December 8, 2010

Working Mother Magazine Addresses the Point at Which Mommy’s Cocktail Turns Into an Addiction

workingmother_november2010.jpgMost moms joke about the “cocktail hour” (aka “the witching hour”) when the kids get extra grumpy and dads aren’t home from work yet to help relieve the mayhem. There may be a day when a glass of wine helps ease the edge off of raging youngsters fighting over the same toy. But Working Mother magazine is trying to take a closer look at the fine line between the rare drink and a drinking problem. The November issue featured the confessions of real working moms who are concealing their addictions.

According to the parenting magazine, one in four kids has an alcoholic parent. If we focus on the women alone, 4.6 million women in the United States are alcoholics. Shocked? I know I was. What about addictions to prescription drugs? Well, the magazine says those have risen 400% over the last decade.

How does it happen? Well, it’s not hard to establish that parents,
especially working mothers, are incredibly stressed and stretched each
and every day. It’s easy to justify a drink, but we can just as easily
justify so much more.

“Most addicts
lead a secret life,” says Robert Smith, LCSW, an addiction specialist and
co-founder of Casolaro & Smith in New York, N.Y. “Everyone might think they’re doing fine–their kids
might be getting straight A’s. But inside they’re dying.”

women are more likely to be in denial of their substance abuse. Heidi
Jacobsen, a licensed mental-health counselor who works with women at
WestCare, an outpatient substance abuse treatment center in St.
Petersburg, Fla., believes women are less apt to seek out treatment
because they’re afraid to abandon everyone who depends on them.

So instead, addicts tuck into that
drink after they tuck the kids into bed, and they suffer alone with
their drug of choice. Pretty stiff stuff, huh?

Good thing Working Mother magazine is offering up some simple, yet effective steps for helping a friend dealing with these dark issues:

Be supportive and nonjudgmental.
Experts advise confronting your friend when she’s sober. Emphasize how
much you care for them. Kathryn Cunningham, Ph.D., director of the Center
for Addiction Research at the University of Texas Medical Branch, tells the
magazine, “It often helps to have a log of the observations that have
led you to this conclusion.”

Offer a network. Offer
yourself up to help your friend gain the support of other friends and
family. A spiritual adviser and counselor would be even more effective.

Remember intervention can help. Addiction
is a disease of the brain, so therapy really can make a difference.
Intervening to help your friend could save her life.

About the Author

Kara Gause
Kara Gause
Kara Gause is a junkie for TV, film, pop culture, and health food--in that order. A Yankee girl happily transplanted in Nashville, she spends her days as a freelance writer juggling the needs of her twin toddlers, two Bassett hounds, and one fantastic husband--in that order. Read more of her day-to-day shenanigans on her blog,