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Drunk Mom: A Memoir

Drunk Mom: A Memoir - Jowita Bydlowska Actual rating = 3.5There are a few things wrong with this book - First, I know the book is called Drunk MOM, so the focus is on the year after her son is born when she relapses, but it would have been nice to have had more of a backstory as to who Jowita is and how she has found herself in the position she was in 2009-2010. She says many time that this story is "not the TV show Intervention", but what makes that show so compelling is that you are with the addict in present time but also get a (re)view of their past life, so you get a more complete picture of the addict as a person outside of the chaos of their addiction. Bydlowska gives you hints that she has been a caretaker to her younger sister after they arrives in Canada from Poland, but never any details about where her parents were or why they aren't a bigger part of her life now. Second, it often feels as if Bydlowska is trying to prove to the reader that her son was actually safe at all times, even when it is obvious he was not. She often gets blackout drunk while acting as his primary caregiver, but always makes sure to point out that although she was a mess, the baby was still not put in any harm. This is not a judgement on her behaviour - she has obviously admitted that she has a problem, and throughout much of the book admits that she made one poor decision after another, but trying to constantly prove that the baby was ok seems to only serve to make herself feel a bit better about the whole situation.Now to what is good about this book: I genuinely found it to be un-putdownable most of the time. Bydlowska writes with such candor about so many things, showing just how far addicts go to justify their actions and behaviours to themselves and everyone else, and how easy it can be to make excuses and deny that a problem exists. She talks about how the notion of suffering from postpatrum depression as a "luxurious term", that normal women wouldn't behave like her so she isn't able to excuse her behaviour in that way - showing how addicts often believe is is something morally wrong within themselves causing them to behave the way they are, instead what really may be the problem. She talks openly about how aware she is that this is a problem that she will be dealing with for her whole life, and how terrifying that prospect is. Her relationship with her boyfriend, the father of her baby, revolves around the mutual, unspoken understanding that if they don't talk about the drinking problem then it doesn't really exist. At first Bydlowska considers this a blessing, as it allows her to continue drinking, but slowly starts to wear on her, as the lies, spoken and unspoken, become stifling and ultimately unbearable. I really consider this a worthwhile read, and would recommend it to anyone who read and enjoyed A Million Little Pieces (scandal or no scandal) or really any addiction based bio.