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Drink: The Intimate Relationship Between Women and Alcohol PDF, ePub eBook Combining in-depth research with her own personal story of recovery, an award-winning journalist delivers a groundbreaking examination of a shocking yet little recognized epidemic threatening society today-the precipitous rise in risky drinking among women and girls While the feminist revolution has allowed women to close the gender gap professionally and educationally, it Combining in-depth research with her own personal story of recovery, an award-winning journalist delivers a groundbreaking examination of a shocking yet little recognized epidemic threatening society today-the precipitous rise in risky drinking among women and girls While the feminist revolution has allowed women to close the gender gap professionally and educationally, it has also witnessed a disturbing rise in equality in more troubling areas of life as well. In the U.S. alone, the rates of alcohol abuse among women have skyrocketed in the past decade. DUIs, "drunkorexia" (choosing to limit eating to consume greater quantities of alcohol), and health problems connected to drinking are all on the rise, especially among younger women-a problem exacerbated by the alcohol industry itself. Battling for women's dollars and leisure time, corporations have developed marketing strategies and products targeted exclusively to women. Equally alarming is a recent CDC report showing a sharp rise in binge-drinking, putting women and girls at further risk. Anne Dowsett Johnston illuminates this startling epidemic, dissects the psychological, social, and industry factors that have contributed to its rise, and explores its long-lasting impact on our society and individual lives, including her own. In Drink, she brilliantly weaves in-depth research, interviews with leading researchers, and the moving story of her own struggle with alcohol abuse. The result is an unprecedented and bold inquiry that is both informative and shocking.

30 review for Drink: The Intimate Relationship Between Women and Alcohol

  1. 5 out of 5

    David Dinaburg

    One might think that, at this point, I would be inured to the charms of non-fiction subtitling: Drink: The Intimate Relationship Between Women and Alcohol has the appealing air of an in-depth sociological examination. As someone living in a predominantly female neighborhood in Manhattan—renowned for its air of “safety” over “excitement”—I was curious to find some rationale behind the observably more frequent clusters of women stumbling around on late Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings—ha One might think that, at this point, I would be inured to the charms of non-fiction subtitling: Drink: The Intimate Relationship Between Women and Alcohol has the appealing air of an in-depth sociological examination. As someone living in a predominantly female neighborhood in Manhattan—renowned for its air of “safety” over “excitement”—I was curious to find some rationale behind the observably more frequent clusters of women stumbling around on late Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings—hailing cabs and buying electrolyte-replenishing Gatorades—than groups of men. And while this anecdotal tale is completely irrelevant to any sort of methodical inquiry into the subject of women and alcohol, it is the type of digression that you should brace yourself for if you’re planning on picking up Drink. Simply put, the book is a personal journey of the author’s alcohol addiction propped up by brief interviews of tangential utility. Sometimes interesting facts sneak through: Thomas Workman, with the American Institutes for Research in Washington, D.C., has worked on college drinking issues for years. “With flavored vodka, the drinking of female college students became much deadlier,” he says. “It is so easily abused. I still see quite a number of student deaths and egregious injuries and sexual assaults, ones that don’t get publicized. Women in adolescence confuse notoriety with popularity. The fear of being the girl who will sit alone in her room and not be seen is pervasive. Somewhere, our culture has told girls that they need to be recognized—invisibility is the enemy. We see this scenario over and over. We have done a terrible job of helping young women situate themselves socially.” There is no follow-up on the scourge of flavored vodkas, no extended investigation into the topics broached by the subject. Simply another in a long line of self-contained interviews, chronologically arranged and tied to the autobiography through only a moderate relation of alcohol intake. If the next series of interviews posed pointed questions to their subjects about why flavored vodkas were so popular, adding to the thrust of a narrative rather than creating a terse, meandering platform for their subject to unburden their personal histories, the vignettes might have some impact. Instead, Drink continues to plow forward, lacking any overall thrust or direction outside of the author’s own demons; each interview is sealed off from any wider meaning, a delineated beginning and end with no cohesion to a whole. The only through-thread is the author’s own addiction, which means that although there are many brief personal statements from many interview subjects, there is little depth and no connective tissue to "women and alcohol" outside of the mere fact that the author is, in fact, both an woman and an alcoholic. In classically misleading non-fiction subtitling, Drink is not the sociological examination it purports to be but an autobiography—one thinly spread across three hundred pages, stuffed with myopic interviews that contain little insight beyond "alcohol can be a harmful drug." Perhaps My Intimate Relationship with Alcohol would not have had the necessary eye-catching impact of The Intimate Relationship Between Women and Alcohol, but it certainly would have better informed the reader of the actual content of the book they were about to read. That isn’t meant to negate the interesting facts that do come through from some of the interviews: I wanted to know: why are we so oblivious to the effect advertising has on us? “Ads are so trivial and silly that people feel above them,” says Kilbourne. “And for that reason, they don’t pay conscious attention. The advertisers love it: our radar is not on. We’re not on guard; it gets into our subconscious and affects us very deeply.” Kilbourne quotes the chairman of an ad agency saying, “If you want to get into people’s wallets, first get into their lives.” While this all feels very apocryphal—who is the unnamed agency chairman the interviewee is quoting?—it is at least informative. But, like the abdication of any sort of follow-up investigation into the subject of flavored vodka, the topics broached in this interview are abruptly dropped; in this particular case, all traces of the scorn for targeted lifestyle advertising seems to be not only forgotten but pointedly ignored—within four pages—by the first interview after the chapter transition: A tall girl, with glossy chestnut hair, Nivea skin, and a winsome smile, she pauses and looks away several times before she can begin to talk. Describing someone as having Nivea skin is somehow less insidious than, say, a Captain Morgan thirst for adventure because why—this is a book about alcohol, not untenable standards of beauty? The carelessness keeps the pace brisk, but makes it the whole thing so shallow that it is borderline insulting. If you want to prop up a personal odyssey with quotes from others with similar experiences, that’s fine; but this is not a book about “women and alcohol.” It is about the author and her experiences as an alcoholic. This is my single biggest criticism of Drink; it feels piecemeal, bumbling onward like it has forgotten its own history after every paragraph, promising one thing while giving you another. Drink doesn’t show me statistics or studies that show the unique obstacles women are facing; it doesn't even have an index, the functional staple of the academic, non-fiction reference tome. It hangs its hat on shallow, unsupported quotations, some of which are contain factual inaccuracies: At twenty-eight, Julia Ritz Toffoli is the founder of Women Who Whiskey, a Manhattan-based club people by eighty-seven young women between the ages of 26 and 32. Many are recent graduate students of Columbia University, where Ritz Toffoli just earned her master’s. Now working as a program coordinator with George Soros’s Open Society Foundations, Ritz Toffoli loves what she calls New York’s speakeasy revival, and considers herself part of a cocktail renaissance. The entrance to her favorite bar—Please Don’t Tell, in Greenwich Village—is within a vintage phone booth in a hot dog store. Unless the stairwell in Crif Dog—the obliquely referenced hot dog “store”—is about a mile longer than it feels, or the phone booth takes a page from Narnia and actually whisks the traveler into an allegory of the Christ-figure set across town, Please Don’t Tell is in the East Village, not the Village. If the conceit of a secret speakeasy was more than just marketing hoopla, maybe I could give this a pass. But Google can and will tell you, instantly, where in New York Please Don’t Tell hides. It’s less than a thirty second fact check, so telling the reader it is in Greenwich Village is simply an error of fact. Petty or not, it’s still wrong, and while you may not notice or care about the distinction unless you’ve been there, it is absolutely needless. At least Women Who Whiskey have chosen the less contentious, more broadly applicable appellation for their fermented mash of choice—the same cannot be said for the author, who does provide some interesting facts about whisky while simultaneously undercutting any attempt at accuracy: Scotland has indeed declared its intention to set a minimum price for a standard unit of alcohol at fifty pence—a decision backed by the medical profession. There was an immediate backlash. The policy was challenged by the European Union: backed by such wine-producing countries as France, Spain, and Italy, the EU said the minimum pricing breaches free trade. Moreover, the Scotch Whisky Association and Spirits Europe were granted judicial review of the legislation: they have many arguments, including one saying that minimum pricing would damage a valuable export industry. Whiskey is Scotland’s number one export after oil and gas. Not to be pedantic, but there is considerable debate about the whys and wherefores of the internecine whisky ‘e’. I am surprised that the one time it is unambiguous—when referring to mash from Scotland—the author has chosen to say that “Whiskey is Scotland’s number one export…”. Especially because the Scotch Whisky Association is cited within the same paragraph. Technically, then, the sentence tells the reader that Scotland imports whiskey—distilled outside of its sovereign borders—and then exports it in amounts so voluminous that it becomes Scotland’s number one export after oil and gas. More likely, it is an oversight and whisky, not whiskey, was the intention. Another niggling error that could have been avoided with thirty seconds worth of Googled fact checking. It simply baffles me. One of the format choices I do enjoy are the quotes at the start of each chapter. Even this is not without objection, however; the quote preceding the beginning of chapter six—How do you denormalize getting “shitfaced”? is sourced to “University President.” It makes a great point with strong, attention-grabbing words, but if you can’t give us a better attribution than “University President”, maybe it needed to hit the cutting room floor. Or get someone willing to accept the attribution to say it during the course of the multiple dozens of interviews. The lax detailing, the misleadingly narrow focus of alcoholism, and the disconnected nature of the numerous yet triflingly shallow interviews make this extremely personal tale—masquerading as a foray into wider culture issues—not worth the time it takes to read.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Marissa

