I woke up Thursday morning with a wine headache, again. This time I finally decided that something needed to change.
The dialogue in my head went something like this:
It’s the middle of the work week. How weak and pathetic are you?
And thus began my commitment to myself to abstain from any form of alcohol for one solid week. And no, it wasn’t just enough to commit to myself, in my own head, because guess who would be super chill about it if I told no one and then slipped up?
So I climbed to the top of my little corner of the internet, Instagram Hill, and I shouted:
“NO WINE SHALL BE CONSUMED BY ME FOR THE TIME PERIOD OF NO MORE THAN AND NO LESS THAN ONE WEEK.”
There. That’s done.
And now it was time to deliver on my contract with the social medias.
No wine for one week.
It looped in my head like a squeaky wheel.
Now hear me out; I am not a drunk. I mean, yes, I will overindulge from time to time. And there is something about finishing what I started even if it means a 750ml bottle of Malbec, but for the most part, I stick to 1-2 glasses a night, while prepping dinner, and then with dinner. Ok, sometimes 3-4 glasses, I have a tendency to lose count. But I realized when I thought about it, I couldn’t think of a time much beyond my pregnancy (and even there I was two months in before I knew what was up) that I went without. And so I set out to discover, was I living in a perpetual wine hangover, or was I hungover on life (40 is hangin’ out around the corner for me after all).
So I journaled my #WineStrike journey, and it went like this:
Day One: Poured ice cold water into a wine glass, drank 2-3 glasses full. Ate a pint of ice cream after dinner.
Day Two: It’s Friday, 4:30 PM, the workday is ending (and it was a shit workday too), I screwed something up, I am behind on a few deadlines, and it’s a snow day so we were all trapped inside, interrupting the shit out of each other’s Quality Worlds. All of these things are collectively screaming “HAVE A GLASS” to me. I want to pour a glass sooo badly. Feeling strongly like I’m not going to make it, so I posted to Instagram that I would go without for a week and committed to writing this post to lock down accountability. Still wavering though.
Little Voice: “They’ll nevvverrr knooowwww…
Me: No, I won’t lie to them!
LV: Shhh…. just a little glass… it’s Friyay
M: No. Quit it.
LV: But you didn’t say anything about no beer…
Now I’m thinking about the wine bottle in the cupboard that I opened two nights ago and only drank one glass out of. Mourning the death of that delicious bottle.
Leaving the house for distraction.
Return home, open a bottle of Cove Kombucha.
Day Three: We’re going out to a restaurant with one of the top ten mixologists in Canada! HALLP ME!!!
I made it through. Drank one Shirley temple. Saw no need for the second one, and drank water for the rest of the night.
I realized suddenly that Jeff is also abstaining in solidarity. This makes it so much easier. He gets 10 Husband Points.
Day Four (Sunday): A bit of a craving spell at 4:30pm, it passed quickly and Sunday night wasn’t so bad.
Day Five: Monday – I see this and I believe it
Days Six and Seven: The thought of #winestrike has already become mundane. My life feels so boring. I can’t even be bothered to write about it anymore. Do I still want wine? Yes, (especially in the 530-730pm window) but I suppose now the countdown is on to resume my daily wine drinking, and also, I am thinking about what big delicious glass of something-something I will be rewarding myself with, in a couple of days.
Observations after one week of not drinking
- Our culture is strongly centered around alcohol. There is little to do that doesnt involve alcohol consumption, so it is little wonder that many people struggle with it or non-drinkers feel excluded.
- Not drinking alcohol led me to feel like I was toggling between a juvenile or an elderly person: the kid at the end of the table with the coloured straw and cup of juice or the old person and their cup of tea…
- I didn’t necessarily feel any different day to day (I think I would need to abstain for longer to get any of that?) but I did experience significantly less guilt about my dietary choices. Less guilt always feels good.
- Having more than one of a non-alcoholic drink feels strangely unnecessary and excessive, however not so with an alcoholic drink.
- With both of us abstaining for the week, considering our usual intake and our visit to the restaurant, we probably saved about $150!
- Jeff really loves and supports me. He abstained all week as well without me even asking him to, which eliminated the major challenge of being tempted by his drinkypoos.
- There is only about a 2-3 hour window in the early evening when the cravings were the strongest. If I could get through that window, 5-7pm-ish after that was pretty easy.
- I replaced wine drinking with emotional food eating (pint of ice cream, multiple chocolates etc), so I think the theory that I would lose weight if I stopped drinking is mostly false (at least that’s what I will tell myself).
- The therapeutic benefits of the glass of wine are a real thing. Hopefully, someone somewhere is making a study of that.
- Wine drinking is largely an association thing. It is a ritual that I use to signify the end of my workday, and the transition into family time. I could likely replace that ritual with something else, but I dont want to. Not today.