counter Her Best-Kept Secret: Inside the Private Lives of Women Who Drink - Free Download Books
Hot Best Seller

Her Best-Kept Secret: Inside the Private Lives of Women Who Drink

Availability: Ready to download

In the first book to document that American women are drinking more often than ever, and in ever-larger quantities, journalist Gabrielle Glaser explores the reasons behind this hiding-in-plain-sight epidemic—and why the most common remedy for it, enrollment in AA, is particularly ineffective. Gabrielle Glaser began noticing a shift in culture after the birth of her third c In the first book to document that American women are drinking more often than ever, and in ever-larger quantities, journalist Gabrielle Glaser explores the reasons behind this hiding-in-plain-sight epidemic—and why the most common remedy for it, enrollment in AA, is particularly ineffective. Gabrielle Glaser began noticing a shift in culture after the birth of her third child, when friends and neighbors dropped off baby clothes—and loads of wine. One note said, "One bottle for you, one to share." Why, Glaser wondered, would she drink a bottle of wine by herself? She was nursing, for God's sake. But alcohol—and wine, in particular—is an acceptable, legal way for women to muscle through their lives, whether they are postfeminist breadwinners or stay-at-home mothers. It's a drug women can respectfully use in public and in private, even if it carries the risk of taking them under. Women of all ages are drinking more, while men's alcohol use is staying the same. They are hitting the bottle to ease pressure from work, the stress of teething toddlers, the anxiety of trying teenagers, and the guilt of aging, faraway parents. Young women pound shots of tequila; women in their thirties, forties, and fifties guzzle secret bottles of wine as they cook dinner; and even senior citizens say they regularly down more than four drinks at one sitting several times a month. Between 1992 and 2007, the number of middle-aged women who entered alcohol treatment programs nearly tripled. In this book, Glaser investigates the problem and traces the history of women and alcohol in America, leading up to today when, for the first time, women are beginning to question the common prescription for abuse: AA. Glaser shows how this problem is beginning to be aired in public, just as a new kind of treatment tailored to women’s bodies and psyches is taking hold. Her Best-Kept Secret is a meticulously researched, eye-opening look into an ever-growing affliction that cannot be ignored.


Compare

In the first book to document that American women are drinking more often than ever, and in ever-larger quantities, journalist Gabrielle Glaser explores the reasons behind this hiding-in-plain-sight epidemic—and why the most common remedy for it, enrollment in AA, is particularly ineffective. Gabrielle Glaser began noticing a shift in culture after the birth of her third c In the first book to document that American women are drinking more often than ever, and in ever-larger quantities, journalist Gabrielle Glaser explores the reasons behind this hiding-in-plain-sight epidemic—and why the most common remedy for it, enrollment in AA, is particularly ineffective. Gabrielle Glaser began noticing a shift in culture after the birth of her third child, when friends and neighbors dropped off baby clothes—and loads of wine. One note said, "One bottle for you, one to share." Why, Glaser wondered, would she drink a bottle of wine by herself? She was nursing, for God's sake. But alcohol—and wine, in particular—is an acceptable, legal way for women to muscle through their lives, whether they are postfeminist breadwinners or stay-at-home mothers. It's a drug women can respectfully use in public and in private, even if it carries the risk of taking them under. Women of all ages are drinking more, while men's alcohol use is staying the same. They are hitting the bottle to ease pressure from work, the stress of teething toddlers, the anxiety of trying teenagers, and the guilt of aging, faraway parents. Young women pound shots of tequila; women in their thirties, forties, and fifties guzzle secret bottles of wine as they cook dinner; and even senior citizens say they regularly down more than four drinks at one sitting several times a month. Between 1992 and 2007, the number of middle-aged women who entered alcohol treatment programs nearly tripled. In this book, Glaser investigates the problem and traces the history of women and alcohol in America, leading up to today when, for the first time, women are beginning to question the common prescription for abuse: AA. Glaser shows how this problem is beginning to be aired in public, just as a new kind of treatment tailored to women’s bodies and psyches is taking hold. Her Best-Kept Secret is a meticulously researched, eye-opening look into an ever-growing affliction that cannot be ignored.

