I am writing this for myself, because I need to hear it. I’m publishing it for you, because maybe you do, too.
I don’t remember exactly when alcohol became my primary coping mechanism for the stress of motherhood. I know that some days I would have a beer around 4:00pm, just to help me get through what remained of a tough day with two toddlers. Some nights, I poured a glass of wine while I took a bath and tried to unwind after their bedtime. What I don’t know is when wine became part of my nightly routine. It seems like it’s been a few years. Most nights, I have at least one, but usually two, glasses of red wine before bed.
I don’t really see anything wrong with that, per se. I am not physically dependent. My body doesn’t need or crave it, and it’s something that I can easily (and often) part from. I thought, for a little while, that maybe I was psychologically dependent on it. That I had used wine for comfort and coping for so long that I no longer possessed the skills to do it on my own. But even that, I’ve realized, isn’t true. I have plenty of coping skills, and at this point, I don’t even have that much to cope with! I’m happy and well rested (for the most part). Life is tough some days, but it is good.
So, why am I drinking two glasses of wine a night most nights?
Plain and simple, it’s just become a habit. It’s one step in my nightly routine. I get the kids in bed, wash my face, take a bath, pour a glass of wine, and begin my evening. At this point, I don’t grab the wine because it’s what I want. I grab it because it’s what I do.I handle it casually and responsibly, so no big deal.
What I’ve come to realize, though, is that is it a big deal. I don’t have to be physically or psychologically dependent on something for it to have an impact on my health, well-being, and goals for myself.
My wine routine has messed up my diet goals. Despite trying to eat smartly throughout the day, after a glass of wine I find myself craving snacks. I start with cheese because it pairs nicely with the wine. But then the sharpness of the cheese is too much and I need something chocolate to balance it out. After eating a bit of chocolate, my body craves something savory to balance that out. I go into a snack-cycle that doesn’t end until I fall asleep.
As a result, my wine routine is messing up my fitness goals. I’m depressed that the work I do on my Peloton or with my weights isn’t having an impact because of all the calories I consume in the evenings. So, I am less motivated to workout.
And, wine is messing up my financial goals. It is not cheap to keep a house stocked in wine when you’re drinking two glasses a night most nights.
All around, this thing that I’m not addicted to, that I don’t need, and that I am obviously not benefiting from, has got to go.
I’ve decided to set some boundaries with myself around alcohol. First, I’m not drinking on weekdays anymore unless it’s a special occasion. This is the first week I’ve done it, and I’m so happy. I’m looking forward to having a glass of wine on Saturday night with my husband, but other than that, I haven’t even thought about it.
Second, I don’t even keep wine in the house during the week. On Friday evening, I buy one bottle of wine to enjoy throughout the weekend. When it’s gone, it’s gone.
Not drinking wine in the evenings has stopped most of my snacking. I make a flavored water instead, and find that it quenches my thirst and keeps me from feeling peckish. By the way, when it comes to flavored water, nothing beats Waterloo sparkling flavored water with Mio or Publix brand water enhancer. My current favorites are Waterloo Lemon & Lime water with Publix liquid water enhancer in Strawberry Lemonade, and Waterloo Orange Vanilla water with Mio Orange Vanilla water enhancer (it tastes like an orange creamsicle!).
I’m sleeping better because, paradoxically, even though alcohol helps you fall asleep, it makes you prone to sleeping lightly and waking up frequently in the night. I’m also losing weight, for all the reasons mentioned above.
My goal with this isn’t to persuade anyone to do what I’ve done. Simply put, I just think that it’s good for all of us to occasionally reflect on our habits and decide if they are getting us closer to our goals, or further from them. Alcohol was pushing me further from my goals, and it was time to re-evaluate my relationship with it. If it’s time for you to do the same, leave a comment down below.