My children drive me to drink. They drive me to drink and carbohydrate. So these last eight weeks of childcare (and counting – neither is yet properly settled into school/nursery) have made me fat. It’s the drink and the sticky buns and the chips and the chocolate. But mostly, it’s the drink.
There have been a few times in my life when I’ve been drinking too much. The first was when I was working at my first job and my boyfriend ran off with another girl. I was exhausted and demoralised and depressed and so drank to forget. The next time was when I was working at a daily newspaper and it was just an endless unhappy cycle of hangovers and drunken evenings that ended with me trying to open the front door of my flat with a cheeseburger.
And then now. This summer as soon the children were in bed – not even asleep – I would have a large cold glass of white wine in my hand. Or a chilled manzanilla. Or a big, room temperature, round red.
Down it would go, glug glug glug, and I would feel the day slipping away. Even if it hadn’t been a bad day I would usually need help letting it go. Life with children, like working on a newspaper or being at war, is just long periods of boredom punctuated by short periods of extreme stress. The drink levels you out, brings your shoulders down from around your ears, stops you feeling so twitchy and jumpy.
And I carry on and do it all the time because I’m a nice drunk. I only occasionally pick fights with my husband when tipsy – but really only occasionally – and hardly ever with strangers. When drunk I just fuzz about vaguely and then go to bed early. The worst that can happen is that I buy something online. But drunk internet shopping is one of life’s great joys. When the package arrives a week later (or sometimes the next day!!) you have totally forgotten about it and it’s like a present from your drunk self. And my drunk self loves me a lot.
“At the Chardonnay were we?” cackles Spencer the Hermes driver (Topshop, ASOS) as I open the door and take the package in puzzlement. “I hope it’s somefink nice.”
My point, which I am getting back to right now, is that the only bad thing – wait, 2 bad things – about drinking too much is
- it makes me put on weight and I don’t want to put on weight
- you need to keep drinking MORE to achieve the same effect. More drink, more calories, more weight. Hang on and actually…
- The next day you feel weak and confused and sorry for yourself – and also very peckish – and so end up consuming Fat Cokes, sandwiches and more drink in order to achieve equilibrium
So I am drying out. I am allowed one can of Diet Coke – with ice and lemon! – after bath time as my substitute sundowner and I have to make that last all night. If the day has literally driven me to shouting and/or crying, I am allowed 1 vodka soda & fresh lime (the anorexic’s drink) just to, you know, take the edge off.
And in fact even though I am a nice drunk and have become one of those people who LOVES WINE, it’s a good thing. Because the number of times I have thought to myself “I WANT A DRINK I WANT A DRINK I WANT A DRINK” in the last week or so has made me think that it’s not that I want a drink, it’s that the the drink wants me. And I’ve never been that keen on needy people.