Thursday, February 9, 2012


Today, it will be exactly one week since I consumed any form of alcohol.

For many years, I’ve been in the habit of enjoying a glass of wine or two in the evenings. During the times of my life when I was the most challenged, the most stressed, the most hurried, a little alcohol at the end of the day helped me relax and wind down. I love doing wine tastings at the local wineries. And when I owned the café, one aspect of the job I really enjoyed was stocking my wine list with inexpensive but potable northwest offerings.

But I realize that, now that I no longer have a wine list to build, and now that I am not challenged or hurried (I intentionally omitted “stressed” from the list of things I am no longer…) the wine culture in which I took such joy only a short while ago has become more poison than pleasure. That person who prided herself on expanding her knowledge of drinkable local wines and got such a kick out of exchanging wine banter with restaurant guests has been made redundant, as the Brits so gently put it. And outside her proper surroundings, she was quickly reduced to a solitary swiller of cheap, bad wine—the wine budget went away with the job—which she imbibed while reruns of “Chopped” and “House Hunters” flickered on the late evening boob tube.

The sad fact is that alcohol is a depressant; exactly what I DO NOT NEED right now. And I was drinking it more out of habit than any real enjoyment. And you definitely do not want drinking to become a habit. Especially when you are hovering around in this between-adventures limbo in which I find myself.

I don’t think I’ve gone on the wagon for good. In fact, I have a bottle of inexpensive bubbly out in the fridge, waiting to enhance the right happy, social moment. The key word here being “social.” Drinking is—or should be—a social activity. The maxim “Never Drink Alone” was coined by wise people for good reasons. I’ll be happy to share that bottle of champagne on the next appropriate occasion.

But if solitude is the order of the day—and I don’t necessarily hate that it is—I’ve found it’s better faced with sharp eyes and a clear head.

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