Blame It On The Wine
5 Signs It’s Time to Break Up With Booze
You know that feeling when you wake to the panic of “Oh crap, I left my purse at the bar? Wait, I had it in the Uber…I think. At least, I think there was an Uber?” And it’s only when you spring out of bed to trace last night’s steps from the front door that the “spins” kick in, and you realize you’re very thirsty, a tiny bit hungover, and maybe still a little bit drunk.
So you find your purse.
Next existential crisis – Where’s my phone? Frantic purse sifting ensues. Ah, there it is. You take a look to see if there was an Uber involved, and if he/she was tipped. But not of course, until you first do the scroll of shame. Yep, 3 outgoing texts. I didn’t! Oh yes you did. Awesome.
You grab the first cold, chuggable thing in your fridge, and segue right into “morning after” forensics to ID last night’s crumbs on the counter. (I’m pretty sure that sh#t’s not Paleo.)
You, my friend, may be ready to break up with booze.
Does anything here sound familiar to you?
If it does, then this may be a good time to get honest with your bad self and take a look at your relationship with alcohol. Trust me, you’ll be in good company. Maybe it’s not this extreme. Maybe you just need to take a break from alcohol to lose a few pounds, you’re designated driver for date night this week, working on that project that needs 100% of you, or you’re watching your friends’ kids or yikes- grandkids.
Regardless of your reasoning – there is never a downside to taking a day, a week, a month or even a year off from alcohol. You may just be surprised at the big, wide world that opens up to you. I was!
Thousands of women across America are hitting the pause button on booze for a variety of reasons.
We’re not talking about women hauling on nips in the ladies room or sleeping on the park bench. These are highly functioning, bright and beautiful women, wives and mothers just like you who manage to keep it together on a daily basis, but are falling apart just a little bit in the shadows. They have moved beyond the occasional “social” glass of wine to lives that are progressively being altered by an inability to moderate or stop drinking alcohol, whether it is on the occasional night out, or night after night. at home.
You don’t have to fit any of the “drinking” stereotypes to have an issue. And “issue” is highly individual, and subjective.
Plain and simple – If drinking is getting in the way of what you want from life, or if you are just spending too much time “thinking about drinking,” it may be time for you to evaluate your relationship with alcohol.
5 Signs It May Be Time to Take a Break From Alcohol
There’s a good chance that alcohol may be standing between you and your best self.
So take a few minutes to think carefully about each of the questions below.
1- Have you ever Googled “Am I An Alcoholic?”
First of all, if your answer is yes, ‘nuff said. Go directly to Whoa! Reading on is optional.
No judgement here. I have failed every such quiz known to man. But in my defense, if I drank less than seven drinks per week, I probably would be on WinesTilThey’reGone.com right now grabbing the buy of the hour, and not googling “Am I an Alcoholic,” right?
Guidelines on what is considered “high risk” drinking vary by source, but before you start Googling guidelines, do this!
- Pour the contents of your preferred drink into your favorite wine or cocktail glass
- Fill it up as you normally would
- Go to your kitchen right now and find a 5 oz measure. (1.5 oz for spirits)
- See what I’m sayin’?
- Extra credit if you count how many 1.5 oz. measures it takes to fill your favorite glass to “normal” level.
2- Have you ever tried and failed at moderating your drinking?
Rules are great to make, but oh, so easy to break. How about these?
- “I’ll only have 3 drinks for the entire night and that will average less than 1 drink per hour, so I won’t even be drunk and that’s perfect.” Nope. All bets are off after drink number one.
- “I’ll alternate between cocktails and club soda.” Great, now I’ve had 8 drinks and 8 club sodas. Hello, rest room? And why did I wear a jumpsuit?
- “I’ll take a week (month, year ) off.” Um, well, just not this week, (month, year).
- “I won’t drink alone.” Right.
- “I’ll only drink on weekends.” How’d that work out?
3- Have you ever felt ashamed of your drinking or your behavior when drinking?
Ah, let me count the ways.
- You wait in line at the market to get a different cashier when you buy wine, and you’re not above driving to an entirely different store.
- Recycle day is not your fave? You cringe when the truck pulls up, lifts your recycle barrel sky high, and begins the slow, long pour of frat house clanging and crashing of bottles into the truck. Yes, every neighbor knows you live alone.
- “I said what?” In my defense, it was probably best that she heard it.
- Everyone else at the table (except your best pal) has a civilized, nearly-full glass of wine and you’re drumming your fingers on the table for a discreet refill from the waiter you’ve given the nod to from across the room.
- ABC Liquor has its own graph on your American Express Year-End Statement. You know, the one that shows your top expenditures.
- You have worn reading glasses shopping or to work, even though you can barely walk with them on so they hide your blurry, glassy eyes. (Think whole snapper at the fish market)
- You don’t answer the door or take calls after a certain point at night. “I was on Skype.” Right.
- You’ve been told your yoga pants are inside out on more than one occasion by:
- The salesperson at the surf shop who discreetly unlocks the dressing room for you. I was the cool aunt right up until then.
