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.

Advertisements

Moderately Sober

The title of my blog: Moderately sober made sense the day I became sober. I had just drawn the last straw with drinking. I made the decision to abstain from drinking. This time I was serious. I have had a few dry months in my life and a dry holiday trip to Thailand. That was all.

Abstain? Formally decline a wine? The declaration can not be taken seriously. Moderately sober? Not possible. It’s like saying “I’m moderately pregnant.” You cannot be moderately sober, you are either sober, a drinker, an alcoholic, or a normal drinker. A normal drinker is just an alcoholic in waiting.

I did honestly think that I would go back to having a drink once a week, controlling myself, after a break from alcohol for a couple of months. I now realise that this is a flawed idea. One cannot control alcohol, the alcohol controls you. I was holding out on the desire to have a drink again one day sometime in the future, hence, the title, moderately sober.

Foolish thoughts enter the head. They can be heeded and/or observed as they float past and away. Moderately sober is one of those foolish ideas. It is now a reminder to myself that “drinking in moderation” is a myth. Cannot be done. The person you are before your first drink becomes a different person after the first drink. The logic and decision making changes. What was considered foolish before now becomes a brilliant idea.

No one plans to drink and drive at the start of the evening. No one plans to argue with their spouse/partner/friend. It happens when the foolish becomes sensible. Logic disappears and demented thought rules supreme.

We are not the wisest when we drink. We are not the smartest when we drink. We might becomes the loudest and the most obnoxious but that is all. Poets, artists, writers, sculptors don’t do their best work when they drink. That is a myth.

“Moderately” is a reminder that moderation is a myth.
I will continue to be sober from here on in.

DH suggested I make a video for myself, declaring to be sober. I did that. For just in case I get the urge to drink again, I can play it to myself. I don’t think I will need it. It’s insurance.

4pm Uneasiness

Today I feel uneasy. Why? I upset someone with my own stupid words. If I could take it back I would but I can’t. It is too late. The words escaped. They are gone. They are not forgotten.

Perfection is not who I am. I don’t claim to be or aim to be perfect. I would like to feel a little less stupid today. All I can do is forgive myself. Get over it and try to be better next time. Dwelling on it will not improve the situation or my mood. Dwelling on it makes everything worse.

Moving on. I am trying with an uneasiness in my stomach. Or my big toe. Where ever my feelings are supposed to be. I don’t know.

Living sober is a challenge. Today I feel it heavier than other days. I gobbled chocolate yesterday like it was a feast. Did I need so many? Does anyone need chocolate? Of course not. I wanted one, then two then one of each kind, then another. Written down on paper it looks gluttonous. Because it was!

Moderation. Remember. That is why we are writing this. Because I cannot moderate myself. I do not want to substitute chocolate for alcohol. That’s like ripping a bandage off and wrapping a marshmallow over the wound with plastic wrap as a replacement. Not that I’ve ever tried doing that ever.

Being kind to oneself is for everyday not just special occasions. The little things count. A cup of tea. A bath. A book. A film. A time to write thoughts. A log fire. A walk. Time spent with a loved one. Time spent with a pet. A song. A smile. A laugh. A nap. Breathe.


Apres exercise

Walked my two kilometers today with the aid of an audio book. I could have walked further as the book was good. Decided instead to not overdo it and stopped. This tendency to do too much is why I am writing his blog in the first place. It is better to exercise moderately five times a week rather than all out twice a week. Moderation.

Insomnia is becoming less and less. Managed to get to sleep after a restless hour or so. Time is estimated as I now refuse to clock watch at night. I think it makes it worse. I no longer lie in bed wide awake, I have an exhausted feel, a sleepy feeling instead. That however doesn’t naturally allow me to fall asleep easily. I am being patient with this. I can see improvement. I just want insomnia to no longer be a topic of discussion. I want it to be a thing of the past. Done.

My winter pyjama bottoms are super soft and I love them to bits. I almost threw them out last week. Why? They are covered with images of half filled champagne glasses and I wanted to rid myself of all thing alcohol and my pyjamas were in my line of sight. They survived. I realised that I was being a bit extreme and that it would have been a waste to throw them out.

So far so good. I don’t want to drink anything. But the space the drinking has left behind is huge. I have so much I want to do. I have much to achieve. The drinking has postponed so much of my life.
I’ll get round to it!
Tomorrow!
I’m not in the mood!
I don’t feel like it!
Sure! (then instantly forgets what was agreed upon)

Setting up good habits will make life easily when days are not going so smoothly. Exercise is put in place. I just need to do it. Aiming at four times a week to feel a success. Morning Pages are ideally ever day not necessarily in the morning but anytime really. I have missed a day here and there. Getting the internet out of the bedroom is taking some getting used to. Better luck tonight. Sober treats is a lovely idea and yesterday I bought some pomegranate tea to have when the mood appears. I’m reading more and that is always a good thing. Reading is so much more enjoyable, an active activity. I mean compared to watching Netflix, a passive activity. Reading stimulates the mind and if I get around to reading all the books that I want to read I might have to live past one hundred.

Today’s Sober Treats: Chamomile tea and Reading

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