Drinking is on the rise in women over 40

Starting a new thread about drinking and alcoholism for women over 40. According to research articles, it’s on the rise in particular since the pandemic started. Women in midlife are under great pressure with changing work and career conditions (working from home or in some cases being forced to go back in person, or being let go due to ageism), looking after children (perhaps as a single mom), from divorce, looking after elderly parents, or from empty nest. This article highlights how women metabolize alcohol differently and how it impacts the female body.

More Older Women Are Drinking Too Much

I’ve definitely had a handful of friends who have asked me this: Do I drink too much? Some know they have a problem but aren’t ready to deal with it. Others are not sure if they do or not. My answer to them is, unless you’re ready to make a change for you, I can’t tell you what to do or what I think. It’s not my place to make that judgement.

I do agree it’s become very normalized for women to drink and drink excessively. Whether it’s mom’s wine-o-clock, or the whole “slay all day then rose” adage, women are encouraged to drink more and drink like their male counterparts.

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@ModLila I am one of those people who has asked myself this question many times, especially during the pandemic, and ruing high stress times in my adult life. It is a fine line for me to monitor carefully, because I just love to enjoy various drinks, and I’m a foodie/cook, but how much I drink, why I am drinking, and how I feel before/during/after are something I have to think about constantly.

My answer is, yes I drink too much a lot of the time, and I am aware it is not healthy. Just as I have worked on my relationship with food, I work on my relationship with alcohol, and as of right now I have not had a drink in over 2 months and I feel great. My husband is only drinking 1 day a week, and he feels better too. We’re at the age where we have to think about our health so after working on eating better over the last few years, and now drinking less. Ideally, I only want to have drinks occasionally as a treat like desert, not a reward for getting through the day or whatever stressful thing I’m working through. That’s a bad example because I’m not a big desert person, but I think after years of burnout I took ‘Treat yo self’ to be a daily thing, OOPS! Not anymore. I want to have a healthy, happy, balanced life, that doesn’t involve excess of anything except love and gratitude.

I am taking the same approach I’ve taken with food and with exercise, and slowly building better habits by being mindful and honest. I’m also trying not to feed into the ‘Slay all day and Rose’, ‘Wine-o’clock’, ‘It’s 5-o’clock somewhere’ culture. I think that all makes it worse, especially on social media, I’ve been guilty of glamourizing it myself.

The truth is, I love a good drink, or 4 :sweat_smile: I am a bigger girl so I can handle my drinks, but most of the time I do NOT need alcohol to feel good or have fun. Nature, friends, loved ones, animals, movies, music, food, travel, achieving goals, being mindful and present, and achieving my personal goals, these are all things that make me truly happy :rainbow: I want to enjoy life, not escape it, or forget about it, or mute my feelings.

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Thank you for your very honest and vulnerable answer. I posted this thread because I’ve had more than a few lovely friends ask me about it, knowing that I don’t drink very much (2 drinks a month would be a lot for me and those are usually half a drink each time). I don’t judge anyone that does drink, but I was interested to see the statistics on this on older women and how it impacts our different body chemistry. I also see women in our age range going through a lot of different external stresses, like caring for aging parents, divorce, maybe other mental health or physical health problems and some may turn to drinking as a way to cope. The Mom wine-o-clock is def a thing - and it is amplified on social media where it seems everyone is having more fun because they’re drinking.

There is social pressure to drink I feel, and even as a somewhat “nondrinker” sometimes there is a judgement about the LACK of drinking.

Love that you are finding your groove in friends, nature, animals etc. I’m with you that I like to have a drink every now and then with dinner or as a treat. I DO LOVE Pina coladas and its strawberry cousin, the Lava Flow :slight_smile:

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I’ve been a lifelong drinker until 3 months ago I gave up alcohol entirely.

I love the ceremony of an artisan cocktail, a dinner out with friends on a patio that includes a delicious drink, and an evening beverage to wind down. Those things are what kept me drinking all these years.

But the amount of times I’ve overdone it, woken up feeling lethargic, or just said something I probably wouldn’t have if not for the alcohol made me think it just wasn’t worth it anymore.

I wanted to see who I am without booze. What my body and mind are like.

Already I’ve learned a lot about myself.

And I’ve started whipping up some impressive mocktails.

I’d never sit here and preach to anyone what they should or shouldn’t do in their lives, but for me I’m glad I gave myself this opportunity. My mind is clearer, I have more energy, and free time I’m using in my business and other things.

I don’t have any plans to go back.

If you’re someone who wants to try the alcohol-free lifestyle, it can feel lonely if everyone you know is a drinker. That part didn’t surprise me. What did surprise me was how many women I’m meeting who are making this choice as well.

I’m here if you have questions or ever just want to chat.

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Big kudos to you! It’s not easy to give that up especially when it’s so ingrained in our culture and it’s so readily available.

Love the idea of mocktails! Do you have some faves?

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Just saw this in our Canadian news yesterday about drinking - Just 3 drinks or more in a week puts your health at risk. This posting caused a bit of outrage on social media yesterday with many people in disbelief.

Ottawa urged to label alcohol after report links moderate use to increased risk of cancer, other fatal illnesses

And podcast on The Decibel about it

A new measure of unhealthy drinking

Right now it’s anything with kombucha or FeverTree ginger beer in it. Yummmm

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That’s awesome!! Good for you!! I’ve never liked the way alcohol tasted so I’ve saved so much money and my liver over the years. But, I do get why people like the way alcohol can help you let go. It definitely helps with letting go on inhibitions. I have experimented and really like some other substances these days such as psylocybin and MDMA that have an incredible effect and not the harm on the body, but those have to be done with care as well. Anyway, it’s interesting how women later in life think through the alcohol thing especially since our body doesn’t process it like it used to anymore.

That sounds perfectly refreshing! I love ginger beer too and all different iced-teas.