So my reflux seems to be stopping!

There’s a fear inside of me that every twinge of discomfort in my body is indicative of cancer or some other serious syndrome that’s going to end my life early.  I’ve a particular part that worries about all the action and inaction that I’ve taken in my life that may have hurt /damaged /destroyed by body or organs. So when I read an anecdotal tale of someone who had on-going reflux, didn’t get it investigated and turned out to have an oesophageal tumour, well, you can imagine where my brain went.

Or part of it. I’m not overwhelmed by that part of me that worries about these health concerns. It’s just that I can’t help but consider the possibility of it. Then late at night, when my brain and emotions are vulnerable, or at the end of a long week, or maybe when I haven’t been making the best health choices possible, that’s when those doubts and fears will creep in and my anxious feelings will escalate and start to feel overwhelming.

You know what used to be a very good antidote to feeling all that anxiety? Yup, you’ve got it right! Our good friend alcohol – The cause of, and solution to, all our problems. Because, whilst drinking can make you feel invulnerable for an evening, the attendant guilt and fear of the next day’s hangover is worse than experiencing my own truthful anxiety the first time ’round.

But, yeah, reflux seems to be getting less. The number one difference has been to not drink coffee anytime near a meal. This means that if I drink coffee in the morning, I am automatically skipping breakfast – or at least pushing it off for a couple of hours. Even my beloved green tea will easily trigger a bout of post-prandial reflux. So, I only drink water with my meals now, and that’s definitely making a difference. The next thing has been to take smaller portions – although last night I gobbled a large amount of M&S brisket and accompaniments and didn’t experience any reflux!

I am wondering if there’s a possibility that it was related to alcohol consumption. True enough, I’ve been free from alcohol for three weeks now, but maybe it takes that long for an irritated stomach to recover?

In any case, I still do want to cut back on my coffee consumption. It’s clearly a stomach irritant and I doubt it does much for my migraines. I guess I just really don’t want to cut back on it, despite what I said in the previous sentence. Either it’s doing something positive for me, or I truly believe it’s doing something positive for me. I think I am rather attached to the image of a cup of good coffee, much as I was once attached to the image of drinking and smoking. Why are vices so attractive to our imaginations?

I think I’m not going to be stopping coffee completely anytime before the end of the school term, but I have started the habit of having a glass of water or two before I take coffee. Maybe that’s helping reduce the stomach irritation. It’s probably helping my hydration levels anyway, so that’s probably good.

Back in the days of trying to reduce alcohol’s influence on me, back when I still thought trying to reduce drinking days or drinking amounts was the right approach for me, I read a lot of advice that recommended drinking water before alcohol or in between alcoholic drinks. And it was just about the most unappealing thing to me. I loved the feeling of a cold beer, or a crisp white wine, or a warming red hitting raw on an empty stomach. I loved the intensity of it, and that would have been denied to me by lining with water or food. Of course, I would eat while drinking – but I always wanted my first drink before eating or drinking anything else. It was like an immediate switch to relaxation.

Does this sound like I’m romanticising drinking? It possibly reads that way, but that’s really not the way it feels inside my mind. I feel like I’m trying to be as honest as possible in my recollections and not hide away – even from myself – what my attitude was like before, what my feelings are now.

I had one moment this week – on Thursday, when we went to the shop for milk. I was tired. The week had been long. It was almost over. I had that empty stomach that promised the possibility of immediate relaxation if I just applied alcohol. So, I did wonder, for a few minutes, if I was truly “over it”, if some part of me still wanted to drink. I think it’s an important question to ask myself, because if I don’t ask it, if I hide that possibility deep inside myself, then that gives it the power to sneak back up and manipulate me at some point in the future.

Anyway, the answer was “No”. Or at least “No more than I sometimes think I still want to smoke”. It’s all in the image of these things. All that’s required is to remember the reality.

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