*Before you begin reading this, know that it is incredibly personal, and ONLY about me and my habits. It is a confession, not a judgment. It is intended to keep me honest, not to vilify anyone’s likes, habits, or coping mechanisms. I don’t ever think about anyone else’s drinking, only mine, so be kind friends.
I reread my post from last month in which I mentioned how I’d likely have a glass of wine after I wrapped up writing. And I did, I’m sure of it. Last month, because friends were talking about and participating in Sober September, it got me thinking about Mommy Wine Culture. And, please understand that I have been ingrained solidly for three years, one month, and some days.
If I’m honest, I was all about it when just trying to become a mom, during the trials, tribulations, failed adoptions, and heartbreak.
You can’t get through a store without seeing some reference to wine. You may remember the skit on SNL where the only presents given at a party were wine signs? Socks that read on the bottom, “If you can see this, bring Mommy more wine.” Stemware etched with “Mommy’s Juice.” Parenting has always been hard, but toss in a pandemic, quarantine, a whole lot of togetherness, and research suggests that everyone’s drinking tendencies have gone up exponentially over the past 18+ months.
And upon reading these studies and reflecting, alcohol seems like it has always been a part of my life, but in a very ‘it is around but not a big deal’ way. My parents were social and had many friends who spent a lot of time together. Dinners at one another’s homes during the week, dinner out every Friday night, cookouts on Saturday, breakfast Sunday. We were together a lot. And drinking, to my recollection, was always a part of it.
Personally, alcohol has long been a lovely distraction. I feel it immediately, first sip. I can remember the things I love most about it from different points in my life. Early 20s on the beach, cold beer. Later 20s, bold red wines. 30s, newly single, Maker’s Mark neat, the slow burn from your lips to your stomach. Late 30s, the pop of a chilly prosecco or cava… sparkling rosé anyone?
But lately, I’ve noticed that my expectation for that nightly glass of wine has become more frequent. And if one made me relax some, how great might I feel with a second while cooking? Or a third after my babe goes to sleep? And then it occurred to me: it wasn’t just for fun.
It is no secret about how difficult moving has been for me (and Cincinnati is great, as are our friends here). While I wish I was over it, this niggling loneliness has felt like something I could easily fill with the familiar… alcohol. My wife is busy with work, my child is 3 and on an independent streak (which I love, by the way), with the Delta variant rampant, we’re trying to be super careful about hanging out with others (in fact, we’re awaiting PCR results after an exposure a week ago).
Let me also clarify: this isn’t an issue.
I’m not drinking all day and driving around. I’m not drinking at home alone with my child. It isn’t interfering with my relationships, career, etc. I’ve just realized that I’ve been using it as a crutch to feel less… less lonely, scared, sad. And I’ve fought too hard to learn to sit with those emotions, knowing that they are temporary, and let myself dull both my good and bad feelings with my evening routine.
So, friends, all of this to say, as of this submission, I am 14 days sober. How long will it last? I don’t know. I’m not making any hard and fast rules just now. I’ve been using the Reframe App, and I really like it. I’m also reading We Are The Luckiest by Laura McKowen, and it’s amazing.
And for all my friends who drink responsibly, I’m proud of you, and I wish I was you. But for now, I don’t feel like I am. Maybe one day I will be, but for now, alcohol isn’t serving me, so I’m putting it down. Wish me luck, and thanks for listening.