When is the last time you’ve gotten together with friends to watch football over a couple beers? Grabbed a few drinks after work with colleagues for happy hour? Attended a wedding reception with an open bar at your disposal? I’m sure you had a few cold beverages over Christmas and New Years celebrations?
Drinking has become the norm when placed into social situations. While some are willing and able to keep it to a manageable number of drinks, others let it spiral out of their control.
Let’s talk about addiction. They say it runs in families; a hazy mixture of genetics, exposure, and environment. I’m scared it will become me; afraid for my future kids, and their kids that come after. But it doesn’t have to be this way. My genes are not my destiny and it’s time to break the vicious cycle.
When I was home, my mom and I drank a glass or two a night to wine down (excuse the pun) after a long day. We had a fully stocked wine fridge at our exposure with a seemingly never ending supply of our beverage of choice. But it couldn’t just be one glass, and before I knew it half the bottle would be gone.
A few days before I left for Australia, my mother left a pamphlet out for me titled “Wine addiction.” I got oddly defensive at this not-so-subtle jab at my habits. I become accusatory instead of accepting the problem: “Mom, I drink as much as you do! Are you saying I have an addiction? Then you must to!”
I would call my boyfriend and get in petty arguments, simply because I had been heavily drinking. The next day, he would gently point out how scary it was that I couldn’t recall the course of events after a long night out on the town. I refused to consider this a blackout as my memory slowly returned to me and I pieced the night back together. What fun is having a night you don’t remember?
I have an anxious soul of the worst kind, and tend to turn to wine to alleviate stress. I use it as a means to escape, relax, and reward myself after a long day of work. I ironically find myself feeling anxious if I am not able to drink for more than a few days at a time. I am finally admitting to myself that I am becoming reliant on alcohol to self-medicate.
To make matters worse, wine is becoming glamorized in the media for women. We watch Hoda and Kathie Lee give a sloppy presentation every Winesday Wednesday. For many women, wine o’clock becomes a dangerous compulsion.
It’s not like I ever drink during the day or by myself, so I’m fine right? I write it off to being a recent college graduate where binge drinking was the norm. I try to justify my actions. That’s the behavior of an addict.
One of the primary differences between alcoholics and non alcoholics is that those without the disease, change their behavior to meet their goals while alcoholics change their goals to meet their behavior. I’m ready to do the former.
Drinking in excess is unhealthy. I realize, it’s time for a change. Coming from a family where addiction is prevalent, I want to commit the month of February to an alcohol detox. There are a plethora of healthier alternatives out there to relieve my stress. I plan to turn to yoga or tennis when I get that inevitable craving for a glass of vino.
It’s a disease, like getting bitten by the vampire, he can’t help it, it’s not a choice,” mama reminds me about my little brother, day in and day out. Consider heart disease, the leading cause of death in the developed world. It’s partly due to genes and partly due to poor life style choices such as bad diet, lack of exercise, and smoking. Current addiction research shows that 50% of addiction tendencies are attributable to genetic predisposition. That’s a high proportion, but it still leaves half of the equation up to you.
I am taking on the FebFast challenge to enjoy not only 28 days of a healthier me, but all in the name of a cause near to my heart. Resisting my own cravings is a tiny insight into what people with serious addiction issues go through every day.
Youth Drugs + Alcohol Advice (YoDAA) is a service which includes a resources, a 24 hour phone line, live webchat and email, al designed to talk to young people and those concerned about them. Since launching in 2014, YoDAA has helped over 10,000 kids, families, school teachers and social workers bridge the addiction gap.
I would be honored to have your support. You can join my team and take on a detox of your own (alcohol, fast food, sugar, social media, or smoking) or donate in my name. In doing so, you will receive a FREE Dandelion ad space using code: FEBFAST to thank you for your support! Help me reach my goal of $400 by the end of February!
Cheers to sobriety! Catch me sipping on a soda water and lime at a local bar near you!