Are you drinking too much?

January is a good time to consider the question that bedevils so many middle-class, middle-aged women: do I drink too much? Much like everyone else, I have emerged from the festive period determined to reconnect with a healthier way of life and to clean up my over-indulged body. Consequently, I have had a few days without wine. And, boy, am I missing it. I so look forward to that first glass of white in the evening, and have done ever since I recovered from the birth of my first child some 16 years ago. Before, I was more of an erratic party drinker. Today, even the smallest of social occasions requires a glass of wine; at bigger gatherings, I can lose count.

I come from a long line of people who adore both food and drink. When I was young, my siblings and I would be offered a little wine, well-diluted with water, at my grandmother’s table in France. It was not something I particularly liked back then and I suspect it was administered in the hope that it would sedate us somewhat so the adults could enjoy their dinner. When we were older, and it was legally acceptable to drink, we grew to love sitting up late, with bottles of wine on the table, talking into the small hours. I still do and so do many of my friends.