Today on what would have been my dad’s 82nd birthday I stop drinking. Which is ironic, because he loved wine. A red Burgundy. A Pommard. Special occasions called for a Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Most evenings you could find him and his wife sitting by the fire with wine, reminiscing, after a glass or two calling one of us to tell us to come visit, hey don’t worry about the cost, they’ll pay for it, so happy to hear things are going well, etc. Comfort.
This was not the home I grew up in. I remember fighting. Overturned tables. Cars screeching off into the night. Hospitalizations. Ironically there was no alcohol then. I loved the comfort my dad’s new wife brought to our lives. Their home was full of good meals, trips up and down the coast, music, laughter. When my dad had a quintuple bypass the doctor said his heart was so strong it was able to pump blood even though 95% of his arteries were blocked. “It must be all the red wine you’re drinking” he joked. We laughed. Comfort.
Every evening I open a bottle of wine. A fruity pinot noir, a buttery chardonnay, alone or with friends, watching the news or Netflix, always with a glass in my hand. Comfort.
I drink every day. I drink more than my friends. I drink more than is deemed healthy for a woman my age, hell probably anyone at any age. I had blood work done earlier this year and it came back with anomalies. Anaemia. High cholesterol. I was once a healthy runner but my weight has steadily creeped up. I am in menopause now so I don’t expect to get that body back, but I am not doing myself any favors: it’s hard to work out when you’re hung over. I drink right up until I fall asleep and then wake up with a dry throat and headache and shame. Oh, and I take medication for bipolar.
There are many things I hope will happen if I stop drinking. I have a daughter; I want her to remember me not always with a wine glass in my hand. I will lose the weight and sleep better and I won’t need to take naps during the day and cancel things because I feel tired, always so tired... Saving a few bucks would be nice too: buying a half case of wine each week adds up. With all the negatives that I can rattle off as easily as popping a cork then why do I continue to drink? Comfort. How will I handle the sadness and the loneliness that creeps in at the end of the day? I don’t know how I will fill the evening hours. I need to figure it out because I don’t want to wait until I have liver disease or that my anaemia requires a transfusion.
Today is my dad’s birthday. I don’t have him anymore for comfort. I need to figure out a new way forward.
A Moodscope Member
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