Sunday, 9 September 2018

Aug 30

And my drunk neighbor has again come home extremely drunk, emotional and shouting for 10 minutes in the hallway. We had a precursor that this was coming as we could hear he'd down the street shouting at someone. Thankfully she figured out how the key worked when she started to wretch and made it in her door.

I don't have the energy to relive the whole experience by writing it down.

There but for the grace of God go I.

Day 39

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

An unfortunate Friday night

And it wasn't me! My gym has just started a new 'lifting technique' class which is an awesome way to end my Friday. Heavy lifting on a Friday night makes my heart sing.

I went to bed at 11 PM completely worn out. It was most unfortunate that I was woken up at 4 AM by someone shouting.

I live in a little rooftop flat, we are 3 apartments on the top floor. Neighbor 1 (D) is a scientific writer, he also works from home. Neighbor 2 (M) moved in last summer, she's a female, early 20's. I think she works in London.

M came home completely and spectacularly drunk. In her drunken stupidity she put her key into D's door. She then concluded that we had locked her out of her flat.

Oh Lordy Pete.

D is a phD scientist, he would never hurt a fly. He tried to tell her about the key (he was also now locked into his flat due to her key) but she was having none of that. I looked out of the peephole, she was laying down on the floor, I thought I could sneak out and get the key as she was laying down on the floor but that just set her off again. She started to throw herself violently at his door and I got an earful.

D and I share a balcony so I went over the side and knocked on his bedroom door so we could figure out a solution.

M was violent and abusive. Apparently D is a 'F***ing C*** and a weirdo and we are both F***ing losers who sit at home all day and do nothing whilst she is out working so many hours. 

She was like a caged animal in our little hallway. This tirade went on for 45 minutes.  Apparently she resents us quite a bit.

Apparently we think we're so much better than her and she just wanted to go home to her life before with her parents and twin brother but her parents are now dead.  And we are nothing.  Queue the abusive name calling again.
   
Finally she figured out her mistake at 445 AM. We were so awake that we ended up having a cup of tea and watching the sun rise. I finally crawled back into bed at 6 AM.

My day was a little out of sorts, I woke up before 10, when I looked in the hallway it was a mess of whatever was in her handbag that she was throwing around: coins, gum, a broken pen.  I have no idea if her phone survived being thrown down repeatedly.

We received an apology letter under the door on Sunday.

Then we got a longer one on Monday in an envelope.

She was sorry, embarrassed and ashamed and going through a bad time in life.  Both letters told us that she didn't remember much.  In the second letter she said that she was a good person and that struck me as odd.

I ran into D today, as you know we sit around and do nothing all day...he got equivalent notes. He made a statement to the effect of, 'I know what it's like to know something happened but not know what...at the same time I try to treat people carefully who are going through a rough time in life...but at the same time I don't need this.'

I dropped her a note under her door saying that we're weren't angry just worried that she would hurt herself as she was so upset and 'onwards and upwards' as we say here in the UK.         

Just another example of why alcohol is not your friend.

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Alcohol, depression and weightlifting

It seems a lot of people in blog land suffer from depression. The alcohol blocks/feeds the depression and it's an endless loop of more depression. Maybe this will help someone out there...

Each time I would do dry January or 30+ days off alcohol I would see benefits. A little weight loss, toning, better sleep, money savings. I never really made it to a beautiful point though, I just felt very flat. I trundled along with my alcoholic free beverage and continued my overthinking and average existence. Even when I did 60 days off I just ended up feeling sad and deflated.

A lot of people extol the virtues of fresh air. "Let's go take a walk, clear the cobwebs!" Great, here in the UK the weather is crap, it's dark early and all walks end in a pub where I have to put on a fake smile and order a fizzy water.

I've always done a lot of sport, mainly because my gym in 90 seconds from my front door and I have a training partner who depends on me to meet up. I've been playing with my schedule and in speaking with trainers and internet research I decided to incorporate weight lifting twice a week.

I started lifting weights on Oct 7th in a Les Mills Body Pump class at the gym. I was 2 weeks into my 100 days alcohol-free stint. I had occasionally lifted here and there but not in a proper 1 hour class. It's offered at many gyms, it's a choreographed class so every instructor in the world is doing the same songs, same moves. Then they bring out a new version every 12 weeks. 

