Coffee – moderation vs abstinence, again!

I spent most of the weekend laid out on the sofa with extreme fatigue and a headache which wasn’t much fun. I did get to have a guilt-free netflix binge though so it’s not all bad. I’ve been weaning down off my prodigious coffee intake which was probably the cause. It’s something I’ve had my head in the sand about for a while but I’ve decided it’s time to tackle it.

I know coffee has had a lot of good press. It’s rich in antioxidants and polyphenols and there have been studies that link it with the prevention of some diseases. That being said, red wine has also had some good press, and look where that got me. Coffee also definitely has a dark side with a number of negative side effects – particularly when consumed in excess and hey, this is me I’m talking about ;D

It’s particularly questionable for somebody suffering from autoimmune thyroid disease (Hashimoto’s). When I was first diagnosed, many years ago, my initial research found this out fairly quickly and I quit straight away. It was one of the combination of things that temporarily put a halt on the disease and made me feel much better.

I need to cut it out again and I’m struggling, much in the same way that I did/do with alcohol. I can list the logic and reasons for quitting – the effect on autoimmune antibody levels, the flogging of the adrenals, the effects on gut microbiome and gut lining, the possible interference with T4 to T3 conversion etc, etc… But, in the same way that knowing the health risks of drinking didn’t rein me in, it’s not stopping me from staring at the dregs in my ever-weakening cup and really, REALLY wanting ‘just one more’. Just one more – yeah, that sounds familiar.

One of the myriad of thyroid symptoms that bothers me the most is the constant tinnitus – it drives me nuts. Coffee is guaranteed to ramp this up within a few minutes. It’s not guaranteed to be a deterrent though, just like a hangover never was with alcohol.

Aarrghh! Why am I like this?! When I was feeling low over the weekend I had a niggly voice telling me that as I was feeling so crap I may as well drink, it wouldn’t make any difference. I didn’t listen but I’m feeling frustrated, grey and pissy today – to match the weather. There’s a part of me having a tantrum inside that just wants to down wine, strong black coffee and slabs of chocolate while rolling around making rude gestures at the part of me trying to sort my life out. I won’t though…

Ah, the ups and downs… Wishing you an UP day today.

 

 

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Day 52

I’m creeping up on my record of 58 days and feeling good about my chances of passing that this time round. I have had a few bursts of emptiness, restlessness and craving but I’ve been able to dismiss them reasonably quickly this week.

Yesterday I had a quintessential morning of relaxation and self care. I sat and meditated for almost an hour followed by an hour of yoga. After the yoga I crashed out on the mat and meditated some more to a recording of sea and river sounds. I had started with woodland sounds but my cat was freaking out looking round the bedroom for where the birds were at so I switched it. I finished off with a long soak in the bath with a novel. Lovely! I felt amazing afterwards, I really should make an effort to do all that regularly. Even a 10 minute meditation session daily makes a difference.

I’m not feeling physically great today though, I have a sore throat and feel like I’m coming down with a cold. I have a lot of fatigue, shortness of breath and muscle weakness with some recently added dizziness for good measure. My lower legs are also going randomly numb or tingly. I don’t know if this is some long drawn out withdrawal thing or just my untreated thyroid being cranky. I should go back to my GP but I don’t hold much hope of getting any help if past visits are anything to go by. Although I’m happy with my downsizing choices in life, the only time I regret turning away from a high income is when I’m dealing with health stuff – I wish I still had the money to get private help. Hey ho…

I seriously think I need to quit coffee because I keep having a horrible feeling as if I’ve drunk too much of it, even when I haven’t had that much. It’s as close to anxiety as I’ve been for many years and I really don’t want to go back there. I keep saying I’ll quit, but I go into an addictive loop of thoughts and behaviour which are so similar to the ones I have around alcohol. Cross addiction? Yes, I think so! I’m using it to alter my state of mind, for which it’s pretty effective but I’m definitely suffering adverse effect from it, which are crap, but don’t stop me from doing it all over again the next day. Sound familiar? 😉

Well, that turned into a bit of a whinge-fest. Please come back pink clound and rescue the world from my grumpiness. It’s really not all bad. I’ve done lots of reading, sleeping, listening to podcasts, artwork, decluttering, soap making, sitting in the garden and other such happy, constructive things. I’ll end on that more positive note.

