A few weeks ago, we shared a post about how to recover after a night out with cocktails, and it sparked some healthy debate both online and around the office. One comment in particular, from Jen, got us talking:

…Although I’m not a prohibitionist, I do think we should examine the message this sends to women. Everywhere we go, women are faced with messaging that we should drink (brunch, happy hour, holiday party, after yoga, before yoga, just to get through motherhood, etc.) as part of a cool and modern lifestyle. However, binge drinking has been linked to higher rates of cancer, heart disease, depression, and suicide, and women are twice as likely to engage in heavy drinking than they were 10 years ago. Recent studies show that there is no amount of alcohol use that is healthy, and that alcohol is the leading risk factor of premature death in women. Even your post states that binge drinking shrinks the membrane around your brain. Yikes! Considering that a lot of your other content is about wellness, I urge you to rethink how you address alcohol and not glamorize the hangover. 

I really appreciated Jen sharing her perspective. As someone who loves enjoying a glass of wine or two, it can be easy to focus only on the fun aspects of drinking and forget that there’s definitely a dark side, especially for those who struggle with addiction or depression. I brought up the issue with some of my female friends to get their take, and it’s funny how everyone had an opinion on the issue. My friend Kim completely stopped drinking wine after a bad experience with one too many glasses of rosé, and our team member Caroline mentioned that when she stopped drinking while pregnant, she realized she could have just as much fun at a party sipping Pellegrino and having good conversation.

For me, the big takeaway has been this:

I want to bring the same level of mindfulness to my drinking habits as I do to other choices in my life.

Just because I’m going out to a dinner with friends, I can still choose to drink or not drink based on my priorities (ie. if I need to be on my A-game at work the next day, I may want to skip the booze since wine inevitably makes me wake up at 2am.) And another thing: how much of our drinking in social situations has to do with the societal norms of those around us expecting us to always have a cocktail? Several girls in the office shared that they “didn’t want to seem like party poopers” by not drinking wine on a girls night out, even though in reality, they knew their friends would respect them for making whatever decision was right for them. Let’s be honest – our friends are going to have just as much fun whether we choose to drink or not drink. I know that I’m always better off when I listen to the wise voice within myself and confidently make the decision that helps me be my best self. I’d love to hear what y’all think about all this in the comments!

And on that note, enjoy my favorite reads from around the web lately…

Why experts love the Mediterranean diet (and why I do, too.)

50 conversation starters for family dinner.

This renovated Spanish revival home is full of inspiring details.

How to actually, truly focus on what you’re doing.

The case for eating less meat.

A doctor asked children with terminal illnesses what made their lives meaningful. These are their answers.

This breathing technique will help you fall asleep fast.

How cannabis is helping opioid addicts avoid relapse.

A couple of my very talented friends produced a movie! The Social Ones is a comedy satirizing social media influencers. Can’t wait to see the whole thing, but here’s a trailer in the meantime.

And a few fun things you may have missed!

5-minute tasks that will make you healthier. 

How to write a cold email – that actually gets read.

These are the easy dinner recipes I make when there’s no time to cook.

Experts reveal the beauty hacks they swear by.

  1. 1
    Jenn | February 3, 2019 at 8:55 am

    I stopped drinking almost a year and a half ago because I realized it wasn’t adding to my life, just taking away. Drinking has gotten to be such a norm that there are countless memes online encouraging it and laughing off hangovers and “mommy juice.” I think it would be smart and healthy for more women to take a look at their relationship with alcohol. Are you drinking to erase the day, deal with stress, ease social anxiety or check out? There are better ways to deal with these uncomfortable situations. And plain and simple, our bodies were not made to process alcohol. It’s the same as airplane fuel…

  2. 2
    Sarah | February 3, 2019 at 1:56 pm

    I’m the child of an alcoholic, so it really makes my skin crawl when I hear my friends say they “need” a drink. No, you don’t. You never need alcohol. If you want to treat yourself, that’s fine, but you don’t need it to get through a particularly bad day. I know it’s just words, but I’ve seen what happens when that need a drink becomes your life. I think posts like this are so important to help shape that message, so thank you!

