Megan Swan On Why Her Wine Habit Prevented Joy: How She Rewrote Her ‘Wine Story’

  • 2022-05-12 12:00:00 By
  • Megan Swan

Our Founder Megan Swan was recently asked to contribute to a series of essays on Motherhood:

My Wine Habit Prevented Joy: How I Rewrote My ‘Wine Story’

Here is an excerpt:

At the age of 39, I decided to quit drinking. For years I relied heavily on wine to wind down, socialize and to connect with people. By 18 I already had a very well-crafted ‘wine story’ that would fuel my high-functioning alcoholism for two decades.

What kept me going for 20 years were the stories I told myself about my drinking, about drinking wine specifically, and about it being totally normal. Some of my wine stories were that cool people drink. Or that people who don’t drink are weird losers that don’t know how to live or have fun. This I absorbed from sitcoms, my parents, friends and magazines.

Wine helps me relax, decompress, deal with whatever is stressing me out, to tune out my problems and have a little fun! Wine makes me sexy! I looked at my ability to drink like the boys as a superpower, something to be proud of, and something that gave me confidence to talk to strangers, and specifically to men.

I grew up in a family that values travel, European fine dining, and knowing your wine grapes. Therefore a strong part of my wine story was that it was “high-brow” — educated successful people drink fine wine. I remember feeling cultured that I knew the difference between a white and red wine glass, how to hold them properly, and as an early teen how to properly open a bottle.

I didn’t actually drink any until my late teens, but you know how kids like to help out, feel seen and absorb everything. I felt grown-up and worldly knowing where the different grapes came from in the world from listening to so many adult conversations at fine restaurants. I knew that it is proper to ask for the wine list before the menu, and how to pick a good bottle on the list. A bottle of wine was the perfect hostess gift, wine and cheese parties where standard operating procedure and a ‘proper’ dinner was accompanied with wine.

So when I became a mom, and actually well before I did, I’m sure that the strong Mommy Wine Cultural narratives were already internalized. I thought that cool moms drink. Fun moms drink. Refined moms drink fine wine. I needed wine at the end of my day to relax so I could be patient with my kids for the last few hours of the day, that was the story anyway.

You can read the full interview here.