When former editor Ann Dowsett Johnston was raising her son, she had a favorite end-of-day routine: pick up the boy, get home, head to the kitchen, pop a cork, and set to work on preparing dinner. Sipping wine while making supper seemed like a harmless de-stressor. It was just a little something to help her unwind after another unwieldy day. One glass did the trick at first, and then over time, two worked better.
Johnston describes her slow slide into alcohol abuse in an Atlantic article. She cites a recent poll in Britain, which revealed that 81 percent of those who drank above the safe drinking guidelines said they did so "to wind down from a stressful day." And 86 percent said they felt they should drink less. Even so, the stress to do everything—build a career, be an active, engaged mom, cultivate a healthy marriage—leaves many women in need of an escape from perfectionism. We just can't do it all. Wine helps ease the reality of this. According to Johnston, it's this need to escape perfectionism that has more and more women imbibing.
Johnston says she got into trouble when two glasses of wine became three. "That's the thing about a drinking problem: It's progressive. But for a long, long time, alcohol can step in as your able partner, providing welcome support—before you want to boot it out."
Melody Harrison Hanson shares a similar story of the progressive nature of drinking and its devastating effects on her family. In "How to Love a Drunk," she paints a heartrending, raw picture of her husband's unconditional (tough) love while she took a deep-dive into alcoholism.
Whether you're in the throes of alcoholism or addiction yourself, or you know someone who is, in this issue, we're confronting substance abuse.
We've noticed a cultural shift among women, and Christian women in particular, related to drinking. Many have swung away from temperance toward gin and tonics. With all this relaxing of legalism around alcohol, we wondered if we'll start to see a similar trend now that cannabis is legal in many states. We asked TCW regular contributor Corrie Cutrer to investigate how the new marijuana laws are affecting women. Now that pot's becoming legal and more widely accepted, does it matter if we light up? Is there any difference between relaxing with wine versus a hit of weed?
Christianity Today's executive editor Andy Crouch says we may be free to toke up, but we shouldn't. Instead, we should take this opportunity to exemplify the freedom we have in staying clear-headed. Crouch may be right, but others have different opinions too. Read "Christians and Marijuana," and let us know what you think.
Finally, Susan Bailey shares how navigating her sons' drug addiction helped her see her own vices more clearly. Her story illustrates the freedom alcoholics and addicts experience as they boldly pronounce their powerlessness over their addictions. Our prayer is that we all could learn to confess our need for God and ask him daily to remove all defects in our character. Some will discover this freedom in 12 steps. For others, it'll take many more.
Marian V. Liautaud