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I Was Worried About My Drinking…

Published on 08/24/2021

Over the last decade or so, Chardonnay has become a bit of a slippery slope for me. I love a big buttery oaky glass of wine at the end of the day. It has become my go-to way to decompress.

Problem is, that one glass turns into two and sometimes three. At which point I sleep poorly and wake up feeling like crap.

A few years back, I joined a friend of mine in committing to a “year without wine.” I could enjoy mixed drinks or beer (somehow those are not an issue for me) but no wine at all. My friend gave up after 3 months but I kept going, despite a huge personal crisis that could easily have derailed my commitment.

In the years since, my Chardonnay habit slowly but surely crept back. The pandemic did not help. At my physical last year, when my doctor asked me routine questions about alcohol and drug consumption, I found myself fibbing once again, claiming that I abide by the 7 drinks per week recommended for women. Curious, I asked her if she’d seen a rise in drinking in the pandemic and she confirmed it’s been enormous. I’ve come across many articles attesting to that as well.

The thing is, I don’t want to stop drinking altogether. I just want to drink less.

As someone with a history of eating disorders, where black and white thinking (“good” or “bad” food) is destructive, I’ve learned not to deprive myself. I eat anything in moderation (which includes daily chocolate—I have a huge sweet tooth). It’s worked well for me.

I know alcohol is not food and I could choose to not drink. And for many, that may be the better choice. But I’m just not motivated to stop entirely and I’d like to find a way to drink in moderation. I’ve tried making all kinds of rules for myself but they have not been sustainable: I don’t drink alone. I only drink when I’m out. I don’t drink on weekdays. I only have one drink a night.

A few weeks ago, I came across a New York Times article (yet another one) about the increase in drinking during the pandemic, and options to reduce or eliminate alcohol. One recommended app sparked my interest: Cutback Coach. In their words, “We’re on a mission to help people build healthier habits around their drinking, resulting in better sleep, a healthier diet, lots of money saved, and an overall improved sense of well-being.”

So I decided to try it and it’s been pretty amazing. I make a weekly plan for how many drinks I’ll have each day, am reminded of my daily commitment, then input my actual consumption the morning after. All via daily texts. With proper planning, awareness, and reminders, I’m being held accountable.

I’ve chosen to limit myself to one drink per day and so far, I’ve succeeded. I sleep better and feel better. I love it so much that I’ve upgraded from my 15-day free trial to a yearly payment of $79—a cost I’ve already saved in the wine I haven’t purchased.

YOUR TURN: Are you drinking more than you’d like to? What can you do to address this?

HeleneTStelian Musing

I’m Hélène, the Midlife Empowerment Coach. I help women who are struggling in midlife—who wonder if their best years are behind them and what’s next for them. I show them how to put themselves first, reclaim their identity, figure out what’s next, and feel excited about their future.

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