The fact that the Facebook group “Moms Who Need Wine” has over 660,000 likes may be a sign of the times. A recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveals that white, college-educated women are the most likely to binge drink — meaning they consume four or more alcoholic drinks during one session. The number of women arrested for drunken driving is also rising, and one in five high school girls report they are binge drinking. We discuss the rising problem of alcohol abuse by women and why well-educated women are the most likely to binge drink.

Dr. Bob Brewer, leader of the Alcohol Program in the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Keith Humphreys, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Stanford School of Medicine; research scientist at the VA medical center in Palo Alto; and former senior policy advisor at the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy
Gabrielle Glaser, journalist and author of "Her Best-Kept Secret: Why Women Drink and How They Can Regain Control"
Sarah Mart, director of research at Alcohol Justice, the alcohol industry watchdog

  • geraldfnord

    I’ve always thought binge to be the flip side of excessive repression of a desire, and both opposed to a moderate, adult, and self-aware approach to desire.

  • Fay Nissenbaum

    It is impossible not to hear how wine gets lavished with praise at every mention, but no one brings up that wine drinkers get a nightly fix of alcohol by imbibing. It’s almost as if the taint of drug abuse – yes, alcohol is a drug and a dangerous one that causes death – is nowhere when wine is discussed. Instead we get stories about pairing wine with food, lovely verdant wineries, and other appeals to ‘class’.

    I would think the police could have a field day busting drivers in Napa & Sonoma leaving wine tasting tours, but they get political insulation when setting up alcohol checkpoints on our roads. Anyways, I do enjoy wine; what puzzles me is the “hands-off” approach in avoiding talk about its daily abuse.

  • TC

    To say that AA doesn’t work for the vast majority of people who try it is
    absurd. Equally false, Michael, is the notion that the overall success rate is
    only five or ten percent. Those figures are derived from very superficial
    studies done by people who define recovery as if alcoholism were a mild
    bacterial infection for which one takes a short course of antibiotics.

    AA doesn’t pretend to fix people quickly. But the majority of people who
    have followed the AA prescription of going to 90 meetings in 90 days, getting a
    sponsor, working the 12 Steps, and then continuing frequent meetings for at
    least a year do stay in recovery—most of them for a lifetime.

    • I totally agree with Gabrielle Glaser, and what a refreshing interview with someone who has not drank the AA Kool Aid.

      AA has a horrible failure rate even by AA’s own studies. The majority of people walk in and then walk out.

  • $18685506

    7 Weeks to Sobriety by Joan Mathews Larson has an 80% success rate. It makes sense that nutrition an specific supplements would make the brain function better so that cravings are not running the show.

    Mother Nature had a good plan for mental health, but we eat junk instead. Big Pharma’s approach is just a way to make money for investors. 80% of Americans are deficient in vitamin D, magnesium, iodine, to mention just a few. AA has a success rate no more than 20% because addiction is just as physically based as any other degenerative disease, like diabetes or heart disease.

  • Bruce Lee Livingston

    Bob Brewer clearly was talking about binge drinking as a separate phenomena from alcoholism. AA and other treatment programs do not focus on prevention of binge drinking, they help the 5% or so of drinkers who may be addicted, but do not prevent the 12-20% of drinkers who binge.

  • Fay Nissenbaum

    This is somewhat off-topic, but Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12-step programs proclaim avoiding all drugs, yet ignore cigarette smoking as though nicotine addiction and bad health aren’t part of tobacco’s legacy. So at every AA meeting Ive been to, attendees take their “smoke-break”. Why does AA not recognize cigarette smoking in the list of addictive behaviors?

    • and coffee…

      • Fay Nissenbaum

        and the sweetest cheap cookies! Yeah – sugar and smoke!

    • Kathleen H

      I do not know this for certain, but I would guess it’s a harm reduction technique. It’s hard enough for those addicted to alcohol and/or other drugs to give it up completely, and to also give up smoking at the same time would be too much for almost everyone. One thing at a time and it’s a more reasonable and achievable goal. I’m a hard reduction counselor, and this is my own opinion.

  • Chris OConnell

    “Whatever gets you through the night is alright. ‘Salright.” **

    ** As long as you are not hurting someone else.

  • disqus_b7MunSH6ge

    I am 47 years old and quit drinking 4 months ago. I cannot believe how much other people pay attention to my drinking. I have been in social environments and been questioned on my choice of a non-alcoholic beer. My brother has told me to stop this and come back to drinking moderatly as I am making it no fun for everyone. I have been in environments that I was sure would be alcohol free – a play writing class – and had the teacher break out a bottle of wine.
    I can take it but I am more aware now.

