Boston columnist and New Woman contributing editor Knapp writes with unflinching honesty about her 20 years as an alcoholic, her struggle to overcome the addiction, and the special peril facing women drinkers.
Knapp was a drinker able to hold down a steady job while convincing herself (and others) that her drinking was not interfering with her life--that, in fact, it was making life easier. She drank to forget her problems or to get through a crisis. She rationalized the drinking by telling herself that she would stop after she came through an especially rough situation, never realizing that the drinking contributed to her difficulties. Knapp drank during her simultaneous involvement with two men, hiding each from the other. She drank through her parents' painful deaths a year apart, raiding their liquor cabinet, hiding bottles in the bathroom. The death of her prominent analyst father--and the subsequent realization that he, too, had been an alcoholic--started her on the slow path to recovery, although it was almost two years after his death before she checked herself into a clinic. His death made her wonder "if I would have been able to let go of alcohol without letting go of my father first.'' Through rehab and nightly AA meetings she was finally able to take control of her life. Knapp also suffered from anorexia during her 20s, and she believes that there is a link for women between food disorders, drinking, and other addictions.
She suggests that women are particularly vulnerable to the belief that the abuse of drink, drugs, and food can and will change them for the better--not realizing the terrible physical and emotional tolls of such behavior. Knapp is prone to repetitiousness, but this is still a soul-baring memoir with cogent insights into the nightmarish world of addiction.