30 review for Her Best-Kept Secret: Inside the Private Lives of Women Who Drink

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jenny Sullivan

    Being a member of AA, I was very interested to read this book. I did enjoy much of the historical account of drinking, especially how it pertains to women. The marketing of wine to the American Housewife was hilarious. I see people posting about needing wine, or other booze, at the end of the day, to deal with kids, husbands, etc- and it is totally accepted. The fact that this author went to TEN meetings of AA is a ridiculously small amount to be writing about it as she did. 90 meetings in 90 da Being a member of AA, I was very interested to read this book. I did enjoy much of the historical account of drinking, especially how it pertains to women. The marketing of wine to the American Housewife was hilarious. I see people posting about needing wine, or other booze, at the end of the day, to deal with kids, husbands, etc- and it is totally accepted. The fact that this author went to TEN meetings of AA is a ridiculously small amount to be writing about it as she did. 90 meetings in 90 days is what a newcomer is recommended to attend- and she attends TEN and writes a long book talking about how AA doesn't work for the vast majority of women. The 13 Stepping accounts she writes about are ridiculous as well. Women being told to sleep with older men for 'their sobriety'?? I don't think so. I have seen many people that use AA to find people to date- but that is such a small portion of the people going to meetings and not at all what AA is all about. The extremes she goes to- talking about how most people can learn to drink like regular people- and that only a very small part of the population need to abstain from drinking forever really infuriates me. I have lost many friends due to alcoholism. How anyone can write a book instructing women that they really could drink moderately- just try a few prescription medicines and it should not be a problem at all. Or recommending women with drinking problems to join a recovery program that starts you on Klonopin. I sincerely feel that this book will cause more harm than good. I have over five years of sobriety and even found myself a few times thinking 'wow- maybe I can drink again" However, drinking means pitiful and incomprehensible demoralization for me- and losing my family. I lost everything before I came to AA. This book is well researched as far as history is concerned- but as far as ACTUAL AA meetings and experience- she uses a few stories of really pitiful women (like the one that was talked into having sex with two members one night because she really trusted them..Bad AA people, bad! Seriously ??!!!)and does not even attend a small sample of meetings and generalizes everything. I hope a newcomer NEVER picks up this book!!! Talk about rationalizing! Terrible.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Naomi

    Read my full review: http://bit.ly/170BMeS My opinion: As a former addictions counselor who specialized in adolescent female addictions, I must be honest in stating that this is THE WORST book on special populations addictions I have ever read. It was much more of a 196 page drama central magazine article, AA bashing bonanza, and advertisement for an alternative treatment program, which in the way Ms. Glaser wrote about the program I had to wonder if she doesn't have an investment in the organiza Read my full review: http://bit.ly/170BMeS My opinion: As a former addictions counselor who specialized in adolescent female addictions, I must be honest in stating that this is THE WORST book on special populations addictions I have ever read. It was much more of a 196 page drama central magazine article, AA bashing bonanza, and advertisement for an alternative treatment program, which in the way Ms. Glaser wrote about the program I had to wonder if she doesn't have an investment in the organization. The author totally by-passed other cognitive based treatment (support group) options. For those who aren't in the field and imply (or even out rightly state) that addictions counselors will have a hard time with the book because we all focus on the bashing of AA, please research before you write. AA is simply a tool in a counselor's tool bag to be utilized, along with other recovery/support programs out there, such as Rational Recovery as what is best fit for their client. The general population unfamiliar with books on this topic might enjoy taking this book as written. But this should not be accepted as a professional book. Even read by the general public, I wouldn't take it too seriously. Unlike another reviewer of this book, I would state that it was very obvious that Ms. Glaser went into this book with an agenda and fit her research to that agenda. Can I have the 1.5 hours it took to read this book back please?

  3. 4 out of 5

    Joy Matteson

    Ms. Glaser has done three years of research on the relationship between women and alcohol. She has interviewed multiple women for this book, and did extensive background research on Alcoholics Anonymous, and taken the time to gather many statistics on the effects of alcohol on women. I think many people know that alcohol can affect women much more quickly and detrimentally than men (which is unfair! Ugh.), but Ms. Glaser also tells you why this is the case. I can tell many people will not like t Ms. Glaser has done three years of research on the relationship between women and alcohol. She has interviewed multiple women for this book, and did extensive background research on Alcoholics Anonymous, and taken the time to gather many statistics on the effects of alcohol on women. I think many people know that alcohol can affect women much more quickly and detrimentally than men (which is unfair! Ugh.), but Ms. Glaser also tells you why this is the case. I can tell many people will not like this book because she has some pretty harsh critiques of A.A., and I know that thousands (millions?) of therapists and psychiatrists recommend A.A. unequivocally for alcohol dependency. Since I'm not a therapist nor an alcoholic, I would say I'm slightly less biased, but I found her research interesting. A.A. IS an old-school non-profit, historically not very welcome to women, and it is difficult to find statistics that are significant, since it's an anonymous group. All things that scientists and psychologists should be aware of. However--of course A.A. has meant so much to so many women and men across the world and helped them get sober. I've read countless stories attesting to that fact. And many of their ideals are extremely useful for those who see no way out of alcohol addiction. But there ARE other options, which Ms. Glaser outlines here. All in all, I found this to be a fascinating look into the world of female alcohol dependency, and it did make me feel just a little bit relieved that those of us women who drink 'moderately' do not have a large increased risk of breast cancer.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Ed

    Long overdue exposure of the revolving door con came that "rehab" is in the U.S. - especially for women. Also accurately reports on the failure of AA to protect women, as well as its terrible "success" rate for anyone. Along with Fletcher's recent "Inside Rehab" it seems we're finally getting some accurate reporting on what actually works to offset 75 years of AA's mythology and failure. Long overdue exposure of the revolving door con came that "rehab" is in the U.S. - especially for women. Also accurately reports on the failure of AA to protect women, as well as its terrible "success" rate for anyone. Along with Fletcher's recent "Inside Rehab" it seems we're finally getting some accurate reporting on what actually works to offset 75 years of AA's mythology and failure.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Counselorchick

