Chrissy Teigen Opens Up About Her Struggles To Cope Without Alcohol
This week American model and television personality Chrissy Teigen expressed that her new commitment to sobriety has made it difficult to cope with a recent traumatic event. In September of 2020, Teigen and her husband, singer John Legend, suffered a pregnancy loss of their third child, Jack.
After this devastating loss, Teigen took to Instagram, saying, “We are shocked and in the kind of deep pain you can only hear about, the kind of pain we’ve never felt before.”
Three months later the 35 year-old announced that she had been successfully sober for 4 weeks. Teigen stated that she quit drinking alcohol because she was tired of feeling unwell and embarrassed of her drinking habits.
A post on Teigen’s Instagram this week gave fans more insight on the celebrity’s struggles with sobriety in relation to the loss of her baby. In the caption, under a photo of her and Legend at dinner, she tells a story involving her past unhealthy drinking habits. Teigen labeled herself as “basically a functioning alcoholic.”
A high functioning alcoholic is defined as a person who seems fine and put together despite struggling with an alcohol use disorder (AUD). Despite outwardly projecting to others that they have a great life, their drinking habits will one day catch up with them. Long-term alcohol use can lead to serious health risks such as liver disease, pancreatitis, cancer, brain damage, and memory loss.
Teigen’s post went on to address the loss of her child. “I realized I threw myself into the book to not think of the real, actual third baby. I don’t feel like I fully processed Jack and now that I don’t have alcohol to numb it away, things are just … there, waiting to be acknowledged,” said Teigen on her Instagram post.
Coping With Pregnancy Loss
Teigen’s openness on her experience with loss, trauma, and substance use speaks to common issues that women all over the world deal with. About 10% of pregnancies result in pregnancy loss. This loss is a devastating event that causes emotional and physical impacts. Women going through this tragedy experience the grieving process which includes denial, guilt, anger, depression, envy, and yearning.
This extreme range of emotions can cause some women to turn to alcohol to cope. The presence of any kind of stress is strongly associated with the initiation of drinking, maintaining a dependency, and relapse. While the development on an AUD in response to stress can occur for all genders, women are more likely to drink in reaction to stress and to regulate negative emotions. Women who have had a stressful life event within the last 2 years are 4 times more likely to develop an AUD (2.5 times for men). Because women are at a greater risk for alcohol-related health risks and sexual assault, drinking to cope with stress can be especially dangerous.
For those, like Chrissy Teigen, who are suffering the loss of a pregnancy, there are other ways to cope. It is important to remember that the time spent grieving and the experience of specific stages will differ from person-to-person. Some of the emotions in this process may last for a long time and some may pass quickly. It is also possible that some stages will be skipped entirely.
During a time of grief, women should be sure to make decisions for themselves. Putting their healing fully in the hands of others can be counterproductive. Instead of using alcohol to cope, women can do things to honor the loss of their child such as giving their baby a name, holding a memorial service, planting a tree for them, or getting a personalized piece of jewelry to remember them by. Moms going through the grieving process should try to take it all in one day at a time while making sure to do the things needed to take care of themselves. Journaling, therapy, support groups, and time with friends and family can assist in working through grief without alcohol.
With alcohol use increasing at a much faster rate for women than for men, women are at a higher risk for developing an AUD in response to stress. Women are more susceptible to the negative health risks associated with drinking which makes unhealthy drinking and coping habits more dangerous for the female gender.