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'Sober Mom Squad' Is A Sobriety Resource That Challenges 'Mommy Juice' Culture

This has been an overwhelmingly difficult year for many of us, and for moms with children still in the house, there have been many unique challenges.

For some, the pandemic has transformed what used to be the occasional happy hour drink into a daily habit. While a drink here and there can be cathartic, for some, it has become an unhealthy coping mechanism.

Many of us are mentally struggling.

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Mental health has been a concern for many people since the pandemic hit. With sudden school closures, job layoffs, pay cuts, and stay-at-home orders, staying afloat and positive can seem like an unattainable goal.

There's very little time to process grief, and with the inability to actually see friends and family in the flesh, finding a healthy outlet can be difficult.

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It's easy to find solace in alcohol.

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The pandemic has brought on new concerns about the overconsumption of alcohol as a result of anxiety and prolonged time at home.

For some, the time is a dangerous window for bad habits to fester.

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Women have become particularly susceptible to alcohol dependency.

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According to an ABC News report, alcohol consumption has risen sharply since the pandemic, and it's especially prevalent among women.

"It's a perfect drug for women in particular," Sarah Hepola, author of Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget, said to ABC News.

"[A] lot of them are bearing the biggest burden of dealing with both work and added domestic stresses... A glass of wine or two, 'mother's little helper,' that's socially acceptable."

But when it's a crutch, it becomes a real problem.

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One woman was inspired to help other mothers.

Emily Lynn Paulson is a recovery coach and author of Highlight Real: Finding Honesty & Recovery Beyond the Filtered Life. She has dedicated her life to working with those struggling with alcohol dependency.

After the pandemic hit, she began receiving an alarming number of distressed calls.

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Paulson didn't ignore the calls for help.

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Many moms were calling Paulson to express that what they thought was the occasional drink had gone too far.

"I had women reaching out to me and saying gosh, I thought I was a social drinker, but now I'm home and I'm drinking all the time," Paulson said to TODAY Parents.

These moms knew there was a problem, but weren't sure how to solve it alone.

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She decided to organize and do something to provide some guidance to these women.

In March, Paulson and a group of other moms formed together to create Sober Mom Squad, a virtual group dedicated to helping moms remain sober or start their journey toward sobriety during the pandemic.

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These moms are forming a community.

The group has general meetings and resources, but has expanded to paid memberships that give more individual access to private forums and even specialized coaching sessions.

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Paulson is helping to end the stigma that many moms face.

Many of these moms started with small, seemingly harmless habits. They would have drinks during play dates and wine after work, but before they knew it, they were drinking several times a day.

The women felt like the "mommy juice" culture that perpetuated the idea of drinking to cope with parenthood needed stop.

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It's so important for people to remember that moms need help too.

While Sober Mom Squad isn't an official recovery program, it allows for moms to meet other women that are going through similar struggles.

Paulson isn't against alcohol, but believes in the importance of having an honest dialogue about healthy ways to indulge.

With her help, the unique struggles that moms are experiencing are becoming more visible, and the discussions are broadening and becoming much more accessible.

"It doesn't need to be about some big label," Amanda Lynch, a mom in British Columbia who has been sober for three months said to the outlet.

"It's basically anyone who is just choosing not to use alcohol constantly, and as a coping mechanism, and trying to lead healthy lives."

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