Sober not Boring – July 2019

Hello! I hope you have all had a lovely month and have been enjoying the sunshine. I had so many exciting things to write about this month that it made me a bit late getting this post out, but hopefully you will enjoy it, i’ve really enjoyed working on it.

Drink it!

CBD Drinks

CBD infused drinks are the hot new trend in soft drinks due to the health benefits attributed to CBD oil, but what actually is CBD and more importantly is it legal and is it going to get you high?

CBD, also known as cannabidiol, is a chemical compound found in the marijuana plant. Tetrahydrocannabinal (THC) is the main phychoactive substance found in cannabis. CBD contains less than 0.2% of THC – so no it will not get you high.

CBD oil is legal in UK as long as it doesn’t contain THC. You can now buy CBD oil in health stores such as Holland & Barrett where it can be purchased as capsules, liquid or in creams and balms. Although the health benefits of CBD oil are much debated many people credit it with giving them pain relief, and also helping with anxiety and depression. I recently bought some for my mother in law to help her with the pain from arthritis and she was very impressed with the results.

CBD infused drinks are basically the opposite of energy drinks, they are meant to make you feel chilled and relaxed. I’ve only tried one of these so far – the Botanic Lab Dutch Courage. I took a couple of bottles of this to drinks at a friends house and I did indeed feel really relaxed and got a feeling like I had had one alcoholic drink. It’s entirely possible that this was just because I was having a lovely time with friends and nothing to do with the CBD but I did enjoy it and I’m definitely going to be trying more CBD drinks as they become more widely available.

As I said CBD drinks are a pretty new thing and many of them are only available online currently. I think this will change quickly and soon you will see them popping up in supermarkets and health stores. Below are the ones you can currently buy in the UK.

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Drink 420 CBD infused wild berries – Planet Organic, Botanic Lab CBD, hibiscus, sour cherry tea drink – Holland & Barrett, Coffee+ Cafe Latte with CBD oil – Crussh, Gormet CBD infused ground coffee – Yumbles.comGreen Monkey CBD infused drink – Greenmonkey.co.ukHigh Tide CBD cold brew coffee – CBDcoldbrew.co.uk

Try it!

Mindful Drinking Festival

On July 20th there’s going to be a super hip crowd gathering in Spitalfields to sip delicious cocktails in the sunshine while live DJ’s bring the tunes and festival vibes. But don’t start getting FOMO my sober friends because this is a festival with a difference! This is the 6th annual Club Soda Mindful Drinking Festival and it’s getting bigger and better every year.

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I’m excited just looking at the pictures for this event. I can’t wait to get down there and try the massive selection of no/low drinks on offer. I think if you are feeling a bit lonely in your sobriety or like there aren’t many exciting drinks options for you this is such a great opportunity to meet like minded people and to really feel part of something bigger. You might be the only one of your friends who is going sober or cutting back but that doesn’t mean you have to feel like some kind of weirdo. Club Soda’s mission is “to create a world where nobody has to feel out of place if they’re not drinking.” and I can’t wait to experience my first sober event with them.

The Mindful Drinking Festival is totally free entry and there will be many drinks brands offering free samples so you can test out a wide range and see what you like. More info here mindfuldrinkingfestival.com

 

Do it!

This month I decided to try out Reflexology. I had a chance meeting with a therapist from The Middlesex School of Complementary Medicine and I asked her what therapy she would recommend to help with anxiety and recovery from addiction and she suggested I try Reflexology.

Reflexology focuses on pressure points in the feet which each correspond to different parts of the body, and organs. By stimulating these pressure points a therapist can prevent and relieve health issues both physical and mental.

I found my therapist Lucy Bush on the MSCM website (this is a direct link to her page) I initially chose her because I liked that she was happy to come to my home and that she could come in the evenings which is very convenient for me. I also had a strong sense as soon as I saw her photo that we would get on well and that I would be able to talk to her openly about the way I had been feeling.

Lucy brings everything she needs with her including the chair that you lay on so all you need to do is have a peaceful room with enough space. I made sure my kids were asleep and my partner was out so that I knew I could relax without any interruption.

When Lucy arrived we talked for a while about everything that has been going on with me. I felt I could be totally honest and told her everything about quitting drinking, my anxiety and how it effects me, my counselling and the things from my past that have been stirred up by it. Then she set up her kit and I laid down to relax.

I asked Lucy what she looks for when she is working on someones feet, how does she identify problem areas? She described it to me like this “Area’s may feel hot, cold, buzzing, tingling, heavy and congested, empty, sluggish, spiralling, sparking, and there are many more descriptions!” “The reflexologist is a facilitator and by knowing where to place our hands, where to focus, where to stimulate or where to calm down, we can help the body to find balance.”

