An article in Working Mother, “Everybody Knows Somebody,” touched on the fact that women are more likely to hide addictions (or addictive behavior) than men. Here’s an excerpt:
“Cindy never went to bars. With friends, she never allowed herself more than two drinks. “I had a career and kids, a reputation in our community I had to maintain,” she says. But while her kids slept, she drank and did housework. Even when you’re bleary, you can vacuum, fold laundry, clean the bathroom. Sometimes she’d bake cookies and cupcakes for the kids’ lunches. Doing mom things made her feel less guilty about drinking. Drinking made her less resentful of having to do mom things.
When Cindy remarried three years ago, she didn’t want her husband to know how much she drank. She’d have a glass of wine at dinner and wait until he fell asleep to go back to her bottle. He traveled a lot, so she still had many nights alone.”
This got me thinking how women don’t have to be alcoholics or addicts to have an occasional impulse to hide their drinking. Maybe it’s because I’m the daughter of an alcoholic and drinking will always be loaded for me, but I can remember feeling self-conscious having a glass of wine at lunch with a friend, wondering if the other mothers would smell the liquor on my breath at school pickup. A few times, when I indulged in a glass or two of wine after the kids were in bed, I felt embarrassed that my husband would think I was an alcoholic. For some of us, drinking alone feels taboo. For others, it’s a non-issue.
Maybe, like me, you had a glass of wine with lunch and felt self-conscious showing up at school pickup with alcohol on your breath, so you popped a mint, or used mouthwash. Perhaps you didn’t feel like sharing the fact that you had a late afternoon glass of wine with your husband, your boyfriend, or the acquaintance who came to pick up her kid, so you kept your distance. You weren’t keeping your drinking a secret, per se, but you weren’t broadcasting it or celebrating it, either.
Whether you’re addicted or not, we want to know….have you ever hid your drinking from your spouse, a friend, an acquaintance? Why or why not?