Alcohol-related deaths rise among women

Alcohol-related deaths rise among women

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - “I’m alone with my children, and my drinking has gotten out of control and there’s no one here that can help me if something goes wrong.”

Mom blogger Sarah Husseini says she’s lucky she never had an emergency. The mother of two says her habit started out harmless. She was just taking the edge off at the end of the day.

“It became a situation where I was drinking every few nights, having a glass of wine or two while making dinner, to really snowballing into almost every night,” she explained.

She isn’t alone.

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse, more women are drinking. Between 1999 and 2017, prevalence shot up 10 percent. Binge drinking among women jumped 23 percent.

More drinking means more deaths. We're talking deaths from injuries, overdoses and chronic diseases. Fatalities among women rose 85%. For men, the increase was 39%.

A lot of the increase is among young women without children -- but so called "mommy drinking" is also on the rise.

Popular culture, through jokes and memes has made it okay to wine away the stress of everyday life. T-shirts with phrases like, “Let’s wine about it” or “Mama needs some wine” hang on store racks. Jokes about drinking all weekend, downing a glass of wine, or being hungover clutter social media. It's normalized. It feels relatable.

“The culture of it made it really acceptable for all of us and to validate it and justify it for many of us.”

In her blog, Husseini says she used to make mommy wine jokes as well, but that changed a couple years ago.

“Even in the mom blog world, many moms are kind of stepping forward and saying yeah it was cute for a little while we made jokes but then we kind of noticed that these were not things to joke about anymore.”

So, she cut down on her drinking. She found other outlets to deal with the daily stresses of parenting. Husseini says even five minutes of “me time” can curb that craving for a glass of wine.

“What else do you enjoy? Is it art? Is it reading? Is it yoga? Anything really that’s not the bottle would be better,” she says, “Maybe lighting a scented candle from Target and sitting and reading a book for 5, 10 minutes to decompress is a much more healthy way. And then move on with my day and cook dinner and do second shift as many moms do.”

She says, it took some practice and some self-awareness. Stepping away for a moment is OK. Asking for help is OK, too.

“I know for me it’s really hard to ask for things and divvy up the labor that is raising children, so I feel like this is not a male thing to do, this is not a woman thing to do. We need to just divide things up equally and take the pressure off that performance of motherhood in a way.”

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