  • Robin Jaffe

    I am a woman in my mid thirties and used to work in the live music industry and was surrounded by binge drinking. I live in the Bay Area and recently discovered a movement/social group called Ecstatic Dance that hosts sober dance parties through the Bay Area. Over the past 6 months of going to these events I have discovered I no longer feel the need to drink at all because I have found a fun supportive community that helps promote my health and wellness. There is a FUN alternative!

  • Mjhmjh

    I’d be interested to learn why the use of the term “alcoholism” is now discouraged.

  • Tony Rocco

    Let’s all just give up on doing anything fun – sex, drugs, smoking, drinking – let’s give it all up and live long, boring, uneventful lives until we die of either old age or sheer boredom.

    • dwamikayla

      I suggest you read up on the difference between (recreational) use and abuse.

  • I think we should repeal the laws that make purchase of alcohol illegal for minors (fat chance). This law makes alcohol a symbol of adulthood and gives it enormous appeal to teenagers. We encouraged our daughter, when she was a child, to have a little wine with dinner. She often declined. When she became a teenager, I recall her commenting to me, based on her friends, just this observation. Some of her friends, as were some mine (many, many years ago), became alcoholics before they turned 18.

    She is now 18, living on her own in LA (she became self employed when she was 16 and got her first apartment in SF). Most or all her friends are in their twenties. She keeps alcohol for them and will have a social drink with them but other than that she is a teetotaler. I don’t know how much her parents instance that drinking was not a badge of adulthood is responsible, but I think it had something to do with it. The friends who became drunks in their teenage years all had very strict parents.

  • Naomi

    Listening to Ms. Glaser (I haven’t read her book): She says women don’t want to experience the “powerlessness” suggested in AA. Unless Ms. Glaser has actually *been* addicted to something hopelessly and been through the deep internal process of working through and recovering from that addiction in a 12-step program, she won’t understand this concept.
    Powerlessness in the 12-step context means letting go of the herculean internal struggle to control an addiction. It means “turning it over” to a power greater (or *other* if you will) than yourself – *whatever* that may mean to you. Some feel this as turning it over to a traditional sort of God. Others feel it as a releasing or relaxing process whereby they are open to a healthier impulse coming from within themselves. It’s too much to describe in detail in this post, but the summary is: The concept of powerlessness can actually *empower* one to find and experience recovery, without giving up any autonomy or personal choice.
    This is deep, subtle stuff, and I would love to sit down and talk about this in depth with Ms. Glaser.
    Another point: As another poster mentioned, the 5 to 10 percent recovery rate in AA sounds absolutely wrong, based on info I’ve read.
    ONE more [important] thing: Ms. Glaser is doing serious harm by talking about the scary-sounding “13th step” in AA – where members try to make an inappropriate sexual connection with newcomers. This happens occasionally, but it is NOT the norm. Women should not be frightened into avoiding AA. It has been an absolute lifesaver for thousands and thousands. It’s not the ONLY way, but Ms. Glaser is too dismissive and is giving out inaccurate info based on limited experience and knowledge.

  • SKH

    I listened to the program today and was completely horrified by Gabrielle’s assessment of AA. I am a sober woman who’s been in AA for 22 years and it saved my life. I was never 13th stepped although I admit I have seen it happen, but as Dr. Brewer said you cannot negate the efficacy of AA because there are some unscrupulous people there. The notion of powerlessness being destructive to a woman’s view is also a misinterpretation of how that concept manifests in AA. We are all powerless in this life, I can no more make it rain that anyone else can. When I accept the fact that I am not in control of external life factors I gain an ease in my existence which gives me great peace.

    When I was in the throes of my addiction, even though there was a part of me that knew I needed help, there was also a powerful voice in my mind that told me I didn’t have a problem. In those moments of desperation you are often confused and aren’t clear where to turn. The power of denial is very strong. If I were in that state of mind and I heard the program today and walked away thinking that AA is not a safe place for women, yet I had no where else to turn, I might continue to pursue the hell of my addiction.

    Every time I heard Gabrielle speak of AA I was hoping that there weren’t any desperate women listening who are seeking a solution, because they may well discount AA as an avenue of help. Another fact that wasn’t mentioned is that there are generally many women’s meetings available which can be safe haven’s for women at all times in their sobriety.

    The other factor that got to me today were the alternate solutions being proposed for addiction treatment; insurance, medication, counseling. This is a very middle class approach, what about those, and there are many, who are in the depths of addiction with no insurance or financial means to get medication or see a psychiatrist? AA is free.

    I got sober at 22, I was newly out of college, no health insurance, little money, no idea where to turn to get help. I knew I needed to stop drinking but I had no idea how to do that. If I hadn’t found AA I would likely be dead now.

    I do agree that AA may not be for everyone but it certainly has saved millions of lives. Before the advent of AA most alcoholics were seen as hopeless cases and were put into mental institutions or died of their disease.

