Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Alcoholism and Nutrition

photo by ~BostonBill~

Alcoholism and nutrition (I mean good nutrition) don't go together. Jane my partner is a case in point, a bl**dy good case in point.

There are three scenarios:

One: She is in between binges and sober. She eats OK. Not much but OK. Jane can tend to under eat so is slim to underweight. After some binges in the past she was pronouncedly under weight. I actually don't think that Jane gets enjoyment from food like most of the rest of us. She eats to stay alive. I eat to stay alive and it is pleasurable too. Jane misses out the pleasurable bit. In fact, I don't think she knows how to get pleasure from things. Sometimes it seems that she is telling herself that she doesn't deserve to derive pleasure from things so denies herself pleasure. This may be part of the low self-esteem thing that is going on. Her diet is almost affected by her desire to punish herself for being bad in her eyes. She has been taught that she is bad. This happened during childhood. I regret to say that when she is on a binge and testing my patience big time, I also say that she is no good. I get too angry and frustrated to do otherwise.

Two: She is on a binge and is alone (i.e before I came to live with her). She will grab what she can find in the kitchen cupboards and fridge. She will pull food out and chuck it everywhere. A lot goes on the floor. Jane will bring it back to her bed. Sometimes she will microwave during a binge. This is a messy business. The microwaved food (e.g. pasta) is taken back to bed (where she lives through the binge) and some, quite a lot of it, is chucked over the bed. After a binge the bed is badly messed up and in need of major cleaning. She is also sick so some of that goes on the floor and bed too. Being sick doesn't help with nutrition either.

She prefers savory food during binging. She will also eat biscuits etc. Or peanuts; that kind of thing. Whatever is convenient. From a nutrition point of view she relies on the alcohol as a form of sustenance (calories) and a small amount of food, so she under eats. This means she loses weight. Jane can lose up to a about 10 lbs during a binge.

Three: Scenario 3 - Jane is binging and I am here. Jane will call out for food. She will call faintly. I'll go and see and she'll ask for something to eat. I usually prepare basic stuff that can't be spilled like jacket potato and tuna or sardines on toast. Better still are sandwiches that I buy in preparation for the moment she asks. These are safer and she can't make a mess of the bed with them. I hand them to her in the paper bag in which they were bought.

Jane, sensibly during a binge, will consume large amounts of water (bottled) or sweetened/flavored water. This is the bit of science and sense she employs to prevent dehydration. Neat Vodka is terribly dehydrating. Jane tends to take vitamin supplements in between binges to boost the poorish overall diet.

Alcoholism and nutrition for Jane equals a poor diet but not a diabolical diet. The nutrition level is not good enough. She needs building up after a binge and it can take about 3 weeks to get back to where she was before it. It is then time for the next binge.......................

As I write this, she is just going through the "stoppage program" (my term) at the moment; taking valium and motilium (anti sickness). This allows her to come out of it without hospitalization, if she is lucky.

From Alcoholism and Nutrition to Short Binge December 2007

Alcoholism and Nutrition -- Photo published under a creative commons license --- Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic


  1. My alcoholic could barely keep any food down. Anytime we would go out to a restaurant he spent most of the time in the bathroom, while I sat there alone looking foolish. The first time he was in the hospital, his nutrition was so bad, it took a long time for him to get well. The second time, he had huge bruises and melatoma because his blood didn't have enough oxygen and nutritients.

  2. Thanks co-sufferer. I just bought 2 pot noodles with the newspaper. Jane asked for one yesterday. She has lost track of time as usual.

  3. Pardon my ignorance, but what's a pot noodle? I never heard of a jacket potato until visiting England last year (or 'jacket spud' as the lady called it). We would call it a stuffed potato.

  4. Hi co-sufferer. A pot noodle is dried noodles and flavouring in a plastic pot. They are cheap to buy (1.20 GPD). You peal back the lid. Add boiling water. Stir. Wait. Stir some more. Add some sauce. Eat.

    Cheap junk really but convenient.

    Jane likes her jacket potatoes. "jacket spud" is a much less commonly used term. Jane likes basic food. Thanks for the comment/question.


I'd like to hear the experiences of both alcoholics and the victims of alcoholics, please.