jet.

Landed in London and went straight to GNO (Girls Night Out) with lovely London girlfriends.  Was expecting pressure to join them on the vino (we have a long tradition of partying together) but they were sweet and convinced charming young barman to produce steady stream of mocktails.  Have so many lovely memories of nights out with friends knocking back the vino but in fact it is the company of friends more than the vino which makes those evenings special.  Certainly the first two hours were great although felt slightly adrift towards end of evening – as though I was not really connecting or contributing to the fun.

Always stay with close pal Barbs (aka Binky) when in London.  She had thoughtfully found me a non-alcoholic drink cunningly masquerading as a bottle of wine – see it in pic below posing with bad boy Shiraz.  Amazingly I have managed to find this drink in Galleries Lafayette in Marseille so will be stocking up – definitely helps to have something that vaguely resembles a “proper” drink – same method as e-cigarettes I guess..

Alcohol-free existence

AF existence has definitely had an impact on my “joie de vivre” which used to be sky high after a couple of large Alcohol Alternatives Belvoir Shirazglasses of Sauvignon Blanc – still struggle to believe alcohol is a “depressant” as I feel a bit “flat” without it and wonder if I may just be a rather miserable and boring person – quelle horreur :-0

In fact I think I must brace myself for downward slide according to this diagram Louise showed us in the workshop.  Since quitting have been residing pleasantly on my “pink cloud” – or honeymoon as it is called here.  Am now almost two months in but projection of emotions seems to be all downhill from here so must brace myself for “uncertainty/loss of confidence/confusion/depression and crisis” – hopefully not all on the same day!  According to this diagram it’s going to take a full 8 months until “recovery” complete.

A hangover free life diagramPost Acute Withdrawal Syndrome

Another topic we covered on the workshop was “PAWS”.  Perked up when I saw this on programme as got excited at thought of involving dog in AF strategy and began to envisage training chihuahua June to attack if I picked up a glass of wine.  In fact PAWS stands for Post Acute Withdrawal Symptoms and Louise gave us a whole list of things to look out for – apparently drinking numbs emotions and one must be ready for lots of intense feelings to emerge.  Eish! – better warn Husband.  We learned about the value of a “Sober First Aid Kit” and that we should write a “Goodbye Letter to Alcohol”.  We had a look at tiny drop of liquid which constitutes one “unit” of alcohol and learned that a bottle of wine represents 12 units.  When I was trying to “moderate” I would log half a bottle of wine with lunch as 2 units as it represented 2 (admittedly huge) glasses.  My rationale was always “if it fits into one glass then it must be one unit”  Even allowing for this clever strategy could never quite manage that elusive “14 units a week” safe drinking guideline.

Alcohol calorie catastrophe

One of my favourite slides at the workshop was the “alcohol calorie catastrophe”.  Apparently the body burns off alcohol before fat as it is poison.  Just one bottle of wine a day represents 6000 extra calories a week – and that’s without the well known hangover remedy of massive fry up breakfast.

On that positive note will close and sit back quietly to wait for supermodel figure to emerge.

You can read more of Janet Gourand’s story and follow her blog at World Without Wine. Many thanks to Janet for allowing us to share her experience of the day!


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