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Drunk Mom

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  2,377 ratings  ·  280 reviews
Three years after giving up drink, Jowita Bydlowska found herself throwing back a glass of champagne like it was ginger ale. "It's a special occasion," she said to her boyfriend. And indeed it was. It was a party celebrating the birth of their first child. It also marked Jowita's immediate, full-blown return to alcoholism and all that entails for a new mother who is at fir ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published April 23rd 2013 by Doubleday Canada
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3.72  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,377 ratings  ·  280 reviews

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Karen Green
Jan 13, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2013
Tricky one, this.

When I first heard the buzz about this book, I assumed it was being written by a woman in, say, her late 40s, looking back on her life at a time when alcoholism and motherhood collided, and written with hindsight, reflection and a pretty clear indication of the kind of effect her actions had on her child(ren).

So I was surprised to learn that it was actually written by Jowita Bydlowska, a Toronto writer younger than me, with barely two years of motherhood and one year of sobrie
May 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
Profoundly disturbing portrait of real addiction. Pay no attention to reviewers who say "I liked the book but I didn't like her." By that metric, people wouldn't listen to Van Morrison or watch Russell Crowe act.

There were moments in the first half of the book where I had to look away for a bit: just too claustrophobic. But, can we fault the writer for doing her job and describing something in a way that makes us appreciate the horror on a visceral level? I don't think so.

I wish her luck and a t
May 09, 2013 rated it liked it
Oh, in case you’re wondering: I’m not a cocaine addict.

I prefer to drink.

You found me in the middle of my story and I happened to have just found a baggie of cocaine in that bathroom.

But honestly, I prefer drinking.

I prefer drinking to anything in the world: sex, food, sleep. My child, my lover, anything.

I love to drink. Sometimes I think: No, I am drink.

It’s like my blood. Even before I get it, I can feel it in my veins. I’m not being poetic—I can actually feel it in my veins.

It’s gold. It like
Jan 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
wow. and, man!

i stayed up way, way too late last night because i couldn't stop reading this book. it's a tough read at times - which, given the title one must expect, really. but the thing bydlowska does amazingly well is convey the mindset of an addicted/alcoholic person: the frantic, the chaotic, the scheming, the blacked-out, the re-framing. the behaviours she uses in planning to buy her alcohol, drinking her booze, dealing with the empty bottles, lying to her boyfriend, endangering her baby
Mar 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was very hard to read and I almost gave up on it many times. Not because it was badly written or boring or I didn’t like the characters, but because the author was me. Maybe I didn’t experience everything she did but her crazy thoughts and crazy language was me. It was a reminder and sometimes I need just that....a reminder.
Apr 29, 2013 rated it it was ok
Jowita B. can write, no doubt about it. But man, do I ever have some moral and ethical issues letting someone who so blatantly endangered her child profit off of that endangerment. Let he who is without sin cast the first stone, etc., etc., but I guess as someone who wants to be a mother so very, very badly, reading this made me so angry at the world, at the author, at her enabling boyfriend (who throws their significant other a party the day before she leaves for rehab?!) I felt wronged reading ...more
Jun 24, 2013 rated it did not like it
The writing deserves 3 stars, but the author as a human being barely deserves 1 star. The story is sad and vividly told. But I was actually disappointed in myself for reading it. She is so narcissistic, self-indulgent and pretentious....and I think these traits would apply even sans her addiction issues. I wanted to focus on the writing but I could not look beyond how much I dislike her.
Oct 07, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2015
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Last week, when I received an advanced copy of “Drunk Mom” I was a giddy kid on Christmas morning and, at the same time, antsy-pantsy like on a first date. I resisted reading Jowita Bydlowska’s memoir at first, because I knew the moment I crack it open, the first chapter wouldn’t be enough. Or the second, or the third. I’d have to cancel my plans—eschew a looming project proposal deadline and forego homework—shut myself in, read the whole thing straight through, ignoring all responsibilities and ...more
Elliot A
Feb 12, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
Had to read this for my last grad course. Apparently my prof is friends with the author. I think that makes it a conflict of interests to "teach" it in this course.