    First of all, we should all be thanking Gabrielle for this most important work. It's about time. For those of us who have been working for years to reveal the truth behind the lies of 12 step programs, this work is long overdue. Glaser's perspective comes from a journalistic viewpoint. She has no horse in the game other than the truth. The journalistic truth. The care for women. Hopefully, this will give steppers pause with their typical "you're killing alcoholics by turning them away from AA," First of all, we should all be thanking Gabrielle for this most important work. It's about time. For those of us who have been working for years to reveal the truth behind the lies of 12 step programs, this work is long overdue. Glaser's perspective comes from a journalistic viewpoint. She has no horse in the game other than the truth. The journalistic truth. The care for women. Hopefully, this will give steppers pause with their typical "you're killing alcoholics by turning them away from AA," or "you're just trying to sell your book" or "you're not an alcoholic therefore you cannot possibly understand," or "AA saved my life," "you are in denial," "how can you say this about a group that has helped millions," or downright personal attacks ... because they have no other recourse when faced with the truth about their beloved cult religion. Search the 'orange papers' and read the cult test and the biggest lies of AA for further info. What's fascinating (and long overdue) is the look at women, specifically American women, and how our emancipation also brings access to the male dominated world ... and therefore, more drinking like the men. The problem is that metabolically, women become intoxicated faster than men since fat cells retain alcohol, but water dilutes it. Since women have more body fat and do not have as much of the enzyme (alcohol dehydrogenase) that breaks down alcohol before it enters the bloodstream, this leaves women more susceptible to liver and brain damage. The other problem is women are judged more harshly than men for the same behavior. Being a 'lady' does not include drinking to excess. Fancy that Hedda. Another fascinating part of Glaser's studies reveal the habits of our ancestors and how attitudes and habits have changed since Martha Washington wrote a recipe book including fifty alcoholic drinks and a few hangover cures. The early American colonists drank a lot ... Alcohol was safer than water which was contaminated with raw sewage. Even the children drank alcohol. As Glaser writes, "Historians estimate adults in the eighteenth century drank about a gallon of beer a day." Ahhhh, the good ole days. ; ) Something Glaser found, which we should all keep in mind, is the difference in trigger mechanisms for women and men. Her findings show that STRESS is the predominate trigger for women, while VISUAL CUES are the predominant trigger for men. Men reported feeling more aggressive and powerful when they drank, while women reported feeling calmer, less inhibited and more easygoing. This makes perfect sense ... The chapter (chapter 6) about Monica Richardson is terrifying and unfortunately a very common type of story in 12 step culture. '13th stepping' is a monumental problem in 12 step groups. This type of abuse is rampant "in the rooms" and is dismissed, mocked and minimized. There are rapes and sexual abuse continuously and the victim is told to 'forgive and find their part,' and that these abuses are 'outside issues.' Mostly, just like in general society, the rapes and abuse go unreported. The court system has been duped into thinking that AA is safe to mandate convicted felons as a condition of parole. This practice makes the 12 steps even more dangerous than the emotional abuses (labeling oneself with negative affirmations for the rest of one's life - as if that weren't bad enough.) Worst of all, Alcoholics Anonymous World Services (AAWS) refuses to do anything about these safety issues. AA brings panels into prisons full of child rapists to convert them into the 'program' and then picks them up and takes them to meetings following release. The vulnerable members have no idea they are very likely sitting next to a rapist who they must hold hands with and pray. AAWS has a 'corrections kit' that instructs members how to bring criminals into their 'way of life.' Vulnerable young women are especially victimized, but predators are all over the meetings. Beware! Monica is a brave lady for exposing her truth on behalf of all the victims of predators in these meetings. And Gabrielle is correct - Monica is a 'statuesque stunner, with huge green eyes, curly auburn hair, and a husky contralto.' (That outta get the men interested in 'visual cues.') Monica has a radio show with thousands of listeners. Glaser does claim that AA traditions recommend no dating within the first year of sobriety. If someone has research to back this up, please share it. As far as I know, dating in the program is considered to be another one of those 'outside issues.' One place where Glaser gets it wrong is on page 83. She states that the steps are 'loosely' based on the Oxford Group. No. The steps are directly stolen and plagiarized from the Oxford Group. Again, the orangepapers are a good source for more information. Then, in their bible known as The Big Book - there is a 'Chapter To Wives.' It says, "Patience and good temper are most necessary ... if he gets the idea that you are a nag or a killjoy, your chance of accomplishing anything useful may be zero ... He will tell you he is misunderstood. This