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I’m sure you have seen the memes and GIFs and cute wine glasses and paraphernalia. The ones with the witty comments about needing a glass of wine or a whole bottle. They are cute, they are funny, but to an alcoholic it’s encouraging.
Don't get me wrong I’m not blaming anyone for my alcohol addiction — it’s all me. I take full ownership of it. But our society and like I like to call it the "mommy wine culture" makes it so hard to give up alcohol.
I’m what most people or alcoholics refer to as a functioning alcoholic. I’m not throwing my guts up every night, neglecting my kids, neglecting my house, and forgetting to eat. I don't spend money I don’t have on alcohol and I don’t put my kids or myself in any danger by drinking and driving. I do however drink everyday. That's right — I drink every single day. I’m not proud of that one bit. But it has become a ritual for me. Long day is coming to an end the kids are fed I’m pretty caught up with work, I deserve a drink. It's an unhealthy habit I have had for years off and on. That has only gotten worse as time has progressed.
The story of my alcoholism started when I was only about 17. Unlike most 17 year olds that were getting drunk at parties, I was alone in my room getting drunk by myself. Trying to numb feelings I couldn't quite understand. It sort of just went away when I joined the army and didn’t come back until recently.
I have been pregnant 3 times and have 4 kids and I can stop drinking alcohol in a heartbeat once I know I am pregnant. I haven’t taken as much as sip of alcohol when I've been pregnant. After having my first 3 kids I went into what I would consider the normal behaviors of social drinkers. I would have a few drinks here and there but nothing serious nothing alarming. After having my last daughter things got progressively worse. From the day we got home from the hospital, to the very day I'm writing this I can probably count on one hand how many days I HAVEN’T had a drink and she is 16 months old.
It was almost scary how I did it in the first year while I was breastfeeding. I would pump like crazy during the day so I had a whole reserve so that I could drink at night. I never nursed her drunk or even tipsy.
Mommy wine culture mad me feel like what I was doing was somewhat normal. That I had taken care of these 4 kids all day and wanting, and even having, a glass of wine was ok. It was my reward. If I wanted a whole bottle that was okay too. Hell I had 4 kids under 4, right?!
I see it on coffee cups, and wine glasses and towels and makeup bags wherever I go. Constantly being told wine is life. Every time I get the urge to stop I convince myself that I’m only doing what everyone else is doing. Why else would there be so much stuff?
I feel like a failure because I don’t have any desire to stop drinking. I wish I had a drink right now. But I know I should stop or cut back. The hardest part is when I don’t drink, I don't feel like my day is incomplete. I miss the feeling, I convince myself I need it to feel relaxed or enjoy my dinner. What goes better with tacos than margaritas? What goes better with burgers than beer? And then my kids' voices ask me what I’m drinking. And there is shame, but only enough shame for me to only order one more drink in front of them and drink more at home when they are asleep. Only enough shame to lie to them about what I’m actually drinking — not enough shame to actually stop.
You don’t see that on a cute glass, you don’t see any memes about lying to your kid about your drinking or hiding it.
Substance abuse among stay at home moms is high. More and more stay at home moms are addicted to prescription drugs and alcohol, and our culture is promoting it. The movies we see about "bad moms" not only glorifies it but it fantasizes it. Secretly drinking wine at your kid’s soccer game or practice sounds cute and funny when it’s on screen, but in real life its a little more pathetic. Trust me I know I've been there. But a drunk mom on TV at a soccer game hitting on the coach, or sitting in her lawn chair with her Gucci shades on as she sips cabernet from a thermos is #goals or #relatable.
People that don’t really know me will probably be shocked to read this and, maybe some people that do know me pretty well will be shocked to hear I’m a heavy drinker, yet I still manage soccer games, a business, 4 kids, a house, and whatever else I have going on. Just imagine how may other moms you may know that may have this secret.
But I know to address the problem we must address the issue. The issue I feel lies somewhere in between the stress of stay at home motherhood and the pressure to appear perfect on social media. All we see are the highlight reels of other people's lives. We rarely see the ugly vulnerable parts. I know personally I always feel the need to do everything right. I don't ever want to be "that mom." I put a lot of pressure on myself to be the cookie-cutter perfect mom. Too much pressure. Instead of curling into a ball at the end of the day and crying myself to sleep because I’m tired or I’m overwhelmed, I'd rather have a drink and forget about my problems or just suppress them for a little bit so I can actually give my brain a rest and relax! I convince myself I need it to have fun and loosen up. Which saddens me because I've always been outgoing and fun yet needed alcohol tone in that way. But what happens when my tolerance is built up? What happens when the kids are in school and I’m left with an empty home when I’m not working. Will my drinking slowly move from 5pm to 11am? To be honest some times it already has, but what happens when that becomes the new normal for me?
I'm sure I could find something somewhere to tell me "Girl it’s ok to drink at 10am girl do you you deserve it!"