It's writing prompt day in my blogging group. Dena of Centering Down proposed the prompt "something my body taught me."
If you look closely, you can still see a ghost of a ring. My reading chair sits next to the fireplace, and for a long time, the hearth was where I placed my glass of red wine. A slight red wine ring remains in that spot, although I haven't had a sip of red wine in nearly two years.
I never wore a "Not so loud, I had book club last night" T-shirt or joined the Moms Need Wine Facebook group, but like many of my mom friends, I enjoyed a relaxing glass of wine with my book after the kids went to bed. Sometimes two glasses. And also if I was on the computer or watching TV. The activity didn't matter. The post-bedtime wine was a given. I'd earned it.
If it was a particularly trying dinnertime, I might have a half glass while the kids ate. I was so tired, and the kids were so challenging, that a sip of wine took the edge off. In many ways, I think it was more psychologically effective than anything else. After a while, the wine began to add up.
My first clue was my annual checkup. I stepped on the scale and was aghast at the number I saw. That alone ended the daily habit. Those empty calories weren't worth the extra 10-15 pounds I was carrying. I stashed the box of wine and reserved my wine drinking for occasional dinners out or my monthly book club meeting.
When wine became an infrequent treat instead of a daily habit, I finally read the clues my body had been sending me for years. The stuff is poison to me.
Throughout adulthood, I've suffered from migraines. During a period in my late twenties, I was knocked flat by them every two weeks based on hormonal fluctuations. When I went off The Pill, the migraines substantially stopped. A few years ago they returned, and I'd spend three days trying to parent while suffering from an unstoppable pain on the right side of my head, overwhelming fatigue, and an upset stomach. When I could find no other obvious trigger, I told my doctor that my current birth control must be the problem. She told me that made no medical sense.
In January 2012, I enjoyed a fine meal with good wine to celebrate a friend's birthday. I did not over-consume but felt awful the next day. I'd felt the same way on Christmas Day after drinking wine on Christmas Eve. My body was telling me something, and I finally listened.
That was the last time I drank red wine. My headaches are now infrequent. I sleep fewer hours and have more energy. I don't need a quick nap before picking up the kids from school. Most importantly, I am more patient and nicer to my children. After I started exercising again, I lost the extra weight.
Last year, my body told me that it couldn't tolerate beer either. The two beers I'd have while chatting with a friend were not worth the following day I'd lose in bed.
I'm now an infrequent drinker. When I do drink, I stick to vodka or gin, which my body can handle without side effects. At many functions where alcohol is served, wine and beer are the only options, so I abstain. A glass of seltzer or a club soda with lime make a fine substitute.
Even though wine remains the drink of choice among my friends, I no longer miss it. It is poison to me and not worth a second thought. I only wish I'd listened sooner to what my body had to say, because I haven't felt this great in years.
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Head over to Centering Down and follow the links at the bottom of Dena's post to see how other bloggers responded to this writing prompt. Maybe you'll learn that your body is trying to tell you something important.
If you are a wine-drinking mom, I suggest you read this article at the Wall Street Journal. It may change your mind and your habits.