So. Today it has been four months. Four months without my (beloved) wine or any booze for that matter.
Argh. Okay, I wish I could tell you that things are peachy keen and I adore this experiment of mine and am thrilled with my decision to do it and do it in such an wildly public fashion. I wish I could tell you that I never think about pouring a glass of wine, that life is just infinite bliss without it.
I can’t tell you these things because, well, they aren’t true. And if this year is about one thing, friends, it is about truth. Honesty. Being real.
So. Let’s do it. Let’s be real. You see the above picture?I took it on Sunday. Mother’s Day. I do this sometimes. I reach up, angle my phone down, and make some iteration of the pensive Aidan face. Voila.
Here’s the thing. Sunday was a really good day. It was. It was a day full of family, and life, and love. We spent most of the day outside in our garden, relaxing, eating, chasing, salving a surplus of skinned knees. We went through a lot of Band-Aids this weekend.
If I am honest though, it wasn’t an easy day. The kids were all over the place physically and emotionally. Little Girl was extra-clingy and wouldn’t eat much for some reason. At one point, Husband looked at me and asked: Are you okay? And I said to him, tears rising up, and said, Yes, it’s just that I feel pressure today. To be something that I’m not.
It’s weird because I’m not even sure what I meant by that statement. I think I probably meant that I felt (and feel) pressure to be that easy-breezy, super-smiley, gratitude goddess of a mother, and particularly on the Day of Mothers. But the reality is that I am not that mother, or that person. On any day. And I am certainly not that mother, or that person, on days when I feel I am supposed to be that mother, that person. I think I said what I said because I felt extra-compelled to be present there in that garden amid the sweet Sunday swirl of little girls I adore, and the fact that I didn’t feel that way, not entirely, made me feel bits of anxiety, and guilt.
And when I felt this, these things I sometimes feel, I wanted it. Wine.
In the past, Mother’s Day would have included wine, or probably some Mimosas (which I like to call Momosas on this special occasion). In the past, I would have sipped and smiled and maybe not have had these tricky thoughts, these thoughts made of pressure, of expectation, of unease. In the past, things might have been more sunny. Or they might have just seemed that way. Because, I am realizing something, something important, four months into this experiment of mine: Wine was for me (and I suspect for many of us) nothing but a Band-Aid. It worked well in the moment, to cover up the scratch or the bruise, but it did nothing to address the source, the deeper wound.
As I said, Sunday shaped up to be a gorgeously good day. Despite moments of anxiety. I would venture to say it was even more gorgeous, the colors more vibrant, because of those scattered bits of gray. It’s hard to articulate, but I guess that the day was so great because it was so real, because I felt it, and fully, because I didn’t escape it when it became, in moments, too much. I am proud of myself for sinking into the day, for allowing myself skinned knees along with my many smiles.
But there is another takeaway: I wanted wine on that day. And there have been more occasions recently when I’ve wanted it. I’m not sure why this is. I think maybe it’s that I have truly proven to myself that I do not need wine, that I am completely okay without it, so now I think I am beginning to resent myself for this whole experiment. I think I am beginning to feel the cascade of Whys. Why am I doing this to begin with? Why a whole year? Why did I decide to do this, this no-drinking-thing, in such an exotically public fashion?
You know something? There are times when I wonder whether I am, on some level, exploiting myself, and my life. Whether I come up with ideas and embrace them because I know they will make for a good “story,” and will garner an “audience”? Am I doing this wine free year for me, or somehow for my “career”? These are questions I ask myself, and often, to keep myself honest.
But the truth is I know. At the end of the day, I know I am doing this for me, for my health, for my family. I wouldn’t go to this trouble unless I felt like it were very much worth it, unless I felt like I had something profound, many profound somethings, to learn. And I do.
I guess all of this is to say that none of this is easy. I miss my wine. I miss the faint fuzzy feeling it gives me when I drink it down. I miss the power it has, albeit temporary, to keep emotion and anxiety at bay. I miss the gentle fizz of my Momosa.
I think I knew this would be hard. And now I am feeling confirmation of that. Most days I feel wonderful about all of this, and I don’t even think about it, the fact that I am abstaining from something. But some days – and Sunday turned out to be one of them – are a bit tricky. I guess that’s okay, right? And I guess it’s good that I am able to come here and check in and be real about it all?
I think so.
I know so.
New Here? For background on my Year Without Wine, check out the following links:
Please take a moment and remind me just why I am doing this, this oft-cruel experiment in change. Are there moments when you feel pressure to be something that you are not? When are you most inclined to reach for that glass of wine (or that piece of cake, or that whatever of whatever)?