Proud grandmother has first brandy in ten years

We’re all so happy to see Shane Lowry winning the Open. An incredible achievement and one to be celebrated. Sadly though, all the images I’m seeing take place in a pub with lots of talk of filling the claret jug with alcohol and drinking brandy.

Grandmother has first brandy in ten years

Yes, “Grandmother has first brandy in 10 years“, is an actual headline from our national news broadcaster here  on the RTE news website.

In a terrific interview with Shane’s lovely Granny Scanlon, when she spoke about how proud she was of her Grandson, our national broadcaster highlights alcohol.

Mrs Scanlon mentions she had two brandies when she had not drunk for ten years. She was honest enough to admit the brandies “nearly killed her”. Now, we’re not criticising Mrs Scanlon, suggesting she has a drink problem or she should not drink.

We’re criticising our national broadcaster for once again celebrating alcohol to generate a good headline. Ignoring all the other lovely stuff, Mrs Scalon said, any of which would have been interesting. For example, Shane eating the turf.


A woman drinking her first brandy in years is a news headline. The RTE headlines reflects a toxic culture that celebrating always means alcohol.

Philly Mc Mahon calls stop

Philly Mc Mahon disagrees. The talented Dublin footballer and Gym owner does not drink. He believes Irish people have an unhealthy relationship with alcohol, He states Irish people believe

Ah sure, we’re Irish we like to drink, we still glamorise the whole culture around it, without realising it still destroys whole families.”

Last year, when Philly was on the Late Late show and alcohol was mentioned, there was a big cheer. Unlike most people Philly was offended. Philly has worked to try and change this and I’m looking forward to reading his book “The Choice”.

A long way to go

Despite Philly’s and many other people’s efforts, as we can see from a headline celebrating someone drinking, we’ve still a long way to go to change drinking culture. The media do not help and could do so much more.

Instead of colluding with the alcohol industry to keep us believing that alcohol is harmless, they could warn us about alcohol harm.

Now days the media always end reports on suicide with

“If you’ve been affected by any of the issues raised in this programme you can contact the following helpline numbers….”

So if they can do it with suicide, imagine if the media ended all reports on alcohol with

“Alcohol is a psychoactive drug that can kill, if you’ve been affected by alcohol harm, you can contact the following helpline numbers…”

A seductive red

So imagine after every wine review, talking about a

“Very seductive, soft, sweet, strawberry, Pinot Noir,

Or every article talking about new gins

 “A funky orange gin that will be especially popular in the rebel county”

(Both recent quotes)

The article or interview had a warning

Alcohol is a psychoactive drug that can kill, if you’ve been affected by alcohol harm, you can contact the following helpline numbers….”

It would be an initial start to reducing the passion of our toxic love affair with alcohol.

Not convinced?

Until the media stop selling the idea, that alcohol is this harmless party drug and instead have to warn people that alcohol is a psychoactive drug, we’ll continue to see too many people being harmed by alcohol.

After all, when we stopped allowing cigarette advertising and put warnings on packets we started to see attitudes towards smoking changing. Now smoking is not cool, and for the first time ever we now have more ex-smokers than actual smokers.

This all happened as part of a big public health campaign but it shows it is possible to change attitudes with good leadership. The media has a major role to play in this.

Ignore the hype

So it’s difficult to avoid the hype that celebrating means we drink. However, just be aware, that’s all it is- hype. It’s possible to enjoy ourselves without alcohol. And as Mrs Scanlon found alcohol can take away from the enjoyment of happy occasions.

Are you affected by “Silent Voices”?

Silent Voices, is a new campaign which aims to show how Ireland’s toxic relationship with alcohol hurts so many people.

This campaign is not about blaming people, or pointing fingers. Silent Voices want to stop the cycle of damage repeating and repeating across generations. As Father Peter Mc Verry says

Hurt people hurt other people”.