may lead to lonely evenings for you. He may seek someone else to console him - not always another man." in other words, if he cheats, you only have yourself to blame. Also, this chapter is dismissed and minimized in meetings. The problem is that this horrible book was written by men who could not/would not take responsibility for their actions - it is easier to blame your nag of a wife (as if the wives can make the husbands do anything al all). It makes one wonder how many marriages have ended due to a husband's membership in this group and been given permission to 13th step everyone he can get his hands on. Glaser tells the story of Marty Mann's group very well and their anger (same today) when their cult religion was first criticized. On page 107, she talks about a 1976 Rand Corp study of more than 2000 men (no women included) and their treatment outcomes. The study shows that, 18 months after treatment, 24% were abstinent, while 22% were successfully moderating. This idea of successful moderation put Mann's group into a tizzy. They went ballistic. Again, the dogma of 'killing people,' 'denial,' giving people permission to relapse,' - all of that fear-based nonsense. The study was conducted without evaluating the type of treatment modalities but a random study of alcohol dependent subjects. It is as true today as it was in 1976 - a good percentage of people (even 'real' alcoholics) can and do successfully moderate. The AA abstinence insistence is all about keeping the cult alive. This 'program' is not a program to help people recover. It is a program to keep AA going - since 95% of people leave. AA takes credit for spontaneous remission. The Big Book has a section that separates 'real' alcoholics as those who cannot ever touch a drop of alcohol lest their brains be trigged by the uncontrollable urge to drink themselves into oblivion. Hogwash. The orange papers are the result of years and years of study and are a very valuable resource. Why? You may be asking why? The truth calls into question the foundation of the multi-billion dollar treatment industry which (the majority) have one tool: The 12 Steps. Rehabs are in bed with 12 step programs and the sell of the "AA approved' literature. Money is a powerful motivator to keep the lies alive. The minimum you will pay for a month stay in rehab is $18,000. In fact, rehabs do not want you to get well, they want you to 'keep coming back!' On page 109 - Glaser speaks of sociologist and scholar Jean Kirkpatrick. Jean realized that, unlike the dogma of the 12 steps, her problem was an excess of humility, NOT a lack of it. She lacked confidence and the 12 steps are designed to keep one powerless and dependent on the meetings for the rest of ones life. Kirkpatrick was one of the first to push back against the ridiculous notion that one was powerless or defenseless against alcohol. Rubbish. Dangerous rubbish. In fact, it has been proven that this misinformation promotes binge drinking. See the Brandsma Study for more. There is no lack of research documenting the dangers of 12 step program. (There is only anecdotal 'because I say so' evidence that the steps work.) Kirkpatrick founded the empowering secular group for women: Women For Sobriety. It is useful for those who wish to abstain. For everyone else, there is Harm Reduction, Stanton Peele's Life Process Program, Moderation Management and The Sinclair Method. Glaser does a great job informing the reader of the powerful work with Mary Ellen Barnes and Ed Wilson in the chapter about Joanna ... another brave soul. Speaking of Moderation Management, Glaser speaks about Kishline the founder of MM and her horrible drunk driving accident. It is vital to point out that Ms. Kishline had this accident months after going back to AA. Steppers like to use her drunk driving as proof that moderation does not/cannot work. In fact, quite the opposite is true. I would have liked more research on the 'disease model' of addiction. Addiction is not a disease. Again, this 'concept' is all about money. Look at Steven Slate's research and the Baldwin Research Institute for more. Glaser does a great job explaining how Mann hooked up with Jellinek and used his dubious 'curve' of addiction to further the cultural hold of AA. As a student at the Hazelden Graduate School of Addiction Studies, we were presented with the Jellinek Curve as proof of the 'disease concept.' Of course, Hazelden is a billion dollar industry with their monthly (repeatedly if necessary) stays and their publishing company of 'approved' AA literature. They even have a 'bookstore' filled with nothing but 12 step dogma in the lobby. However, Dr. Marvin Seppala is slowly and discretely introducing Naltrexone into Hazelden. Of course, he must tread carefully past the cult religion in which he too is brainwashed, but he is also a man of science and cannot ignore it any longer. Also, Glaser asserts that there is a strong genetic component to addiction. This is highly debatable. Look at Stanton Peele's research. This book is genius and a very quick read, I did not want it to end. Finally the truth is told. Her research is solid and all documented in her notes with links for more info. Thank you Gabrielle for this most important and enlightening work! We do NOT need to believe the 'powerless' dogma of the 12 steps. We need to be empowered and that is exactly what this book does. An invaluable resource for anyone who is struggling with substance problems or has a loved one struggling in the 12 steps - male or female. It does NOT work, even if you 'work it.'

