Women drunk drivers
Women drunk drivers – a mention for the Soberistas site.
Here is a link to a good piece about the rise of female drunk drivers in th UK, which seems to be on the rise. http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/nov/09/the-rise-of-women-drink-drivers it is from the quality UK Newspaper, “The Observer”. I have included it as it has sections from Lucy Rocca author of several books, who is responsible for the www.soberistas.com which is a great online community, that has been helping mainly women over the past couple of years. It has become quite a large community and consists of people who wish to change their drinking habits after being caught up in the binge drinking culture in the UK. It also has a section from Rachel Black http://soberisthenewrachelblack.blogspot.co.uk who has also written a book and is a member of the Soberistas group. I would recommend these, especially to people in their early days of living an alcohol free life.
The piece reflects upon the way that women have changed their drinking over the past few decades, and I certainly think this is getting out of control in the UK. It is also a problem in the USA, and Gabrielle Glasser, wrote a great book about the problems there, which have similarities to what has happened in the UK. http://www.recoveringfromrecovery.com/best-kept-secret/ People need to change their attitude to drinking and I feel this is starting to happen especially with sites such as Soberistas and https://www.hellosundaymorning.org which is a similar community in Australia. These sites attract many people who would not join a group such as AA although some are members, and are encouraging people to use self empowerment and more modern ideas to beat their drinking problem. I think it is important to tell people who there are different methods that people can use to beat their problems, especially at this time of the year. Many will be caught drinking and driving over the Christmas period and many will attempt to stop drinking in the New Year. Others will have already stopped but go back to drinking over the Christmas period when faced with the inevitable Christmas parties and relatives.
It’s no surprise that the gap between men and women drink-drivers has narrowed when you consider that women are catching men up in the amount they drink, too. Millions of us are at it, from student bingers and young professionals to strung-out mothers and empty-nesters. And it’s wine we love most – for 75% of us, it is our drink of choice. Cutesy euphemisms are used, like wine o’clock and mummy petrol. And there’s all manner of trinkets and gifts riffing on it, from “Keep calm and drink wine” tea towels to glasses etched with “Goodnight kids… Hello wine!” and fridge magnets declaring: “Wine is my reward for being this fabulous.”
It’s all a bit of a giggle, isn’t it? Not when you see the health problems it’s causing: the number of alcohol-related admissions of women to NHS hospitals in England has continually risen over the past decade, from 200,000 in 2002 to 437,000 in 2010.
Some social scientists see the rise in women drinking as reflecting our changing role in society. Kris Beuret, director of SRA and co-author of the report, notes: “Many more women are economically equal to men, socially independent and professionally employed compared with times past. Knock-on effects of such changes tend to be that women remain single for longer, so they may continue a networking or socialising style into their 30s where alcohol is part of the after-work culture.”
There has also been a cultural shift toward greater social acceptability of women drinking. Remember the rise of the 90s “ladette”, personified in 1999 by the then Radio 1 Breakfast Show presenter Zoë Ball swigging from a bottle of Jack Daniel’s on the morning of her wedding to Norman Cook?
Lucy Rocca, 39, who stopped drinking three years ago after one monster binge too many, says: “Women like me born in the 70s came of age in the 90s with ladette culture, and the wine industry began to actively market to women. We grew up in this culture of normalised binge-drinking, being one of the lads. I used to go into my local on my own and order a pint of Boddies, a packet of fags, play pool with the lads. No one looked at you as if you’d dropped from Mars. My mum’s generation would never have gone into the pub on their own. People would’ve thought you were a screaming alcoholic.”
Nor would her mother’s generation have been likely to have had wine chilling in the fridge next to the milk and orange juice, and they certainly didn’t pop the cork on a bottle of prosecco to mark every sunny evening. The fascination of the media with ladette culture created the stereotype of young women stumbling along high streets, make-up smudged and hooting with laughter, yet this belies the extent of bingeing occurring routinely in the home, especially among older women. For many, a nightly pick-me-up makes it easier to cope with a demanding job, troublesome teenagers, the death of a parent or the loneliness felt when children leave home. The highest proportion of respondents who had consumed alcohol to a hazardous level (14 units) in the past week – 20% – was between the ages of 45 and 64, and 4% of women in this bracket drank at least 35 units, according to Office for National Statistics figures for 2010.
“My mum and dad’s generation only drank wine on special occasions, and now people load up at the supermarket,” says Rocca. “I’m unusual at the checkout now, not having any wine in my trolley. It’s a staple part of people’s shopping, like milk and bread. It’s a convivial, glamorous little treat.”
Alcohol is everywhere, acceptable and cheap. Whether you’re at a friend’s house for lunch, meeting girlfriends in a bar in the evening, or at the school quiz night or sports club social, there’s always a glass of chilled pinot grigio to be had. Little surprise that while there has been a levelling-off in female drinking in recent years, the numbers drinking heavily remain historically high. The most recent statistics show that 53% of women drinking alcohol in the past week had drunk more than the recommended daily amounts, and 24% twice more.
Moira Plant, emeritus professor of alcohol studies at the University of the West of England, says: “Before ladette culture in the 90s, getting drunk was not something women boasted about – and that has changed for women of all ages.”
It was at this time that there was a marked increase in female drinking statistics. This was partly because the government upped the number of units in a glass of wine from two to three, so researchers asking women how many glasses they drank were translating this into more units than previously. Plant says: “Drinking also got cheaper. The price of alcohol fell, particularly in supermarkets. The cheaper it is, the more people drink. Alcohol only used to be sold in off-licensed premises. It’s so much easier to buy it in supermarkets – you can see all the offers. It made it anonymous.”