Marion, Barbara and Carol are 3 brave women

The 3 brave women leading the campaign have spoken out about the impact of their parents drinking on their lives.

Marion Rackard has been acutely aware of the silent stress including feeling powerless to do anything about it.

Barbara Whelan had feelings of anxiety and depression throughout her life. She began to realise the impact it had on her and sought professional help.

Carol Fawsitt found her self-esteem was “shot”. She felt different to everyone else, always on the outside, never being good enough, always feeling inadequate.

By setting up this campaign, these brave women are helping to start a much needed conversation about the harm alcohol does.

 Fergal felt shame was like his second skin

The celebrity BBC TV presenter Fergal Keane grew up with alcohol misuse. He felt shame all the time. It was like a second skin. The other big feeling he has is grief, because he never had a normal childhood.

In the video launching the campaign, Fergal talks about his own misuse of alcohol. He also makes the really important point that his parents did not wilfully set out to harm him. Useful to remember if you’re a parent drinking too much and feeling ashamed of the impact on your children.

Fergal’s book a memoir of his life called  “All of these people” is well worth while reading and is available from libraries or online

Are you more likely to have a problem with alcohol?

The research on whether children with parents who misused alcohol are more likely themselves to have problems with alcohol is mixed. Some studies report there is a higher risk of such children going on to have problems with alcohol, other say it is less likely. It seems to be generally accepted though that children affected by alcohol harm are more likely to have mental health issues such as stress, anxiety, depression etc. as adults. Silent Voices has more information here.

Everyone in Ireland knows some affected 

Since the early 1960’s our average drinking per person has gone from 4.9 litres per person to a high of 14.3 litres in 2001. The Health Research Board report that over 1.3 million people drink too much and the Silent Voices group estimate over 400,000 adults have been affected by parental drinking

silent voices



Are you a silent voice?

Are you an adult child affected by your parents’ alcohol misuse?

Well half the battle is to acknowledge that alcohol harmed your childhood and this harm may still be affecting you to-day. It might even be affecting your own ability to manage your drinking.

You might find it useful to read the stories of other adult survivors which you can find here.

You might also find our tips here on coping with emotional neglect useful.  Click here for details

When is drinking too much our fault?

Last week, we wrote about drinking culture  raising the issue of is it really our fault if we drink too much?


What do the experts say?


The experts look at three things, they call Structural, Community and Individual.

fault




What’s the structural issue?


Structural looks at stuff like legal systems and regulations. So in Ireland, we licence pubs and we allow alcohol advertising. Until the new Public Health Alcohol bill is actually implemented alcohol can be sold below cost as a loss leader by big supermarkets. Makes it very cheap and easy to buy.


What the bill won’t do is stop sports accepting alcohol advertising. So we’ll still have the ridiculous situation of leading sport heroes like Johnny Sexton accepting the “Heineken Man of the Match award”

So in Ireland, structural factors are still stacked in favour of drinking alcohol.

What’s the Community issue?


The community aspect is how people as a society actually work and live together. The GAA is a big part of our community. They’re more aware of the damage alcohol does as they don’t accept alcohol sponsorships and they train club staff to provide help for people who drink too much. (Click here for details)


So they are well ahead of the rugby gang. However so many of the local clubs depend on alcohol sales to stay afloat and the range of alcohol free drinks in club bars is generally poor.

Communion and Confirmation season


With communion and confirmation season on us, we can really see how everything resolves around drink. So often the Communion party is the bouncy castle in the garden, where all the kids play outside while the adults sit around for hours drinking. Not just one or two glasses of wine, but a bottle or two. Kids grow up to see this as normal and then repeat the cycle when they are adults.

So the community we live in is still very much stacked in favour of drinking alcohol.

Does the individual have a part to play?


So is it any wonder we drink too much given the pressures to drink all the time? Is it our fault? This is where it’s useful to separate out fault versus responsibility.

