In honor of Anne Hathaway’s elegant statement on the Ellen Degeneres show that she would not drink until after her son is an adult, not because she claims to be an alcoholic but simply because she wants to be present in his world without the morning after fall out of “not drinking well” , we at Boozemusings and the BOOM Community dedicate this February to LOVE. We dedicate February to being present for ourselves and to everyone we care about. To dignity, self-respect, maturity, joy, generosity of spirit and FREEDOM! We dedicate February to turning against the marketing and media blitz of the last 20 years that has suggested “wine time” and that we NEED to drink. We dedicate February to the love that grows daily when we truly become ourselves and don’t accept anyone else’s expectations of what and who we should be .
I 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.
Drinking has always been an accepted part of American culture, except during the Prohibition years, 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 and, wine time, 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.
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, at opposite ends of the media spectrum both reported in 2017 that alcohol use disorder, or alcoholism, was increasing dramatically in the United States. A few weeks ago it was reported that over the past 10 years, liver cirrhosis deaths have risen by over 60% among women and millennials.
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