Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Alcohol and Sense of Smell

Has anyone else noticed that their sense of smell has improved massively since they quit drinking?

One of the strangest things about the sober journey is how the benefits just keep on coming.

Some happen straight away - like losing the old puffy face, and ditching hangovers - some more slowly. And gradually, I've noticed that I smell much better. Actually, rephrase that, I can smell stuff much better.

(In fact, I probably do smell better too. I expect I often smelled of stale wine, seeping through my pores. Or sweat, after hours tossing and turning at night. Or toxic breath. Yuck. Enough already.)

I checked it out, and, apparently, drinking lots of alcohol does, over time, damage the part of the brain responsible for your sense of smell. Who knew?

I hadn't noticed losing my sniff-ability. It must have happened very slowly. But your sense of smell is totally tied in with your sense of taste. And I had noticed that my taste buds had dulled.

I'd started adding chilli flakes to pretty much everything to give it a 'kick'. I'd swapped my regular Heinz Ketchup for the chilli version (yes, there is one! #2 picked it up once by accident and had steam coming out of his ears).

Next time you're at a dinner, watch who's adding loads of seasoning and condiments to their food - bet you it's the big drinkers.

Now I can eat a simple tomato, basil and mozzarella salad, and it's like a massive taste explosion party in my mouth.

That's all good. Great, in fact. But there are downsides to an improved sense of smell....

......A mouse has died somewhere in my cellar. Also known as The Pit of Despair. I can't find it, (I can't find anything down there), but wafts of death float up the stairs on a regular basis, making me want to vomit.

When I was going through my sober de-cluttering phase (which never reached the cellar, obviously), I read up on feng shui (see Clutter).

It strikes me that DEAD MOUSE has to be really tragically bad feng shui. Way worse than a picture hanging over your bed, an untidy entrance, or other feng shui cardinal sins.

I wonder where it died? Perhaps it's in my finance corner (which would explain a lot), or - even worse - my relationship corner. Yikes. Poor Mr SM.

I Googled Dead Mouse Feng Shui. Nothing. So bad it's not even considered. What I did find, though, was a piece on dying plants or flowers.

Apparently, it is not good to have any greenery in your house that isn't perfectly healthy. The author writes: do you want to create the feeling that your house is where things go to die?

Bloody hell. What would she say about my rotting rodent?

If I were still drinking I would probably be blissfully unaware of my feng shui car crash and the wafts of decomposition invading my kitchen.

But then I would have been unaware of pretty much everything else too...

Now I've woken up and I can truly smell the coffee.

SM x


  1. Mice! Yikes, I hate them. I had to carry a dead one out to the trash just yesterday. Of course, I had to circle around it a couple of times and make sure it was't going to make any sudden moves once I grabbed hold of it with my plastic bag covered hands, because then there would have been a lot larger stinking carcass to clear out of the house-mine. Yes, I hate mice, but last year I had a bat in the house-oh the joy of living in a forest-and I would have taken a dozen scurrying mice over that one flapping and swooping nightmarish creature. I went to bed every night worrying I would wake up with it caught in my hair or feasting on my neck. I wonder what Feng Shui has to say about bats in the rafters of a house.
    P.S. The smell will eventually fade. Eventually.

  2. I would say my smell and taste have also improved.
    I shudder to think of how I smelled sometimes. I'm sure it was just like you mentioned.

    And nothing, absolutely nothing, beats a tomato basil mozzarella salad. Mmm

  3. I used to eat way too much salt but hardly use it now. My sense of smell is too good now though as perfumes and aftershaves make me feel sick!!

  4. This is very interesting bc I have noticed I am losing my sense of smell but thought it was the nose spray I was using (I quit that a year ago). But maybe there's more to it. Never thought it might have to do with alcohol consumption.

  5. Yes indeed! I gave up alcohol a month ago because I was getting concerned about how much I was drinking. Not only have I lost some weight, but I'm sleeping better and (weirdly) my sense of smell is returning and improving. I have also discovered the reasonable delights of non alcoholic beer! I now have to decide whether to continue without alcohol...