Who got the hooch? (me)

Gaga performing on The Monster Ball Tour in Bu...

This is not me (Image via Wikipedia)

I am not a teetotaler, although I do enjoy saying that word. I see nothing wrong with a glass or two of something with dinner, and let’s just say I enjoy myself at parties. (Muff, behave yourself.)

But recently I’ve been thinking about cutting back, both because it isn’t doing my figure any favors and because I wonder about the example it sets for my kids. Let me be clear. We are talking about two glasses of wine. I’m not singing Lady Gaga on the front lawn in my underwear. I’m fully functional and would feel comfortable driving.

Part of this stems from a discussion I had with a friend who teaches at our intermediate school. In sixth grade, my kids will attend a health class that covers the stages of alcohol use and abuse. I can’t remember all the details and am too drunk lazy to look them up. The point is that some students become upset when they realize their parents are dependent on alcohol.

You could argue that drinking in moderation sets a good example for my children, since alcohol isn’t going anywhere and I want them (eventually) to learn to handle it responsibly. I agree with that argument at times, especially when I’m holding a wine glass.

But I figured I would give at least part-time abstinence a try—no more hooch from Sunday through Thursday.

For those of you still reading (anyone? anyone?), here is the brave admission: since making that commitment, I haven’t kept it once. I usually fall apart on Wednesday. Last week it was Tuesday.

It’s not like I defuse bombs for a living. What puts me over the edge is getting home from swim team practice at 7 knowing that I have to make dinner, supervise homework, and bathe and read to my kids before I can have a minute to relax. This is what drives me to drink (moderately). Pretty sad, right?

Ok, teetotalers, let me have it.

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49 Responses to Who got the hooch? (me)

  1. bigsheepcommunications says:

    Kids are very perceptive and what I’d be concerned about is not drinking wine per se, but conveying the message that “mommy needs her wine to get through the day.”

    • I hear you, Lisa. That’s a good thing to keep in mind. I feel confident that they don’t hear that from me or see it in my behavior. I never talk about alcohol with them, or about how much I long to have a moment to myself.

  2. I stay off the hooch because I fall asleep during story time with the kids and then never make it to that end-of-the-day shower I enjoy so much. Tell the kids about the healthful revesterol that is found in the skin of grapes used in the making of wine and how it is keeping your heart healthy. Then drink away guilt-free.

  3. notquiteold says:

    I also like a glass of wine now and then. I don’t have kids, but if I did, I think I would have the wine with dinner, so I am showing how “it complements a meal” – that’s so wholesome….yeah, I think that would work!

  4. lrsawyer says:

    Growing up with parents who never drank (I maybe saw them with a drink twice as a child) has left an impact on me. I have never been drunk and do not feel the need to make drinking a habit. I admire you for posting this. I have always wondered what my perception of drinking/smoking would be like if my parents did either of these. Honestly, it would have affected me. Not seeing it around me everyday influenced my decisions, even as a 21 year old who didn’t have a single drink on my 21st birthday. I’m not stuck up, judgemental, or condemning about this issue, it’s just my personal preference. I also don’t think that every child who sees their parents drink are going to become raging alcoholics! Here me out 🙂 Thank you for being considerate of how it may effect your children. Just the thought that their mommy is trying to be a good mommy! It will make a difference.

  5. I have tried the hootch reduction plan. No booze during the week. But to be honest, I wasn’t doing anyone any favours. Really cranky and not very amusing. So now I compromise. One glass of scotch won’t hurt, right?

  6. I’m not gonna bury the lead. Two things you said set my spidey sense tingling. First, you made a decision about limiting alcohol and couldn’t stick to it. Second, it doesn’t matter if you feel comfortable driving after two glasses of wine because anyone’s perceptions would be somewhat altered after two drinks, and only a scientist who has researched this subject would know to what degree. Other people are out on the roads, too. Those people, their families, and your family deserve your best when you’re driving.

    My life has been touched by the addictions of others at different times, and I’ve seen so much awfulness creep up on a person while they’re just trying to deal. I’m glad you’re thinking and talking about your experience with alcohol, because no matter how it turns out to be in the future, it can be easier to assess and address it in the beginning, if you seek out support. I hope you explore some credible medical websites, like The Mayo Clinic one, for info to help realistically gauge what’s happening with your drinking.

    I had to catch myself when my marriage broke up and I was so alone. With every glass of wine, I was scared of what I might be setting into motion because I personally knew better. I actually stopped before my money ran out (and I couldn’t afford to), because I could see that my drinking wasn’t really helping. I only felt better when I was in the process of drinking. Never before or after it wore off. And most of the important parts of life are incompatible with the “during.”

    Your evenings sound so hard. I know I would crumble under the weight of it. I wish I could help, but all I can do is wish you and your family all the best.