Almost 3 months ago I finished reading this book, since then we had countless discussions on it in my course and I even did a presentation on one of the chapters, which received positive feedback.

Yet, I am still torn about this book. On the one had, I am impressed and in awe of the author’s courage to share this dark time in her life
Michelle Smith
Jan 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
OK, some information before I get to the review:

I know Jowita. Not well, we aren't super-close. But she wrote for me when I edited a magazine a few years ago, and she and I are FB friends. We follow each others blogs. I am an alcoholic, and although I've been sober for just over 9 years, I well remember those dark days. I am also a Mom, though I've never been a drunk one - I stopped drinking about 2 years before my first son was born. And so I read Jowita's book as a friend, as a writer, as an a
Jess Genevieve
Jan 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
Couldn't put it down. It made me want to drink. It made me feel guilty for wanting to drink. It made me consider going to rehab. It made me feel human; ever yearning and vulnerable.
Misty K
Feb 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
What I didn't like- her writing style. I know it was meant to reflect the state of her mind, it was slightly off putting. Also, the grammar/spelling whore that I am, I tend to always notice mistakes immediately. There were a lot. I wish someone would have taken a few extra read throughs before publishing.
What I did like- Jowita was a woman I could easily relate to, and I don't drink! She was a new mom who had no clue what she was doing when she became a mom. I felt that way. I still feel that w
Carole Yeaman
I have NEVER finished a "one star" book before. I remember only two books I've even read partially that I'd give a one star to, & that was "Naked Lunch"/Wm. Burroughs, and something by Jean Genet. One star is not merely "dull & amateurish", but oozes evil. I shudder to think that the events in this book actually took place. I think dear Jowita should be incarcerated in some severely strict addiction facility for a long stretch & have no access to that baby for as long as true recover ...more
Lauren Carter
Aug 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
I wasn't sure about this book when I picked it up. The conversation about memoirs moving into TMI territory had affected me and I think my prejudgement verged on cynicism.

Even the first chapter - snorting a random score of cocaine, found in the bathroom of the R.O.M., I mean, come on! - made me sort-of sour my face up. "Appalled" was the word that went through my mind.

But she won me over. Very simply put: she told her story. She told it honestly and without flinching. At times, she was self-de
Sep 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
A quote from the book... "A popular adage going around the rooms of Alcoholic Anonymous was Albert Einstein's "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results." Motherhood is a type of insanity, my friend Mary said once. It is not insanity as defined by Einstein because doing the same thing over and over yields different results eventually.... The insanity of motherhood lies in perseveration. You can be all like: "I'm going to count to three!" ... but there's alway ...more
Apr 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I've never been one for addiction memoirs, but Jowita Bydlowska's story is so much more than that. This memoir reads like a novel, with incredibly vivid scenes that I feel will forever be etched in my mind. Bydlowska is an incredibly talented and brave writer, and I'm so glad that she shared her story in this way. A powerful read.
Rebecca McNutt
Drunk Mom is an honest and genuine memoir about alcoholism and how easy it is to go from sober to a stumbling drunk. It doesn't try to justify the behavior that being drunk entails, but it does give reasons as to why it happens in the first place, how addicts of alcohol can get help and how things can turn around.
May 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book was riveting. It was fascinating to see through the eyes of an addict and see the exact thought process. This book was at times very funny and also heart wrenching. Definitely glad I came across it at the bookstore!
Jun 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
Really good, once you get into her rhythm, but absolutely the wrong thing to read in a bar.
Aug 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
3.5 - 4.0

I disliked Jowita for a good majority of this book. But I think she had to be a dislikable character, because addicts are often unlikeable. But while she frustrated me, I felt compelled to keep coming back to her story. It helped me better to understand the mind of an addict, and gave me a better understanding of how easily it is to choose your addiction over your children.

