My Not So Secret Diary

Non-Alcoholic Wine

Non-Alcoholic Wine
After a Christmas parkrun with two of my lovely kiddies.

I had a great gaping hole in my life when I first stopped drinking, Part of that was the extra time and the chaotic mind I’d acquired but I also was used to having a glass in my hand for a large part of the evening. I’m a creature of habit and wanting to fix things as quickly as I could, I decided alcohol free wine would be a good replacement. I know there are very mixed feelings about this, it seems to be really good for some people, and a painful reminder for others. Bearing in mind I’d been drinking for a good few years, it was strange not to have a wine glass in my hand, other glasses didn’t cut it for me in the evening and a mug was certainly not okay. I had a friend in recovery that actually resorted to drinking milk in a wine glass for similar reasons.

Many people crave sugar when they stop drinking, it seems that both alcohol and sugar boost dopamine in our body, this gives us a feeling of pleasure. Obviously when we don’t get this from alcohol (and many drinkers are getting it in large quantities) we look elsewhere for it. Cutting alcohol and sugar from your lifestyle might be a contributing factor into why many drinkers lose weight when they stop drinking. For me it was the other way round, I put on quite a lot of weight because I started eating properly again.

I did crave sugar though, biscuits with my tea where my greatest weakness, as was chocolate in the evening. But none of it hit the same spot as a nice cold glass of wine. That was where the non-alcoholic wine came in. I spent many an hour googling how much alcohol was in these bottles that said they had the alcohol removed. I was pleased to find out that they were ‘safe’ and actually had health benefits! It seemed too good to be true. It wasn’t the same, but at least I could have it in the house. To start with it was fine, and to be honest, I drank it for a good year before the same panicky feelings started to come back. I had to make sure that there was some in the house at all times, especially on Sundays when the shops shut earlier. It began to remind me more and more of drinking real wine.

Then I had a melt down in our local supermarket. I’d been shopping with my biggest and littlest boys. I had a normal amount of shopping and in it was a couple of bottles of non-alcoholic wine. I was scanning it as normal when the baby started to cry and so I turned to him to check he was okay. My other lovely son carried on scanning… when I came to pay I was asked for ID. I gave it, and then my son was asked. The cashier was so rude, and told me that she needed Joe’s as he had ‘handled’ the alcohol. I told her 1) it was alcohol free and 2) it was mine, and may have said something like, “Look in the trolley, you can see it’s all mine. He isn’t partying with a box of cereal and toilet rolls is he?” I told her that I was paying, but had been distracted and was just comforting my baby and she accused me of lying, saying he hadn’t been crying at all. That escalated the situation somewhat to me in tears, reporting said cashier to her supervisor who upon being made aware of the situation apologised profusely and offered me the bottles anyway.

At this point I was so over it, I felt vulnerable, frustrated and stupid. I knew I was possibly over-reacting, but the challenge didn’t help me, as I was still just trying to get by, and at that point, it felt like they had cut off my life line, by refusing me my non-alcoholic wine. It just showed how confusing my relationship with wine was. It made me resentful of buying something like that and being put in that situation. I refused it then, and left, I wished I’d left the rest of the shopping too, I was that angry. And because I was so angry, even though that was our local supermarket, we didn’t use the shop in over a year and half. I refused, and my husband supported me. I know the cashier wouldn’t have given it a second thought, but having someone accuse me of lying hit a sensitive spot.

It was at this point I realised that the alcohol removed wine would have to go to. It had done it’s job, and it was time. I have about four bottles in the house, but haven’t drunk any in months. I even wondered whether to have a glass over Christmas and New Year, as I am of course ‘allowed’ to, but it’s strange, for the first time, it would seem like a real step backwards for me. Even using a wine glass would, and that was something that felt like an extension of my hand for a long time. So things change, and I guess, I am changing too.

Thanks for reading!