I still remember the first reports around the year 2000 that wine was heart healthy and should be included in our daily diet. I was thrilled to be able to justify drinking wine at night as a healthy choice. My first glass of wine would go down easily while I prepared dinner for my family and I’d often continue to sip throughout the evening. When generous glasses of dark red wine became common props in my favorite prime-time TV shows it seemed that everyone was drinking as much and as often as me.
With the exception of the Prohibition years drinking has always been an accepted part of American culture and we like to laugh about the down side. Most of us can relate to a good joke on Facebook about drunk texting and have an endless array of humorous words to describe the condition like; hammered, sloshed, stupid, tipsy, pissed, wasted, smashed, potted, dopey, bombed, and blitzed. But since hearing those first reports about the health benefits of daily wine drinking our culture has been swept up in an enthusiasm for daily drinking that is turning our drinking culture, into an addicted culture.
Our wine glasses have gotten bigger and bigger over the last 16 years, and we now have glasses that hold an entire bottle. Wine is an accepted part of most meetings from book clubs to church communities to the PTA. Girl’s Night Out has evolved into Mommy’s Time Out and wine is commonly served for the parents at pre-school play dates. We glamorize drinking, glorify drinking and joke about getting drunk. It’s no wonder that our teens and twenty somethings see no problem in getting annihilated, plastered, legless, paralytic, tanked, plowed, legless, blind, sh&t faced,and f#$ked up.
Maybe it’s time we stepped back and looked at the message we’re sending our kids, and receiving ourselves, about a healthy relationship to alcohol.
According to Teen Vogue in 2016 the university binge drinking culture is calming down but other reports reveal the opposite for young women. The generation of young women who went through adolescence watching America’s sweetheart Courtney Cox drink a bottle or two of wine every night on the comedy Cougar Town; watching the gorgeous gang of like-able twenty-somethings bond over round after round of drinks on How I Met Your Mother; and watching Kathie Lee and Hoda celebrate mid morning with a glass of white, a glass of red and the occasional shot of vodka on the Today Show Happy Hour, have been reported to be among the world’s most self destructive binge drinkers.
Television shows reflect our culture, but they also influence it and the 21st century subplot that women can drink heavily everyday without serious consequence has definitely reached America. Not only young women but their mothers and grandmothers as well are increasingly likely to be addicted to binge drinking.
I retired from my illustrious drinking a few months after my fiftieth birthday. My nightly de-stress drinking had gradually turned into regular bingeing as I traveled through middle age and I knew it was time to stop. I consider myself lucky that I was able to rein it in and sobriety agrees with me more than I ever imagined possible. I don’t worry anymore if I’m drinking too much. I am free because I now, simply do not drink.
CNN and Cosmopolitan magazine both reported this week that alcohol use disorder or alcoholism is increasing dramatically in the United States. If you’re questioning your drinking and aren’t sure how to stop or cut down there are lots of anonymous Forums where you can find help from your peers. Check out Soberistas, Tired of Thinking About Drinking , Hip Sobriety or our Forum at www.boozemusings.com. RethinktheDrink. Life lived with clarity is a beautiful thing indeed!