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Book giveaway: Drink: The Intimate Relationship between women and drink by Anne Dowsett Johnston - Post a question to the author

(32 Posts)
RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 13-Jan-14 15:22:02

Last year Ann Dowsett Johnston wrote a guest blog for Mumsnet which shared details of her relationship with alcohol. The blog prompted much discussion from mumsnetters, many of whom were concerned about their own drinking habits. One mnetter wrote: 'drinking is insidious - it creeps up and at some point you might find it has you by the throat'. Ann's research for the book found that they are not alone; in the developed world, the gender gap on risky drinking is closing and that binge drinking is increasing particularly among women.

In her intimate and startlingly honest book, Ann Dowsett Johnston uses the research alongside her own story of personal recovery, to highlight the impact this shocking epidemic has on society as well as individual lives.

We've got 50 copies of the book to giveaway and Ann is joining us to answer your questions about her own experiences in her personal life and researching the book. Find out more, apply for a free copy and post a question to author Ann Dowsett Johnston on this thread.

ImperialBlether Mon 13-Jan-14 21:51:53

This sounds a really interesting book and I'd love a copy. For all my working life I've worked with people who drink alcohol regularly and it's only now in the last year since working with a couple of people who don't drink alcohol for religious reasons that I've noticed how much we all talk about and look forward to drinking, particularly the evening glass or two of wine. It sounds like a book so many of us should be reading.

The more I look at it the more I realise how it's easy to develop a screwed up relationship with alcohol. Lots of people I know are sort of borderline on the scale of how much dependence on crutches like that is healthy. And then it's much easier (necessary) to make excuses for yourself and others.
I've applied for a copy....be interested to see what the author has to say esp. in view of her personal experience.

CMOTDibbler Tue 14-Jan-14 10:01:10

I hope I get a copy of this as it sounds so interesting.

I've noticed how many women use alcohol as a real psychological crutch - maybe not binge drinking, but every day they 'have' to have a glass of wine. Or two. Or three. And everything rotates around booze - bad day, need a drink; good day, drink to celebrate and so on.

Its really worrying imo as many people just seem to be unable to stop.

gingerpig Tue 14-Jan-14 14:16:49

I hope I get a copy too, I would be really interested to read this book.

All the females in my immediate family, including myself, have a unhealthy relationship with alcohol by using it to avoid our more painful emotions - which of course doesn't work.

It really is amazing to see what a huge part alcohol plays in our society and how acceptable it is to use it as a crutch.

AvaMaria Tue 14-Jan-14 14:22:43

I would love a copy of this book.

There is so much alcoholism in my family. When I was younger I drank to excess myself. But the last 3 years I rarely drink at all, combination of motherhood and an illness that does mot react well to alcohol. I am slimmer and healthier than I have ever been. I did not realise that those excess few pounds I carried were pure alcohol. I also cannot face not feeling chipper in the mornings!

stickysausages Tue 14-Jan-14 16:13:06

I've entered, really interested in this. Another survivor of an alcoholic parent, and if I'm honest, I drink to excess myself and worry about becoming dependent.

venusandmars Tue 14-Jan-14 19:09:01

I'm interested in this too. From what I've read Anne was in rehab. But that's not an option for all of us, and I'd be interested to know what Anne's views are on distancing yourself from alcohol if you are not in rehab....

Also, for anyone who is struggling now, there are a couple of ongoing threads on relationships - the Brave Babes thread, and the DRY thread. Both full of real people here (maybe living in the next street to you) who are cutting back, or cutting down, or cutting drink out altogether. Read them, try them, find something that suits. And even if neither of them are for you you will probably find some stories that are similar to yours. You're not alone. And you're not alone in wanting to do something about it.

