Women and Alcoholism: Have you reached your bottom or does that matter?

May 2nd, 2010 | Posted by Sherry Gaba in Alcohol Addiction

On Friday evening, “20/20” co-anchor Elizabeth Vargas reported on mothers who are struggling to stay alive from their addictions in a documentary entitled, “Mothers Little Helper”. She profiles stories of four courageous women from across the country who shares their painful but honest struggles with their addictions.

Viewers take a rare look inside the homes of these four women. It depicts not only the devastating effects of addiction on these women, but the heart wrenching pain children, husbands, friends, and other loved ones go through when someone they love has a problem with alcoholism or an addiction.

One of the women is Tina, a DC stay-at-home mom who used to work in politics, best-selling author Mary Karr, who wrote a memoir of her decent into alcoholism, Stephanie, a onetime “cocktail crusader” from California, and Lynn, a 50 year old from Mississippi who has drank all her life beginning with the death of her father when she was a teen. The documentary follows the women in detox and into a 30 day rehab program as they receive one on one psychotherapy and group therapy.

What I enjoyed about this particular special was the variety of where alcoholism had taken these women. We so often talk about the “yets” in recovery. What that means is how far down do you have to go to get help. Must you be homeless? Must you have liver damage to finally seek treatment? One of the women, although it appeared was drinking nightly, had not reached what we would call a severe bottom. But does that matter? Absolutely not? This woman was fooling herself and the shame must have been excruciatingly painful. She even wrote books glamorizing drinking. In essence, she had a double life.

Women metabolize alcohol differently than men, and sometimes anything more than 5 ounces of wine can be an issue for a woman. How many young girls clubbing know this? Not many? What about the damages binge drinking can cause? Our society has a long way to go in educating women that alcoholism doesn’t have to mean drinking from morning to night. So many get the words dependence and alcoholism mixed up. It is just another dose of denial I hear over and over again. “I don’t get the shakes when I drink.” “I don’t drink during the day.” The bottom line is if your life is becoming unmanageable and you are feeling powerless, you most likely have a problem. Women need to stop kidding themselves. Take this self test to see if you might be crossing the line into alcoholism. http://www.sgabatherapy.com/AlcoholDrugAbuseSelfTest.en.html . It might be the best thing you ever did for yourself and it might save your life.

Sherry Gaba, LCSW, Psychotherapist, and Life Coach specializes in addictions, trauma, women’s issues, anxiety, depression, and helping her clients find purpose in their lives. She is the Psychotherapist on Celebrity Rehab 2 and 3 with Dr. Drew Pinsky VH1. Her new book, “The Law of Sobriety: Attracting Positive Energy for a Powerful Recovery” will be out in September and available now on Amazon or Barnes and Noble on line. She can be reached at www.sgabatherapy.com. Areas served: Agoura Hills, Westlake Village, Thousand Oaks, Newbury Park, Simi Valley, Moorpark, Camarillo, Malibu, and Calabasas. Life Coaching can be done by phone.

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