E160 Too Much. Too Often. A Tale of Midlife Drinking with Linda Walker

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This is not an episode telling you to quit drinking.

This is the story of a woman in her 50s who decided she needed to quit drinking.

We discuss her reasons, her fears, her history, how she went about it and how it has turned out one year later. I see this as being as big of a life change as starting a new career or moving to a new city because becoming a non-drinker demands that you create new habits every day.

A reluctant midlife pivot

At 57, Linda Walker began a pivot that she’d been reluctantly considering for more than 10 years – to quit drinking. Just the idea of considering such a thought was terrifying to her.

Here is the most interesting fact of her pivot: Linda was not an alcoholic. She was not a chronically sloppy binge drinker. So why did she quit drinking? Because she knew that she could be headed for trouble down the road.

After a traumatic divorce ten years earlier, her drinking had increased. Her new husband was pointing out her heavy drinking, the hangovers were far too frequent, and drinking was a daily habit that she looked forward to a bit too much. Linda really enjoyed drinking, being a drinker, hanging out with drinkers, and it was a very large part of her very identity. Who would she be, if not the fun drinker?

By our 50s, we have been drinking for 30+ years and for most of us, drinking is simply part of life. A bottle of wine over dinner, vodka tonics while making dinner, beer at a concert, we all have our rituals that include alcohol. But it can all catch up with us and before we know it we are in trouble. You can do a lot of naughty things for 30 years before trouble sets in, drinking too much is just one of those things.

Linda has blogged about her own story at Little AF Buddha and invites you to read about her experience.

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