Monday, July 27, 2009

Cocktail Play Dates

Mommy Doesn't Drink Here Anymore by Rachel Brownell is my early review for the month of July. A forty something woman from Seattle who writes and blogs for a living, Ms Brownell told her story of recovery from alcohol addiction.

Lately, I have been interested in the idea of addiction. As I get older I discover that most of us do have an addiction of some form or another. Some people's addictions land them in jail, some just overweight, some strapped for cash and others are simply in a sorry mental state.

Whatever the addiction, if yours is one, like Rachel's, that beats up your psyche, your marriage and ultimately your relationship with your kids, getting help is imperative. Rachel sought out Alcoholics Anonymous and was able to beat her addiction to alcohol. She writes her story of how she got addicted to wine and her first year in recovery.

This very short memoir read like a series of blog posts combined with being a self help manual for recovering addicts. The entire story was a quick read and each entry--representing a chunk of time on the road to gaining her 1 year chip at the AA meetings--felt like something from a blog. Each entry left me wanting more. For example, one of the first people she called after she left her first AA meeting was her mother, who was also a recovering alcoholic. She did not recount any of the conversation or let us know what her mother said. As a reader, I missed this conversation. This is actually a testament to how good the writing was. It felt original and very raw. Her story was incredibly honest... for example, at one point she writes, "I'm proud to call myself an alcoholic, because I'd rather be something real than hide away any longer and pretend everything is just fine when it isn't..."

She successfully built suspense around whether her marriage would survive or not, and she really helped me to understand what it was like to be addicted to alcohol. I loved that for the first 90 days of recovery she wasn't even sure she was an alcoholic and how she came to the conclusion that she had a problem and the pain and grieving she went through as she said good-bye to her former best friend (wine).

In addition to the thought provoking testament to the hardships of addiction and recovery, some of her entries were about things you can do as a family besides cocktail play dates and how to know if you have a problem with alcohol. They seemed sweet to me because if you are not an alcoholic, they were self evident. Also, these entries and her revelations about the sweetness of motherhood were really lovely.

Ultimately I would recommend this to anyone who has an interest in addiction and recovery. It is a great road map for success or could be a great support to someone struggling with the same issues. Mommy can be read in an evening.


zenabu said...

Sounds intriguing. "The Night of the Gun" is also a well-written memoir about the author's struggle with alcoholism (and a few other addictions). He writes for the NYT.

Esmerelda said...

I read Night of the Gun...I think I blogged about it too!

Steph said...

Thanks, Amy - I always enjoy your reviews!

Kim said...

Sounds like a good read, Amy. Also in a format I'm exploring for my own memoir. I will check it out!