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Dry January is Over!

31st January 2019

Dry January is over and It’s Wine O’Clock Time!

God, don’t you love that phrase?

Whether you’re coming out of a stressful day at work, off the back of 18 hours straight with kids or it’s the start of the weekend wine o’clock has for many of us been a highlight of our day., but dry January (if you've been doing it) has denied us that.

Swathes of blogs, newspaper columns, cards and “fun” gifts testify to the “mummy wine” phenomenon. I’ve had those “whole bottle in a glass” gifts from my kids and I’ve embraced the fabulous culture around drinking with groups of female friends on many an occasion.

But.

As you hit midlife, it genuinely is time to re-evaluate your relationship with alcohol and think about slowing down and, in my case, I've stopped drinking altogether. 

I completely get how after stress, wine is fantastic. The pressure valve just lifts. Years ago I asked someone from the Henley Management Centre why all the women I knew had a bevvie when they got back from work, whereas my mother’s era was all cups of tea. “It’s to do with the time that you have available to release pressure,” he said. “Years ago life wasn’t this fast, there were no mobiles, no internet, only three TV channels and when you got home you had time for the ritual of tea to do its work in alleviating stress. These days no one has that time so we’re all after an instant, fast release of the pressure valve and alcohol does that.” I assume drugs do the same but I look so straight that no one has ever offered me any so I wouldn’t know, but I assume so.

I associate alcohol with fun, holidays, treats, glamour, some of the best nights of my life but I know, deep in my heart, that alcohol isn’t good for me, which is why I’ve stopped, but is this sacrifice worth it?

Alcohol just isn’t great for women. 

It affects us faster than men and is a very real ingredient in increasing your chances of breast cancer. It’s also a shed load of calories and a ton of sugar, so your weight will be affected and your Type 2 Diabetes risk has gone up as well. Not only that, I was pulled up short when my son gave me the "whole bottle in a glass" gift. He saw me as someone who was a serious drinker and I’d been kidding myself that I was nowhere near that stage. I was wrong. 

You see, the alcohol thing creeps up. 

In 2018, the UK’s professional medical journal, The Lancet, said there is “no safe level of alcohol consumption”. Sure, I read the tabloid stories, just as you do, that tell us a glass of red wine a day is great but let’s all be clear as to when we’re picking the facts to suit our own point of view. Alcohol is expensive, indisputably linked to a whole range of diseases for women, disrupts sleep, is dire on the Menopause, throws your body out of chemical balance and doesn’t do much for your brain or skin. It also often doesn’t make us very nice people and definitely enables us in making bad choices at the time.

Alcohol is, in fact, a poison.  You know it, I know it, but it's incredibly well marketed as a glamorous lifestyle product.  I was watching a reality TV programme this week and there was a gorgeous scene set by a pool, everyone impossibly made up, with a glass of wine for everyone in shot.  That's how alcohol is sold.

However, imagine that they aren't sat there with wine, that they're sat there with a pile of ecstasy tablets and are popping one every now and then.  Does it look quite so glamorous to you?  I know it's not exactly the same, one's legal, one isn't, but both are drugs and both poison your body.  

All I'm suggesting is that you think about it for your health.  That's it.  Lecture over!

“The pattern was always much the same. For heaven's sake, there were enough reasons to drink-poor me, let's pour another. The most important thing I learnt was that "the first drink does the damage" If I didn't have the first one I wouldn't want the next one."

Anne Robinson 2001 from: "Memoirs of an unfit mother"



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