Recently I’ve given up wine. It’s been two months since I’ve had any alcohol at all, which for some people might not be a big deal but for a frequent wine drinker who loves the occasional martini…well, it’s been interesting. And not as difficult as I thought. The reason I was forced into a life without wine is simple: a new medication that absolutely cannot be mixed with any form of alcohol. The meds are short-term, so I sincerely hope to have a glass of wine again soon. But for now, no.
I wondered when I first realized I’d have to give up wine for a bit if I’d have some sort of withdrawal symptoms. I didn’t, which was a relief. I thought I’d at least suffer minor psychological withdrawal, like when I quit chocolate, or bread. Wine has been my relaxation method of choice for most of my adult life. Wine makes a party or social occasion much more fun. It creates a festive feeling when out on a dinner date with my husband. I was sure I’d miss those couple of glasses in the evening, winding down with a favorite television program or a movie.
But in the last sixty or so days, there might have been maybe one or two times that I really got all wistful and wished I could just stop with the medication already. It’s necessary for now. When I mentioned to my doctor’s assistant that I’d like to be done with the medication as soon as possible because I missed my wine, she said “oh nobody pays attention to those warnings!” It’s true. Almost everyone I know who takes similar meds also drinks alcohol. Still, I’m not going to combine them.
The medication I’m taking short-term is for insomnia; the irony is alcohol has been known to cause sleep disruption, so it’s probably not something I should be indulging in quite so often anyway. For me, now that I’m getting proper rest, sleep is not the biggest surprise of this alcohol-free existence. The biggest surprise is that my weight has stabilized in a most dramatic fashion. All my jeans fit, every single day. There are no more five pound weight gains during a hectic week. Every day, even if I eat a little sugar or splurge on carbs, my weight is the same, or within a pound of what it has been since I quit wine.
I shouldn’t be too surprised. I remember when I was in Weight Watchers one of the leaders said she always had a problem reaching her goal weight until she quit wine. “I didn’t drink that much,” she told us during a meeting. “A glass or two every other night, maybe. But the minute I stopped indulging in wine, the rest of my weight came off.” This was her secret weight loss trick. I needed a trick of my own, as I never did reach my goal weight on Weight Watchers. At the time, I didn’t want to hear about quitting wine. I liked my wine more than I liked being at goal weight.
I’ve kind of hit the pause button on achieving the goal weight of my earlier days. I’m a size ten or twelve and while that is not svelte, it is okay. I never like to say never–as far as never hoping to lose that last ten pounds or never having a glass of wine ever again. I might lose the weight some day, if I want it enough. And I am sure there’s at least one more glass of wine in my future. But I also know that if I find my weight starting to creep up and the pounds are harder to lose, I will look first toward the Chardonnay consumption.