It takes a lot of guts to sit in front of a computer screen and type out your life story, especially if you’re an alcoholic. But that’s what Jowita Bydlowska has done and she’s done it brilliantly. The title of her memoir, Drunk Mom is striking enough to make you stop dead in your tracks at a bookstore. It’s also the perfect title to describe Jowita’s story, because she was once… a drunk mom.
Prior to her son’s birth, Jowita had a problem with alcohol, but she had stopped drinking for years before her son was born. Upon her son’s arrival, she wanted to celebrate, so she had a glass of champagne and it was that glass of champagne that reintroduced her to a world of problem drinking. I call it problem drinking, because throughout her book, she openly recognizes that she has a problem. I’m not an expert and I’ve never struggled with this disease, but Jowita’s memoir teaches you about the world of alcoholism and what I’ve learned after reading this powerful memoir is that alcoholism is not a lifestyle choice, it’s a disease and it can quickly spin out of control if you’re not careful.
Reading this memoir was like reading about an open wound, she takes you places no other Mother has taken a reader and it’s not always a fun road to travel on, but yet it feels like a road that needs to be explored and discussed. She talks about being drunk in the park with her son in tow, she shares her bouts in rehab, she even shares the many different tricks she had mastered to hide empty liquor bottles. Her ability to “go there”, and discuss things that are rarely discussed is what makes this such an intriguing memoir. You continuously turn the page thinking it can’t get worse and then it does. The beauty behind any good memoir is an author’s ability to share their experience, good or bad.
Will you cringe? Yes.
Will you be rooting for her the whole time you read this memoir? Yes.
15% of Canadians struggle with this disease and it cannot be easy disclosing that you’ve made mistakes, that you’ve made bad decisions. There’s a obvious reason that AA is anonymous. People are obviously embarrassed and ashamed of their actions. But in a handful of people who struggle with addiction, there are always a few brave souls willing to step out in the limelight to shed light on their struggles in an attempt to help raise awareness about a disease and to publicly apologize to the people that they’ve hurt along the way. After reading this memoir, I’m proclaiming Jowita Bydlowska as one of those brave souls.
It is a raw and intriguing story that’s got the attention of many people, including the National Post’s Book Editor, Mark Medley, who included this book in his roundup of the Most Anticipated Books of 2013.
Read this memoir with an open mind.
Read this memoir because it’s a beautiful letter from a Mother to a Son.
Read this memoir because it’s filled with insight, love and strength.