Mom Backed For Confronting Woman In Parents' Group About Her Drinking

A woman is being supported for confronting a new member of her mom group for bringing wine and other alcoholic beverages to every get-together—even when it involves their kids.

The original poster (OP), u/AvailableArk, shared her story to the popular Reddit forum r/AmITheA**hole, earning 5,500 upvotes and 2,400 comments for her post, "AITA for asking a mom in my group if she needed someone to talk to about her drinking?"

She says the new mom, "Sherry," joined her group about two months ago, and fit right in. Everyone enjoys Sherry's company as well as that of her three kids. However, u/AvailableArk and another friend, "Lauren," noticed that Sherry would make every get-together a "wine night," whether it was a playground meeting or a birthday party.

"Every single time we hang out, she HAS to have a glass in her hand. The glass turns into a bottle. The issue is that she does NOT seem like she's had an entire bottle of wine," u/AvailableArk wrote.

The OP's concern came to a head about two weeks ago, when her mom group took all the kids to a water park. Though alcohol can be particularly dangerous when combined with water play—after all, drowning can happen surprisingly quickly—Sherry brought a pint of vodka to the park. When OP pointed out the danger, Sherry said it was something she always did.

Privately, OP then asked if Sherry had a problem, and needed someone to talk to about her drinking. Sherry was surprised and told her that her drinking was normal, and it was normal to drink at social gatherings. OP said it was fine, she just worried since every time she saw Sherry, she had been drinking. At this, Sherry started getting defensive, and said she didn't need people keeping track of her. OP said that Sherry was in a bad mood for the rest of the day.

Though Lauren praised u/AvailableArk for speaking out, the other moms said she was causing trouble, and Sherry's been calling her a "busybody" to the rest of the group.

"I was not trying to shame her. But I know how being a [stay-at-home mom] can turn people into addicts real fast and I didn't want to see her end up that way," she wrote.

In an update, she said that Lauren was going to chat with the woman who is "kind of the 'head' of the circle" to bring up Sherry's drinking, as well as her driving the kids home from these events while drunk.

wine mom alcoholism group confront reddit viral
A woman is being supported for confronting her friend in her mom group about her drinking after she brought a pint of vodka to a water park with her children. iStock/Getty

The OP is right in that stay-at-home moms are vulnerable to alcoholism. Though the "wine mom" has become a meme in its own right, it can normalize mothers drinking, according to the Gateway Foundation, a organization devoted to addiction treatment. While many "wine moms" don't make it a habit, a study cited by Gateway says that "problem drinking" increased among women by 80 percent between 2002 and 2013. In addition, "high-risk drinking" rose by 58 percent in the same period.

The "wine mom" trend has gotten worse during quarantine, according to Bitch magazine. In a May 2020 article, the magazine pointed out that wine sales were up 27 percent in the first two months of the COVID-19 pandemic, when many people around the world were ordered to stay home and limit leaving the house.

"While wine mom memes aren't malicious, they're being used to mask a massive problem of women joking their way through pain and patriarchy rather than having the tools and resources to deal with whatever they're facing," the Bitch article by Rachel Charlene Lewis reads.

The "CAGE" questions can help a person determine whether or not they may be having trouble with drinking, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. These questions are:

  1. Have you ever felt you should CUT DOWN on your drinking?
  2. Have people ANNOYED you by criticizing your drinking?
  3. Have you ever felt bad or GUILTY about your drinking?
  4. Have you ever had a drink first thing in the morning to steady your nerves or to get rid of a hangover (EYE-OPENER)?

If someone answers yes to at least two of these questions, they may be abusing alcohol.

For those who worry about their own drinking, help is available. In the U.S., the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has a 24-hour helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357), available free in English and Spanish. The SAMHSA website also includes an online treatment locator—and any personal information or search criteria used on SAMHSA's site remains anonymous and is not collected or kept.

Reddit backed u/AvailableArk's concern over her friend.

"The wine-carrying woman is bringing alcohol to every gathering of Moms + children. It's not appropriate to bring alcoholic beverages to playdates for children, so your concern about her behavior is correct. What you've described are not adult-specific activities where alcohol would be acceptable. You did not mention a parent-only get-togethers, where adults might chat without the children present," U/DWYL_LoveWhatYouDo wrote in the top-rated comment with over 12,800 upvotes.

"It takes over 10 hours to metabolize alcohol from a bottle of wine. It would take about 5 hours after finishing a bottle of wine for the BAC to drop low enough to be under the legal limit (0.08) for a DUI in most jurisdictions. That means 5 hours after finishing the whole bottle of wine, that person will have measurable alcohol in their system, and might still be over the limit. The rate of elimination varies based on several factors," they added, asking if according to these guidelines if Sherry was ever driving home under the influence. The OP confirmed that the events were generally only three hours or so long, meaning that Sherry would indeed be driving under the influence.

"Mommy wine culture is insidious, and it normalizes this 'drink with kids' thing. So is this lady 'normal'? Maybe. Is this lady abusing alcohol? Probably. Is it safe to drive drink or tipsey? NO," u/mostlynotbroken agreed. "Kudos to you for trying to bring up a difficult topic. You might have an open conversation with your mom friend group together to talk about mommy drinking, how mom's can/should (?) help other moms, what is too nosy in regards to commenting on each other's lives."

"Exactly this. Physician here too. In the U.K. we also measure by units of alcohol- a bottle of wine is approx 10 units. More than 3 in a session is considered a binge and carries more risk to your health. Recommend maximum 14 units per week for men and women. What you're describing with her drinking is over twice what I'd recommend. This lady is misusing alcohol and in denial about it. The reality is that many people drink far too much and consider it to be normal, doesn't mean it's healthy or safe," u/kb-g wrote.

"There's been a lot of people lately starting to call out 'mommy wine culture' and how it's not 'cute' or 'normal' to joke that you need a drink every time you're around your own kids," u/Suspiciouscupcake23 wrote. "Drinking socially is fine enough, but downing drinks at playdates and water parks is weird."

Newsweek reached out to u/AvailableArk for comment.