    • My dear Re, thanks so much for such a kind, honest and clearly heartfelt comment. I want to reassure you of two things. First, it is not my habit to drink and then get into a car. I mentioned feeling comfortable driving to indicate that I am not getting drunk on one or two glasses over the course of an evening that includes dinner. I am very careful never to put myself in front of the wheel if I am impaired. And I do think I know when I pass that point of safety. You just have my word on this, but that’s all I can give you on the blogosphere.

      Second, I don’t feel like I can’t stop drinking. I don’t think about drinking when I am not. And even though I haven’t met my commitment, I have plenty of days with no alcohol, and they aren’t a challenge.

      I think I just haven’t gotten serious about the commitment. I can also tell you that my husband is one who would tell me if he thought I was drinking too much (he isn’t a big drinker, in case you are wondering), and he doesn’t see a problem.

      I don’t want you to worry. You seem like the kind of person who would, even though we have never met! Your warmth and compassion come through so strongly in your blog and your comments.

      I appreciate your good wishes, and will think about what you’ve said. Maybe I’ll dare myself to a period of abstinence and blog about it! It’s amazing how much of my life is now just fodder for the blog. Now there’s an addiction worth looking at.

      • Whew! I feel better now. Thanks for your very kind reply. I’m so glad I didn’t offend.

      • Not at all, my dear. This post has sparked some interesting comments. I guess everyone looks at this issue a little differently, colored by their own experiences. I suppose that’s like every other issue. 🙂 Your perspective is always welcome here!

  7. I think alcohol is an issue only when you need it, but I do know that for many people, there’s a fine line between wanting and needing. Maybe some people aren’t looking at themselves honestly and say they want it when they actually do need it.

  8. Good blog. Nice writing. It’s all about dosage. Your dose is running out at Wednesday. Pop that cork.

  9. gojulesgo says:

    hahahaha (When you crossed out ‘drunk’ it cracked me up.) I am your very own enabler, so you won’t get any judgment here. In fact, didn’t my last comment to you involve vodka? (Or was that every single comment?)

  10. Muff says:

    OK, I will be gentle with the party remarks. However, I must point out that there are plenty of folks that read this blog that have as many memories and photographs as I do. Just sayin’.

    If you lived in France, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, England (should I go on here) the notion that you don’t have wine in your every day life would be consider absurd.

    Kids are consumers of wine with their families every day in Europe. Which region of the world has SERIOUS problems with college binge drinking? USA. Europe? No. OK, the UK and Germany might, but is linked to the evilness of beer combined with professional soccer. Damn hooligans!

    Showing your kids that adults can have wine is normal and healthy. For the critics that think that you “abusing” because you can’t get through the week, I think that this is a language issue. Can’t manage without or prefer to relax with wine are two TOTALLY different things. As someone who has family with addiction issues, I can assure you they are different.

    Are you ever in a place that you can’t be counted on in an emergency? No? What is the issue?

    Now, be careful with your assumption that 2 glasses of wine is fine for driving. Be cautious with the time factor. If you have two glasses of wine in an evening including dinner, you are likely fine. However, if you have two glasses of wine in an hour even with food, and you do run the chance that you could be over the limit. That and if you know you are going to have to drive, that would be the night to skip entirely. You never want to be in a position to have to answer questions about your sobriety God forbid something go wrong.

    Wine is a part of life. Live your life! I let my kids have a sip of wine if they ask. I don’t offer, but I don’t deny. So far it’s working, but school puts the fear of God into kids and let’s them erroneously think that an adult who has an alcoholic beverage is alcoholic and impaired. Context and perspective, people…

    • I totally get the math and am careful. I don’t chug them. 🙂 Also, I don’t drink when I know I have to drive. When I am home (without Jeff), I make sure that should an emergency arise, I am able to drive.

      I have a few British friends who probalby think I am crazy to even worry about it. They think that having a moderate degree of alcohol as part of family life is THE way to teach kids about moderation. Given our country’s problems with kids an alcohol, it’s hard to ignore them.

      Thanks for the perspective. Wino.

  11. I love you. Really. I recently gave up drinks for almost two weeks. But there is something about a glass of wine or two (or four) that makes me still feel a little bit NYC cool, despite my third world location. And, I’ll admit, I am a high-stress person and I think the wine has saved me from having a stroke. There. Those are my justifications. I’m drinking a glass of red right this moment, and I’m proud of it. Don’t feel guilty about the wine, and I won’t feel guilty about the ramen noodles.

