In Ann Dowsett Johnston's latest book, "Drink," the journalist and recovering alcoholic weaves her personal story with research showing a rise in risky drinking among women.
For Dowsett Johnston, drinking was her release at the end of the day.
"My shoulders seemed to unhitch from my earlobes," she wrote. "With the second, I could exhale. I loved the way the wine worked on my innards. That first glass would melt some glacial layer of tension, a barrier between me and the world. Somehow with the second glass, the tectonic plates of my psyche would shift, and I'd be more at ease. Jake [her former partner] used to say it this way: 'When you drink, that piano on your back seems to disappear.'"
The chemistry of a woman's body makes her more at risk to develop a quick dependency on alcohol, she said.
"Other consequences -- including cognitive deficits and liver disease -- all occur in women, with significantly shorter exposure to alcohol," she wrote. "Women who consume four or more alcoholic beverages a day quadruple their risk of dying from heart disease. Heavy drinkers of both genders run the risk of a fatal hemorrhagic stroke, but the odds are five times higher for women."
In a recent poll done by Netmums in Britain, 81 percent of those who drank above the safe drinking guidelines said they did so "to wind down from a stressful day." And 86 percent said they felt they should drink less. Jungian analyst Jan Bauer, author of Alcoholism and Women: The Background and the Psychology, believes women are looking for what she calls "oblivion drinking." "Alcohol offers a time out from doing it all--'Take me out of my perfectionism.' Superwoman is a cliche now, but it is extremely dangerous. I've seen such a perversion of feminism, where everything becomes work: raising children, reading all the books, not listening to their instincts. The main question is: What self are they trying to turn off? These women have climbed so high that when they fall, they crash--and alcohol's a perfect way to crash."
She joins The Daily Circuit to discuss her new book and the long-term consequences of the alcohol industry "taking aim at the female consumer."
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