Friday, May 23, 2014

Day 27 - 7th Heaven!

I can't believe it! One more day to go! 

I just love this time in a cleanse. I get these rushes of excitement, relief - pride. Disbelief! That a 28-day cleanse can go by so quickly. That it can be so pleasant and rewarding and restful. That I can have such anticipation about my 'normal' drinking cycle coming up. 

Even if you were to say, "But Ms. F., you really don't have to cleanse anymore. You can control what you drink now. You're not addicted. Or depressed. You don't black out five times a week and fight with your hubby" - (friends/doorman/taxi drivers) - "when you drink anymore, so what's the use?" I still wouldn't stop cleansing.  

For one thing, I'm quite sure that daily drinking would soon find me right back in the same position I was in over ten years ago. Stressed, anxious, guilty, ashamed, out of control - and more than anything, depressed because of a dopamine imbalance. Regular 'breaks' from alcohol like this really re-set my whole system. Physically and mentally.  I believe in my heart that cleansing is what has kept me in control of my drinking for more than ten years now -  when I had a lifetime of blackouts and problems before I started. Cleansing works for me, it's that simple. 

Even so, I'm so looking forward to jumping 'off the wagon' headfirst on Sunday! That's another great thing about cleansing. You can appreciate drinking more, too. While still keeping it in perspective with everything else in your life. 

btw, some controversial news about drinking out of Finland recently. The Daily Mail reported that Finnish researcher, Dr. Kari Poikolainen, recommends about a bottle of wine a day for perfect health (or just under 13 units of alcohol). 

Whoa! Interesting! Because that's way outside the official 'safe' limits of between 3-4 alcohol units per day (women and men respectively). A flurry of outrage followed the good doctor's advice, with The Guardian - and others - questioning these generous recommendations. 

Now when it comes to alcohol consumption, Dr. Poikolainen is no slouch. As a former advisor to the World Health Organization on alcohol use and retired Research Director of the Finnish Foundation for Alcohol Studies, he's been examining the effects of alcohol consumption on public health for decades. 

His book, Perfect Drinking - And Its Enemies, outlines a different view of healthy alcohol consumption than most experts recommend (i.e. he believes the current levels of what constitutes 'moderate drinking' are too low).  He also thinks that 'abstinence, alcoholism, inadequate information and myopic alcohol policies' are the enemies of healthy drinking - and that alcohol consumption is actually vital to your health. 

Well, I totally agree there! Naturally! I don't think I'd go so far as to say, 'Hey, drink a bottle of wine a day!' Even though, yes, I can and have and seriously enjoy drinking that much every now and again. And again. And again. ;) 

The difference for me now is that if I do indulge myself, I'm no longer out of control. One bottle of wine doesn't turn into two or three - like it did in the old days. And I never - and I mean never binge - anymore. Which is the real danger. In fact, a recent study out of the University of Massachusetts claims that just one single binge session (four glasses of wine for women, five for men, in less than two hours!) can be extremely harmful to your health. ((read more)

Luckily, my bingeing days are long behind me. Since I started cleansing regularly, I am physically incapable of ingesting that much alcohol in one sitting. Period. And I'm very, very proud of that because binge drinking used to be my favourite - very dangerous - hobby. And by 'hobby' I mean one that has become unmanageable and uncontrollable. Like my grandmother's addiction to those little racks of souvenir spoons. Man, she was a sick woman when it came to those things. Totally out of control. ;) 

At any rate, I would never go so far as to say how much - or little - people should drink every day. Not because I necessarily disagree with Dr. P's findings, but because I honestly believe everyone is different - and that even individuals will differ over the course of their lives when it comes to appropriate alcohol consumption. But if you're interested in what your own Powers-That-Be regard as safe drinking, please consult the International Centre for Alcohol Policies International Drinking Gudelines. 

btw, I wasn't surprised Dr. Poikolainen was a Finlander. At least not at first. I'm of Finnish descent on my mother's side and - well, put it this way, I grew up around more than one seriously drunken Finnish accordion party, if you know what I mean. Ever seen a four-fingered former lumberjack try to play Beer Barrel Polka on the old squeezebox after bingeing on vodka for three days? When you're six? Well, you haven't lived. ;) (Btw, my grandmother, on the other hand, was a near teetotaler. I saw her tipsy once - on Kahlua - on her 50th wedding anniversary. She was an absolute rock that way. And responsible for the messy end to more than one drunken party and/or fistfight. God rest her soul.) 

Another reason I wasn't surprised Dr. P is a fellow Laplander, is because Finlanders have often been accused of being some of the heaviest drinkers on the planet. Knowing my own problems - and many relatives and family friends who suffered from alcoholism - I thought when it came to drinking, Finlanders took the Grand Prize. 

Not so! That goes to Luxenbourg, believe it or not. With France coming in a close second. Finland is actually 19th on this list of countries organized according to annual alcohol consumption. The U.K. is 15th, U.S. 23rd, Canada 26th.  To see where your neighbourhood falls, check out the complete list  compiled by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

One way or another, I do think Dr. P. has an extremely valid point. Researchers should be more open to what really constitutes healthy alcohol consumption and that information like his - as much as it flies in the face of current research - should be given serious consideration. If only because it keeps the conversation going on a very important topic: the natural benefits of alcohol consumption and inherent dangers of alcohol misuse.

And on the topic of alcohol consumption, did I happen to mention? One day left to go!! 

Um ... yay!! :)