Alcohol abuse among mothers is rising at an alarming rate. According to a study from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions, women whose behavior meets the criteria for alcohol use disorders rose by a mind-boggling 84 percent between 2002 and 2013. During that same time period, the number of women drinking four or more drinks per day rose by 60 percent. A majority of these women are mothers, and many of them are affluent housewives.
The rise of alcohol use in motherhood is linked to a variety of social and environmental factors. Part of the problem is that alcohol use has been culturally normalized among motherhood circles, which can hide deeper problems. Another issue is that the social and psychological pressures of modern motherhood can be isolating and difficult to deal with. These factors combine to create a powerful and dangerous dynamic where addiction can flourish.
The Normalization of Alcohol Among Mothers
A growing trend among motherhood groups, especially in online spaces, is the normalization and even glorification of alcohol. Wine in particular has gained special pop-culture prominence among women. Wine companies have cashed in on the trend. Some wines are now marketed directly to women with brand names like Mommy Juice or Mommy’s Time Out. This marketing strategy has accompanied a 25 percent increase in sales and serves to further illustrate the normalization of drinking.
The message that drinking wine is a normal or even necessary part of managing the stress of motherhood has become pervasive. Against this backdrop, many women who struggle with alcohol dependency may not realize that they have a problem. Additionally, the expectation of alcohol at mom-related gatherings can add additional pressure to individuals trying to quit.
Because alcohol is legal, problematic drinking behavior may often go ignored or be written off as less of a problem than it really is. Affluent housewives do not fit the stereotypical image that many people have of an alcoholic, which can lead to the real and serious problem of addiction not being taken seriously. Simply stated, some degree of alcohol dependency has become an accepted part of motherhood in our culture, but it does not have to be this way.
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Identifying Alcohol Abuse in Motherhood Circles
The risks of alcohol abuse and dependency are serious. Lapses in judgment can create dangerous circumstances for a mother and the children she is watching. Drunk driving and inattentiveness are big concerns for women struggling with substance abuse problems. Difficulties with work, personal life, and relationships can all arise as a result of alcohol use.
Even women whose personal lives remain largely unaffected by their problematic drinking may experience health problems as a result of heavy alcohol consumption. Liver damage, heart disease, and an increased risk of breast cancer are just some of the problems associated with heavy drinking.
Because drinking has become such an accepted and even expected part of motherhood, it can be difficult to identify the signs of problematic behavior before they become severe. Ask yourself the following questions about your relationship with alcohol:
- Have you ever thought that you should cut down on your drinking or tried and failed to cut down?
- Do you feel the need to hide your drinking or lie about it to people in your life?
- Does drinking create feelings of shame or guilt?
- Has alcohol or an argument about alcohol use caused conflict within your marriage or other relationships?
- Have you ever had a drink first thing in the morning?
These are just a few common signs that can point to problematic drinking behavior and possible alcohol dependency. If you have these issues or have any other reason to believe that your drinking has become a problem, Ocean Hills Recovery can help. Contact us today to learn more about our available services and support. We will be happy to answer your questions and help you to understand how you can have a healthier relationship with alcohol.
About the author:
Greg opened his home and heart to alcoholics and addicts in 2003. He is a Certified Addictions Treatment Counselor (CATCI). Starting in 2009 Greg has fostered the growth of Ocean Hills Recovery into one of the most respected and effective treatment centers in the area and has been working with people with addictions since March of 2001. Greg believes in a holistic approach to recovery. His focus is on drug alcohol addiction treatment with a combination of 12 Step work, therapy and counseling, and the rejuvenation of the body through healthful eating and exercise. He has designed his program to foster a family-like atmosphere and believes that people in recovery are just beginning their lives. He encourages the people he works with to learn to enjoy life in sobriety. Greg is married to Nicole; they have two adorable sons together and an energetic yellow Labrador Retriever.