Day 39. Back at home. Another week of school holidays left and it's hard.
During term time I get at least a couple of hours during the day to 'de-stress'. Like many of you, I've found that going to the gym, taking the dog for a walk, meeting a friend for a coffee, cooking food for the freezer or just blogging and reading take my mind off the not drinking and give me the strength to cope with the more 'full on' bits of the day, and the dreaded 'wine o'clock'.
When #1, #2 and #3 are on holiday, all day, every day is full on, so when it gets round to 'wine o'clock' I'm on my knees and finding it very difficult to step away from the wine rack.
So, today I got up while the children were still fast asleep to blog, and *spoiler alert*, I feel the need to RANT. I realise that many of you will not agree with the following argument, and I even realise that in a few weeks/months/years time I may not agree with it myself, but at this point in time I:
HATE THE WORD NORMAL. I particularly hate the expression NORMAL DRINKER.
Over the last 39 days I have read LOADS of books on getting sober, and lots of amazing sober blogs and personal stories, and they are all (including my own) littered with the word NORMAL.
We compare ourselves endlessly to the 'normal drinker'. We admire them. We envy them. And as a result we secretly hate them (go on - confess!). But the problem is that, in defining them as 'normal', by implication we believe ourselves to be 'abnormal'. Freaks. Sad case losers. Well SOD OFF!
(I told you I was cross today).
I turned to the good old world wide web. I found this amazing article in the Washington Post from last September. According to this article (based on government statistics), 3 in 10 American adults do not drink at all! Who knew? (Incidentally, in the UK it's only around 2 in 10). Another 3 in 10 drink less than one drink a week. That leaves only 40% of American adults who drink more than one drink a week.
Here's the interesting bit. 1 in 10 US adults drink more than 10 drinks a day. That's 2 bottles of wine a day. Now, if you add those two sets of facts together it means that of the American adults who drink more than one drink a week, ONE QUARTER of them are drinking more than two bottles of wine a day. I double checked the maths (and I did get a first in econometrics from Oxford, back in the day), and I'm sure it's right.
How can one quarter of all drinkers (I don't include the 'less than one drink a week' people as drinkers) be abnormal?
These statistics, I think, back up Jason Vale's argument that there is no such thing as an 'abnormal' drinker or, indeed, an 'alcoholic'. He argues that alcohol is a highly addictive substance - just like nicotine and heroin - and that ALL regular drinkers are addicts, the question is just how far down the slippery slope you have slid.
We don't look at people who smoke 5 cigarettes a day and call them 'normal smokers' versus those on a packet a day. Nor do we define the occasional heroin user as 'normal'. Why do we treat alcohol so differently?
Jason argues that we shouldn't envy the 'normal' drinker. They are trapped too (just less far into the cage), and if you suggested to them that they gave up their two small glasses of wine per night they'd be horrified! They may be 'moderating' but they, too, are constantly watching their intake and setting themselves parameters.
How many times have you heard your 'normal drinker' friends talk about "giving up for January. Not drinking on school nights. Shouldn't have more than one"? Many (if not most) of them deal with the wine witch, too, it's just that she hasn't got as loud and insistent with them (yet).
So who is normal? The person poisoning themselves on a regular basis and slipping further and further into the trap, or us - the alcohol free?
Besides, I've never aspired to 'normality' anyway.
Now I feel much calmer. Better go wake up the kids. Onwards and upwards.
Related post: Am I an Alcoholic?