Asking For A Friend…

Once you feel the need to survey the crowd to support an action that clearly doesn’t resonate with your moral compass, you’re headed for trouble. We all do it though. When I started to feel uncomfortable with my drinking, I turned into the human version of SurveyMonkey. I asked all sorts of people, (that I partied with of course) if they thought I drank too much. The round of unequivocal, no’s, was exactly the answer I hoped and knew I’d hear. Whew, no worries here. Bartender, another bourbon please!

If I wasn’t already uncomfortable with my drinking, I wouldn’t need to justify, rationalize, or ask others what they thought about my drinking.

After twenty-eight years in recovery, I’ve talked to and worked with a lot of women. Asking others about our habits because we’re uncomfortable with our behavior is a clear sign that we’re headed for trouble. Sure, that small voice in my head had some concerns with my drinking, but I shut that girl up because I was no where near ready to do anything about it yet. The whole reason to ask what others think is to get a posse of friends to cosign on our BS and allow us to continue—guilt free—to do the one thing we know we shouldn’t do.

As sure as I sit here writing this, the trial of heartache that looms ahead will happen.  I’ve seen it far too many times and the trajectory is always the same. The drinking continues to escalate; it may be over a period of months, or maybe years. Along the way the family suffers, and eventually it disintegrates all together. I’ve seen it happen over and over again: when the preoccupation with wine becomes as an integral part of your day as brushing your teeth, it doesn’t end well for anyone.

It’s an early sign of addiction that most people ignore.

Most true social drinkers don’t think of mixing together alcohol and child-rearing. Social drinkers never feel the need to survey the crowd or create Facebook polls with their friends to ask if their drinking is okay.

It wasn’t until I got sober that I realized when I surveyed my peers for answers, I wasn’t seeking honest answers, but justification and validation for my behavior. If I wanted honesty, why would I ask my bar friends who drank as much as me, if not more? Of course they would say, no, you’re fine!

At this stage in a person’s drinking career, outwardly, everything will still look normal, but the chink in the armor has begun to erode. Normal social drinkers never question their drinking. Normal social drinkers don’t mix babies and booze. It’s a recipe for disaster that can have irrevocable consequences.

So when I saw a young mother of two young children posted the question on Facebook, I took pause. Not only because I know this young woman and my heart aches for her and her family, but what I found even more distressing than her question were the callous responses from other mothers. They were heart breaking to read. As the child of an alcoholic, believe me, there was nothing fun or funny about mom’s drinking. Why do we continue to glorify alcoholism, and even encourage young mothers to drink while caring for their children?

Some of the responses went something like this:

Some people may find it a bit offensive maybe put it in a cup that you can’t see through. 😊

Nope!🍷 (No less than 6 people said “Nope.”)

In a plastic cup would be better. You don’t want a busy body calling social services.
Just saying.

Duh, It’s wrong to walk your kid without it!!

Ummm… I’m sure not! That was standard procedure for my group.

Except ours was beer or vodka…and let’s talk about trick or treating!!!

Mommin the right way, and the only way!

Nope! And yeah…a friend…right

Haha Red or blue solo cup!!

My mommy group “might” have wine Fridays at the park. And wine is a loose term for booze of every kind.

What this young mother reaching out for help? Was this her way to say, I’m starting to wobble, help me?

Most women know that drinking and child care don’t mix. I’ve talked with so many mothers who sobered and the guilt and shame for what they put their kids through, the years that flew by where they weren’t mentally or emotionally present for their kids, the regrets that piled up during their drinking careers, for all of them, was painful to face. Why is drinking encouraged and celebrated when it can tear down the family structure?

I’m not against social drinking, but none of these comments sound social. Instead, they sound like women who are either afraid to take a stance and do the right thing because they don’t want to be axed from the buzzed friend group, or they have budding alcohol problems of their own.

If I didn’t know the age of these women, I would swear these responses could’ve come from a group of high school students. Did you know that a person’s emotional growth stops at whatever age they started to drink?

My mother’s drinking wasn’t the least bit funny. Her alcoholism was devastating to our family, and she rarely ever drank in front of us! What does this say about our current drinking culture? My mom escalated from a social drinker to a full blown alcoholic in a span of five years, and to be fair, she did have a benzo problem too. Women typically get into trouble faster than men. Our bodies cannot handle all that booze. Please ladies, rethink the drink. Our kids are precious. They deserve the best mom you can be, and with alcohol on board, your patience won’t be what it is when sober; your judgment will be skewed, and I have to ask and wonder, after boozing it in the park with the babies in tow, who’s driving the children home from that play-date?