Women and Wine Part 1 – For the love of wine!
Women love their wine don’t they? We drink it when we are happy, when we are sad. When it’s hot and when it’s cold. When we are lonely and when we are socializing. It tastes great, and it makes us feel good, at least whilst we are drinking it!
It is used as an end-of-the-day stress reliever, an emotional prop for discomfort, to cope with children’s bath and bedtime routine, to wind down after long hours at work, for escapism from the modern day mayhem and most often a ’reward’ for our hard work.
And it’s everywhere. Only the other day I was at the petrol station filling up and there, at the till point of sale, were 2 bottle for £12 on offer. This particular day, I’d decided that I wasn’t going to drink any wine. But as I stood there waiting my turn to pay, after a 10 hour day and I was facing another 3 hours of kids tea, bath and bed by myself, the temptation was too much. Above the wine rack, there was a picture of a woman looking relaxed and happy sipping on a glass of wine, and bang, I was in! I bought it, went home and enjoyed a couple of glasses after my kids went to bed. I would never have done that had their been no wine at the garage. Fact.
In Marks and Spencers, the meal deals seem such good value when they include a meal for 2, side, dessert and bottle of wine for £10. How many of you go in there for some fish and vegetables and come out with a 3 course meal and a bottle of vino?! And I was in Sainsbury’s yesterday doing some grocery shopping and I counted 8 point of sales on the ends of the aisles with half price wine or buy 2 get 1 free. It’s hardly a wonder women are drinking more when it’s shoved in our faces like that!
But why do we love wine so much?
Well for me, wine is my company. As a single parent, pretty much all my evenings are spent alone at home. I look forward to that nice cold glass of wine that tells me my day is nearly over and I have my time back. It gives me that lovely fuzzy feeling that helps me to put aside the internal stresses and sadness I sometimes have in my life
I like having a glass of wine as the boys come out of the bath and we watch tv in my bed together. And often I think it makes me a better mother. A little wine means I’ve put my work behind me, I’m relaxed when they want me to play with them and I have more patience, particularly after a stressful week.
I don’t think having a glass of wine at the end of the day is a bad thing, nor a second glass sometimes. But what I’m seeing with women is habitual wine spiraling out of control. One glass becomes two, two becomes three and for many women a bottle is opened and the cork doesn’t go back on. In fact screw tops have a lot to answer for, I swear if there were more cork bottles, women would have an extra 20 seconds to think twice before opening a bottle!
There’s even a facebook group called Moms who need wine. (I’ll admit I’m a fan!)
I deal with women who are drinking 2 bottles of wine a day but holding down a professional job and still managing to exercise. Are these functioning alcoholics, or women who’s wine habit got out of control? In April, I started working with a woman who started drinking at 4pm when she dealt with her three children’s homework and had finished the bottle before her husband came home. What happened to the old fashioned cup of tea?! She wasn’t even drunk either as it had lasted over 4 hours and at 8pm, he’d open another bottle and she’d crack on with that.
More often and not, I’m able to help women substantially cut back their wine, and that’s because I know what it is like to ‘need’ wine at the end of the day.
A few years ago, in the midst of a very stressful divorce and a business nearly folding because of the recession, I found myself a very stressed out single parent and I became that woman who did need a glass of wine (and more) to get through long days at work, sleepless nights, financial issues and getting used to being a single parent to my then one year old twins and running a business too.
It took a health scare where I thought I had breast cancer for me to really look at where I was at. As I was waiting in the room to find out whether I might have cancer and I realized I wouldn’t have a clear conscience if I was diagnosed and wished I could turn back time. I’m really clear that one of the biggest reasons more women are getting cancer is because of increased stress, increased sugar and toxin intake and drinking too much alcohol. When I was given the all clear, I took immediate action because I don’t want to leave my children without a mother because I didn’t look after myself. Just because I was eating well, exercising regularly and wasn’t overweight, didn’t mean I was healthy. Far from it. It took that scare to inspire me to break my wine habits (and deal with the stress!) so that I controlled the wine, not it me.
I still love my wine, but I manage it much better now. When I’m focused, I aim for 5 alcohol free days a week, at other times I have 1-2 glasses 3-4 nights a week and perhaps a little more at the weekend. But I’m very rarely drunk (mainly because I’m a single parent and I have too much responsibility – if I don’t have the boys one night, then I certainly let me hair down more!). But I eat lots of liver-friendly foods, drink lots of water and lemon, eat incredibly well, never have a hangover, exercise 5 to 6 days a week and I also try and do a 3 to 4 week alcohol-free blitz once a year.
I’m not perfect, but like food, you can learn to manage your wine in way that means you are aware of your habits, both strengths and weaknesses. You can learn to be less willy-nilly with your wine and teach yourself how to get through a weekend without a drop and feeling hard done by.
In part 2, I’ll explain the common habits I see with women and wine and how I’ve been able to help women break them, despite them thinking that it would be impossible.
My Wine Management Made Easy course starts on August 12th, so if you know you are drinking more than you should and want some help without feeling shameful, come and join me.