“Women on the Verge of a Drinking Problem”

At the YMCA there is a rack that holds magazines. We all bring in our old magazines and add them to the pile. I love to sit in the sauna with a pile of magazines I would not otherwise read; Glamour, Oprah, Living or  The Ladies Home Journal. In the sauna I can not make a list, or make a call, or run an errand. I talk with other Sauna Club Members and read about how to decorate a living room or make a cake, wear the new mascara or stick to my new years resolutions. It is simple and mostly mindless. I rarely remember what I read and that is what the sauna is for; doing nothing.

Every once in a great while I read something I can not shake. Last week as I was pondering where to take Step on a Crack, knowing I needed to discuss some of the details on Wernicke – Korsakoff and alcoholism in general. I needed to hit the library and it is on the list.

Last week at the Y,  I picked up a copy of The Ladies Home Journal and  took it into the sauna. I did not know the woman on the cover and I did  not care about 96 Incredible Holiday Ideas. All I wanted was to read some words and do nothing.

I was astounded by what I found inside which validated that I should never judge a magazine by its cover.

I found an article written by Sarah Elizabeth Richards. The  title was intriguing;

“Women on the Verge of a Drinking Problem”

The article begins:

“You look forward to that glass of wine after a tough day,

but what happens when  you pour a second glass – and then a third?

The sobering truth about what moderation really means.”


I read the  article and then I read it again. I asked Gary at the front desk if I could take the magazine with me; and I read the article AGAIN at home.

I considered using some of the info in the article  in a post and the more I thought about it,  the more I realized I wanted to make the article available in its entirety.   I have a link at the bottom of this post. The article is posted there.

It is an important article about alcohol and what is too much. The figures are indeed sobering.

I thought of a woman I know casually. At a gathering some time ago she mentioned that she has a couple of glasses of wine a night to unwind; sometime 3. A conversation ensued about wine and relaxation. I was quiet; thinking of my mother. It was into the conversation that this casual acquaintance told us all where to find the ‘perfect wine glass’.

“This glass is absolutely perfect. It holds exactly a half a bottle of wine.  I have my 2  or 3 glasses a night and I am good to go!”

There was  a stunned silence around the table and someone quickly jumped in and changed the subject.

I have never forgotten that conversation. I think of it often in fact. As an adult child of alcoholics I am very observant of  the drinking habits of others. I can not shake that habit. It was developed early in childhood and was a survival skill. As a woman who had a drinking problem I worry for her.  I worry for her kids too; I hope they have no need to develop survival skills.

That ‘Perfect Wine Glass’ is a recipe for disaster.

Step on a Crack is about more than my mothers walk with alcoholics dementia. It is also about her death and the destruction caused to families and lives by alcoholism.

I am not ready to write about my mother’s death. I am not ready to post what I wrote on slips of paper while I waited outside her room when the doctor said, “We need you to leave the room now. You do not want to see this. We will come for you when we are done.”

I left that room at least 3 times the day my mother died.  I wrote  to ease the  pain; words being my release. I am not ready to post that post; yet.

But I will be one day and when that day comes I hope I remember to post this article with it.

I am posting the article here. I hope you find the time to read it.

Alcoholism is no joke and it has one slippery, slippery slope.

Peace,  Jen

Please. Read this.

Women on the Verge of a Drinking Problem by Sarah Elizabeth Richards

~ by Step On a Crack on January 15, 2012.

19 Responses to ““Women on the Verge of a Drinking Problem””

  1. I have a radar system as well. Same with food stuff. Always alert — staying away from the slopes.. Love Mel


  2. I thought the article was interesting. I hope it gets people thinking because it indeed is a very slippery slope


    • Hello there!

      Me too! I heard an interview with doctors today on NPR also; It seems there is movement afoot to clarify what “moderate drinking” really is.

      Thank you for being here, J


  3. I’m amazed at how easily we kid ourselves into believing that we’re not at risk, that we can handle it, whatever “it” is. We don’t seem to be much for moderation either. We’re often an all or nothing kind of people, which means if we’re not willing to take “nothing”, we have to throw ourselves toward “all”.

    Our definition of an alcoholic is especially troublesome, because it is so extreme, we rarely have to consider that it may apply to us. I will read the article and I’m sure find it a valuable resource. Thanks for posting the link!


    • YES! We are a culture of MORE, FASTER and NOW. I think it does cause so many problems. I am delighted to see more and more written about what MODERATE really means. It means not drinking much at all. The health, both physical and mental, ramifications are huge with alcohol.

      I hope you like the article. It is not as detailed as I would like BUT it is in a magazine that has a huge market. I find it fascinating that it was published in such a mainstream magazine. That makes me hopeful.

      Thank you so much Paulann for your support!



  4. I am SO glad you saw that article, posted it here and wrote about it! I get everything you’re saying and see myself in that place only worse. Being raised in a family/church that is anti drinking at all I have to watch myself from judging others that drink at all. I see it all as the slippery slope you called it though I know it’s not that way for everyone. I look at it like you never know if you’re going to be the one that slips on that slope so why take the chance. I know this was formed in my earliest beginnings and I work hard on not being judgmental about it. (It was hard to open our daughter’s fridge to see the beer her husband drinks). Regardless of my personal bias, alcoholism is a real problem. You stated this quite well. Thank you.


    • Debby, I love your self awareness and willingness to look at how you are seeing things. I find that incredibly inspiring.

      I think you hit on a very important point: how do you know if you will be able to handle the slope? You don’t. AND it can be a long steep one. You could end up in trouble without even realizing it. That is what I like about the article.

      Thank you for being here! so much…



  5. “Alcoholism is no joke and it has one slippery, slippery slope.”


    I think that GrowthLines said it all for me. True that people are often “all or nothing” and determining what defines an alcoholic can be troublesome. There is a way to get clarity on it all, though. Thank you for the information, Jen. Keep up the good work.


  6. Muchas Gracias! It is SO hard to know if you are really able to pull the reins in. I love your take on binge drinking for instance. I am so sorry you have had to experience up close and personal the devastation.

    Poison is poison. right!

    Thank you SO much for being here! Really!



  7. My “Perfect Glass of Wine” was my last one!


  8. I love your honesty on your blog. Write what you can. . . it makes sense even if it is out of order on some days. At some point, you’ll be ready to write about her death and other things that are bothering you.

    Your blog is fine the way it is. If someone doesn’t like it, they don’t have to read it either.

    Thanks for subscribing to mine – I was really surprised that you did. My topics are so different than yours. Alcoholism is rampant on both sides of the family, but I can’t really write about it without concealing facts as I have family members who read it and would be extremely upset if I tattled on them.

    To my Mom’s credit, she did AA overly 20 years ago and has stuck with it. Very funny story – she went to AA totally against her will. I mean, she didn’t need it! And who was the first one to greet her – the wife of the president of her church congregation. Oh God has such a sense of humor. I do think that made a huge different in her sticking with it.

    Other family members won’t admit to AA or still have the problem.

    Sorry this is so long.



  9. Jen, this was so good. Thanks for bothering to find and link to this article. It is something we all need to know, if not for ourselves, then for the others around us.
    I especially appreciate the fact that the article does not major on avoiding alcoholism as much as it emphasizes the attempt at good health.


    • Kathy,

      I loved the article for its positive spin and outlook AND still it is SO honest and direct about defining what moderate drinking really is from a Healthy Body perspective. it is a very balanced article. I think that is helpful.

      I loved finding it. I LOVE sharing it!

      XO. Jen


  10. Dear Jen – You are better than a PSA! I read the entire excellent article. I was raised much like Debby, but I have no problem with a glass of wine at dinner – sometimes – but not every dinner. I live with an alcoholic, so I don’t drink except on rare social occasions (I think that would fall short of ‘living together in an understanding way’). Most of my friends drink at a set time each day. My closest friends and family (a part from my kids) all drink every day, always. A dear cousin that I deeply love and often travel with, won’t eat at a restaurant that doesn’t serve alcohol.
    Any time I call these friends or family members and say, “Hey what are you up to”? The answer is always, “Oh just having a drink and…”
    I’m going to post the article on my FB page. They may not read it but thank you so much for sharing with us!


    • Debbie!

      Hello there my friend! SO good to see you!

      I am very happy the article resonates! I can relate to the family members and friends who drink. Most don’t have a problem but I worry, especially since Mommys death. I have very little tolerance right now for being around drinking. I know that will ease with time and I struggle with the judgement. I know it is a temporary reaction to losing someone to alcohol; I know that because Mommy is not the first.

      I hope she is the last.

      I honestly was hoping that the article would be helpful.

      You are in my prayers and rarely far from my thoughts. take care

      XO. Jen


  11. I don’t know how you do it, but keep it up. This is an awesome post. Slippery.indeed. Headed to the link.


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