When Is "Wine Mom" Culture Too Much? 

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An interesting phenomenon that has emerged in today's culture is the rise of the “Wine Mom.” We’ve all seen memes and jokes on social media about moms who depend on wine to relieve the pressures of raising kids, running a household, and holding down a job.

The trend began as an admission that being a mom is a tough job that comes with a high degree of stress, and having a glass of wine became the aid for trying to deal with it, often in the context of relaxing with friends and fellow mothers. You can find jokes about it on mugs, glasses, and cards. But, this reliance on alcohol to manage stress can cover up a serious problem with alcoholism that needs to be dealt with on its own terms — without a socially accepted reliance on substances.

Women and Stress

Being a mom means dealing with stress, from the first moment a tiny, helpless being is placed into your arms, all the way through to helping children grow into successful adults. Juggling that responsibility, along with the needs of family, work, and yourself, can lead to a feeling of “mommy burnout.”

For some, having a glass of wine in the evening can seem like the most innocent method of dealing with the demands of daily life. But for others, it can be a trap that leads to dependence and addiction. In addition, women who don’t have children can also experience these feelings of being overwhelmed with stress in their daily lives and can overindulge in alcohol in order to manage them.

The ‘Wine Mom’ Culture as Social Facilitator

You can encounter the serving of wine during almost any gathering of women, whether at a bar during happy hour or during book clubs, art classes, baby showers, and other social activities. Drinking wine is considered benign and sometimes even healthy due to its antioxidants. Alcohol is often used to take the edge off of tension and reduce inhibitions, making social interaction easier among co-workers, club members, and other associates.

When Wine Culture Becomes a Substance Abuse Problem

Because wine is considered such a socially acceptable drink, consuming it can easily become a daily habit without anyone noticing. People may indulge in increasing amounts, telling themselves they are just using alcohol “to relax and enjoy myself.” Some of these women may have a predisposition to alcohol abuse that they are unaware of, or they may find their reliance on alcohol suddenly becomes a habit they can’t stop. Alcohol use disorder is a common problem that often goes unnoticed by those who have a problem — until the effects begin to take a serious toll on their lives.

Signs Your Wine Drinking Has Become a Problem

Addiction experts recognize a number of signs that indicate alcohol abuse disorder:

  • Being unable to limit the amount of alcohol you drink
  • Spending a lot of time thinking about alcohol, acquiring it, or recovering from the effects of drinking
  • Trying to stop drinking without success
  • Using alcohol in situations where it is not safe, such as driving, swimming, or other activities
  • Failing to perform major obligations at work, at home, or at school
  • Continuing to drink even though it is causing major problems in your life
  • Feeling strong cravings to drink
  • Needing to drink more and more alcohol to achieve the desired effect
  • Withdrawing from activities or social engagements in order to drink
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when you don’t drink, such as nausea, shaking, or sweating

Treatment Can Help You Learn New Coping Skills

If you notice you are experiencing any of these warning signs, there are steps you can take. A treatment program for alcohol dependence can help you to develop many new skills for coping with stress and cravings for alcohol. Counseling sessions can help you understand the reasons behind your drinking. Behavioral training can allow you to gain better control over your thoughts and your actions. Group support can put you in touch with others who understand the problem and can support you on your road to recovery. Medications to help you avoid alcohol are also available to assist you in changing your behavior.

Many Treatment Options Are Available

Many options for treatment are available for substance abuse problems. You can join an outpatient program that allows you to continue your usual work and family life while learning the skills to help you stop drinking. For severe problems, in-patient treatment may be the best option, so you can concentrate on changing your thinking and behaviors without distractions. Combination in-patient and outpatient programs are available. As touched on above, support groups can be very helpful in connecting you with others who are dealing with similar problems who can support you on your journey to recovery.

Tags: healthy, Motherhood, Stress Mangagement, substance abuse

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Written By

Andrea Poteet-Bell

Andrea Poteet-Bell is a journalist and editor. Her writing has appeared in local daily newspapers, alternative weeklies, a... See Full Bio

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