Alcohol and I: a trial separation

We're had a long relationship, alcohol and I, with lots of ups and downs. But today I have to announce that we're going for a trial separation.

Nothing to do with the health police who have been out in force this week targeting middle aged women like me, who previously enjoyed a glass of wine or two in the evenings.

No, it just feels as though we're no longer compatible and, *whispers*, we may have fallen out of love.

I never expected this to happen: I presumed that I would sail through the grim menopausal years with a glass of Chardonnay in hand, and sip Merlot on a balcony somewhere warm through a golden retirement. But it's all gone wrong. And it started so well. Well, kinda.

You see the demon drink and I go way back. Probably before most of you were born. As a teenager, alcohol was the magic wand that transformed me from a shy, gawky, unpopular, self-conscious young girl to someone who was, well, not. Or so I thought.

Life took on a rosy angostura hue. Occasionally alcohol did cause a few problems, but I didn't like that, and over time I drank less. Then I had kids, and cut back even more, especially when I began to see the harm that excessive drinking could cause in others.

But I still liked a drop of wine once the kids were in bed. Even this time last year, I thought I'd be be dancing glass in hand down the byways of my life forever.

I was wrong.






In the last six months or so, I've lost the taste for it. Even when I'm sipping something special in front of the fire, I no longer feel relaxed. I no longer feel good. The next morning it makes me tired and grumpy. And it gives me heartburn. And I want to set a good example for my teenage son: I really really don't want him to think that alcohol is the solution to any of his problems.

So since Christmas, I've gradually been cutting down, and now I've stopped completely. Our trial separation has begun. I don't know how long it will last, or whether we'll get back together for special occasions. I've no rules like that. Because it's hard, you see, it's not like giving up smoking.

Smoking? What was that?

I barely remember the existence of cigarettes now. There are very few reminders. I rarely see people smoke, there are no ads, no packets on display in the shops. Nothing apart from the occasional furtive light up in shop doorways.

But alcohol is everywhere. Not just the ads, but #winetime on twitter, Movies and Booze on Friday afternoon radio, billboards, people talk about drinking, write about drinking, it's still everywhere.

So we'll see.

It's not as though I feel transformed either. I don't feel any happier and I still have bad days. I've put on weight as well, because chocolate has more calories than wine. But I am coping better with the children. The trial separation is working for them. So I may have to make it permanent.





NOTE: After I wrote this, I found a very similar piece in this Saturday's Irish Independent, reprinted from the Daily Telegraph. But I didn't copy it, honest!



11 comments:

  1. I'm actually having a glass of wine while writing this comment, but I understand where you're coming from. Alcohol (except in my teenage years when I was obviously careless) has never been something I needed. I enjoy a few glasses here and there, but I don't need to have a glass every day, sometimes I can be weeks without drinking any alcohol. I was brought up in a way where wine was drunk with a meal, never on its own, so maybe that's the reason why... I don't know. Anyway, good luck with your "trial separation" :-)

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    1. They do say that wine with a meal is the best way alright x

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  2. Susan (Eastendmom)April 23, 2015 at 12:43 AM

    I can so relate to this, and sadly I've considered it just another sign that I can no longer stretch it enough to call myself "middle aged". I'm officially headed to OAP territory! I used to smoke many years ago, and can't even imagine it now. The smell alone ... ugh. As for drinking, much as I've always loved wine I find it just making me tired and giving me a headache these days. This is a fairly new development for me, too. Plus, I've been having help with heart palpitations so have cut way, way back on caffeine, most especially chocolate. Sigh ... what's left?

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    1. I ask myself that sometimes, and I can still enjoy coffee and chocolate x

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  3. When I was pregnant for the first time I used to feel sick if someone around me was drinking wine and I never got the taste for it back when baby arrived. Mostly, I used to love a glass of wine but I couldn't stomach it after being pregnant. The taste never returned and I've often missed it, I used to love a glass of wine by the fire. Like you, I didn't really choose to give up alcohol and it often pops into my head that really I should have a lot of money lying around since I don't buy it anymore, sadly my wallet doesn't reflect it! Hope your separation goes well and, if it's not a trial, have one for me!

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    1. I haven't decided yet whether it's a trial or a trial :)

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  4. Good for you. It is a sad fact that the older we get, the after effects the next day are rotten! I can only drink about half a glass! :)

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    1. Oh no! It's going to be a subdued celebration next time you're in Ireland so...

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  5. well done you for giving it a go!
    ive never been one to drink at home as never understood need for it- i prefer eating!
    i only drink when i am going on a night out, and wine makes me feel yuk anyway so its spirits all the way!
    i never saw my parents drink at home apart from xmas day so i guess it has never occurred to me to do it, but if you are feeling better for it then sounds like this detox was needed.
    good luck!
    #singleparentlinky

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    1. My parents only drank on Christmas day while I was growing up too, but sadly their healthy lifestyle took a long time to influence me :)

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