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Drinking to cope with parenting? Try these tips to take back control

Whether you want to cut down or quit, here are some pointers from a coach and books to help you develop a healthier relationship to booze

08 May 2022 - 00:00
Using alcohol to cope with the stress of life is a slippery slope.
Using alcohol to cope with the stress of life is a slippery slope.
Image: 123RF/kozzi

Mother’s Day is a time to express our gratitude for our mothers, to acknowledge their roles in our lives and — sometimes — to pause and reflect on what motherhood means.

Leigh-Anne Brierley is a master coach and founder of Be the Change Coaching, a practice through which she supports and empowers individuals in their personal and professional growth and development.

“My professional experience is that there are many women who give selflessly, only to find themselves emotionally fatigued, physically burnt out, and mentally overwhelmed,” says Brierley.

“And when they have nothing left, grabbing a glass of wine or three gives them the space to just take a deep breath and regroup.”

But, Brierley cautions against what she calls a slippery slope given the addictive nature of alcohol. “There is nothing wrong with a couple of glasses of wine here and there, but it is important to consider your intentions as you open that icy bottle of sauvignon blanc.”

She offers five pointers to be mindful of when considering your drinking habits:

  • Has your drinking progressed over the past three to six months?
  • Are you drinking earlier in the day than before?
  • Have you been drinking more than you intended to on a more regular basis?
  • Have you found yourself becoming frustrated and angry if people question your drinking habits?
  • Are you making excuses about your reasons for drinking to the people closest to you?

If answering yes to some (or all) of these questions has raised some concern for you, then you may want to consider why you are drinking,” Brierley says. “It doesn’t mean that you need to stop drinking altogether, but it might mean you want to explore healthier ways to cope with the personal and professional demands life is offering up.”

Asking for support when you need it and choosing to be present are options when you feel like life is too much

Brierley encourages self-care that will result in you being more present and connected. She adds that it might be important to take time to recharge without the need to have a drink and to start creating healthy practices so that you have the tools and the resources to manage the demands of life effectively. 

“Having healthy boundaries, taking time to connect authentically, asking for support when you need it, and choosing to be present and mindful are all options when you feel like life is just too much. They may not work as quickly in the moment, but over time they will ensure that if you do sit down and have that glass of wine, it will be far more intentional.”

If you are concerned about your drinking and feel like you need professional support or want to speak to someone about your situation, Brierley says it’s important to connect with a medical or mental health professional.


Image: Supplied

1) Mindful Drinking: How Cutting Down Can Change Your Life by Rosamund Dean

Do you frequently wake up and feel that you should be calling around to apologise for all the embarrassing / insulting / objectionable things you did in the blur of the night before? Mindful Drinking helps you stay in control of how much you're drinking, rather than letting the drink control you.

2) Quit Like A Woman: The Radical Choice To Not Drink In A Culture Obsessed With Alcohol by Holley Whitaker 

A book by a successful woman who discusses recovery through a female lens, aiming to give insight into our obsession with drinking, why alcoholism is a gendered issue and the strength that can be found in going sober.

3) The Sober Survival Guide: How To Live A Life Free From Alcohol by Simon Chappel

Split into two parts, the book first gives the reader tactics to help address their relationship with alcohol. The second part deals with challenges that come up as the days, months and years go by.

4) The Sober Diaries: How One Woman Stopped Drinking And Started Living by Claire Pooley

Written by the mother who started the popular anonymous blog “Mummy was a Secret Drinker” to document her first tentative steps into a life without alcohol. Quitting booze takes baby steps, she says.

5) Recovery: Freedom From Our Addictions by Russell Brand

Brand has found freedom from all addictions and suggests his book will do the same for you. He believes his system offers liberation from self-centredness, a new perspective, freedom from the illusion of suffering and is for anyone willing to take the steps.