October 26, 2019

"At first, I drank wine only socially, but sometime in my early 40s, I started drinking a glass of white wine around 5:30 every day."

"I would sip it as I finished up whatever piece of writing I was working on, certain that the low-level buzz inspired more creativity in those last few minutes of work. My husband — the family cook — would be in the kitchen making dinner, and the kids would inevitably be running around or speed-talking at me as they passed by my office on the way to play outside. It was my modernized and gender flip-flopped version of the dynamic I remembered fondly from childhood: my dad sitting at the kitchen table drinking a beer and reading the daily paper, while my mom cooked and the kids ran around. The wine helped me relax, shrug off the day, and transition from work mode to parent mode. I loved it. Each week, when my husband was making the grocery list, I would say, 'Don’t forget the wine.' It became a bit of a joke: Judi needs her wine! Is it wine time yet? I always wanted to make sure a bottle was chilling, and that I didn’t have to drive anywhere between 5 and 6. If I did, I’d be super irritated that I’d miss my glass."

From "How Drinking Less Solved a Lot of Problems/I don’t have a drinking problem, but cutting down on alcohol was an eye opener" by Judi Ketteler (NYT). She has a book coming out, called "Would I Lie to You? The Amazing Power of Being Honest in a World That Lies." I liked her writing and I like the concept for the book.

The top-rated comment over there reflects what is in the other comments:
Why is everyone being so defensive? The author is telling us about her experience or, at least, her perception of her experience. She is not judging anyone else, she is not telling anyone else what to do, she's just telling us what she did. If you're getting your hackles up over this it probably means she touched upon something that's bothering you in your own life so maybe instead of wasting your energy on being irate at the author you should use it to do a little self examination.

47 comments:

mockturtle said...

Sometimes a lack of self-awareness is one's most obvious trait.

Lucid-Ideas said...

In vino veritas

In a world that lies, she wouldn't lie to us...unless she stops drinking.

Don't trust her!

gilbar said...

i had my last on 3/04/2000 (the day before my motorcycle crash)
i quit drinking because, when i came out the my coma, the doctors told me it'd be 'BAD' if i ever drank again. Since they did a great job stitching my brain back together, i listened to them. And, you know what i found out?
Most people i know, are Alcoholics.
Most of them don't think they have Any problem
They just couldn't Imagine going 24 hours without drinking

You Know what they call someone that can't Imagine doing without something, for 24 hours? An Addict. You Know what they call someone addicted to alcohol? An Alcoholic

Those of you out there, that 'drink socially' If you were going on a hiking camping trip for a week; what would you bring? Beer's heavy; you'd better think about liquor
Or, maybe extended hiking isn't for you? After all; you just like the taste: Right?

Phil 314 said...

Must everyone have a book coming out? Keep books in the closet!

Shane said...

That's a brilliant comment you highlighted there.

AlbertAnonymous said...

I really don’t have any interest in reading peoples self self help books.

Listen to the story about how great I am because I pulled myself out of my terrible situation/my victimhood/my obsession/my addiction.

Rather read something fiction. That’s a better read than this fiction.

William said...

I admire her economy of effort. Instead of having to go through all the trouble of being an alcoholic or drug addict, she gets to write a confessional about her predilection for an evening glass of white wine. Harrowing and yet to some extent inspirational. I'd like to see a Lifetime more about her ordeal. Someone like Felicity Huffman who knows about the dark underside of our society would be ideal to play the role.

Rob said...

Any afternoon in Chappaqua, New York: "Huma dear, that Chardonnay isn't going to pour itself."

Sebastian said...

Used to be, you had to kick at least a heroine habit to claim the aura of the recovery hero. Now, a glass of wine suffices to signal virtue and fortitude? So, if I give up ice cream, can I join the flaunting parade?

whitney said...

Middle and upper-middle-class white ladies I love their wine! You can tell by the amount of wine kitch in their home. Coasters, dish towels, art, it's everywhere

rcocean said...

