The Pioneers view on Losses & Gains

Pioneering women

There is a lot to the language of coming to the conclusion that it’s time to call time on wine o’clock.

Most popular seems to be that we are giving up alcohol. Giving in to it perhaps is more appropriate. By saying we are giving in or up seems to indicate that we have either failed or somehow become so very weak, that we are no longer able to be part of the ‘in crowd’, rather than strong and courageous. There is a huge majority that consider us seeped in failure and hardship that we are missing out. Somehow we have become dull and boring, and much worse to use the modern lingo, DRY.
It sounds dreadful.
Alcohol is a drug, no two ways about it, but such a well marketed, legal one, that it has become the social salve of the last thirty years, wine most especially being the cure all for most women over the age of 35 with children. It’s not seen as a sin, or a weakness, but more of a badge of honour among the huge social media set of yummy mummies who cannot possibly survive the slings and arrows of motherhood without a fridge full of Pinot. Little Harry is in bed, hit the iPad and the bottle. This is a very normal, everyday story of modern day folk. The common thread is that actually they drink too much, but there are also other bonds.

Usually intelligent, funny, educated and holding down some really interesting job or doing one of the hardest jobs of all, raising children, married to an equally aspirational chap who sees his over the eight missus being the same as all of his friends OHs. I am using abbreviation from popular Mummy sites. Because everyone else does it, then it has to be ok. There has never been a more tribal time than the Wine women’s club. It’s everywhere. I do wonder how women during the wars to end all wars survived without it, when I listen to clients who seem to be so hugely stressed by daily strife now that they need to resort to at least 70 units of the stuff a week. Along with more chemical dependence dished out by their GP for depression.

There is no judgement from me, for I was once premier league in terms of alcohol misuse, just a frustration and anger that these wonderful, brilliant women are gripped by such a toxic lifestyle that is feted as being attractive and absolutely ‘the thing’ to do.
They are so captivated by this, that the thought of not using alcohol seems to be a sign that first they have a problem, which they have, and secondly that without it life would screech to a horrible halt and they would no longer be able to function or, and this is the worst bit, be accepted as a non-drinker by their peers. This was highlighted to me recently by a lady who had gone to a friend’s Birthday party and been castigated in quite a nasty way for not drinking wine to the Birthday girl’s health, being told that it was very rude not to do so.
The question I ask my clients is this. ‘What is the worst that can happen if you don’t drink alcohol?’ The first retort is usually along the lines of my social life would be over, it wouldn’t have any fun and well, I would just be different.
The opposite is true. Once wine gets going, it is the most isolating of drugs, too fearful of going out as once was the norm, but staying in with old reliable in the fridge door, and then down the hatch. Spontaneity is lost, you can’t be impulsive to new experiences or ideas if you are trollied, fun is something the kids have, whilst women suffer in silence between feelings of how did it get to this and why me. Exhaustion is in pole position and because of it no one can be arsed to do much at all except get through the day until wine time.

So yes we are different, we are pioneers. I don’t see a loss in any of the non-drinking squad, just a liberation and expectation that the best is yet to come. That has to be a gain in anyone’s book.

Author: Sarah Turner

Founder of the Harrogate Sanctuary.