As women’s use of alcohol has increased, social norms and expectations seem to have adjusted to align with the new reality. Past taboos about the appropriateness of overconsumption and booze-related tomfoolery have gradually been eroded. Previous double standards in this area that condemned women for doing what men were routinely doing certainly won’t be missed. But when statistics show declines in binge drinking and DUI incidents among men have been matched by increases of such behavior in women, whatever is happening is clearly cause for concern.
Fear in sobriety can strike when you least expect it and can completely consume your thoughts and emotions. There are many forms of fear, from a sense of uneasiness to anxiety to outright panic. Fear is a powerful emotion and can seem even more overwhelming when you’re newly sober.
Adjustment disorder is the term used by the American Psychiatric Association to describe a slow, dysfunctional adaptation to the mental/emotional stress triggered by exposure to traumatic situations or non-traumatic situations. Currently, doctors have no easy way to distinguish this dysfunctional adaptation from more serious stress-related conditions. In a study published in 2014 in the International Journal of Methods in Psychiatric Research, a team of Dutch researchers assessed the potential usefulness of a newly developed screening tool called the Diagnostic Interview Adjustment Disorder (DIAD) in helping doctors identify affected individuals.
In the 12-step rooms, there’s a lot of talk about hitting bottom, of coming to a place of total desperation, of admitting powerlessness. But how do you know if you’re really powerless? You wonder if maybe you just haven’t found the right solution. You don’t have a DUI charge, you haven’t lost your job and your family is still intact. Yet your drinking concerns you. Is that reason enough to get sober and stay sober? Or do you have to spend the next years of your life sinking deeper and deeper before you’ll qualify for recovery?
Moderation Management (MM) sets out to change how we think about helping drinkers by questioning the abstinence-only approach of Alcoholics Anonymous. The approach may be appealing to some drinkers—who may not feel like “addicts” and might believe they can successfully limit their drinking—but questions remain as to whether it’s a wise approach. The dominant, AA-supporting ideology suggests that for addicts, moderation is not an option, but does MM have the potential to change all that? In short, could MM be the new AA?
One of the things that most alcoholics and addicts have in common is a desire to escape from stormy emotions. Even after becoming sober, you may have reached for food, sex or gambling to try to bring your emotions under control. The drug or behavior chosen varies from one addict to another. The point is that you have been in the habit of reaching for something outside of yourself to find a way to make turbulent emotions go away or at least calm down.
A lot of moms like to unwind with a glass of wine, but have some taken this coping mechanism too far? Women are drinking more than ever, moms included, and wine and cocktails at playdates or drunken book club meetings don’t really raise eyebrows. Moderate consumption of alcohol can easily get out of hand and turn into a bad habit or even an addiction.