The number of women drinking to excess is on the rise.
Experts are worried about the clear and troubling trend showing women, especially moms, developing alcoholism.
Ashley Bowen says alcohol consumed her life, leaving her isolated and unable to care for her children.
“I wasn't able to mother them. Um, I obviously wasn't able to drive,” she said. “Lot of regrets, lots of shame.”
But Bowen is blessed. She was able to quit. Too many women can't.
Alcohol is killing more women today than opioids. In fact, the number of deaths attributed to alcohol spiked 85 percent in just 10 years, according to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington.
“Women drink a good 2½ times more frequently than they did 50 years ago,” Dr. Steven Wyatt said.
Wyatt says there are many reasons women are so at risk.
“So it's actually absorbed more rapidly by women than men,” he said.
Then there's ever increasing stress, career and financial instability. The struggle to balance work and family. A cocktail offers quick relief.
What you may not realize is that drinking alcohol actually changes our brains.
“It's not just the habit you're getting into, it's literally that the brain starts to crave alcohol,” Dr. Wyatt said.
Bowen knows this feeling well.
“The day that I decided to ask for help this time, I had been drinking for days. Not sleeping well and just basically my job, my full time job was drinking. And I couldn't do it anymore,” she said.
Now sober for four months and counting, Bowen says she wants to tell her story to prevent other moms and their children from suffering.
“I waited so long to ask for help that I lost so many years because of this disease,” she said. “The sooner you get help if needed, the better you'll mother your kids, be there for your kids, be there for your family and be a healthier person.”
The big question behind the rise in alcohol use among women is why? While there are no major studies on the issue, experts believe it is because it is more socially acceptable, even celebrated at times through memes and social media.