  12. I’m not sure that a couple of glasses of wine at the end of the day is necessarily sending the message to your kids that alcohol dependence is okay. In some cultures, two glasses of wine with dinner or afterward is just what is done. And every once in awhile a news article will come out declaring how healthy a generous serving of red can be for everyone.
    That said, if you want to cut back, then why not? If you can handle herbal teas – mint, chamomile, ginger-lime, or whatever – they might be a good not-quite-end-of-crazy-day replacement. It works for me. (Unless I’ve had an absolute, all-out, total-shit go of it – in which case wine is definitely required.) Good luck, brave one!

  13. I say the same thing – no booze during the week – and then derail on Tuesdays or Wednesdays. Moderation is the key. Happy mama with wine is better than Joan Crawford wigging over the hangers.

  14. Oh, my goodness, this was my favorite post so far! I think I was chuckling the whole time…My gosh, you’re fine. One of my favorite things to is to cook a “proper” dinner, and have a drink while I make it. Back before kids, the drink was a dirty martini, with some Billie Holiday playing in the background–now it’s a glass of wine with Raffi on the stereo. 🙂 It’s like a little bit of “me,” time, even if we’re surrounded by squealing children, and piled-up laundry, and dog hair on the rug–a reminder that we’re just grown-ups, that’s all. And I think the key is that you’re showing your children that a drink with dinner, or after dinner, or while at a party can be a responsible part of adulthood, and that you’re not walking around going “Oh my gad, I NEEEEEED a drink! Somebody get me a flipping DRINK!”. (You’re not, right? haha.).

    That being said, I just finished a glass of pinot. And yes, I may have made a joke to my husband about needing a glass of wine. But let’s keep that between us bloggers, yes? 🙂

    Great post!!

  15. Moderation is key! Two glasses of wine a night never hurt anyone…In fact it is good for the heart 😉

  16. Gilly says:

    My parents always had a glass or two of wine during dinner. It was so normal and a healthy model. And I totally agree, teetotaler is a really fun word to say!

  17. I don’t drink and neither does my husband. In fact, we met in AA. But most of the world is made up of normal drinkers, and you’re probably one of them. I would give anything (ok, not literally anything, but an awful lot) to be able to have a glass or two and call it a night. I tried, and I can’t. Thank God I got sober before I started having kids. I know I would not love my kids any less if I was drinking, but I do know that they’d be late for school because I was nursing a hangover, and would be eating a lot of cold cereal for dinner because I couldn’t get my act together to cook anything. Good for you for trying your weekday experiment. The trick is, if you’re obsessing about the stopping, you may have a problem. Maybe you could try skipping just Tuesdays & Thursdays & see how it goes. But from personal experience, if you’re easily stopping on the second glass, I doubt that you have a drinking problem. Cheers!

  18. I remember that moment – “learning” in school that my parents were alcoholics because they had a glass of wine with dinner most days. I may have even confronted them about it.

    Ah, the joys of our hysterical, Puritan reactionary approach to teaching.

  19. Carla says:

    This is great! I have several, well, quite a few, bottles of good wines in “cubby hole” wine inserts my hubby made for us. I think it looks awesome, plus, it’s handy when I am cooking with some wine, for guests, for special occasions, or for me. Every chapter I complete in my book gets “toasted” with a glass or maybe, 2, if it was a long or hard to write chapter. I don’t write a chapter a day, believe me. It’s just nice to have something nice to hold up, that is not a Tupperware pink tumbler of soy milk, to my computer. 🙂

  20. Try not having any wine for a week or two. If you have no issue with that – you have no problem. If you can’t do it – well, that’s when there’s an issue. I think you’re fine and that a little wine is actually good for you. But each person has to decide for themselves. Maybe splurge on a really great bottle of wine and then save it for Friday night!

  21. Cyndi says:

    On a lighter note, do you think Sean and I are sending bad message to our kids if we dress up as a gin and tonic for Halloween? Ha!

  22. I have to agree with some of what veryVERYbusy mom pointed out. I am an alcoholic – sober for more than 20 years and have many, many friends who are heavy drinkers (or wine connoisseurs, or social drinkers or some who just like a few to relax at the end of the day…) People are constantly asking that question “do you think I might have a problem?”. The fact is alcoholism (and addiction) is an inside job. Only you can answer that question – it’s not how you drink, or when, or even how much. It’s how important it is to you. If you can’t picture your life without it then maybe it’s something you should look at. It sounds like you are just a person who enjoys a nice glass of wine with dinner. As has been said, all things in moderation and a glass of red wine can be beneficial to your health. But one thing I have found over the years – if you are asking yourself the question you already have an inkling what the answer is. Most people who don’t even think about it – they don’t even notice if they have the wine or not – or for that matter notice how much anyone else is drinking.

    • Thanks, Leslie. I think I am just a person who enjoys wine with dinner, along with cookies afterward. I think I’d like to work on controlling the calories (including those from wine). I think my jeans would like that, too.

  23. Pingback: Whatever happened to your blog? | If I Were Brave

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