Please make a choice before you read this blog. Make a choice to hear it for what it is. Don’t jump to get offended without understanding who this blog is really for. I’m speaking to the people who are starting to drown in something and don’t even fully realize it yet because of a mom culture normalizing alcoholism without knowing it. It’s my intention that one woman, or three, or fifty will read this post and catch themselves before it’s too late. This is a blog post written by a woman who knows what it’s like to have two alcoholic parents, one highly functioning and the other barely at all by the end of the night. I’m from a family full of addicts and it’s awful. I can’t watch some of my friends/social media connections crush their family dynamic but slipping into the same addictions I had to experience within my family growing up and still do to this day.
Let me start with this statistic from HealthResearch.Org:
Some 6.6 million children live in a home with at least one alcoholic parent.
This is REAL. Over SIX MILLION CHILDREN have to endure alcoholism by a parent. It’s time to stop normalizing and softening the reality of consistent drinking.
Over the past couple of years, I’ve noticed a lot of my friends with young children talk about needing a drink at the end of the day. It’s laughable, the emoticons are hilarious most of the time and I mean… I get it. Kids are NUTS! Especially wild little ones! Please… I HAVE THREE! I have three kids five and under… you wanna talk about needing a drink? Yeah, I get it!
But then…they say it again the next day. And the next. And the next. Sometimes..they say it seven days a week. That’s when as a daughter of alcoholics something shifts in my brain. This is no longer a social thing. This is alcoholism. Now, whether or not they’re actually drinking, that’s one thing! If they’re just talking about it, that doesn’t sound too bad…right? Except for the fact that drinking every single day is not normal. But it starts to sound like a coping mechanism. It starts to seem like rough days with kids and tough times are needing to be solved with alcohol at the end of the day as a means to an end of feeling those stressful feelings. It starts to sound like a solution. It starts to sound like an ANSWER to a hard day. It sounds like “I am a parent therefore I deserve a drink at the end of the day” as if there was no other way to wind down and deal with those feelings.
That scares me, because my brother “coped” with his feelings with heroin until guess what…he never woke up again.
You have to understand this from the perspective of a woman who watched someone say “it’s just one glass! It’s healthy. They say it’s good to have a glass of wine a night” to “hiding” it in tupperware cups instead of wine glasses. I remember SO often picking up that cup I thought was water and getting swigs of wine. Your daughter should be able to pick up your water and share it with you. I think of this VERY often when the girls pick up my cup. It’s hard… because it brings back those memories but then I smile and say okay Amanda, you’re doing okay. I was in middle school accidentally getting giant sips of wine when I wanted a quick sip of water from my parents cup. The bottles of wine were eventually replaced by the cheap boxes of wine in our fridge. They took up so-much-room. I remember that, and I get REALLY frustrated nowadays when we have something bulky in our fridge. It makes me tense up with tears in my eyes thinking of all of the little ways I’m so affected by this now, to this day, in my adult life. My little sister went to get her cheerleading thermos one day to take to school and guess what? Filled to the brim with wine. And you know how this all started? “It’s normal…everyone does it.”
From the Alcoholism Statistics website regarding the use of alcoholism portrayed in the media: “Unfortunately, the use of alcohol is often portrayed in the media as harmless and in some cases as humorous. The reality for those who live in a family with alcoholics or who have been raised by alcoholic parents is much different. It can be devastating and tragic and can also lead to a range of family problems.”
I hope you are continuing as you read this to understand that this isn’t pointing the finger or making an accusation on you if you are a part of this mom wine posting culture. I’m not saying you have a problem. I’m not telling you NOT to ever talk about wine or drinking, I’ll do it occasionally too especially when we’re out for a fun date night or occasion. I don’t have to right to tell you what to do or say…I just want us to think about how extremely common alcoholism is and how it always starts so innocently. This post isn’t left field. You most likely know someone or several people are who alcoholics whether you know it or not, or who have dealt with alcoholism at some point. The quote above from the alcoholism statistics website is absolutely right…it’s portrayed as harmless and humorous so often. Often enough for someone to be reading this to think it’s ridiculous what I’m writing on this blog today but I don’t care, I’m not writing it for those who don’t have a problem. I’m writing this for the mom who is unknowingly using alcohol as an escape and needs help. I’m writing it for her children. For her spouse. Please let me be your voice today telling you that you can put the glass down and find other ways to cope or use healthier outlets for stress like exercise, a new activity or already beloved hobby or even therapy.
I have prayed and prayed about this blog post. I said Lord, let me tell some of these moms that IT IS OKAY to not jump on this nightly wine bandwagon, because some of them are predisposed to alcoholism and they may end up on a dark path without even knowing that this tiny little social media influence here or there started it. When we post something publicly about our actions, we’re giving permission for it for others unknowingly. There could be moms out there with severe post partum who want that cute wine glass and want to post about their nightly glass of wine, too…and before they know it, they’re hooked. They need it to feel better.
Stress and Drinking: Stress is a common theme in women’s lives. Research confirms that one of the reasons people drink is to help them cope with stress. (NIAAA)
Am-I-telling-you-to-not-drink-anything-ever……NO. I love a good glass of wine and I love a good beer so much. If you post often times about drinking…I am so sorry if this hits you in a way that makes you feel bad or reprimanded but that’s not my intention at all. I didn’t meant to hurt your feelings, but what I saw and experienced as a child is something that could have been prevented. It’s such an uncomfortable subject and no one wanted to deal with it… so we suffered for it. It’s sad that children had to experience what they did because adults weren’t willing to do the right thing. My children will never know that. I won’t let it happen. I WISH someone would have helped it be prevented. I wish someone had posted something like this to warn my parent about how dangerous the drinking is not just on their bodies and selves but psychologically to their children, us. I don’t want to put too much of the focus on this blog about not offending people because people are going to take things how they want to take it… this is to potentially save a woman/man out there from slipping into something and not knowing where it came from or how it got started. When my brother passed away two years ago, I told Mike that I needed to take the hard things in my life and help others from them…no matter how much I didn’t want to think or talk about them. But, I also know the risks involved with me drinking and what it could lead to.
Friend, you don’t have to drink to feel better. In fact, if you ARE drinking because you want to feel better… please consider another outlet for that stress or anxiety. For your sake, your children, your spouse…life is so beautiful and worth living in a healthy way, not clouded and buzzed all the time. I’ve put some statistics and resources below to help if you feel even the smallest inkling that you may have a problem or be prone to developing one, this is worth a look. You were given the gift of life and people want you here, in it, as the best and healthiest version possible. You are important. You matter. And life is so worth it.
“Nearly 2.5 million people worldwide die each year due to the harmful effects caused by drinking too much, including about 80,000 Americans. Drinking also leads to over one million emergency room visits per year and to nearly three million visits to doctor’s offices to treat severe side effects of drinking.” – Alcoholism Statistics
“Drunk driving costs the United States $199 BILLION every year” – Talbott Campus via MADD
“100,000 people die each year from alcohol-related causes: drinking and driving crashes, other accidents, falls, fires, alcohol-related homicides and suicides.” – Talbott Campus via NCAAD
“About 43% of U.S. adults — 76 million people — have been exposed to alcoholism in the family — they grew up with or married an alcoholic or a problem drinker or had a blood relative who was an alcoholic or problem drinker.” -Alcoholism Statistics
Children of Alcoholic Parents and Adult Children of Alcoholics:
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