A Letter to the Mom Struggling with Alcohol

Mother at home reading a letter
Photo by Marija Jovovic/iStockPhoto.com

Hey Mama,

Let’s face it, 2020 has been one heck of a year, am I right? This time last year who’d have guessed we would be in the middle of a global pandemic? I’m sure there were some people who may have seen something like this coming but I for one was not one of them. If someone would have told me we would all be wearing masks and have a toilet paper shortage I probably would have laughed it off as some odd joke. Unfortunately, 2020 is not a joke, it’s here and all of the things that have gone along with it don’t seem to be going away any time soon.

We all know, motherhood can be overwhelming. It’s wonderful and beautiful and there is nothing in the world that completely compares, but if we are all being honest, it can be STRESSFUL. There is a lot on the line when you have little lives that depend on you. That in and of itself is a heavy responsibility to bear, beautiful but heavy.

Motherhood in normal times can be hard, but motherhood in 2020... it’s a whole other ball game. Due to all the factors of working from home, or getting laid off, parenting, remote schooling, household chores, reduced social life, the daily stress of worrying about getting sick—and let’s not forget those terrible months of having to shop at multiple stores to get toilet paper, baby wipes and diapers (which to be honest I am still a little upset about)—it has certainly been a difficult year, to say the least. I don’t know if I can say it has been the most difficult time in history to be a mom, but let’s at least acknowledge that it ranks pretty high up there on that list. If you are a mom right now I want to give credit where it is due and say you are the real MVP.

2020 has been difficult for everyone, but in my somewhat, I’ll admit, biased opinion, it has hit mothers the hardest. Anyone who is a mom will understand why. On top of the normal everyday responsibilities of being a mom, a long list of new responsibilities has been added on. It makes sense that many people are looking for ways to escape all this stress that they are living through with an extra drink here or there, but coming from someone who has struggled with alcohol addiction in the past, I can say without a doubt, this is a slippery slope.

Drinking in quarantine
Photo by yulkapopkova/iStockPhoto.com

During the quarantine months, alcohol sales have skyrocketed, no surprise there. But drinking too often and too much has a negative impact on not only our own health but the mental and emotional well being of the ones we are here to take care of. In a country that already glorified mommy wine culture pre-COVID, the number of wine jokes I’ve seen in my social media feed has gone up even more. Having been an alcoholic myself, these jokes already made me cringe, but to be completely transparent, they really just make me feel down. The reason these jokes are so sad is the underlying reality beneath them, because I know that alcoholism is not funny, it’s absolutely heartbreaking. They skim over the very scary and very real aspects of alcohol abuse that most people are too ashamed to talk about.

Mommy-wine-jokes leave out the parts about broken marriages, ruined trust and lost custody battles. They fail to mention the high price of alcohol abuse.

A few of the things that people who share these jokes don’t talk about are the crippling hangovers, the wasted money, the immense feelings of guilt, the shame of not remembering the night before and the horrible impact this has on everyone connected to it. Mommy wine jokes leave out the parts about broken marriages, ruined trust and lost custody battles. They fail to mention the high price of alcohol abuse. If you aren’t careful alcohol can and will take everything of value from your life and tear it apart.

So while I understand the feelings for the need to escape, please take it from someone who has been there, those few hours that you feel a little bit of relief are not worth it. Alcohol will make the next morning even more difficult and your problems will still be there. As hard as things are right now please know that alcohol is not the solution and if you are having difficulty stopping on your own, there is no shame in getting help.

Mother and son looking out of window
                               Photo by Kaan Sezer/iStockPhoto.com

The best thing we as moms can do during these unprecedented times is to take care of ourselves. This is the only way we can really take care of the people that are depending on us and who matter to us the most. Let’s face it, mama, if we don’t take care of ourselves no one else will, and our babies need us.

So while I know there is a good chance you feel extremely isolated right now, please know there are countless women out there who can relate to your struggle. While it may feel like getting through all of this sober is out of reach, I can tell you as a mom who is in recovery myself, it is absolutely possible. It is still difficult some days. But to be honest, I can’t even imagine how much more difficult things would be for me right now if I were still drinking. A life of recovery isn’t easy but it is a heck of a lot easier than a life of active addiction.

If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol abuse, the best thing you can do is reach out for help. Let’s make 2020 the year we decided to put an end to the glorification of alcohol abuse and instead began to work together towards creating more sustainable solutions. I know times are tough but please remember that you are needed, you are seen, and you are loved.


A mom in recovery


Reviewed by Claire Pinelli, ICAADC, CCS, LADC, MCAP



After overcoming her own addiction in 2012 Julie went on to become certified as an addiction counselor in order to help others achieve a life of recovery. She worked in the addiction field for 8 years and now uses both her personal and professional experiences with addiction as an influence for her writing.