Fault versus Responsibility


So if your partner cheats on you, it’s not your fault. If you grew up in a household where drinking too much was normal, it’s not your fault.
However it is your responsibility to figure out how you are going to deal with it. Because as the actor Will Smith says it’s


“Your heart, your life, your responsibility to be happy”.

So as we wrote last week, knowing the game is rigged against you helps. It is not your fault, drinking less is so difficult. It however your responsibility to decide how you are going to deal with the obstacles placed in your way.

It’s not your fault, but it is your responsibility

So when things go wrong, like you discover your partner is cheating, or just a really rough day in work and anxiety levels are through the roof, it’s your responsibility to choose how you will deal with this.

Have a bottle of wine, or just a glass, or maybe just head out for a walk? It’s not your fault, you’re having a rough time, but it’s your responsibility to choose how you will deal with it.

Will’s video is well worth watching and you can see it here.

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Is Blue Monday really so blue?

The idea that Blue Monday, the 3rd Monday in January is the most depressing day has taken hold in the last few years. Even though the science behind blue Monday is highly suspect!  Many people do find the 3rd week of January   depressing- the New Year’s resolutions have been broken or it’s very tough going and money is very tight until the end of the month.

So we thought we’d cheer you up by looking at some of the really positive things that are happening.

 

#Metoo movement

This was a major story in the last few years. Women standing up for themselves and calling out those in power, abusing that power by sexually assaulting women. It became a topic of conversation at tea breaks over lunch and for the first time many men became aware of the level of intimidation many women must face every day.

 

Change is happening at ground level

One highlight for me was a coffee break where one man stated woman were exaggerating about unwanted  sexual innuendo. Every single woman from women in their 20’s to their 60’s put up their hand to say yes, they had been subjected to unwanted sexual remarks or  physical contact at least once. The man was visibly shocked and hopefully he has a new take on the issue.

 

Women’s voices are becoming stronger

We had the horrific Belfast rape trial followed by further horrible questioning in a Cork trial where a woman was asked about the underwear she was wearing, showing rape myths are alive and well.

But now women are standing up for themselves.  There were protests after the Belfast trial and  Cork Trials. Jena Keating a Cork woman stood alone on Patrick Street in her underwear, with her mouth taped and ‘this is not consent’ written all over her body.

People starting hugging her (click here  for video) and she really got the point across.

 

Brave Campaigners

Brave Vicky Phelan has changed the face of Irish medicine and how women are perceived with her decision to campaign on cervical cancer screening.

Louise O Neill’s book on sexual consent was turned in to a searing sold out play and Lynn Ruane’s book about her life won an award.

We also had the campaigners for repeal persuading the people of Ireland to vote for abortion. Whatever your views about abortion, it always disturbed me that in a country which banned abortion we did not have a decent child care system and children often have to wait years for health treatment. Maybe now we’re a little less hypocritical.

Another highlight for me was seeing Emmet Kirwan’s video showing one woman’s life, it covered so many different important topics. (click here)

 

The backlash against alcohol begins

At long last, we’re beginning to see more people starting to question our attitude to alcohol

There was

The well-known commentator Adrian Childs documentary talking about his relationship with alcohol.

BBB news talking about resisting “drink pushers” during the festive season

The Irish media even got in on the act saying Merry Christmas cards showing alcohol give the wrong message about alcohol.

 

A pub without alcohol

We even have Ireland’s first ever permanent pub without alcohol coming. Hopefully opening in February.

Imagine that!

There’s also a few other pubs. All In Dublin as far as I know, but they just have alcohol free sessions. Now if they could just reduce the price of alcohol free drinks!

 

Addiction services starting to change

Finally the horrible practise of bullying and insulting people with alcohol problems is now  starting to be challenged. This article appeared in the Irish Times.  This practise has no benefit in treatment so  avoid any treatment that includes this approach.

 

Public Health Alcohol Bill

A major achievement was the passing of the Public Health Alcohol Bill. Despite powerful lobbying the bill finally passed. Now the Government just has to implement it.