    I was expecting a slightly different book than what it actually was; I was hoping for a statistic heavy book analyzing and noting trends in marketing alcohol, alcohol related disease, sociological trends in drinking in women, and analysis of drinking culture in general. Instead, the book was mostly a vessel for personal memoirs of the author and her own experiences and struggles with alcoholism. I think it was a simply a case of mis-marketing. At any rate, as it stands, it is probably a much mor I was expecting a slightly different book than what it actually was; I was hoping for a statistic heavy book analyzing and noting trends in marketing alcohol, alcohol related disease, sociological trends in drinking in women, and analysis of drinking culture in general. Instead, the book was mostly a vessel for personal memoirs of the author and her own experiences and struggles with alcoholism. I think it was a simply a case of mis-marketing. At any rate, as it stands, it is probably a much more useful tool for older, corporate, hard working women who have a niggling worry about their own alcohol consumption and will find their eyes opened by the novel. For me, it was less helpful and less relatable. Certainly not a BAD book, as it was an easy read, but like I said, not quite what I was expecting.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Janeschmidt

    I picked this one up randomly at the local 2nd hand shop - as they say, "the more you know...". I'd read about it when it first came out and knew it was mildly controversial. Well, having read the whole thing in a relatively short burst of time, I can say that any controversy around it is superficial because this is a poorly written book. Authoritative or deserved of debate it is not. Mainly a memoir masquerading as investigative journalism, Johnston spends a great deal of the book telling her st I picked this one up randomly at the local 2nd hand shop - as they say, "the more you know...". I'd read about it when it first came out and knew it was mildly controversial. Well, having read the whole thing in a relatively short burst of time, I can say that any controversy around it is superficial because this is a poorly written book. Authoritative or deserved of debate it is not. Mainly a memoir masquerading as investigative journalism, Johnston spends a great deal of the book telling her story, but without giving too much of herself away. For a drinking memoir, it wasn't particularly impactful. As for the factual part of it, if you are an educated or privileged woman with a strong circle of friends/family, a solid career and money, you'll be inspired to explore a path of redemption as outlined in the book. Most of Johnston's sobriety narrative completely ignores the grim reality of most alcoholics, particularly women. Her persistent remarks about her "not being one of them" were off-putting. Furthermore, it's just not written very well. There's not nearly enough actual investigation here - statistics, citations, etc. - mainly missing. She sticks with the theories of a handful of sociologists, repeats herself ad nauseum about alcohol being glamourized in society, and then loops back to her own tale of woe. In all honesty, it just sounds like she went through a bad break up and wanted to use the book to communicate with the guy. It felt uncomfortable to read it. Also, the whole justification of religion in AA felt tacked on, patronizing and was not in the least convincing. Clearly, I'm not recommending this one. It wasn't as thought provoking as I'd hoped and I didn't learn a heckuva lot.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Kathleen