So she has one glass of wine before dinner. What is a "glass"? If its 5-6 oz that's nothing to be concerned about. If its 12 oz - then she should have cut back. This reminds me of Tony Randall who said he stopped having a glass of wine before bedtime and it made him sleep better and gave him more energy. Then years later, said he'd gone back to having the wine before bedtime. Someone wrote about cocktails that "one wasn't enough, and three were one too many".

rcocean said...

Missing article subtitle:

My struggle over a glass of wine - by a Strong and Virtuous woman of Importance.

Freeman Hunt said...

If you've had a Facebook account for a number of years, chances are that you've seen more than one person's slow slide into alcoholism. This is never made explicit. There will be more alcohol-related posts. Then pictures of themselves or friends, all middle-aged professionals, drunk. Then the relationship statuses change: divorce. (This followed by a flurry of pictures of themselves engaging in wholesome activities with their kids. Custody battles? Convincing friends and family?) Then more drinking posts. Then loneliness, "Hey I have a big screen, and I'm making margheritas! Any one of you tenuous cyber connections want to come watch the game with me? Anyone?"

JPS said...

gilbar, 9:52:

Not to make light of your comment (glad you came through), but you ask:

"If you were going on a hiking camping trip for a week; what would you bring? Beer's heavy; you'd better think about liquor."

I used to be part of a group that would camp at high altitude for a week each summer. After hiking in and setting up camp, it was gin and tonic time. One year, some genius realized, you know, gin is about 60% water by weight. Doesn't make sense to pack all that water weight up to 11,000 feet when we're going to camp by a stream anyway. And so for the next year they came up with a prep for gin that tested out at 190 proof. Just taking things to their logical conclusion.

Personally I've gone from drinking rarely but always too much (part of my old work culture, and I went along to stupid excess), to often, but never much (my wife's style and I fell into step with her).

gilbar said...

What is a "glass"? If its 5-6 oz that's nothing to be concerned about. If its 12 oz - then she should have cut back.

Remember those little crystal wine glasses that came with dinner china?
Each setting would have the little wine glass, and then the bigger water glass?
Remember back when people used the little wine glasses? I don't remember that Either

Yancey Ward said...

It is behind a paywall, though interestingly enough I could apparently get in with my Google account. Incidentally, that option wasn't there the last time I tried to open a NYTimes article- has it something to do with Trump cancelling the executive branch's subscriptions the other day.

Yancey Ward said...

I was surprised, though, that the top comment didn't link this to Trump in some way. Perhaps lots of NYTimes readers are starting to get on the wagon.

John henry said...

I quit alcohol completely in October 1984 one of the 4-5 great accomplishments of my life.

I did not drink daily. Sometimes I would go weeks without a drink. But when I did drink I often drank too much.

I never thought I had a problem but, looking back, I realize that I did.

Why did I quit? Watching something on TV with him he asked me what was the attraction. I couldn't answer. I figured I needed to show rather than tell him how to live a wholesome life and stopped that day.

Marrying my wife of 46 years, having great kids and grandkids, quitting smoking in 71 and this I count among my great accomplishments.

Writing this, I realize that they all tie together.

John Henry

Ann Althouse said...

@Freeman

Yikes!

DavidUW97 said...

Wine moms! Upper middle class white women everywhere in America. Articles like these navel gazing splendors remind why I’m so happy with my non-American spousal equivalency unit. She just drinks wine and doesn’t contemplate it. After all she’s French.

bagoh20 said...

Alcohol has been an incredibly important facet of human life for thousands of years. It's been present (usually strongly present) at nearly all important events, decisions, accomplishments and catastrophes, as well as everyday life. Humans and Americans in particular formerly drank much more than we do today. More volume, and more consistently throughout the day and week. We are currently light-weights in the field.

It could be argued that alcohol is what allowed us to advance so far beyond the rest of the animal kingdom. It could also be argued that drinking cultures outstripprd the non-drinking by centuries.

I've seen plenty of damage in friends and family from drinking, but I find it to be something very enjoyable if done in moderation. I am addicted to the feeling, and ease it provides me, and I'm fine with it. Luckily I get terrible hangovers very easily, so I just can't go too far without paying a price that is absolutely not worth it. Despite my affinity for a drink at certain times, I also can't think of many things less enjoyable than being with someone who is drunk, whether I've been drinking or not. So it is both one of my favorite things and one of my least favorite in a number of ways.

