Sandra Dick: I’ve called time on wine o’clock

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Wine time! Gin o’clock! Cocktail hour! Afternoon tea with a glass of bubbly. Large glass of wine? In a goblet the size of a goldfish bowl? Hell, don’t mind if I do.

Bridget Jones with her Chardonnay, Sex and the City with their Cosmopolitans and Manhattans. Booze, booze, booze . . . well, we women do love our tipple.

Hands up, who was really THAT surprised to read that women in affluent areas are among the biggest boozers of all?

According to new research, women in the upmarket area are twice as likely as average to exceed a recommended limit of three units a day. The author of the report, Patrick Tate of CACI, suggests these women have lavish lifestyles, often don’t work, so they lunch and drink. But that’s a bit too simplistic for me.

I think they drink largely because they’ve been told they can. Fact is, everywhere we go women are being encouraged to indulge in a tipple. Head to the hairdresser and before your bum has hit the chair a salon junior is offering to pour red, white or rose. Can you imagine a bloke going to the barber and being offered a pint while he waits for his trim?

Beauty treatments come with a glass, book a spa day and you’ll be encouraged to round off your toxin-removing treatment by blitzing your body with some poison. As for bubbly with afternoon tea . . . a strange set-up if ever there was one.

Now I’ve been known to get legless. But two years ago I looked at just how much and how often I was drinking and changed my attitude.

Most nights, home from work, glass of wine with dinner. Getting the kids to bed, time to top up. Once they’re asleep, might as well finish it off. At weekends, I could hardly wait to start cooking dinner just so I could get stuck in to my next bottle of wine.

I thought that was OK because most women I knew were following Bridget’s lead and doing the same.

Over the last 30 years it’s become socially acceptable for women to drink hard. Advertisers latched on to that a long time ago, today it’s a running joke that a stressed-out mum will watch the clock for “wine o’clock” to strike for her relaxing evening tipple.

My “epiphany” came when I realised I was lecturing my kids. What a hypocrite, droning on about booze being dangerous blah, blah, while itching to get back to my Cabernet Sauvignon.

So yes, I still have the odd glass, but it’s a rare treat. I wake up without a fuzzy head, I don’t breathe wine all over my kids and I have more money in my pocket. That, I think, has to be worth raising a glass to . . . alcohol-free, naturally.