    Meh. Lots to talk about and think about. Sort of like an extended magazine article.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Ashley Lehman

    This may not have been the best book I've ever read as far as writing and the story go. However, the message really impacted me and has changed the way I look at alcohol. I have always loved having a drink but never really considered why that was so. Was it purely for fun? To relieve stress or social anxiety? As a crutch to mask something deeper? Or because advertising told me I should? It also made me particularly aware of how my behavior may influence my daughter down the road and what message This may not have been the best book I've ever read as far as writing and the story go. However, the message really impacted me and has changed the way I look at alcohol. I have always loved having a drink but never really considered why that was so. Was it purely for fun? To relieve stress or social anxiety? As a crutch to mask something deeper? Or because advertising told me I should? It also made me particularly aware of how my behavior may influence my daughter down the road and what messages she's getting from me and society as a whole. This book changed my perspective, opened my eyes, and looks like it may have changed my life as well. I will probably re-read it to catch what I missed (as others have mentioned there are a lot of facts/data to absorb). I found it very thought provoking and would consider it a worthwhile read for ALL women because alcohol is such a big part of our culture that it affects all of us to some degree.

  6. 4 out of 5

    L

    This is hardly the book it purports to be; this is not a researched study into the causes and implications of drinking among women but instead a weepy memoir of a woman who would still be drinking unless her boyfriend hadn't left her. I almost think this was a public plea to whomever poor "Jake" was to come back to her - "I've changed!" Johnston threw statistics in toward the end but never really explored them to my satisfaction. Instead, she rehashed a lot of what Caroline Knapp did in her book, This is hardly the book it purports to be; this is not a researched study into the causes and implications of drinking among women but instead a weepy memoir of a woman who would still be drinking unless her boyfriend hadn't left her. I almost think this was a public plea to whomever poor "Jake" was to come back to her - "I've changed!" Johnston threw statistics in toward the end but never really explored them to my satisfaction. Instead, she rehashed a lot of what Caroline Knapp did in her book, which felt truer and was clearly better-written. The majority of Johnston's research consisted of personal anecdotes from various women who were using alcohol as a crutch. Having lived with two alcoholics (one recovered, one not) at two different times in my life, I began to recognize the tell-tale signs: self-righteousness, condemnation of anyone who can control themselves, and disdain for all alcohol, in any form. I want to be clear: I do not, in any way, believe alcoholism is a disease; I do not believe addiction is a disease; I do not believe AA is the end-all, be-all to "save" alcoholics. And I certainly resented her chapter on embracing spirituality as the *only* way to achieve control in one's life. She implied several times that essentially, if you're drinking a glass of wine a couple of nights a week you're in the first stage of alcoholism. That lasts about 10-15 years and then you become this sick, raging, dependent leech on all alcohol; blackouts and physical abuse will occur - beware! I'm really sorry she grew up with an alcoholic mother and all but she doesn't need to condemn everyone who can control their alcohol intake in the name of sanctimony. It is sad to see someone not able to control themselves. I think the *structure* of AA works, just like Weight Watchers works; continue to go for "group therapy" often. Call for support from others when you need it. Mostly, I'm disappointed that she only scratched the surface of what makes women drinking different from men drinking. She discussed thoroughly the stigma of women being labeled alcoholic vs. men being labeled the same. But beyond "women don't metabolize alcohol as fast," she said basically nothing. Women are drinking more, alcohol is being targeted toward women, etc. etc. She turns her nose up at all studies of a drink being good for you, implying that one will believe and latch onto whatever one wants. She's a sad, desperate, maladjusted AA robot. For the record - and in case you're curious - I've had exactly three drinks in the past three weeks and I have no desire to have another. But when I do get the desire, I will have a drink. And that does not make me an alcoholic. It makes me a person with a choice I can, and do, control.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Michelle Cynthia

    Drink was floating around on FB on a list of books for women to read. Although the relationship between women and alcohol is not something I've thought much about specifically, I decided to see if I could borrow the book from the library--I'm glad I did. Written by a female journalist recovering alcoholic, it is a mix of memoir, interviews, and research-based statistics. Reading the book has enlightened me about the increase of alcohol use in young women, the marketing of alcohol in our country, Drink was floating around on FB on a list of books for women to read. Although the relationship between women and alcohol is not something I've thought much about specifically, I decided to see if I could borrow the book from the library--I'm glad I did. Written by a female journalist recovering alcoholic, it is a mix of memoir, interviews, and research-based statistics. Reading the book has enlightened me about the increase of alcohol use in young women, the marketing of alcohol in our country, the normalization of binge drinking, fetal alcohol syndrome, Alcoholics Anonymous, and the deep connection between trauma, depression, anxiety, and alcoholism. There are parts of this book every teenager should read and parts that any woman, identifying as an alcoholic or not, can relate to.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Renato

    It is the sort of book that you REALLY, REALLY want to give to the women in your life, whether it be SOs or friends or family members, but you dont because of the fear of offending them. ALL women should be reading this book, regardless of whatever their relationship with alcohol may be.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Washington Post

