EXCERPTS

BLUSH: WOMEN & WINE

"I have begun to look with an honest eye at my own motives for drinking wine. It comes down to two basic reasons, which are in stark contrast to one another. One is to celebrate. The other is to check out. I've done plenty of both. Now it is time to discern one from the other so as to live more fully present to my life, including that which I would rather avoid."

"There is something called the terroir of wine. It refers to the makeup or geology of the soil in which the grapes are grown, and how it impacts the taste of the wine made from those grapes. I wanted to understand the terroir of my wine drinking habit...What makes up the ground in which my mis-use of wine grows?" 

"Early in the process of writing this, I was driving to an appointment, mulling yet again over the question, 'Will other women really relate to this topic?' Women who aren't living with the disease of alcoholism, but have a relationship, specifically with wine, that has the potential to quietly creep in, and have a negative impact on her health and well-being. Tired of pondering the question, I decided to tune out for a few minutes by tuning into my favorite program on KOPB, our public radio station, just in time to hear the following statistic: Women purchase 70% of the 800 million gallons of wine sold each year [1] And there you have it. Ask and you shall receive."  [1] Host:Robin Young. “New Thinking On Women and Alcohol.” Here And Now. January 20, 2014.

"Tracing the thread of my wine drinking habit, I can see that it is firmly planted in the notion of home and family. The idiom 'home is where the heart is' strikes a chord. If my wine had a name, the label on the bottle would say 'Home'.

"There is a cleansing that take place when we grieve with our whole hearts. By moving through it, rather than hiding from it, we come out the other side made more whole through our willingness to be broken."

"The sorrow I seek to avoid by drinking wine seems connected to the loss of my song, some aspect of my self. Whether it is my voice or my passions, by beliefs or my time, my body or my values, any time I give up a bit of my self, sorrow follows, and a glass of wine starts to sound really good. Two? Even better."

"When the song is ours, the ground upon which we stand is always holy, because our song isn't a performance. It is an offering."

"We hide our wine in plain sight, drinking from lovely glasses for all to see. It helps us look the part, even if inside we are falling apart because we can't meet all of those expectations, and have lost sight of our own lives."

"To fall in love with ourselves in our unique one-of-a-kind perfect imperfection is about as thirst quenching as it gets. Wine doesn't even come close."

"No matter how you romanticize it, it's hard to live in the Mother-hood. Guilt and shame are close neighbors, always peering through our inner windows."

"Raise your hand if you've ever left work, looking forward to nothing more than that first sip of wine; to the relaxation that happens as the knots in your stomach begin to relax, the anxiety that begins to ease, the frustration that drops down a notch, the resentment that gets sent to bed early without supper, the fear of failure that momentarily fades away, and the stress that with each mouthful becomes a little less stressful."

"Wine is a way to distance ourselves from the heart-stopping fear of not being enough, of not being worthy of more."

"Extending grace in any direction can be difficult. Offering it to ourselves, perhaps the furthest reach of all. When it comes to this wine thing, for me, grace has been required."

"Underneath the urge to care for others before ourselves seems to lay a fundamental question: Do we even see ourselves of deserving of love and self-care? Or, are we trying to earn the right to feel worthy?"

"It was a two-year process of unwrapping my relationship with wine. Where did it start? Why did it continue? What thirst was I trying to quench with it? What sent me looking for a(nother) glass of it? What did I lose because of it?  Every answer pointed in the same direction. Home."