Love on the Rocks – is it Time to Break up with Booze?
I have enjoyed a turbulent but happy 30 year love affair with alcohol but sadly in midlife I now find my relationship with booze is ‘on the rocks’.
Don’t get me wrong, on the face of it I am still in love as much as I have ever been. The seductive pop of the wine cork; the cooing over the cocktail menu; the allure of an opaque frosted wine glass on a hot summers day – they all continue to elicit the same exalted Pavlovian response; Sheer.Giddy.Joy.
So what’s happened?
It’s a classic case of ‘it’s not you, it’s me’. I have changed, moved on both physically and physiologically. These days that beatitude that alcohol can provide is often negated by some decidedly unsexy side effects, namely 2 day hangovers, increased anxiety, weight gain and insomnia.
The Rosé tinted glasses are off. That initial carefree honeymoon period is over and real life -aka Mid Life- with all it’s spirit crushing side effects, has kicked in.
Things certainly aren’t what they used to be. In mid life our body becomes, what I believe they refer to in the medical profession as ‘a bit knackered’. We have more body fat and less water, the liver is less efficient so our ability to metabolise alcohol decreases – which essentially means we get pissed quicker, feel the after effects more acutely and recover at a slower rate. Yay.
Add to that alcohol’s chaotic effect of lowering blood sugar and reeking havoc on hormone levels on a perimenopausal body, and booze and I are no longer a ‘good match’.
I need to re evaluate. Weigh up the pros and cons of my liaison with liquor to work out – is this worth it anymore? Or is it time to go our separate ways?
Everyone’s experience is different but for me there are 3 major cons :
1.The Hangover – The physical pain I can just about live with it’s more the annoyance that the punishment rarely fits the crime and one (ok maybe two) G&Ts can reduce me to a vegative state. It’s a full 24 hours before normal service resumes,and quite frankly I resent the ‘waste of the day’. Gone are the lost hours luxuriating under the duvet with a pack of wagon wheels watching Friends re runs. I have got shit to do.
2.The Insomnia – I can’t sleep very well at the best of times but after a couple of I will invariably wake up at early birdy o clock, wide eyed in the dark with million different thoughts racing through my head which leads me to . . .
3.The Fear– the heightened sense of insecurity and self doubt, which Nigella Lawson summed up perfectly as “that horrible tight feeling of worry”.
Hmmm, it’s not boding well. The signs aren’t good and I could well be consciously un-coupling from Chablis anytime soon.
But let’s not be too hasty. We’ve got history. What about the positives, all the good times? Let’s face it booze is fun. My happiest of happy places is catching up with fantastic friends with a good glass of wine or a cheeky cocktail.
As with most things these days moderation is the key – midlife can be stressful and serious so surely a little bit of what makes you happy can only be a good thing?
Maybe one more for the road then, for old times sake . . ? Cheers to that.