    Ann Dowsett Johnston, a recovering alcoholic, veers between reporting and memoir as she untangles the messy realities behind women’s rising rate of alcohol abuse and why it is so much more dangerous for them than for men. A past editor of Maclean’s magazine in Canada and former vice principal at McGill University, Johnston alarms us, one searing fact at a time. There are moments in “Drink” when the parade of alcoholic women seems endless. So many sad stories. So many alcohol-fueled ways to ruin Ann Dowsett Johnston, a recovering alcoholic, veers between reporting and memoir as she untangles the messy realities behind women’s rising rate of alcohol abuse and why it is so much more dangerous for them than for men. A past editor of Maclean’s magazine in Canada and former vice principal at McGill University, Johnston alarms us, one searing fact at a time. There are moments in “Drink” when the parade of alcoholic women seems endless. So many sad stories. So many alcohol-fueled ways to ruin a large swath of one’s life. It feels relentless and frightening. Overwhelming. For a lot of women brave enough to read it, it may feel a little too familiar, too. Therein lies the hope. The book made our top 10 list for 2013. Connie Schultz reviewed it for us: http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinion...

  10. 4 out of 5

    Belinda

    The reason I borrowed this book was fairly simple. It was a Friday night and I was stuck at work with no hope of leaving soon. To take a quick break I checked out my library’s “new to the library” ebook section and when I saw the title Drink while wishing I could leave my office and have one, it seemed serendipitous. However, after realising the subtitle was “The Intimate Relationship Between Women and Alcohol”, I wished my motivation had been a bit more intellectual and a bit less about wine… Li The reason I borrowed this book was fairly simple. It was a Friday night and I was stuck at work with no hope of leaving soon. To take a quick break I checked out my library’s “new to the library” ebook section and when I saw the title Drink while wishing I could leave my office and have one, it seemed serendipitous. However, after realising the subtitle was “The Intimate Relationship Between Women and Alcohol”, I wished my motivation had been a bit more intellectual and a bit less about wine… Like High Sobriety by Jill Stark (which I loved), Ann Dowsett Johnston is a heavy drinker whose writing of this book was inspired in part by her own problematic relationship with alcohol. A key difference between the two, however, is the age of these writers – Stark was on the cusp of 30 while Dowsett Johnston is closer to 60. This affects how they frame their narratives: for Stark, the concern is what she might become if she continues her current drinking pattern while Dowsett Johnston is an alcoholic who is no longer drinking. Both of these books place drinking within a cultural context (for Stark, Scotland and Australia and for Dowsett Johnston, Canada and the US) and the personal experience of their authors are supported by sociological research. The research that Dowsett Johnston presents is alarming. For example, there is a consistent increase in the amount of alcohol college students drink when they go to university. For the teenagers who have a drinking problem before they go to uni, this increase means that their drinking shifts from problematic to alcoholic while, for others, it encourages and normalises binge drinking and negative relationships with alcohol. This is definitely an issue that needs to be addressed but, as is discussed in the book, how to best do this? Dowsett Johnston’s focus is on women and alcohol. In part, this is because women are the group of society whose drinking has increased the most over the last 30 years and in part because she herself is an alcoholic. Some of the connections between woman and alcohol noted in Drink are interesting; for example, that women drink because of the pressure to “have it all” caused by their increased presence in the workplace without a decrease in their responsibilities at home. She also identifies a common trend with female alcoholics: they often suffer abuse or trauma at a young age, start drinking in their teens and, as they grow up, their drinking becomes worse. The way Dowsett Johnston discusses these two contributing factors is my biggest problem with the book. While I think it’s both valid and true to say that the “have it all” myth is incredibly damaging for women, I got the strong sense that Dowsett Johnston was blaming women for this being so rather than addressing the social and cultural gendered expectations of women that contribute to the creation and perpetration of the myth itself. After identifying the trauma-teenage drinking trend, Dowsett Johnston interviews many many many many women whose stories all follow the same trajectory. I’m not sure if it’s because she felt obliged to use every interview she got or if she thought her reader was a bit simple, but after the third interview in which a woman with glowing eyes and clear skin detailed the horrible things that were done to her and that she did herself before becoming sober, I felt both depressed and (as awful as this sounds) a bit bored. Dowsett Johnston is an experienced journalist and a skilled writer. While this means the book is well written, easy to read and its arguments are presented persuasively, it is certainly not an unbiased book. After spending a considerable amount of words discussing the alcoholic behaviour of her mother and the women I mentioned above - some of whom Dowsett Johnston scorns for wanting to remain anonymous – the drinking that Dowsett Johnston says was so bad that it led to her leaving a job and her relationship breaking down is only coyly referred to, leading me to question why the drinking of others is fair game for discussion but hers is not. I also found very problematic the endorsement of Alcoholics Anonymous given the organisation’s religious agenda and past treatment of women. So, while Drink is an interesting book, I think High Sobriety is a more honest evaluation of the issues of alcohol and society and I think Stark, while a less skilful writer and journalist, is also much more fair and less judgemental than Dowsett Johnston.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Julie Ehlers

    This was interesting and contained a lot of important information. However, the way it kind of meandered between addressing actual addiction and addressing alcohol "dependency" (for stress reduction and the like) made it feel unfocused. I do believe there are people out there who use alcohol unwisely but are not addicted, but I think their stories should have been better separated from the stories of addiction. Mostly, though, I was just depressed to hear there are women who binge drink because This was interesting and contained a lot of important information. However, the way it kind of meandered between addressing actual addiction and addressing alcohol "dependency" (for stress reduction and the like) made it feel unfocused. I do believe there are people out there who use alcohol unwisely but are not addicted, but I think their stories should have been better separated from the stories of addiction. Mostly, though, I was just depressed to hear there are women who binge drink because they associate alcohol with glamour and romance, because they buy into "lifestyle marketing," and because they saw women drinking on Sex and the City. Clearly there are a lot of people with empty lives out there. That so many of them turn to alcohol is reason enough for this book to exist.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Caroline Barron_Author