 

Blue Monday is not so blue

So yes, we’ve still a long way to go, this Blue Monday  but finally Irish society is beginning to change. so don’t give up hope. Change is always possible. If you’re feeling a bit Blue Monday why not look back on the last year and see if you can find five memories or events that made you happy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bad week for the Public Health Alcohol Bill

The Public Health Alcohol bill which we wrote about here was back in the Dail this week. It’s now 1,000 days since the bill was first proposed. In that time over 3,000 people have died from alcohol related harm.

 

Alcohol kills more people than suicide

As we’ve written before alcohol harm kills more people than illegal drugs and suicide.

Public Health Alcohol Bill

So you would think the bill which is aimed at reducing these deaths would be treated urgently. But no, two other bills, the Good Friday Pub bill and Craft brewery opening hours bills  have been introduced after the Public Health Alcohol bill and  are now law.

 

The Public Health Alcohol bill came back into the Dail

It was hoped the bill would be approved by the Dail on Wednesday. The debate started in the evening and ran for over 4 hours. A small number of deputies kept talking with total misinformation.

Michael  Healy Rae- Yes- he of the publican family, that thinks overgrown hedges kills more people, thought the bill was aimed at young people only.

In fairness, Stephen Donnelly, the Fianna Fail spokesman on health withdrew his amendment as he did not want to delay the bill. He also admitted to now being aware of the links between alcohol and cancer.

Louise O Reilly also proposed a useful amendment to start detailed tracking of alcohol related harm.

 

The Bill does not pass

With all the hot air, though the debate ran out of time. As one commentator said

“Listening to the filibustering and misinformation in the Dail by a handful of Deputies.

We have been apple picking in orchards in childhood and down the Wild Atlantic Way”

You can watch the full dispiriting debate at this link here- (pick Wed 27th Sept)  if you have masochistic tendencies, or you can pick up the speeches here.

 

The media role

The media did not cover themselves in glory either. Disgracefully, Virgin Media asked Michael Overgrown Hedges Healy  Rae to present a current affairs programme dealing with the Public Health Alcohol bill. Healy Rae missed a Dail vote to do this. There was no mention of his conflict of interest. However Senator Frances Black did a great job defending the bill. You can see a clip here.

Gerry O Sullivan, questioned Healy Rae ‘s appearance as a current affairs presenter on Kerry Radio and got a lot of abuse for his troubles. Link here.

On Twitter, the political editor of the Irish Times, Pat Leahy said he could only watch the debate with a half bottle of claret. (Smart Pat, you’re not binge drinking ). This generated multiple  replies mainly along the lines of

“It would drive you to drink, all right,”

and

You’re going to die, we’re all going to die.”

Very few of the replies were active supporters of the Public Health Alcohol bill.

 

Alcogenic Culture?

So if you’re trying to manage your drinking, our alcogenic or drinking environment does not help. All the messages are drinking is fun, sexy, entertaining and that life without drink is boring and uninteresting.

It can be very hard not to absorb these messages. It makes trying to reduce drinking very difficult as  discussed here  and here.

 

It’s changing though

There are signs of change though. 92% of the public do support the bill.

Public Health Alcohol bill

 

Minister Simon Harris has committed to bringing the bill back into the Dail next Wednesday. Hopefully the Government will stand up to alcohol industry pressure.

So just keep reminding yourself, your thinking is more informed than many of our TD’s and media. You know alcohol is a problem.

 

Motivation wavering?

And if you feel your self-belief or confidence weakening try reading some of our writer’s stories on our blog. For example

MSBG writes about “how living in Ireland made her  drink more to be accepted by Irish Friends

Irvine says “  he can’t live in Ireland as he drinks too much.

Siolta writes ” on her fears of  being seen as no craic ” if she does n’t drink

Beanyneamy writes ” on drinking away the Irish stereotype

Or just watch the very funny Irish intervention.Over 4 million people have enjoyed it so far.

