Disclosure: I received a copy of DRINKING DIARIES from Culture Mom Media for the purposes of this review. The links include my Amazon affiliate account where I would receive a commission for any sales made.
Like most women, I’ve had a complex relationship with alcohol. I lived with my mom and my grandparents growing up. My grandfather was an undiagnosed and unrecognized alcoholic. Someone who was putting away 4-5 cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon beer, meticulously warmed over the stove for maximum impact. To deal with this and blot it out, my grandmother drank a huge chug-glug of Harvey’s Bristol Creme after dinner. Not to to be outdone, my mom would have a glass of boxed white wine when she got home from her teaching job. The ironic thing about all of this is my parents divorced in part because of my father’s alcoholism. He left the family and got sober. The rest of them apparently didn’t get the memo. It’s no wonder I couldn’t imagine why anyone would ever want to drink.
My first memory of tasting alcohol was with some friends out in Aquebogue NY, where we had a summer house. I was 12, maybe 13, and my friends (all daughters of a local policeman I might add) decided we s
hould sneak into the woods for some beer and cigarettes. Why is not really a relevant question here, because when you are that age, why doesn’t matter. The girls took the smokes from their dad, and I was charged with sneaking some PBR (we did NOT call it that, back in the day, but it’s easier for blogging to call it that). I brought two cans out of the house and we met in the woods next to their house. We lit up the smokes and did the customary teen hacking cough (WHAT were we thinking?) and then opened the beer. The cans were warm and very foamy and when we tasted the neither cool nor refreshing beverage, we quickly decided to give up on the afternoons activities and catch the end of Luke and Laura’s hijinks on General Hospital.
As a teen and young adult, moderation was not really a word I understood. There are some classic drinking stories from my college days, and for the time being they shall stay out of this blog. I found as I got older that it was really an all or nothing when it came to booze. I was either in for a case or sitting on the sidelines. Even now, I think about the calories in a pint before I decide that I want to forgo dinner to have some Guinness.
But after reading DRINKING DIARIES, the equal parts entertaining and thought provoking new book from Seal Press, I think the real reason I don’t drink is I don’t ever want to lose control again. To be dependent on something, or someone, to such a point that you cannot live without it. And yes, I judge. I once was meeting someone for lunch and she had to change restaurants because the place we were set to dine at didn’t have a liquor license. It was lunchtime. On a Wednesday. How could you need a drink that much, unless, as I reasoned, she was a alcoholic. In my mind, anyone who drinks more than 5 times a week falls into that category. Maybe I see it as a sign of weakness. Maybe I’m totally off the mark. This attitude I know would not fly in Europe where most people don’t bat an eye when you drink at lunchtime. But I do. Can’t help it. One thing I took away from the book is that everyone has their stories and attitudes when it comes to drinking. They’re not all the same, but boy, will they make you think. I loved hearing the stories of the women in this book. They’re great writers and boy can they spin a yarn. I can definitely say that I’d like to share some margaritas with them. Without judgment of course.
You can purchase DRINKING DIARIES through this link or at a bookstore near you.