October marks two big campaigns to deal with overcoming addiction. The Macmillan campaign Go Sober is challenging us to raise money for cancer support whilst giving up alcohol. Stoptober is encouraging us to give up smoking.
These are two of the most common addictions in this country, they are also potentially very damaging to our health. We want to encourage you to be active in one or both of these campaigns.
Alcohol is a huge part of our culture and so it may take a while to realise that you have a problem with it. The effects of alcohol can be seriously damaging just consider how you would feel with:
- liver problems
- brain damage
- oral cancer
- alcoholic cardiomyopathy
Get in a car drunk and you could kill other people
Go Sober is an opportunity to assess your alcohol intake and if the thought of no alcohol for a month scares you that is all the more reason to Go Sober.
Smoking has become less socially acceptable over the last few years. Being out and about no longer means you come home stinking of smoke even when you don’t smoke. Despite this the diehards still maintain their habit ignoring the health consequences such as
- lung cancer
- tooth loss
- laryngeal cancer
Your habit could potentially contribute to someone else’s ill health because they passively inhale the toxins from your cigarettes.
Again Stoptober is a chance to assess your smoking habit. How do you react to the thought of no cigarettes for a month? Like alcohol if it worries you then that should give you pause for thought and likewise if it doesn’t bother you why do it?
Both drinking and smoking can cause serious damage to your health and your life. Why not embrace one or both of these campaigns and help yourself and others?
Both drinking and smoking deplete the body of essential nutrients. Antioxidants that support our immune system are eradicated by smoking. This is why smokers are more susceptible to cancer and heart disease
Drinking also depletes essential nutrients such as calcium, zinc and magnesium. These nutrients are often in short supply anyway so drinking just reduces the body’s supply even further
Acidity in our bodies promotes more disease and, surprise surprise, alcohol and smoking will promote acidity in your body. Most aspects of modern life our diets, habits and lifestyle all promote acidity and this is why we suffer symptoms such as (but not exclusive to)
- Skin problems
- Weight challenges
- Immune related issues
You need to get your body into a more alkaline state. This means more vegetables, water with lemon or lime juice, green drinks, fruit and mushrooms.
Hopefully, we have now convinced you that smoking and drinking are just not good for you.
Healthy Solutions for Go Sober and Stoptober
It is time to start treating your body with good food and healthy treats and there are lots of them! You need to change your focus instead of looking to alcohol or smoking as your treat or stress relief you need to find alternatives.
Food will be very important because whether you smoke and/or drink you will have depleted your body of many precious nutrients. It is time to start replacing those lost nutrients!
Make food a central part of your day. Given the changes you are making why not embrace new healthier eating habits too? Does it sound like too much? Think of it this way by focusing on new recipes and new food you are distracting yourself from picking a cigarette or having a drink.
Start experimenting with new ingredients, ask your friends what their favourite foods are or do the fridge challenge – make a new dish from what you have in the fridge. It may be best to do this at the beginning of the week after a food shop!
There are loads of great recipe books or you can go online and find recipes for any ingredient you fancy!
As with everything you can choose how much change you want to introduce at one time. Most people find it hard to go cold turkey on either smoking or drinking so it may be more realistic to gradually reduce your intake.
For example, I often have to suggest to patients that they drink less tea or coffee. I find out how many they drink a day and ask that in the first week they drink one cup less of tea/coffee and one cup of water instead. This allows the body to adjust both physically and mentally. The following week they reduce by a further cup and continue like this until they are drinking much more water and much less tea or coffee.
A good start would be to introduce supplements into your daily regime. For a smoker a good antioxidant formula is essential and you may want to consider a multivitamin and mineral to back that up. You could also use craving essence this helps to reduce your craving. With these two actions you are building your body’s defence system and giving yourself some extra help. A body with extra energy and resources will cope better than one with few nutrients.
In the case of a drinker then magnesium, calcium and zinc are vital nutrients alongside B vitamins. If that feels like too many tablets to take then opt for a B vitamin formula, take a magnesium salt bath or use a magnesium spray and eat more green vegetables!
Your liver will need support. It is the organ that detoxes the body so will have been working very hard for you. Support it with milk thistle tincture and increase the amount of water you consume. Coconut and cactus waters are fabulous for rehydrating depleted bodies so check them out.
Another way to get yummy nutrients into you is to make a delicious smoothie or juice. You can create whatever you want but at first we recommend you stick with the recipes until you know what you want. Don’t shy away from the green smoothies they can be some of the best but do experiment and find out what you really like.
As either a smoker or drinker there is an element of habit to what you do. Find a new habit. Mindfulness and deep breathing can be extremely effective at calming you down so when you find yourself reaching for a cigarette or the bottle take ten deep breaths and with each exhale imagine you are falling down a three tier waterfall so exhale a third of your breath at each level. I know it sounds mad but it is truly amazing and worked on me when I was ready to punch someone!
Extend your mindfulness into your food and really think about what you eat and what it will do for you. Imagine all those lovely vegetables supporting your immune system savour new tastes and flavours. Smokers in particular once they get their taste buds back will discover a whole new world of food delight!
If mindfulness doesn’t appeal why not try a new hobby? With all the money you are saving by not buying cigarettes or alcohol you could fund a new hobby or treat yourself to something special.
Collect a selection of fruit and herbal teas. There are some fantastic combinations; some will give you energy to get through the day. I find the mint teas really pep me up when I need a boost plus I know they are helping my digestive system too! Later in the day chamomile tea helps you relax and chill getting you prepared for a good night’s sleep. You will all find your own favourites.
Why not consider making your tea break more of an event? Start by selecting the tea that suits how you feel and perhaps eat a tasty but healthy snack alongside your cuppa. Go to our recipe section where we have added a few tasty ideas for you. Make sure that you really savour those new flavours and above all, stop work while you do so!
Are you worried that the end of the working day is going to be difficult? It is the time most people surrender to the odd glass or 3 or enjoy a few cigarettes. This may take some effort but remember doing a thing differently helps you stay on track.
Invite friends round for an evening of non-alcoholic cocktails. We confess to cheating a bit here the Go Sober site has got some fabulous ideas check it out.
To make the evening more special burn some lovely beeswax candles and essential oils. If you want a lively evening grapefruit oil is great, if you want a calmer evening try lavender oil – again, experiment find what works for you. It doesn’t have to be cocktails but we thought they might be fun. You could try elderflower or ginger cordials too. Again we have added some extra recipe.
We know this has been a long blog, so thank you for reaching the end and we hope it has inspired you! Good luck!