Thursday, September 2, 2010

Pasta Night!

We had our first red-wine-and-pasta-Wednesday in a month last night. It was f-u-n! And delicious. I told my husband that I think the main reason I don't want to give up wine is because it really is so wonderful with meals.

Of course, it's wonderful on sunny patios, too.

And just about everywhere else. ;)

Remember it's extremely important that you still take your two days off a week that first week you come off a cleanse. You also don't want to put more than two drinking days together - and, always, always - watch how many drinks you have.

I had about 3 glasses of wine last night - which was one more than I should have, to be honest. But my husband and I were just having so much fun cooking and eating and talking and listening to music and ... well, there it is.

But I felt my bad judgment this morning. I had a bit of a swollen brain and took an aspirin. If I have 4 glasses of wine, I get an all-out hangover, so I only go that far when it's a party night. And, yes, sometimes there's a 5th glass, but not often. And that's a REAL hangover.

It's funny. In my forties, I'm finally discovering the real cause and effect of alcohol on my system. I feel blessed that it's happening - even though I know you won't get many doctors to agree that it's okay to EVER have more than 3 drinks on any occasion for a woman. And no more than 7 a week altogether. Men can have 14 apparently. (As if getting more attractive as they age wasn't enough of a punch in the gut.)

Although every cleanse finds me actually drinking less and less, I know I still have more wine than the experts think is good for me. A 2004 study published in "Circulation" magazine found that healthy seniors who drank in moderation (1-7 drinks a week) had lower levels of inflammation markers (which are directly tied to cardiovascular disease) than either non-drinkers or those people who drank more than 7 drinks a week. (By the way, a warning to all of us: the worst inflammation markers were found in the heavy drinkers, not the abstainers.)

I'm aware of these risks and I work every cleanse cycle to reduce what I drink. But this plan isn't about listening to every rule set down by the medical establishment. If it was, I would've been forced to quit drinking years ago. This plan is about improving my own situation in a livable, workable way.

I'm a product of my parents - both alcoholics - and my own experience. Let's be honest: I've been able to drink more than most women my age and size all my life. I imagine anyone else with the sort of drinking problem I had is in the same boat. Balking at the idea of 7 drinks a week. But I used to drink a LOT more than that. I used to hide bottles everywhere - in my closet, bed stand, under the kitchen sink. And I would drink, drink, drink, drink all day and night. I know the situation I was in. I know the addiction I was dealing with. I remember - very clearly - the guilt and the fear and the shame and the anger.

I still feel a certain amount of "fear" toward alcohol. Though I think "respect" is a more positive word. I'll probably always feel this way. But I don't begrudge that. I embrace it as a new part of my life. And I know that every cleansing cycle I do get better. And I imagine I'll continue getting "better" my whole life - until, yes, doctor, maybe I'll only be having 7 drinks a week.

If you can break the cycle of dopamine and depression, you can start taking the number of drinks you have down in a way that makes sense for you. Trust yourself. Believe in yourself. Have confidence in yourself. Be vigilant. Be aware of your body and your health. The process of healing is not an immediate one. It is a journey that you'll be on the rest of your life. But it is a journey you'll want to take.

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