Are you an Oblivion Drinker?

‘Are you an Oblivion Drinker’ was a feature article headline for a Daily Mail piece written last October that I discovered recently.

The key paragraphs were these:

Indeed, experts are suggesting that alcohol abuse has become the modern ‘mother’s little helper’, replacing the widespread Valium addiction of Sixties housewives and offering multi-tasking women a temporary escape from the pressure to look, behave and perform as the perfect wife, mother and colleague.

Psychoanalyst Jan Bauer, author of Alcoholism and Women: The Background And The Psychology, who coined the term oblivion drinking, explains: ‘Alcohol offers a time out from doing it all – “Take me out of my perfectionism”.

‘Superwoman is a cliche now, but it is extremely dangerous. I’ve seen such a perversion of feminism, where everything becomes work: raising children, reading all the books, not listening to [your] instincts.

‘The main question is: what self are these women trying to turn off? They have climbed so high that when they fall, they crash – and alcohol’s a perfect way to crash.’

A recent British survey confirmed her observations, with 81 per cent of women who admitted they drank above the safety guidelines every week saying they did so ‘to wind down from a stressful day’.

‘This is an epidemic. High-functioning, intelligent women are using alcohol as a coping mechanism to take the edge off and stop their brain going at 300 miles an hour,’ explains Sarah Turner, co-author of The Sober Revolution and owner of the Harrogate Sanctuary for middle-aged, middle-class women who drink too much.

While relaxing after a hard day with a drink is nothing new, it’s the scale and sudden increase in the problem that has now worried experts. Thanks to the recession and an uncertain job market, more than half of 35 to 54-year-old women say they are more stressed than they were in 2008 – and many are relying on drink on a daily basis to help.

Oblivion drinking is insidious. ‘It’s now seen as acceptable to knock back two or three glasses of wine a night, but if they’re large ones, then that’s a whole bottle,’ says Sarah Turner, who regularly sees clients at Harrogate Sanctuary who have been drinking one or two bottles a night.

The article doesn’t link to the recent British survey so it is difficult to assess the quality and size of the sample group to ascertain it’s credibility unfortunately but as a eye ball grabbing headline statistic it certainly got my attention!  81% is a truly shocking statistic.
What I find equally puzzling is all of us out here felt alone at the beginning and know nobody sober in our real lives and yet this statistic suggests we are absolutely not alone in sharing the same issue.  It makes me wonder how many others are out there struggling with this even within our own groups of friends and acquaintances?  If it is 8 out of the 10 females we each know then that is staggering ……
26 days to go


16 thoughts on “Are you an Oblivion Drinker?

  1. Just shocked my husband with those stats he thought I was bad by one or two bottles a night at the weekend only although none now so just goes to show.

  2. 81%…wow. I agree it is a silent epidemic. I guess it is easier to go to the market and buy a few bottles of the liquid demon than to go to the doctor for a prescription for Valium?

    1. Yep lori startling isn’t it? Just as addictive but much more socially acceptable, I’d go so far to say it is even encouraged.

  3. I truly believe these stats. I know many of my friends fit this. Trying to do way too much and look good doing it. Booze is everywhere.

    1. If I look around me too – I believe it Anne, which is why I keep so quiet about my stopping. People really don’t want to hear it.

      1. No, they don’t because it causes them to self reflect and question their own actions.
        I often wonder if my husband hadn’t been a big drinker with me, would he have pressured me to cut back sooner?
        Who knows. This is going to be a big issue in the next few years.

      2. Indeed Anne – this is a major issue brewing for the not too distant future.

  4. Wine is without doubt the socially acceptable version of “mother’s little helper” – just look at the kinds of comments women make to each other on fb etc, “It’s wine o’clock!!” We reassure each other that it’s OK. It’s what we need to get through. One of those things that looks terrifyingly different when you’re suddenly on the outside looking in.

  5. terrifyingly different when you’re suddenly on the outside looking in … so apt. it really is.

  6. “This is an epidemic. High-functioning, intelligent women are using alcohol as a coping mechanism to take the edge off and stop their brain going at 300 miles an hour.”

    This was me and I have no doubt that it describes many of the women I know who are still drinking. Getting sober does not erase the underlying issues that cause us to turn to alcohol for the time out from doing it all. The pursuit of perfection and not quite making it is a large part of the problem for so many of us.

    Thank you for posting a link to the article. I’ve ordered the book, Women and Alcoholism and am anxious to read it.

    1. Hey iamsobernow 🙂 Hope the book is good and do let us know what you thought of it.

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