Iceberg75 Tue 14-Jan-14 20:11:30

Looking forward to reading this book and the Q&A having been someone who over years found habitual drinking creeping up on me. I have cut out all alcohol and have not had a drink for 3 months and twenty something days. For those cutting out I second the reading of the DRY threads here, very supportive brew

JuicyJ Tue 14-Jan-14 22:15:16

I find this subject fascinating - i've can recall a number of negative situations that drinking has put me in as once I had started it was difficult to stop and horrendous hangovers that have left me feeling negative and drained. I drink less now as I have an illness that conflicts with alcohol and will only have a couple of glasses of red wine when i do instead of mixing or drinking until i've no recollection of what I was doing, but still have many friends who enjoy their evening drink and don't see this as a problem - what would you consider a problem and what's not ?

mendandmakedo Wed 15-Jan-14 16:51:22

I work in a public health type role and would love to deepen my knowledge on drinking and how womens relationship with drinking has evolved in order to best support families in the community. This book would be useful to me as it sounds like it would show a true impact of drinking on lives and i could also share it with colleagues. I would like to apply for a free copy. Thanks

behindthescentedcandles Thu 16-Jan-14 00:24:53

I would like to hear the author's view on why binge drinking is seen as socially acceptable.

MrFMercury Thu 16-Jan-14 22:40:05

I'd like to ask the following please smile
The idea of a mum having a glass of wine at the end of the day is an image I see a lot, put forward as an almost expected part of motherhood. In the same way that drinking at all in pregnancy is often demonised.

In my own experience this is seen as much more socially acceptable than a mother who goes out and gets drunk at the weekend for example. That glass of wine can become a bottle easily, it did for me.

Does Ann think that women and in particular mothers, are given powerful and conflicting messages around their use of alcohol?

I've entered the draw and hope I get a chance to read the book, Ann's story sounds fascinating.

MargeSimpson Fri 17-Jan-14 08:44:21

I wondered what Ann feels about the type of help the NHS should offer the women she describes. My impression is that they would not want to go to the local alcohol and drug centre for the classic alcoholic that is in a grotty part of town. What should GP and practice nurses be offering instead? What type of advice or counselling would help? I have entered the draw and hope I get a copy. I am a HCP and feel I need more guidance in how to help this group. Thank you

SabraCadabra Mon 20-Jan-14 01:36:54

Please Id love a copy, me and partner are both alcoholics. I dont drink now neither does he, if I do I cant stop. I know only too well how easy it is to get into and get a grip. Also have alcoholics in the family and have lost friends and family to alcohol and drugs.
Id like to know why are GPs so reluctant to prescribe diazepam to recovering alcoholics? When I stopped drinking my nerves were shot and diazepam really worked wonders calming me down. I still suffer badly with anxiety but ny GP wont prescribe diazepam, I have to buy it from friend who gets it prescribed. I know its very addictive but Id probably go back on the drink without it.

CrispyHedgeHog Mon 20-Jan-14 03:00:39

I'd really appreciate a copy too. As the daughter and
ex wife of alcoholics drink was something I was very
wary of but I've noticed in the last two or three years
that my consumption has increased to the point that
it's changed the shape of my red blood cells. Not because I'm dependent but because I binge. Definitely something that I need to explore and address.

AliceMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 20-Jan-14 11:46:48

This giveaway is now closed. We will notify those who have been selected to receive a free copy via email.

CrispyHedgeHog Tue 28-Jan-14 12:38:41

Book arrived this morning, thank you.
I'm looking forward to reading it smile

stickysausages Tue 28-Jan-14 12:39:54

Book arrived this morning, thank you!

Can't wait to get started, and will of course report back!

MrFMercury Tue 28-Jan-14 14:54:47

Mine is here too :-)

got mine too, thanks very much!

plan to start it tonight
maybe with a glass of red by my side wink

Okay, so I really liked it and read it in two sittings. The first book I've read quickly in a while.

The thing that really stood out was the undercurrent of sympathy throughout, which can't necessarily have been that easy to manage given the OP was an alcoholic herself- she came across as courageous in that, there must have been a lot of complicated feelings for her while writing the book. Specially since with something like addiction, there'll always be a shadow lurking in the form of asking who's to blame, trying to pin the responsibility on something or someone. I did feel it was a bit pop psych in parts but as a book which is supposed to be accessible to people who have problems with alcohol, that's appropriate. I would have like to hear the author's voice a little more but felt the stories from the (generous and brave) people she interviewed made it an impressive book.

