The sign outside a Texas restaurant reads, “In 20 years our country will be run by people homeschooled by day drinkers.” A photo of the sign went so viral, Fox News wrote a story on it. Moms have started saying it while they clutch a glass or bottle of wine in TikTok videos, and the likes and shares show just how relatable and hilarious people find it.
Except for the thousands of moms who are doing everything in their power to quit drinking or stay sober.
Moms like me.
I am, after all, a sober mom.
I quit drinking three years ago when my oldest was three and I realized I could not effectively parent with a hangover. Having had an alcoholic father, I knew firsthand where over-consumption leads, and I did not want that for my children or for myself. I stopped drinking and started reading books like This Naked Mind by Annie Grace, realizing addiction is far more complicated than the movies and TV portray. I also learned about gray area drinking, the addiction spectrum, and the sober curious movement, new terms in the drinking rhetoric that don’t lean on labels like “addict” or “alcoholic” and point the conversation toward the benefits of sobriety when alcohol is not positively impacting your life.
Earlier this year, as many kids were sent home from school and the terms distance learning and quarantine started to trend, four sober moms and I started the Sober Mom Squad—a weekly free meeting for moms who are sober or sober curious.
The response was electric, with several hundred sign-ups in just the first month. Because whether or not moms were day drinking while they homeschooled, the number of people drinking, in general, rose significantly.
Drizly, the leader in alcohol delivery, boasted 750 percent growth from March to May compared to last year’s sales. And in supermarkets and liquor stores, Nielsen data shows a 22 percent increase in U.S. alcohol sales.
“Many moms, myself included, had to learn how to work from home and start distance learning with our children overnight,” said Emily Paulson, the founder of Sober Mom Squad. “I had so many women reaching out to me—a recovery coach and mom of five—saying they saw their drinking getting out of hand and I knew we needed to do something on a greater level. One-on-one coaching just wasn’t going to cut it.”
With the growth of the Sober Mom Squad, the group expanded the free weekly Zooms with a membership component complete with several meetings a day, expert classes and private forums for coaching and support. With 1,200 women in the private Facebook group alone, Emily says the need for this kind of support is clear.
“There’s something very unique about the motherhood experience,” she adds. “Recovery meetings are nothing new, but creating a safe space specifically for moms adds a level of relatability that is part of what makes this group so needed and necessary.”
Adds Jessica Landon, a member of the Sober Mom Squad and one of the hosts, it’s just that community that sets moms in recovery apart. “For many of us, we truly don’t know where we would be without our Squad. These days are long and hard; to have a safe space to vent about homeschooling or our struggles with alcohol is a saving grace for so many.’