Mother’s Little Helper

I’ve always had an addictive personality. I grew up knowing it – my mother warned me. Her father was an alcoholic and a gambler. She was (and at 67, still is) a workaholic and maintains very careful control over most other aspects of her life. I have two serious addictions. One is exercise and the other is the 5 o’clock wine. Don’t misunderstand – I’m not what most people would consider an alcoholic. It’s never more than 1 or 2 wines (unless I’m out or it’s an ‘occasion’), but it’s always 1 or 2 wines. I read one of the most interesting Sunday-paper-lifestyle-magazine articles that I’ve ever come across last weekend. It was about the modern day woman’s reliance on that end of the day drink. Turns out it’s not just me and every other mother that I know.

The glass of wine is our off switch. It signifies that the day is over. It’s the modern ‘mother’s little helper’, now that doctors won’t prescribe valium (damn them). My kids learned the word alcohol very early on. It was a bit awkward when we’d be out at a cafe and they would shout in their cute 2 year old voices “Does that have alcohol in it Mama?” Half the eyes in the place would look over with disdain, and the other half with understanding.

Every mother of preschoolers knows that it’s acceptable to have a wine on a Monday, and you only have to wait until 5pm if you’re on your own. Drinking alone comes with it’s own set of rules.

A few months back I had my 6 monthly liver function test and the results came back sub-optimal, to put it mildly. In response I decided to drink my wine with soda. That way two drinks was really only one. That lasted until I forgot to buy soda one week. It’s easy enough to ignore your liver.

I’m speaking mostly tongue-in-cheek of course, but there is an unquestionable truth to what I say. A generation or so ago, women wouldn’t be caught dead without their hair done if company was coming over. I couldn’t care less about my hair, but you wouldn’t catch me dead without a bottle of wine to offer to a girlfriend seeking refuge from dealing with her screaming hoards alone.

So yeah. Addiction. Do I think about it? Yeah, of course? Do I care?

Not enough to stop.

It’s Been A Long Time Between Drinks

If you’re out there and you still follow my blog, you have more patience than anyone I’ve ever known (or not known, as the case may be). But there is a reason for my long silence. I didn’t know what that reason was until recently. My prolific writing of the past was a product of my belief in my own self-worth. That is a powerful gift and it was given to me by my parents. I took it for granted.

For a while there I got so caught up in the things that I did that I lost sight of the fact that to be human isn’t a crime that requires punishment. All mistakes can be fixed with time and the desire to make things right. So I spent a while dwelling on that. And taking time and making things right.

There was a price. I’d be selling myself short if I wasn’t honest about that. My mental health suffered for a while, which is a scary thing for someone with no experience or family history of it. So I take some more pills these days and I spend a lot of time reminding myself to be grateful for the good things. Of which there are a lot.

I think I might even come back and start talking about them… so hold onto your hats.