MrFMercury Fri 31-Jan-14 11:18:56

I agree with quirrelquarrel

It is a good mix of personal stories and information and it is very accessible. I was very interested in the sections looking at both the way women are targeted by an advertisers and also the link between university education and drinking culture. My own issues around alcohol was fueled by the culture of drinking at university and also the idea of alcohol being used to demonstrate I was 'one of the boys'.

This is probably the best book I have read on the topic of alcohol and women.

footballagain Fri 31-Jan-14 14:48:36

I haven't yet received my copy but I'm looking forward to reading it in the wake of finishing dry January!

stickysausages Fri 31-Jan-14 20:01:31

I'm only a couple of chapters in... but what has grabbed me most so far, is that you don't have to be dependent on alcohol, to be a problem drinker.

god! I've just realised I've called the author Anne Dowser the 'OP'. seriously? i need to get off Mumsnet!

I do hope this book will be popular tho. It could be very helpful to many.

StepAwayFromTheEcclesCakes Tue 04-Feb-14 14:11:08

a very thought provoking book that will be helpful to many. I am now determined to control my drinking as it could so easily spiral.

elizadofuckall Sun 09-Feb-14 09:07:12

The book has been a real eye opener for me. Its a really interesting read (I haven't finished it yet) and is very thought provoking.

SeparationAnxiety Sun 23-Feb-14 14:51:40

Firstly - Thanks to whoever/however I received this book as the MN book giveaway in January. My copy arrived in the last week of the month which was timely, as I was coming to the end of my first 'dry January', which I had embarked on because I was concerned about how my drinking had gradually increased over the last few months.
The author shows clearly how common this is for women of my generation - many holding down professional jobs and bringing up children successfully but alcohol has become our "Mummy's little helper". She opened my eyes to how alcohol is now marketed to women without us realising it and how we can be seduced into believing it is good for us (or at least not harmful in any way). She also presents evidence on how women's bodies just cannot absorb and tolerate alcohol as well as men's can and so can suffer damage more quickly.
The author is Canadian and the book definitely has a 'North Atlantic' feel, with most stories and references being to Canadian/American society. But the themes are relevant to Britain too! It was interesting to read how much of a drinking culture there is at University there as well, as I had assumed that the stereotypical student love of getting drunk was a British problem only.
My one criticism would be that the author drip feeds her own story (slow descent into alcoholism and relationship ending) through the book and sometimes it was hard to work out the chronology of her life and the events she referred to at times. I found her story the most interesting in the book and I would have liked to hear more and all in one go, rather than scattered through the chapters.
The book definitely made me think about my drinking and although I very much enjoyed my first drink on 1st Feb, I think it has helped me to review my approach to drinking and to reduce it.
I would recommend this book - it is well written, easy to read and informative. The author is sympathetic and not hectoring in her approach. I am glad I have read it.

Dianec67 Sun 02-Mar-14 20:56:49

Thank you for my copy. It was an interesting read and hopefully helpful for anyone whose drinking is starting to spiral or for their friends/relations who want to know more about alcohol abuse. Great that this subject is now discussed more openly.

JuicyJ Mon 03-Mar-14 17:47:05

Thanks I received my book and read this with anticipation. I've spent many years drinking, although not as I would consider it to be an addictive past time - however '1 definately leads to a few' when I in a social environment. As I am now a mum I am conscious of how my daughter perceives my drinking and what impact it may have on her life. Ann's book certainly gave me that insight and I felt it was a really well rounded view of how drinking is intertwined with our lives and what impact it can have if it gets out of control. It is not a self help therapy read however there are some interesting stories relating to women who have issues with alcohol abuse. I certainly don't drink to the level I did in my younger years and abstain in the week now, but from reading this book I feel better educated and more insightful into the impact drinking can have on our lives and those around us. I would recommend any female who has a relationship with alcohol to read this and will be passing on my copy to a friend, I would also encourage my daughter to read this before she goes to university.

CMOTDibbler Mon 10-Mar-14 18:41:58

I thought this was very well written - as one might expect - and there were some interesting insights.
My criticism would be that she didn't examine the very widespread issue of women who are alcohol dependant, but not extreme drinkers. Those women who have to have a couple of glasses of wine every night, for whom any event is a couple of bottles of wine, wine with lunch every weekend, can't imagine not drinking type.

But a very interesting read, and one I'd recommend

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