I’ve had reflexology once before and it was like a rather painful foot massage. This was totally different, it felt as if Lucy was hardly touching me, but within a few minutes I was so totally relaxed I felt like I was asleep but at the same time I was still aware of what was happening.

I began to hear voices and see images of people from my past who I feel a lot of strong emotion about, one of them – an ex-boyfriend was very clear to me, so much so that when I saw him I felt like he was in the room and I let out a gasp. It sounds a bit crazy when I write it down but at the time I just felt like I was dreaming.

When Lucy was working on the area of my left foot which corresponded with my stomach I felt a sharp pain in my tummy like a stitch which made me exhale loudly. Again it felt just like a dream but when I asked Lucy about this later her interpretation was really fascinating. “This is an area that we commonly hold emotion – we ‘swallow our emotion’ in order to be able to put a brave face on for the world, to show people that we are ok but really we are not. We consume food and drink whilst feeling emotions of pain, fear, trauma etc and as we do so, we are compounding those feelings and emotions into the stomach area.”

This made so much sense to me, I know I have strong emotions from things that have happened in the past that I have tried to ‘swallow’ and never addressed properly. As many of you will know when you stop drinking suddenly all the emotional problems you were using alcohol to dull come back to you crystal clear. The fact is things from past that have hurt or traumatised you have to be dealt with eventually or they will continue to hurt you. In my case this has manifested in anxiety problems.

Lucy drew this map for me of the points on my feet where she noticed things or where I had some sort of reaction. You can compare it to the diagram on the left to see the corresponding parts of the body.

After my treatment was finished I felt unbelievably relaxed, I actually felt like I had been for a really long sleep and it took me a few minutes to feel like I could wake up enough to get up! I went straight to bed and slept really well.

When I woke the next day I felt like a weight had been lifted from me, the anxious feeling that I am used to waking up to every morning was gone. It’s been two weeks since my treatment and I still feel the same. It seems a bit crazy but the difference in the way I feel is inexplicable. Obviously it’s impossible for me to know how long the feeling will last but I am astounded by these results and I would definitely use reflexology in future when I feel like my anxiety is getting on top of me.

If you live in my area I can’t recommend Lucy Bush enough, I genuinely feel that she came into my life for a reason and that she was sent to help me. I know it all sounds a bit mad but the results speak for themselves, so if you have something physical or emotional that is causing you problems why not give it a go?

Have you tried reflexology? Have you experienced amazing results too? I would love to hear about your experiences.

Watch It!

Hayley goes Sober – available on BBC iPlayer.

Hayley Pearce from BBC series The Call Centre now has her own series called Hayley, each week she looks at issues affecting young women in the UK today. In this episode Hayley investigates the recent trend in young people giving up alcohol. She looks at her own binge drinking and how it may be effecting her health and tries hypnotherapy to help her quit.

I got super excited when Hayley went to meet one of my sober heroes Laurie Mcallister the woman behind Girl & Tonic I think it’s great that there are young women like Laurie showing the younger generation that there is life beyond booze and I’m also really happy to see a program covering this subject on the BBC.

Follow it!

@unexpectedjoyof

Since going sober 6 months ago I have read a LOT of recovery memoirs. The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober by Catherine Gray is my absolute favourite, I love it so much I read it twice! Not only does Catherine write excellent books (she’s currently writing her fourth!) she also has a really funny and inspiring insta account – so give her a follow.

Buy it!

Since quitting drinking one of the toughest times of day for me is in the evening just after i’ve put the kids to bed. It used to be the time that I would reward myself for all my hard work with a BIG glass of wine. Sometimes even now my mind will start to wonder and I will feel like something is missing. When this happens I’ve learnt that the best way to unwind and banish those thoughts of a drink is to have a nice long hot bath.

Below i’ve put together some of my favourite bath oils and bath salts, it’s really nice to have something ‘special’ to add to your bath and these ones in particular are perfect for someone trying to stave off thoughts of booze. They all contain ingredients and essential oils that are known to combat the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal. They are –

Black Pepper Oil – reduces cravings, boosts serotonin and dopamine.

Lemon Oil – Alleviates depression, boosts the immune system, detoxify’s the liver and kidneys.

Lavender Oil – helps anxiety, relieves insomnia.

Ginger Oil – Supports the healing process of damaged livers.

Roman Chamomile Oil – calms the nervous system and combats depression.

Molton Brown Sport Re-charge Black Pepper Muscle soak – John Lewis, Dr Hauschka Lemongrass Bath Essence – John Lewis, Neal’s Yard Lavender Bath Salts – Neal’s Yard, Cowshed Active Bath & Body Oil – Cowshed, Mrs Frisbee’s Sleep Tight Bath Oil – Mrs Frisbee’s

Thanks so much for reading my July 2019 Sober not Boring blog post. If you find these posts helpful please share them. Wishing you a wonderful hangover free July!

thanks

Sam

x

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