This morning as I was going through my Facebook memories (sadly the best compilation I have of all my recent goings-on socially and in general), I saw a post from 2017 of myself drinking coffee as an act of rebellion against “National Drink Wine Day.” “Bravo, You,” I said to myself, for I have achieved nothing in my life that didn’t include a little sense of rebellion against authority, status quo, ridiculousness. What surprised me after a quick Google search was that 3 years later “National Drink Wine Day” is still a thing in America. This, in spite of the fact that American women age 40 and older are the fastest growing group of alcoholics (or persons with alcohol use disorder, if you prefer) in our country today. Right along with alcohol use disorder rates of liver disease, cancer and heart disease are rising because of the poisonous levels of toxins we barrage our bodies with when we drink alcohol. But sure, let’s celebrate that “win” and Rose all day. Or not.
I’m not bashing the right of people to enjoy their wine whenever they want. Lord knows, struggling to stay sober for the past years, I have learned to accept that people will continue to drink in spite of evidence it is bad for them, just like smoking. It’s the cultural acceptance of self-sabotage that I don’t accept, hence these brief thoughts from a Woman in Recovery on a national day designated to celebrate what for many of us is simply a sad existence.
Like any revolution, great thinkers and role models are emerging from the non-drinking community. I am reading Holly Whitaker’s “Quit Like a Woman: The Radical Choice To Not Drink In a Culture Obsessed With Alcohol” currently. She compares today’s rising rates of alcohol abusers (binge drinking among women is at an all time high) to the era when Big Tobacco spent massive amounts of advertising dollars to convince consumers cigarette smoking was a safe, adventurous and romantic complement to anyone living a full life. Our collective thinking has come very far since the “Don Draper”Mad Men days where drinking and smoking throughout the business day were considered well-deserved rewards for hard work. Yet alcohol continues to hold a powerful grip on so many of us it is considered a “radical choice” not to drink these days.
I will tell you this, if I had not stopped drinking a bottle of red wine every single day in 2015, I would not have the great life I have today, and I am 100 percent confident my family would not be anywhere near the great shape they are in. People who quit drinking, even for a couple of weeks, rave about the better sleep and greater clarity they have after just a short time changing their habits. All I am saying is, I hope you will consider that there are big companies that do not have your best interests at heart that are benefiting from this campaign to celebrate drinking alcohol. And you don’t have to accept that. My life is proof of that. Today I have stronger friendships and a far greater day to day existence that a few years ago when I was “life of the party.”
No substance can substitute a real life, from the highs to the lows. And it may surprise you to know that, without alcohol doing a number on my blood sugar and energy levels everyday, I am able to think more clearly, stepping back before reacting to everything I experience, and I certainly bounce back from bad days much faster than I did in my drinking days. I’m not celebrating “National Drink Wine Day” because I have found a much better way to live without wine and I love my life now.
If you care to join me, I’ll be having a quiet cappuccino this afternoon in a warm and sunny spot to celebrate the Resistance to National Drink Wine Day. All the cool kids are sober.