Rituals

I’ve been telling a few more people that I’ve decided to take a break from alcohol. The reactions have ranged from “Summer is the worst time to do that”…to “but you don’t drink much!”…to “Why in the world would you do that?!”…to “Good for you, girl!”…to a knowing “mmmmhmmmm”.

To be fair, the ‘mmmmhmmm’ was also followed in conversation with “you really don’t drink that much, but good that you’re taking action if it’s something you don’t like or feel comfortable with. And yes, if you were having 5 bottles of wine a week during lockdown, that’s not good.” (I’m paraphrasing…it was a long conversation.). Those that are my family, or are close enough to know my family history, fall in to the “good for you…I’m proud of you” and “mmmhmmm….” camp. Which makes me feel stronger in my decision that this break is the right thing for me to do.

I honestly don’t miss it right now. It’s summer…it’s hot out…and de-alcoholised wine, beer, g&t’s are all refreshing. Higher in carbs than I’d like…but, one thing at a time, shall we?

One of my friends asked me why I couldn’t just have sparkling water; and mentioned that when she’s taking a small break from drinking, she’s totally fine with water. Whereas I’m actually paying more for the de-alcolised versions of what I’m drinking than the normal stuff. For me, it’s more the ‘ritual’ of drinking that I enjoy than the actual alcohol.

I’ve always maintained that if there were good substitutes that weren’t alcoholic, then I’d happily have those. I don’t like the feeling of being drunk. I do like….love….the ritual of fixing a cocktail, of using a corkscrew to open a bottle of wine and hearing the ‘glug glug’ that the first bit going in to the glass makes….I love the fancy glasses….and I love the mouthfeel of wine. I haven’t missed that ‘ritual’ really, as I’ve been able to do it with the de-alcolised wines and Lyre’s alcohol free Italian Spritz which I like even more than Aperol!.

That said, my brain turned to the Fall last night and was thinking “but what about a nice glass of red with a fondue when it’s cold out? The de-alcoholised reds suck!”…. “What about when you’re at a restaurant? Restaurants don’t have de-alcoholised wines. What will you have then?” I associate wine with things like cheese plates and wintery foods….and coziness. I was talking with a friend, who’s just finished a rather long hike and is tired and sore, yet happy…and needs to relax, celebrate and wind down. My first thought was “oh, that would be a lovely time to have a glass of red!” I had that thought 4 different times in our 10min conversation talking about what she was going to do that night. I didn’t verbalize it, because this is L, my friend that doesn’t drink. She was perfectly happy to have some hazelnuts and chocolate in her room, while resting and planning a final walk in the morning followed by a lovely lunch and some time at the beach.

But the fact that the first thought in MY head was “if that were me, I’d want to get a bottle of red and relax”…means that I have some strong associations going on – particularly with red wine. Which is kind of funny as I never liked it when I was younger. It was an acquired taste. I wonder…can you un-aquire a taste for something? How do you unravel those associations? And why in the world can’t they make some good de-alcolised reds that don’t just taste like grape juice?!

Something to think about as I move through this 90 days…. Day 15 today!

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