Wine, Heartbreak, And Conversations About Love

My heart has been broken into smithereens a certain number of times. It was painful. This kind of experience is always painful. It gets to your core somehow. It breaks you. It makes you cry, it makes you eat more or makes you not want to eat anything at all. It is a terrible thing to go through.

But I had to say goodbye because it was time to say goodbye, because there is nothing more to look forward to, because he never tried, because I don’t want to be the only one fighting for a love that was never really there – a love that only I believed existed, because I was miserable, because he never really loved me – not one bit.

It was time to move on. But I couldn’t move on. I kept looking at our photos and I kept crying. It seemed that my heart was going to burst. I felt betrayed. I felt helpless. I was helpless. I wanted to go back to him, to run back to him, to seek shelter from the very person who broke my heart.

During this heartache, I felt that the only thing that could cure me is to spend time with close friends. I called them so I could tell them what went wrong, so I could cry to my heart’s content, so I could swear off love, so I could go through this process without getting broken even more.

And right there, in a secluded restaurant in my hometown, I cried. Then I drank wine and drank some more because it numbed the pain somehow. It made me feel a lot better.

The Science Of Heartbreak

Scientists found that a heartbreak does not only make you feel lonely and broken, it also affects your health. A study published in the Journal of Neurophysiology in 2010 found that that part of the brain that signals us of physical pain is also the same part that is triggered when we see old photos of our exes.This happened to me more than once. I was stalking my ex’s Facebook account and saw that he was already with someone new. I cried myself to sleep that night while thinking of all promises we made to each other.

The next day, I drank wine and while drinking, I went to my computer to do some reading on how to move on from a failed relationship. I had to move on! And I had nowhere else to go except the Internet. I knew my friends were busy  and I didn’t want to waste their time nursing me back to health. This is where I saw  an article on the neurophysiology aspect of a heartbreak. Yes, I turned to science and alcohol.

According to the study, emotional and physical pain go through the same neural pathways. This is why a heartbreak actually hurts. And it hurts like a motherfucker. But like most things, it shall pass. Believe me honey, it too shall pass.

Why Do We Drink When Heartbroken?

Many of us turn to wine, beer, or any alcoholic beverage when heartbroken. Some would say that this is illogical and just plain stupid but in this little planet that we live in, there are other animals who have the same practices. Practices! I just laughed at myself for saying that. Alright, back to business ladies and gents. Attention please! We are not the only ones who consume alcohol when heartbroken. We are not alone!

In an article published by Science, Shohat-Ophir et al. found that fruit flies who were rejected during mating season turned to drinking. They of course did not go to a bar to ask the barkeep for a bottle of their poison of choice but they did choose food items with alcohol content.

This is how it went down. A bunch of male fruit flies were divided into two groups. From what I understand, the first group was placed in an area where virgin fruit fly females were at while the second group was placed in an area with female fruit flies who recently mated. The second group got rejected by the females. After this rather painful event, the rejected male fruit flies were brought to an area filled with food. Some of these food items included ones without alcohol content and some with alcohol content. The first group were placed in another area with the same food choices. The rejected little things ate food with alcohol content up to four times than the ones who recently mated.

Shohat-Ophir et al. note that the rejected fruit flies made alcohol their compensatory reward for their unrequited love. While this study  has no evident link to human behaviour, it is safe to say that the heartbroken turn to wine or beer or liquor to compensate for that emptiness they feel.

I drank wine while heartbroken because it made me feel a lot better. It gave me the high that I needed. But I was also careful. I made sure that I did not depend on it to be happy.

Because of all the heartbreaks I went through, I have become an accidental wine connoisseur. And all those years of drinking (responsibly of course), I have experienced the taste of Italian summers and of rainy days in the tropics. I have tasted many kinds of wine – from your usual grape-based wine to the more unusual types. I have tasted guyabano wine, sugarcane wine, etc.

And What Of Heartbroken Winemakers?

Winemakers are people too like you and me. They get hurt, they get rejected, they have experienced a heartbreak or two. But in times of sadness, many of them don’t turn to drinking, many concentrate on making that beautiful concoction that is wine.

When Basi del Diablo Wines’ CEO was heartbroken because of her mother’s death, she made wine. “It was part of the grieving process,” she said but along the way, she discovered a love for her heritage, a love for her great grandfather that she never noticed before. She discovered something about herself – a realisation that she wants to do something meaningful with her life. And so she made wine. And she drinks her own wine too. She drinks her wine when alone, when there’s something to celebrate, and when she’s nursing a broken heart.

I do wish that someday, I will be able to drink with her and continue our conversation about love and life in general. For now, our emails to each other should suffice.

To You The Heartbroken

There is nothing I could say to you to make you feel better. I have no prescription to give you. I have no words of wisdom. But this I say, drink some wine like I did and nurse that broken heart. And as days pass, it will become more bearable. Sure we will always carry that pain, you will always carry that pain. It will never truly go away but things will get better. It will pass and when it happens again, there will always be wine. Wine has been with us for centuries and it will stay for a very long time. And you will never be alone. You will always have that one glass, that one bottle.

But please drink responsibly.




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