Hugs to anybody who’s struggling. Have a lovely sober weekend folks x

 

Day 16 – Thinking about my health

I’ve gone over 2 weeks now and still going strong. I’d love to say I’m feeling great as a result but I’m actually feeling pretty dreadful on and off but that’s down to struggling with my thyroid medication so not related to alcohol in any way. Even so, I know that ditching the booze can only be a good thing for my health.

Back in august I had a load of blood tests done including the much feared liver function tests. Surprisingly they came back as ‘within normal range’ which was a relief. In hindsight I think this may have played a part in my slipping back into drinking again. The booze devil inside me most definitely took it as confirmation that ‘I wasn’t that bad after all / See, no harm done’ etc…

That’s not a helpful way to think really is it? That’s like saying well hey, my liver hasn’t failed yet so I may as well keep hammering it until it does. Or, wow, I don’t have lung cancer yet so fuck it I’ll just keep on smoking and quit when I do eh? Seriously?!

There’s also the fallibility of medical tests. On a number of occasions in the last decade my thyroid tests have been ‘within normal range’ which could lead you to think it was perfectly fine. Unfortunately, due to Hashimoto’s disease my immune system has been doing a ninja kick-ass routine on it for all that time so in reality it has been merely scraping by and keeping up the appearance of normality against all odds. Sooo… who knows, maybe that’s what my liver has been doing?

I also can’t escape the fact that when I have a drinking binge – which is basically any time I drink – I get a dull pain under the right side of my ribs. No drink = no pain, drink = pain. Suspicious huh? It’s not rocket science 😉

In the last couple of weeks I’ve watched some alcohol-related documentaries on youtube and wow has that been a sobering experience. Watching a young woman with liver failure have 23 litres of ascites fluid drained from her abdomen (it looks like cloudy pee!) is pretty appalling 😦 Here are links to some of the most interesting ones:

Old before my time – alcohol
Alcohol will kill you!

The next one may seem a bit judgemental at times, particularly about whether addiction is a disease or not, but it still raises many interesting points to consider:

Beyond sober

And on a more positive and uplifting note here’s a beautiful one focusing on sobriety:

Sober

I also bought a couple of books for my new kindle which was a sober treat that’s already 50% paid for by the savings from not drinking:
Drink: The Deadly Relationship Between Women and Alcohol – Ann Dowsett Johnston
Smashed: Growing Up A Drunk Girl – Koren Zailckas

So, lots of sobriety-focused watching, reading and thinking going on here. It’s now almost 5am and I’m enjoying the early silence whilst I write this. I have a busy day planned doing lots of sober and productive stuff. Wishing everybody a positive, sober day too x

Day 31, a whole month!

After my previous wobbles things have settled down again and I haven’t really had any cravings for the last week. I went out for a meal on Wednesday and there was a split second thought of ‘Oh a glass of wine would be nice’, but I immediately dismissed it. Nobody else was drinking as everybody was either driving and/or working the following morning. In the past I would have had at least a couple of large glasses at the meal and opened a bottle when I got home. I thoroughly enjoyed the evening as it was, without booze. Things can change 🙂

I’ve had confirmation from my GP that my thyroid is failing again 😦 It’s a bummer as I’d previously stabilised it without medication using supplements, nutrition and generally living healthily. It’s good in a way though because it explains why I’m exhausted, sometimes depressed, physically weak and shaky, have gained weight and so on… why I generally just feel half dead most of the time. At least if I take the pills this time I’ll have more strength to carry on my booze-free mission and have the energy to stick more carefully to a diet aimed at reducing autoimmune disease. We can’t do battle on all fronts at once and I’m sick of feeling like a snail on valium.

My GP has decided to give me a full health MOT so I’m off for a whole battery of blood tests this morning. This includes a liver function test so I’m soooo glad I’ve been off the wine for a whole month or the results could have been a bit scary. I’m still a bit iffy, what if I did do some damage when I was drinking too much? How long does it take for liver function to improve? etc, etc… I suppose it would be better to know than not know but I am feeling a bit anxious about it all. Thinking about it now though, I haven’t had any suspicious pains from my liver area for a few weeks now so that’s got to be a good sign.

I’m off to the hospital now, the sooner I get it over with, the sooner I can have some breakfast. It’s a fasting blood test and I’m flippin’ starving! Wishing everybody a sober and energetic day x