 

Rose of Tralee finalist “confesses” addiction problem

Like it or loath it the Rose of Tralee, gets plenty of media attention with one headline stating

“Startling confession from Carlow Rose wows the nation”

the confession refers to an  addiction problem.

 

Rose of Tralee confesses addiction problem

This headline caused much controversy on social media with comments such as this

from Amy Lynam

“Another disgusting headline. 

Confession: the act of admitting that you have done something wrong or illegal @IrishTimes you are contributing to addiction stigma, please stop”

The headline was eventually taken down.

 

What’s the problem?

Well Amy is right.  Confessing to an addiction problem is seen as something shameful. We don’t “confess”  to breast cancer or a wonky elbow.  Why?  Because we don’t blame people for their breast cancers or wonky elbows.

However, you’re probably thinking, unlike addiction, people don’t cause their own breast cancers or wonky elbows. They are responsible for their own drinking though.

 

Drinking is a risk factor for breast cancer

Facts are though some breast cancers are caused by drinking and some wonky elbows are caused by falling on a tennis court.  But thankfully we don’t label these separately and decide the poor sufferer is to be shamed and blamed. So why do we do it with drinking?  It stops people looking for help when they do have a problem with their drinking. Making it worse, not only do we shame people who drink too much we also shame people who are trying to control their drinking.

 

We shame people who try to control their drinking

We’ve a great acceptance of people who drink too much, once they do not admit to having a problem.

“Sure she’s great craic”

“She’s the life and soul of the party. “

But try to control your drinking or not drink at all, and you feel  labelled as boring or you feel pressured to drink to please friends. Or you even  get asked if you’re pregnant. Our atittudes towards drinking are a  total paradox!

 

Rose of Tralee opens a new chapter

So the Rose of Tralee’s bravery was rightly admired and she was even made favourite to win. (She did n’t, that would be a step too far!) You can see her wonderful interview here. However she did not have an addiction problem, her parents had the addiction problem.  She just sadly grew up with it.  So the headlines were even more misleading and no wonder commentators were annoyed and right to be concerned about the poor reporting.  All the media mentioned her parents had a heroin problem, very few of them mentioned they had an alcohol addiction problem first.

 

Don’t let stigma get to you

Whether you just have an occasional problem with alcohol or whether you have a physical dependence on alcohol, it’s really important not to let society’s shaming attitudes towards alcohol  bring you down. It’s not easy as the now sadly deceased social justice campaigner Dara Quigley eloquently puts it

That is one of the unseen struggles of recovery from addiction. A constant battle between what you know is true, a desire to make it out the other side, pitted against a society which views addicts – particularly women addicts – as moral hazards to be contained and controlled.”

Dara’s full  article  can be found here

 

Tell yourself you deserve a better life

As Dara says,

“Tell yourself you deserve a better life”

So if you are struggling with alcohol, beware the constant messages from society  you are less than other people. You are a person who deserves compassion and respect as you deal with a problem.

Every single day, tell yourself  you deserve a better life.

 

Photo courtesy of RSVP

Have a break, have a brainwashing

Leading journalist Jennifer O Connell likes brainwashing herself when she’s travelling home on a train. She pretends she’s travelling first class as she orders her cigarettes from the trolley and starts smoking. She might even have a packet of peanuts as she plugs in her earphones and she starts relaxing in the crowded train.

You’re probably horrified that Jennifer has been so brainwashed into liking cigarettes,  she’s still smoking cigarettes on a crowded train.

Nadine loves her surf holiday

Meanwhile over in the Sunday Business Post, another leading journalist Nadine O’ Regan writes about her super healthy surfing holiday, in a fabulous five star hotel in Fuerteventura. She loves the way the hotel offer her favourite cigarettes at breakfast time from the breakfast menu. All included in the cost.