    I truly hope that Gabrielle’s message doesn’t permeate the community of women who are looking for help, I agree there are other options beside AA but her negative portrait of AA is just plain wrong.

    • Actually they are not ” many womens meetings” to support all the women who attend. Also just attending women meetings does not make them safe from emotional abuse from sponsors and financial scams.

      I hope millions of women heard Gabrielle today. More lives will be saved by them finding alternatives like and HAMS.

      Karla Brada would still be alive if it were not for the fact the man she met at Alcoholics Anonymous strangled her to death. Now her family is suing AA.

      • I’ll Be FREE Or Die

        EXACTLY AntiD. Have you read Gabrielle powerful recent article called:

        12 Steps to Danger: How Alcoholics Anonymous Can Be a Playground for Violence-Prone Members

        In the spring of 2011, Karla Brada Mendez finally seemed happy. She was 31 and in love, eager to move ahead on the path to maturity—marriage, a family, stability. She had a good job in the customer-service department of a large medical supply firm, and was settling into a condo she had recently bought near her childhood home in California’s San Fernando Valley.

        Her 20s had been rough, a struggle with depression, anxiety, alcohol, and drugs. But early that spring two years ago, she told her parents and younger sister that she had met a charming, kind, and handsome man who understood what she had been through.

        Their relationship blossomed as the couple attended Alcoholics Anonymous meetings several times a week. But there was much Karla didn’t know about the tall blond man who said he was an AA old-timer.

        Court records show that Eric Allen Earle repeatedly relapsed and turned violent when drunk, lashing out at family members, his ex-wife, and people close to him. By the time he and Karla crossed paths, judges had granted six restraining orders against him.
        The 40-year-old sometime electrician had been convicted on dozens of criminal charges, mostly involving assault and driving under the influence. He had served more than two years in prison.

        Unlike Karla, Earle was not attending AA meetings voluntarily. A succession of judges and parole officers had ordered him to go as an alternative to jail.

        In that regard, Earle was part of a national trend. Each year, the legal system coerces more than 150,000 people to join AA…”

        READ MORE:

        • Yes! I did read it! What an incredible in depth exposure of Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous on the dangers in the rooms and out of the rooms of 12 step programs with court mandated violent felons and mentally ill sponsors and sponsees needing professional help.

          To think this man Eric Earle had such a violent history with restraining orders from his own family met Karla at an AA meeting just boils my blood. Thanks to Gabrielle Glaser for this important article that will warn people of how irresponsible AA is.

          • I’ll Be FREE Or Die

            As familiar as I thought I was with Karla’s story…this article took it to an
            entirely deeper level. Gabrielle is truly gifted…and using her Gift to save

            The most disgusting thing I am seeing is these perverted people who continue to
            blame victims like Karla for being raped and/or killed.

            I endure it though. The world needs to see how affected and infected the minds
            are of those who would blame a woman who was savagely killed for her own

            It honestly shows their hypnotic state and mind numbing indoctrination. It reveals
            their lack of Humanity and sincere lack of compassion for those AA claims to be
            in service to.

            It shows there slogans and love-bombing for what they are. For instance:

            “We will love you until you love yourself!”


            What if I believe you (AA’s)…what if I love you and befriend you and listen to you…rely on you and one of yours rapes me…kills me…

            Will you all love me then AA?

            We can all see what the answer to Karla and other victims has been thus far…

          • No the love they say they have for you will go out the window and the importance of protecting the name of AA will come first.

            Karla’s own AA peers blame her, yet are supporting the killer Earle.

            If someone in AA molests your kid, well you should of watched him better. Does not matter that AA invites pedophiles to AA meetings along with every criminal known to man.

  • Gabrielle Glaser was spot on about her assessment of Alcoholics Anonymous. Same holds true for Narcotics Anonymous. AA is not the only way and in fact does more damage than good. Smart Recovery is a great secular option.

    Courts are mandating violent felons and pedophiles to meetings and then AA goes into our high schools and invite our minor teens to the same meetings as these dangerous people.

    A 47 year old man was arrested this past month for helping a 16 year old run away from home that he met at an AA meeting. He was her Sponsor. He is sitting in jail now with a 750K bond.

    Please do not send your teens to AA or NA!

