Alcohol in tech culture

Mandy Moore, also known around the Internets as @therubyrep, is a podcast production expert, mother of orange tabbies, and sucker for bad reality television. She adores her 7-year-old daughter, Reese’s peanut butter cups, and sitting around fire pits while listening to country music. She is a huge advocate for STEM education and women in technology.

I’m going to get a little bit personal again this week. If you’ve been following along, my 55-year-old mother passed away on January 20th largely due to liver disease and other complications.

I’ll be honest: I’m not doing well. My mom was my best friend. My confidant. My rock. I AM ANGRY. Not only am I angry that I lost her, but I’m also angry that she got a disease and died from something liver-related when I only remember ever seeing her drunk one time in my life. She was not even a social drinker. She barely drank and if she did, it was rarely more than monthly, and she had one beer or glass of wine and was done.

So as I am known to do, when things get tough, I tend to run away from my problems. Because I’m angry that she was lost to a disease that she did nothing to bring on, my mind has been in “F*** my own liver mode”.  I have been using alcohol to mask my feelings at night and forget that she’s not here anymore. The past two consecutive weekends, I went on blackout benders and I am not proud. In fact, I am ashamed. I feel like not only have I let myself down, but that I’ve let my entire family, along with my mother, down as well. I’m doing something about it though, but this only has to do with part of my point in writing this.

I bring this up because I know that alcohol can be a big “thing” in tech culture. I’ve never been to an office, conference, meet-up, or co-working space where there wasn’t a bar. Is that healthy? Is alcohol a positive thing to advertise in job listings as a “perk”? I’m not saying that it’s right or wrong, but I do believe that alcohol in tech culture is something that should be discussed. I know that I am committing to cutting it out of my life completely…at least temporarily, if not for good. But the pressure to drink is going to always be there, especially for those who struggle with social anxiety. I know that in the past, I was uncomfortable being around a large group of new people without at least one drink. I feel if we want to be truly diverse and inclusive in the tech community, that people who struggle with alcohol addiction should be advocated for as well. You’ll never find marijuana, cocaine, or heroin being advertised or passed around in the aforementioned settings, however, alcohol is a drug, (and actually a very dangerous drug), and maybe we need to start treating it as such and leaving it out of certain spaces.

This whole weekly roundup is dedicated to alcohol in tech culture.


This Is…Teetotaling in Tech: A piece by Jess Vadino about what it’s like to not drink while working in the tech industry complete with lurid details of what happened at a company holiday party, and the responsibilities she was forced to endure as “the sober one”.

Alcohol and Inclusivity: Planning Tech Events with Non-Alcoholic Options: A Model View Culture article by Kara Sowles talking about how alcohol is currency in tech and five easy tips for including non-alcoholic drinks at events for gasp people who don’t drink.

Tea and Tech Culture: Alice Goldfuss on culture fit in technology and why it’s aggravating when companies and/or people don’t give you a chance because you don’t drink, haven’t seen Star Wars, or don’t play video games.

I Stopped Drinking for a Year: Here’s What Happened: Like Rachel, I don’t consider myself an alcoholic, but I need to take a few weeks off (at least), and this article is my inspiration because of all the positive things that happened to her when she gave it up.


Can I Pick Your Brain with Daniel Gefen: Powerless Alcoholic to Powerful Business Woman with Tamara Thompson: Tamara got in trouble and was arrested multiple times before she got herself together and became a successful entrepreneur of Serious Take Productions.

Conference Talk of the Week:

This talk is part of our “Favorite Talks” YouTube Playlist. Check it out and subscribe! 

“How I Overcame Alcoholism” by Claudia Christian from TEDxLondonBusinessSchool

This is an interesting talk because of the science behind it. Claudia discusses The Sinclair Method and says that by taking an opiate blocker one hour prior to having an alcoholic beverage cured her Alcohol Use Disorder.

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