My Year of Sobriety
The title may be a bit premature, however I have decided that 2018 will be my YEAR OF SOBRIETY (starting in February).
I don’t drink every day. I abstain from drinking in February, July and October – and have done for years. Alcohol does not stop me from being active, or a “good” worker (no sick days for this puppy), or a good mum. I have friends and family who have lost their licences for drink driving. I have worked in hospitals and cared for people affected by alcohol. I have worked in nursing homes looking after residents who have “alcohol related dementia”. I have also taught adults who have been impacted educationally and socially by drinking booze and taking drugs. I have witnessed the power of alcohol in modern day Australian society.
I drink socially … with friends, family or Facebook.
Why does an ageless goddess have the need to drink??
Some might say that I am a woman of a certain age approaching a significant anniversary of my birth but I prefer the title of “Ageless Goddess” (thank you Dr Christiane Northrup).
A study undertaken by Western Sydney University found that over 624000 women aged between 35 and 59, struggle with risky drinking or alcohol problems. I am not alone – in fact it would seem that I am in good company.
Read the ABC report here.
I started to reflect on my drinking habits when a was chatting with my friend. We were talking about the holiday season, family and our adventures. One statement struck me. She said that she “got so drunk’ and I asked her why? She honestly and openly explained that she just does not have an off switch. That resonated with me because I am the same. I just do not know when I have had too much to drink. I have not gotten to that age of wisdom where I know that I have had enough to drink (If anyone knows can you please let me know what that age is?).
The reasons I enjoy a drink
I like it. I like being social. I have always linked a couple of wines with relaxing. It is what my family does to relax, to celebrate, to morn. It is what nurses do to let their hair down, socialise, relax and unwind. When I was studying to become a Registered Nurse – last millennium, a lecturer had suggested that it is easier to study with a bottle of red wine. It is what teachers do to clear their head, unwind relax and celebrate. It is just what I do.
The reasons I don’t want to drink
The Research is fascinating.
The Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education have highlighted a problem in women in my age group.
Dr Janice Withnall from the University of Western Sydney conducted a seven-year study on drinking among mid-life women. She found that we are drinking more. We are often career and motherhood focussed and we don’t fit the historical stereotype of the alcoholic.
More research found that men drink more when exposed to a woman’s scent during the fertile phase of her menstrual cycle (YES woman can drive men to drink??) BUT THE REVERSE IS TRUE. A man’s scent (androstenone) can trigger a significant increase alcohol consumption in women (and nobody asked me to be a part of that study!). I am not sure how we can fix that problem?
So, I have decided on a YEAR OF SOBRIETY. I have allowed myself a “GO TO GAOL pass” for special occasions if I need it.
What am I hoping to achieve from this year?
There is more I want to be. There is more I want to feel. There is more potential I want to experience. I want to create a life I want to live.
I am not sure that an alcohol-free year will achieve that. I am not even sure that an alcohol-free year will make any difference but I want to find out for myself.
For help contact
Counselling 1800 888 236 or www.counsellingonline.org.au
Family Drug Support 1300 368 186 or www.fds.org.au
Alcoholics Anonymous 1300 222 222 or http://aa.org.au