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Roundtable: A Look at Why Modern Women Drink
Seven years ago, I went to prison because I started using alcohol as a crutch. It was what got me through the tough moments: the stresses, hardships and uncomfortable feelings that accompanied real life. It gave me an escape, especially from the pressure I felt society had placed on me as a woman.
Unsurprisingly, wine quickly turned into a cure for all my problems – personal, professional, financial – so when my live-in boyfriend left me all of a sudden, guess what? I turned to the bottle even harder, drinking so much one night that I drove home from a bar and crashed into a car full of four passengers waiting at a stop light.
It’s Not Easy Being a Woman
Unfortunately, I’m not the only woman who has turned to alcohol to get me through the ups and downs of life, according to a recent article written by Kristi Coulter. Becoming sober made her realize how many modern women, including herself, were drinking to insulate themselves from the pressures of being a “24-hour woman” (also known as the woman who has it all). She recounts:
“There’s no easy way to be a woman, because, as you may have noticed, there’s no acceptable way to be a woman. And if there’s no acceptable way to be the thing you are, then maybe you drink a little. Or a lot.”
This rings true to many of the women I even know. In fact, I recently went to dinner with an old friend and, as we caught up, she described her life as a working mother of two. She recounted all the activities she chauffeured her kids to, the challenging career work she had as a lawyer and then the hectic evenings getting everyone fed and to bed on time. How did her nights end? “With lots and lots of wine,” she replied.
Hindsight is 20/20
I look back at what drove me to drink and about how I felt a pressure to be a certain type of person. As an overachieving attorney, I was so paranoid with how everyone else thought of me and whether I was living up to everyone’s expectations. Having gone through what I have, I know I should have relied on myself to conquer my demons and insecurities, rather than relying on the seemingly supportive cocoon of alcohol at the time.
Coulter ends her article describing a throng of drunk women at the other end of the hotel pool where she’s staying. She watches them down endless pomegranate mimosas – not as a way to celebrate the occasion, but as a way, she believes, to deal with all the personal and professional issues in their lives that they’re not going to do anything about except cover up with alcohol.
“All I can say is it’s really nice on this side of the pool,” Coulter admits.
I couldn’t agree with her more.
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