I’d like to ask my readers a question: if you are a divorcee, did you find yourself drinking more after the split? If the answer is yes, you are certainly not alone. Studies a jump a jump in alcohol consumption after divorce. Alcohol makes us feel good for a little while and puts our problems at a distance. If you are struggling to cope with the stress and turmoil a marriage ending, what could be easier than opening another?
Lucy Rocca is one such divorcee. Now 37, the working mother began drinking increasing amounts after her divorce. Ms Rocca told the Sunday Times:
“When I went out socialising I was drinking heavily, frequently being bundled into taxis by friends and blacking out. Meanwhile, at home I was drinking more and more to numb the emotional pain.”
One day she blacked out in the street after drinking no less than three bottles of wine. When she woke in hospital, Rocca decided the time had come to do something about her drinking.
She considered but decided against Alcoholics Anonymous, opting instead to start her own self-help group. The result was Soberistas, a self-help website aimed at older women with “problematic drinking patterns”.
Ninety per cent of the site active users are women aged 30-50, reports Rocca, and many are mothers.
“Some are drinking a bottle of wine a night, others two or three.”
Think of excessive drinking and what image comes to mind? Most likely it is one of the young and the reckless staggering along some night-time city street after a few too many vodkas in their favourite bar. The middle class media and the politicians both love this image of binge drinking because, I think, it keeps the issue of problem drinking at a distance. Ms Rocca is, perhaps, an untypical example. In reality, mo people who don’t collapse on street corners after drinking ourselves into unconsciousness but who do open a bottle of wine or pour ourselves a beer in the privacy of their homes after a long day at work, and still end up drinking too much and damaging their health.
The Sunday Times article quotes some illuminating statistics from the Department of Health. In 2010, almost twice as many women aged 35 to 54 were admitted to hospital for alcohol-related issues than woman aged 15 to 34: 110,128 compared to 57,969. It looks as though the drunken ‘ladette’ of media imagination has some catching up to do!
By all means relax in the evenings with a glass or two, but if you have to drink a bottle of wine every night to deal with your divorce, then I don’t think there can be any doubt that you need more help than you are currently getting. My advice to anyone in that situation would always be: talk: Talk to your friends, talk to your GP, talk to virtual friends online, talk to a counsellor. You can only heal emotionally when your head is clear.
I wish Soberistas every success!
Photo by jhenryrose via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence