Here's what I wrote in Downside of Anger
"Red comes down the stairs with a scowl on his face. He grits his teeth and starts being ugly to everyone. I'm cooking dinner. I have no wine...I'm trying not to drink vodka martinis during the week. There's a bottle of champagne in the fridge. I have to make due with a glass of that."
So my thought this morning was...people may think I'm an alcoholic. If you have a drink to take the edge off of your nerves when your children are being obnoxious and stressing you out...does that make you an alcoholic? If you only have one drink but you feel the need for it does that make you an alcoholic?
Well, the truth is I have a few vices. Am I alone in this? I don't think so. I can choose on any given day or night what my vice will be? Will cookies be my self-medication? Will it be piece of lemon-pie? Maybe a brownie or two -but not more than two. Will it be a glass of wine? Or a Z-Tejas margarita? We can't forget the shrimp tostada bites to go with it. Oh -I got it! I'll go shopping. A good bargain found at TJMaxx is excellent stress relief.
When there is time available I go to Zumba class (Latin dance exercise). Yoga is another great way to release stress. Deep cleansing breaths, stretching and meditation is a great way to clear your mind and forget your worries. The latest thing I've been doing is going to art lessons. I paint -mostly abstract. I just play with color on canvas. It's a divine hour of peace.
These healthy stress relievers are not always readily available. When children are fighting I can't always run out the door to go to Yoga. In the middle of homework and cooking dinner -I can't break out and start painting. Half the time I miss Zumba because Red makes me late, and if you don't get there early -there are no spots left.
People in my family drink. We love good food and a good cocktail. We love a good party and we give plenty of them. When I was a teenager, I used to call my mother an alcoholic because she drank almost daily. I never saw her drunk. She functioned well. We went to church 3 days a week (in hindsight -maybe that's why she drank on the off days.) She took damn good care of us by herself. We never had a hungry day. We had nice clothes on our backs and a roof over our head.
As much as we try not to turn into our parents...somehow we do. At the same time, I try to have, and subsequently give to my own children a little more than I received as a child. Where my mother drank several glasses of wine daily --I have one (o.k. maybe two). Where my parents broke up and I had a single mother --I have remained married to my spouse through good times and the not so good. I want them to have both of their parents involved in their daily lives. We've been married 17 years and counting.
I exercise as often as I can. Whereas I watched my mother and my grandmother battle with being overweight there entire lives. I refuse to go there --or at least all the way there. O.K so I'm not the size 6 that I was before I had babies, but I'm holding steady at a size 10.
I probably get the active gene from my dad. He was and is still very active. He's 82 years-old. He walks daily and he doesn't miss a jazz concert at the Hollywood Bowl or anywhere in L.A. for that matter. He too was a drinker --or I should say a partier, until he was diagnosed with diabetes. Then he cut back to the occasional beer.
The bottom line I guess is that we all have stress. And we find ways to deal with it and to minimize it since we can't totally eliminate it. There are good ways, there are not so good ways. I do what I can do given the resources I have available in the moment. If it happens to be a Yoga class --Namaste. If it happens to be a martini --cheers!
BTW...doesn't the martini above look yummy?! I think I'll have one now!
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