Practicing The Pause
5 Ways You Can Challenge the Alcohol Lifestyle Narrative
hree years ago when I started getting sober, I didn’t really practice discernment. OK, I hardly ever did. But it’s a gift I’ve thankfully come to know, and want to know more of. In the past few weeks I’ve been praying for discernment about the work that I’m doing through Tell Better Storie stories, and have come to the decision to take a break. This doesn’t mean that I won’t be writing about these issues again, but for now I’m not going to be updating the Instagram, or creating new content tied to this project.
Why? Many reasons. Mostly I just need a break. Running Tell Better Stories the way that I have been takes a bandwidth I don’t have right now. Also, honestly, I’m practicing this thing called discernment, sitting still with the question of how do I want to use my voice in this space now? And beyond this space, what about my own community?
If You're Considering Sober October Read This
A great story appeared today about Tell Better Stories! Lindsey Whittaker, producer and host of the TDH Voice Podcast, and I had a really great conversation about challenging the alcohol lifestyle narratives.
How Do I Talk With A Restaurant About Serving Alcohol Free Drinks?
Maybe you need a nudge to experience what life is like without alcohol for 30 days. If so, here are some resources I’ve vetted to give you a perspective on Sober October. Along with all of this, it’s important to say that if you think you may be dependent, please seek medical advice.
Do Companies Respond? Here's The Answer.
How do I talk with a restaurant about serving alcohol-free drinks? Start here.
Why I Do This Work: The Funeral
I get a lot of questions about this, and have been meaning to answer.
It's a really good question -- what happens when we ask a company or brand to reconsider how they use alcohol as part of their editorial, marketing, or sales efforts.
The answer comes in two parts.
Wine Is Not Necessary for The First Day of School
At the funeral home, I feel ill. There are times I want to pack up my advocacy and focus on all of the other things I’m called to do. It would be easier. Oh how easy it would be to put aside the “dark” chapter of my past, to move on as some well-meaning people have told me. Why keep wrestling with issues around drugs and alcohol and addiction and dependence and pain and the stories we tell? Life is good for me now. I could stop.
Yes, it would be easier to do that.
But I don’t do easy and the story is not over and I am still here.
That Time I Created A Hashtag On National Rosé Day And It Hid My Pain
But the thing is, I started out my journey making the same wine jokes. I would have held a letter board or a chalkboard sign had they been en vogue when my son started school. I would have made the jokes too. But not now. Not knowing what I know: the story of how so many women start drinking, and keep drinking, and end up even more depleted when then they stared.
Maybe this back to school we tell a different story.
When Will We Stop Laughing At Alcohol Memes? And When Will Brands Stop Sharing Them?
In this time where everyone is talking about mental health and “tell somebody,” I think about the story I was telling my family and friends when I was starting, or continuing, my slip into the darkest time of my life. One that started out with pretty glasses of wine and ended up in dependence, depression, and a spiritual death. Raise a glass.
How To Be Inclusive This Pride (And Every Day)
This is what I believe these memes are about. Underneath the attempt at humor is content that women relate to. For instance, with Good Housekeeping’s Elf meme: it’s not really about wine. It’s about how come summer, mom is the one who is often trying to figure out how to create an entertaining and educational break for her kids, while she continues her daily responsibilities, be it working inside or outside the home or both, which is the likelihood.
It’s tougher to create content about the fact that the world isn’t set up for parents who are trying to manage their responsibilities. Memes about childcare and economic realities are a bit more complicated. And perhaps that’s not the mission of women’s lifestyle media.
Or perhaps it is.
0 Days Since Last Hangover
For people who run recovery/sobriety spaces, doing a few things to actively show that you are a space for LGBTQ+ people can make a huge difference for newly sober queer and trans people.
Women and Alcohol: May 2018
Right now a woman is weeping because she has zero days without a hangover. She is posting to a secret Facebook group that she is back to day one. She is under the covers, beating herself up; replaying her greatest failures. She is dehydrated, filled with shame, and unsure of how she will make it through the day. You might see her in the carpool line or at the office, wiping her eyes from the fatigue. You might see her behind the register, or waiting tables. She does not have a cute letter board that proclaims “Zero Days Since My Last Hangover!”
Women and Alcohol: Week of April 30
Between Cinco de Mayo and Mother's Day, there were plenty examples of content that perpetuated the thought that one has to drink to a)celebrate b)be a mom.
Q&A With Ann Dowsett Johnston: The Woman Who Lit A Spark In The Conversation About Women and Alcohol
Among the many topics discussed at the SheRecovers Atlanta event was the organization intentionally working to spotlight more and diverse voices of sobriety and recovery. We believe this is vital, and share this intention as we examine messaging involving alcohol in media and marketing.
Women and Drinking: Week of April 23
“The mommy drinking culture is the number one issue I see. The rise in this mom culture is happening as we see the data around binge drinking and more alcohol-related ER visits skyrocket.” Ann says she is frequently sent images and products playing off wine-related themes and humor. “Humor is subjective. But when you stack the numbers and stack the data we have now, it’s very clear what’s happening.” It’s the normalization of risky drinking. Mother’s Day s coming up, and our national book chain is selling wine glasses emblazoned with the words “Mom Fuel.” This is not rare.
Moms and Alcohol : Megyn Kelly Today
"Because it turns out the story about the health effects of moderate drinking is shifting pretty dramatically. New research on alcohol and mortality, and a growing awareness about the rise in alcohol-related deaths in the US, is causing a reckoning among researchers about even moderate levels of alcohol consumption."
Women and Drinking: Week of April 16
Among topics highlighted: the pressures that modern day moms and women face, the escalation of drinking after the birth of a child, the impact of social media, and anxiety and depression amongst moms.
Moms Don't Need Drinks
Here's a roundup of notable things that happened this week. We'll start sending these out as newsletters soon -- stay tuned for that. As always, if you have a tip, please send it to us: firstname.lastname@example.org or message us on IG (@tellbetterstories2018) or Facebook.
Makes Me Whole
Because ultimately our mission isn't just about surfacing wine memes -- it's about creating real awareness of the issues surrounding women, alcohol, marketing and media. It's about helping women find words to use their voices and say: I am not comfortable with this and/or this doesn't align with my values. Some of us are fighting of our lives. And our voices are getting louder. We are not withdrawing into the shadows.
It seems innocuous enough, right? It's just a hashtag on a photo of a glass of wine. However, did anyone in their marketing group, be it internal or agency/partners, consider the ramifications of using a tagline like this in associated with wine? Did they think about what the implications could be in creating ad that says a drug makes someone "whole"?