It was also narrated really well, and that makes a world of difference.
Mar 09, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle
Well written, painful to read. Good insight into alcohol addiction.
Jan 04, 2013 rated it liked it
Actual rating = 3.5

There are a few things wrong with this book - First, I know the book is called Drunk MOM, so the focus is on the year after her son is born when she relapses, but it would have been nice to have had more of a backstory as to who Jowita is and how she has found herself in the position she was in 2009-2010. She says many time that this story is "not the TV show Intervention", but what makes that show so compelling is that you are with the addict in present time but also get a (r
Dec 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Why is Jowita Bydlowska's book such a compulsive and compelling read, one that's hard to put down? I think it's because there are absolutely no distractions, no descriptions, not much background information, no lengthy explanations (except for a brief Archeology chapter) no theory, no psychology and no advice. It's like she says - "this is no self help book". The author sticks to raw facts and with tremendous focus and gripping immediacy, takes us through the several months of a life of a drunk, ...more
Sep 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015
As far as addiction memoirs go, this one is definitely one of the better out there, despite being one of the more difficult to read. This is because the author is a new mother. After having been sober for years, she toasts to the birth of her new son with champagne. And after that, all her hard work goes down the tube.

Like "Alcohol: a Love Story," you keep waiting for rock bottom to be a huge accident. A DUI, an arrest, a death. Because the author's drinking takes her just to the edge of that l
Ryan Dejonghe
This was tough to read. Bydlowska is brutal, open, and honest in her narrative. She lays it ALL out there—all of it: her strong desire—passion, rather—to drink; trying to maintain her sex appeal despite lactating; the lack of connectivity and feeling during intimacy. It’s all there. Bold and exposed.

Despite it all, Bydlowska demonstrates her strongness in her motherhood. She recognizes the dangers; she plans around her blackouts; pumps when she knows her milk may be poison. Her joy for motherhoo
May 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
*Received this as an advance reading giveaway.*

To be honest, I was leery of this book. The cover didn't really do it for me, and I assumed that the writing was going to bad. Well, surprise, surprise, I ended up getting sucked into this memoir, reading voraciously and delaying chores so that I could finish it.

This is a raw, honest glimpse into the mind of an alcoholic. She describes how it feels to need alcohol and the way that it feels as it enters her body. She goes into detail about how she pl
May 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
Just finished reading this very well written book. I found it hard to put down, and a very real account of how the writer struggled with her addiction. Most of us, I believe, know someone with some kind of addiction, and we strive to understand how it holds on tight and doesn't let go. How can a person who loves someone hurt them at the same time? When you have what appears to be a great life, why would you seem to throw it away for a drink, a drug, something that threatens that "great life"? Ap ...more
May 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Drunk Mom is the best book I've read all year. Jowita Bydlowska weaves together the psychological ramifications of the immigrant experience, dysfunctional upbringing, stay-at-home motherhood, post-pardum depression, and sexual objectification for a gripping tale of her own addicted pathology.

Bydlowska is tops when demonstrating defensive projection. She deftly describes her reactions to those around her asking her to get help. She violently accuses her family and friends of extremism or close mi
Aug 03, 2015 rated it did not like it
I truly give her props for writing her story because I would find this very difficult to do! To open herself up to criticism, to open her closed doors up to others, complete stranger, just to walk up and through and see this extremely difficult part of her life that she went through....and what she is still going through. I can't say that I could do this..

I do feel that this would be a wonder book for me and others to read, HOWEVER, my 1 star is because I found the book disjointed, very hard to
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I was born in Warsaw, Poland. I moved to Canada as a teenager. Currently, I live in Toronto. I wrote a bestselling memoir called Drunk Mom published by Doubleday Canada and HarperCollins Australia (2013) & Penguin USA (2014). (The book is also self-published in the U.K.) I’ve sold movie and TV rights do Drunk Mom to LD Entertainment in 2013.

My novel GUY (Buckrider Books) came out in October, 2
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“It was too much happiness. Happiness puts you at too much risk - what if you were to lose it? Too much happiness is a paradox. It's a tragedy, even: getting something you've always wanted but being unable to keep it.” 8 likes
“There's this parallel, perhaps less conscious desire, which is to numb myself to the world. To deal with the world tomorrow. Living is difficult. Dying is difficult.” 7 likes
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