    I'm interested in the current zeitgeist of self-restriction - be it from technology or drinking, people all over the globe are turning off their phones and putting the cork back in the bottle. Some forever, but most for a chosen period of time. I'm also interested in the neurology and culture behind drinking, and this book was a fantastic resource, particularly regarding the massive increase in women drinking over past decades, and the glamorisation of alcohol. Whilst I wasn't hunting for it, th I'm interested in the current zeitgeist of self-restriction - be it from technology or drinking, people all over the globe are turning off their phones and putting the cork back in the bottle. Some forever, but most for a chosen period of time. I'm also interested in the neurology and culture behind drinking, and this book was a fantastic resource, particularly regarding the massive increase in women drinking over past decades, and the glamorisation of alcohol. Whilst I wasn't hunting for it, there was also a lot of parenting advice on how to approach drinking with your teenagers. Guess what, folks, we lead by example. All this data and info was set against the author's brave and often heartbreaking recounting of her own, and her parents, journey with alcoholism and recovery. A really great book and well written with loads of personality and vulnerability. Thank you, Ann. Our excesses are the best clue we have to our own poverty, and our best way of concealing it from ourselves. - Adam Phillips, British Psychoanalyst. Opening quote. "There is a moderate to high heritability: we know that genes play a strong role. About half the reason a person becomes an alcoholic—half the liability—is genetic. . . But the strongest single predictor for both alcoholism and depression is having been sexually abused or traumatised in childhood. . . If a young woman had this gene plus early life stress exposure, the probability of alcoholism increases twofold." - David Goldman, chief of human neurogenetics at National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism Twenty per cent of the population causes 50 per cent of the problems : emergency room visits; blackouts; multiple repeated consequences of drinking. Parents have a large influence as to whether their son or daughter will be in their "twenty-fifth" coup: if they are loving but model heavy drinking once in a while and allow their sons and daughters to drink, their children are four times more likely to be in this group as those whose parents model moderate drinking and do not provide alcohol. Of course, there are parents who try the protective strategy of allowing kids to drink occasionally—often cited as the European model. Turrisi shakes his head: "If you allow your kids to drink once in a while, it's neutral at best—not protective." p102. As many women discovered, a drink is a punctuation mark of sorts, between day and night. - p167. "People are exhausted at the end of the day. They go home and have a drink as a way to cope with all of this—a lot of people have to self-medicated because it would be hard for them to look in the mirror otherwise. The whole concept of being conscious—that's hard work. A lot of people just don't want to sign up for it." - page 170, Paige Cowan. I am doing battle. I am battling for consciousness. - page 209. "We have to broaden our understanding of what we consider an alcohol problem to be—well over eighty per cent of frequent binge drinkers are not alcohol dependent." - Robert Brewer, National Centre for Chronic Disease Prevention in Atlanta, page 233. I know that I have recovered my true self. That's the greatest gift of sobriety: the journey inward—indelibly challenging, rewarding, and profound. More of ten than not, I feel at peace in my own skin. - page 255. Johanna O'Flaherty, Vice President of treatments services at the Betty Ford Centre: "Although I want to give my respect to harm reduction, it's a passion of mine to promote the concept of abstinence as a positive thing—freeing, not restrictive. In the professional milieu, it's looked down upon as old-fashioned, too religious. we need to make it new again." - p 271 In AA they say it takes give years to get your marbles back. But it's more than that: it takes several years to shape a new self. - p 279 Notes for self: World Health Organisation's Global Alcohol Strategy 2010. Alcohol Advisory Council NZ Caroline Knapp's Drinking - A Love Story. Campus culture Turrise 25 page handbook for effective parental interventions concerning drinking: https://uhskriz.weebly.com/uploads/1/.... Study in Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs - a quarter of young women in their freshman year said they had been sexually victimised. The more they drank, the higher the likelihood of sexual assault. BASICS intervention programme for college students. Women constantly attempting to find the work life balance. Women drink to self-medicate, numb. Soberistas (London), Booze-Free Brigade (LA), Hello Sunday Morning (Aus). We live in an alcogenic culture. Alcohol and mental health impact. Spirituality, trauma, disease or choice, neurology.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Kris Patrick

    Interesting how many people hate this book. I think it’s phenomenal. Drinking is a women’s issue and a public health issue. We’re fooling ourselves if we don’t think that corporate interests are to thank for creating a society that glorifies alcohol consumption and that stigmatizes addiction.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Sean Goh

