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Alcohol Free Living?

Time for change......

In 2018 I was knocked off my bike whilst out on a ride; the driver was entirely at fault and was prosecuted and convicted of dangerous driving.  Meanwhile I suffered a few weeks where I could not do much exercise following the injuries I had sustained.  Slowly I began to fall into a place of low mood and anxiety.  I suspected that this was largely to do with the fact I was no longer buzzing from exercise, I was probably peri-menopausal and I was continuing my daily ritual of wine consumption.  It was a couple of months later that the reality of this really began to dawn on me.  I was beginning to wake up to the reality that I felt out of control with the frequency and quantity of alcohol that I was consuming.  

How I had reached this place when I didn't really drink alcohol very much at university or even during my early days as a police officer.  Over time and for multiple reasons I had begun to consume more alcohol over the years.  It's addictive to humans right? It absolutely is. 


It is a legally permitted drug - nothing more and nothing less and with the right level of exposure, the brain begins to synonymise it as necessary to so many of life's experiences because it connects alcohol inextricably to all the experiences that we "punctuate with alcohol".   


So there we have it...  my friend used to say as I rewarded myself post a long bike ride with a bottle of prosecco - "it's not a health drink Maria! "  but I seemed quite oblivious and ignorant at that point to the impact it was having on so many areas until I woke up.  

You can read my early journey and how I began to change my relationship with alcohol on a blog written for and hosted by This Naked Mind website .

More recently Ellie Crowe and Sam Goldfinch interviewed me for their "Present and Sober" podcast series and you can listen to the podcast or watch the zoom recording on my youtube channel.  Here, I I share in some detail regarding the entirety of my health journey - Alcohol, the Police and weight loss.  

This was taken at the end of January 2020.  I was away ski ing in Austria doing one of the things I enjoyed the most.  I was beginning to look weary. 








The photo above was from September 2020, on holiday in Turkey to celebrate my 50th.  

To the left February 2021 - I had taken back control of every area of my life from nutriton to sleep, to stress, to alcohol and healthy activity levels - I was 3 months in 

And finally to the right, almost 10 months into my health overhaul and alcohol free journey looking as though I have lost at least 10 years off my life, and in one case someone asked me if this was my student officer picture ! September 2021


I have never looked back; I would not trade the joy, health, peace, sleep, calm, strength, healthy stress levels, emotional and mental resilience for a the 20 minute buzz that alcohol gives through the artificial stimulation of the pleasure centre in the brain. 

Impact of Alcohol on Stress levels during and following consumption 

Garmin and other wearable technology if worn continuously use heart rate variability measurements to indicate body battery stress levels and sleep quality amongst other things.  The picture to the left shows the evening and night after alcohol consumption from about 6pm  - 10pm and you will notice that instead of coming into a restful place which would be blue overnight, stress levels remain medium and high all night and into the next day.  Daily or regular consumption of alcohol means that stress levels will be continually high which over time will impact other overall health metrics - physically and mentally.  Stress is a silent killer ! 

Why we think we like to drink? 

  • To relax ?

  • To unwind?

  • To celebrate ?

  • To have a good time? 

  • To lose your inhibitions?

  • To feel confident? 

  • To reward ourselves?

  • To numb difficult emotions ?

  • To alleviate stress?

  • To "switch off"

  • Because our friends do?

  • Because society has taught us it's necessary and we have conditioned our brain to think that way?

  • To enjoy the sunshine?

  • Because it's a special occasion? 

  • Because we deserve it? 

  • To deal with anger or loneliness? 

  • To........ 


  • Do you feel it's time for change?

  • Are you weary of waking up not feeling your best or worst still nursing a hangover? 

  • Do you want to enjoy quality sleep again 90% of nights?

  • Do you want to show up as the best version of you? 

Impact of Alcohol on Sleep quality and duration

Alcohol disrupts the quality and quantity of sleep immeasurably.  Whilst this is known to be a fact and is subject to significant attention in  books and articles, seeing it first hand on wearable tech like the Garmin Fenix is very powerful.

"The question is not whether you think your habit is bad enough.  The question to ask yourself is whether you think your life is good enough" - Annie Grace 


Little or no deep or REM sleep or means little or no physical recovery for the body and its organs and little or no recovery for the brain and cognitive processes. 

Sleep is the MAIN way our cells re-generate, repair and re-calibrate so by regularly consuming alcohol we disrupt and cause cellular dysfunction.  It is also why when we stop drinking, sometimes it takes time for sleep to normalise again - both falling asleep our brain has allowed alcohol to send us to sleep rather than the normal hormonal processes but also staying asleep, because the elevated blood sugar and stress levels usually cause us to wake up.  Once sleep does regulate  many experience extended sleep patterns for weeks and even months whilst the body and brain undertakes an incredible repair process ! 

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