Drunk Mom

Drunk Mom

A Memoir

Book - 2013
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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.
Publisher: [Toronto] : Doubleday Canada, 2013.
ISBN: 9780385677806
Branch Call Number: 362. 292092 BYD B
Characteristics: 293 p.


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Jul 03, 2019

Most relatable book I’ve ever read.

Jan 02, 2014

What an awful book. Maybe it could be helpful for other women in her situation, but I just felt like a voyeur after reading it, and I skipped whole chapters. I didn't think she was honest with herself, even in the end.

Jun 23, 2013

A bit like watching a train wreck. It is dark and sometimes overwhelming but very very interesting.

ksoles May 24, 2013

Confessional autobiographies, epiphanic tales and addiction memoirs have proliferated bookstore shelves in recent years. However, Polish-born Torontonian Jowita Bydlowska’s account of her relapse into alcoholism stands out because, at the time, she also acted as primary caregiver for her infant son. Her failure to care for a helpless child makes her rapid decline all the more tragic and horrific; the stress placed on her relationship with her boyfriend seems marginal by comparison.

The strength of "Drunk Mom" lies in the power of Bydlowska's story, told retrospectively through sobriety’s hindsight using painfully direct language. The author does stretch her metaphor of mother as failed monarch to the breaking point, though, and the monotony of buying, hiding, drinking, and disposing of bottles weakens the book's momentum.

The book with resonate most with those touched by addiction but, to all readers, it searingly shows how self-delusion and self-destructive behaviour ruin lives.

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