July 20: Wine is a lifestyle drink that is good for health in many ways provided it is consumed in moderation and who can tell it better than Samantha Kaylee, our young, educated and well-to-do American guest writer who took her wine tastings a bit too far and was unwittingly ensnared by the tentacles of alcoholism but fortunately pulled herself out of addiction because of her will power, by engaging in various exercises and Yoga and is now back in control of herself with moderate wine consumption
I would like to start by reminding myself how it all happened in the first place. As a person well over the drinking age and living in an urban settlement throughout my entire life, you can bet I am privileged- enough to have graduated from a good college with a master's degree to boot. Enjoying all the luxuries, I never worried about insecurities- I didn't have any. Occasionally grabbing a bottle of exquisite Italian white wine didn't hurt my finances much.
I was very social, and digital technologies supported my extrovert lifestyle. Then the day arrived when I met a guy at my office and things started to get topsy-turvy. We both worked at Dissertation Assistance where I was working as an application developer and he was a sales executive.
We used to occasionally drink wine at local wine tasting events. Soon it became a routine rather than a casual outing or drinking on festive events. Sadly, I became addicted to alcohol like many young people; according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 14.4 million adults in the US had AUD (Alcohol Use Disorder) in 2018, including 37% women, and I felt I was one of them. Unfortunately, I didn't realize that my interactions with this guy after office hours would lead to an addiction that would potentially ruin my life and career.
Warning Signs I Missed
There were several warning signs that I presumably missed- for instance, when occasional outings, including local wine tastings evolved into sharing the sufficient wine stock available at my residence. This was followed by the time when a couple of glasses every night soon became a binge event after dinner.
As a well-to-do woman, I had neither any shortage of funds nor lack of resources to buy wine as an obligatory item at the start of every month. Approachable Merlots, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Pinot Noir soon became a staple at my home. Before I knew it, things were starting to show up during my office hours as well. Like when I smuggled a couple of ounces in a cough syrup bottle to work just to get a shot before lunch break!
But things started going further downhill from there. I would get these cravings out of nowhere, and my head would ache in the morning due to late-night binge drinking sessions with friends. The worst was when I vomited all over a report I was working on and it caught my supervisor's attention. My performance was already dwindling, I was behind deadlines by a mile, and the universe was trying to tell me to get my act together.
COVID-19 Outbreak 2020
Then came 2020 which brought the deadly news. Coronavirus was in the air and by mid March, schools, and offices began to shut down. This lockdown also affected a lot of stores though liquor stores remained largely open throughout the ordeal. However, visiting local stores became a scuffling activity in some places as wine stores were asked to limit people's entry to stop the spread of the virus.
Many customers were also requested to wear protective masks inside the store. With so many people working from home, a lot of the crowd would show up and absolutely wreck the place even during daytime. While wine stores had their problems, the Covid-19 did a couple of jobs on me too.
People had started observing my behavior towards them, and many already identified me with a drinking problem. So even when I managed to sneak out to buy some wine or have it delivered at my doorstep, I felt the creepiness of my neighbors watching and nodding their heads in dismay.
Cravings & Yearnings
Perhaps I was wrong, or perhaps the world was becoming too sensitive for me to exist. But I decided to test out my theory and see if I was truly an addict. I tried to stop once or twice but failed miserably.
Setting a limit definitely didn't work since I found it absurd, to begin with. Then slowly and gradually, the shame and guilt of knowing that I was an addict and yet denying it at the same time, started to take hold of me.
It was just too much of a realization for me, and guess what, after an hour of sad sirens and wailing at my new discovery, I immediately went for a binge drinking session and went out cold. I woke early in the morning the next day, flat on my dining room floor, the place in a mess, some shattered glass pieces, with no wine or wine bottle in sight!
Yes, this was my first incident of alcohol poisoning, which is a medical emergency. According to a report by the CDC, an average of 6 people die due to alcohol poisoning every day in the US and resulting in nearly 2,200 fatalities every year. Most people dying of alcohol poisoning are men, but 24% are women, mostly my age.
I knew I needed help, and this is when I started to take my concern about wine seriously. A sudden withdrawal meant uncomfortable physical symptoms. To get my priorities straight, I built a chart for myself that still hangs inside my closet. It read in big letters "1.5 ounces of Liquor, 5 ounces (150 mL-editor) of wine or 12 ounces of beer! That's the Safety Line".
Then came my week-end goals, where limitations to one standard drink were put into place. However, the number one rule to never consume a drink on an empty stomach was the most challenging one. All I used to do in the mornings was to reach out for a glass without even thinking. And here I was- fighting against my impulses.
Lastly, I had to curb my drinking patterns when I was alone, and when there wasn't any occasion to celebrate in the first place. I also turned my attention to coffee as an alternative, and while it seemed to work out fine at first, it soon lost its effect on me.
That is when I invested in a spinning machine, this indoor cycling was the form of exercises I needed to visualize myself for 45 minutes straight, running away from my troubles.
The Breakthrough I Needed
After several weeks of hard work and constantly fighting to achieve my milestones, chances for recovery seemed possible. The most prominent effect was my skin. I never knew that my wine addiction was causing me to age drastically. A dull face staring back at me whenever I looked in the mirror. Dehydrated, saggy skin, and inflammatory spots here and there, is what defined my face.
However, this was all changing to my delight now. Every day my eyes became clearer, I was putting the sweat out on my workout clothes and while spinning sessions were not on a daily basis, I carried out other exercises where I could go through some weight-training routines I found online.
I also went out for jogging around the block for 30 to 60 minutes every other day when I had the time. But what mostly got me centered and focused was an online Yoga class for which I registered. It made me calmer about myself, and thoughts of deprivation were slowly eroding away from my mind.
All of this and my workload from office were enough to keep me preoccupied, and slowly and gradually, I found myself reaching out for the shelf less every day. My sleep got better, for which I literally applauded myself.
With life making more sense around me and motivational levels soaring high, I decided to take a fresh start. I had already received several calls from the editorial staff at Crowd Writer. Their company mainly dealt in offering academic services to students seeking higher education.
They had seen my skills and talent in action and were considering making me an offer. I sensed my reputation at my previous office was tarnished and going back might trigger undesirable responses. It was a tough time, and I had to make a tough decision. Fortunately, everything worked out well. My stars were probably telling me about moderation. For men, two drinks and for women one drink per day is fine.
However, I believe I was a victim due to lack of awareness regarding how abuse of alcohol and in my case wine, could play a detrimental role in not only my mental and physical health but also cut me out from social gatherings.
Please hear me when I say: if you cannot control your actions and are consuming wine without proper research, it is better that you stop now as no asset is bigger than your physical well-being.
Time passes by, money comes and goes, but damages to your body are not easily recovered. So please beware and never treat consuming wine or any other alcohol lightly. Stay informed as nothing is as important as your health.
Samantha Kaylee now works as a Planning Manager at Crowd Writer. Her experience includes many published articles regarding Tech, travel and personal stories, using the skills learned while completing her Bachelor’s Degree. She has been writing articles for the last couple of years. During her free time, she likes to indulge herself in creating wall art