    More memoir than I was expecting. While I applaud Johnston for her courageous sharing of her struggles with the demon in a bottle, I would have liked to hear less about her growing up on safari, those first couple chapters felt out of place. The anecdotal interviews were a good glimpse into the fallout that occurs around alcoholics. Peer pressure is a big factor in causing people (especially girls) to start drinking young. There's a part for everyone to play to fight the new tobacco. Moderation. More memoir than I was expecting. While I applaud Johnston for her courageous sharing of her struggles with the demon in a bottle, I would have liked to hear less about her growing up on safari, those first couple chapters felt out of place. The anecdotal interviews were a good glimpse into the fallout that occurs around alcoholics. Peer pressure is a big factor in causing people (especially girls) to start drinking young. There's a part for everyone to play to fight the new tobacco. Moderation. ___ Our excuses are the best clue we have to our poverty, and our best way of concealing it from ourselves. - Adam Phillips, British Psychoanalyst To be rooted is perhaps the most important and least recognised need of the human soul. I thought a geographic cure to fix what I thought was wrong with my life, and the cure failed. Much later, I would learn the truth: geographic cures always fail, especially when they're desigend to correct problematic drinking. "There is only one way to fail at your new job. Your key reports will come into your office with monkeys on their shoulders. Your job is to make sure they leave your office with their monkeys still on their shoulders, not yours. In the thirty years Ian Gilmore has been a liver specialist, liver cirrohosis was an elderly men disease. Now he has seen a girl as young as seventeen and women in their twenties with end-stage liver disease. Women's vulnerabilities start with the fact that they on average, have more body fat than men. Since it contains little water, there is less to dilute the alcohol consumed. Women also have a lower level of alcohol dehydrogenase, which helps break down alcohol. Fluctuating hormone levels also mean that the intoxicating effect of alcohol set in faster when estrogen levels are high. Women chemistry means they become dependent on alcohol much faster than men. Caroline Knapp in Drinking: A Love Story - For a long time, when it's working, the drink feels like a path to a kind of self-enlightenment, something that turns us into the person we wish to be, or the person we think we are. In some ways this dynamic is simple, alcohol makes everything better until it makes everything worse. Advertising encourages us not only to objectify each other but also to feel that our most significant relationships are with the products we buy. It turns lovers into things and things into lovers. Guys drink for the buzz and to be social (to heighten positive feelings). Girls drink because of lack of self-esteem, to cope (to get ride of negative feelings), to feel a part of- and because of peer pressure. One of the key factors whether a person will drink at an early age is a history of trauma, especially sexual trauma. Alcohol is the number one date-rape drug. Most young people with multiple substance problems will be unconcerned about their drinking. Unless you get a student to see their behaviour is in conflict with larger values, there is no room for change. The student must craft their own reasons and means for changing their drinking. You reframe things as a choice. PTSD has a very specific meaning: it has to relate to a physical event in which you were involved - the experience, threat, or witnessing of physical harm. This leaves out the stressors of divorce, poverty, neglect, and more. For diagnosis, you must have had more than a month of symptoms, causing functional problems. Problems present themselves in three core clusters: intrusion, the re-experiencing of the event, flashbacks like "movie clips"; avoidance of memories or trauma discussion; and arousal, such as hypervigilance, startle reflex, and insomnia. Traumatic events are dramatic events that are so extraordinary they are outside the individual's coping abilities. It does not toughen the child or the individual, but it toughens their defenses. Defenses serve you very well. Drugs and alcohol may actually be a wonderful anesthesia to keep the pain numbed. But once you stop the drugs and alcohol, the individual will reexperience the painful feelings. It's all about moving from 'victim' to 'survivor'. "What sobriety has meant is that I am able to look at the past, confront it, and try to make my peace with it. Sobriety paves the way for healing." "I married my mum. That's life: we look for something we recognise." "I want people to understand that we don't become addicts because we want to destroy ourselves. It's about banishing the demons." "I learn - even from the boos. Those who love you are giving you cues. Learn from the boos." - Basketball star coming back after his prime. Romance and the glass are inextricable. Champagne at the wedding. A dry martini on a date at an elegant bar. The pattern in professional women coming into an addiction programme: perfectionism. The tyrannical myth of perfection: it seizes the psyche and doesn't let go. Lean in, lean back: Both positions have their downsides and sweet rewards. One thing is for certain, straddling both roles can turn you into human Silly Putty. Welcome to permanent ambivalence. The only ones who really know exactly what they are drinking are the beer drinkers because today, no one drinks standard drinks. There's no precision in drinking. Alcohol can pass from mother to child while breastfeeding, which might cause fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. Ideally one would stop drinking when trying to conceive. Battle the notion that addiction is a moral rather than a sociomedical issue. Shaming and blaming comes from a place of misunderstanding. It's useless waste of energy. It's so much easier to point a finger than hold out a hand. It's not the drinking that drives people crazy. Its the unwanted behaviour, the dysfunction. The upside of living with an alcoholic is that one can walk into a room and figure out immediately what someone needs from me emotionally. One's antennae are perfectly attuned for trouble. One of the top five things that adult daughters of female alcoholics feel is anger that they were not provided with a role model. "You never showed me!" Why do we stop growing when we are traumatised? Traumatised children shut down emotionally - and they also stop developing emotionally. Why? Because you need emotional vulnerability to grow. We are like crabs, we don't grow when our bodies are hardened. The greatest loss is not that there was pain. The greatest loss is that we lost a connection to our essense, That's our wound: the loss of connection to ourselves. When you recover, you recover yourself. Our only shot is to see alcoholism as a disease because there's much less stigma. A chronic, relapsing brain disease.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Naomi

    Read my full review: http://bit.ly/1dHiSaS My opinion: I thoroughly enjoyed this book on female addictions and feel it is an incredibly important topic. I would disagree with the author's premise that female addiction is on the rise. Although, I do feel that abusive drinking, such as binge drinking, particularly among young women, are definitely on the rise. I think the social acceptance of addressing one's addiction has become more socially acceptable. Female addicts have always been present, bu Read my full review: http://bit.ly/1dHiSaS My opinion: I thoroughly enjoyed this book on female addictions and feel it is an incredibly important topic. I would disagree with the author's premise that female addiction is on the rise. Although, I do feel that abusive drinking, such as binge drinking, particularly among young women, are definitely on the rise. I think the social acceptance of addressing one's addiction has become more socially acceptable. Female addicts have always been present, but always kept within the shadows. Marketing and product development directed towards female drinkers has also steadily become more acceptable, especially as women tend to gravitate towards "libations" with higher profit margins. The author managed to balance data with a personal story masterfully. She includes a strong personal story, particularly related to familial history of addictions on the female side. This was balanced with excellent, well researched data. Most books written on the subject are normally heavy on one side or another. One criticism that I had that I feel really bogs down the book is that I thought the author had SOME moments of interjecting the story down with personal opinion (social commentary) on topics outside the focus of the book, which had the feeling of being irrelevant and partisan. Had this not have been present, this would have been a 5 star read. As a former addictions counselor (working with adolescent female addicts), I felt this book was more targeted toward the "professional" female alcoholic and felt this would be beneficial with portions of the book being used in a therapeutic setting with such clients.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Zachary

