Sunday, 22 March 2015

Sundays - Hair of the Dog

Happy Sunday Morning Everyone!

Sometimes I feel like I'm living in a parallel universe where everything has ended up back to front. I remember when I was a child I used to think that if I dug a hole deep enough I'd end up in Australia where everything would be kind of similar but we'd all be standing upside down. (Did any of my Australian readers imagine ending up in London?). Well, giving up a chronic alcohol habit is a bit like that. For example, in the BS (Before Sober) days, Friday nights and Saturday nights were the best, and Sunday mornings were the pits. Now, AF (Alcohol Free), Friday and Saturday nights are the hardest BUT Sunday Mornings are our reward!

One of the best things about glorious, empty but filled with promise and expectation, Sunday Mornings AF is remembering the horror of Sunday Mornings BS. So here's a trip down memory lane:

4am Sunday morning: wake up, head pounding, dry mouth, dying for a wee. Gradually try to piece together exactly what led to feeling like this. Wish I hadn't. Lots of self hatred and self flagellation and empty promises to self to change. Endless trips to the loo and the fridge to get more water. Toss and turn until about 6.30am. Go back to sleep until woken up by kids and dog at 7ish. Try really hard not to be grumpy and horrible. Fail. Spend all morning wishing time away until midday when I can 'reasonably' open a bottle of wine 'while I'm getting lunch ready'. Watch minute hand on kitchen clock obsessively because I cannot drink in the morning. Only alcoholics do that, and I am not an alcoholic. Open bottle at 11.50am so glass is ready for midday. Drink first glass wine fast. Feel much better.

It strikes me now that one of the core differences between 'normal' drinkers and 'overly enthusiastic' drinkers is their attitude to hangovers. I was always amazed at people who would refuse a drink at Sunday lunch because they'd drunk too much the night before and 'couldn't face it'. Surely they knew that the only way to 'face it' was to drink more? I was an enthusiastic proponent of  'hair of the dog'.

The phrase 'hair of the dog' comes from a time when - bizarrely - it was believed that the cure for rabies was to put the 'hair of the dog that bit you' onto the rabid dog bite. There is also a great Swahili phrase for drinking off a hangover: kuzimua which means being assisted to wake up after a coma.

A recent scientific study Proof: the science of booze by Adam Rogers claims that 'hair of the dog' really is the only effective cure for a hangover. This is because alcoholic drinks contain methanol, which is poisonous, and doctors treat methanol poisoning with ethanol i.e. alcohol.

There is another, more worrying, reason why 'hair of the dog' works according to and it's this: 'A common reason why heavy drinkers experience hangovers is that they have actually entered the early stages of withdrawal. By drinking alcohol the next morning they are preventing these withdrawal symptoms from taking hold.' Seems obvious, but I'd honestly never thought of it like that!

I checked out the good old National Health Service website for their advice on hangover cures, and found this classic line: 'The best way to avoid a hangover is not to drink.' Well no shit Sherlock (as they say, but not in front of the kids, obviously, or it's another pound in the swear box). But, acutally, that is what I am doing! And it's Sunday morning. Beautiful, glorious, Sunday morning, and I feel amazing!

So, here's my plan for the day. I will not be grumpy and clock watchy all morning followed by drunk and asleep most of the afternoon. Oh no. I am taking #1 and dog to park this morning for good walk and girlie chat. Come back and cook roast beef and Yorkshire pudding for lunch (oh yes, my French readers, it is not for nothing that you call us 'les rosbifs') Have judging of the great cheesecake bake off (yesterday husband and #1, inspired by the Great British Bake Off on TV, had an argument about who could make the best cheesecake. Their efforts, plus one from Waitrose, are in the fridge awaiting the family blind taste test). Collapse with Sunday papers. Take #2 and #3 to pet shop to buy birthday presents for the dog. Have birthday tea (with dog food cake and candles) for said dog. Play massive game of Monopoly or similar. Put kids in bed and watch 3 episodes back-to-back of latest box set with husband. Collapse into bed sober and happy.

So, Sundays are still about 'the dog'. But this one's six years old today, smelly, furry and totally loveable.

Enjoy your Sober Sunday my sober friends! And if you're reading this with a chronic hangover, pondering giving it all up then please join us!

Love SM x


  1. Funny you should write this because I really did feel like I was in a different world this morning. Woke up at 6, popped the lead on the dog and went for a beautiful walk in a nearby national park. I happily greeted passers by with a cheery 'good morning' and sucked up all the beauty, smells and sounds of a glorious Sunday morning. And you know what... I kind of felt like I belonged to a new club. The 'hangover free' club... everyone looked fresh, happy and healthy. My 2nd sober Sunday. May there be many more!
    Have a great week SM and I look forward to reading ��

    1. Hi Vivienne! Well done you! Keep at it! Aren't dogs great for reminding you of the benefits of being sober? Big hugs SM x

  2. Sober Sundays rock just back from a beautiful spring walk and a very big spring in my step - no headache no tiredness no red eyes x hope your cheesecake won the blind taste sm. !!

  3. I made a cheesecake once!
    It was good!
    Your Sunday sounds perfect!
    I LOVE not having hangovers anymore!!!
    So glad you can have fun with your family!

  4. Yay for Sober Sundays! I went for a nice, albeit rainy, run this morning, and it felt good!

    Do tell, what's the latest box set?? We're all about House of Cards these days. xx

    1. Hi Justine! We loved House of Cards too! We've done Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, The Killing and Californication. We've just finished the second series of The Fall (which is brilliant) and are now on Better Call Saul. Thank God for Netflix! Can you recommend anything else?

    2. Love all those, but haven't heard of Better Call Saul. Will check it out! Gosh, the usual suspects come to mind: Mad Men, The Wire, Luther, OITNB, Dexter, Sons of Anarchy... and silly stuff like Archer and a new one Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.

      I absolutely loved The Fall. Maybe my favorite yet!

    3. Hi Jen! Better Call Saul is based on Saul - the lawyer from Breaking Bad. It's just out on Netflix, but they're only releasing the episodes one week at a time *groan*. Still, Game of Thrones is back soon - yay! In low moments I call myself Khalesi. Thanks for the ideas - there are some there I don't know xxx

  5. I just started the book you recommended yesterday, after waking up at 4am with with a similar morning to your BS days. I read the first 40 pages, and I really like his take on it. I can't wait to get home after work to read more! You continue to inspire me!

    1. It really changes the way you think, doesn't it? Have you had your birthday yet? If so HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

  6. Yes it was last Wednesday, thank you!!! I still haven't officially quit, I've cut back though. I think once I finish the book it will help.