You Don’t Have to Fit The Stereotype to Quit Drinking

Why the idea of what an alcoholic looks like keeps us from going sober.

Kelly Tompkins
5 min readOct 20, 2020


Photo by thom masat on Unsplash

You could walk up to anyone and ask them what an alcoholic looks like and it’s usually the same image-

A man sitting on the side of the road with a brown bag, an unknown but definitely cheap liquor concealed inside. He’s more than likely homeless or just going through a bender. He might be someone who just lost their house, their job, their kids, and maybe even their wife to the addiction but they’re still drinking. Usually starts drinking in the morning to ward off the shakes and doesn’t stop until they go to sleep.

It was either the above image or an abusive husband but the point is, it was always about someone, generally a man, who had entirely given into their addiction and it ruined their lives. And admittedly, I used this as a barometer of my own addiction. If I didn’t match that stereotype, then I was more than likely not an alcoholic.

While that scenario is a possibility, addiction is more nuanced than that. So, let’s dispel some myths.

Keep in mind that a lot of these will be personal experience and I am once again, not a medical professional.

Women can’t be alcoholics

One of the first things I notice in the stereotype is that it’s almost always a man. Studies show that while men far exceeded women before with alcoholic tendencies, are now becoming more alike. And with other studies showing that as a woman we face higher risks with alcohol, it’s a surprise to me that it’s normalized more for a woman to drink.

With things like wine being referred to as “mommy juice”, we’ve created this idea that we as women deserve to drink, with how much we have to deal with or handle on a daily basis. When I still drank, I would think about what I would do when I got older and had kids of my own. How drinking would still be something I wanted to keep in my life, even when I had a new life to take care of. But it never seemed like an issue to me, it felt like it was normal. It was okay for mothers to get together and relax with a few bottles of wine so alcohol could remain a part of my life.



Kelly Tompkins

Austin,Texas sober girl. Lover of horror movies, cats, and fitness. Occasional bad poet.

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