Why are more women drinking?

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by Peggy Drexler

(CNN) — All day long, Lucia looked forward to her favorite weekday ritual: putting the kids to bed, changing her clothes, and pouring herself a generous glass of Pinot Noir. “My friends and I joke that motherhood ‘drives us to drink,’ but sometimes it really does for me,” she said.

“I feel like I need it to unwind,” she said. Most nights she had three or four glasses, though never, she insisted, more than that. “And on nights that I don’t have it,” she said, “I really wish that I did.”

For a long time, Lucia saw nothing wrong with her drinking. It didn’t interfere with her parenting, or her relationships. She got done what she needed to get done. But lately, Lucia had been starting to wonder about her daily habit — looking as forward to it as she did, and the anxiety that consumed her when she could not have it left her feeling unsettled.

Part of her concern related to a history of alcoholism in her family. “My father was an alcoholic, and I always have in the back of my head this idea that I could become one, too; it’s in my genes,” she said.

Although men have historically been heavier drinkers than women, there is plenty of evidence to suggest that the gender gap is shrinking, and fast.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more American women are drinking more heavily than ever before: one in eight women binge drink — defined as six drinks or more in one sitting — about three times a month.

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