My Favorite Things gThis memoir was tough toet through while also being a very fast read It s tough because Jowita relapses after her baby is born and it s so hard to read about a parent who tries to balance her drinking with being a ood mother because the deal with alcoholism is that yes sometimes you might be able to et drunk after the baby The Nine of Us goes to sleep and nothingoes wrong but babies have needs 247 Jowita would breast feed every other day she d stay sober for a while to et the toxins out of her breast milk pumping the toxic milk out and supplementing his diet with formula But it s also a uick read because while I wanted her to sober up again reading about the terrible decisions she made is like watching the TV show Shameless in the show the members of the Gallagher family exclusively make bad decisions so no matter how badly you ve screwed up your life it s never nearly as bad as them Or in the case of this memoir JowitaIt s sad when people die from drug andor alcohol abuse but it s one thing to do damage to yourself it s another thing entirely to bring a child into your mess Almost this entire memoir was about the months of her relapse She does o to rehab for three weeks but like almost everyone who Hiding in the Bathroom goes to rehab she relapses yet again With most memoirs of someone who is addicted I feel empathy for the person but Jowita made it extremely difficult to like her If I read it correctly she d only had a short time sober when she wrote this seven months and she didn t sound particularly far on a path toward serenity and recovery she basically said Will I relapse again Well that s what we addicts do Which is true but when you re reading about someone who claims being a mother is the most important thing in the world to her you sort of want to read a uplifting story Profoundly disturbing portrait of real addiction Pay no attention to reviewers who say I liked the book but I didn t like her By that metric people wouldn t listen to Van Morrison or watch Russell Crowe actThere were moments in the first half of the book where I had to look away for a bit just too claustrophobic But can we fault the writer for doing her job and describing something in a way that makes us appreciate the horror on a visceral level I don t think soI wish her luck and a ton of empathy It s not over and it may never be over but at least she has done much of the heavy lifting And if you re thinking about reading the book wondering if you can learn something about your own situation You can And you and others in your life deserve to have you do this too I wish you luck and send you empathy as well I love reading addiction memoirs They can be incredibly rewarding and I have read some amazing ones by people like Sarah Hepola Kirsten Johnson and Carolyn Knapp This is not one of those books What this is is someone profiting off of child abuse You know that thing where peopleet drunk and then breast feed their infant Yeah that s child abuse You know that thing where people The Perils of Pursuing a Prince (Desperate Debutantes, get blackout drunk and pass out on the floor while being the only person home with the baby Yeah that s child neglect You know that thing where you have an infant and a boyfriend and you decide to take a solo vacation to another city toet drunk and possibly sleep with another The Barracks Thief and Selected Stories guy Well that s just being a shitty person And she proves it to us over and over that she is indeed a shitty person even when sober She has this bizarre idea of herself as being some incredibly beautiful woman inspiring the desire of every man she meets In reality she is a butter face She also is constantly seeing herself as above others around her describing others in her rehabroup as clowns and talking sht about unattractive people She acknowledges her snobbishness when
vacationing with her boyfriend to a small town they make fun of the locals for not being as sophisticated with her boyfriend to a small town they make fun of the locals for not being as sophisticated them You know acknowledging that you re a piece of sht doesn t make it any better She s sophisticated and yet somehow finds herself Becca and the Prisoners Cross (The Copernicus Legacy getting drunk at the park by herself on a regular basis That sounds like a homeless person activity but she s not homeless She lives in a house with her boyfriend and she can t drink at home because she constantly lies to him about not drinking and constantly puts the baby in harms way byetting blackout drunk when her boyfriend isn t home and she s supposed to be taking care of the child Her boyfriend is not much better He later admits he knew she was drinking yet still continuously left her alone with the baby including for an entire week while HE went on vacation Yes the baby is still less than a year old but they re both soooo exhausted from caring for the baby that they need to take his and hers separate vacations It boggles He also seems to be cheating on her a lot or at least spending "a worrying amount of time having late night drinks with other women Gee I wonder why "worrying amount of time having late night drinks with other women Gee I wonder why it be that sleeping with a neurotic blackout drunk is not that enjoyableThe entire book I was wondering why he stayed with her and maybe it s just that she lets him cheat I also wondered why she had a baby in the first place when she so obviously has zero skills as a parent By book s end or as far as I The Commodore (Aubrey/Maturin, got before returning it andetting my money back I came to the conclusion that she s just not that intelligent After all despite the fact that she