Hi Jaybro thanks for your reply. I always pay lip service to the boffins but sadly when like me you come from the'flat cap and dog track culture' i.e. traditional working class, what they dictate is very hard to achieve, due to low income along with peer pressure. I want an alternative to social drinking to avoid dying of boredom/isolation but it is sadly beyond my means. I follow a football team but the game is very entrenched in the pub culture and I can't afford satellite TV to watch it at home. I love the idea of spa days and trips to cultural and historical sites but that too costs money (even though I am a member of the NT they don't have many attractions in Wales - it's mostly Cadw) The realisation that due to poverty my destiny is to die prematurely and I can do nothing about it except hope and pray for good health, is what I struggle with. I have Asperger's Syndrome too, so my anxiety is at x 10 more than normal people. This leads to severe depression and I retreat and can't function. I am the first wave of people who will not get the State Pension until 67 I must work full time until then as my husband lost his workplace pension when his firm went bust in 2002. He received only a small lump sum after 28 years service which is now spent as we used it for a much needed holiday last year. If I was retired I perhaps could have more time to explore other activities, but likely still have the issue of no money so perhaps it would be worse. Some studies have even indicated that abstinence now after drinking for X years is like closing the stable door after the horse has bolted as damage is already done, so as my fate appears to be sealed, I adopt the mindset that I probably won't live much beyond 70, and as a 'young' 59 I should carry on as normal for the time I have left rather than take the alternative route of living like a Trappist monk.
I have great respect for Sir David Nutt and he’s right - we rant on about illegal drug use when we have an epidemic of legal drug use (from which our government benefits very nicely) that we happily ignore. Having been a drugs adviser, I know my stuff. I’m also a non-drinker. So by now you’re loathing me. Hold on a bit...
You can be a non-drinker like me (for the last 40 years, after illness changed the way I metabolise alcohol - I am not teetotal, which is a moral choice) and still get cancer. I’m the proof. I’ve never smoked. That’s another causal factor eliminated. Maybe I didn't get enough exercise (true) or ate a crap diet (true). Oh, and I failed to breast-feed because I failed to have children - maybe that misery was the cause? Double whammy. If I have to blame anything, I have lived with high levels of stress all my life. Sorted. So I can’t blame alcohol or tobacco - I have to blame myself. Not very helpful for my stress levels 🙂
Basically, in my opinion, you can lead the healthiest, cleanest life possible and you’re still going to get cancer if you’re going to get it. It’s not something we have much control over, is it? I remember my two friends who had breast cancer several years ago obsessing about parabens. They’d been told it’s essential to eliminate them from their lives. It was never mentioned to me. When I asked my b-c nurse who is the team leader in this regional centre of excellence (!), she just shrugged and said she’d never raised it with her patients. So do parabens increase our chance of getting a recurrence? I like her attitude - life’s too short to be spent obsessing over these things, looking daily for new lumps, reading all the food and cosmetics labels to avoid possible carcinogens rather than just chilling and enjoying our food and our smellies. Quality of life is more important. Clearing our heads of the daily fear of recurrence is essential.
There are ways to be part of a ‘drinking culture’ and still drink sensibly so you stay within the recommended weekly limits (even those are disputed) without it being too obvious or leading to feeling a pariah. But my opinion is that the quality of your life is more important than doing the ‘right’ thing(s). Not drinking doesn’t mean you don’t get cancer - something else might do it and, if you were the unlucky one, you’d have wasted all that social pleasure. My view may not be a popular one but personally (much as I dislike our British drinking culture) I think we should just carry on living and enjoying life, not spoiling it by obsessing over what ifs. If for you that means drinking, then drink, relax and enjoy your husband’s company, your friends’ company and don’t feel bad if occasionally you go over the recommended limits - unless your oncologist or b-c nurse has instructed you otherwise. Strange, because I wouldn’t be saying the same thing if it were smoking where the evidence is incontrovertible.
That’s my rant over x
So...it is that time of the year again, when Health boffins wheel out their doom laden warnings about quitting alcohol and yet again it is scaring the sweet Bejesus out of me. The latest was by a Dr David Nutt in the Mail on Saturday. I adopt a fairly common sense approach to drink ( being incapable of outright abstinence thanks to the company around me who all enjoy a tipple or two) and I can see how such reports are designed to lessen the burden on the NHS, I find such scare tactics make people like myself who are trying hard while not resorting to extremes appear cavalier and irresponsible. As I have said on here before, I have limited options for recreation where I live, so a get together with folk over a few drinks is a welcome release from the misery and gloom of winter. However when someone more or less tells you that just 2 drinks a year can increase cancer risk, while light weekly drinking can result in stroke, heart disease and a fatty liver, then I feel that despite my best intentions I am failing royally and my mood slumps even further into oblivion. Believe me I have tried to spend an evening or afternoon drinking just fizzy pop and all I got was heartburn and bloating, ditto tea or coffee. So I really don't know what to do. I already reject enough invites from people and I send my husband to the pub on his own while I stay home and read or go to sewing classes, but I can't chuck away my entire social life or expect everyone to toe the line just because I have had breast cancer. So just a rant rather than a call for help but does anyone else feel the same way? Or have you all found becoming teetotal an absolute doddle?