Hypoglycemia: Low Blood Sugar

If you don’t drink alcohol it’s not the end of the world. You won’t die. You don’t need it. You only crave it or want it because it’s there. It’s a comfort, it’s a habit. It’s a drug.

If you don’t eat, it can be the end of the world. We need to eat and drink to survive. If we don’t we die.

Above I have stated the obvious. Ten months sober and I feel I have a handle on the not drinking part of life. The benefits of being sober outweigh the hangovers and lost moments of drinking life. The abundance of time that being sober opens up is a daunting thing. I am left with myself, my sober self. I cannot take a holiday from me. I cannot take a break from me. I am stuck with me. Before in my drinking days I would have taken a break from myself by getting drunk. Today I don’t need to escape from the isle of me. Have I got my life figured out? Not by a half. However I am learning to deal with myself as I am today. I am far from perfect. I am human after all.

My body deals with sugar poorly. I have known this for most of my life. To have a banana or something sweet in my bag was not uncommon. I used to know this. I forgot. Stopping alcohol gave my eating habits a wobbly unbalance. I compensated by binging on food. A common enough side effect of quitting alcohol. Ten months into this sober pursuit and I think I can now face my relationship with food.

I have hypoglycemia. That’s a fancy word for low blood sugar. When I have low blood sugar I can feel dizzy, lose vision, sweat profusely, be clumsy, feel weak and shaky, fatigue, light-headed, have trouble talking, pale skin, diarrhoea, pass out.

I cannot eat the way I used to drink. I cannot substitute food for the way I drank. I will damage my body. If I binge on sweet foods my body has to adjust and level out. It expects more sugar later but when that doesn’t happen it panics and carries on like in the symptoms above. It used to be scary. Now I don’t panic. But I can stop this from happening altogether. I can eat smaller portions more often. I can carry something to eat with me. I didn’t do this and I was a mess a few weeks ago. Literally.

Why do we do this to ourselves? We know what is good for us and what is not. We know this. We have read about it. Most of it is commonsense. Humans are supposed to be a smarter species but I beg to differ. We have two options, the right one and the wrong one. We often choose the wrong one, even with all the information and knowledge that the wrong choice is bad. We still go for the wrong one. Is it plain stupidity? I don’t know. We cannot help ourselves until we go so far wrong that we get to the place of make or break. Humans aren’t logical. We like to think we are but we aren’t. We try to complicate our lives by doing the wrong thing over and over but keeping it simple seems too easy? I really don’t know why we do the things that we do. Stubbornness is a big reason. Why do we rebel against ourselves though?Why must we make life harder for ourselves when we know the difference between right and wrong?

Back to the sugar. I need to regulate my sugar intake. I can no longer guzzle an entire bag of licorice without suffering consequences. Because if I’m honest it isn’t just a bag of licorice. It is the desire to eat what is in reach. It is not healthy eating. It is eating for the sake of eating. It is perhaps emotional eating. It is replacement eating for alcohol that I no longer consume.

I do not drink fizzy drink or soda. I haven’t for many years. I don’t drink fruit juice either. I have a sweet tooth. I haven’t baked in a long while because I will tend to eat all of the baking within a short space of time. Why? Because it’s there. I have not taken moderation seriously with my food. I love food. I took food holidays. Visiting balsamic vinegar making factories, eating wild boar, pickled sardines, freshly fried sardines, octopus, fresh mozzarella, tiramisu. I ate my way around places. I would cook in apartments with fresh ingredients from the markets. It was a great focus to travel. I did art holidays too. I followed the footsteps of Matisse. I followed the Byzantine. Reading up before I left. It was a great way to travel.

