A few weeks ago I wrote about how my body and I were drifting apart: we weren’t on the same page about how to look, how to act, how to feel nourished. We still really like each other and we send Christmas cards and text a little bit, but it’s going to take a long girlfriends’ weekend to get us back on the same page.
The long girlfriends’ weekend marches on. I continue to pay close attention to what I eat and how it makes me feel and how it makes my body function; I still drink 3 liters of water a day; I still move as often as humanly possible (I see you FitBit)- but what I didn’t write about was alcohol.
I have a complicated relationship with alcohol. This story has nothing to do with anyone else’s drinking, just mine – but hopefully it will resonate with more than one of you.
I started drinking much later than most people I know. At age 22, I decided that abstaining was causing me to be inflexible, judgmental, and more than a little uptight. Maybe “causing” is the wrong word: my teetotaling was symptomatic of something larger. It was indicative of my desire to detach myself from the social aspects of people my age, to protect myself from foolishness, and to remain in total control. Total control, of course, doesn’t exist, and this is why I started to go mad.
I love to drink – wine, whiskey, gin – and I love the effects of drinking. I love relaxing at the end of a long day with a glass of wine over Skype with Sam, or trying a new cocktail at Rio Rita, or mixing up tequila and sodas for pals. I love feeling more laid back, less inhibited, and more talkative.
So what does all of this have to do with self-care? I’m not America’s Next Top Moderator – when I find something that makes me feel great, I tend to want it in bulk. That’s why I own 5 pairs of the same American Apparel (RIP) leggings; that’s why I have 3 pints of Halo Top in the freezer; and that’s why I sometimes wake up a little upset that I had three glasses of wine when one, one and a half, would’ve sufficed. Self-care sometimes means treats and indulgences – it means a glass of rosé in the bath. But more importantly, self-care sometimes means moderating indulgences. That’s the part I’m working on.
Here are two drinking resolutions I’m trying out:
- Stick to alcohol that is easy to stop drinking
I love, love, love Deep Eddy ruby red vodka. It’s delicious, it’s refreshing, and when you drink it at the pub for an early morning Liverpool match, it’s basically like getting a breakfast serving of fruit (right? right??). However, it’s so sweet that I can easily forget that I’m drinking, essentially, poison. I can drink a ruby red and soda in about 5 minutes, and then my glass feels lonely! It wants another delicious pink friend.
Alcohols that taste like alcohol are more conducive to moderation. A tequila and soda with lime is delicious, and the lack of sweet means I’m fine with having just one or two. This is also true of whiskey. A whiskey neat burns so good, but it doesn’t leave me wanting a bucket of the stuff with a straw…unlike a margarita.
- Remember my future self in relation to drinking
When I got my first hangover ever, I was 22 and I called my mom crying like a baby. She put me on speakerphone so everyone could laugh at me, if you believe it. It turns out when you’ve been high-and-mighty about sobriety for 22 years, people are entertained by your immoderate turn. It’s not just when I over-over-overindulge that I feel the effects of alcohol. If I have two glasses of wine, I can feel it on my run the next day – or I might sleep too long to do the run at all. Future me appreciates the good night sleep and the powerful legs she gets from that run. I’m going to try to have a conversation with my future self before I get out the corkscrew. Keyword here is try. And sometimes, my future self might resolutely say, “Let us drink wine.”
• • •
I feel lucky that I have never felt my life obstructed by alcohol, and that I’m always in the driver’s seat (figuratively- I’m RideAustin’s biggest fan). Alcohol is first and foremost a drug, and our relationships to it are very different. But, in the name of my personal self-care, I endeavor toward moderation, not deprivation, and I’ll buy myself a damn big trophy once I stop at one El Sapo margarita with chili salt.