Melissa thinks her job is in a “blokey space”

Sorcha interviews taste expert Melissa about women smoking cigarettes in the Irish Times. Often Meslissa gets asked

“Are you sure you want that big pack of cigarettes”

“I know from experience that many women are uncomfortable about working in or smoking cigarettes. It’s bro culture.

Things are changing for the better though. This weekend Melissa is the key speaker at a first ever festival in Cork to celebrate women and smoking.

It has not been advertised much. But then with  free publicity in leading newspapers,they probably don’t need to advertise.

Horrified?

Do you think this is crazy?  Women celebrating their smoking. We all know smoking kills and no advertising or smoking in public is allowed. In fact Ireland took the global lead in introducing the smoking ban. A lead that many countries followed.  So you probably believe  Jennifer and Nadine should not be smoking in public places and the Irish Times should not be giving free publicity to a smoking festival.

 

Brainwashed out of smoking

So attitudes to smoking have really changed since our Government rightly took action  way back in 2004. The Government estimate over 3,000 lives were saved in the first 10 years of the ban.

Next month, is the last time you will see cigarette boxes with branding, colours and logos.  After that colourful cigarette boxes are banned.  Most people think this is a good idea. Attitudes towards smoking have changed as a direct result of Government action. Smoking is not “cool” or socially acceptable  anymore.

Brainwashed into drinking

So now in the stories above, replace smoking with alcohol. Jennifer enjoyed a 25cl bottle of wine on the train. Nadine liked the option of the bottle of prosecco with her breakfast and Melissa wants to sell more beer to women.

As we reported previously the alcohol industry is targeting women and these three examples show their efforts are succeeding. All around us we see alcohol shown as a simple harm free relaxing joy. We’re been influenced maybe even brainwashed by marketing that alcohol is just a normal everyday item.

Alcohol is more harmful than smoking

Yet according to the prestigious Lancet medical  journal, alcohol does more harm to the person and people around them. In fact a group of experts concluded that alcohol is the number one most harmful drug. Smoking is only in 6th place.

brainwashing

You can see the full report at this link. So all the action on smoking,  yet alcohol does not even have to be labelled as harmful!

Don’t be fooled by the brainwashing

So give yourself a break. Don’t be fooled by all the brainwashing. If you find the thought of smoking revolting, next time you’re tempted into drinking too much, replace the image of that lovely tipple with an image of a revolting half smoked cigarette dripping ash. And if you’d like our Government to take action and stand up to the alcohol industry, support the public health alcohol bill here.

If you’d like to learn more about low risk drinking, click here.

Photo by Oscar Keys on Unsplash

Lessons for Life- part three

This is our final post on  lessons for life  from the book.

“Life Lessons: Two Experts on Death and Dying Teach Us about the Mysteries of Life and Living”

These are the key messages I took from the book and provide  quick help when you’re pushed for time.

Lessons for life

 lessons for life

Anger

  1. Anger is natural except when it is suppressed
  2. Anger creates action
  3. Anger tells us when we have not dealt with our hurt
  4. Generally there is another emotion behind our anger
  5. Have a safe space to let out anger

 

Happiness

  1. Happiness is a natural state- it depends on our perception
  2. Happy people are the least self-absorbed and self-centred
  3. Don’t focus on “shoulds” if you want to be happy.  I “should” have done this, I “should“have done that
  4. Life is long, but time is short
  5. Change how you react to situations that make you feel bad about your life
  6. There is no good without the bad- e.g. There can be no mountains without the valleys
  7. In the ordinary, find the special

 

Play

  1. Playing keeps us young, passionate and helps relationships to thrive
  2. Playing is to live life to its fullest
  3. Playing improves our mental health in the same way that physical exercise does
  4. Strive to get the work out of fun- if it’s fun it’s not work.
  5. Watch out and don’t turn play into productivity – it must be enjoyed to be play
  6. Every experience is rich with the possibilities for magic.

