Hello, I’m Chelsea and I am an alcoholic, kinda sorta maybe. At least that’s what I’m supposed to say when I go to those meetings when we only know each other by our first names. For the record, I wasn’t court ordered to go. I just felt like I was overdrinking it a little.
Between you and me, I’m not much different from you. Hell, for moms, drinking is synonymous with coping these days. If we didn’t have wine, how could we have ever gotten past that last season of Game of Thrones? Or that pile of dirty dishes? Or that constant dinging from our phones from people who forgot our shift ended at 5 PM instead of 5 AM?
You know those feelings of guilt from working a full day at the office but hearing your kid complain about all the moms who miraculously made it to the field trip at Sky Zone? Except you, of course. Here’s the good news. Those feelings can easily be doused with a tall glass of Merlot.
Oh, and those afternoons when you get in after dark and still have to check homework, rustle up an acceptable form of dinner, argue about bath time, and wait an extra hour after lights out because your kid refuses to give in to that sweet, soft slumber? A stout whiskey sour can calm those nerves.
Chaotic family life? A salted rim from a top-shelf margarita has been known to right your father’s incessant reminder that you could have done more with your degree.
And here’s a tip between you and me: that last Cosmo totally obliterated your disgust with your lack of a thigh gap.
Hooray! You’ve miraculously made yourself funny after that bubbling Prosecco.
But hey, we aren’t alcoholics. We’re just part of the mom club where the only requirement to join involves a desire to take a little trip away from reality, albeit just for an evening. And you get to rise in the rankings if you’re the fun drinker (Notice I didn’t say drunk. We’re no fan of labels).
When you’re the fun drinker, you can do a phenomenal rendition of Robert Bentley’s “Luv Gov” when he’s sweet talking Rebekah Mason in that cell phone recording. You can be that Endless Flame The Bangles sing about, and if you’re anything like me, you can down two and half martinis and still explain why Faulkner could paint a better picture with five words than Dickens could with a thousand.
So where was I? Oh, the alcohol thing. It’s not really a thing, though. It’s just a nice little addition to the currently unmanageable expectations of myself. And for the record, I don’t drink EVERY night. I just need a little nightcap. A little me time. A little “wine down” to feel ten feet tall and bullet-proof. I wear my suit of armor made of wine corks and bottle caps. Take that, life!
It was November of 2016 when I cradled a bottle of Chardonnay in my lap as I watched the world as I knew it crumble before me. Donald Trump had just been elected President of the United States. Now before you scroll away, this is not becoming a political rant. I simply want to take you back to a situation when everything seemed “hunky dory” in my bubble-wrapped life. I had the perfect job, a killer family, and a new home full of endless possibilities. The world as I knew it was going my way. And then Wolf Blitzer ruined it. He flipped my perfect little world right on its ass with his transition of blue states into red. The map of peril. My dreams of seeing empowered, elated women across the nation high-fiving and saluting a new frontier of shattering that glass ceiling imploded, all in one night.
How could I cope with losing such a surety I had felt deep in my marrow? With that bottle of Chardonnay, of course. As tears poured from my puffy eyelids, my hand tipped to pour from an endless glass of bitter, chilled grapes.
Moms, do you know that feeling you get when you take that first sip? You know the one. It’s like a warm hug that digs into your bones until you’re numb from the inside out. It’s that feeling you need when everything around you feels a little misplaced. Well that warm feeling of oblivion is not what I felt in November of 2016. It hastened the dread. Each sip was me admitting that I didn’t have all the answers. That nothing is certain. Not even the things we hold most dear.
I know you’ve been there, too. You have the battle scars of carrying that world on your shoulders, and you just need that little pick-me-up to put down all those cares that life throws at you. You may have wondered how much you can drink before you “become an alcoholic.” Friends, I don’t have the answers for you. But today, I am in a better place. Not because the world has righted itself, but because I realized I cannot right the world.
There is so much in this life to worry about…to do…to stress over. And sometimes it can feel like you’re held over a wine barrel. But don’t drink those bitter grapes. When alcohol becomes an escape rather than an enhancer to your day, you may want to consider a nice hike instead. Or if you’re like me, a nice little article to let out all those feelings with your friends.
Cheers to navigating this mom life together. You’ve got this.