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About 15 years ago, it was a taboo for a woman to drink beer reckless in public. At that time women fewer women would take alcohol but not to the extent of being so carelessly drunk especially in my country. To day women drink what ever time they feel like, some Women who have became addicts flock to the drinking places as early as 9 am. Due to this these women neglect their duties and only care about where to find money to buy shake shake (a well known beer in Zambia).

In my country, there are certain ceremonies only attended by women such as kitchen party and kitchen mending etc, it has now become a custom for women to drink beer, and if these parties are held by Christian and beer drinking is not allowed, fewer women will attend or they will carry some bottle of beer in their hand bags. As this is not enough, some women at funeral homes will also drink alcohol and sing their lungs out.
When spoken to, some women said alcohol intake to them means pleasure, in the sense that they can express joy, laughter and happiness, some say it is a way of overcoming stress, by taking alcohol you won’t have to worry about the problems you are going through. For others they can’t live without drinking beer, it is a way of life.
Two to three months ago a number of teenaged girls were arrested by the council police for allegedly being underage and drinking beer in a pub.

Although alcohol intake is perceived as a normal thing, it has several serious complications especially on women.
Excessive beer drinking impairs judgment and if a woman is drunk lets say at night in a pub or walks on the streets recklessly, she is at risk of been raped and been infected with HIV or having unplanned and unwanted pregnancies.

Women have also higher risk than men for certain serious medical consequences of alcohol use, including liver, brain and heart damage, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

A recent NIAAA reports that women achieve higher concentrations of alcohol in the blood and become more impaired than men after drinking equivalent amounts of alcohol. They are more susceptible than men to alcohol-related organ damage and to trauma resulting from traffic crashes and interpersonal violence.
Buddy T of about. Com wrote

The following are some of the areas in which women experience more effects than men who drink alcohol at the same rate as women:
Liver Damage -- Compared with men, women develop alcohol-induced liver disease over a shorter period of time and after consuming less alcohol. Women are also more likely than men to develop alcoholic hepatitis and to die from cirrhosis.
Brain Damage -- Women may be more vulnerable than men to alcohol-induced brain damage. Using MRI, researchers found that a brain region involved in coordinating multiple brain functions was significantly smaller among alcoholic women compared with both nonalcoholic women and alcoholic men.
Heart Disease -- Among heavier drinkers, research shows similar rates of alcohol-associated heart muscle disease (cardiomyopathy) for both men and women, despite women's 60 percent lower lifetime alcohol use.
Breast Cancer -- Many studies report that moderate to heavy alcohol consumption increases the risk for breast cancer, although one recent study found no increased breast cancer risk associated with consumption of up to one drink per day, the maximum drinking level reported by most women.

Let every woman drink with conscious.


JaniceW's picture


Dando, I feel that the high rate of alcoholic drinking in women speaks to the underlying problems in Zambia. Poverty continues to be significant problem in Zambia, and until its economy has strengthened and growth filters down to its citizens, I think this will continue to be a problem. People need an escape from their depressed circumstances, if only for psychological relief, and alcohol is an inexpensive (and social) outlet. Because women raise the future generations of the country, it is the women who need to support their sisters and somehow cut this scourge off before it becomes too widespread, perhaps through the creation of support and social networks, increased education and awareness, etc.. It must be so difficult for you on the frontlines, witnessing the destruction alcohol can bear upon families on a daily basis. I wish you well in your work and hope you will continue to share with us your insights and experiences of the issues that affect women in Zambia.

Dando's picture


The issue of poverty that you have brought out is true, In most cases it is due to poverty that a woman will decide to take alcohol.A woman may not know what to give her children hence she will hide her fears in taking alcohol. The other thing is marital problems that a woman go through, for instance i can give you an example of my close relative, she is married to this man, after work this man does not come home straight but goes to night clubs, when he is paid, he spends all his money, not only on beer but on other women. In order to protect her marriage she started following her man in clubs and as a result she ended up drinking, and as am writing she is now addicted to alcohol such that she only talks about who will buy her some. It is very difficult to stop her from drinking.

Like you have put it is only when the economy is strengthened and growth filters down to every citizen that this problems of alcoholism can be, may be eradicted.

Have a nice day.


Maria de Chirikof's picture


I can feel what you mean. I can see how it happens so easily too where you feel overwhelmed and so stressed and have that first beer with your friends. How suddenly you feel lighter, happier, freer and really like that feeling. In my family, drinking is a problem, too. My mother turned to drink to try to forget her pains and by the time I was a young girl she had become alcoholic. The children growing up in those circumstances seem to be more prone to doing this themselves, mainly because they have not learned how to handle all this pain and pressure.

When my daughters were very young we would often go visit one of my sisters who drank a lot too. One day I had bought some wine coolers and had them in the fridge. My girls saw them and dumped them into the sink for fear of what it meant. It was funny in a way since I had a talk with them and it is hard when they are so young to find words they can understand. But they learned that drinking, in and of itself, is not bad at all.

I bought us a bottle of Cognac for my birthday one year after we got this place and let the girls all have a sip in their own glasses. They were excited and scared and curious and I said that learning the way you feel when drinking is probably something that should be taught at home. They had little glasses at New years and we still have that bottle since I rarely drink myself. but it is important for you to teach your daughters what it feels like and explain that looking for this feeling from the bottle is what drives woman to drink more and more.

I told them when we were going through our very rough patch that the hardest part is wanting to g buy a wine cooler but the fear of where that would lead was too strong since that is how it starts. I would buy an espresso instead and said that this probably has the same bad effects on the body if you drink them too much but at least that fear of becoming a drunk isn't there and I do love them a lot.

It is so hard to find alternatives for woman to match that feeling they can find in a bottle though. Like you said, even things like the groups where woman can meet they want to drink there too. I am glad you brought this up! I think it will help woman to read about it and make informed choices about their life. Once they realize the 'why' of that feel good bottle they will learn to look for something less harmful to themselves so they can find the strength to change their lives.



Dando's picture

Hi Maria

Hope your girls are doing fine,
It is interesting the way you always come out. You know in this Era it is very hard to be a mother and am glady that you have time to teach your daughters on the way of life. I find it very impressive and vital that you help them to understand what kind of drinks they should go for as well as the the effect of drinking too much. Another important issue you outlined is the issue of women making informed decision about their lives, i wish in my country we have enough social facilities to help these women who are addicts to make concrete Decision about their lives.

May God bless

Hugs ,

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