This post was originally published on After Party Chat and republished with permission.
We’ve all got at least one Facebook friend who just can’t stand Alcoholics Anonymous and needs to let the world know it every chance that they get. I usually politely ignore them. But the latest anti-AA screed to show up in my newsfeed was too irritating to ignore.
First off, let me start by saying that I’m not a member of AA, lest my opinion be dismissed as coming from a member of “the AA cult.” Have I been to meetings? Yes. Tons of them. Do I attend meetings today? No, I don’t. At one point I attended regularly, and it helped me. At a certain point, it no longer helped me and so I stopped. Simple as that. Keep reading »
Startling things: The top 10 percent of adult drinkers account for around 60 percent of alcohol sales. They drink 10 drinks a day.
This is according to Philip J. Cook’s “Paying the Tab,” based on findings from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC). As Christopher Ingraham points out at the Washington Post, this is not an uncommon trend in sales for any consumer goods — the top 10 percent of consumers of any particular item make up for the majority of the sales of that item. It’s called the Pareto Law. It’s logical, it makes sense. But if industries cater their marketing to their most loyal customers, and the alcohol industry’s most loyal customers are drinking 10 drinks a day, the alcohol industry becomes basically the biggest enabler in the world. Losing that 10 percent of people, who by most standards are alcoholics, would be devastating to the alcohol industry. Keep reading »
The Texas Republican Convention recently endorsed in its platform so-called “gay reparative therapy,” widely considered to be junk science by the medical community. While speaking in San Francisco last night, Texas Governor Rick Perry, a Republican, is doubling down on statements that being gay is a “lifestyle choice” and compared being actively gay to being an alcoholic.
It’s not the most batshit crazy comparison to make, actually, but it is predicated on the batshit crazy belief that homosexuality is something a person should just, like, suppress. 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.
Keep reading »
Up until two months ago, I was drinking, on average, a bottle of wine a night. I don’t know if that makes me an alcoholic. I wasn’t going out and getting blotto at bars; I was coming home from work, pouring myself glass after glass while I did responsible adults things, like laundry, cooking dinner, watching “Scandal,” scowling at OK Cupid messages, and getting ahead on work tasks. I wasn’t sending inadvisable drunk texts, maybe because I wasn’t even drunk — my tolerance was that high. But I was doing it night after night, all the while thinking, I should probably take it down a notch. Drink less. I’ll start tomorrow. Keep reading »
Look, this might sound terrible, but I’ve got to say it: this time-lapse video of a homeless U.S. Army veteran’s voluntary aesthetic transformation makes the case for vanity if there ever was one. Jim Wolf has struggled with alcoholism since leaving the service and has found himself, like many others like him, without a home. This is where Dégagé Ministries of Grand Rapids, MI comes in. The church-funded non-profit shelter for the homeless and disadvantaged collaborated with Design 1 Salon & Spa and Rob Bliss Creative to clean Jim up real nice and show people — and most of all, Jim — that beneath the scruff and the patina of rough living, he is still a respectable man deserving of a better life. With a shave, a haircut (and color!), and a sharp new suit, Jim liked what he saw when he looked in the mirror. And you know what he did? Post-makeover, he started attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings for the first time ever, and he’s now scheduled to move in to his own housing. Looking good isn’t always enough to make you feel good, but sometimes, when you’re at your lowest point, it can be the first step to lifting your spirits and reminding you of your own worth. [Buzzfeed]