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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.
"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.
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