Am I the modern day alcoholic woman? Traditionally when I conjured the thought of an ‘alcoholic’, I imagine a man, sleeping rough with a paper bag full of liquor in his hand. I don’t think of me, I don’t think of a successful woman, well-travelled, financially secure, happily married with two beautiful children, but that is me, I am an alcoholic
I wish I knew where things went wrong and where I crossed the line from social drinker to full blown alcoholic, but I can’t pin-point the day. The face of an alcoholic is changing, we are starting to hear more women and successful women succumb to the disease of alcoholism, I remember watching a documentary on Elizabeth Vargas, a hugely successful American journalist who had it all, yet was hiding a deep secret of alcoholism.
The more I research my condition the more I realise that alcoholism among women is on the rise, especially after the birth of children. I can speak from my perspective only, but I found that my alcoholism went to the next level after the birth of my children.
Whilst I successfully maintained abstinence from alcohol whilst I was pregnant, the day I gave birth to both of my daughters I immediately asked for red wine. The red wine consumption only increased as my children got older, the daily boredom and isolation of motherhood combined with the stress and lack of familial and social support only exacerbated my drinking.
Women in general are catching up with men in our alcohol consumption, I’ve heard of ‘rushing women’s syndrome‘ whereby women are rushing around so much trying to ‘have it all’ that we start our day with coffee and wind down with wine.
Constantly on social media I see shared posts with slogans such as ‘mummy needs wine’ or ‘I can’t wait till the day I can drink with my kids not because of my kids’. When I do school drop off’s I often ask women with multiple kids ‘how do you do it’ and usually they say, I wind down with wine.
For someone with a predisposition to alcohol, or an allergy to alcohol as we hear it referred to in Alcoholics Anonymous, this is a dangerous position to be in. I cannot recall how many times I’ve promised I wouldn’t drink, only to call my husband when he was driving home to pick me up wine as I have had a bad day.
I find it quite ironic how the Australian Government has been trying to cut down on opioid overuse in society by making codeine products available by script only, yet Alcohol Abuse has a far more catastrophic outcome to Australian society, and it is readily available to anyone over the age of 18.
I don’t know what the answer to this problem is, all I do know is that I can only control my journey and my destiny and hope that I can survive the temptation to this dangerous toxin.