All week long I’ve been watching as the U.S. marketing machine churns out messages, ads, and propaganda promoting “National Wine Day.”
On this day a year ago, National Wine Day could have easily passed as my own personal holiday. (Not that I needed a media-manufactured holiday as an incentive to imbibe.)
Red wine was my weakness, though I wouldn’t have referred to it that way then. Back then I was “passionate about wine," an oenophile — and a woman who would have, without a second thought, tipped my glass in honor of this occasion.
Tipped and tipped and tipped again, because that is how the descent into disordered drinking begins. Tip the glass, top it off. Tip it and top it, tip it and top it, until suddenly you find yourself at the bottom of a bottle.
Let’s get honest here folks: the only drinking that’s not disordered (according to the CDC, the AHA, and other arbiters of such things) is 1 drink/day for women, max. In honor of "National Wine Day," let's get crystal clear on what one glass of wine looks like: 4-5 fl. oz. Friends — 4-5 oz. is sooo much less than you think. Allow me to illustrate:
Not long ago I emptied a 12 oz. can of La Croix into a stemless wine glass, and imagine my surprise when those 12 oz. barely filled the glass 1/3 of the way. Talk about a wake-up call. 12 ounces of sparkling water amounted to less than what I had previously considered a single pour of wine. Which means this: even on a night where I had "just one glass" I was consuming up to 4x what is considered "healthy." And let's be real: when I uncorked a bottle of red? Consuming just one glass was not the norm.
Here’s the (uncomfortable) truth:
Not everyone who chooses to quit drinking is an alcoholic. (I’m not.)⠀⠀
Not everyone who needs to quit drinking hits rock bottom. (I didn’t.)
But aren’t we all much more comfortable with a binary system that says there are two kinds of people: those who need to quit drinking (alcoholics) and the rest of us?
For a long time, I certainly was.
But as is true in so many areas of life, things are almost never that clear cut. We're drawn to binaries and black and white thinking because they require very little of us in terms of reflection and self awareness. We buy into these beliefs and adopt the accompanying rules, and in doing so we get to skip right over examining the vast gray areas...and ourselves.
I’m so grateful to have found spaces (many of them online) where people are willing to roll up their sleeves and dig down into the gray. Spaces where women decide that official diagnosis or not, we no longer want to dull the edges of our experience with alcohol. That we want to show up clear-eyed and cognizant, so that we can re-prioritize the relationships and goals that reside in our hearts over the beverages we hold in our hands. That we want our passion to be directed towards our people and our projects, elicited by our loved ones and our life goals, not ethanol.