Wine Mom culture is a new name for an old problem: binge drinking and alcoholism. Though the name portrays the issue as something almost laughable, some wine moms turn into full blown alcoholics. The signs of alcoholism exist on a spectrum. The truth is, you can exhibit some of these symptoms and not be considered an alcoholic. That has always been the thinking.

But the question is, what’s the tipping point? Can you be a little addicted to wine? Can your binge drinking cause some issues while not affecting others? Yes. And we need to stop thinking of addiction in black and white terms and instead understand that you can be on the road to alcoholism for years.

If you answer yes to any of the warning signs below, then you are on the spectrum. As time passes, and you find that you can identify with more of these signs of alcoholism, then you are slowly spiraling out of control.

Here’s the advice that most of the girls at our sober home for women wish they were told:

You don’t have to hit rock bottom to get help and turn it around.

These symptoms of alcoholism come directly from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition. Also known as the “DSM-5”

1 – Drinking in larger amounts or for longer periods (starting early, ending later)

It can easily start with one glass of wine a night and within a few months it’s three. Then suddenly you are drinking 2 bottles. But that’s only because you start earlier, so you’re still spacing it out right? Nope, this is a red flag.

2 – Wanting to cut down or stop drinking without success

Listen, wanting to cut down is not a sign of alcoholism, but it is a sign that your mind is nagging you because of your use. But if you want to stop but you cannot, then you are looking at a red flag. This is just one of the signs of alcoholism. Keep reading.

3 – Spending a lot of time getting, using, or recovering from use of the alcohol

Since when did the glamorous life of a wine mom become so hard in the mornings? If you are hungover every morning, then you have to take a look at what you’re doing.

4 – Cravings and urges to drink

This is a sneaky one. Because you can confuse your urges to drink with the need to “relax.” It’s been a hectic day and I need to unwind with a glass of wine with the hubby. Put the kids to bed and just open a new bottle. So much better! Pay attention to your thoughts and examine them honestly. There are other ways to relax, so what exactly are you craving?

5 – Not managing to do what you should at work or home

Listen, ladies, we all slip up and sometimes we have a week from hell. That’s not what we mean here. Have you failed to follow through with promises and to take care of your responsibilities because you were drunk or hungover? How often does that happen? Do you see a pattern here? This is often the first of many signs of alcoholism.\

6 – Continuing to use, even when it causes problems in relationships

It could be your behavior while you’re drinking, it could be your attitude when you don’t have a drink in hand, or it could be both. If your hubby notices, your family and your friends? Well they are all trying to tell you something. So, listen to them.

7 – Giving up important social, occupational, or recreational activities because of alcohol

Again, this could be because you’d rather stay home and drink, it could be because you are already drunk, or maybe it’s because you’re too hungover to go out and face that bright world.

8 – Getting drunk again and again, even when it puts you in danger

That’s how spirals work, sister. Are you driving while buzzed? Are you drinking even when you know it’s a bad idea? The question is, do you have to have a glass of wine in your hand to have any fun at all?

9 – Continuing to use, even when you know you have a physical or psychological problem that could have been caused or made worse by the substance

Dual diagnosis treatment is a newer aspect of addiction treatment that combines recovery and mental health. They are related and each feed into the other. Someone with bipolar disorder may drink to settle themselves, creating an addiction and worsening their bipolar symptoms. Do you believe you may have a mental health issue that’s making it harder to find help?

10 – Needing more wine to get drunk

A high tolerance is as an indication of alcoholism. Be mindful of the effects as well. Sometimes it’s not about how many glasses it takes to get drunk, but rather, how many glasses it takes to satisfy you. Those may not be the same thing!

11 – Development of withdrawal symptoms, which can be relieved by drinking more

If you have to take the “hair of the dog,” then you are not in good shape and you need to ask for help. If you are experiencing tremors in the morning, speak to a doctor immediately.

The first step is admitting you have a problem. That’s a tough one, then there are 11 steps after that and a lifetime of hope and happiness. Consider an addiction outpatient program for women if you want to get help without completely changing your lifestyle.




[1]: Psychiatry Online – Diagnostic And Statistical Manual Of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition

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