You may be wondering who highjacked my blog. Who is this Florence speaking of a summer without wine? But alas, it is really me. You see, because Tamoxifen (drug to prevent cancer recurrence) can affect liver functioning, I have to get my liver enzymes checked every 6 months. And on my last check, they were not quite right, so I was advised to take a break from booze. It is not easy, but as much as I love my wine, I love my life a lot more!
Being a voracious reader, the first thing I did was stock up on books written by women who have kicked the wine habit, such as This Naked Mind, by Annie Grace. She asserts that the reason we drink is because our unconscious minds are programmed to believe that wine will make us more sophisticated, make life more fun, and relieve our stress. We are programmed by advertising, social media and society in general to believe these things. Some other fallacies we are programmed to believe are: we drink for the taste; there are health benefits of drinking wine; and that drinking leads to better sex. She then systematically refutes each of these false beliefs, her premise being that if we attack the beliefs of the unconscious mind, we will lose our desire to drink.
Well, it is going to take me some time to convince myself that drinking is no fun, but she certainly has something with the whole brain programming thing, which I became acutely aware of as I headed out to Edmonton to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday with Steve. My mind was definitely programmed to associate vacation time with drinking time, but is it any wonder? From the time I picked up the Air Canada magazine, En Route from the seat pocket in front of me, my mind was bombarded with images of mature, sophisticated women wearing sexy, low cut dresses and savoring a glass of wine; younger, sportier types drinking beer in the great Canadian outdoors; and James-Bond-type men with fancy watches drinking hard liquor on the rocks. I have to give it to them, the alcohol industry sure does know how to make booze look attractive. When I ordered a tin of Pringles from the on-board café (I had to snigger at the term café), I was asked if I would like a glass of wine with that. It was 10:00 in the morning, and it might have been 5:00 somewhere, but certainly not anywhere in Canada! That said, I did notice with envy several of my fellow passengers crack a cold one. And that was just the beginning of my wine envy on that trip.
Picture it: it is a sweltering hot day, and you are walking down Whyte Avenue, the busiest and booziest street in Edmonton. The streets are closed off for a jazz festival, and on every corner you hear different strains of sexy, smouldering jazzy tunes. Colorful, half-clad people are all around you, dancing, drinking and laughing merrily. The air is perfumed with cigarette smoke, weed, and the aroma of street meat cooking. You are hot and thirsty so you pop into one of the many pubs offering an inviting, shady deck. You are passed a drink menu the size of Texas and a much, much smaller food menu, around the size of PEI, in comparison to the drink menu. There are at least fifty types of beer to choose from, and all around you people are quenching their thirst with a cold one. (Oh, and by the way, according to Annie Grace, that is another fallacy, since beer actually de-hydrates you). You ask for an Italian soda and the waitress looks at you as if you have three heads. So you settle for a Diet Coke, although all they have is fountain pop and you despise fountain pop. It takes forever to get your food, which you really wouldn’t mind if you were de-hydrating yourself with a cold beer. Your mind wrestles with the unconscious programmed belief that booze makes life more fun, because God-damn it, those beer-drinking fuckers look like they are having way more fun than you with your watered-down fountain pop!
That said, I truly enjoyed my trip to Edmonton, even without wine. Steve took me on many outdoor adventures, including bike riding the many scenic trails of the river valley, hiking, and exploring beautiful parks and gardens. We hung out in café’s as opposed to pubs and quenched our thirst with Italian sodas rather than beer and wine. While I sometimes miss my beloved wine, I have never felt healthier or more energetic. And so, it continues. I am journaling my experiences and who knows? Maybe this will be fodder for my next book. But meanwhile, keep your eyes open for Soul Steps: 52 Ways to Re-Connect with Spirit, due for release in the fall. Now go and enjoy this very large day!!!!
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