04. Surviving The Mommy Wine Culture When You're Trying To Quit Drinking
In the Sober Audio Message above, I talk about how the Mommy Wine Culture has been created to target us to drink more.
And what to do about it.
Advertising, social media and popular culture have been encouraging us to drink more for years. We’ve told been told that drinking equals self care, empowerment, and that we need it to cope with our lives.
We’re bombarded with messages of reasons to drink…
- To cope with our busy lives
- To relax from our stressful jobs
- To tolerate the demands of our children
- To bond with our girlfriends
- To connect with our partners.
But the reality of our experiences do not match up with the lies we’re being fed.
- When you wake up sweaty and sick, thirsty and tired, and are running out the door to work, drinking doesn’t feel like self care.
- When you’re anxious about what you said or forgot to do the night before, drinking doesn’t feel empowering.
- When your partner is upset about whatever you said or did last night, it doesn’t feel like drinking helped bring you closer.
- When you have a hangover in the morning, drinking doesn’t feel like it’s helping you cope with the energy and needs of your kiddos.
And when you look around, thinking that drinking isn’t working anymore, and when you try to cut back or stop, you’re told not to bother.
You’re told that the way you feel – stressed, anxious, tired, sleeping terribly, and desperate for your nightly wine – is just part of being a modern woman.
And that despite how you feel, that drinking is HELPING you. Drinking is what’s holding you together.
And we think …
Well maybe my drinking isn’t that bad.
It’s probably not a problem.
It’s just been a really hard day/week/month/year.
Maybe I’ll just open another bottle of wine…that will let me feel less tired and more relaxed.
Besides, that’s what everyone else is doing.
And it’s true. It’s not just you. Lots of other women, and probably many of the women around you are drinking too much. And behind closed doors they may be wondering if their drinking has gotten out of hand as well.
Now, I could quote you all the stats about how women in America are drinking more, and more often than their mothers or grandmothers. About how alcohol consumption is killing women in record numbers.
I could tell you rate of alcohol-related deaths for white women ages 35 to 54 has more than doubled between 1999 + 2015, and that the share of binge drinking is up 40 percent since 1997….
But you just have to look around to see what’s happening.
There’s a constant feedback loop between advertising, popular culture, and what our family and our friends are doing.
And it’s escalated to the point where even when we KNOW that drinking isn’t serving us, even when we KNOW it’s making us feel like crap, we look around and are told it’s normal.
We’re told drinking equals empowerment, sophistication, self care and a well-earned reward for our hard work.
But it’s a lie.
Tips for Feeling Better When PAWS Symptoms Hit
- Identify your sources of stress and try to minimize them. It’s a good time to go back to the self-care basics from early sobriety. Take things off your list, ask for help, ask your boss to prioritize tasks and deadlines, rest, lower the bar, say no to new project and responsibilities.
- Sober treats! Do what you can to pull yourself out of the funk (or at least make today tolerable). Give yourself some comfort and joy in the moment.
- Eat well. A lot of times we’re hungry. Eat protein, eat before you get starving, and sweets help in sobriety – small treats – but don’t eat total crap because that will make you feel worse.
- Habits help. When you have a schedule you don’t have to “overthink” how you’re feeling or what you’re doing. Include some things you like and some things to do.
For example, make a habit of reading a book for 30 minutes a day. Take a walk for coffee at 2pm. Call a friend on your drive home. Habits help.
The chart outlines what to say to women in categories that are dangerous, safer, safest and ultra safe.
So asking a woman “What’s for dinner?” is “dangerous”, as is saying “Should you be eating that?“, “What are you so worked up about?” or “Could we be overreacting?”
[BTW guys, of course saying that stuff is dangerous. You sound like a total jerk.]
Here’s the message: the ultra safe to say to women, at any time and for any reason, is “Here, have some wine.“
It’s insulting and patronizing and, sadly, somewhat true.
- We’ve been taught to be pacified with wine. That wine will dull our emotions, frustration, and annoyances.
- We’ve been taught to look to wine for help, rather than our partners or ourselves.
- We’ve been mollified by wine so that we accept and tolerate things that shouldn’t be acceptable.
We drink wine so we can take on too much and over schedule ourselves and do things we don’t want to do and then we drink to tolerate it all.
We drink wine instead of changing things, instead of asking for help, instead of demanding more.
We give up our power to wine.
And I think sometimes it HELPS to get pissed off about this.
I think you should look at this crap, and the messages being fed to women telling them to drink and it should make you mad.
