I thought it was important to write about an issue that is oftentimes brushed under the rug, but extremely important, especially during divorce. I’m talking about drinking wine every night to soothe anxiety about divorce and just relax. I’m not judging because I did it.
When I was first separated, I began drinking wine a lot. Every time my kids were with their dad, I would break open a bottle and have a glass. One glass turned into two sometimes. Sometimes even three. More and more often, I began drinking 3 or 4 instead of one.
I was drinking wine with friends and I was also drinking wine by myself. If I was by myself, I would drink until I felt buzzed, and then I would call my friends to talk about my divorce or I would just cry and fall asleep. I also started going out to bars with friends every chance I got, and looked forward to drinking wine. It just took the edge off and made me temporarily forget my problems.
This went on for a couple months until something really huge happened that made me realize drinking wine every night was getting out of control. I got pulled over by a cop after having a couple drinks. Thank God he let me go. I will never know if I would have passed the breathalyzer but since that time, I have never, ever drank more than one drink and drove.
I can’t even imagine where I would be today if I would have gotten a DUI (or even worse, gotten into a car accident) during a time when I was formulating my parenting agreement in the courts. I could have lost custody of my kids.
When someone is getting divorced, alcohol is a common go-to to soothe pain, anxiety and other emotions that come with the situation. While very understandable and even OK to have a drink now and again to take the edge off, escape, forget about your problems temporarily, and not feel that raw pain for a few hours, drinking regularly can easily turn into an addiction. It is much more common than you might think.
Everyone has coping mechanisms for things that happen to them in life. There are good coping mechanisms and bad coping mechanisms. Good ones include:
2. Calling friends and family to talk
4. Yoga, meditation and other exercise
5. Diving into a passion—a hobby, volunteer work, your job
7. Writing/journaling (which was mine during and after the drinking phase)
The bad ones can include:
1. Jumping into a serious romantic relationship and/or second marriage
2. Having sex with multiple partners
5. Compulsive eating/bingeing
The thing is, I can’t count the number of women I know who have a glass of wine every night around 5 or 6pm, maybe while preparing dinner or having dinner. Putting aside the fact that I don’t think people should drink around their children repeatedly and/or excessively, drinking every day is both physically and emotionally harmful to your health.
We have all read studies showing that one glass of red wine a night is actually good for your health, but let’s be honest, there are many people who can stop at one glass if they are drinking wine every night.
I’m not here to judge anyone for excessive drinking, only to help. I understand how stressful it is to go through a divorce, so if you need some wine on some rough nights, by all means, enjoy a glass or two. Also, what happens is, when people get separated, they start to socialize a lot and go on dates, both which involves drinking. So, that might cause someone to drink more than they did in their old lifestyle.
But only you know if you are becoming addicted or if you are abusing alcohol. And sometimes, people know, but don’t want to face it, so they convince themselves (and others) that there is no issue, that they “are fine.”
So, if you think your nightly glasses of wine are becoming an issue for you, in other words, you can’t stop at one glass or you feel you need it every night, you owe it to yourself and your children to get help by finding out if you need help.
Talk to a therapist or make a phone call to an addiction center and go to a meeting to find out if you have a problem. You might not. But, you might. Going to a meeting will give you your answer.
I have a friend who went to an AA meeting with his daughter to offer support. While he was at the meeting, he realized he was an alcoholic, too, and he hasn’t had a drink in over 20 years.
The bottom line is, like most women, I enjoy drinking wine immensely. But, I don’t drink every day and I stop after one or two glasses. Ask yourself if you can say the same. Also, remember that if you are getting divorced, you are not the same person you were. You are temporarily under a lot of stress and could thereby be susceptible to alcohol and other addictions.
Remember that as a newly separated or newly divorced person, you aren’t you. No one is.
You can become someone you barely recognize, someone who acts crazy, who is insecure, who is mean, who is a total mess. The good thing is, that person is only here temporarily. He or she eventually leaves and you go back to being your real self.
The problem with alcohol is, if you become addicted, that doesn’t leave. You are then left with a drinking problem, even after the dust of your divorce has settled. No one wants or needs that.
Like this article? Check out my article: “Newly Separated? Don’t Do Anything Stupid.”
Thank you for writing this. Even a guy can benefit! We all struggle but it’s nice to know that we aren’t alone…
Drinking alcohol every nite is not good for your health
Drinking alcohol occasionally or 1 to 2 days a week is better
Using alcohol as a coping mechanism is not good. Yes you mentioned other healthy coping mechanisms.
It is understandable that drinking more alcohol, smoking pot or taking drugs during or after a divorce is common and one should not judge others. You were very lucky that you did not get a DUI.But getting one is not the end of the world.
Good article about finding other ways to help yourself during the difficult time of pre divorce and post divorce.