I’ve been wanting to go on a retreat, to get away from everything and devote some time to self-care and a renewed focus on God. The church we attend has a woman camp, but they will have alcohol there. For me, this just doesn’t fit with my plan and it is unfortunate, because you would think a church would be a great resource for those seeking freedom from worldly habits.
I feel led to completely eliminate alcohol from my life, rather than just eliminating wine. I’ve done this a few times, but I always find myself back to drinking several nights a week. To be honest, this time around it’s far more challenging to abstain. I have other friends who are on a similar journey and they have experienced the same struggle. I can go a day or two and feel really good, but by the third or fourth day, I want it again. My husband seems to follow a similar routine and thankfully we have arrived at this desire to quit together.
I generally have two – two and a half glasses of wine each night. I am so regular with this that my daughter began calling it “Mommy’s drink.” To cut the crap, my nightly wine habit amounts to about half a bottle. Actually it is exactly half a bottle as my husband and I eyeball each pour making sure they are perfectly equal and by the end of the night, the bottle is empty. While this isn’t as much as some people, that’s not really the point. Comparing our behavior to others is dangerous. My husband drinks as much as me each night, but he’s twice my size. Women metabolize alcohol differently than men. Also, each of us is different and what works for one person may kill the next. I recently read an article about a woman who is hoping for a liver transplant and she drank very much like I have. However, due to protocol, she may never receive one. I know a woman personally, who is in the hospital fighting for her life as all of her organs are failing. I don’t want to wait until my body is in serious trauma to make a change.
As it is now, I awaken most nights at around two o’clock with anxiety attacks & heart palpitations. I am generally awake for about three hours when this happens. Lack of sleep compiled with the effects of alcohol is a dangerous cocktail, indeed. All from just two glasses of wine.
In the United States, “alcohol consumption is decreasing in men, while it is increasing in women,” according to Aaron White, a biological psychologist and senior scientific advisor to the director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. I’m tired of the mommy wino narrative. I’m tired of an addictive, dangerous substance being embraced by our culture to a point that you can find lists for family-friendly events that serve alcohol. I’m tired of wine being advertised as self-care. I’m tired of the pallets of wine stacked in the aisles in Target next to shirts that are screen printed with things like, “Mommy needs wine.” We are being brainwashed to believe that wine is a health food and that it’s somehow safer than doing tequila shots, but this isn’t true.
5oz wine = 1 shot tequila to the body. It’s processed the same way. It’s equally addictive, but with the marketing, it may be even more alluring because it’s everywhere. From Target to Instagram, wine is presented as an answer to every mother’s troubles, as if being a mom somehow necessitates a nightly medication to continue. I just don’t buy it.
Yet, I, too have bought into it.
I have a long history with alcohol that started when I was fourteen. I always stopped drinking when pregnant and nursing. That’s said, I began somewhat regular alcohol consumption when my sons were about six and seven. I drank wine or beer at night, usually after they were tucked into bed. When they were teens, however, this progressed to my drinking a bottle on my own after a day of teaching, and “falling asleep” on the couch. Since my daughter was born, I’ve begun paying better attention to how alcohol affects me and I’ve worked hard to curb it. I have not succeeded as I have hoped, but I have made progress.
I have a lot of guilt wrapped up in all of this. I mean, how could I, as a loving mom, develop an alcohol addiction like this? And why aren’t we talking more about this, publicly? Why is wine still being touted as some sort of elixir of life? Why do we focus on the antioxidants, but not the anxiety and depression? Why do we focus on the meager health benefits, but look away from the danger of cirrhosis?
I think we need to start this dialogue in a very real way, because alcohol-related health issues and deaths are on the rise and all of this can be avoided.
I’m not going to start screaming to ban alcohol. I see nothing wrong with alcohol. I do think we need to refocus on true health and happiness & realize that alcohol is not needed to live a fulfilling life. For many of us, alcohol actually inhibits us from living a fulfilling life.
I’m on day three of a journey to discover what my life might be like if alcohol was simply not a factor. I’ve prayed hard and have invited the Holy Spirit into this place and I’m trusting that God will see me through, because I know I was not able to overcome this on my own. I love wine. I’ve made it an idol in my life and as we all know, what we focus on grows.
It’s time to pull this weed.
A Musing Mother
Hi! My name is Theresa and I'm a wife, mom of three, and grandma to two. I am a Nature lover and a follower of Christ. I live in an old farmhouse on the river where I homeschool our daughter. Most days, I can be found reading, making nature-inspired products, & gardening. I also enjoy traveling with my family, exploring cool local places, and helping out others where I am able. On the blog, I must about life, love, and learning.