It makes me mad.
When you see the t-shirts and the socks and the kitchen towels and the wines named Mad Housewife and Mommy’s Time Out you SHOULD be insulted.
Just take a look at Esty and you can see all this stuff in one place.
- There are the T-Shirts say “Rose all Day” and socks say “If you can read this, bring mommy wine”,
- There are onesies that say “My mommy drinks because I cry” and kitchen towels that say “Corks are for quitters”… and “I’m not slurring I’m speaking cursive”.
- There are wine glasses etched with “Mommy’s Sippy Cup” and “Surviving motherhood one glass at at time”.
- There are signs for your kitchen that say “It’s not drinking alone if your dog is home”.
- And they’re even selling decals that say “Shut up Liver, You’re Fine”and “Drunk Wives Matter”.
It’s bullshit. And it’s not funny.
This is the crap that’s being sold to keep us sick so that we’ll keep drinking.
This is the crap we’re buying each other as a joke and it’s normalizing drinking a bottle of wine a night which is really dangerous.
This is the crap that encourages us to keep consuming an addictive substance that makes us sick.
The people making these products want us to look at these messages and think…
This is fine. There’s nothing to see here. You’re totally normal. This is not a problem.
- Slurring at night is normal.
- Drinking to get though a long day with my kids is normal.
- Not remembering the shows I watch is normal.
- Waking up with a hangover is normal.
- Drinking a bottle of wine by myself is normal… (because corks are for quitters- right?)
We look at these messages and start to believe that everyone drinks like this, that this is what Adults DO, that it’s empowering and sophisticated and keeps us young and cool.
We’re encouraged to think that this keeps us cool despite the fact that our latest hangover has us lying in bed with a sick stomach and a splitting headache when we’re late for work and have a big meeting, or while our 2 year old is crying or our 11 year old needs us to drive him to soccer.
This is how we’ve been convinced to drink more, and more often.
- And so we drink at brunch and at soccer games on the sidelines.
- We drink at the office happy hours and on date nights.
- We drink when we walk in the door after a long day at the office, and while cooking dinner.
- We drink when we’re helping our kids with their homework and on the couch at night after they’ve gone to bed.
And when you finally decide to stop drinking, to flip the script, to take care of yourself and your life and your health, these messages make it really hard to quit drinking.
And they make it hard to get support, because everyone around you has bought into this shit too.
Look, I know how hard it is to quit drinking.
And a big part of WHY it’s hard, and why women have started to drink more, and more often, is because we’ve been targeted by the folks who make the wine, and beer and hard alcohol.
They want us to drink more because when we drink more they make more money.
And they don’t care what it does to our bodies, or our minds, our relationships or our confidence.
So as you’re stepping away from the wine bottle, and you start to think that maybe this is too hard, maybe by quitting you’re denying yourself something that helps you bond with your girlfriends, make it through the day with your children, or as reward for the crap you put up with at work…remember: you’re being lied to.
These messages were created, deliberately, to reinforce the idea that drinking is what helps us cope with life.
So Don’t believe the hype.
Here are some strategies to get started:
- Don’t buy into fear or scare tactics that you won’t be fun or that you won’t fit in if you don’t drink.
- Watch for the agenda and look out for the subliminal messages behind the drinking mom memes and the kitchen towels and the wine glasses that will hold an entire bottle of wine.
- Start to recognize and question the pressure being put on you by your friends and family and colleagues to drink. Why do they care? Why is drinking the only drug that you have to justify not taking? Why have we all bought into the fact that it’s perfectly OK to say you don’t smoke but if you say you don’t want to drink everyone will try to convince you to have just one…
- Follow your own path
- Do your own research.
- Listen to your own intuition.
Drinking, especially drinking a lot on a regular basis is not good for your health or your life.
And quitting drinking is the ultimate act of self care.
It will improve the quality of your life, your physical health, your mental health, your looks, your confidence and your ability to move forward and achieve your dreams and goals.
You can do this. It IS worth it.
And If you’d like to talk to someone who gets it, please reach out to me. I’d love to hear from you.
Podcast Interview: Listen To My Story
About The Author
I’m Casey McGuire Davidson, a certified life coach who works with successful women who are ready to get out of overwhelm and create lives they love.
I also work with women who are reevaluating their relationship with alcohol and have decided that drinking isn’t working in their lives anymore.
You can find more about my work and private coaching, as well as additional support resources at hellosomedaycoaching.com.