  3. 3
    Donna | February 3, 2019 at 7:39 pm

    It is good to see you and your friends talking about it. I’m a recovering alcoholic so it is a very important topic to me. I do think drinking is glamorized way too much. You can’t get away from it. For a non alcoholic it’s not a problem. For a person who has the addiction gene it is be very difficult. I believe alcohol is a gateway drug. It was the first drug I ever got high on. As a teen in the 70s I try a few other drugs. But it was alcohol that that just about took me out. My husband is a normal drinker. He doesn’t have to drink to have fun. He rarely drinks at all. I would love to see it taken out of advertising, tv, movies, sports sponsorship. You don’t see smoking glamorized like that anymore. By the way I’m a smoker too ( big frawn). Started both in my teens. I enjoyed this post. I hope it gives others food for thought.

  4. 4
    Jen | February 3, 2019 at 10:01 pm

    Thank you for this post! I am so glad my comment sparked this conversation. You didn’t shy away from the criticism but instead addressed it thoughtfully. I also really appreciate everything Jenn wrote in the previous comment. Well said!

  5. 5
    briana | February 4, 2019 at 9:13 am

    I definitely think there’s a strange, trendy culture around wine right now that has nothing to do with appreciating wine and more to do with numbing away the day’s stress and that rubs me the wrong way sometimes, however I stand with your philosophy of mindfulness around drinking. If I want a cocktail because I like the taste and I’m having a fun night at home or out with friends, I’ll have one but it becomes more of a problem if you’re just mindlessly drinking or doing it as a form of self-medication.

  6. 6
    Laura | February 4, 2019 at 9:40 am

    I appreciate this post. As someone who has never had alcohol in all of my 30 years, I’m pretty much a unicorn! haha People at social events react really strangely when I turn down drinks or simply state that I don’t drink. I am immediately ostracized because people assume they can no longer relate to me. Taking this stand for my health has dramatically effected my social life because my life choices make me an outsider. I still have tons of fun doing non-alcoholic activities and I wouldn’t ever sacrifice my standards for others. However, it would be great if people were more accepting of non-drinkers. Also, I can’t imagine trying to be a recovering alcoholic in this society. When I tell people I don’t drink (they don’t know why) and yet they push and push me to join in. What if I were in recovery? When every activity (book club, painting class, bible study, etc.) has alcohol at it, where is there a safe place? When are people not drinking?!

  7. 7
    Jeanne | February 4, 2019 at 12:36 pm

    I’ve often thought of this. I have perhaps one drink a week, if that. If I go out for dinner alone with my husband, I will have a cocktail or a glass of wine, but rarely if I am at home. My husband does drink, so I tend to not, especially as the mother of young children. Alcoholism runs in my family so I am always cognizant of that fact. In my younger years, my social activities centered around drinking, even though I didn’t really drink until I was legally allowed to, for the most part. After a bout with “fatty liver” I had to stop drinking completely for a while and I noticed how silly some of my friends were when they were drinking, and it wasn’t always a good silly. It made me wonder what I behaved like when buzzed. And after becoming a parent, I knew I needed to set a good example for my children by being responsible and modeling good habits. Thank you for addressing this issue here, it’s a very interesting subject and one that bares further conversation.

  8. 8
    Shannon | February 4, 2019 at 5:18 pm

    I stopped drinking a few years ago and have never regretted it. It was stressful for me going out and making decisions about how many drinks to have, then having too many…was easier for me just to cut it all out. I feel so much better and don’t miss the hangovers! I wonder if it is because I don’t drink that I notice all the glamorization of wine drinking targeted at women, I’m glad others are noticing it too!

  9. 9
    beth | February 5, 2019 at 10:58 am

    Love this article. Having more than 2 drinks in one night definitely brings me down the next day. Not worth it! I’ve found myself gravitate more and more toward friends who also try to dial it back. And as a mom, I want to feel good and present with my kids, especially in the mornings when we start our day.

  10. 10
    Staci | February 5, 2019 at 2:37 pm

    Love this! I noticed I can’t tolerate it nearly as much as I did in my college days. (Which was too much binge drinking.) It keeps me awake at night, makes my anxiety worse, and it is costly! I’ll drink on occasion, but if I do it’s for something special and I try to keep it to daytime. I also know someone who passed away from cirrhosis and know people who struggle with addiction so that has been an eye-opener. I agree that our culture tends to glamorize it, but I have just as much fun without it. Thank you for the insightful post!

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Kristen Kilpatrick