Wine, Me & Getting Healthy

In addressing my weight and deciding to get healthy one thing I have to address is alcohol. I LOVE wine.

Love it! I love the taste, the way chilled wine feels on a hot summer day. I love the tipsiness and the stress relief. I even love the lowered inhibitions.

I can be very closed off sometimes. I have the unfortunate habit of my mouth being like a steel trap, of overthinking every word before I let it slip out. I feel like that can make people feel lonely, like I’m not opening up to them, or I’m disapproving, which sometimes I am, to be fair. A glass of wine definitely causes my words to flow more freely. That is often a good thing, because it makes me easier to relate to and frankly, more fun. There have been times when I absolutely think I am more likable and also like I can relate to my son better. I am not sure why, but I have heard other special needs parents say it too.

When I was younger, I was not really a drinker. When I turned 21, I had a baby at my birthday dinner. Not long after, I was pregnant again. I was definitely not a drinker during that period. However, I lived near Napa and worked there. I became interested in wine and discovered a love for it, the way all newbies do, the sweet stuff first. During that period, it was just for enjoyment when socializing. I was low carb and it didn’t fit well into my diet.

But then I got to a different period of my life, one where I was stressed out most of the time. It was sort of a state of being for me for several years, maybe a decade. My ex-husband was deployed and I had two babies to care for alone. I was fortunate because I was able to stay home with them, but with a son who would literally climb the walls, and who I did not understand, it was a stressful time, with no partner.

During that period, my son was diagnosed with ASD and I delved into learning everything I could about that. I probably had undiagnosed PPD, but I was definitely depressed. My life felt hopeless. So, I would swing the pendulum from stress monster/helicopter mom to blubbering basket-case in the same day. Of course, I waited for the kids to go down for a nap or to bed for the night before falling apart.

But then, my mom and my stepdad would see how stressed I was. They tried to help me, and they did, tremendously. A lot of times that help was in the form of bringing me a bottle of wine. At that point, I would probably drink half a bottle per night. I would feel relaxation that I hadn’t experienced in so long and it was very, very welcome. It was a habit I had for maybe 6 months.

When my ex came back home we moved across the country, which was hard for me. But I got out of my wine habit for awhile.

It was a sad time in my life though.

I had a good friend, my father, my mother-in-law, and my grandmother all die in a short few years. In that time I took up running and I went back to school when the kids were in school. I would drink socially, but not every day or even every week. I was also very unhappy in my marriage, but he was was gone half the time. My life was hectic, but I loved being able to stay home with my kids. Until homework started…

I found that a glass of wine made homework time with my son infinitely easier. It gave me much more patience and gave me something to enjoy while sitting with him for hours. The problem became when I wanted another glass while I made dinner and then another when I put them to bed. For my wine drinkers, you know this equals a bottle. So, then I was drinking a bottle a day. This went on for several years. It may not have been every single day, but it was often. And this doesn’t include parties when I wasn’t responsible for anyone else and I let loose. My weight crept up, I say crept, but it really ran full speed ahead. I gained 50-60 lbs in a year. I wasn’t running, it wasn’t good for me.

But I continued. I did it until my ex retired and I went back to work every day. I would still indulge, but mostly just on the weekends. My weight stabilized and I even lost some. The thing was at this point, it was no longer something I leaned on to get through the storm, it was becoming the storm, slowly. For about 5 years, this was the schedule, I didn’t drink much if at all during the week, but I did on the weekends. And sometimes I took it overboard, making up for the week. I drank when I went out with work colleagues. I drank at parties and barbecues, but I lost 30 lbs during this time.

For the past 3 years I haven’t really stuck to the only on weekends rule. It has been a really rough period of my life. I decided I wanted a divorce, went through that life shattering process, had a series of unfortunate encounters with men, and lost my job. So, I leaned on the tried and true. But the problem is that it caused as many problems as it helped. In this time, I have completely stopped drinking for periods of time, been on benders, and done the drinking wine at night thing. I have always been in control of how and when, but I give myself permission and then I do. And I gained back the 30 lbs I lost.

I am no longer the person I was when my mom and stepdad would bring me wine. Then I could have 2 glasses and no more. I just don’t do that anymore. I also don’t get drunk much anymore, but I still drink. Until now.

Now things are wonderful. Now I have someone to share the load. Now my kids are largely self sufficient. Now is the time to kick the crutch, when things are good. So that when that inevitable hardship comes again, I have other ways of dealing.

None of this is hard to admit. Anyone who knows me well knows this stuff anyway. However, if I can help anyone see themselves more clearly, it is worth sharing.

Stronger Than Yesterday,

Alice

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