Opinion | Too Many American Women Have a Drinking Problem

Marketing teams have also realized that portraying alcohol as a reward or relaxation tool for tired mothers can be an effective strategy. The #WineMom trend was born, and with it came play-date happy hours, travel coffee mugs spiked with vodka and the normalization of alcohol to deal with all things parenting.

Last year, Tropicana introduced a marketing campaign called “Take a Mimoment,” which showcased hidden mini-fridges around the house where parents could sneak a mimosa made with Tropicana juice. Sobriety advocates quickly called the brand on it — after all, hiding drinks generally signals a drinking problem. Tropicana apologized, and celebrities including Molly Sims and Gabrielle Union took down their Instagram posts promoting the Tropicana mimosa.

But it seems that we are still struggling with drinking. In recent years, there’s been a flood of articles about “mommy wine culture” and alcohol abuse in women. The former ABC News anchor Elizabeth Vargas published a memoir about her addiction. Others have made careers of their sobriety, like the writer Holly Whitaker, whose book “Quit Like a Woman” soared in sales after the model Chrissy Teigen said that it persuaded her to quit drinking.

Millennials reportedly drink less than other age cohorts, but health statistics overall aren’t improving. From 1999 to 2017, alcohol-related deaths among women rose by 85 percent. That’s a mind-boggling number, and I, like many others, hope alcohol will one day follow the path of cigarettes — now a social ill slapped with bold warning labels.

When I began thinking about sobriety, I knew alcohol could be bad for the liver, but was disturbed to learn that it also attacks the immune systems and is connected with over 60 different diseases. With today’s obsession with “clean” eating and “nontoxic” foods, it’s startling that so many are fine with pouring ethanol — a literal toxic substance — into their bodies regularly. Recently, the American Cancer Society changed its recommended alcohol intake to zero because of its close association with cancer.

Once you know the truth about alcohol’s effect on the body, you can’t unknow it — especially if you have family members who have struggled with alcohol abuse. I thought of my grandfather, who died of liver disease, and my mother-in-law, whose life (and subsequently the lives of her children) was destroyed because of alcohol. I thought of nights I had put my children to bed while tipsy and how they noticed the change in my voice when I drank. I thought of arguments with my husband, insomnia, dry mouth, headaches and regret.

I typed “Do I have a drinking problem?” into a search engine and found that many other people were asking the same or a similar question. The actions I took after that led me to today and over a year of sobriety.