MENTAL HEALTH
#MIDSTRENGTHMAY

Chad Walkaden, Director & Primary Practitioner

10 May 2018

Over the past four and a half years, I have continually worked on discovering the place that alcohol would have in my life. Unsurprisingly, this is also one of the most common questions asked by my clients who are either facing a cancer diagnosis or are working with me to improve their mental health.
Why is this so important?
Think about celebrations that include birthdays, weddings or holidays over the festive season. As Australians we drink. For that matter, so do the English, Americans, Peruvians and the Germans. Alcohol is important to us because it is part of our culture. Still unsure about this statement. Think about how your workplace celebrated Christmas. Was there a glass of wine or beer visible on the table?
Thought so.

Regardless of the daily traumas or abuse, walking into a cosy London boozer was the way I pressed reset on my stress.

If only we had hindsight.

My journey

At the age of 29, I considered myself to be healthy. I was active, ate well and had fairly good sleep patterns. However, on any given Friday, Saturday or even Sunday, I would be seen in an East London pub with a great bunch of friends to have 8-10 beers. This was normal back now. This was health for me back then.

It wasn’t until my first cancer diagnosis that my drinking was questioned. During my hospital admission, my response changed from “I am a social drinker. I don’t drink during the week” to “I’m a binge drinker”.

My relationship with alcohol

In my life BC (before cancer), I drank alcohol simply because that is what my social life involved for me and many people around me. Plus, I had fun. Later on, I continued to use it for fun but it also became about connecting with others, exploring my sense of identity and then combating stressors associated with working in a complex frontline child protection role in one of the most deprived areas of the London. Regardless of the daily traumas or abuse, walking into a cosy London boozer was the way I pressed reset on my stress.

If only we had hindsight.

In transition

Since my first cancer diagnosis, I have followed a gluten free diet where I had no to very limited amounts of alcohol for approximately 13 months. Then after my first reoccurrence, I entered a stage of uncertainty where my need for social companionship and laughter was masked with an attraction to the supposed health benefits of a Malbec. A year later, after my third diagnosis, I strictly adhered to a Ketogenic diet for a period of 10 months. That virtually means the elimination of most beer and wine because of the need to not consume more than 10 grams of carbohydrates per day.

Life without alcohol 

There are no doubts that there were so many major benefits that resulted from removing alcohol from my life. Improved energy, focus and a rapidly enhanced cognitive capacity. Greater time on the weekend when feeling fresh to build significance into my life through physical and intellectual pursuits. Plus, the biggest one of all, the longer lasting fulfilment that was associated with my thirst for life being stronger than any temporary dopamine dump.

All the above standout as reasons for people to stop drinking. However, my personal experiences taught me that this approach missed one crucial element. In my unwavering pursuit of wanting to live, I went on such an inner journey that life became and still is very serious. Does that mean I need to drink alcohol to have fun and to escape. Of course not. But, honestly, it helps.

 

 

Where am I now?

My inner journey was essential for my current life and I will never regret the dedicated focus I had to exploring my psychology. However, now, my biggest focus has shifted to my social health. An area that I believe is under valued in discussions about general health and wellness.

For me, a huge part of improving my social health has included drinking mid-strength beer. Actually, this has revolutionised my life and the life for some of my clients. Here are the main reasons why:

1. For many of us, simply having a beer in our hands makes us feel more confident and connected while enhancing our enjoyment.

2. For my clients, mid-strength drinking has significantly reduced the frequency of binge drinking, drug use, problematic gambling and poor nutrition choices.

3. The elimination of the hangover. You are able to enjoy all the benefits of drinking while not having the negative consequences the next morning.

4. An increasingly availability of full flavour mid-strength beer means that you do not need to compromise on taste and flavour.

5. Improved outcomes at work, better mental and physical health and improved intimate relationships.

 

Interested in hearing more?

 

If anything from above has resonated with you, you have to look at the app 101tokens. The Founder of 101 Tokens, Benny Wallington and I have teamed up to bring you #midstrengthmay. This month, we want you to get on board with mid-strength alcohol to see for yourself the differences that it can make to your life.

 

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