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When the ‘Mommy Juice Culture' Turns Dangerous

Stressed-out moms coping with life by pouring a glass of wine, or two, or three, has become the "mommy juice culture."

You see jokes about it all over social media, but is it good-natured fun or dangerous at a time when the number of women abusing alcohol is rising dramatically?

Ellie Strong of Norwell started drinking heavily after her daughter was born in 2002 and she decided to not return to work.

“I had this profound feeling of sadness and loss that I didn’t have my job and I didn’t really understand my identity in motherhood,” Strong said.

For years, Strong says she hid it well. First wine, then vodka. She hid the bottles in the washing machine, in the trunk or in the water bottle. Strong says her attempts to cut back failed, “and they would work temporarily maybe for a week or two. But the line that I had drawn, the rules that I had made just kept moving.”

Until the time when Strong's husband found her at home passed out on the floor among empty wine bottles. She finally sought help and found it at a 12 step program.

Since her recovery, Strong started a podcast called, “The Bubble Hour.” It's a place where women can learn and share.

Dr. John Kelly of the Center for Addiction Medicine is an expert on alcohol use disorder, formerly called alcoholism. He says while most women can control their drinking, some cannot because of genetic and physiological factors, as well as mental and emotional health issues.

Kelly says in the past 15 years, heavy use or addiction has increased 60 percent among women.

If you suspect you have a program, Kelly suggests the National Institutes of Health self-assessment. He says log on “and get some personalized feedback on the level of alcohol consumption. So that’s anonymous. You don’t have to worry about talking to someone about it. Just get some feedback.”

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