Nice Girls Don't Drink: Stories of Recovery

Nice Girls Don't Drink: Stories of Recovery

Nice Girls Don't Drink: Stories of Recovery

Nice Girls Don't Drink: Stories of Recovery


With skill and compassion, Sarah Hafner, a recovering alcoholic, elicits from 18 women their struggles and triumphs as they fight addiction in a society where women are already given second-class status. By interviewing a cross-section of women, Hafner makes readily available the identification process found so helpful in various recovery programs. These stories reveal the personal side of a disease that afflicts approximately 10.5 million Americans nearly half of them women, and directly affects many millions more. Nice Girls Don't Drink invites us into the lives of women from all segments of our society - rich and poor, gay and straight, women in diverse ethnic groups and a variety of occupations. Housewives, salesclerks, counselors, and artists are here together telling of a disease that transcends the distinctions of class, education, and culture. With courage, candor, and even flashes of humor, the women recount the early influences that led to their addiction, often including alcoholic or abusive parents; how alcoholism took over their lives; crucial turning points; and the recovery that enabled them to reclaim their dignity. The book guides readers to sources of help, and lists the twelve steps of Alcoholics Anonymous and the thirteen affirmations of Women for Sobriety. A monument to the resilience of the human spirit, Nice Girls Don't Drink is a source of inspiration not only for the female alcoholic, but for anyone struggling to overcome an addiction or other handicap and live a more complete life.


What does it feel like to be a woman in America who is an alcoholic? What did the first drink feel like? How does a woman's drinking affect her children, her husband, her lover, her work? and how did she come to stop?

This book attempts to answer those questions through women's own stories. It offers them a place of their own, a place where they can speak for themselves instead of having someone speak for them, or to them. Its pages contain a series of interviews with recovering alcoholic women. Unless they have chosen otherwise, they have kept their anonymity.

I embarked on this project in part because of my own experience, but mostly because I was in search of women I could admire. As a recovering alcoholic I was frustrated by the lack of alcoholic histories told by women.

So I set out with my tape recorder, sitting for the better part of a day in a stranger's home, on the phone, or in a coffee shop, just listening to women speak. Some of the stories poured out in an uninterrupted stream; others were halting, difficult to elicit. All were riveting. They were at once deeply personal, thoughtful, enlightening, hopeful, frightening, depressing, and humorous. These stories are, at least in part, reconstructions of events told to the women by others--spouses, neighbors, friends, the police, their own children. Periods of blackout are impossible to recall. Few of these stories have fairy-tale endings, largely because recovering from alcoholism requires a quiet surrender--acquiescence. Trying to conquer alcoholism with brute force--the way we tackle other problems--hastens its progression.

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