“Glaser has written an engaging account of women and drink, citing fascinating studies about modern stressors…and evidence that some problem drinkers can learn moderation….Bound to stir controversy” (People).
In Her Best-Kept Secret, journalist Gabrielle Glaser uncovers a hidden-in-plain-sight drinking epidemic. Using “investigative rigor and thoughtful analysis” (The Boston Globe), Glaser is the first to document that American women are drinking more often than ever and in ever-larger quantities in this “substantial book, interested in hard facts and nuance rather than hand-wringing” (The New York Times Book Review). She shows that contrary to the impression offered on reality TV, young women alone aren’t driving these statistics—their moms and grandmothers are, too. But Glaser doesn’t wag a finger. Instead, in a funny and tender voice, Glaser looks at the roots of the problem, explores the strange history of women and alcohol in America, drills into the emerging and counterintuitive science about that relationship, and asks: Are women getting the help they need? Is it possible to return from beyond the sipping point and develop a healthy relationship with the bottle?
Glaser reveals that, for many women, joining Alcoholics Anonymous is not the answer—it is part of the problem. She shows that as scientists and health professionals learn more about women’s particular reactions to alcohol, they are coming up with new and more effective approaches to excessive drinking. In that sense, Glaser offers modern solutions to a very modern problem.
Over the past century, American women have progressed from sipping in seclusion to enjoying the occasional cocktail in public following WWII, to downing wine today like characters from Sex and the City. In fact, from 1992 to 2007, the number of middle-aged women who sought help getting sober in various treatment programs almost tripled. Journalist Glaser (Strangers to the Tribe) traces the increasingly besotted history of women's relationship with alcohol (focusing mostly on middle-class women), but she becomes particularly insightful and provocative as she argues against the efficacy of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) for women. Rather than guiding women down a healing path of humility and acceptance, AA and its Twelve Steps, Glaser argues, have failed to protect women from predatory men, thereby consigning many already insecure and anxious women to failure. In lieu of AA, Glaser investigates new majority-female programs, as well as a seldom-prescribed medication called naltrexone, which is similar to Chantix. Conversational and persuasive as if Vicki Iovine had written a Girlfriend's Guide to getting sober this quick read is full of encouraging and informative advice, and it's sure to ignite renewed discussion about one-size-fits-all treatment options. 8-page b&w photo insert.