To Wine Or Not To Wine. That Is My Question.

Angela Barnett Stunt Chicken
Me, after a very good tequila shot.

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.




  1. Haha brilliant.yes I know how you feel.I don’t drink during the week.I binge from time to time..I gave up cos I stopped smoking I can’t drink and not want to smoke but its got easier over time.but to many drinks and the want to smoke is huge.I do avoid friends and the times I visit to avoid the drink and smoking routines.. Do feel better resent it.yes. but I m told its good for me so I continue.I still like wine.I’m better and more controlled but sometimes fall off the wagon.try not to beat my self up but am mindful.xthe bank balance is better..but now I got to posh wine tasting evening food involved and enjoy it.I can’t cope with hangovers it now takes 2-3daus to I make sure there’s nothing on or I’ll have to take the day off.I’m drinking smarter..I would like to think..


    • Oh brilliant – drinking smarter. I like that term. Smoking and drinking is like Jesus and sandals and it’s hard to imagine one without the other but it is possible. I’m sure of it. A barefoot Jesus who sips wine only in the weekend and is never hungover?


  2. Alone in your thoughts. Why no! There’s a galaxy inside a million-billion other galaxies just like ours, with multiple world interpretations and shit, just the thought of that makes me want to mix one! It’s good you took May off to do it. I did that in January and realized it was the longest I’d gone without drinking in many, many years. And no surprise a) it was hard and b) it did me a world of good, in terms of my creativity (writing) and dreaming, and feeling good. It’s a very slippery slope as you know. You write well and parent well and wife well, I’m sure. If you choose to drink, perhaps consider how much it affects those other areas. Consider it and do as you will. I’m no one to give advice, as I have a beer and drone out to something on the CD and go off to bed as my wife reads to the kids goodnight. It is what it is. (Cute picture of you with the tequila, by the way! Shit pie! Launch that mutha’!)


    • Aha. Alone in my galaxy of guilt I decided to kick that cosmos and consider myself OK. But once a year maybe it’s good for a month to say nay. I always love your comments (and it takes me about one lunar month to think of a good enough reply!)

      Liked by 1 person

      • You are never alone in your galaxy of guilt, not out here. You’ve come to the right place. Need one while I’m up?


  3. I would love to say something brilliant and inspirational here, and I commend you and cheer you on and am jealous of you and want to ask why you are leaving me behind so that I have to drink alone how dare you?! I want to do what you have done/are doing but I’ve so far failed at it or at least been not very good at it and don’t really want to succeed anyway. And I want other people to succeed so I know that maybe I can too but I also want others to not succeed so that I know it’s okay if I don’t. So there’s that. I did like the post, and wish you success. No joke. I mean really. Kick this bullshit, it’s better that way. Say no the red bucket. You don’t need it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well now it’s safe enough for me to reply. Instead of kicking that red bucket I licked it although I’m trying to keep it to a small vase at this stage. I don’t want others (who like me, aren’t alcoholics but have too much time to think about it) to succeed at sobriety either and then I feel like a right witch for thinking that way. Rest assured I’m wallowing in the same drunken pit as everyone else now. Well at least on Fridays.


  4. There is a correlation between wine and age, I’m sure of it. The older we get, the more normal we feel with wine sloshing in our system. Its given me pause for consideration and so I’ve said no, well that’s a big claim after only two weeks of not drinking. But my little white lie is, I have one good belt of whiskey with ice each night, which I savour and call my sacrifice to Bacchus


  5. I was debating whether to give up wine for June and this has motivated me to do so. I also promise not to poach any baby elephants, so you see you are having an effect on the world!


  6. Oh we so have to catch up… I gave up wine for April. For health reasons. Cut out all sugar for some gut rebalanced. I didn’t miss the wine which surprised me. I def don’t miss the interrupted sleep, groggy head or bloated belly. I started drinking again a bit more. One glass at a time. Usually I don’t want more than one these days. It feels good not to be a habit. To have more conscious choice about when I have it. What is it I actually want. Wine or something else? Kinda like with food :)


  7. As my young daughter once said to me “you’re so much nicer when you’re drunk mummy”. And she’s right. I am. It softens me, makes me laugh more, care less, and be kinder to myself and others (including my children obviously!). I drink in moderation (well I think I do), so I don’t see it as being a ‘bad’ thing. I enjoy it, it makes me feel good, and I’m sure that the tension release that comes from having a glass of wine or two is just as beneficial as any yoga class. I think the key is to lose the guilt. So I say “Life is too short, drink up!”


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