Wine makes life more exciting. The taste, the boisterous conversations, the unbuttoning of inhibitions, and the superior dance moves. Then there’s cooking with wine—as my Great Aunt Hazel likes to say, “one glass for the meal, one for the chef!”
These were my thoughts in April as I battled the idea of giving up for a month.
You see, I’m not sure who’s in charge anymore: me or the Pinot Noir.
My preferred glass size is about as big as this one.
Usually I have two before dinner. Every night.
For a while I was trying to do the five/two rule: drink for five nights and have two off. I can definitely achieve one night—when I’m at yoga only because you can’t drink wine and stretch at the same time. I’m sure if there was a class for both I’d be there.
Every other night I think about wine the moment I walk in the door. I’m annoyed if I have to sit down on the couch and read a book to my children if I haven’t managed to collect my bucket of wine on my way past. I tell myself it’s OK because I’m not living in a cardboard box in the middle of the road and I have all my teeth. And I’m not drinking alone; my seven and nine-year-old are with me.
If we’re heading out with friends I will take a bottle and drink the entire thing. Quite easily. Sometimes we drink so many bottles I can’t tell how much I’ve had.
I wonder if I will still be doing this at 65.
Addiction runs in our family. My great-grandmother kept bottles of gin stashed in nicely crocheted door stoppers holding up every door in the house (it was very windy inside apparently). I’ve been addicted to barfing, smoking, Bikram yoga, diet pills, tuna salads, coffee and picking that rough skin around my nails when I’m anxious. I would like to get hooked on deep breathing and saying nice calm sentences all day but that doesn’t seem to stick. So that leaves my old friend, red wine.
One night, as I poured myself another gigantic glass, the ‘Dactyl said, ”Why do you drink wine Mummy?’ and I tried to think of a good answer.
Because it makes my face nice and blotchy!
Because it makes me not care whether you eat your vegetables!
Because it makes me not care!
Because I care a LOT. Too much. I care about too many things and not enough things. Sometimes I’ll see an old man at the bus stop and I’ll start caring about him and his apparent loneliness and I don’t even know him. But then I won’t care about cleaning the toilet for at least five days past the point I should care. Sometimes I care about changing the world and how will I do that with only 74 likes on my new Facebook page. But then I’ll forget to care about doing my taxes. Sometimes I’ll see a story about elephant poaching and I’ll be so upset I’ll spend an hour on a tweet hoping it will make other people read the story and get angry. But I’ll forget to pick up milk for my family. Sometimes I really care about what I’m wearing and then I’ll forget about getting those hairs on my chin sorted.
I think that’s why I like drinking as it numbs me a bit. I care less. I feel less. I fear less. Wine helps me iron it all out into a smooth, grease-free pattern in my mind.
So I didn’t want to give it up but I did.
For all of May.
And I told a small white lie to friends and said I was doing it to save money. That was only half the truth; I was doing it to save my sanity.
I survived a girls’ night out, a 40th, a comedy gala and thirty-one meals with my family. And I would like to report my body feels amazing and so much healthier but that would be another lie. My body doesn’t feel that different but my mind does.
Wine is not bossing me around and that feels wonderful.
Now it’s June and I don’t know what to do—go back to the being the lush that I know or keep going? I’m not very good at moderation, like only drinking on the weekends. I find it easier to be on or off.
I don’t want to be the mother who has to have her tub of red every night yet I don’t want to be the one who says NO THANKS I DON’T DRINK as I never gravitate towards those people. In fact, I don’t really know many people like that.
Women and wine are like Jesus and sandals; I can’t imagine one without the other. I can’t imagine having fun with my girlfriends without wine. I can’t imagine having fun.
But I’m not sure if Pinot Noir is my friend anymore.
Usually I like to have some pithy ending but I don’t have an ending today. I’m sharing this now, right now as I sit here in my indecision to see if anyone else battles like I do. Am I alone in my screwed up little mind?
I’d love to hear your thoughts.