It’s everywhere. It’s inviting. It’s enticing. It pulls you in. It’s accepted, encouraged even. Do you know what I’m talking about? Have you figured it out yet? It’s alcohol. Surprised? I bet you aren’t.
It is amazing to me how society normalizes drinking. The ads are everywhere. The signs are everywhere. Parents normalize it and then wonder why their kids are drinking at a younger and younger age. The alcohol culture is a real thing. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism a study found that, “Now by 8th grade more females than males are dinking.” Another study found that the gap between men and women with drinking problems is shrinking. Female alcohol use disorder in the US has more than doubled from 2002-2013. It has increased by 83.7%. I would call that significant. And, that was 6 years ago.
Fitness magazines normalize it. Society normalizes it. Ever heard of “mommy juice” or “wine o’clock?” It seems like wine is an accessory for every occasion. Eating a meal – wine. Hanging out with friends – wine. Had a bad day – wine. Kids driving you crazy – wine. I’m so stressed out – wine. OMG my hair didn’t turn our right – wine (just kidding). Kind of.
The advertising is crazy over the top. Five pages into a very successful Fitness Magazine and there is an ad for Henry’s Hard Sparkling Water. I mean it has zero sugar and it’s basically water, so it must be good for you, right? After all, this is a fitness magazine. Another article in the same magazine talked about creating custom cocktails and then on the very next page there was an ad for Ketel One Botanical vodkas. Because that sounds way sexier than just plain old vodka. And let’s face it, alcohol tastes like crap. They have to sexy it up for us now to make it more appealing. It’s like this makes it okay for us to just keep drinking more and more. In the same magazine, towards the back there is an article about Chinese food and yet another plug for drinking. A chinese-inspired cocktail that is an ideal balance of sweet, sour and savory. So just in one magazine, there were that many references to drinking. I’m sure there were many more, I didn’t read the articles, I got it for the pictures. LOL
The normalization of drinking is huge. Nobody bats an eye. I have no problem with people who drink. I don’t want to come across as some holier than thou person who judges people for drinking. I really am okay with it. Many of my friends drink. I don’t care. What I do care about is the way it is normalized. It’s no wonder so many women are becoming alcoholics. Most of us want to fit in or go along with the crowd. Some of us think we can’t say no to drinking if we are in social situations or we just don’t know how. Some of us are learning how to middle finger that mentality; me being one of those somebodies. It used to be people drank on the weekends. Now people drink every single night. That is concerning.
I stopped drinking over 220 days ago. Why? Because I prioritized my health. I weighed my priorities and values against my actions. They didn’t match. I wanted them to match, so I stopped drinking. Will I stop drinking forever? I don’t know the answer to that. Right now I feel really amazing and I know right now, alcohol is not a part of my lifestyle.
I saw a quote today from one of the blogs I am recommending below. “The goal isn’t to be sober. The goal is to love yourself so much that you don’t need to drink.” This quote hits like the Throat Punch Thursday it is. Think about it.
There is usually an underlying cause of why people drink. We are masking feelings or emotions or who knows what. We are numbing them. We are afraid to take a good hard look in the mirror. We are afraid to call ourselves out on our own shit. Specifically, we are afraid. But of what? Well, that is for you to figure out for yourself. Ask yourself if you really want to change. Ask yourself if you want to stay stuck. Get over the relationship you have with fear and get unstuck. It’s sad because not only do we numb the pain of whatever we are afraid of when we drink, we also numb all the really good things too. That is a very big wake up call.
If you want to say not to alcohol and mean it, but just can’t, if you want to get past cravings and triggers, but just can’t, here are a few blogs I found that I think can be really helpful.