There's one thing that bothers me about this whole alcohol dependency thing.
And yes, the obvious answer is "why not me?" Why should I be so special that I shouldn't stub my toe on a few of life's stumbling blocks....but I am fixated on "where did my Wine Bitchery come from?"
The debate (mostly in my head) goes like this :
Why am I an alcoholic? There aren't any other alcoholics in the family....that I know of ! Am I the token drunk? Does every family get one? If so, why is it me? Why not Auntie Beryl?
I really struggle with the whole "Alcoholism is Genetic" stance, because like every other "nature v nurture" debate, it raises far more questions than it answers. And for every piece of research that links alcoholism to genetic make-up, there is another study that will de-bunk the theory.
So here's my Theory.
My theory is that for me, and for many other women of my generation, drinking is normal. It's perfectly normal to pour a chilled glass of wine the minute we walk through the door in the evening, it's normal to drink wine in the afternoon with friends, it's normal to drink alone in the evening while watching the TV, when you go to your Book Club evenings, when you meet a friend after work, when you get together with other mums at a play date. It's NORMAL !!
But when did it GET normal? When was the Tipping Point?
A generation ago, it wasn't normal. My grandmother only drank a small sherry at Christmas, or at a very special celebration. My mother very rarely drank anything, until the last couple of decades, when she did take a liking to wine, and now it's perfectly normal for her to have a glass or two in the evenings. But she NEVER drinks alone, and NEVER in the afternoon.
So how did we get here?
I did some research. (I googled).
Turns out that until the 1960's, wine was considered ( In America, and by association, I include Canada and the UK) to be the drink of lowlifes. "Winos". (Or the French). It wasn't considered to be sophisticated, and as "ladies" did not drink hard liquor, or beer, there really wasn't an alcoholic beverage that was a normal option for a girl to drink!
All this changed in 1962.
The young glamorous bride of John Kennedy was disrupting the stuffy atmosphere of the White House and imprinting her own elegant style, not only on that iconic symbol of American pride, but also on the psyche of the American public, particularly the American Housewife who was trying to emulate Jackie's style and panache - her clothes, her make-up, her shoes..........and her household.
Jackie Kennedy hosted a televised tour of the White House, and during the walk through, the cameras panned round her dining table, set with beautiful cutlery and china.....and crystal wine glasses...
It was at that moment (according to Google) that WINE became fashionable. Finally a Drink for the Ladies!!
Of course it took another decade or so, and some inspired marketing for us to get here....certainly in the UK we suffered through German Liebfraumilch, Blue Nun, and Black Tower, before we grudgingly conceded that the French were good at something, and then, of course came the fruity upstarts from California.
All of that change coincided with some bra burning and Gloria Steinem, and voila - we can drink the lads under the table! Hurrah for us and our Normal Drinking!
We need another Tipping Point.
We need the elegance and style of Jackie Kennedy Onassis to disrupt the status quo again.
We need "Sober" to be fashionable.
We need Sobriety to be the new normal.
P.S. I have no hard feelings towards Jackie Kennedy. In fact, I was named after her. As well as no other drunkard women in my family, there are no other "Jacquelines". Apparently my mother loved Jackie's style and her name, so I got it. The name, sadly not the style.