A few weeks ago I wrote a blog post called ‘Does getting smashed make you a bad mum?’ and in it I talked about how – I myself – failed at mumming on many occasions after drinking too much. And guess what? I was trolled!
I have arrived I cried!
Not only are people asking where I got my leopard print glasses from (which officially makes me and influencer), but I was now also being called out by my very own troll. Whoop whoop!
Now when I say trolled – let it be noted – that my tongue is very much situated in my cheek. What I actually mean is – someone disagreed with me… but still.
She accused me of ‘projecting’ and promptly put in me in my place and told me I was assuming all other mothers drank like me and that there are many out there who are able to have one or two, which I ‘obviously could not’. She labelled me a ‘recovering alcoholic’, which if I’m honest, really f*ckng gripped my shit.
Because guess what?
I COULD have just one or two drinks, and often, I did. A glass of wine with a meal or a few bottles of Peroni of an evening was normal to me. I was a binge/problem drinker. Someone with disordered drinking habits. I don’t call myself a recovering alcoholic. And to be honest, I take real offence when a – non-professional, stranger with limited facts – labels me one.
You see, there’s a spectrum with drinking.
A one or two is someone who can drink in moderation. They enjoy the occasional drink, are sensible and can often take it or leave it. Then there are those who are a nine or ten. They are physically and emotionally addicted to alcohol and they quite possibly will have been diagnosed by a plethora of professionals.
These are people who have maybe reached rock bottom, losing family, friends, jobs and their homes. Quite often they hide their addiction, they drink in secret, or as soon as they awake. They will put alcohol before anyone or anything.
This was NOT me.
I’d say I was maybe a five on the spectrum. Just hanging out in the grey area. I was someone who could quite often drink sensibly, but occasionally would binge to the point I’d make myself physically and mentally ill. Harming my health, affecting my family or pissing off friends. But here’s the thing, people only consider the two ends of the spectrum. So if you have a drink problem, you instantly get labeled an alcoholic.
And this is not helpful.
I’ve been to AA meetings and I did not fit in there. I saw my GP, an alcohol counselor and a private therapist – all of whom told me I was a problem or binge drinker and NOT an alcoholic. Not that there’s any shame in being an alcoholic. There is NO shame in being addicted to a highly addictive drug.
But there is harm in being misdiagnosed. Surely that’s never a good thing. If I had a cyst on my breast would you tell me I had a cancerous tumour? No. Apart from anything else if you are not diagnosed properly how can you go about treating your problem properly?
So, let’s start a conversation about the spectrum of drinking and start thinking of it less in terms of the two extremes – ‘the moderate, sensible drinker’ and ‘the alcoholic’. Let’s address the problem drinker, the binge drinker, the disordered drinker, the ones who are maybe just drinking a bit too much. Because we’re here. We’re the ones hanging out in the grey area.
See other booze related posts here