The tendency to addiction is substantial with alcohol, and the damage from that can be total, but I see humans easily addicted to quite a large variety of things - most anything enjoyable. Moderation is an awesome skill to to develop; maybe the most important in life, but so is being able to concentrate and overindulge in the right things at the right time. Moderation is not just doing less of something, but also being able do something past the point of comfort when it need done. Moderating your behavior (up and down) is the secret to success and happiness.

Ann Althouse said...

"It could be argued that alcohol is what allowed us to advance so far beyond the rest of the animal kingdom."

1. It's been a way to purify water (that's not needed anymore) and to preserve the calories in food (e.g. apples).

2. It's a way to dilute the power of the human brain (which can overwhelm us with stress, worries, and too much planning and analysis).

NorthOfTheOneOhOne said...

How Drinking Less Solved a Lot of Problems

Well, yeah!

This reminds me of my mother-in-law; slugging back box wine every night from about 6PM to 11PM. My wife and her sister call it "The Witching Hour" even though it's really 5 hours and the nasty phone calls, emails, and texts just flow!

Kind gives me an idea of what an Elizabeth Warren administration would be like.

readering said...

Wonder when pot will replace drink as bigger social and health problem.

bagoh20 said...

"2. It's a way to dilute the power of the human brain (which can overwhelm us with stress, worries, and too much planning and analysis)."

A great point, becuase that is its main use, along with ceremony, and those functions are the most enduring over the ages. These functions are virtually unchanged, except we use it less today. Maybe because there are so many alternatives, although I find them all inferior in effectiveness, acceptance, and color.

Marcus said...

As I have posted prior:

Some people can drink alcohol.
I cannot drink it in safety.
I went over a decade where I drank every day, against my will.
A DUI at age 39 convinced me to quit and it was been over 25 years with the help of a certain 12-step fellowship and my Higher Power that I have not felt it necessary to pick up another drink.

THEOLDMAN

Vacations are MUCH cheaper now!

Jeff Brokaw said...

How many of those who lecture others about drinking 1-2 drinks per day are checking Facebook on their damn smartphones 75 times per day? Maybe sit this one out.

Mark said...

I had a friend who seemed to be drinking some level of wine every day. After a while, I began to wonder.

Mark said...

Alcohol has been an incredibly important facet of human life for thousands of years.

For one thing -- it made water drinkable. A lot of water in nature has some level of contamination of bacteria or parasites (and most of it not man-caused). And the safe deep ground water or spring water can become contaminated in storage.

Adding a bit of alcohol from beer or wine or rum or whiskey to your water was essential to one's health through much of history.

bagoh20 said...

Neither pot nor alcohol will ever be as bad a social problem as envy, greed, and the need to get into thy neighbor's business.

cubanbob said...

readering said...
Wonder when pot will replace drink as bigger social and health problem."

Good point.

Stephen_Robbins said...

My dad had a funny expression in response to the topic being raised in any sort of moralistic way.

With a dead pan, he'd say: "Well, I don't drink unless I'm alone or with somebody."

n.n said...

One pitcher, maybe. But thus is much ado about one glass. Adulterated wine?

RK said...

I went to funeral of a relative recently who literally drank himself to death. I drink most almost everyday, and all of cousins went out to a bar after the funeral. No irony there, really. My poor relative simply had a bad gene.

Michael McNeil said...

Wonder when pot will replace drink as bigger social and health problem.

Never.

Skylark said...

I had a-fib. I bought an Apple Watch for the EKG feature. I soon figured out that three fingers of whiskey in the evening put me into a-fib. I cut out strong liquor, and keep it down to one not strong drink, maybe two at a party or something, and the a-fib is gone. I also cut down coffee. I relate this story not to paint myself as a hero, but because maybe there are people reading these comments who have episodal a-fib and maybe they could try it too. I also stopped having gout attacks. I have always liked drinking, but we all get older, so here I am, suggesting something somebody else might try too, because it worked for me.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Drinking in moderation is not necessarily a bad thing, nor will it make you slide into alcoholism. BUT.....If you have a family history of alcoholics you should be careful as there is a genetic tendency. Sitting and drinking alone every night is a bad sign too. Drinking to me is a social activity.

