Meg Geisewite thought her drinking was normal. Friends and family consumed similar amounts of alcohol, she thought, and as a hardworking mom, didn’t she deserve a nightly glass of wine or two?
Messages from society, the alcohol industry and even T-shirt and napkin merchandise told her “Behind every great woman is a bottle of wine.” Even her therapist told her she was overthinking her use of alcohol.
Nightly drinking became a stress-relieving habit after Geisewite said she suffered three major life events – the death of a friend, the loss of her husband’s job and the confidence of a friend who revealed she had been sexually molested.
“It scared me when I didn’t want my kids to do sports because I wanted to drink wine at night,” she said.
Geisewite said she never hit rock bottom – she never lost a job, had problems with the law or had relationship issues as a result of alcohol. Instead, she found herself caught in what she described as the mommy wine culture.
After trying to quit a few times, Geisewite said she found herself drinking a couple glasses each night, and waking every morning with a hangover. She couldn’t find any books to help except about people who had hit rock bottom.
She joined a private online group called Sober Sis with other women on a sober-curious journey. Geisewite learned about gray-area drinking, a large area on the alcohol-use spectrum between rock bottom and casual, take-it-or-leave it drinking.
With the help of her Sober Sis group, Geisewite quit drinking Nov. 1, 2019; her husband quit with her.
“I was sick and tired of feeling sick and tired,” she said, wanting to break free of the drinking-to-hangover-to-drinking cycle that left her waking every morning in a slight fog.
Geisewite said she had a sidestep during a stressful time amidst the pandemic, when she took a few sips of wine because she had a lurking belief that she could still have alcohol.
Now 15 months alcohol-free, Geisewite is using her experiences in moving away from gray-area drinking to help other women in her debut book, “Intoxicating Lies.” The book details her journey of ups and downs, and explores the lies women are told about alcohol.
Geisewite said she wants women to wake up to the truths about alcohol, including that it can be linked to seven types of cancer.
Women need to realize their worth, that they don’t have to hustle and escape stress through the crutch of alcohol, she said.
“They need support, not wine,” she said. “True self-care is not manicures and pedicures; it's meditation, boundaries, exercise, how you really take care of yourself, and we don’t model that.”
Everyone has stressors and problems, she said, and people are constantly told they should be doing this or that.
“The way we’re taught to deal with it is making us sick,” she said.
Looking back, Geisewite said she feels she lost a lot of time with her children because she felt too tired to get involved. Now, she focuses on what brings her joy, such as painting and bike riding. She has more energy to give to her kids, and finds it ironic that society uses a depressant to celebrate life’s biggest events.
All of her relationships have improved, and she feels in tune with her body and inner instincts, Geisewite said, and her kids say she has more patience.
“That alone is worth it,” she said. “Life is in technicolor for me now.”
Geisewite divides her time between Lewes and Newark with her husband and two teenage children.
Published by independent hybrid company Clovercroft Publishing, “Intoxicating Lies” releases mid-January, and will be available at Browesabout Books in Rehoboth Beach. It’s also available for preorder wherever books are sold. Go to intoxicatinglies.com.