Today I was going to write a blog post about the “mom guilt” many feel after they get sober. The guilt, shame, regret comes creeping in and it’s hard to handle at times. Well that has been pushed off until next Sunday, because this morning I woke up to an article from Scary Mommy called “Let’s All Relax About Mommy Wine Culture.”
Wait, is this real life? And before anyone jumps down my throat. I am not against drinking. I am against the messages around alcohol, specifically the narrative geared towards mother’s. I am not judging you for drinking or shaming you. You’re being duped by the alcohol industry and marketing executives that are just using you for profit. They don’t care about you. They don’t care that the increase in alcohol related deaths for women has increased by 85% from 2007 to 2017. Mother’s have been their target market for a while now, and we’re buying into it. This is proven by the 25% surge of sales for this segment, which is huge growth.
I know motherhood is hard. Trust me. I get it. I’ve been a single mother since day one. But do you want to know what ended up making motherhood even harder? Alcohol. No, it didn’t feel that way at first. It was my escape to getting out of my own head and “coping” with life. I was overwhelmed, stressed, anxious, depressed, and I thought alcohol was the cure to relieve all of this. What I didn’t know was that alcohol was causing me to become more depressed and more anxious, and ultimately led to a vicious cycle that I couldn’t get out of.
In this society what do we do when someone is having difficulty with life? We provide them with a pill. So I started taking Zoloft (medically prescribed of course). Still drinking while taking it though, so of course it didn’t work like it was supposed to. Minor details though, or so I thought. After having some sobriety time under my belt, I started to read more literature about how alcohol affects the brain. Alcohol is a stimulant and a depressant. It’s a stimulant for about 20-30 minutes, then your BAC starts to fall and that’s when the depressant side comes into play. As stated in The 30 Day Alcohol Experiment by Annie Grace, “Alcohol depresses your feelings and nervous system. But our brains react to stimuli, and they are designed to maintain balance or homeostasis. That means if you consume something that’s an anesthetic and a depressant, it’s automatically going to try to counteract those things with stimulants like cortisol and adrenaline. These stimulants leave you feeling anxious and uneasy. So you reach for that next drink to take away that uneasy feeling, and the brain fights back with even more of its own chemical stimulants. And the cycle starts.”
This is what we need. Education on the effects of alcohol. Sure I knew alcohol wasn’t good for me, because if it was I wouldn’t be having hangovers the next day. The missing link is more education on how to cope with life and motherhood in a healthy way. Wine or alcohol is not a healthy way. No matter what TV, meme’s, shirts, articles, friends, parents, or your pastor says. We’re being fed lies and it’s time to start standing up for not only ourselves but for our kids. We tell our kids the dangers of alcohol and to not drink, but here we are drinking in front of them. So why would they believe us?
You may think that children don’t know any better and it’s not affecting them in any way, so who cares. Well you’re wrong. Drinking is a learned behavior. You are teaching them that the only way to get through life or hard situations is to drink. We should be showing them to express our emotions, go to therapy, write, exercise, meditate, anything that shows them that it’s okay to sit with discomfort and let it out in a healthy manner. My eight year old son knows what the word sober means. He knows that I used to be sick a lot because of alcohol. He knows that I’m sorry and I can’t change the past, but I’m trying to be the best mom I can be going forward. Two weeks ago, he told me I was the best mom in the world because I faced my problems and my fears. Do you know how much that means to me? I am showing him how to get through life even when times are tough. Life isn’t always easy, but those are the moments we prove to ourselves how strong and capable we really are. THAT is what we should be passing on to our kids. Not the fact that we have to drink to get through our day because of them.
Oh and to the woman that told some of us commenting that we needed to chill out and have a few glasses of wine. I’m never going to stop advocating and speaking the truth about “mommy wine culture”. My demise led me to my purpose, and I couldn’t be more grateful to be going through motherhood sober and present for my son. Does he get on my nerves? Absolutely. But handling it in an appropriate manner instead of just dismissing it and going for a glass of wine doesn’t solve anything. Alcohol is NEVER a healthy way to cope. Remember that.
If you’re having difficulty coping with life or motherhood please reach out to someone. If you’re interested in learning how to ditch the booze without the mom guilt, visit www.sobermomcoach.com and book a free consultation call with me.
If you're looking for a group of sober mother's or you have a desire to stop drinking, check out @sobermomtribe or Sober Mom Tribe on Facebook.
Authors - Various