We generally will have a cocktail or maybe two before dinner several times a week. Never before 5pm and never after dinner. Scotch sipped slowly. Occasionally I might have a glass of wine with dinner or at a special luncheon while out with family or friends, but really not often as wine gives me heartburn and drinking in the middle of the day makes me want to take a nap :-)

Last night we went to the local bar, for the first time in 3 months, and had two whole drinks each and ate some appetizer items for dinner. Oooh Ahhhh. There goes my trip to Heaven.

Just a drink or two to relax is fine. More than that, you aren't relaxed and you really aren't as attractive, funny, or smart as you think you are.

I definitely noticed this when I was pregnant and for about a year after the birth when I had totally given up drinking. Being the only sober one in a group of people who are drinkers and watching them as the night progresses, really brings this home to you. Drinking can make you really stupid sometimes.

J said...

Last drink 5/22/07.One day at a time.Strange thing is if you ly about your drinking you are usually lying about other things.

Rance Fasoldt said...

Hey Bagoh - Why do you spell "because" incorrectly. And while I'm at it, the past tense of "to lead" is "led," not "lead." Also, "boggle" is an intransitive verb. "The mind boggles," not "It boggled my mind." Would you say, "I stumbled my foot" to anyone? I hope not. Poor spelling makes insightful comments seem less insightful. Just a thought...

iowan2 said...

Lady wrote about her experience, and too many people saw themselves and got angry with her.

If you are quick to point out this women has nothing to say about your very acceptable, very proper, extremely normal, use of alcohol, you may want to examine why your emotions are stirred so.

All she did is relate her experience. Who she was, what she did, and what she is like now. People that drink, but don't have a relationship with alcohol, probably will never look at this writing. But those that know alcohol? They are squirming, and rationalizing.

The simple fact is, if you see someone that has what you want, do what they do.

Skylark said...

I liked the line in Sunshine State where the guy invites her for sex after she has had a couple of drinks. “No thanks, when I have been drinking like this, sex is like going to the dentist, you know something is going on in there, but you aren’t sure what."

jim said...

It would be nice to be able to get stupid on a regular basis. Maybe after I retire.

rcocean said...

?All she did is relate her experience. Who she was, what she did, and what she is like now. People that drink, but don't have a relationship with alcohol, probably will never look at this writing. But those that know alcohol? They are squirming, and rationalizing.

Hello? She wasn't just some random person who decided to tell her friends at lunch about her "relationship with alcohol". The writer TOLD THE WHOLE WORLD and took up space in the New York Times. Implication: Her struggle with her glass of wine was somehow IMPORTANT. Forget that story on the starving kids in Sudan - some middle class woman wants to talk about her glass of wine. Hence, the response.

rcocean said...

As for Pot. The power elite has decided there's $$$ to be made on selling a drug to American's - under the name of "Freedom" and "Liberty". Remember all those Virginia Slim's commercials about how smoking cigs was a blow for "Women's lib" - this is the same pitch.

The Pot business is turning into big business, and they don't want the USA to hear about all those bad medical side effects. They want to glamorize it, sell it, and make Money. Oh, and its also LEFT-WING. That's very important, because the DumbShit Lefties will fall for ANYTHING, if you make it part of the "party line". Smoke a Joint for the Revolution. Just buy it from Boenher's company.

iowan2 said...

rcocean; I'm not referring to the woman who wrote the article. I'm responding to all these people that are in overdrive explaining to all listening, that they ain't her. What they do doesn't effect them or anyone around them, they are cooool! Very emotional responses to a very boring first person accounting.

ken in tx said...

If you are subject to bad hangovers, take the herbal supplement Milk Thistle. It's pretty cheap and you can get it at Walmart. The label won't tell you what it's for. It reduces the severity of hangover and improves liver function as measured by liver enzyme blood tests. I can vouch for this last claim.

Kirk Parker said...

rcocean @ 10:16am,

I like the way Berg and Carter put it (in "You And Tequila"):

"One is one too many;
One more is never enough."