How I Got Started
On January 1, 2018 I woke up and started scrolling through Facebook. The very first story I saw was a story glorifying hangovers among women at work.
At the time, I was a year and a half of sobriety from alcohol, and had 20 years working in and around media. I knew that it was time for me to do something to address the dissonance I saw every day. On one hand, I saw example after example of alcohol use is trivialized, celebrated and glamorized in media (particularly women's lifestyle media). On the other hand, I saw examples day after day of women for whom alcohol use, dependence, and addiction is no joke. I couldn't not talk about what I, as a women in recovery and a woman in the media, was seeing.
This is a crucial time in our conversations around women and alcohol. "Women in America are drinking far more, and far more frequently, than their mothers or grandmothers did, and alcohol consumption is killing them in record numbers." (Washington Post). Yet we continue to treat alcohol like it's a lifestyle accessory. it is not. And while I'm not a prohibitionist, and say this each day, I do believe there's something deeper going on, and it's time we have a bigger conversation.
"There has to be a way that we can tell better stories," I thought. And Tell Better Stories was born.
Creating opportunies for women to talk about deeper issues behind the headlines
At first, my thought was this: I would create a space to hold up and highlight the many, many examples we see each day that glorify what I call "alcohol-as-lifestyle" culture. Specifically, I gathered examples from major lifestyle media and brands, including editorial and marketing content. In other words, stories, photos, and images embodying this idea that every woman can and should drink, and that drinking is a harmless accessory. Think: "Rosé All Day," "Mommy Needs Wine," and "You Deserve A Drink!"
I created this site and an Instagram account, where I began posting images and asking questions.
I believe that gathering these images so they can be viewed as a collective is important. Equally important is the discussion around these images. In addition to surfacing examples, I provide:
Context for issues around substance use and addiction. This work is grounded in facts from credible sources.
Insight into discussions in the sobriety and recovery community. This includes the rapidly expanding community of people who are choosing to reconsider their relationship to alcohol
Questions for readers to consider as they examine the stories they tell around alcohol, as content creators and consumers.
Intentional, thoughtful language for readers to use as they challenge alcohol-related messaging
Tell Better Stories has quickly evolved and is evolving. What started with an Instagram account has become a community and call for action.
Equipping Others To have The Conversation
Advocating for the sober curious, the sober, people in recovery, families and allies