I mentioned a few weeks ago that Al and I did a month-long booze detox, which also included elements of abstention from other temptations, including candy (for Al) and fried food/dessert/cheese (for me). I loosened up the cheese prohibition at the end because, come on, what am I, Ghandi? But I’ve stayed away from the rest, except for a few bites of an incredible mint chocolate chip Magnum ice cream bar that Al bought after a particularly taxing hike we did on Saturday – but that’s another story. Anyway, we ended the Great Detox last Wednesday and the results have been really interesting.
On Wednesday, after four full weeks of not letting one single drop of booze pass our lips, we decided to open a bottle of 2010 Catherine Marshall Pinot Noir, a gift from our friend Ali. We paired our oh-so classy wine with salmon steaks, quinoa beet pilaf, and Super Troopers, which my husband had somehow never seen (!!??!!), a situation which obviously needed immediate remedying. As we drank the wine, we ooh-ed and aah-ed about how delicious it was and how we had missed drinking, and so on. “Oh, wine,” we cooed, stroking the bottle, “we missed you so much. We’ll never leave you again, we promise.” Okay, we didn’t actually say that out loud, but we thought it.
And then, the next morning, I woke up and felt awwwwful: hungover, sick, tired, the works. “Damn you, wine,” I snarled, glaring at the empty bottle through slitted eyes. “A curse upon your house!!!” Okay, I didn’t say that, either. And I realize that cursing a wine bottle’s house doesn’t make sense. But I was upset!
The next day was a holiday (“Human Rights Day”) and we attended a long-scheduled celebratory lunch with Al’s boss and colleagues to mark the end of a challenging project at work. Champagne was popped, and the waiter refilled everyone’s glasses several times. And, again, to my surprise, I felt like total crap after drinking. My energy was sapped, I was vaguely nauseated, and I regretted drinking any bubbly at all. This was sad for me, because I used to love a good day drink. But I was starting to realize that things might have changed for me.
Continuing my experiment, the next night, we went to dinner with a friend and then to Cirque du Soleil. I had two glasses of red wine and felt okay the next day. On Saturday night, we went to a comedy show and I had one glass of red wine, and I felt perfectly fine the next day. Are you starting to see a pattern here? Let me spell it out for you: when I drink less, I feel better.
This was a revelation.
Al and I concluded that our month of sobriety had essentially reset our livers, such that now we can tolerate much less booze than before — and this is probably a good thing. I don’t know why this never occurred to me before, but I think one to two glasses of wine for a night out is probably enough for me. Who’d’a thunk?? I guess li’l Stephanie is growing up. Don’t get me wrong, Al and I will never be teetotalers – we love and appreciate wine too much – but I think from now on we’ll be consuming booze less frequently and in smaller amounts — and savoring it.
So, we’ll see what happens. But for now, in the spirit of appreciating alcohol, please enjoy this clip from Father Ted, our favorite priest-focused Irish comedy, about when Father Jack goes to AA by mistake.