Our carer support worker Kai is taking part in Dry January. Here is an update from week one of her challenge.

“I started the year like many people, with a hangover; one thing I’m really looking forward to this month is not having one of those for a while. No Regrets Leeds have a good article for tips to avoid a hangover, if you are drinking this month.

Dry January is going okay so far. No massive temptation to break, although people are testing me by waving alcohol under my nose. One thing I have learned real quick is as soon as you give up alcohol it comes up in every conversation; I can’t imagine how hard it is for people in recovery who just want to forget about alcohol!

I’m quite with strict alcohol, I gave myself rules a few years ago: 1) I never drink alone; 2) I never drink two days in a row 3) If I binge drink I will not have another drink for 72 hours. I won’t pretend that I have always followed these, but if I don’t follow these rules I always check in with myself and look at what’s going on for me to break them, and use this as an opportunity to see how I’m doing. Because I’ve always been fairly good at following these I thought this would be a piece of cake, but there is something about denying yourself something that makes you want it more, like going on a diet and suddenly wanting all the fried, oily, sugary foods all at once.

I have worked with so many amazing people in the past who have been able to give up alcohol for good and some have been in recovery for over 60 years which continues to amaze me. There is a Pablo Neruda quote which always comes to mind for some reason when I think of these people (which is weird because it’s not remotely relevant) “Love is so short and oblivion so long”. I think of how quickly drinking can go wrong and how scary recovery can feel, when you think of a lifetime without alcohol and how overwhelming that can be. Working with carers here at Carers Leeds, I see the frustration and heartbreak every day as the people in their lives don’t chose recovery, but I also understand how it must feel for the people drinking, scared of oblivion.

On a lighter note, in under a week I have already reached 50% of my goal! I cannot thank the people who have donated enough. All the funds raised go to Alcohol Change UK who are a wonderful charity doing amazing work.

Also following my previous post, my Finnish father has asked me to tell everyone that funerals are the one time Finns do not drink so that joke doesn’t work! (There you go Dad.)”

Kai Markanday – Concerned Other Support Worker