Drink: The Intimate Relationship Between Women and Alcohol

Over the past few decades, the feminist revolution has had enormous ramifications. Women outnumber their male counterparts in postsecondary education in most of the developed world, and they are about to match that accomplishment in the workplace. But what has not been fully documented or explored is that while women gained equality in many arenas, they also began to close the gender gap in terms of alcohol abuse. In the U.S. alone, more than 23,000 girls and women die from heavy drinking each year. Binge drinking and so-called "drunkorexia" are on the rise, contributing exponentially to a wide variety of health conditions and cancers.

Combining in-depth research with her own personal story of recovery, Ann Dowsett Johnston delivers a groundbreaking examination of a shocking yet little recognized epidemic threatening society today, what pre-eminent researcher Sharon Wilsnack believes is a "global epidemic" in women's drinking.

Dowsett Johnston's authority comes from a place of experience. Eight years ago, she was a high-profile senior journalist with Canada's major newsweekly, an award-winning journalist, and popular on the speaking circuit. She seemed to have it all when she was named vice-principal of McGill University. In private, the high-functioning professional knew she was wrestling with a demon that had undone her own mother: a growing drinking problem. Dowsett Johnston took a very private exit from her professional life and went to rehab. She re-entered professional life in 2010, winning the prestigious Atkinson Fellowship in Public Policy, charged with examining the closing gender gap in the world of risky drinking. Sober now for five years, her journey - professional and personal - has given us an unprecedented look into women and drinking that is both moving and enlightening.

Dowsett Johnston dissects the psychological, social, and corporate factors that have contributed to this reality, exploring their far-reaching impact on both society at large and individual lives, including her own. Comprehensive and emotionally riveting, Dowsett Johnston's DRINK is sure to become a modern classic on the topic of women and drinking, much as Andrew Solomon's NOONDAY DEMON was for depression. DRINK is a brave and powerful story, beautifully told; and an important investigation into an epidemic we can no longer afford to ignore.

Critical Praise for Drink:

"A powerful and important book about the increase in alcoholism and binge-drinking among women, and about our willful blindness to the damages of drinking in our culture."

- Susan Cheever, author of My Name Is Bill: Bill Wilson - His Life, and the Creation of Alcoholics Anonymous

"A game-changing look at one of our culture's hidden problems...honest, brave and inspirational."

- Margaret Trudeau, author of Changing My Mind

"Drink is a gift to women, to parents, and to all who want to understand the experience of alcoholism. The writing is gripping and vivid, the voice personal, the research exacting, the stories revealing if sometimes heartbreaking, the conclusions essential A triumphant life, a triumphant book."

- Gabor Maté M.D., author of In The Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters With Addiction

Available now in Canada, USA, UK, and Australia.

Drink     Australian cover for Drink

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  • Publisher: HarperCollins Canada
    ISBN: 9781443418812

The Boy Can't Sleep

from Dropped Threads 2: More of What We Aren't Told
Edited by Carol Shields and Marjorie Anderson

An anthology of life's defining moments of surprise and silence by thirty-four accomplished women, including Jane Urquhart, Susan Swan and Shelagh Rogers.

Excerpt from Ann's story, The Boy Can't Sleep:

"The boy can't sleep. He can't sleep because he didn't get the girl. Or rather, he got the girl, but he lost her. And now he can't sleep. Nor can you because he wants to talk.

"You try to take it seriously. You try to remember what this felt like. You know you went through this very same thing, at the very same age. But that was so long ago. The summer of 1969, to be exact.

"The same summer that man first walked on the moon - an event you barely noticed, an event eclipsed by a boy with blond hair and an acoustic guitar and your first trip to Paris..."

Dropped Threads 2

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  • Publisher: Vintage Canada
    ISBN: 0679312064