I am forcing myself to moderate my food intake. If I regulate how much sugar I consume then I won’t become hypoglycemic. Simple. No. Not so simple. I am bucking the habits of a lifetime. I am limiting myself to five pieces of licorice a day. I read the back of the package and a single serving is 40g or five pieces. I used to look at the back for fun and then eat the entire bag. I cannot do that anymore without consequences. Wake up me. Time to get real. I have done three days of self regulation of licorice. That for me is a big step. Because with that comes better eating habits all around. Salads and salmon. Toasted muesli. Kiwifruit. Yoghurt. Almonds instead of chocolate. Whole grain toast. Smaller portions. Eating when hungry, not just for the sake of it, eating better.

This evening I will have five pieces of licorice. No more and no less.

Rainy Sunday afternoon

Went to the supermarket today. Avoided the alcohol aisle. Walked down the confectionery aisle and picked out some chocolate for myself. DH went nuts with chocolate buying. He knows that I no longer steal from his stash of goodies so he feels that he can buy what he likes now.

Alcoholic me would have devoured his chocolate in the wee hours with no regard for the  consequences the following morning. Sorry doesn’t cut it really. I am strong enough to resist the urge to binge on sweet stuff because I am not drinking.

It feels good to be trusted around chocolate again. I’m 50 not 5. Such a silly thing but a big step for me.

I feel good for the money I’m saving by not drinking alcohol. I don’t watch TV so I don’t get bombarded with commercials for various brands and labels so that is a positive thing. I have removed myself from wine clubs. I was a member of two. I no longer take calls from them so I cannot be tempted to buy a case.

I haven’t removed the spirits from the drinks cupboard. I plan to move them to the garage so that they are further from line of sight and of mind. Being a lazy drinker I would not bother to go to the garage to grab a drink, I would rather go without. But best to move them sooner than later.

Insomnia is still with me at Day 16 but I can manage to get to sleep now, which is good progress. Will try to get to bed earlier and read a book before nodding off. Trying to have an internet free bedroom. Phone and computer charging elsewhere. Working on that. Haven’t been successful yet but trying. Habits are so hard to break.

Focusing on self care at the moment. I realise that Sober Day 16 is such a new experience that I should take everything slowly. If all goes well it will be for the rest of my sober life. I have been dry for spurts of months and weeks in the past but never with the sober forever in mind. I was having a break. It was always swayed into going back to the wine or the vodka or the beer. I feel that this time I have the right mindset. I know that I am going sober for me. I know that only I can make that decision.

Once this insomnia is kicked I feel that I can start to get back to being creative. Regardless I am back to exercising next week, walking, weights and Pokemon Go. I mowed the lawns last week. Weeding to do next. I am being kind to myself and if I don’t get it done today it will be tomorrow. And if it isn’t done then it isn’t a big deal. It is not the end of the world. Priority is being sober.

Today’s Sober Treats: Chocolate and Reading

Whittaker’s Hawke’s Bay Braeburn Apple with Vanilla 100g

The Village Effect: How Face-to-face Contact Can Make Us Healthier, Happier and Smarter by Susan Pinker


Fifteen days sober

Not a drop has passed my lips for the past fifteen days.

I put on high heels yesterday and thought about how I don’t have to worry about falling over drunk. I am clumsy and un-co-ordinated when I am sober, so when going out I tend to wear flat shoes. I put the heels on and felt happy with a sense of freedom. Okay my toes might not have felt the same way. It was my first time in ages to wear heels and to be honest my feet weren’t ready for it. Three hours was plenty. Luckily I only had to walk to and from the car and mostly sitting in between. Baby steps.

I notice that I am not eating as much as before. When I drink I get the munchies and have a wicked sweet tooth. I tend to devour food in the small hours while drunk. Nothing is sacred in the kitchen. My binge drinking links to binge eating. It isn’t pretty. I have been known to eat hotdogs cold because I couldn’t be bothered to heat them up. No combination of food is odd when drunk. Hopefully this is a thing of the past.

Insomnia may be a thing of the past. I have managed to have two decent nights sleep, plus a nap. I have been patient with lack of sleep. I don’t function well without it. I am finding my groove again.

This sober path feels like the right one.