I don’t have to wonder why I reached for alcohol for relief and started to medicate my anxiety with it.
Now that I am sober, I can see it crystal clear.
The culture that I live in handed it to me on a silver platter. It flavored it like raspberry and lemon drops and celebrated and cheered me on as I drank and comforted myself. Society helped me by making me feel like drinking wine every night was normal. Mommy needs wine; Mommy deserves wine; Mommy earned her wine.
As human beings, we have a natural desire to want to avoid pain.
Take the pandemic, for instance. Online sales for alcohol are up 243 percent, in-store sales shot up 55 percent, and liquor stores are considered essential and allowed to stay open. Our culture has normalized alcohol as a coping mechanism. Period. Society has identified a person “normal” if they drink alcohol and “abnormal” if they don’t.
I never noticed it when I was still drinking. Alcohol is everywhere you look: it’s in constant advertisements, movies and television shows, lyrics in most songs, sporting events and parties, concerts, baby showers, work meetings, movie theaters, and at the end of road races. People drink at home; on weekends; in the evenings after work; at barbecues, celebrations, kids birthday parties, and funerals; and for a variety of other reasons and at a number of other places. If you have a dog, you aren’t drinking alone, right?
In short, alcohol is extremely accessible and is encouraged by our culture. Drinking has become just as socially acceptable as drinking tea or water.
However, unlike other beverages, alcohol is in fact a drug, it’s dangerous and it’s addictive, and consuming it can have extremely negative—and even deadly—consequences. It is glamorized, despite the fact that 1 in 10 women and 2 in 10 men will experience alcohol use disorder at some point in their life, according to the CDC. There is nothing glamorous about being addicted to alcohol.
I am 1 in 10 women. I am not that unique. It is no wonder I turned to alcohol for relief in the world that I live in. I have let myself off the hook for using alcohol as a coping mechanism.
I am not abnormal or bad; I am human. In order for me to heal, I must put down my weapons of blame and shame.