The other day I saw a couple of memes on a popular women’s humor Instagram that I’m sure you are familiar with:
“You’re not really drinking alone if the kids are at home.”
“The most expensive part of having kids is all the wine you have to drink.”
“It’s Friday night…Time to be a hero and rescue some wine trapped in a bottle.”
I’ve drank an entire bottle of wine to myself on multiple occasions, but maybe that isn’t unusual. I could name plenty of female friends who have done the same. And based on the number of similar memes (and novelty wineglasses that hold an entire bottle) floating around that laud the magic of wine in ailing all of your problems, as stressed out adult females, we’re allowed, and even encouraged to respond to our problems with alcohol. Wow, sounds easy enough!
Still, I could never moderate. I mean, I could never moderate. And what I mean to say is…I could never moderate. Like, ever. If I intended to drink 2 drinks, it would always be 3 or 4. If I was intentionally “being bad” with 3 drinks, it was always 5. And if it were a night out, there was no cap on my number. And at 5’3,” this could be a real problem. For all other facets of my life, I was able to maintain a stellar grade point, graduate from one of the best schools in the whole damn world, eat healthy, and work out almost every day. But there was just this one thing that I couldn’t control, and it began to really eat at me. No matter how much I tried, I never felt in control of that one little thing.
And I felt tired of feeling tired and depressed, even if I didn’t drink that much—feeling as though I’d fallen flat on my face. I couldn’t admit to myself that I was hungover, because I didn’t exactly fit the classic definition. But I probably thought I was supposed to drink like others could—to fit myself into the package of those pseudo-female-positivity memes. Using alcohol to fuel my own positivity and strength as a woman, like everyone else.
As I grew up and learned what moderation meant in conjunction with a responsible, productive adult life, I realized that I could not reconcile being a casual drinker and a happy person. Because my definition of casual drinking didn’t extend into moderation…it was casual by my own definition. And maybe that definition was flawed, and maybe it wasn’t my fault that it was flawed.
It’s been a long time since I drank alcohol, and it seems that every other day I turn around and find a new friend who is also trying out abstinence for the first time. Not even because they attend AA meetings, or admit they are an alcoholic (I have done neither). Sobriety is “trendy,” but perhaps we are learning to define it a little better. They are just people like me who look beyond standard definitions of drinking habits and find that abstinence is easier than moderation (though that isn’t always true). It’s better to start early, and for some, that doesn’t have to be at a rock-bottom moment—it can be a moment that helps you to find your own individuality and strength, in the face of popular culture that tells us we should never have a problem with drinking a little more than we should.
So when I see memes that preach to a larger audience that over-consumption is okay and even a positive response to stress as a woman, it pisses me off. What I’m trying to say is: I’m sick of the internet perpetuating the idea that drinking should be a response to life’s troubles. Especially for women. Especially when the line between casual and problematic drinking is just plain hazy.
» Shared Anonymously by An Amazing Reader of The Sunny Shadow
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