Cleaning Up How I Gave Up Drinking and Lived

Review From User :

This book is a memoir of a woman who drank for 23 years before finally giving it up on September 12, 2002. It is insightful, honest, at times opinionated and I really couldn't put it down--I burned through it in 3 days. It challenges so many of the reasons people give for drinking and offers so many right-on quotes and observations that I just have to share some of them here.

"You have to do something about all the people who are living rent free in your head. A phrase I wish I could claim as my own." --page 177.

"there is nothing worse and more dishonest, than continuing a friendship that has run its course." --page 204. (A-men.)

"your time is yours, and not other peoples. Take alcohol out of the equation and the reality hits you that not everyone you know is good for you." --page 227. (Amen, Amen, Amen).

I enjoyed this book. The writer makes no bones about the way she feels about the role of alcohol, how it is never given the proper credit for actually being a "gateway drug," as pot is allegedly supposed to be. As this woman is British, the perspective is somewhat different than we get in the U.S. The drinking, I am told, is much more aggressive over there. Plus, she devotes some space to talking about the state of their National Health Service, which as an American strikes me as odd (my take: I wish I could be complaining about the state of my free health care rather than complaining about something that costs me money and still kind of sucks.) The part where she talks about astrology vs. therapy kind of reminded me of a fallacy of logic (e.g. "this one thing sucks therefore this other thing must be better."). But she comes by this opinion honestly, and that is the most compelling case for what is so good about this book: honesty. I loved her take on positive thinking: "Frankly, I have never heard more bollocks spoken on just about any other subject." (page 181). She says this in the context of the recovery movement, which, she feels, kind of makes people "programmed" to never say anything negative about anything.

An enjoyable book for many reasons, this book is up there with Drinking, a Love Story by Caroline Knapp (which she lists at the end). Great stuff.


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