The TODAY Show interviewed Brenda Wilhelmson this morning, a mother of two and author of the new book Diary of an Alcoholic Housewife. In a video below, Wilhelmson describes waking up every day with a hangover. I know the feeling. I’ve actually stopped drinking for 30 days, not because I think I’m dependent on alcohol, but because I hate the way drinking even two beers the night before makes me feel in the morning. I’ve never been a morning person, and now that I have to get up during the 7 o’clock hour every day to take my daughter to school, I need to do everything I can to make mornings easier on myself.
Here at Strollerderby, we’ve discussed whether or not wine should be marketed to moms. Dawn says it’s okay for Moms to drink, as long as you know when to say when. But that’s the problem – it can be hard to say anything when your speech is slurred. Just ask Stephanie Wilder-Taylor, who built a career on books like Sippy Cups Are Not for Chardonnay. She quit drinking two years ago.
Both Wilder-Taylor and Wilhelmson are “high-functioning alcoholics,” or as a woman in the TODAY Show clip below put it, proof that “you don’t have to hit rock-bottom, you don’t have to lose everything in your life to be an alcoholic.”
Take a look:
Like Wilhelmson, I had a rich social life before having a baby, and I was the first of my friends to become a mother. I, too, turned to alcohol for comfort, as a reward and as a “time-out” when I did get out of the house. When my daughter was born, I was in an abusive marriage, and drinking was a way for me to feel like everything was fine – or that it would be, if I just made it through this rough patch. I never drank to excess, because I feel tipsy enough after two drinks to want to stop, but I drank several days a week. When I got divorced in 2009, one of the first things I did was challenge myself to quit drinking for 30 days. During that time, I did have a drink or two, but I was able to quit smoking, which in hindsight was a feat in-and-of-itself.
Today is Day 10 of my current 30 day challenge, and I have already fallen short of my goal. I broke my fast on Sunday with a glass of champagne. Why? I was at a show in Harlem, where an old, disgruntled Mafioso declared that if he laughed out loud at any of the comics, he’d buy all of the comics a drink. I was able to crack him, and he walked up to me after my set and said, “That was cute. Order yourself some champagne.” I felt so proud of myself, that I’d gotten the old guy to soften up and enjoy himself, that I’d made a particularly tough customer laugh, I wanted to celebrate. It was Pride weekend, gay marriage had just been passed, I figured I deserved it. Like so many other moms who work so hard, I rewarded myself with alcohol. But are we punishing ourselves in the end?