  6. 5 out of 5

    Pamela

    Interesting history of how AA deals and.has dealt with women who have a drinking problem opposed to men. The double standard infiltrates every area of our lives. Trying to juggle careers, marriage, raising a family, keeping the household organized and the stressors of the world, many women, it seems, have turned to alcohol. Not all become alcoholics of course but it has become an issue in our society. Interesting read.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Intplibrarian

    This is a great book for an introduction. In other words, it does NOT get heavily into the science and the studies it references. You'll have to do that on your own if you want more detail, but unlike at least half of addictions books it DOES include those evidence-based references. I've seen other reviews upset that the author "bashed" AA. Honestly, I don't think she did... she merely explained why some people don't find that the ideal solution AND explained, with citations, why. She never says This is a great book for an introduction. In other words, it does NOT get heavily into the science and the studies it references. You'll have to do that on your own if you want more detail, but unlike at least half of addictions books it DOES include those evidence-based references. I've seen other reviews upset that the author "bashed" AA. Honestly, I don't think she did... she merely explained why some people don't find that the ideal solution AND explained, with citations, why. She never says it can't work for anyone, nor that it can't work for any women. She does point out that a lot of addictions counselors in the U.S. aren't adequately educated, professionally, other than having overcome and addition themselves, and that is simply TRUE. If I had an addiction, I think I'd prefer both -- someone who knew what I was going through AND someone who knew the science of medicine. They don't need to be the same person. I give it four stars for being so unique in what's available out there. But I have to emphasize the need to actually look up the references cited to get a better understanding of what's claimed in the book. The entire topic is a hot one. Lots of very strong feelings about it, which, ironically, the author addresses. So, take the super-enthusiastic reviews, positive or negative, with a grain of salt. FWIW, my personal background is in medical librarianship (hence, the strong reliance on evidence-based research) and newly in the area of psychology librarianship. I can't claim to be completely un-biased (who can?) but I strive to be. I think it's worth a read whether you're a die-hard AA fan or not.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Cara Fox

    Came across this book and thought it would be an interesting read after a series of joking conversations with other mom friends about how we drink so much more since we became moms, or (for those of us who work) drink so much more on the days we are home with our kids. This was a quick and interesting read, although not what I expected going into it. It was a pretty thoroughly researched account of the history of alcohol and women - how attitudes and perceptions of women who drink have changed o Came across this book and thought it would be an interesting read after a series of joking conversations with other mom friends about how we drink so much more since we became moms, or (for those of us who work) drink so much more on the days we are home with our kids. This was a quick and interesting read, although not what I expected going into it. It was a pretty thoroughly researched account of the history of alcohol and women - how attitudes and perceptions of women who drink have changed over time. There was a pretty extensive rant on the foibles of AA. And then also a diatribe that attempts to pin increased drinking of modern day women (specifically upper middle class) on (partially) the fact that we are raising overprivileged, overscheduled families. It explores, briefly, how so many educated, ambitious women have left their careers to stay home with children to enable this process and find themselves drinking more (out of boredom? dissatisfaction? too much time and money on their hands?). Overall it was an interesting read, but I found it unsatisfying because it never really tied everything up in a neat little package. It was a lot of exploring different themes, without a lot of resolution. Still worth a read and food for thought, though.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Terri

    This is an interesting study of how we treat alcoholism and women in this country. Women are drinking more than ever.That's good news/bad news. Good news is that women drink because they can, it's more socially acceptable, a good thing. Bad news is that their bodies can't handle it and out of control drinking is on the rise. The author makes the point that men's recovery (AA model) doesn't always work for women. Women are different from men, doh. 12 step approaches may not work. There is a large This is an interesting study of how we treat alcoholism and women in this country. Women are drinking more than ever.That's good news/bad news. Good news is that women drink because they can, it's more socially acceptable, a good thing. Bad news is that their bodies can't handle it and out of control drinking is on the rise. The author makes the point that men's recovery (AA model) doesn't always work for women. Women are different from men, doh. 12 step approaches may not work. There is a large critique of AA in this book that really got me thinking. AA is sort of like Weight Watchers - everyone assumes it's working but there are no numbers to substantiate. That's my analogy, not the author's, and it doesn't really hold. There have been plenty of studies to show that WW doesn't work. AA successes are really hard to quantify. What I didn't realize is that AA's prevalence is due to great PR and lobbying, not scientific methods and/or studies. AA is also a tough place for women as sexual predators use it. What better place to find women who are vulnerable. Bastards. Lots of food for thought.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Laura Connell

    I love books about women who drink too much because I used to be one myself. I went through a 12-step program and agree with the author that they don't always address the unique needs of women and the rooms can be unsafe and rife with predators. What made this book a dud for me is the fact the author has never had a drinking problem. Alcoholism is not about the drinking and this statement is something only someone with a former drinking problem will understand. The idea of abstaining for one month I love books about women who drink too much because I used to be one myself. I went through a 12-step program and agree with the author that they don't always address the unique needs of women and the rooms can be unsafe and rife with predators. What made this book a dud for me is the fact the author has never had a drinking problem. Alcoholism is not about the drinking and this statement is something only someone with a former drinking problem will understand. The idea of abstaining for one month as one alternative to the 12-step model prescribes and then going back to moderate drinking for two months (Back! Most alcoholics have never known moderate drinking) is absurd. I abstained for months at a time but without addressing my problems it meant nothing. Drinking for alcoholics is a coping mechanism for unresolved trauma, for women usually sexual abuse. The author acknowledges this fact and yet espouses programs that do nothing to address that trauma. This disconnect was laughable to me and made me believe she was being had by problem drinkers who would do/say anything to avoid giving up alcohol. And the experts who make a ton of money enabling them.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Gail

    I love books that push my envelope. Never questioning judges, courts, treatment advertisements; I thought faith based 12 step programs were the only options an abuser of alcohol had to find and maintain sobriety. Having to create some kind of higher power and give up oneself to that higher power was counterintuitive. Because of Glazer's impeccable research, a new world of recovery has become available to those living this nightmare all the while blaming themselves and suffering the guilt of bein I love books that push my envelope. Never questioning judges, courts, treatment advertisements; I thought faith based 12 step programs were the only options an abuser of alcohol had to find and maintain sobriety. Having to create some kind of higher power and give up oneself to that higher power was counterintuitive. Because of Glazer's impeccable research, a new world of recovery has become available to those living this nightmare all the while blaming themselves and suffering the guilt of being unable to find this elusive higher power. Glazer has brought to light a serious option to those suffering the ravages of alcohol addiction. Hopefully, those in the medical research will get on with pursuing an effective medical solution.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Liz Shine

