Gabrielle Glaser has written a book titled Her Best Kept Secret and it describes the growing drinking problem amongst affluent middle-aged suburbanite women. Speaking from personal observation, Glaser chronicles the surge in wine drinking in women and their struggles as the drinking becomes closer to an addiction. In recent times, as the roles of women have changed, they have fuelled the growth of the wine industry.
Wine is these women’s alcohol of choice, and while a seemingly harmless way to relax on the surface, over time women have started to cross the line, where many realize that they have developed a dependence that they try to hide from people close to them. Glaser also notes that AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) may not be the best solution for these women, who have different physiology and motivations for drinking than men.
Why Middle Class Women Are Drinking More
Wine has a reputation for being a drink that upper-class people indulge in, and that there’s nothing wrong with having a glass of wine in the evening to unwind. Women have taken to drinking wine to cope with their changing roles in societies. While still mothers and wives, they also now work high-stress jobs in technology and finance but others also stay at home, even though many are highly educated and used to working. Both of these situations are triggers for women to drink.
Some drink because they are stressed out from their high-stress jobs, others drink because they are anxious and restless from being housewives and are adjusting to kids leaving the home for good. Women turn to wine to relieve their stress, but some end up drinking at least a bottle a day, and need to find treatments to lower their dependence on alcohol. However, Glaser argues that traditional AA meeting may not be the best solution for these women, and that other treatment options are more suitable and effective. Drinking excessive amounts of wine does have negative side effects like:
- High blood pressure
- Asthma complications
- Liver disease
Treatment Options For Women
Glaser notes that AA was originally founded by two men who wanted alcoholics to give up all their power to a higher force. On the flipside, she claims that women come from a different place than men, where they have no ego, and often feel powerless. These women also are often not full-blown alcoholics and don’t need to completely abstain from alcohol to recover from the dependency. Instead, she recommends that these middle-class women find more success by going to a doctor and getting prescribed prescription drugs like naltrexone and topiramate, which are known to help block the cravings for alcohol.
The success rate has been listed as high as 70% by one doctor of women who have successfully overcome their addiction over a six-year period. Because women are drinking for different reasons than men and their bodies are different, the best treatments for them may be visiting doctors for counseling and being prescribed drugs that will help control her cravings.
One Size Doesn’t Fit All
What many of these women report is that while AA may be a good treatment for many people, they felt uncomfortable exposing their secrets to a large group of people. And over time, especially with the introduction of prescription drugs like naltrexone and topiramate, people who suffer from alcoholism will have more choices over how they can treat their problem.
Glaser writes that increased wine-drinking is also linked to the stresses of motherhood, which women experience in unique ways, and wine has become part of the culture as a way to temporarily relieve stress. Most of all, many of these women suffer silently, so with increased awareness of the issue and more treatment options, these women can receive the help that they need.