***Warning: possible wine triggers.***
Hi y’all. I know it’s been a while. It’s been a busy time for me. Kids back to school (lots of paperwork and systems to arrange, and general “settling in”), new (old) country,
Not to mention setting up house and home. For the past two months, and until a few days ago, we were sleeping on mattresses on the floor — mattresses which each evening I was very very grateful for).
Also working on plans to integrate my aging dad into our household somehow, which means finally sorting through my late mother’s things (she died in January). I am massively procrastinating on that one.
A while ago I posted on my bloomwords blog that I had made it to 18 months of sustained sobriety, not counting several sips of a ceremonial glass of sparkling wine during a long-lunch going-away party that our kind friends-and-neighbours held for us just before we left France.
The going-away gathering and its ceremonial sips happened in mid-August. I reached the 18-month mark on September 27 (about 6 or 7 weeks later) with no further sips or drinks of wine.
But just a few days after that post and benchmark, my husband had a bottle of red sitting open on the living room table. He was so cheerful and relaxed. The brand of the wine was called “Open” as well. A propos nothing, and so suggestible as I tend to be, especially in my most tired moments, I decided to pour myself a glass.
Why would I do that? After all this time?
I guess because I was mentally and physically exhausted, and I was yearning to return to some kind of “normalcy” and convivial connection with the adults in my immediate physical vicinity. Normal here where I am from (and in many western places) is to have a glass of wine or beer during evening relaxation time.
I realize I have discussed this often-problematic concept of “normal” and the concept of making a “new normal” a lot on this blog. So within this blog’s scope, reverting to status quo appears to be an obvious failure.
Anyway, long story short, since that date, I have been drinking the occasional glass of wine or two in the evening. The equivalent of about 1 (750-ml) bottle of red wine per week, has been consumed by me, over the past three weeks.
I’m not proud of it, nor at this point, am I ashamed of it.
I’m sorry if this is awfully discouraging news.
I somehow feel I owe it to this blog’s honest record or storyline to document it here. So that’s what I am doing.
In other news, I subscribe to the Plum Village newsletter. Plum Village in France is the place of the Buddhist retreat I took our kids to two years ago, and went with the whole family (including resistant hubs) one year ago. Anyway, the newsletter they sent this morning had a link to a talk by the same nun who was the leader of the dharma group I was part of there.
Her name is Sister Lăng Nghiêm. I have written about her somewhere before (without mentioning her name) but now I can’t remember if it’s on one of my blogs or just in my private writings. Basically I see her as an excellent role model. She is very kindly, very quiet, and shy about public speaking, but overcomes this shyness for the greater good.
So if you need some positive inspiration, as I certainly have this past while, do check out her talk here on YouTube:
[Vid: Moral Courage & The 3 Powers / Dharma Talk by Sr Lăng Nghiêm, Oct 11, 2020]
Enjoy! I’m only partway through it; I stopped to write this post.
Also, another newsletter I subscribe to that you may already know or have heard of, is Lion’s Roar, the global Buddhist magazine. Lion’s Roar together with Tibet House US is issuing a series of talks right now called The Dalai Lama: Global Vision Summit, which you can view free online. If you are into world improvement I highly recommend signing up. It started today and the videos remain available for 48 hours. You’ll get a free meditation sample as well as a small free e-booklet based on the Dalai Lama’s teachings. I know I sound a bit infomercially here, but it’s all free and I am not affiliated, so nothing to gain other than the hope of furthering world peace.
Here it is; too good not to share:
I haven’t watched the vids (which started just today) yet myself, due to time constraints mostly, but I did read the free e-book, and a couple of other recent Lion’s Roar articles that were very, very uplifting.
I’ll try to keep this blog updated as to how it goes with my having reverted to non-sustained-sobriety status quo.
My hope is this: Maybe a long (18-month) “wine reset” was all I needed. Maybe I can do this moderation thing.
I will say though that I am already realizing that one more glass of wine doesn’t make the first glass of wine better. In other words, I’ve been happier on the evenings that I’ve had one glass of wine only, rather than two, or gods forbid, three. And I’ll also say that on one evening when I had three, I was not really happier at all, than I was before I’d started. Quite the opposite.
So, long story short, we don’t need wine to make us happy.
But connecting with immediate beloved family and friends, *if* it can be done with zero to moderate alcohol intake, is rewarding. But we already knew that, didn’t we. The question is, can we moderate successfully. If not, the only reasonable solution is to abstain completely.
I’ll see how it goes.
Lots of love
p.s. Just realizing, really… I have felt very disconnected from the Tree. I’m grateful to connect with old friends and family in Canada, but I miss the connections I’d built and made and had been lucky enough to experience while in France. The landscape had become a part of me… but somehow I can’t easily find that part of me, here, yet… The west coast landscape is a completely different animal. It’s much wilder, more somber, untamed, raw, original-feeling, and yet altogether *less* free, somehow… the latter is partly due to increasing Covid constrictions, though, of course. And though we are still relatively rural, there are more people in this area than where we were before in France. There is a bit less privacy, less quiet, more thought-noise. I am attempting to regain healthier coping strategies.
Thanks so much for reading. Hope you are well.