Gender divide: Dads who drink

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I was reading an article over the weekend about women and alcohol.  In the article it said that one third of alcoholics in America are women.  The statistic was supposed to make an impact, make me think “wow, women do have a problem with alcohol.”

Instead, it was silly.  First of all, a statistic loses it’s impact when there are only two options (men and women) and the group discussed is in the minority.  Second, that means that TWO thirds of alcoholics in the US are men.  So why is everyone focused on women who drink?  Why is it suddenly all over the news, the talk shows, the internet… particularly touching on mothers who drink?

Why is no one talking about men, and fathers in particular, who drink too much?  An alcoholic father is easily as dangerous and detrimental to a family as an alcoholic mother is.  In fact, it seems to me that men who abuse alcohol are more likely to become violent when drunk and therefore more likely to be abusers.  So why is no one concerned about that part of it?

I know there are groups out there dedicated to awareness for things like child abuse and/or spousal abuse, and that those groups do great things to support the men, women, and children affected by all kinds of abuse.  What I want to know is why there is no social mechanism driving awareness of drunk dads?  Why is Dr. Phil inviting experts and panelists on to his show to discuss cocktail moms, but not once touching on cocktail/beer/gin dads?

If I’m honest, I’d have to say it goes back to the same gender bias that leads people to question a mother’s choice to stay home (or not) while never commenting on or really even thinking about the father’s full time job.  People expect a man to work, or praise his holy sanctity if he chooses to stay home.  But women?  Apparently women can’t do anything right.  Now, on top of being selfish for whichever choice we’ve made in terms of jobs, we’re also drunkards.

Men who drink?  Oh, they’re just letting off steam, relaxing after a hard day at the office.  They are winding down after juggling the heavy responsibility of supporting their families.  And if they get a little too angry?  Well, they have a lot on their minds.  Don’t stress them out.

Paging 1952: Your stereotypes are ready for pickup.

Substance abuse has no place in a loving home.  Substance abuse in the vicinity of children is the height of shameful, selfish behavior.  If you think you, or someone you love, has a substance abuse problem, PLEASE GET HELP.

Visit sites like Recovery Connection or WebMD to find free,  often anonymous support.  Call one of these hotlines:

The Alcohol & Drug Addiction Resource Center 1 800 390 4056

Boys Town National Hotline  800-448-3000

National Drug Information Treatment and Referral Hotline:  800-662-HELP (4357)
Information, support, treatment options and referrals to local rehab centers for any drug or alcohol problem. Operates 24 hours, seven days a week.

National Cocaine Hotline: 800-COCAINE (262-2463)
Information, crisis intervention, and referrals to local rehab centers for all types of drug dependency. Operates 24 hours, seven days a week.

Al-ateen: 800-352-9996

Alcohol Abuse and Crisis Intervention: 800-234-0246

Alcohol and Drug Abuse Helpline and Treatment: 800-234-0420

Alcohol Hotline Support & Information: 800-331-2900

Don’t let something like drugs or alcohol ruin your kids, your life, your marriage.

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