It’s scary to come to realise we’ve become reliant on something.
It’s often the way that once we realise, or at least, begin to wonder if we’re dependent, it’s almost a bit late. I don’t mean that in a gloom and doom way; it’s just that it’s hard to unpick and sort ourselves out of the way.
Any form of dependency is hard to overcome, but it can be even harder when our reliance is a socially acceptable one, like drinking wine. Then, rather than just overcoming something, we feel like we’re swimming upstream against the tide. It can make us feel wrong for wanting to try to change. It can make us feel different and undermine our resolution and self-confidence.
I see a lot of jokes online about drinking. I get it, it can be a funny subject, but sometimes, for a lot of us, it can also be a little bit too close for comfort. It can feel like we’re being laughed at, or worse, that we’re wrong for being the way we are. It can make us feel we’re maybe overreacting about our problems. Worst of all, it can perhaps make us feel we’re missing out by not drinking.
God knows, I didn’t need or want any help in having a reason to drink, but it’s almost impossible to miss those triggers when they’re everywhere we look. Please, don’t think I’m saying people who drink should temper their behaviour for me—because I’m not.
However, I do feel something needs to change. I don’t like the fact that drinking is advertised as a prime way to relax or to enjoy ourselves. It makes it harder for people like me with no “off” switch to feel like we’re part of things. I don’t like the whole wine Mom culture either.
Again, I know a lot of people, mothers included, who enjoy a drink in the evening, but it shouldn’t be pushed as a way to soothe the troubles of the day. Otherwise, before long, we’re drinking more than is good for us, too often, and perhaps, we begin to lose touch with our thoughts and emotions, and that’s a slippery slope. I know because I speak from experience.
Once wine (or any other form of alcohol) has infiltrated our lives and planted its feet firmly under the table, it can be hard to learn to live without it, to cope without it. We begin to rely on the glass of something to help us take the edge off—that’s where the trouble really begins. It doesn’t happen overnight; it’s slower and cleverer than that.
It creeps up on us, one sip at a time, so we don’t see it coming. Until, of course, one day we do, and when we do, we have much harder work to find our way back to that peaceful state of equilibrium. But we can. We can learn to live alcohol-free without the reliance on something external to keep us calm.
I know because I did. Not on the first go or the second—and it was hard, don’t get me wrong—but now I can safely say I’m not missing out. I have a clear mind, and I know that tomorrow, I’ll remember the things I’ve said. I won’t have to check my phone in a panic to see if I’ve posted anything that might be embarrassing. I won’t wake up with a hangover either. I won’t need to make an excuse to go to the shops to buy more wine, even though what I had already bought should last me days.
There are so many positives that it can be hard to remember them all at once. For me, I suppose the biggest thing is that I looked at life without wine as dull and boring. Now I see it for what it really is: freedom.