    This was a difficult book to read. I had not realized just how much the culture had shifted toward drinking to excess among women, but this book makes it very clear. In a perversion of feminism, alcohol companies have marketed strong alcoholic beverages to young women, and even young mothers based on a message that drinking a lot is simply a part of being a modern woman. As a consequence, alcoholism rates among women, especially educated women have been increasing, with all the attendant problem This was a difficult book to read. I had not realized just how much the culture had shifted toward drinking to excess among women, but this book makes it very clear. In a perversion of feminism, alcohol companies have marketed strong alcoholic beverages to young women, and even young mothers based on a message that drinking a lot is simply a part of being a modern woman. As a consequence, alcoholism rates among women, especially educated women have been increasing, with all the attendant problems of liver disorders, rapes, unplanned pregnancies, and so on. This book really tells a sad tale. Perhaps even worse, modern concepts of what defines the "successful woman" encourage high stresses, the accepted cure of which is drinking, tipping more toward alcoholism. The book is a good mix of data, analysis, and personal stories of women and their struggles with alcohol, with the through-line being Ann Dowsett Johnston's tale of how she fell in a disease shared by both of her parents, and how she then climbed out. The result is a book that is very informative, but highly disturbing. At the end, I agree with the author that the time is ripe for confronting how the alcohol companies are just as bad as the tobacco companies when it comes to encouraging irresponsible behavior with a dangerous substance, and ensuring that they get their way with vast amounts of cash deployed strategically in the political process.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Robynn

    As many women strive to be equal to men in every way, they have also embraced alcohol and often try to drink the same way men do. Ann Johnston shows in Drink though, that where alcohol is concerned, men and women were not created equally. Our bodies and brains do not process alcohol in the same way. We do not drink the same way and we certainly do not drink for the same reasons. Johnston also discusses the unique social pressures that are leading women to drink more today than ever before as wel As many women strive to be equal to men in every way, they have also embraced alcohol and often try to drink the same way men do. Ann Johnston shows in Drink though, that where alcohol is concerned, men and women were not created equally. Our bodies and brains do not process alcohol in the same way. We do not drink the same way and we certainly do not drink for the same reasons. Johnston also discusses the unique social pressures that are leading women to drink more today than ever before as well as the way liquor companies are marketing to women and to young girls. Today it is not uncommon to find women in their 20s who are being diagnosed with late-stage liver disease! Families, marriages and friendships are being destroyed and ultimately many women are dying because alcohol does far more damage in a woman's body than in a man's. This may be completely unfair, and not something we want to admit, but it is something most of us are witnessing in our own lives to one degree or another. Drink is an easy to read book filled with important information we all need to pay attention to as we are entering an epidemic that will have even more life-shattering consequences for today's teenagers. I think every woman, whether they drink alcohol or not, should read this book.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

    A glass of red wine at dinner is my panecea; the knots unfold and the odds even out. Dang Johnston for making me think twice about it. Aside from that, Johnston combines research about alcoholism with her own personal journey with drink. She finds at the core of women's alcoholism is the need to be perfect. How well this resonates. I found her description of female university student drinking very disturbing. The peer pressure to deliberately drink themselves blotto even before the evening start A glass of red wine at dinner is my panecea; the knots unfold and the odds even out. Dang Johnston for making me think twice about it. Aside from that, Johnston combines research about alcoholism with her own personal journey with drink. She finds at the core of women's alcoholism is the need to be perfect. How well this resonates. I found her description of female university student drinking very disturbing. The peer pressure to deliberately drink themselves blotto even before the evening starts, then ending up dead drunk in snowbanks or raped doesn't sound like my own student days of drink and fun. I remember those days fondly; as I remember how the next mornings brutal hangover was the best remedy to avoid over-imbibing.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Susana

    I really enjoyed how this book hovered between frank memoir and an examination of the role of contemporary female drinkers. A great deal to think about and an area of examination that would be wise for most people but will make some too uncomfortable to continue.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Sandra

    Read for bookclub. This made for a really great discussion and I'm glad I read it, although some things didn't work for me. The book is about 2/3 addiction memoir, 1/3 broader analysis, although the title implies it's mostly the latter. The chapters focusing on the author's story were compelling, as were the stories of many of her interviewees. It would be easy to end up with the impression that AA is the only approach to dealing with alcohol addiction, though (a bit dismissive of harm reduction Read for bookclub. This made for a really great discussion and I'm glad I read it, although some things didn't work for me. The book is about 2/3 addiction memoir, 1/3 broader analysis, although the title implies it's mostly the latter. The chapters focusing on the author's story were compelling, as were the stories of many of her interviewees. It would be easy to end up with the impression that AA is the only approach to dealing with alcohol addiction, though (a bit dismissive of harm reduction approaches, or the "higher power" issue).

  21. 4 out of 5

    Janice

    A very good analysis, and very concerning as well, of how much advertising has impacted the drinking habits of young women and girls in this country.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Grant

    I commend the author for her ability to write about this difficult topic and show her own vulnerability. I learned through her stories about the havoc that alcohol abuse can have on families, children, and women especially. Her writing shows how women have a unique dependence to this drug. In many ways, I think it has to do with our lack of control in other areas of our lives. It tends to temporarily numb and ease anxiety and their is not much societal stigma around alcohol, so it's easily acces I commend the author for her ability to write about this difficult topic and show her own vulnerability. I learned through her stories about the havoc that alcohol abuse can have on families, children, and women especially. Her writing shows how women have a unique dependence to this drug. In many ways, I think it has to do with our lack of control in other areas of our lives. It tends to temporarily numb and ease anxiety and their is not much societal stigma around alcohol, so it's easily accessible and overly-consumed. I would have liked to have read more in-depth accounts of women who were former alcoholics and changed their ways. I wanted to learn more about these individuals, especially in terms of how their lives were made better by quitting. I didn't care as much about what the male researchers had to say about the topic.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Desira

    it's the kind of book plenty of people would benefit from reading, but it was heavy in personal memoir and interviews and very light on specific facts, trends, or even advice. it was also told in a fairly haphazard episodic way. it feels like a first draft that needs reorganized and more data driven research included.

