Drunk Mom [Book Review]

coverI started Drunk Mom not too long ago and had to put it down. I found it too raw, too brutal, too real? I’m not quite sure. I picked it back up last week and I am really glad I did. It’s a harrowing and detailed account of Jowita Bydlowska’s relapse after three years of sobriety. This relapse happens shortly after the birth of her son. Her story is filled with a lot of downs and many many moments where you’re certain something wonderful is just around the corner. You’re almost certain that by the next chapter she will be sober and eventually she will live happily ever after. There were points in reading this memoir that I literally lost my breath from the sheer shock of someone being able to go through all of this and write about it. And not just write about it but write about it in a way that her life, her world, seeps into your veins and suddenly you’re feeling what she felt, and you just want it to stop.

Her story is brutal but her writing is phenomenal and I would recommend this memoir to anyone. This memoir has the potential to provide the reader with a deep sense of comfort or with an intense sense of awe and admiration for the strength it took to tell her story.

Tonight I will go to sleep with a heavy heart and an open mind.

I didn’t know it at the time but it was too much happiness. Happiness puts you at too much risk — what if you were to lose it? Too much happiness is a paradox. It’s a tragedy, even: getting something you’ve always wanted but being unable to keep it.” (Page 36)

Love Always

Vanessa Xo

SYNOPSIS (From the Random House of Canada Website)

There are many alcoholic mothers. Only one has told her story.

Three years after giving up drink, Jowita Bydlowska found herself throwing back a glass of champagne like it was ginger ale. “It’s a special occasion,” she said to her boyfriend. And indeed it was. It was a party celebrating the birth of their first child. It also marked Jowita’s immediate, full-blown return to alcoholism and all that entails for a new mother who is at first determined to keep her problem a secret.

Her trips to liquor stores are in-and-out missions. Perhaps she’s being paranoid, but she thinks people tend to notice the stroller. Walking home, she stays behind buildings, in alleyways, taking discreet sips from a bottle she’s stored in the diaper bag. She know she’s become a villain: a mother who drinks; a mother who endangers her child. She drinks to forget this. And then the trouble really starts.

Jowita Bydlowska’s memoir of her relapse into addiction is an extraordinary achievement. The writing is raw and immediate. It places you in the moment—saddened, appalled, nerve-wracked, but never able to look away or stop turning the pages. With brutal honesty, Bydlowska takes us through the binges and blackouts, the self-deception and less successful attempts to deceive others, the humiliations and extraordinary risk-taking. She shines a light on the endless hunger of wanting just one more drink, and one more again, while dealing with motherhood, anxiety, depression—and rehab.

Her struggle to regain her sobriety is recorded in the same unsentimental, unsparing, sometimes grimly comic way. But the happy outcome is evidenced by the existence of this brilliant book: she has lived to tell the tale.


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