Author explores drinking in the gray zone in new book

Meg Geisewite thought her drinking was normal. Friends and family drank similar amounts of alcohol, she thought, and as a working mother, didn’t she deserve a glass of wine or two every night?

Messages from society, the liquor industry, and even t-shirts and towels told her “Behind every great woman is a bottle of wine.” Even her therapist told her she was overthinking her drinking.

Nighttime drinking became a stress-busting habit after Geisewite said she suffered three major events in her life – the death of a friend, the loss of her husband’s job and the confidence of a friend who revealed that she had been sexually assaulted.

“It scared me when I didn’t want my kids to play sports because I wanted to drink wine at night,” she said.

Geisewite said she never hit rock bottom — she never lost a job, got in trouble with the law, or had relationship problems because of alcohol. Instead, she got caught up in what she described as mom’s wine culture.

After trying to quit several times, Geisewite said she found herself having a few drinks every night and waking up every morning with a hangover. She couldn’t find any books to help her, except about people who had hit rock bottom.

She joined a private online group called Sober Sis with other women on a sober and curious journey. Geisewite discovered alcohol consumption in the gray zone, a broad area on the spectrum of alcohol consumption between background and occasional, take it or leave it drinking.

With the help of her group Sober Sis, Geisewite quit drinking on November 1, 2019; her husband resigned with her.

“I was sick and tired of feeling sick and tired,” she said, wanting to break free from the hungover drink-to-drink cycle that left her waking up each morning in a light fog.

Geisewite said she stepped aside during a stressful time amid the pandemic, when she took a few sips of wine because she had a hidden belief that she could still have alcohol.

Now 15 months alcohol-free, Geisewite uses her experiences moving away from drinking into the gray zone to help other women in her first 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 learn 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. “Real self-care isn’t 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 says, and people are constantly being told they should do this or that.

“The way we are taught to deal with this makes us sick,” she said.

Looking back, Geisewite said she felt like she wasted a lot of time with her kids because she felt too tired to get involved. Now she focuses on what brings her joy, such as painting and cycling. She has more energy to give to her children 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 her inner instincts, Geisewite said, and her children say she has more patience.

“It’s worth it,” she said. “Life is Technicolor to me now.”

Geisewite divides her time between Lewes and Newark with her husband and two teenagers.

Published by independent hybrid company Clovercroft Publishing, “Intoxicating Lies” comes out Tuesday, January 3 and will be available from Browesabout Books in Rehoboth Beach. It’s also available for pre-order wherever the books are sold. Go to intoxicatinglies.com.

Angela C. Hale