Divorce and Sobriety

Staying Sober During and After Divorce

My friend Kate, who is also a colleague, submitted an article today about “getting bindsided with a divorce demand.” We thought it was the funniest thing she has ever written and can’t stop cackling at Divorce Saloon. But it inspired a post from me about Divorce & Sobriety. Because even though I know Kate is perfectly fine and that she does not have a drinking problem, I did caution her that there are some people who might read her post and use it as an excuse to go off the deep end because of a divorce. Because some people have a drinking problem and I personally did not think it was a good idea to publish an article that seemed to encourage people to drink when they have to face life’s difficulties.

Kate explained, and of course I knew, that she only meant for people to drink this responsibly, and not to abuse alcohol. She is not a big drinker herself and probably has a drink once per year. I explained to her (she is a young girl and has so much to learn, I think) that while everybody may try to be responsible in all situations, the circumstances and other stimuli could propel them to make wrong choices and that divorce is one of those circumstances that one ought to be very careful with booze. I gave her a big lecture about that, which, to be honest, I don’t think she appreciated too much.

The fact is that a lot of people turn to alcohol during their divorce as a sort of crutch or as a prescription for coping. Indeed, it is even more complicated because for some people, the reason they are getting divorced at all is because of their problems with alcohol.
Sobriety is a big issue in marriages and divorces in this country. And it is almost a cultural norm to “calm” oneself with alcohol or other sedatives. Again, in moderation, Ok. But in excess and even being addicted, not so great.

If you already have a drinking problem divorce can make it worse, for sure.  If you have never had a drinking problem, divorce can bring on one. Divorce can mess with your sobriety. It can be hard to stay sober when you are going through divorce because, frankly, it can be a hellish experience.

The point of this post, I guess is not to preach but just to say, be mindful. And if you think you have a problem, seek the help you need.

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