    A smart, open-minded analysis of the psychology and history behind women and alcohol consumption in the United States. I found Glaser's approach informative and refreshing. Though I consider myself educated and informed, I have never come across a smart look at alcohol. I've always felt that the story we tell ourselves as a society about alcohol is too emotional, isolating and damning to many. A well-researched, thought-provoking book that raises important questions about the status quo. A smart, open-minded analysis of the psychology and history behind women and alcohol consumption in the United States. I found Glaser's approach informative and refreshing. Though I consider myself educated and informed, I have never come across a smart look at alcohol. I've always felt that the story we tell ourselves as a society about alcohol is too emotional, isolating and damning to many. A well-researched, thought-provoking book that raises important questions about the status quo.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    AA isn't for everyone, but it works for a lot of people--including a lot of women (one of them being me). Also, it's everywhere, and unlike Glaser's pricey "Twenty-First Century treatment," it's absolutely free. More about the book and the issue in my piece for the Atlantic: http://www.theatlantic.com/sexes/arch... AA isn't for everyone, but it works for a lot of people--including a lot of women (one of them being me). Also, it's everywhere, and unlike Glaser's pricey "Twenty-First Century treatment," it's absolutely free. More about the book and the issue in my piece for the Atlantic: http://www.theatlantic.com/sexes/arch...

  14. 5 out of 5

    Mandy

    This book provided a lot of interesting statistics and discussion on how women are taking on more and more responsibilities with little help and are deeply stressed out, hence leading to a rapid increase in alcohol consumption. Also discussed was the massive amount of hugely successful marketing done by alcohol producers towards women to draw them in. A somewhat surprising and interesting read.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kimberly

    Initially I expected this book to be judgmental of women who drink, but on the contrary it was a very insightful examination on exactly that cultural bias. From the early advertisements to sell wine to women to the unwelcoming response they receive when seeking help, Her Best-Kept Secret covered the full range of the female perspective on alcohol consumption and abuse. As a woman who chooses to imbibe responsibly and in moderation, I was both shocked and fascinated by the reported indiscretions Initially I expected this book to be judgmental of women who drink, but on the contrary it was a very insightful examination on exactly that cultural bias. From the early advertisements to sell wine to women to the unwelcoming response they receive when seeking help, Her Best-Kept Secret covered the full range of the female perspective on alcohol consumption and abuse. As a woman who chooses to imbibe responsibly and in moderation, I was both shocked and fascinated by the reported indiscretions committed towards women seeking rehabilitation by the male-oriented Alcoholics Anonymous system. I appreciated the author's insight into both why women drink and how what they get out of drinking varies from the male experience. Also, the picture of Lucille Ball pushing a "wine and soda" is priceless. Disgusting, but not to be missed. An engaging read.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Dale Stonehouse

    This is a very important book as a stepping stone to fully exposing 12-step programs for what they have always been - an attempt to restore addicted people to making a contribution to a growing economy. More than that, it exposes the shabby treatment women receive too often in AA groups, up to and including sexual abuse and rape. Even absent this evidence, the traditional approach to substance abuse has never worked for those for whom trauma in childhood or as adults is the root cause and the ad This is a very important book as a stepping stone to fully exposing 12-step programs for what they have always been - an attempt to restore addicted people to making a contribution to a growing economy. More than that, it exposes the shabby treatment women receive too often in AA groups, up to and including sexual abuse and rape. Even absent this evidence, the traditional approach to substance abuse has never worked for those for whom trauma in childhood or as adults is the root cause and the addiction merely a coping strategy. In particular, no amount of flawed logic can make the jump into saying alcohol intake causes PTSD, DID, or BPD. It is and has always been the other way around. To say that coping with trauma is a disease would defy all human sensibility, and no amount of rigid thinking can get around that obstacle.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Olderworker

    Not a well written book. The author cites a lot of anecdotal evidence that women are drinking more, e.g. mentions that her friends, all of whom seem to be upper middle class Caucasian women, drink so much Chardonnay that they have to discard the bottles secretly. Then, she denigrates AA, saying that too many men in the program take sexual advantage of new female members -- possibly true, but why not simply suggest AA groups specifically for women? Such groups do exist. Also, she recommends some Not a well written book. The author cites a lot of anecdotal evidence that women are drinking more, e.g. mentions that her friends, all of whom seem to be upper middle class Caucasian women, drink so much Chardonnay that they have to discard the bottles secretly. Then, she denigrates AA, saying that too many men in the program take sexual advantage of new female members -- possibly true, but why not simply suggest AA groups specifically for women? Such groups do exist. Also, she recommends some pricey psychotherapists in California by name, rather than listing a bunch of similar programs, as alternatives to AA. Too biased a book for my taste.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Tara Hun-Dorris