 

Patience

  1. Accept you don’t always get what you want
  2. The ability to delay gratification is important
  3. Learn to live with a situation as it is- not as you would like it to be
  4. Each life experience comes when you are ready
  5. Need to exercise the patience muscle- think about being patient
  6. Develop a faith or belief that healing is always at work – even if you can’t feel it
  7. Don’t always try to fix things
  8. Have hope

 

Surrender

  1. Think of life as a roller coaster- ride don’t drive
  2. Use the Roller Coaster image when you’re exhausted from trying to control
  3. Don’t fight the unfightable – let go
  4. Turn into a situation not away
  5. Use the serenity prayer first written by American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr made famous by AA

“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
and wisdom to know the difference”

 

Forgiveness

  1. Forgiveness heals our hurt and wounds
  2. Forgiveness restores us to a place of grace
  3. Non forgiveness keeps us stuck- a perpetual victim
  4. Forgive yourself
  5. We are here to make mistakes

From me, I’d add forgiveness is for yourself, for your own piece of mind. It does not mean you forget what happened or put yourself back in a position where the same hurt can happen  again.

So that’s it- our lessons for life summary of a really useful book. Hope you found it helpful. You can find the first post in  the series here and the second post here.

Her drinking was Amelia’s dirty little secret

Amelia feels really guilty about her drinking.  She feels like she has to maintain secrecy about her drinking. She does not want to be out of touch with her friends. She wants to have a normal social life. To feel connected to other people. But after a lot of thinking she’s decided to come clean.

 

Why did she feel the need to drink?

She tried to figure out why she felt drinking was so essential to her role as a Mother. So she was not one of the 630,000 Facebook group members of “Moms who need wine”. But she did feel the urge to keep drinking. After all Motherhood is stressful and we need the wine to relax at the end of a long exhausting day.

 

Women don’t become fools when they become Mothers

Amelia is an intelligent women. She kept to the then guidelines about drinking while pregnant. (Now days it’s recommended, no drinking while pregnant or trying to get pregnant) She knew Mother’s don’t become fools when they have children. So why did she and her friends feel the need to drink so much?

 

Amelia asked questions about her drinking

Amelia realised part of the reason she drank was because it’s just so normal now.  As leading journalist  Gabrielle Glasser says wine has become

“Normalised, expected and then reinforced by popular culture, social media, advertising. The volume and ubiquity of the pro-drinking message has made it infinitely more likely that even mothers who know it’s a caricature, will immediately think of pouring themselves a drink as a release valve once the children are in bed – and then do it.

 

Amelia realised wine is everywhere

Amelia knew what Gabrielle was saying is true. From

“The wine glass engraved

“You’re not really drinking alone if your kids are home”

Or the flowery fridge magnet chuckling

 “The most expensive part of having kids is all the wine you have to drink.”

 All the messages we’re surrounded by, are its safe to drink alcohol. The message is by drinking we’re fighting against the constant pressure that society expects us to be perfect Mothers. And who would not want an escape from that awful pressure!

 

Amelia wrote an article about her drinking

So Amelia did lots of research to try and understand what was going on. She found that in the UK in 2009 it was reported that the most significant trend was women drinking more. She found people encouraging Mothers to drink so they would not  be seen as a tiger or helicopter Mum.

She wrote an article about her research.

 

The secret shame

Amelia had to think long and about publishing the article on her drinking. She felt shame about her drinking. The problem was she was not that horrible label “alcoholic”, but she had given up drinking. So she did not want to appear sanctimonious or look like she was judging people.  She felt pressure to stay quiet about her healthy life choice. But finally, she decided to publish to see if she could start a conversation.

As she states

“The attitude is:

‘If you don’t have a problem with it, why do you have a problem with it?’”

But if we don’t talk about it, how do we know if we have a problem?”

It’s well worth while reading the full article which you can find  here

If you found this post interesting you might also enjoy BeanyNeamy’s story here.