I enjoyed the class and the instructor's energy so signed up for another one....and another one.

I was one month into being alcohol free and lifting weights in this class twice a week along with my 'regular' hiit sessions with my gym buddy. I was walking back home at 830 PM on a Monday night (which historically was my heaviest drinking night due to hating my job) and I found myself humming the tunes from the class. I felt very alive and happy. It was a confusing moment as I had not had a 'good' day in many months.

I began to look forward to the Monday and Thursday classes and had some more good days.  

Then I started to do some googling online. I know a lot of people have success with running for depression while others recommend yoga. In some research, weight lifting can have the same or better results than other forms of exercise. Here are two quick summaries:

https://health.usnews.com/wellness/fitness/articles/2017-03-30/can-weightlifting-treat-depression

https://startingstrength.com/article/the-prescription-of-strength-training-for-treating-depression-and-optimizing-cognitive-performance

I've now upped my weight training (still doing the Les Mills Body Pump) to three times a week. I find I feel consistently good for hours afterwards. After class I come home with no desire to open a bottle of wine as my mind is calm and I feel a mixture of energetic yet exhausted in a good way.

I think this may help someone else out there. In particular, the 2nd article makes this statement, 'Another important finding in this study was that there was an association between a change in depressive symptoms and gain in muscle strength.'

I've never been one for running, especially outside in the rain, cold or dark weather. Even when I go out and run the 5k park run, I never get that runner's high, ever. I go on the treadmill for an hour and it still doesn't happen. However one month in to weight training I started to actually get arm, back and shoulder muscles and it's precisely when I started to feel mentally better.

I tried yoga and then mindfulness class but they made my brain spin too fast and then the partner exercises and instructors touching me put me over the edge. I find weight training focuses the brain. As all your mental energy is thinking about the bar and the weight everything else is blocked out.

So if you're sitting in a dark room with a bottle and racing thoughts suffering from bad sleep, flat moods and hangovers, maybe give weight training a try if other sport and activities haven't helped. 

I do the Les Mills Body Pump classes as I have a gym membership and I need a structured time and place to do things. If you have access to weights and youtube you could have a weight training program. There's always free cycle to get free weight equipment or even plastic water bottles filled with water or sand could get you started.


Monday, 1 January 2018

Hello 2018

I completed my 100 days. Once again, no balloons and confetti fell after I met my goal.

While I'm bored with the routine I haven't missed alcohol.

So the plan is to take a few days off from abstaining and then to get back into my routine: work, gym, healthy food, no alcohol.

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Day 77

I never get to post on milestone dates, meh. Still on track for 100 days.

All the gym work and no alcohol is finally starting to pay off with decent arm muscles and abs. It's now getting to the point that I'm kicking around going past 100 days as I'm on such a roll on this front.

I am flavour of the month in this holiday season as everyone's favourite designated driver.

This time last year was our annual family Christmas at the in laws. They do it early to fit into everyone's plans. Last year I was hungover on the Sunday due to the non stop wine. This year, I'm booked into the gym for a 9 AM class this Sunday after the Sat night shenanigans.

That's how I roll these days.

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Day 40

Just chugging along here, heading towards day 100.

Someone from the gym is doing dry October and is now extending it until a planned party in late November as she feels so great and is down a stone in a month (just from giving up sugar, no other diet or exercise changes!). That's how my dry January went on for 40 days too, I was in the zone. Funny how once you get started and get over the tough days it gains momentum.






Monday, 4 September 2017

On form

I'm more of a blog lurker than writer these days.

In October I did 30 days off alcohol.
I did dry January this year and it lasted 40 days.
I then did a fresh run of 60 days off alcohol.

I'm finding that I now do most days off of it and that's ok.  I've come to a conclusion that I'm more of a boredom drinker than anything else. At the same time I picked up at the gym back in January and now evolved into a set routine, 6 days per week. Alcohol does nothing for me on the sport front and I've been enjoying the benefits of working out.

My current method is to be on 'off' mode with the exception of pre-planned 'on' days. I find that I'm no longer counting hours and days. Backtracking on my calendar I'm currently on day 7 and my next 'on' day is the weekend of Sept 15th as we have some time away planned.

Looking back, 30 days seemed so difficult the first time around. Even a week was daunting in a series of day ones. Thankful to be off of that hamster wheel.