  24. 4 out of 5

    misha

    I heard an interview with the author on NPR, and bought the book immediately. Even though it arrived immediately, it has sat on my bookcase for a month or so, with various other untouched books. Once I picked it up, I read it in a single sitting. It's a beautiful book, all in all. Ann balanced her own story, the stories of others, the science, and questions of our culture; engaging and educational all at once. It was interesting reading this book directly after Lean In, and I purchased Can't Buy I heard an interview with the author on NPR, and bought the book immediately. Even though it arrived immediately, it has sat on my bookcase for a month or so, with various other untouched books. Once I picked it up, I read it in a single sitting. It's a beautiful book, all in all. Ann balanced her own story, the stories of others, the science, and questions of our culture; engaging and educational all at once. It was interesting reading this book directly after Lean In, and I purchased Can't Buy My Love while reading Drink. They will be interesting bookends to this book. It's always interesting when books hit you at just the right moment. My Life in France by Julia child, came to my lap right as I was feeling old and unaccomplished (a ridiculous thought to have in one's 30s). I've been thinking a lot about culture, media, work and loneliness as of late. One sentence stood out " We live in an algogenic culture" (And yes, I had to look up algogenic). Yes, yes we do. This was just one part of our current culture that I hadn't spent a lot of time thinking about specifically. This is one of those books that I know that I will lend out to several people. This is one of those books that I would love to thank the author for writing.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

    Chasing wine with vodka. Keeping up with the guys. Making bad sexual decisions. Waking up with a pounding headache. The modern woman. Ann Dowsett Johnston - sometime editor at Maclean's and vice-president of McGill - has opened up about her own alcoholism to tell an important story about the bad ways in which women are gaining equality. And while in popular imagination the drunken woman is enjoying a two-four outside a mobile home, the reality is that high-powered women executives are quaffing th Chasing wine with vodka. Keeping up with the guys. Making bad sexual decisions. Waking up with a pounding headache. The modern woman. Ann Dowsett Johnston - sometime editor at Maclean's and vice-president of McGill - has opened up about her own alcoholism to tell an important story about the bad ways in which women are gaining equality. And while in popular imagination the drunken woman is enjoying a two-four outside a mobile home, the reality is that high-powered women executives are quaffing the good scotch and taking their pricey vodka straight. And the problem only seems to be increasing with little public discussion or even acknowledgement of what's going on. Which means there's no real fix in sight. The combination of memoir and cultural study here is really well done. The two come together seamlessly, with Johnston clearly capable of moving between her private world and academic review in a single authorial voice. That alone makes this book a pleasure to read. As an added bonus, it's like getting two books in one: memoir and social commentary. Follow me on Twitter: @Dr_A_Taubman

  26. 4 out of 5

    Rachel C.

    There was a time not so long ago that I worried I was drinking too much, and in an unhealthy way. I remember having the thought, "I can't become an alcoholic, because that means I'll have to stop drinking, and I love it too much." Strangely enough, that thought helped me rein it in. I made two rules that I still stick to: I don't drink because I'm unhappy, and I don't get drunk when I'm alone. It's really not a problem anymore, though, because of one major factor: I left the job that made me hide There was a time not so long ago that I worried I was drinking too much, and in an unhealthy way. I remember having the thought, "I can't become an alcoholic, because that means I'll have to stop drinking, and I love it too much." Strangely enough, that thought helped me rein it in. I made two rules that I still stick to: I don't drink because I'm unhappy, and I don't get drunk when I'm alone. It's really not a problem anymore, though, because of one major factor: I left the job that made me hideously miserable. (It was at that job, in that lifestyle, that I first linked the ideas "I'm having a bad day" and "I want a drink.") So. Happiness. It was as simple as that.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Alexis

    An excellent journalistic and personal look at the relationship between women and alcohol and the rise of drinking among women. Explores the marketing and cultural forces that are making women more prone to drinking. The author, a recovering alcoholic, also delves into her personal history and interviews dozens of women about their drinking. This is a very candid and important book filled with interesting and frightening stats. One of the things that I found notable was the discussion of FASD an An excellent journalistic and personal look at the relationship between women and alcohol and the rise of drinking among women. Explores the marketing and cultural forces that are making women more prone to drinking. The author, a recovering alcoholic, also delves into her personal history and interviews dozens of women about their drinking. This is a very candid and important book filled with interesting and frightening stats. One of the things that I found notable was the discussion of FASD and how it is often under-diagnosed in white, middle class communities as "learning disabilities." An interesting and important book. Read again for book club- 2017

  28. 5 out of 5

    Anne-Marie

    "I know that I have recovered my true self. That's the greatest gift of sobriety, the journey inward. Endlessly challenging and profound. More often than not, I feel at peace in my own skin." This. So this.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Linda

    3.5 Johnston combines personal experience (her own, and that of many others) with sociology, medical science, and psychology in a book that asks us to examine the phenomenon of alcohol use and abuse in Western society. Drink is an eye-opener. I wish all young people were required to read it.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Lynn Kearney

    A powerful and alarming book. It's not as eloquent as Caroline Knapp's Drinking: A Love Story, but it's as disturbing, maybe more so as it deals with the rise in alcohol-related problems in young women as well the author's own struggle with it.

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