parent opinion

'I was reading bedtime stories with a glass of pinot in my hand, but I still didn't recognise my drinking problem.'

Cracking open a bottle of red at the end of the day was my reminder that I was an adult. My reward after the demands of another rinse-and-repeat day. Early starts, long days, keeping myself and 2 small humans safe and cared for. That bottle of red symbolised something that was all mine, my special treat that was off-limits to the kids.  

After trying to cram as much as I could into what limited time I had in the office, I would bolt out of there to collect the kids, bracing myself for the whirlwind hours that would ensue before their heads hit the pillow again. 

Whilst I listened to my eldest tell me the excitable details of his day, I would crack open a bottle of red. As soon as that first sip hit my lips it helped me wind down, I told myself it made me a “better Mum”. Relaxed and happy to get going on their dinner, whilst hearing the nitty-gritty details on who had what at show and tell and praising finger-painting number 1345.  

Glass number two followed me to the bathroom, always within arm’s reach. It was my go-to between popping the bath toys back in the bath – after being pegged out on repeat. I would brace myself for the hair washing, carefully avoiding small eyes and meltdowns (myself included) at all costs.

Without conscious thought glass number three was woven into the bedtime stories. 

Watch: What happens to your body a year after no alcohol? Post continues after video. 

Video via Mamamia. 

One night, between the pages of ‘Where Is the Green Sheep’?  I startled myself. The contrast of a glass of pinot perched on a kids bedside table next to a galaxy light seemed so glaringly out of place. It stopped me in my tracks. There was my snuggly, sweet boy 100 per cent engaged and present, determined to find the green sheep, whilst I was somewhere else. 

It had me in knots. That glass of wine never entered his bedroom again.

I would love to say that was my wake-up, my sign that perhaps alcohol wasn’t serving me. It certainly planted a seed, and I gradually stopped drinking mid-week, but come the weekends I would “make up for it”.  

This ironically led me to my “health era” where I began moving my body for 30 minutes a day, meal prepping and drinking stupid amounts of water. I was obsessive with my smart watch, everything had to be added or it didn’t happen. I wouldn’t touch a drop of alcohol mid-week. Why would I? It didn’t align with the healthy foundations I had laid.

I’m not sure where that logic went on the weekend, much like people who say they have a second stomach for sweets. It was like I had a weekend stomach (and mindset) for alcohol and it didn’t count if it was on the weekend.  


I told myself it would be anti-social not to get amongst it on the weekends and get amongst it I did. 

Wine tours that started out civilised, commenting on the gooseberry notes that I could taste in my chardonnay quickly escalated to stumbling through the vines, countless hens nights, weddings, Friday night drinks, work events, holidays, family gatherings, dinners out, long lunches, sunny days, rainy days, folding laundry (you get the idea…any excuse). Then come Monday I would stop, because well…it was now a weekday, and so it went on every weekend with no thought for years on end.  

A decade later my son asked me if I’d ever been drunk. It was then that I felt it, pure and utter relief. 

He hadn’t noticed the red wine at bath time, nor remembered the glass that often came in with us at story time. He hadn’t noticed my tipsy elation at family gatherings nor questioned why we needed to Uber home from a catch-up with friends and go back to grab the car the next day. I knew I had dodged something monumental – I had somehow protected them from seeing me at my worst.  

I knew if I kept up the binge drinking on weekends that those innocent eyes would soon pick up on something that made them feel unsafe or overhear me saying something obnoxious. I had been given the biggest gift and motivation. I had a new mission – my kids would never see me drunk. Never ever!

This is how I went about successfully reducing my alcohol intake:

  • I started by listening to sober curious podcasts whenever I could. Cleaning the house, driving the car, out for walks. I found relatability in hearing other people’s stories.

  • I stocked the fridge with alcohol-free alternatives. When I had the urge for a beverage, I would load up a fancy glass with ice and pour in my alcohol-free drink of choice.

  • I didn’t stop going out – that would be isolating. Instead, I planned the drinks I intended to consume and visualised how that would look.  For me, it was always a glass of bubbles on arrival (sometimes followed by a glass of wine with my meal). I would have sparkling water in between and order alcohol-free alternatives.  

  • I would play the tape forward and imagine myself leaving as fresh as I’d arrived. That feeling of coming home, taking your make-up off and jumping into bed with a cuppa knowing you won’t be waking up with anxiety or regret never gets old!

  • I became acquainted with “Quit-Lit” – a genre of literature for the sober curious. I had books on the go that educated me on alcohol and others that were light reads with relatable stories from people just like me, talking about their relationship with alcohol.

  • I journaled my moods, and my triggers and celebrated my wins. I loved reflecting back on my successes and the genuine joy it brought me.

  • I even took meditation out for a whirl. I would listen to guided meditation to go to sleep. It’s a quick and easy way to get out of your head.

It took time, persistence, and practice, but I finally arrived! 


After I had successfully reduced and learned how to keep it that way, it sparked conversation and curiosity in others.  I was always happy to share my new lease on life with anyone who was interested. That led me to become a certified Recovery Coach and go on to create Mind The Sip – a mindful drinking app that consolidates the resources that were instrumental in my reduction. A one-stop shop, if you will, for those who are keen to reduce but are not sure where to start.

My biggest learning was realising that wine didn’t make me a “better mum” after all. Sure, it often softened the edges, and gave me a buzz, but it robbed me of connection. 

Without alcohol in the driver’s seat, I can now listen to conversations wholeheartedly, enjoy my surroundings, take in the vibe of a party, the food, the music, the décor, the people. I get to make peaceful memories with my now teenagers without alcohol taking centre stage. 

Registering that pinot in the bedroom and planting a seed to reduce was the gift I gave myself that just keeps on giving.

Today Ange still enjoys a glass of bubbles in celebration, or a glass of red with her spag bol, but she is firmly and happily planted in the “take it or leave it” camp. Mind The Sip is currently available in Australia and New Zealand via the Apple and Google Play stores. You can download Mind The Sip, here, or visit their website here, Facebook here and Instagram here.

Feature Image: Supplied.

Do you use anti-aging skincare products? We want to hear from you! Take our survey now to go in the running to win a $50 gift voucher.