On the normalization of women’s drinking, or how women are being screwed over once again by the advertising industry

Good morning, people. Once again I find myself so fully occupied with life logistics that the stream of blog posts I draft in my head goes untyped. But I think of this little cyberspace of mine and I’m reading what other bloggers in the sobercybersphere write and I have a lot to say about what I’m reading and experiencing. But that’s for another day.

The Washington Post had a very nice article today called “For Women Heavy Drinking Has Been Normalized” about the social phenomenon we’re seeing of women’s drinking starting to go through the roof, and the marketing and social pressure behind it. One thing I like about reporting like this is that it can very usefully jab those of us with a competitive streak: no freaking way am I going to be just one of the millions falling into that trap! I am going to get ahead of the curve and be an early quitter!

On the same subject, if you haven’t read Kristi Coulter’s brilliant, provocative essay on women and alcohol and patriarchy and advertising, drop everything and read! https://offdry.com/2016/07/28/day-1134-enjoli/. It went bacterial. I mean, viral.

I’m on day 34 without alcohol and am feeling clear-headed and fairly craving-free. I tend to have a tough time getting past one or two weeks and had been bouncing along on that schedule for months. But I stuck it (as they say in gymnastics) this time. I’ve stumbled into one new perspective and one new habit that are really helpful. The perspective is seeing one drink as not a point but a line. I’m so clear about the fact that what I “want” is not a drink or even three. I want them all, I want to throw myself into that pursuit again, the pursuit of peace and rest and freedom through alcohol. What’s required is nothing less than a complete lifestyle, isolation and alcohol if you take it to its absurd conclusion. And even my inner addict acknowledges that that’s not the life I want on this particular trip through planet Earth.

The habit is steering clear of sugar, with a little more consciousness than its simply being a rule. (Note, it would be perfectly fine as simply a rule (and I so highly recommend it to anyone out there who is struggling to drop alcohol).) But I’ve added a bit more particular smartness around it, such as being much more careful about not giving in to a sugar craving on a Friday. I was recently at my trusty plumbing supply store on a Friday around 11 a.m., where they often have a huge bowl of candy out on the counter between you and the guys who solve all your problems and sell you whatever plumbing fittings your heart desires. (It’s a giant PVC cap — cute, huh?) They have a kind of candy I used to walk to the corner store to buy when I was six. This Friday at 11 a.m. I looked at that candy and said, no, Adrian. The Friday happy hour hour of 3 p.m., when it’s so damn easy to say, but everybody’s out relaxing now after a long hard week!, was too close for comfort. Something about sugar pisses off my system and makes me intensely crave bitter — think IPAs and hops. (I actually think this is distinct from the Potatoes-not-Prozac brain chemistry stuff; it seems at the level of taste buds.) So I said to self, hey, today is stupid Friday, let’s go, no sugar right now. Got my PVC fittings and ran.

Wishing you all warmth and light, from your community, from the people around you, and most importantly from within yourself because that’s where the infinite supply resides. (And I wish you rest and release into the darkness. I listened to Sally Kempton’s guided meditation on the solstice and it was magical.)

See you in 2017.


5 thoughts on “On the normalization of women’s drinking, or how women are being screwed over once again by the advertising industry

  1. I shared that article on Facebook. It’s so true.
    I wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss sugar. A few treats on a Friday night can help a person get through the usual alcohol call. Too many rules makes life hard. None of us need that!

    I hope you have a lovely and sober Christmas.


    • Thanks for your comment, Anne. That’s good you know the place of sugar in your world, too. For me, a few treats on a Friday night would send me driving to the liquor store. To each her own … psychology and physiology. Merry Christmas to you as well!


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