    This is a short, easy read. I like the author's general question of why we don't treat addiction with evidence-based approaches as we do other chronic diseases. However, I do not trust her use of numbers/data, and the research probably could have been more in-depth. This is a short, easy read. I like the author's general question of why we don't treat addiction with evidence-based approaches as we do other chronic diseases. However, I do not trust her use of numbers/data, and the research probably could have been more in-depth.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Rosie Hanneke

    My attention waned toward later chapters and the (in my opinion) too-long discussion of A.A., but well done.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Alexandria

    Alcoholism runs in my family. I've seen it take down more than a few of my relatives so, naturally, I was interested in what this book had to offer. And while I loved the book for what it was, I cannot in all good faith rate it at five stars because it is not what it promised. What It Promised This book's title bills it as a deep look at why women drink and a subsequent way that they can regain control. Now I'm not a drinker. I rarely imbibe anything mind or mood altering aside from my daily caff Alcoholism runs in my family. I've seen it take down more than a few of my relatives so, naturally, I was interested in what this book had to offer. And while I loved the book for what it was, I cannot in all good faith rate it at five stars because it is not what it promised. What It Promised This book's title bills it as a deep look at why women drink and a subsequent way that they can regain control. Now I'm not a drinker. I rarely imbibe anything mind or mood altering aside from my daily caffeine boost. So I was interested to see what the studies billed as the reason so any women drink. But even after listening to the entire audiobook, I'm still not sure why women drink except, perhaps, that we are a male-dominated society while the majority of the daily work and stress falls on the women. But it's never made particularly clear. And I'm not quite sure what, exactly, women can do to regain control if they DO drink too much. While it may not give a concrete plan on how to regain control once a woman begins to drink too much, this book is very clear on how not to regain control: A.A The author is very clear that it might help some women, but study after study have shown that A.A's premise that you are powerless in the face of your addiction is the exact opposite of what women need to help regain control. And then, most dangerous and damning of all, is the issue of "the 13th step". I didn't come away from this book with a great idea of why women drink or how exactly to stop, but I do have a better grasp of the history of American women and alcohol, as well as the feeling that should I ever need treatment, A.A. is not the place to get it. And I'm honestly grateful to know that.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Maggie Baisley

    Interesting summary of AA’s predominance in the field of substance use treatment. Kind of boring for the first few chapters, but really hit its stride in the second half of the book. Even though, as other reviewers stated, AA isn’t therapists’ only tool, it’s unclear why it remains a common tool given that it has no actual research backing and might serve to exacerbate shame in participants. The culture and fragility around AA seems problematic, and Glaser digs into the problem. Other reviewers Interesting summary of AA’s predominance in the field of substance use treatment. Kind of boring for the first few chapters, but really hit its stride in the second half of the book. Even though, as other reviewers stated, AA isn’t therapists’ only tool, it’s unclear why it remains a common tool given that it has no actual research backing and might serve to exacerbate shame in participants. The culture and fragility around AA seems problematic, and Glaser digs into the problem. Other reviewers have cited issues with her summary of the science and organizations. I don’t think this book is a scientific account of women’s drinking. It’s clearly slanted and rife with her own upper middle class perspective. It is however a political/historical account that deflates respect for AA and other male-generated approaches. That said, other alternatives like CBT and more structured therapies, are also mostly created by men and follow a patriarchal logic. The industry of clinical research and our current scientific model reveals many limitations as well. Regardless of the gaps, I appreciated her perspective and the writing.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Westyn

    This was an incredibly detailed deep dive into the history of alcoholism in our country, the expectations put upon women and their reactions to them, and society's judgment of something nearly all of us have participated in. It's written by a woman who clearly has been a journalist for a long time. I like facts and data. They shift something into place more contextually than just personal accounts, especially when it comes to topics like this. I underlined so many parts of this book and found my This was an incredibly detailed deep dive into the history of alcoholism in our country, the expectations put upon women and their reactions to them, and society's judgment of something nearly all of us have participated in. It's written by a woman who clearly has been a journalist for a long time. I like facts and data. They shift something into place more contextually than just personal accounts, especially when it comes to topics like this. I underlined so many parts of this book and found myself slipping what I'd read into conversations with others. So much info!!! I loved it. I quit drinking a year and two months ago, and have participated in, and enjoyed, AA. That said, I was incredibly intrigued and grateful to read the parts about the history of AA, its obstacles and even co-founder Bill W's surprising journey after he quit drinking. Some of the biases I'd been swirling around with the program became much more obvious after reading this. The past 14 months have brought me so much clarity, and this book is an instrumental part of that process. Definitely recommend.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Carol Roote

    This book is a fascinating look at the history of alcohol use by women, the increase in excess alcohol use by women, and the pitfalls of traditional treatments for women. It doesn't offer much in the way of regaining control, but it does offer hope that it's possible to find alternative treatments that work for women. The biggest issue that I see is that, even though they are cheaper than rehab, they are still incredibly expensive and out of reach for most women. Most women who drink to excess c This book is a fascinating look at the history of alcohol use by women, the increase in excess alcohol use by women, and the pitfalls of traditional treatments for women. It doesn't offer much in the way of regaining control, but it does offer hope that it's possible to find alternative treatments that work for women. The biggest issue that I see is that, even though they are cheaper than rehab, they are still incredibly expensive and out of reach for most women. Most women who drink to excess can't afford to take a week off to spend at the beach in California, for example. There are some interesting websites to check out, though.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Sandee Heighton