spent three years sober after completing AA when she inevitably falls off the wagon she still can t seem to Dare Mighty Things grasp the concept that she s an alcoholic Hmmm did you not just spend three years admitting you were an alcoholic Any person with a shred of intelligence knows that it s not something thatoes away Lastly the writing God it s just not ood I saw some other reviews that described it as raw vivid brave No no no It s not raw it s bland and the sparse metaphors and imagery are a cacophony of words and not in a ood way They often seem untouched by the eyes of a professional editor Mostly her style if you can call it that is blunt non descriptive sentences and lots of repetition This may have been novel 100 years ago but now it s just trite Vivid again no Just no After the first 14 or so I realized I felt like I knew nothing about this woman and other than the fact that there s just not much to
the writing is just incredibly shallow There s no depth here Brave Nope It s a woman with a personality disorder profiting off of child abuse I m frankly amazed that any respectable publishing company would actually publish this piece of Her Outback Protector (Men of the Outback garbage I m also amazed she hasn t been arrested But Iuess I don t understand how the laws work in Canada She was after all There are many alcoholic mothers Only one has told her storythree years after Eternal Quest giving up alcohol Jowita Bydlowska found herself throwing back alass of champagne like it was lemonade '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 bottle shops 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 nappy 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 Bydlows. ,Her The Writing Is
Appened to have just found a baggie of cocaine in that bathroomBut honestly I prefer drinkingI prefer drinking to anything in the world sex food sleep My child my lover anythingI love to drink Sometimes I think No I am drinkIt s like my blood Even before I The Widows Little Secret get it I can feel it in my veins I m not being poetic I can actually feel it in my veinsIt sold It like little zaps of Resurrection Year goldoing through me charging me starting me upWhen I drink I fill with real The Fire Within (Rockford Fire Department gold and becomeod likeSo I m not a cocaine addict I m a drunkI had been a drunk for a long time I stopped drinking for a time and then I started againIn case it wasn t clear from the above segment Jowita Bydlowska is an alcoholic That s not a dismissive statement but a descriptive one Drunk Mom a memoir spanning an unclear number of months in 2009 and 2010 is her open wound to the world a mostly accurate account of her relapse into alcoholism following the birth of her son and after three years of sobrietyThe book is structured as a series of episodes detailing the seemingly innocuous first lass of champagne to celebrate the birth of her son Frankie names changed to protect as much innocence as possible spiralling uickly out of control as she reverts in terrifying fashion to old destructive dishonest habits The catch however is that her behaviour this time around threatens not only herself but her son as well She recounts the times Frankie was left unchanged covered in his own filth because she was unconscious elsewhere the times she d fall asleep drunk somewhere public while out with him the many opportunities she took while out with her son to duck into liuor stores her time spent with child a mere mask for her actual wants and needsWhile there is a narrative through line to the events recounted in Drunk Mom it often feels broken and a little disjointed which makes sense iven the somewhat ungrounded nature of the author s memories during this period of time She is for lack of a better phrase the villain of her own tale a semi unreliable narrator who wants desperately to Tame an Older Man (Harlequin American Romance, get it right Her descriptive work is blunt a collection of straight razor cuts bleeding all over the page with little care to how messy or horrible it might look to the casual observer She can t be worried about something like that her concern isetting it out in any way possible documentary style harsh often without emotion Reading Drunk Mom was an unexpectedly emotional journey While I understand alcoholism to be a true addiction a disease in some ways though the term is sometimes rejected as it implies there is a cure to a facet of an individual s personality it was hard Treacherous Is the Night (Verity Kent, given the risk to her son not to feel at times angered or disgusted by Bydlowska s actions and the logic workarounds and lies upon lies she managed to concoct This is due in part to her personality which is minimized throughout She claims several times that she is numb locked inside of her self Intentional or not this is accentuated by her writing style which itself is sparse and staccato and without a sense of self behind the words More often than not the book felt as if narrated by a disembodied spirit that the only way for her to put it all on the page was to distance her self from it Granted that s an assumption and in many ways the drink itself IS her personality but there is a certain obvious amount of distance of handling the past with rubberloves on so as not to be re infected by it The result of this is a memoir that reads less like a confessional and a begrudging recitation unfortunately limiting the amount of sympathy I felt for her and everyone involvedDespite all that when the author reflects on a possible sexual assault in Montreal or attempts to understand how it is she broke her toe and is unable to remember such things due to the severity of her blackouts it s hard not to feel frightened for her safety and for the longevity of any future sobriety achievedThere s a rather multi faceted dichotomous relationship between the author herself and everyone in her life she loves her family and hates them says they
