The Help One Needs

Here’s the thing with adventures. Sometimes you know you’re taking on Mount Everest. That was me with Dry January. One of my dearest friends is an alcoholic nine years sober. We talk about alcoholism a lot. I girded myself for my month of hell with an app, a supportive email subscription, my husband’s expressed support, and a plan for what I was going to do when I really, really wanted a drink.

But sometimes it looks like you’re just going for a stroll somewhere new. It’s not a walk around *your* neighbourhood, but maybe it’s something you expect to resemble your neighbourhood. Part of me thinks, seriously, how hard can it be to give up eating in front of the television?

I suspect giving up snacking, my surrogate for drinking, may be more difficult than strolling around a new neck of the woods. As I concluded in my last post, this adventure may be about trying to embrace a dark desert. About bumping into a cactus and finding the humour in it. About being stung by a disgruntled scorpion I accidentally kicked and giving the poor guy a “namaste” as it scurries off thinking dark scorpion thoughts.

So, taking my cue from the Everest excursion into sobriety, here is my recommended toolkit.

A Calendar App

I signed up to a free habit-building app. It doesn’t give me a gif of confetti and exclaim congratulations, but it does give me the small satisfaction of ticking off the day as “Snack Free” as I skip off to brush my teeth before bed.

Daily Encouragement

I didn’t sign up for a list of encouraging emails as I couldn’t find a free one. I decided to start this blog instead, thinking that I can jolly well write my own damn cheering missives. And who knows? Some people find what I do mysteriously interesting.

Supportive People

The third bit of help from Dry January I learned is to have supportive people. My family LOVE to remind me of rules I’ve set for myself. Some people would find it might make them secretive about falling off their programme. I’m lucky that in my family I know I can just be honest and they’ll wag a finger, probably crack a joke, and then drop the subject. The point is really, like my lovely alcoholic friend, is to find a person who will give you the type of response you know for yourself will be helpful. If that’s a professional, a dedicated support group, a friend who’s walked the same path before you, or family who can be cheerful rather than controlling, find those folks and get them on board.

Crisis Planning

A very important bit of kit every adventurer needs is a disaster plan. What will I do when face to face with the irresistible killer argument in favour of a salty snack?

My current idea was inspired by my woowoo friend who has a freezer full of frozen blueberries that she snaffles up at the local shop right after they’ve been marked down to a bargain basement price. I’m not a blueberry fan and I don’t have a local shop. I harbour deep terror of unnecessarily going to the supermarket and contracting Covid. I’m not going to die for cheap blueberries. It’s easy for her because the manager texts her when they’ve been marked down and she can nip out round the corner. She’s also quite glamorous.

Lacking her charisma, I don’t think my store manager is dreaming of reasons to text me, and anyhow I wouldn’t want them to as I don’t have any signal out here in the middle of nowhere so I wouldn’t get it until three days later.

My plan is to eat frozen grapes. So, similar to Woowoo, but different. My freezer is stocked and ready to go. I know fruit is a snack, but I frame it as being like non-alcoholic beers. Anyway, it’s early days for me. We’ll see if this works.

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