    • Naomi

      Anti-Denial: By the vehemence with which you state your opinion, I know it will almost certainly be impossible for you to to listen or to change it, but for the record – and for those others who are reading this – I need to comment.
      I’m a member of a 12-step program, and I’ve attended many AA meetings with my ex-husband and with friends as well. I have been in and around the rooms for many years.
      It’s tragic that a woman was killed by someone she met at AA. It’s also true that sometimes women get “hit on” by men in AA. But we need to check the statistics. These things happen in the so-called outside world as well.
      Citing one murder story repeatedly as a reason not to go to AA is totally misleading. You can meet, start a relationship with, and get killed by someone you meet in a club, the grocery store, etc. But this is very very rare – in whether in a store or in AA.
      Also, some people are sent to AA by the courts, but they are a very small minority of the people who attend. I know this because I’ve know – and have heard hundreds of life histories from -folks at meetings, and it’s very infrequent that someone is there due to the courts. You can meet someone who is a convicted felon anywhere in the world, not just in a meeting.
      I’ve seen positive, uplifting examples of people finding recovery and a whole, fulfilling life thanks to AA.

      • Wow Naomi you are so very very wrong. There are are numerous cases of murder, rape , financial exploitation by AA and NA members. We discuss hundreds of newspaper accounts at . Your comment is such a typical 12 stepper reaction to minimize the dangers in AA.

        To be clear- AA has actually admitted that there is a problem of sexual abuse by AA members. They had a board meeting and voted to do nothing about it. Also there is the 13 stepping which is a coined phrase about AA old timers sexually exploiting newcomers. That has happened since Bill W. was guilty of it himself.

        Also you are inaccurate that only a few people are mandated to 12 step programs. In fact a high % of all meetings are made up of court mandates. Many are sexual offenders and violent felons. Even killers are mandated.

        The churches and the Boy Scouts have implemented safety guidelines to protect those they serve from sexual abuse. AA has NO safety guidelines and refuses to implement any.

  • We discuss the crimes committed by 12 step members and the unconstitutionality of mandating AA and NA by our judicial system at

  • Carter

    Why do people drink lots of booze? Seems like a stupid thing to do. That’s stuff’s poison, yall.

    • Candid One

      For too many people, life is a matter of picking among “poisons”. So many social circles “push” alcohol that most folks go through a life of jumbled, mixed signals.

      Unfortunately, the insidiousness of being pushers–in plain sight–has escaped serious culpability. Somehow, the need to consider a designated driver to prevent a problem has skipped the decision to imbibe–or push–initially as a better prevention stage. Avoidance of perceiving decisions is where the irresponsibility begins. Once the decision dodging starts, it cascades too readily. Not every drunk is an alcoholic.

  • Tyranipocrit

    Why does AA have t be religious? That would be a turnoff for me. Are there secular support groups. I don’t drink, just asking. It has always bothered me that they assume everyone is religious or perhaps use the group as a missionary conversion cult.

    • Yes there is that is secular. They are growing as more people are

      In reality it is a pagan religion and cult because anything or anybody can be your God. Yet Christian Churches allow many meetings to worship in their churches. Totally bizarre.

  • dwamikayla

    Reminds me of Bree Vandekamp from Desperate Housewives. Much more than just an isolated stereotype apparently.

  • ChelStro

    I was very disappointed by this show. I thought the topic was the prevalence of binge drinking among women, not the merits of AA. I’m sure that there are many other examples that could have been sited rather than presenting the existence of the Mom’s Who Need Wine Facebook page over and over. It seems to me that the preparation for this topic was not up to par.

    Gabrielle Glaser clearly has an agenda regarding AA. I am very distressed to think of the the women with concerns about their drinking who tuned in to this program hoping to hear some answers, who she has scared off from reaching out for help with her boogeyman tales of the rooms.

    There are sick people in the rooms, most of them are sick people trying to get well, and to help others to do the same. There are also sick women who come in looking to 13th step in order to fill the emptiness inside of themselves that they were filling with alcohol. I’m not denying that abuse has take place, but to label this life saving program as a dangerous playground for predators is highly inaccurate. I have received some, unwelcome, but nonthreatening attention from men in the rooms, but no more than outside of the rooms. I spoke with my sponsor about it and she taught me how to set healthy boundaries, something I didn’t know how to do before.

    While I was in the misery of my drinking I though that AA would be the worst thing that could happen to me. I have been amazed by how much richness there is in the program, and in the fellowship, and how much I’ve come to enjoy participating. My life has never been better!

    • Well I am glad you have survived AA to give an opinion. Karla Brada who was killed by a Eric Earle who was mandated by the courts no longer has that opportunity. They met in Alcoholics Anonymous.

      Many sick people in AA or NA are not there because they want help, they are forced there by the court system. Some come there knowing it is a place to prey on women and children and get away with it under the cloak of anonymity.

      I hope women read this and find safer options that actually work. Not the pathetic 5% that AA does. AA World Services does NOT care about women or children. They have admitted that sexual abuse of them IS a problem, yet they voted to do NOTHING to protect.

      What should one expect from an evil pagan cult that tells you anything can be your God or Higher Power? They are anti-Christ.

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