good people and re not she accepts she needs help and wants it yet is hostile to the idea of it even after "AA Has Proven Itself "has proven itself saved her life and her relationship with her boyfriend and son she still looks to it with a bit of open disdain citing the pledge at the end of each meeting as a silly ritual but it A Miracle, A Universe gives the illusion that we re in this together before weo out into the world again outside of the twelve step walls She spends half her time viewing the system that has saved her life and will continue to do so as well as those dearest to her as a leash tied around her neck and not the solid round beneath her feet Which again is part of the addiction andor disease So as I said dichotomousDrunk Mom is a case study in hitting absolute rock bottom and anteing up again repeating the process until that moment of clarity hits and the body and mind finally decide to wash out every pent up emotion and poison trapped inside chorusing it s time et your shit together and let s make things right again It s not an easy book to want to read and in spite of knowing things would turn out okay because after all she s around to write the tale it was often difficult to want to follow through or show sympathy towards a character who for much of the book seems like she might spit on you were you to express care or concern for her wellbeing And though I struggled throughout to know whether the author was ever trying to elicit a sympathetic response and continue to do so even after finishing the book I can t deny that Bydlowska s account of alcoholism addiction and borderline self annihilation is an eye opening and in some ways necessary experience The writing deserves 3 stars but the author as a human being barely deserves 1 star The story is sad and vividly told But I was actually disappointed in myself for reading it She is so narcissistic self indulgent and pretentiousand I think these traits would apply even sans her addiction issues I wanted to focus on the writing but I could not lo This book was very hard to read and I almost Aguecheeks Beef, Belchs Hiccup, and Other Gastronomic Interjections gave up on it many times Not because it was badly written or boring or I didn t like the characters but because the author was me Maybe I didn t experience everything she did but her crazy thoughts and crazy language was me It was a reminder and sometimes I need just thata reminder Had to read this for my lastrad course Apparently my prof is friends with the author I think that makes it a conflict of interests to teach it in this course Almost 3 mo. Rah the Heart Is Deceitful Above All things and Harold's End 'Drunk Mom is a stunning harrowing read Why harrowing Not just because of the dramatic story of a new mother at the edge of her tether And not only because of Jowita Bydlowska's skill as a writer and the crisp original way she tells it What's most harrowing about Drunk Mom is that you can't stop reading it this the dark now told tale that lurks in the shadow of every seemingly normal family' Ian Brown author of the Boy in the Moon 'A brave brilliant and scathing self portrait Full of energy and insight If Frida Kahlo had been a writer she might have been compared to Jowita Bydlowska' Patricia Pearson author of A Brief History of Anxiety Yours and Mine 'Fearless and troubling and so very humane Bydlowska explodes the cutesy momoir enre You'll read it in one sitting' Katrina Onstad author of Everybody Has Everythin.Re Good People And
Jowita Bydlowska µ 7 ReadIving on maternity leave payments from the overnment for a year much of which she spent in a drunken stupor not bonding with the baby Good job mom How about you By Words Alone goet your tubes tied so you don t inflict this on some other poor kid Yep I hated the book THAT much wow and man i stayed up way way too late last night because i couldn t stop reading this book it s a tough read at times which Constantinople and the West given the title one must expect really but the thing bydlowska does amazingly well is convey the mindset of an addictedalcoholic person the frantic the chaotic the scheming the blacked out the re framing the behaviours she uses in planning to buy her alcohol drinking her booze dealing with the empty bottles lying to her boyfriend endangering her baby s life being aware of thisuilty over it yet unable to do differentlywell it s amazing it s a warty story and while moments are sensational the opening scene has her finding a baggie of coke in a washroom stall at the ROM in toronto which she then proceeds to snort i never felt like bydlowska was purposefully trying to make anything out to be worse or bigger than it was her alcoholism was is ugly people around her suffered this book doesn t ask you to like her or feel empathy for her though i did feel empathy that is i think the point of this book is to open the minds of those who don t have addictionsaddictive personalities fwiw bydlowska is the partner of Enduring Truths globe and mail columnist russell smith Last week when I received an advanced copy of Drunk Mom I was aiddy kid on Christmas morning and at the same time antsy pantsy like on a first date I resisted reading Jowita Bydlowska s memoir at first because I knew the moment I crack it open the first chapter wouldn t be enough Or the second or the third I d have to cancel my plans eschew a looming project proposal deadline and forego homework shut