- The lady in the pedicure station next to you. Oh, trust me. She’s judging!
- Your lawn guy. So not cool
- Just asking for a friend
- You’ve been told your yoga pants are inside out on more than one occasion by:
4- Do you ever experience changes in your physical appearance or health from drinking?
The mirror normally doesn’t lie.
Changes in appearance most definitely can result from alcohol use.
- Nails brittle and shredding? Yep.
- If your hair is beginning to resemble a wire hair terrier, it may be stemming from the the drink. Alcohol causes dehydration and can interrupt the absorption of nutrients and vitamins.
- Skin starting to look dry and crepey? Booze.
- Eyes puffy or glassy in the morning? Ditto
- Can’t get your weight under control? “Paleo – Schmaleo!” Wine in any substantial quantity is not on that or most other weight programs. Calories. Sugar. Nuff said?
- Not sleeping well and waking up to night sweats? Try taking a week off. Your body will tell you.
Some of the classic signs of excessive or binge drinking are insomnia, headaches, sweating, brain fog, and nausea. And alcohol is linked to numerous health risks including various cancers, pancreatitis, liver disorders, heart disease and more. If your drinking is excessive, extreme or prolonged, or you have any concerns about your health or physical condition you should consult your physician. No joke
5 – Does it seem like your world is getting smaller because of drinking?
“I’d love to see you guys tonight but…”
- Friday night’s here. Friends are heading over to the pier for live music and a couple drinks. Sounds good, but maybe you’ll just hang in at home. No worries about parking, the hassle of people, (because who likes people?) driving home after having a couple, or getting a slight slur on out in public. And there’s that special bottle of cab just calling your name from the kitchen. Settlin’ in.
- You wake up on Saturday with a plan. Sunny skies and clear water, a great day for a snorkel with the Beach Group. But, you feel just a little off, and how great would it be anyhow to knock off your errands early and settle in on the couch with the puppy to finish off “Ozark.” Netflix marathon is on. Snorkel is out.
- You schedule a three hour block in your awesome rose gold planner to finish the business plan for your “at home biz” that’s going to change your life. But, you wake up to that familiar brain fog/ low grade hangover, and decide maybe you’ll just nap a bit, then cook up some comfort food. Hello Sunday Morning!
So you get the idea. If canceling plans and avoiding people in favor of staying home is becoming more frequent, if you wake up feeling “just a little off” more often than not, if you just don’t have the excitement to take on much of anything beside every day requirements, these are all good signs that drinking is getting in the way of a bigger and better life. Time to consider a break up with booze.
Yes, we live in a drinking world. Alcohol is glorified and romanticized. It’s sexy, seductive, and seemingly a cure all.
You’ve seen the ads.
You’ll be brilliant, gorgeous, witty and winning if you just pick the right pour. And pour often. The marketing message is more highly targeted and customized to women than ever before. Wine consumption is normalized, while being sober is not.
Remember the old cigarette ads and the Mad Men era? Drinking may just be the new ”smoking” that our kids and grandkids look back at shaking their heads at the “vintage” ads trotting out wine as the ‘cure all’ for social angst and emotional void.
And how about our entertainment?
If Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda glamorized the Cosmo and opened the door for the sophistication of day and night Cosmo drinking, today’s shows have kicked it wide open. Take note as you watch TV tonight. Alcohol has morphed into a standard prop in nearly every scene as a given, a non-event, making it all the more sneaky and insidious.
Check out your social media
It’s rife with euphemisms and drinking lingo designed just for women – “mommy juice” and “wine o’clock.” We like, we laugh, we heart, we share. We perpetuate what may be the greatest marketing attack on women of all time. All this, despite the fact that alcohol abuse is probably the most stigmatized addiction in our culture, and women who drink are judged most harshly.
Wine cures all.
Alcohol is offered up as a solution for all that ails us.
- Finances got you feeling stressed and wondering how much longer your can eek out of your current job? Pour a nice crisp chablis and forget about it for now.
- Are the walls closing in on you now that the kids are gone and you’re on your own? Open that gorgeous red and fire up Netflix. You have 3 more episodes of “The Crown.”
- Not sure about this FlyGuy626? Maybe just have a little toddie to take the edge off before your online date shows up.
- Anxiety getting the best of you about “the talk” you are springing on the “kids” tomorrow? Pour a stiff one, sit back and put your feet up.
You get the idea. But spoiler alert! Alcohol can’t do it all. It can’t do any of it. It’s a depressant, it’s progressively addictive, it’s toxic, and it puts you at risk physically and emotionally.
“The times they are a changin’….”
Women are looking beyond traditional solutions like AA for a modern way to address an equally modern problem.
Modern solutions for today’s woman are just a click away.
As women across America are realizing that alcohol is coming between them and the life they want to live, an entire “sober” subculture has spawned. Modern solutions abound:
- Life coaches specializing in losing the booze.
- Online classes and coaching offer up a “booze free “community,” new solutions and daily inspirations. Support can vary from a daily inspirational email to group coaching or one-on-one counseling.
- Online sober challenges and sober apps are ubiquitous, whether your choice is moderation forever or a “week without.”
