Review of “Drink” – A Must Read for Women Flirting with Addiction

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Ann Dowsett Johnston began a new professional role in Montreal in 2006. It was supposed to be an excellent adventure and a great opportunity, but Montreal can be brutal for an alcoholic, especially for one who is lonely and new. With alcohol pretty much everywhere in Montreal it was difficult for Ms. Johnston to avoid drinking, and thus destroying one of the main reasons she embarked on this move to a new city and a new job, that reason being a hopeful “geographic cure” to her drinking problem. A cure, that she now knows never works. “For me, it happened this way: I took a geographic cure to fix what I thought was wrong with my life, and the cure failed.”

The focus of this article is of course the new book “Drink: The Intimate Relationship Between Women and Alcohol” by Ann Johnston. It may seem like another self help book, but reading it lets you begin to understand the stories and health concerns of both men and women struggling with addiction, and casts light on the growing concern of women’s drinking habits. It is a must read for those who have young daughters soon to be in high school or college, where the most binge drinking takes place. “I have seen a girl as young as seventeen and women in their twenties with end-stage liver disease. Alcohol dependence is setting in when youngsters are still in their teens.” -Sir Ian Gilmore, past president of the Royal College of Physicians.

It is noted in both the article and the book that binge drinking among girls and women is becoming something of an epidemic in the United States. Of the 23,000 deaths related to women and alcohol in the USA each year, half are due to binge drinking. It is noted in the book that binge drinking and chronic alcoholism are in fact two different monsters, as 80% of binge drinkers are not alcoholics. Two more disturbing facts are that 9 out of 10 college campus rapes are due to alcohol and a new term called “drunkorexia” is affecting young women who will avoid eating in order to go out and drink without caring about the calories in the booze. “In recent years, as the incidence of eating disorders has increased, so too has the correlation with binge drinking. More than 40 percent of bulimics will have a history of alcohol abuse or dependence at some point in their lives.”

While there may be a few references and passages in the book that make the reader a little confused, I firmly believe that this book should be read by women, young girls and parents everywhere. The growing problem of women’s alcoholism needs to be addressed and the work of Ann Johnston is an excellent new weapon in the arsenal to fight the disease of addiction. The combination of binge drinking, alcoholism and the fact that alcohol companies are now taking aim at their new market, women, it is important that addicts worldwide who have conquered this disease offer their knowledge, wisdom and personal truths that aided them on the path to recovery speak out to those still struggling, something Ms. Johnston does in this book, and she does it admirably.

“New sobriety is a challenging experience if ever there was one: your first Christmas, your first New Year’s, your first wedding or funeral. I have never felt more naked, exposed to my feelings, raw.” -Ann Dowsett Johnston.

Drink: The Intimate Relationship Between Women and Alcohol by Ann Dowsett Johnston

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Sobriety Foundation

Review of “Drink” – A Must Read for Women Flirting with Addiction

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