I like drinking. You only have to glance at my social media feeds to know that. Red wine features everywhere in my pictures and my words.
Drinking is in my DNA. Sometimes I think it’s actually red wine that flows through my veins and keeps my heart pumping (truthfully, my heart is probably pumping in spite of how much I drink).
Alcohol, and red wine in particular, has always been a big part of my life. I was raised in the 70s and 80s when Mum and Dad always had a cask of Coolabah or Stanley on the go. Our Adelaide home was a creative one that saw just as many fiestas as it did fights fuelled by red (red) wine and loud music. Neil Diamond, Demis Roussos and a healthy rotation of classical music usually supplied the soundtrack to my parents’ evening “discussions”.
As I type this I can still see the soda siphon in its spot on our kitchen cabinet.It sat amongst the Black and White Scotch Whiskey with the tiny toy scots dogs hanging around its neck, a variety of Gins and a big vase that held dozens of matchbooks that Dad had collected from around the world over the years. It was all a veritable treasure trove for a five year old.
Dad gave me my first G&T at 18. Or was it 15? Doesn’t really matter. I didn’t like it, but I did remember it. And, by my late 20s when my taste buds were all grown up it was my go-to spirit, despite my pay packet not stretching to the Bombay Sapphire lifestyle.
I’m not sure when I started my mad and passionate love affair with red wine. I know I had an aversion to it for such a long time because I thought it’s what caused my parents to argue in my youth. Neither of them were alcoholics so obviously it wasn’t the ACTUAL cause of arguments but it certainly helped them to flex their distain and start to live separate, but companionable, lives. (Jesus, there’s so much to unpack in that statement isn’t there? *makes mental note to discuss with therapist*).
By my mid to late 30s I was a very happy drinker of red wine. I drank often and enjoyed it. I’ll be 45 in a week and I haven’t had a break from drinking since I was pregnant and breastfeeding. That was four years ago.
I’ve now become that mother who drinks. Every day. Wine o’clock is often the only ritual I keep and I keep that ritual alone or with my other Mum friends. There have been many articles written over the last few years about the phenomenon that is the ‘mummy wine time’. Lana Hirschowitz summed it up for me when she wrote:
The 5pm glass of wine is the Holy Grail, it’s what we are all meant to hang on to during the day as we trudge through the banality of raising small children, as we mediate fights and tantrums and pick up tossed items of clothing. Soon it will be over and we can drink.
I have very few friends who are teetotal and I enjoy every social occasional with alcohol of some sort. Even a single glass of champagne at a ladies luncheon. (Who am I kidding?…I don’t luncheon! And it would never be just a single glass!)
On the rare occasions that I leave Netflix and dine out with a large group I’ve been known to order a whole bottle of red wine, irrespective of who’s joining me to drink it. I do this for two reasons. One: it’s always cheaper to buy by the bottle. And two: I have no patience and when my glass is empty I want it refilled immediately. I prefer to be in control that way (*makes another mental note for discussion with therapist*).
Red wine is my companion for so many reasons.
I drink to remember
I drink to forget
I drink to celebrate
I drink to commiserate
I drink to unwind
I drink to wind up
I drink to think
I drink to sleep (but not for long)
I drink to write
I’m drinking now.
I like drinking. But it’s time to have a break.
I acknowledge that I’m in control of my choices here and I am not ill with alcoholism. But I am not healthy either. So I’m giving up my companion. I’m going to fly solo and un-medicated for a month. Starting tomorrow…right after I finish this last open bottle.
I’m not campaigning. I’m just writing about what’s going on in my life. But here’s some more info if you’re interested:
- Check out Dry July
- What happens to your body when you don’t drink for a month?
- Effects of Alcohol on your Body