    It wasn't what I expected, but I was intrigued and reflective about the history of women, AA groups, the new approach to alcohol and the people that drink. I didn't start drinking weekly until my daughter died 20 years ago. I am at a point in my life where I am pursue everything that is healthy, mind, body, and soul. So, this book caught my eye and didn't disappoint. It has given me a lot to think about and has changed my mind towards some prejudices I have had, which is always a good thing! It wasn't what I expected, but I was intrigued and reflective about the history of women, AA groups, the new approach to alcohol and the people that drink. I didn't start drinking weekly until my daughter died 20 years ago. I am at a point in my life where I am pursue everything that is healthy, mind, body, and soul. So, this book caught my eye and didn't disappoint. It has given me a lot to think about and has changed my mind towards some prejudices I have had, which is always a good thing!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Mege Gardner

    This is a very good survey on the history of American women in alcohol treatment and the culture that surrounded them. Entirely my fault, I wanted more detail on the success stories. Her main thesis that there is no "one size fits all" solution is well supported. We are lucky to be living in the future!! This is a very good survey on the history of American women in alcohol treatment and the culture that surrounded them. Entirely my fault, I wanted more detail on the success stories. Her main thesis that there is no "one size fits all" solution is well supported. We are lucky to be living in the future!!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Kristin M

    Loved the book. Hated the title. I had my own secret keeping anyone from knowing I was reading this book. I found the history of alcohol and alcohol treatment to be fascinating. The book offers treatment alternatives to the standard 12-step programs and why programs such as AA may not be successful for women. I found it interesting and insightful.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    I read this book for Sober October. It is a challenging read. It took me a while to understand its purpose. Very informative historical look at the emergence and journey of alcohol consumption in popular culture, with a scathing indictment of AA and their scandalous internal practices.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Lindsey Morgan

    Better than the other trendy female sobriety books out there.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Cathleen Kealey

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Important testimony of challenges of recovery, and the caution of the 13th step.

  30. 4 out of 5

    TC

    This is a well-researched book (twenty pages of end-notes!) that covers a lot of topics on the subject of drinking among upper-middle-class women in the US. The underlying argument presented is that, due to social stigma dating back centuries, the problem of drinking among women is treated as more "shameful" than for men. And because of that, the treatment of alcoholism for women has not been properly addressed, with women being forced to shoehorn into techniques devised for men. The author clear This is a well-researched book (twenty pages of end-notes!) that covers a lot of topics on the subject of drinking among upper-middle-class women in the US. The underlying argument presented is that, due to social stigma dating back centuries, the problem of drinking among women is treated as more "shameful" than for men. And because of that, the treatment of alcoholism for women has not been properly addressed, with women being forced to shoehorn into techniques devised for men. The author clearly feels very strongly that this is particularly true with Alcoholics Anonymous, which she gives a pretty thorough drubbing in this book. Aside from the usual complaints about it being an outdated and ineffective method, even for men, there is a very disturbing chapter on the long history of sexual abuse in AA, which, despite similar scandals in recent years in other organizations (say, the Catholic Church) the parent organization in the US refuses to address or acknowledge. But if that problem were solved, however, the book argues that AA simply was never designed with women in mind, and has never really been changed. Further, regardless of gender, she feels AA is not something that works for all people--the emphasis on total abstinence is an example of a dogmatic view that just does not work for all. Instead, the author pleads for the medical establishment, and society at large, to start treating alcoholism with evidence-based science. She devotes a chapter towards the end discussing an anecdote of the approach of a team in California that does this. The problem, she says, in addressing women's alcohol abuse, is that it's been only relatively recently that medical studies and the social sciences began to be more careful in distinguishing between men and women in collecting data. This is compounded by AA simply being regarded as the de facto best method for treatment--remember, courts often order people into AA programs, and doctors will routinely refer their patients to such. Overall the author did a good job of presenting her ideas and backing them up, though there's some subtle editorializing here and there mixed in with the overt--for example, during her chapter on the California team, she subtly contrasts some non-tangibles of their approach against rehab centers (such as not having an inpatient facility, and the greatly reduced costs of treatment). But after mentioning these points, she immediately compares the California treatment's effectiveness and benefits not against rehab centers, but against AA. The author does not at any point discuss in detail in-patient rehab centers; and as far as I know, these are not just glorified AA chapters. But for the most part the author has made a good case for medicine to think more and more of treating alcoholism in general as a disease, rather than a character flaw; and to recognize that treatment methods for women may need to be different from men. She also makes an effective case for an individual reader who may be a woman struggling with alcohol to recognize she should not proscribe to the notion of it being shameful, and to consider seeking help in a method other than the traditional twelve-step. And if for nothing else, the opening chapters which go into the history of drinking in the US, from colonial times on through the forces behind Prohibition, are fascinating and fun to read. This topic would make its own very interesting book.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.