Lockdown and Wine

Early on in the lockdown here, someone I know who owns a wine shop started a fantastic online wine club. The premise was, 3 days per week we would all meet online and enjoy the same bottle together.

The first order, I also ordered another case of ‘luxury’ wines. Primarily as I wanted to help my friend/acquaintance who was now finding himself with a shop that had to be closed. What ended up happening though, is I had the wines with the wine club, but then also had 1 or 2 of the other bottles. Which is way more than I would normally have in a normal week – but hey, it’s lockdown!

When week 2 went by and we knew we were in for another few weeks (at least) I changed my wine order. This time I only ordered the wines for the online club and I sent another box (the same) to my Mum as she’s in a very small town and was feeling a bit distant. This way, we could enjoy a glass of wine together – virtually. It was a way of connecting and it truely was lovely. We’d meet online before the wine group did, have a little chat and a glass of wine, then I’d go meet my friends in the group chat thing.

But still, this was 3 bottles of wine a week. That’s not astronomical, I know…but again – more than I wanted to be drinking. I would have wine club on Sunday, after an online apero with friends in the US or a virtual family lunch….then Tuesday after work, and then Friday would be wine club and then virtual Pub Quiz! All this online socialising, whilst keeping me ‘connected’ also kept me in a place where I had a social drink (or 2…or more on a Friday!) pretty much every day.

By the end of the first month of lockdown, I realised that I really wasn’t taking care of me. I was reassuring my Mum, I was socialising with friends, I was eating a lot of potato chips for some reason (the ruffled kind with French Onion dip), I was – primarily – trying not to show my entire team that I had any level of panic that the company may fall apart as I didn’t want them to worry about their jobs. I was not sleeping well, I was not exercising, I was not eating in my normal healthful way, and I was not – by any stretch of the imagination – taking care of myself. I was under extreme stress, I was panicked that the company I’d spent the past 6 years growing would be taken out from under me, I was worried about my Mum being on her own….yet I was trying to show a brave face to the world so no one would think I was worried about anything. Because I’m Super Woman, right? Well, Super Woman or not, I was self-medicating my stress and anxiety with food and wine.

Once I made this realisation, I switched over to non-alcoholic wine (still part of the wine club but not attending every session), I got on my spinning bike that I’d just bought before we got locked down, and I went to my favourite crystal shop that sells gluten-free foods and smells/feels like ‘calm’ and just hung out there for awhile once a week when I was allowed to go out to get groceries. It was further away than the 1km we were technically allowed to go, but they would write me a note on my receipt that stated I needed gluten-free food…should I get stopped by the police. Which thankfully, I did not.

I think I almost cried the first time I stepped in to that shop during lockdown. The music was on, the incense was burning, and it just felt calm and ‘normal’. I would have a lovely chat with the lady that owns the shop with her Mum…we’d talk about crystals and healing and life in general. I could breathe there…my shoulders would relax and I would know that things would be okay again.

Soon, I was spinning most days….had switched the baking over to paleo recipes…gone back to being vegetarian…and was having healing baths. I was still doing wine club and pub quiz night, as well as a weekly call with the ‘girls’, Sunday apero with the US crew, a little wine catch up with Mum a couple times a week, and random other calls with friends all over the globe. I am incredibly grateful for the technology that allows us to have video calls. I spent time catching up with friends that I haven’t spoken to in years! I realised I can schedule time to do a video call with a friend that I normally wouldn’t get to catch up with often because we’ll all too busy ‘out there’. And suddenly, I was back. Connected to my ‘tribe’. Back in touch with friends I missed dearly….back in touch with myself. And the wine intake was down to 1-2 bottles a week. I wasn’t following along with the wine club anymore and I wasn’t feeling compelled to have wine with every video catch up.

Wine club ended when lockdown ended…as did pub quiz and the weekly scheduled video calls with friends. But I’m still in touch with overseas friends more now than I was before….and I love that! I have long, open-hearted catchups with a friend I’ve known since we were 4 years old….I have video chats with my old roommate as though we were there in person…I catch up with my bestie when timezones and schedules allow…and I spin with my sister (virtually) every weekend.

I still go to the crystal shop once a week…I’m working out every single day as I realize my brain needs it…I’ve stuck a postcard on my bathroom mirror that says “take care of yourself”…and I’ve started to do just that.

The reason I’m taking this break from alcohol is not that I was drinking to the point of oblivion. It’s that I was drinking too much, based on what I – and only I – want my alcohol intake to look like. I was having moments where I was focused on it…knowing that I could relax at the end of the day by having some wine. And that thought….THAT thought…scared the crap out of me because I know that that’s how my Dad ended up to the point where he was no longer in control. It’s a gradual slope…but it’s a slippery one. And you don’t know when the time will come that you’re no longer in control and the alcohol is. I just don’t ever want to get to that point.

So I’m taking the 3 months off. I’ve got that lovely Italian wine to enjoy with my sister when she’s here for my birthday. Perhaps I’ll even do something I haven’t done in years, because – carbs!, and we’ll make some homemade pasta. I love making pasta…I find it relaxing. Not to mention that fresh pasta is the BEST! Am I right, or am I right?!

Day 9…and as much as last night I was thinking “why am I doing this? It’s not like I drank that much! This is stupid!”….I’m going to continue. Because there’s no reason to drink. Nothing I’m doing at the moment would be enhanced by wine. Especially now that I’ve found some nice de-alcoholised versions! Now when the 90 days is up and my sister is here and it’s my birthday… that’s an occasion to enjoy a glass or two to share with her and my Mum what I brought back from Italy and have been saving. But until then, there’s no reason.

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