Thinking is our downfall. We all think too much. Wine is our downfall. We all drink too much. Well, not all of us! But yes, we all think too much, seriously.
The thoughts I think are not the thoughts you think. Our thoughts come and go. But I can bet you that your thinking about drinking is the same as many other women who drink. Let me ask you: Are you a wine o’clock mom?
We hardly remember all the thoughts we have in one day alone. Apparently, there is one thought that dominates all thoughts every day in our heads. For some people, that thought is the wine thought. For others, it is a partner problem, a mother mumble or a family feud.
We allow these thoughts to make or break us, to decide our next action. We allow these thoughts to arrange our days, to decide who is our friend or not, and decide which partner is ours or not. We allow that wallowing in the wine thought to lead us to the fridge at 5 pm, on the dot.
Thinking About Drinking – Too Much
Did you type into Google: “Why am I always thinking about drinking?” by any chance? Or did you look up the Wine O’clock Mom Syndrome? I have heard about mothers who drink orange juices laced with vodka at kids’ play dates. I have seen parents drinking brandy or whiskey with coke at kids’ parties. Is this you?
Are you a regular wine o’clock mom looking forward to your 5 pm tipple? I deserve my glass of Chardonnay every day at 5 pm because I am such a busy mom. I love that first sip of Sauvignon after rushing around with the kids all day. I brace myself for my husband’s arrival home from work with a good solid glass of dry white. Yes!
Wine o’clock moms have groups on Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp. Wine o’clock moms all laugh about that daily glass of wine. Which then becomes 2 glasses, then three glasses – and soon, the entire bottle gets done every night of the week. What do you feel like when you open the fridge the next morning and see no more wine? Instead, you see 2 empty bottles standing next to the bin. What? Was that me?
Let’s change the way we think about drinking. That means that the daily wine at 5 pm could become the daily walk at 5 pm or the daily art class at 5 pm. We could get the kids to the park for sunset or we could plant a new rose – at 5 pm. How about a nice homemade Mocktail with ice and lemon on the veranda? Or how about a platter of healthy snacks such as raw vegetable sticks and Avo dip?
Think and Do the Opposite
The new thought could then be, “I deserve self-care at 5 pm and I deserve my health. I am worthy of an evening walk, a gardening hour or a special time with my kids. I can summon up a last ounce of energy to make my Mocktail and snacks and just sit and stroke the cat.”
Have you ever entertained the thought that you could be addicted to the ritual of the wine? Or the wine itself? The thing that makes us addicted to the wine is the alcohol inside the wine. Before you recoil in dread at that terrible word, addicted, breathe. Most people in our world have some kind of addiction that they have developed as a means of coping in an unnatural world. Some people have inherited the addictive genes from their parents. Others have been through incredible and ghastly traumas and unknowingly they turned to a substance to replace the love they never got as a child.
Life is complex so the first tip from me is NOT to beat yourself up about your drinking. If you ARE a wine o’clock mom, then be aware of that. Note what it feels like to look forward to that wine at 5 pm sharp every day. Note what it adds to your day and what it removes from your day.
Negative Thoughts and Low Self-Esteem
What is your thinking about the drinking? It is often the thought that makes us reach for the substance or the habit that then becomes our ritual or addiction. It has been said that negative thoughts and false beliefs also drive our needs for a substance of habit that is mentally and physically unhealthy. Many people who drink wine every day are sensitive people with a negative streak.
Sue Diamond of The Good Life Recovery Blog reveals that usually these kinds of people have these thoughts in their heads most of the time:
- I’m not good enough.
- No one loves me.
- I don’t fit in.
- I’m different than others (which is a bad thing).
- I will never have the life I am longing for.
- I’m better than others.
- People are generally stupid.
- I don’t need others.
- It’s no one’s business what I do.
- People don’t really get me.
- I’m a failure.
- If only I had more money, I’d be worthy.
- My success defines me.
- I don’t need you or anyone.
Do you Need to Be in Control?
