As wine mom memes have exploded across social media, high-risk drinking among women is on the rise. 

If you’re on social media at all, there’s a good chance you’ve seen dozens of women and wine memes. They’re pretty much everywhere. “It’s Wine O’clock”, “Time to Wine Down”, “I need some Mommy Juice”. We’ve even seen t-shirts with slogans like “corks are for quitters!” and another comparing wine to duct tape because it “fixes everything!”

While it’s easy to laugh these memes off as a joke, #WineMom points to a darker punchline: By some estimates, high-risk drinking among women has soared by over 50% in the last decade alone. It’s an alarming trend that, if it continues, is nothing short of a public health crisis waiting to happen.

With the strong connection between wine and just about everything in a woman’s life—from work stress and me-time to parenthood and socializing—it’s no surprise that rates of drinking and alcohol addiction are rising among women.

What’s Normal Drinking Anyway?

One reason that the women and wine narrative is so prevalent has to do with our culture, which normalizes excessive drinking. especially problematic for women in recovery. In a culture that portrays wine as something women need to survive, there are fewer and fewer places where those in recovery can steer clear of temptation.

Everything from the local book club and work events to family outings and weekend getaways all tend to revolve around alcohol. In many settings, being intoxicated isn’t the thing that sets you apart; being the one who’s sober does.

How Normalizing Excessive Drinking Impacts Youth

The ongoing normalization can have a big impact on our kids as well. In a teen’s eyes, it can seem hypocritical when you tell them not to drink when you have a glass in your hand every night.

Research seems to indicate that kids are more likely to drink in excess as adults if they’ve been predisposed to it growing up. And because excessive drinking enables you to “check out” as a parent, it has the potential to create attachment injuries that can have a real impact later in life.

How to Model a Healthy Relationship to Drinking

Whether you’re a parent having a few drinks in front of your kids, or a woman sharing wine among friends, most people realize that others are there taking it all in. What they sometimes forget to think about, however, is the message they’re sending by how they treat their own consumption and how they treat those around them.

We’re all responsible for ourselves, but we all play an important role in the lives of those we care about. Modeling a healthy relationship with alcohol empowers others to do the same.

To model this to others while benefiting yourself, here are some things to consider:

  1. Think about why.
    Many of our habits are automatic. Before defaulting to a drink, pause for a moment to consider why. Am I doing this because I’m upset about something? Am I having a drink because I always do at this time or during this activity? This makes it a conscious choice.
  2. Do something else.
    If you decide not to have a drink, you can replace the activity of drinking with something else. Going for a walk. Calling a friend. Building a fort with your kids. Over time, you may find that these new healthy activities replace the default of reaching for a drink.
  3. Drink something else.
    If it is about what you’re going to consume and not the activity of drinking itself, substitute your beverage with something non-alcoholic. There are many delicious options to choose from. Sometimes just having something in your hand is enough to make the activity still feel ‘normal’.
  4. Connect in other ways.
    Often going to the bar or having a few drinks at someone’s home develops as the default activity amongst a friend or peer group. Mix things up by suggesting some other activities. You’ll find you get to know people better by simply engaging in something else.

No matter what you choose, the most important aspect of developing and maintaining a healthy relationship with alcohol is approaching your drinking consciously.

We Can Help You

Ledgehill’s two facilities in Annapolis County, Nova Scotia, provide gender-specific treatment for men and women who need to heal in a peaceful, supportive environment free from fear or distraction. If you’d like to learn more about the addiction and mental health treatment programs provided by Ledgehill, enrol yourself in one of our programs, or refer someone else, please call us at 1-866-750-3181.