Can Mom Wine Culture Lead to SUD?

Alcohol consumption gets a lot of attention across many cultures. Whether that looks like shotgunning a beer at a country concert tailgate or pregaming sporting events, alcohol is everywhere. What other alcohol-related cultural phenomena have the potential to lead to alcohol dependency? Mom wine culture may be part of that mix.

Individuals in the know about mom wine culture should acknowledge that it can normalize an unhealthy relationship with alcohol. Unhealthy views of alcohol can lead to dependency and several effects on one's mental and physical health.

What Is Mom Wine Culture?

Wine mom, mommy wine, or mom wine culture is not in the official cultural lexicon though it is widely recognized. There are even Facebook groups tied to the idea of mom wine culture. In short, this culture describes the phenomenon of moms drinking wine to cope with parenting stress. The idea that alcohol is the most effective way to cope with the day-to-day stresses of parenting is widely accepted nowadays.

A casual shopper may see the occasional wine glass in a gift store labeled "Mommy's Sippy Cup" or "Mommy's Juice." Jokes about this culture have become increasingly common in the modern American tongue, and many find it harmless. However, this kind of culture makes light of a serious situation — the continued concern of substance use disorder (SUD).

There is even home decor dedicated to this theme. A trip to Target comes with a high potential for finding a throw pillow saying something along the lines of "Mommy Needs Some Wine." Admittedly, parenthood is challenging, especially if you are a single parent. However, alcohol is not the answer. How can we get away from this toxic culture?

Instead of engaging in and perpetuating mom wine culture, we should, perhaps, focus on how parents can care for their mental health while raising children. Parents should consider seeking a therapist, practicing mindfulness-based practices, or finding a parent support group instead of relying on a substance to cope with stress.

Can Mom Wine Culture Lead to Dependency?

The main concern with mom wine culture is how it makes light of a potentially dangerous situation — the development of SUD. Using wine, or any substance, to cope with life stress teeters on a dangerous line. It may be a joke for many. However, some moms truly lack healthy coping skills to manage the stress of parenthood. A nightly glass or three of wine is their coping mechanism. These moms' chances of becoming dependent on alcohol use are significantly increased.

Another concern is the effect mom wine culture has on children. Depending on the age, children typically don't understand a "mommy needs her wine" joke or realize that the implications of the joke are problematic. Addiction and substance use can significantly impact a family.

Research indicates that "SUDs negatively affects emotional and behavioral patterns from the inception of the family, resulting in poor outcomes for the children and adults with SUDs." Children may come to learn that alcohol consumption is the way to deal with problems. The cycle of substance abuse may continue in them.

Understanding Alcohol Use Disorder

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) describes alcohol use disorder (AUD) as a “medical condition characterized by an impaired ability to stop or control alcohol use despite adverse social, occupational, or health consequences.” The NIAAA cites a national survey that indicates that 14.1 million adults 18 years and older had AUD in 2019. It is difficult to determine how many of these individuals were parents. However, the number is high enough that joking about using alcohol to cope with parenthood is in poor taste.

Certain factors can increase the prevalence and risk of developing AUD. Some of those factors include:

  • Alcohol consumption and substance use at an early age: Any substance use during youth is dangerous. Statistics show drinking before 15 years old makes someone five times more likely to develop AUD.
  • Genetics, having a family history of AUD, development, and environment: Those who have a family history of AUD may do well to avoid mom wine culture.
  • Mental illness: Most people with AUD struggle with co-occurring disorders like anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Despite these risks of developing AUD, treatment and recovery is possible with the right help and a proper program.

Treating AUD and Maintaining Long-Term Recovery

Treatment for AUD looks different for everyone, and the right program for one person may not be best for another. The following treatment options are available to those struggling with AUD and mom wine culture:

  • Residential treatment offers a deeply therapeutic program that immerses people in a supportive environment with around-the-clock care.
  • Day treatment — or a partial hospitalization program (PHP) — is effective after a residential program. This can help with the transition back into daily life, allowing people to slowly tackle the stress of parenthood without drinking.
  • Intensive outpatient programs (IOPs) offer the intensity of a residential program with the flexibility of an outpatient program.

The best program for each individual is the one that suits their current situation. Parents who need to continue caring and providing for their children as the sole breadwinner for their family may benefit from day or outpatient programs. However, residential may be best when parenting ability is severely impaired by alcohol consumption.

People use alcohol and drugs to cope with distress and life stressors. That includes the stress of parenthood. Mommy wine culture is the concept of people using alcohol to cope with the day-to-day stress of parenting. This culture has taken the world by storm, and chances are you have encountered wine glasses that say “Mommy's Sippy Cup” or "Mommy's Juice" on a trip to Target. Unfortunately, this culture and humor make light of a life-threatening condition – alcohol use disorder (AUD). Despite the joking nature of the culture, using alcohol to cope with the stress of parenthood can lead to AUD and harm you and your family. To seek treatment, call NorthStar Transitions at (303) 558-6400

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