All posts tagged: Alcohol

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How I Avoid Gossip in a Small Town

I hate to admit it, but I love gossip. It’s fun, it’s easy, and as I am a naturally nosy person, completely satisfying. But as with drive-thru French fries, some delicious habits simply are not good for you. Despite my love for it, I’ve had to reduce my indulgence. I live in a small wine country town, and, as you can imagine, we socialize at lots of wine and food events. In this kind of atmosphere, it’s a real challenge to avoid talking about each other. Wine-fueled + small-town = the perfect storm for gossip. A quick definition: Gossip is social talk that judges someone when they’re not there to defend themselves. It’s usually personal, sensational, or far too intimate. Often, gossip is mean-spirited. An easy test for me to decide whether or not something is gossip is by asking myself the question, “Is this something I want the subject to hear?” If the answer is no, well, it’s gossip. Avoiding gossip is tough because we humans are hard-wired to share information about each other …

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My Rock Bottom Came in a Pretty Dress and Heels

God bless the busted boat that brings us back.” — Jason Isbell, “New South Wales” Here’s what you should know about this do-over: Everything and nothing changed. In my 30s, I had everything I ever thought I wanted. I was a travel editor, catching planes and writing stories about the next great city or restaurant or artisanal cocktail. I had this fancy job, which I’d worked my entire life for, and a family and a home. But while I tweeted images of beach views and carefully plated food, I was also drinking a bottle or more of wine a night. Sometimes I passed out. Sometimes I couldn’t remember things, and I often had unexplainable bruises. By day, dressed in a pink shift dress and gold heels, I gave talks about nimble new media strategies. By night – it was another story. I drank to deal with my anxiety. I drank to deal with my physical limitations. I drank to deal with never “being enough.” I drank to slow my brain when I was enough. I …

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The Self-Medicated Woman

I’ve learned to love my Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). I’ve also learned to accept and even love the legal drugs I use to manage it: caffeine, nicotine and alcohol. As many of you reading these words today amid your 500 other to-dos know, ADHD is blessing and a curse. My morning preamble to sitting down to this article was marked by a frenzied dance through a series of tasks I felt compelled to undertake no matter how inane, including chopping beeswax to make “cutting board butter” (thanks a lot, internet), muscling the sludge off of the side of a bottle of liquid soap (it builds up!), a step in the long process of making homemade apple jack (America’s first legal drug), repairing a broken window (it’s cold out there) and, oh yeah, getting my son out the door and to the bus on time. All before the sun had barely crested the treetops. At times, I feel ridiculous, but after a half-century of flitting from task to task, I’ve come to trust the process …

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The Drug Talk I Never Needed to Have

I’ve never had the drug talk with my twelve and fifteen year old daughters because I’ve never felt like I had to. So many people in our lives have died from alcohol and drug addiction that discussing the point seems moot. Death has been talking loud and clear. My daughters’ first life and death lesson with addiction came when they were eight and eleven. I was picking up the youngest, Dev, from an after school activity one early fall afternoon. A bunch of us parents were waiting in the school parking lot for the kids to be dismissed, when a young girl ran up to me. “Excuse me, Dezi’s mom,” she said, tears about to spill out of her eyes. “My dad drove me here to pick up my brother, but he was driving weird.” Her dad was drunk, she said, and she didn’t want her or her brother to have to get back in the car with him. Stacy was a sixth grader like my daughter, Dezi. Her brother and my youngest daughter were …

Do Not Disturb (My Recovery)

It’s been six months since I last wrote a post for Bottles Down. I didn’t make a conscious plan to take a break. I didn’t stop because I feared I had revealed information too personal (that ship sailed back in 2011) or because I was bothered by the attention I received. In fact, I felt the exact opposite — the feedback I got was nothing short of astounding; never in my life had I felt such a consistent wash of concern, encouragement and hope as a result of something that I wrote. And even the criticisms were valuable — it’s important for me to be reminded that I can follow my heart and take risks, and that I won’t shatter if someone disagrees with me. Despite all of those positives, however, new ideas for this column would not come. Weeks passed, I had nothing. I attributed my dry well to severe writer’s block, something I’m STILL struggling with today (if I’m honest, even writing this post is painstaking). I’d never really understood the concept of …

What Makes Nuns So Happy?

Spending an inordinate amount of time with Catholic nuns makes you start to worry about your own vices. Nuns take vows of poverty, chastity and obedience to the church and to God, but beyond those, they also live relatively vice-free lives. It isn’t too often that you seen a nun puffing away on a cigarette, sitting at the slots in Atlantic City or doing the things that priests do that so often land them in headlines for the wrong reasons. All in all, Catholic nuns are a pretty chaste bunch. (Though I have known them to occasionally indulge in a glass of good red wine.) I was a different woman when I spent three years researching and writing my latest book, If Nuns Ruled the World. As a successful celebrity journalist, I’d written a critically acclaimed book about the dirty secrets of how famous people make money. (Talk about vices.) Still in my 20s, I was on the cusp of actual adulthood, but still indulging in the pleasures of youth that New York City offers: …

Scented Secrets: How I Used Perfume to Cover Up My Drinking

As a freelance beauty writer, I’ve written a ton of perfume reviews over the years. Except, if you look at my portfolio, you’ll see that….well… really I haven’t. Sure, I’ve written my fair share, and I’m especially proud of this post, but on the whole, I only have a handful of perfume pieces to my name. And I certainly wasn’t cranking these stories out during the summer of 2011, when I claimed I was constantly “researching” new scents in my bedroom. What I was really doing? Spritzing here and spritzing there to cover up the smell of booze. As most of you probably know, perfume contains alcohol. Thankfully, I never got to the point where I actually ingested it to get high, however I did use the cosmetic to aid in my alcoholism, which in a way is sort of the same thing. Perfume allowed me to hide my “pre-game” activities. Hours before my husband and I would leave for a party or dinner, I’d retreat to the bedroom and tell him I was testing …