Two years ago today, you never would have caught me drinking alcohol or coffee, doing any kind of recreational drugs, or even taking ibuprofen or prescription drugs unless it was absolutely necessary. I wasn’t straightedge (labels are dumb). Mainly, I was suspicious of the allure of substances and the tendency I saw for people to use them as a crutch — alcohol to unwind, coffee to wake up, recreational drugs to … honestly, I still don’t know. Antibiotics as a cure-all, ditto ibuprofen.
The other part of it was that I entered a seven-year, monogamous, committed relationship with a conservative Christian who didn’t drink on moral grounds when I was 18. So if I didn’t see the point of drinking when I was in high school, and I was with someone who also didn’t drink, what reason could I have to start? Keep reading »
Ah, the life of a bartender. It’s a job that requires endless patience, a sharp memory, and a great sense of humor, not to mention serious crowd control skills. Slinging coffee drinks is hard enough; but when alcohol is involved? Every shift is an unpredictable rollercoaster ride. Whenever I’m crammed into a crowded bar like a thirsty sardine, watching people wave dollars in the air, I always wonder what it’s like for the person on the other side of the bar. What can customers do to make their job easier? What drinks do they secretly think are a ripoff? What is the final word on what constitutes a good tip? To quell my curiosity, I rounded up as many bartenders as I could find and asked them one question: what would you really like your customers to know? Here’s what they said, in their own words:
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The good ol’ US of A has finally achieved the most lofty of honors: we have the largest wine market on the globe. And we even beat out France — yes, France — for the very first time this year.
According to the International Organization of Wine and Vine (OIV), Americans bought 29.1 million hectoliters of wine last year, which is a small but significant .5 percent rise from last year’s numbers. On the other hand, the French bought seven percent less wine than they did the previous year. Keep reading »
Motherhood. We all have a vision in mind of what it’s supposed to look like: warm, nurturing, saccharine, even beatific. Even the messier versions we allow — frazzled new parent anxiety, daylight zombies — still position the mother as with-it and in control. But what about the mothers who are anything but in control? What about the mothers who have an addiction in control of them?
Jowita Bydlowska is the author of a searing memoir, Drunk Mom, about her 11-month relapse into alcoholism after her son’s birth. A sober alcoholic, Bydlowska toasted her son’s birth with a glass of champagne. Then she began drinking regularly in the overwhelming new days of parenthood. At first her relapse was easy to hide, especially home alone on maternity leave with a newborn. But soon, the addiction metastasized into full-blown alcoholism once again, causing her to make dangerous decisions about her own and her baby’s safety and shrouding her relationship with her baby’s father in lies. When she finally makes it to rehab, the reader is relieved everyone is still alive.
Drunk Mom, which will be published in America on May 27th, is a discomforting read. It’s bare-naked honesty about addiction and families will make a lot of people uncomfortable, especially those with idealized versions of what motherhood and womanhood “should” mean. It’s by far one of the best memoirs that I’ve ever read (and yes, I’m including Wild in that) both for it’s candor and bravery and for her narration. I understand addiction all the better with once-again-sober Jowita Bydlowska as the Charon to this Hades, our guide to the underworld.
I called Bydlowska in Canada where she lives with her now-five-year-old son.
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I’m such a sucker for any article or video that’s called, “What (Fill In The Blank) Is Like Around The World!” You can fill in that blank with pretty much anything and I will click and read and enjoy and share that shit on Facebook. Case in point: this video tour of common breakfast foods around the world. To follow it up, those clever foodies have a new video out that showcases the preferred drunk foods from countries around the world. After watching it, I have a new life goal: get drunk in the Czech Republic, if only to enjoy a fried mozzarella sandwich afterwards. Sweet mother of god, that thing looks SO good. Which meals are making your beer-soaked tastebuds tingle? That was a gross sentence, sorry, but seriously, tell me which one looks best to you! [YouTube]