The Next Round: What happens after you change your drinking?

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The Wine Witch

Trials, temptations and triumphs: The tales of the wine witch

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away from the bustling streets and hipster beards of East London, there existed a jagged, bottle-shaped castle. In it, lived an evil specimen of a woman. Her frame was tall and gangly, her hair was long and straggly, and her lips were stained the deep berry red of a Cabernet Sauvignon. Her only power was to make her victims drink as much alcohol as she desired. She would croon, whisper and (if things didn’t go to plan) rant and rage until she got what she wanted.

A slightly strange idea, but one which might be familiar to some. The wine witch can cause those with the very best of intentions to fall foul of their most treacherous tipple. But, as the saying goes, you have to keep your friends close and your enemies closer. Read on to find out more about the wine witch and how to fend off her wicked ways.

What (or who) is the wine witch?

We could all paint a slightly different picture of the wine witch that haunts sober thoughts. For some, she’s a demanding mini-me with an extensive collection of bad but appealing ideas, and for others, she’s a devil-on-your-shoulder, don’t-think-about-tomorrow kind of temptress. She’s not really the Hansel and Gretel-style old crone that tries to oven-cook small children, but to former wine lovers, she’s probably just as dangerous.

The wine witch can appear when you’re happy, sad, angry or bored. She might come into focus when you’re home from work with the prospect of an empty evening, or when the kids are out. “You deserve it”, she’ll whisper, “you need to relax”. And before you know it, it’s “are you sure you have enough?” and “come on, that isn’t even a full glass!”

Why does she taunt me with her terrible temptations?

When you give up drinking, craving a glass of something is normal. As humans, we react to certain stimuli that we associate with drinking, such as places, situations or people. These are sometimes referred to as external triggers – basically, environmental things that might remind you of drinking or provide you with a drinking opportunity. According to Alcohol and Your Health, the wine witch would fall into the category of internal triggers – a puzzling urge to drink that just ‘pops up’ for seemingly little or no reason.

How can I deal with it?

Recognising cravings in all their forms is an important part of cutting down or quitting the booze. You might want to consider tracking and analysing the moments when the wine witch appears – this will help you become more aware of when you experiences urges, what triggers them, and how to control them. Alternatively, Club Soda members far and wide who have been united by the wine witch have a few ideas of their own. One member said “distraction by any means possible. I listened to podcasts, read books, went online, watched YouTube videos, drank coffee, drank tea, went for a drive, ate chocolate, ate cashews, basically anything to keep my mind off it”. Other members advised to have alcohol-free beer and other treats readily available, and make sure you aren’t hungry or thirsty.

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