confessions of a sometimes wino

Friday night I drank a whole 750ml bottle of cheap pinot noir.

Rex and I have a long and storied relationship.

Rex is my favorite frenemy.

Beer tends to give me a headache before I get much of a buzz going so I usually stop after a couple.  Wine, however, affords me a nice long of a window of “buzzed but essentially functional”.  It takes me to that wonderful loose place where life is essentially good, everyone is at least entertaining if not downright lovely, and dancing doesn’t seem like entirely the worst idea ever.  I can string words together more effectively, I become a creative genius in the kitchen, and I often become prone to small to medium sized philosophical epiphanies.  All things seem possible when I’m half a bottle in.  Of COURSE I’d like another glass!  This highly enjoyable state of mind must be preserved for as long as possible!  Bring me more happy juice!

Except…eventually I have to sleep, and be able to drive and go to work and, you know, not be drunk.  Which is kind of a bummer.

I don’t drink entire bottles of wine in one go very often anymore.  In my early 20’s it was nothing for me to drink a 750ml bottle of an evening, and I used to fairly frequently consume the majority of 1.5L bottles when the mood struck.  This was not done during a party, mind you.  This was just me sitting at home on a Saturday night, knitting and watching PBS, getting tanked on cheap wine and staggering up to bed.  I didn’t mind the feeling of being out of control at that point because there wasn’t anyone around to call me on it and frankly, I often didn’t realize quite how shit-faced I had actually gotten until the next morning when I looked back on the things I had done the night before.

That’s what I mean about wine making me “buzzed but essentially functional”.  If I sit at a table and drink three shots of tequila or a couple of Dark & Stormy’s in rapid succession then stand up, I will FEEL drunk, and I will not especially enjoy that feeling.  If I sit there and drink three glasses of wine, even very quickly, then stand up, I’ll feel cheerful and loose…but I won’t feel what my body and brain recognize as drunk.  I won’t feel like I can’t do certain things or like I should switch to drinking water.  I’ll feel excellent and want to keep drinking to keep the excellence flowing.

What bothers me more than my actual drinking habits (because like I said, I really don’t drink all that much anymore. I might have a couple glasses of wine or a beer after work, maybe three nights a week on average), is the fact that I actively miss the wine feeling when it’s gone.  I miss feeling like all is right with the world and like I am capable of most things.  I know that to seek wine out regularly in an attempt to continue those feelings is to flirt with functional alcoholism, so I try very much to keep myself in check in that regard…but it makes me wish very much that there was a way to achieve that level of contentedness without having to subject myself to possibly addictive substances and irresponsible behaviors.

If you have any suggestions on that front, I’m all ears.

3 thoughts on “confessions of a sometimes wino

  1. For me it became a matter of volume. Suddenly I just could not drink that much beer or wine and if I tried I just got sick. I miss my wine tipsy buzz but mostly I’m okay with it.


  2. I’ve never been a big drinker, I drank some in college but it honestly always made me feel so shitty that it wasn’t worth it for me. I’d be freezing all night after the buzz wore off, and be headachey and tired all the next day. Husband thinks I’m unnatural in my dislike of The Drink, so perhaps my body just doesn’t process it normally. That said, I do come from a family with many alcoholic branches in our tree, so I’ve always been a bit wary of it to begin with. If I had known you in your 20s when you regularly drank bottles of wine on your own, I probably would’ve voiced some concerns. It is a point of contention with my mom (who had an alcoholic mother and sister and a drug-addicted son) that I worry about her drinking, especially because she’s been through cancer treatment and is on eleventy-million medications with who knows what kinds of interactions. I tend to err on the side of alcohol likely causes more harm than good, and in someone like me who has more than enough sugar cravings to deal with, I don’t want to add alcohol to my potentially-addictive substances list.

    All that said, it is important to be able to achieve that ‘loose’ relaxed feeling in everyday life, for sanity’s sake. I think it’s good that you’re aware of your feelings and patterns of use regarding alcohol. That feeling of ‘all is right with the world, I am capable of most things’ is a hard one to pin down. Honestly, the things that help me feel like that the most are yoga and weight lifting. When I’m regularly doing yoga, I feel more at peace in general because I’m taking time out of my week to do something Good For Me, so there’s an immediate emotional benefit, and then if you find a good teacher, you’ll get comfortable with discomfort. There’s a yin yoga class in which the whole point is to sit in these tough poses for a long period of time, so that you’re really experiencing your discomfort, and facing it. The idea is to get into the ‘this too shall pass’ mindset, and ‘meet your edge’ as they say. It’s shitty sometimes but other times, it makes sense. All is not right with the world, but that does not mean that you are not ok or that you cannot get through it. And then the weight lifting just makes me feel strong. The sessions are relatively short (compared to cardio) and I love the fact that as long as you put your time in, you see improvements. Time in, muscles out. And it’s a huge ego boost to then go do something in everyday life that would’ve been difficult before (like say lifting a full cooler while camping) and being like ‘hell, this is easier than the deadlifts I do’ and feel like superwoman.

    This got long but my point is, I try to achieve that loose, happy feeling through activities that kind of feel like a pain in the ass at the time, but in the long run make me feel better about myself. And then also just being kinder to myself: taking quiet time when I need it, knitting when I need it, going for a walk in the woods, etc.

    Many hugs, much love.


  3. I’m not going to lie. I love Rex.

    I used to never ever drink. Mostly because I wasn’t around other people who did or just didn’t feel like it. Then I realized having a beer or two/glass of wine in the evening before bed was more effective than the sleeping pills I was taking to combat my “lay in bed for four hours before actually falling asleep” problem. So yeah–I drink just about every night.


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