Great article by my friend and co author of The Sober Revolution, it truly is time to reassess our relationship with alcohol.
As more women are becoming alcohol free, and understanding that life, partially intoxicated by a cheeky little Pinot was not the sparkly marshmallow world that the marketeers would have them believe, I have been making some interesting observations.
First of all, just because supermarkets smother us with promotions and attractive pictures of how life will be if you drink, does not make it true or right.
This promotion is hardly indicative of a grocer, is it? But it suggests that this enormous bottle of wine, not some crisp rocket or fresh broccoli would be the main reason you would do an online shop. Other supermarket items are just as heavy, milk, bottled water, or perhaps laundry powder. We seem to just accept that it’s quite normal to encourage us to ditch any obstacle that might come in the way of home drinking and women particularly, I am sure the marketing department were not thinking of men when they came up with this image. So, let’s just put this into an appropriate place mentally. If you are going shopping the first thing on your mind should not be how much the wine you can buy and carry, if it is then you must become concerned. This is not normal at all.
Secondly the constant battles that women I talk to do with their thoughts of how people will perceive them without a glass of wine in their hand. Rather than focusing on how nice it might be to meet up with old or new friends, chat about fun or serious stuff, the whole process of going out seems to focus on whether they will get some awful stick for not drinking alcohol. Hours can be spent getting worked up over this. If these people are really friends, what difference will it make to them whether you are imbibing or not? They like you for what you are not for how much you can drink. There is nothing dull about being able to string your words together without losing the plot or having no recollection of what went on with the night out or lunch. Being out of control in some quest to become more likeable is just madness. For the most part no one cares what you are drinking if you don’t interfere with their habits, and anyone that does really isn’t worth knowing. All that time wasted on the what ifs of not drinking is just pointless. Alcohol in quantity is never desirable, the only solace for the drinker is avoiding uncomfortable withdrawal.
Thoughts of being seen as a ‘do gooder’ really get my back up too. No disrespect to do gooders, but we are just being real without a crutch of alcohol, who should have a problem with that? None of us in my posse are trying to change the world, ban booze, but we are saying that we are quite enough without it, so now let’s move on.
After 35 I am not sure where the good times come from with wine time. Most clients now drink at home, alone. Where is the fun in that? It’s isolating and lonely. If your drinking revolves around socialising and being responsible, that’s great, but I have not met that many women who have families and work commitments that are able to do that. They retreat into a world of sofa, tablet, teli and Prosecco.
I am still amazed that so many people, especially women, are not more upfront about not drinking anymore. What’s the problem? You have stopped hurting yourself, and undoubtedly others, you are able remember everything you do, and more than likely are looking a 100 times better than you once did.
On the whole, people don’t judge these days, they are all too embroiled in their own lives, very aware of the PC world we live in. There will always be gossip, and for the most part it’s baseless.
I do hope that after having daily bulletins on COVID admissions and deaths, that there might be a varied bulletin regime by the news channels, that includes the harms that alcohol causes, not just to the young, the disadvantaged and poorest in our society, because as Waitrose clearly shows, middle-class, middle-aged women are dying for a drink.
Working with Sarah has given me the impetus I needed to reassess my relationship with alcohol. While I was nervous to go into a ‘programme’, I’m not one for deep introspection and oversharing, the relief of the honesty combined with the matter-of-fact way in which Sarah treats the subject was very reassuring and liberating. I’m so glad I made the decision to work with Sarah, it feels like a grown up thing to do – taking responsibility for a behaviour that was on its way becoming out of control. You wouldn’t allow your children’s behaviour to spiral out of control, so why your own?