I’m taking a wine break.

Not like a coffee break, where you stop and sip.

I mean a break from wine, not for wine.

No wine.

For days.

Consecutive days.

That’s the plan. The reasons are many and cliché, but mostly boil down to one — I kind of feel like crap.

It’s really hard, this wine break. Harder than it should be for someone presumably lacking a ‘drinking problem.’ It has affected my thought process — hijacked my thought, to be precise. Now, instead of ruminating on any number of subjects — family, books, politics, dinner, the fantasy garden that I plan and never plant — I think about wine.

Constantly.

Should I have a glass tonight? Red or white? How much? What time should this happen? How early could this happen? What lovely meal could I concoct to go with this wine? Is this a problem? How many days has it been? How many should it be? Round and round, all day, until evening when I have decided, for almost two weeks now, not to have the damned wine.

I’m sure, if you’re reading this, you’re thinking, “This woman has a problem.” You’re wrong. (Now you’re thinking, “Classic addict response.” You’re still wrong.)

Perhaps there are more of those little ‘aha’ moments dancing about the half-century mark of a life, the middle that starts to whisper stories about the end.

I have been drinking a glass (or two) with my dinner for years now and am a fairly functional member of society. I’m active (somewhat), healthy (basically) and happy (mostly) with a big family and good friends and I reject the notion that some drinking jeopardizes any of it. The French do it, and we’ve all read how slim, lovely and happy the French are — they write books about it, for Christ’s sake (he drank wine with dinner, too, they say).

But even the French must have their moments. You know, those little aha moments when the mind can’t ignore the body’s messages quite so easily anymore. Perhaps it’s insomnia or heartburn — aching joints or spinning rooms. Perhaps there are more of those moments dancing about the half-century mark of a life, the middle that starts to whisper stories about the end.

The chapter when you think more about health and death, teeth and madness — perhaps this is when you ponder the wine break. Of course, this is also the time when you need a goblet full of tar and roses more than any other.

Therein lies the rub — the earthy, earthly thing that nourishes the soul and quenches the fires of the psyche could also be fuel to the fires of the gut, the knees, and the sleepless nights.

So, tonight I’ll pose the same tired question to myself.

Should I continue the sad forced march of the ‘break’?

Or shall I pour a little liquid courage, a glass of floral sustenance, a tumbler of divine happiness?

Can I please have my wine?

Lisa Renee is a poet and essayist living near a big lake in New York. You can find her writing on Medium, and in Exposition Review, HuffPost Australia, Linden Avenue Literary Journal, and Eastern Iowa Review. She is also managing editor of nonfiction at daCunha. 

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