According to Sue, “most addicts what to believe that they still have a choice. That they are absolutely in control of every aspect of their lives. The research indicates that generally speaking, most addicts have a very distorted view of the world which is negative in nature. On the whole, we suffer from low self-esteem, enormous self-loathing, a view of the world as the glass half empty. We are critical, judgmental, and often feel hard done by.”
Time to change the thinking, the negativity and the false beliefs. That need for wine at 5 o’clock is a false belief that your brain believes. Your heart may feel discomfort but your naughty thoughts convince you that just one is your treat for your busy day. Where does this self-absorbed thinking come from? How can we change the lens?
Peep out from behind the sunglasses and see life, really see life. It is often a great idea to reach out to others when you decide to change an ingrained habit like pouring wine every day at 5 pm. Go and visit your local safe house, soup kitchen or school that needs assistance. Knit squares for the elderly, donate food for the dogs and give computer lessons in your own home.
The onus lies on you, and your self-belief. Says Sue: “… it’s not that there’s anything wrong with thinking of ourselves. And there’s certainly nothing wrong with taking good care of ourselves. There are times when that is both healthy and appropriate. … However, there are so many ways in which our negative thinking can interfere with building a healthy self and healthy relations. These can be thoughts about ourselves and thoughts about others.”
Change the Wine O’Clock Lens
But what are you going to do about your thinking about drinking? How are you going to change that wine o’clock mom label? Simply do the opposite! Make the decision today to change the way you play! Let go of that “poor little me” mentality. Stand up in your own two feet and show the world your true face, the real you. If people decide to leave your circle, so be it. Tell yourself that you deserve your spot in the sun. You deserve your own set of footprints on this planet Earth. So BE you. Who IS that hiding behind the wine? Who IS that person sipping Chardonnay at 5 pm every day? Think on these things.
Remember: Addiction is a complex brain disorder that doesn’t have a single, obvious cause. Dopamine plays a role, but it’s one small piece of a larger puzzle. Experts believe a range of biological and environmental factors can significantly increase someone’s risk for addiction.
Crystal Raypole notes on healthline that dopamine “helps reinforce enjoyable sensations and behaviors by linking things that make you feel good with a desire to do them again. This link is an important factor in the development of addiction.” This is what is happening every day at 5 pm when you open that first bottle.
So, to end this blog, I challenge you to clear your brain bit by bit of those negative thoughts, that negative self-talk. Can you meditate once a week, then try every two days, then daily? Check out these different mediation tools you can try to calm and simplify your life.
If you really want to do this for yourself, then do it. Try to break that wine o’clock habit today. Use these wonderful tools from Flic Everett:
RESET YOUR BRAIN
Cut down lies in breaking alcohol’s “pleasure” association. Tell your brain that you do NOT like alcohol and that you want change your habits. Tell your brain you like to wake up feeling alert in the mornings. Have an alcohol-free day every other day to help break your beliefs that you need that daily tipple.
BUY SMALLER GLASSES
When you go out these days, wine is served in enormous, beautiful glasses. The waiter pours a quarter of the bottle into your glass! Soon, you are slurring! Even the shops sell these huge ornate glasses and we are all conned into believing it is the NORM. Not! Buy small 125ml glasses instead of the 250ml tankards.
TRY THE HALT TEST
Have no alcohol for half the week and a few glasses for the rest of the week. Make sure you do not rely on that daily glass but that you can go without it.
NEVER HAVE TWO BOTTLES IN THE FRIDGE
Break the habit of having so much wine at home in the wine wrack and in the fridge. Buy enough for your 3 chosen days to have a few glasses.
HAVE DECENT ALTERNATIVES
All you have to do is buy non-alcoholic drinks or alcohol-free drinks. Soon you will tire of these but they are very useful in your early days of sobriety. There are some lovely AF wines, gins, and beers out there so go and try a few. If you still like wine, try a low alcohol variety instead and see if you can then wean yourself off it.
Instead of that rigid 5 pm glass of wine, why not open a low alcohol wine after supper or when the kids are in bed? You probably won’t even feel like it by then! Often, that 5 pm drink is this need for glucose to raise our shattered blood sugars. Rather have fruit, dried fruit and nuts or a cup of soup.