Sharon's Meth Addiction

Is modern motherhood encouraging alcoholism?

Has ‘mum drinking culture’ gone too far?

Modern motherhood brings new pressures. There is more scrutiny and more expectation than ever before. Social media means there’s a very real-time way to compare and judge parenthood.

With those pressures we are seeing a rise in mum drinking culture, often referenced in light-hearted memes or movies. But, when do you draw the line between a joke and a problem?

Pump-and-dump culture VS alcoholism

There is definitely a difference between drinking and having a drinking problem. So, “pumping and dumping,” meaning to drink and then express milk before feeding your baby, does not equate an addiction. An unhealthy relationship with alcohol is more nuanced than a single act.

For Lizzie, this New Zealand mum and kindergarten teacher, her relationship with alcohol was, in her own words “toxic.”

Lizzie put everyone else’s needs first and for drinking masked her own stresses. It gave her a way an outlet to hide – and escapism can be a common reason people drink. Drinking to escape is not a healthy motivator, and it can indicate you have an unhealthy relationship with alcohol.

Has Mommy Wine Culture Goo Too Far
``I always put everyone else first,`` says Lizzie, one mum who developed an unhealthy relationship with alcohol.

Watch Lizzie tell her story, in her own words

Many people won’t label themselves an ‘alcoholic’. For Lizzie, one particular night led her to asking for help. Watch what happened in her own words.

How did Lizzie get help?

Denise Cloughley, Seeking Solace, supported Lizzie through the recovery process. They traveled together from New Zealand to DARA Rehab, and while Lizzie was in recovery Denise helped her family work through her suicide attempt and kept them updated on her recovery. This holistic approach enabled them to heal together – even though they were in different countries.

“I would love to encourage people to get help in New Zealand but with the current state of things I just don’t see it as an option. The waiting lists to get into detox alone is 6 weeks long. Then the number of beds in public rehabs are extremely limited; and private rehabs are out of most people’s price range,” says Denise, Addiction Consultant.

“In contrast DARA Rehab, even with flights included, was still half the cost of the rehabs on par with it in New Zealand.”


Who goes to rehab?

Many people struggle to work out if rehab is right for them. They envisage people using drugs or alcohol as homeless, jobless and without families. Darren Lockie, Lanna Rehab and DARA Rehab CEO says, “the truth is most of our clients are productive individuals who do contribute to society. The far majority of them have maintained their jobs and families for the better part of their addiction. Sadly, a lot of people we see don’t seek help until they feel they have hit rock bottom, but it is definitely not a prerequisite to come to rehab.”

“A good portion of people keep the fact they are in rehab to themselves. They simply tell their work they’re taking a few weeks to holiday in Thailand. It’s a beautiful country, and the weekend excursions to elephant sanctuaries, temples and waterfalls, definitely give many opportunities for photo opportunities so, should they want to maintain their anonymity, they can send a few snaps back home and no one is the wiser.”

If you can seek help earlier, you’re more likely to address your relationship with drugs or alcohol and manage it before it causes detriment to your own health or your relationships.

In Denise’s case she was drawn to the addiction field after experiencing addiction firsthand.


Anne Lazarakis joined the Lanna Rehab team in 2019, from Sydney, Australia. She writes about addiction and mental health as a global issue, often focusing on our own client experiences and linking these to broader social trends. Before joining our team, she worked for several health services with a focus on equality of care, including the Royal Flying Doctor Service and the Royal Hospital for Women Foundation. Mental health - particularly addiction - is often stigmatised. Stigmas associated with these areas prevent people from seeking help and recovering. Barriers can be gender, religion, or culturally-based. In some parts of the world mental health is not even recognised as a health condition. By sharing people's stories, and making information more readily available, Anne advocates for accessibility of care for all.

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