- The blogosphere has spawned a new generation of sober gurus, parsing out wine-stopping wisdom and tips.
- Private Facebook groups offer encouragement and support.
- “Quit Lit,” a new genre of literature lets Sober girls bare their souls and share their secrets for pressing the pause button.
Search “alcohol free” and you will find dozens of listings for alcohol free challenges of varying lengths – most of them free.
- Sober October, NOvember, and Dry January
- 7 Day Alcohol Challenge, 30 Day Alcohol Challenge
Search “sober blogs” and you’ll find modern day gurus like Claire Pooley, author of The Sober Diaries: How One Woman Stopped Drinking and Started Living, Rebecca Weller, author of A Happier Hour and founder of SexySobriety.com, and Annie Grace, writer of the modern girl’s sober bible, This Naked Mind: Control Alcohol, Find Freedom, Discover Happiness and Change Your Life.
As you tune into this new culture, don’t expect to see the term “alcoholic” used freely. New thinking challenges that label, and the tenets of the lifelong struggle that AA and traditional treatment seems to suggest. One size does not fit all, and “problem” drinking and ways to address it are being redefined. Terminology like “alcoholism” is out and “grey area drinking” is in.
Alcohol Free is a game changer.
Give it a try.
My alcohol experiment started with a 6 week challenge to myself. Never did I expect that months later, I would still be rockin’ the AF lifestyle. But I just can’t argue with feeling and looking better, and enjoying more clarity and focus than I have experienced in years.
So, if you want to be guilt free, your most productive and authentic self, save money, and live without regrets, it may be time for you to give alcohol free living a try.
Being alcohol free is just one way to get your mojo back.
While you’re here, take a look around and see what secondmojo.com is about.
We’d love to hear what you think about this article and about drinking. Have you ever tried to moderate for a specific event or period of time? How did that work out? What are your concerns or strategies? Scroll down to the white “Comment” box below and let us know.
Found your blog through Sue at Sizzling Toward 60. I retired in November 2018 and have been struggling with my Mojo, so I can relate to your blog theme. I gave up alcohol for Lent this year and felt so much better. For the longest time my limit was one glass of wine, but slowly I transitioned to two glasses (generous pours). I didn’t move beyond that, but it was still too much for me. I was most impressed by how much better I slept which is so important to everyone but especially an over 60 person who needs to preserve memory and brain cells. I limit to one drink now but am considering stopping that since even one glass of wine sets off reflux and less restful sleep. I’ve got to explore some of your mocktails! Nice to meet you, Cynthia!
Thanks for stopping by Molly! Yes, I have always had a tough time sleeping and the beautiful and restful sleep of being alcohol free is one of the greatest benefits. I have a favorite mocktail – Pineapple Jalapeno Mojito that I will share this month. Best to you!! I think my guest post for Sue comes out today, if not out already. More tips! thanks again, Cynthia PS I’ll check out Shallow Reflections.
The hardest part of my alcohol vacation was not having a martini while I sat in my hot tub and talked with my buddy in FL on the phone. It was like high school (except for the martini)
My break started in 2/8. After 30 days of no booze, I returned to having a drink or two socially. Lost some weight. Sleeping better. I have more energy. The best no alcohol beer is Bush NA. The biggest thing I noticed was that alcohol helped be suffer boring people in bars by becoming one.
Ok now I am off to FL to see said friend. All bets are off.
We will compare notes on this for a follow up post.
“Said Friend” awaits!
And the cycle continues.
Hi Cynthia, on 5th March this year, my husband and I celebrated one year alcohol free. He made the decision a year ago to give up drinking because the number of drinks each night were creeping up and he knew he needed to take action from a health perspective. Although, I didn’t drink as much as him, I did enjoy sharing a couple of wines. I decided to support him and give alcohol a miss as well, because I knew it would be difficult for him coming home and watching me have a drink when he couldn’t. I’ve always been healthy and active and noticed that I haven’t missed the alcohol except perhaps for a glass of bubbly at New Year (I had alcohol free) and my skin is looking better, plus I feel better inside. Great to connect with you and look forward to reading more of your thoughts.
Sue from Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond
I had a similar experience. Who knew it would be so rewarding and fell so natural? I have some of my favorite Alcohol Free craft cocktail recipes coming up. Stay tuned! Great to connect. I’ve been enjoying following you. Cynthia
These five signs are spot on! It is sad when you think about all of these signs and symptoms and say “yep, that’s me” or “oh god, I’ve been that girl that’s drunk falling on the floor”…uhm yikes! Alcohol is so normalized that it’s weird to people if you don’t drink. Considering the countless bad things and decisions that come with drinking, that truly a scary thought. This article is incredibly eye opening and inspiring. Who knew there were so many great blogs and sites to help “boot the booze”?! Thank you for putting all of this into words because it makes the process of slowing down/cutting out alcohol that much easier.
Once I started to focus on this, I found it a real revelation!!! Thanks for reading and sharing! c
This is spot on. Couldn’t have said it better my self
Thanks NGS….Funny, not funny right?