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TKM July update - Going dry for July, introducing digital training, and more!

Key highlights:

  • Our annual strategy has been set

  • Hoodies are on their way

  • We're now busy producing digital training content that will cater to all levels and price points

  • Chris dropped the booze, and the results were staggering

Our annual strategy is now set - focus more on what is important, and maintain what works

Recognising that we are all volunteers, and that our charity (like others) run on the whiff of an oil rag when it comes to finances, we have to be smart in how we do our work, what we prioritise and maximise our impact.

We've made some great progress, and from a service offering we are comfortable with what we offer. So now we have to make sure it is effective.

This means, we will:

  1. Ensure our support services are effective. We shall be collecting more information around the type of support being used, and using this insight to seek funding and support from other organisations to ensure that services which are in demand are supported more effectively, or increased. We want to ensure no person is turned away.

  2. We are going to prioritise training. We firmly believe that anyone can be the difference when someone needs support. As such we're going to focus on training delivery so that people will have access to resources across many areas of health and wellness, such that in the event you need to step into the breach, you can do so with understanding and confidence.

  3. We will be streamlining our communications and narrative. Its fair to say our use of social media, and comms could do with a zhuzh. We will be seeking your input to understand what you'd like to know more about and ensuring we deliver towards that better.

No doubt we'll need help. If you think you've got something to add, and want to be involved, please do reach out.

You asked, we listened. Its cold and hoodies are on their way

Following the huge success with the 'reap the leg' (RTL) tees, we're now in the process of getting hoodies with the RTL logo on the back, and the TKM kiwi on the front. They will be printed on high-quality AS colour hoodies, by our team Koruprint in Christchurch.

Prices will be around $90 and be available from our shop. If you've not had a look there recently, we're still providing the kick-ass Deadly Sins coffee and have a few tee's left.

Dry July the highs and lows

Hey team, its Chris here with another monthly update. In an attempt to become 1 percent better each day, I've been considering giving up alcohol. Like others, and because of COVID, my consumption of booze had steadily been increasing. Increasing enough that my wife was starting to suggest that perhaps it was too much.

Of course, I had my bag of excuses ready:

It helps me get to sleep

It calms my nerves

I enjoy it

Its what we do when we socialise

Its better than eating snacks

I thought the best thing to do would be to have a discussion with my GP. We discussed at length, and according to the recommended guidance from Ministry of Health, we both agreed that I was over the limits. Gulp!

Keen to understand what would happen if I were to stop, doc was very adamant that while I was over the guidance, I wasn't drinking enough to be considered 'problematic' and so going cold-turkey should be relatively simple.

Recalling my 7 years of struggle to give up smoking, I wasn't as convinced. I probed a lot about what withdrawal would feel like, coping strategies etc. Weirdly my doc's response was very lack lustre. It seemed that simply, there isn't a great deal of data or evidence to say what it would be like for someone who drinks, but isn't considered alcoholic.

So, going back to my goal-orientated way of doing things, I signed up for Dry July. And when I said I, what I mean is, I signed up, signed up Air New Zealand, made it a group thing and publicised the daylights out of it. Nothing like holding yourself accountable to people who you don't know, but can judge you savagely...!

So how did it go, Chris?

I'm pleased to say that giving up booze wasn't as hard as I was expecting. It wasn't easy, but there wasn't the withdrawal pangs or triggers like there was with giving up the smokes. Over the entire month, there were two specific instances where I'd had a really stressful day and wanted to revert to my habit of having a drink. Instead I exercised.

There were some odd things that did happen, however.

  1. Insomnia. Now having ADHD, I've never been a great sleeper. Predominantly getting to sleep has been 'ok', but staying asleep has been highly variable. I've got quite used to living on 4-6 hours per night. Stopping the grog threw all plans out the window. Both my ability to get to sleep as well as stay asleep was affected. Apparently this is normal. My usual tricks of chamomile gummies, magnesium supplements etc. didnt work. So I had to embrace the suck and get tired. Acceptance was about the best thing I could do.

  2. Cravings. I've always associated drinking with weight gain, but mostly because of the stuff that you consume with the booze, rather than the booze itself. Quitting the drink made me crave crap food with a vengeance. Chocolate, chips, lollies, pies, pizzas. Late at night, no real hunger limit I even managed to smash down two-thirds of a Limo pizza (thats about 1m long, folks!).

  3. Thirst. I was always told that alcohol was the diuretic (i.e. would make you pee more). Giving up made me best mades with the bathroom. Constantly thirsty, constantly drinking - even wanting to drink water - was now the norm. It didn't get to a swole gym go'er level thirsty where I was chugging gallons, but it was definitely more than normal.

  4. Weight-loss. Despite the lack of sleep, the eating crap, drinking like a race horse, I was somehow losing weight. I first noticed that I looked slimmer before I noticed the difference on the scales. Apparently drinking alcohol keeps you bloated/inflamed because it slows your digestive system down.

  5. Lowered blood pressure. Its taken a few weeks to see, but my blood pressure is reducing. Not that it was super high, but my doc had put me on meds to control it. Noting that high blood pressure is considered a silent killer, this is great news. If it keeps going at this rate, I'll need to get the meds reviewed.

  6. More endurance. Some people say that giving up alcohol allows you to feel more energetic. I wouldn't go this far, but I certainly feel like my batteries are bigger, and I can do more in a day than I previously would.

  7. I've money, again! A small but important fact is that I'm not spending money on booze, which over the course of a fortnight really adds up. This has allowed me to use the money I'd otherwise be spending, on something more productive. In this instance, a pet project with my kids on keeping tropical fish. This is allowing me to get closer and have more authentic interactions with my family than ever before.

What now?

Simply, I'm going to keep going. There is clearly some cultural acceptance that says its the 'done thing' to drink, but when did we ever pander to consensus? And as for Dry July, team Air NZ raised over $1300. Not bad at all!

Digital training is on its way

We're busy creating digital/online training that covers all aspects of our face-to-face training, and we're setting it up as a free, low cost and full bells'n'whistles depending on your need and bank balance. We're exploring how we can get these courses accredited so that you can add them with the same level of professionalism as medical first aid training.

We will be covering:

  • Health and wellness

  • Recognising signs of stress, distress and crisis

  • How to get and provide help for people in distress and crisis

  • Suicide intervention strategies

  • Coping with grief

  • Turning trauma into growth

If there is anything else you'd like to know more about, please do reach out so we can add it to the list.

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