5 Lessons About Drinking Alcohol Like a Grownup – My Ethonol Education

Lesson #1Drinking Alcohol Equals FUN! Fun is LOUD!

My ethanol education began with a memorable lesson. Drinking alcohol equals fun! One of my first memories of my dad is of him standing on a table at my Aunt’s house, eating half of a tequila worm. I thought it was funny. My dad ate worms!

At just eight years old, I received an education in cocktail making. The adults would play poker with their coffee tins full of change, smoking and drinking. It was my job to keep the drinks from running out. I can’t remember all of the cocktails I learnt to mix, but I enjoyed making them; a Bloody Mary was my favorite to make.

My parents thought that one uncle in particular drank too much. I didn’t quite understand this because they drank together, so how was he different? My mom explained to me that my uncle tended to sit in his chair and get a bit quiet. So to my parents, it was his introversion that was the problem. Apparently you could drink as much as you wanted to as long as you were loud and fun while you did it.

Lesson #2Growing up is learning how much to drink and in what order!

Teenage drinking. This was all about amounts. Drink some, have fun, drink too much and you’re sick, lying on the bathroom floor in a flat spin.
What was the old saying? Liquor before beer, you’re in the clear. Beer before liquor, never been sicker.

Lesson #3 Real Women Drink Well – Sober is Boring

In my 20’s I learned how to drink wine. For the most part, red wine didn’t agree with me, however, white wine did. White wine and cocktails (thanks Sarah Jessica Parker). There was nothing that could make me bond with my girlfriends more than a few bottles of wine. Although drugs scared me, I did do them sometimes but my 20’s taught me that in order to have fun, one must be drinking. People who didn’t drink alcohol much were boring and beneath me.

Lesson #4Wine makes motherhood interesting

I learned in my early 30’s that not only was wine fun, it made life as a stay-at-home motherless boring, I learned that in order to stay young, I needed to drink. (Why are all these boring people going home at 11 pm? We are not OLD yet!) I learned that to enjoy other people’s company, I needed to drink. I learned that if I felt I didn’t belong (which was often), I could drink and fit in like a puzzle piece.

In my mid 30’s I learned that wine could numb pain, make hardships palatable, dilute insecurities and any sadness I felt. By my mid-late 30’s I looked forward to having an evening to myself to drink, definitely preferring to drink alone. I also stopped liking the person I looked at in the mirror.

Lesson #5 – Wine doesn’t work for me anymore

I am 41 and I have recently learned that wine is no longer the answer. It worked until it didn’t. There was a delay between when wine stopped working for me and when I knew that it wasn’t working for me. It took more time to begin to change this. Its left me wondering if wine ever worked for me at all. I don’t want to dwell on the past but after reviewing it, I’m incredibly grateful I arrived at this place. To commemorate this, I wrote a letter to my old self:

Dear Old Self,
Thank you so much for looking for me. Thank you for doing the hard thing and the right thing.
Despite swimming in a sea of Sauvignon, you knew you had to find me.
You were scared and didn’t know quite how to go about it, but you wanted to try.
You read and listened and learned and you looked honestly at yourself. At first in small moments of clarity, then slightly longer, building up and without realizing it fully, preparing to make a change.

I’m so proud of you for doing that.

And there you were, I spotted you! Out to sea clinging to a piece of driftwood. We got you into the boat, thank goodness. Rest now. You’ve worked hard, you must be tired, all that swimming in circles. Now I am here – it makes me so happy to row the boat and lead the way. Feel the gentle breeze and soft sea as I row us to shore. There will be clear skies and dark, sometimes calm and sometimes heavy rolling seas. But you are safe, we are strong. So thank you once again for doing the hard thing and looking for my little light on my little boat at a time when your head was barely above the water, surrounded by fog and mist.

We’ve got this.

Love, Your New Self xx

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