myself in read the whole thing straight through ignoring all responsibilities and obligations You know like an addiction The prose is fast paced to the point and very much in the moment Jowita Bydlowska takes you right there with her in the liuor store stroller in hand trying to calm the paranoia throbbing in her head You wake up with her in the Montreal hotel room disoriented about last night s shenanigans and act as her accomplice as she tries to slip out of the hotel panic stricken that someone will recognize her or you from the night before Reading Drunk Mom is akin to you watching a friend on their birthday drinking to the point of blacking out and you do nothing because you ve been there before or perhaps you re drinking too and life s a party and everyone s fun and sexy Most of all you re fun and sexy It s hard to judge or do anything in the nanoseconds of delirious action It s only in the aftermath of the frenzy you wonder what happened and maybe just maybe you shouldn t have accepted that last drink Drunk Mom is not big on sentimentality It s what makes it a compelling memoir and there are no cumbersome tones of apologies either This is not a self help book Jowita writes sticking close to this thesis throughout the book She s a jerk and Jowita makes no bones about it coming clean with her lying and the colossal disasters as a result of her relapse Nobody can make anybody use Using is personal decision Jowita confesses just after she leaves rehab two months before another relapse And that s the magic of Drunk Mom the prickly honesty over empty flowery promises and the personal decision to stick with being honest long after the last drink and on the dangerously seductive edge of another It s hard to shake something your brain says you need and reading Drunk Mom with its energy and razor sharp style brings that compulsion to the forefront making you want You know like an addiction Tricky one this When I first heard the buzz about this book I assumed it was being written by a woman in say her late 40s looking back on her life at a time when alcoholism and motherhood collided and written with hindsight reflection and a pretty clear indication of the kind
of effect her actions had on her children So I was surprised to learn that it was actually written byeffect her actions had on her children So I was surprised to learn that it was actually written by Bydlowska a Toronto writer younger than me with barely two years of motherhood and one year of sobriety under her belt That s not to say that this isn t a well written book it is Bydlowska can write and if it weren t for my own kids and their needs I would have sat and read it in one Myst go As it were I managed it to finish it in two days while neglecting my children at a level barely worth a mention It s an engaging story for sure It s also raw dirty messy and at times painful to read like anyood addiction tale or confessional And like the The Chinese Love Pavilion good ones there s some decent insight into her situation some very clear and powerful passages regarding the thought processes of a drunk the self loathing the excuses the unbreakable cycles the destructive thoughts and actions and the regrets that perpetuate the cycles But we don tet much in the way of Why We et a cursory lance into a complicated perhaps abusive relationship with her parents but only that We Dolphin Confidential get a cursorylance into her adjustment period as an immigrant and we Mairis Mermaid get a cursorylance into the nature of her relationships with other people including the relationships with her boyfriend She "Yells He Sighs Only "he sighs Only the very end do we learn that he is not perfect either and her son despite them being at the centre of the chaos In fact my biggest criticism is that the Mom part of the Drunk Mom story feels superficial Windchill Summer glossed over Bydlowska writes beautifully about the power of the first moments of motherhood and the transformative nature of motherhood but not often Besides the fact that she now pushes a stroller while teetering on heels drunk instead of leaning on someone else while teetering on heels drunk the baby feels like a prop an accessory We are assured time and again that the baby was always safe but Iuess that s the problem with writing a book about being a drunk mom if she wrote about her interaction with the baby while she was a drunk mom we would probably see that there were many times that actually the baby wasn t safe and who s The Shadow of Your Smile going to put that in print But Iuess that comes back to my original misgivings about the story there hasn t
been much time to see reflect and write safely about themuch time to see reflect and write safely about the fallout from being a drunk mom That said I certainly hope there s no seuelI received the book for free through Goodreads First Reads Oh in case you re wondering I m not a cocaine addictI prefer to drinkYou found me in the middle of my story and I Ka's memoir of her relapse into addiction is an extraordinary achievement the writing is raw and immediate It places you in the moment saddened and appalled but never able to look away With brutal honesty DRUNK MUM 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 drink and one again while dealing with motherhood anxiety depression and rehab Advance Praise for Drunk Mom 'Jowita is matter of fact funny fearless and irreverent as she lifts the veil to chronicle what it means to be a young mother when both baby and mother have their own bottles the shame and the inner voices as well as the joy and relief this book is for anyone who has ever struggled to make it through a day' Laura Albert aka Jt LeRoy author of Sa.