This is the time of year a lot of people take stock and aim for self-improvement. Many abstain from alcohol for a so-called “dry January.” Laura McKowen, who writes about her journey toward sobriety in “We Are the Luckiest: The Surprising Magic of a Sober Life,” says the trend is “on one hand, excellent — people openly discussing it as a topic is great. That opening can allow people to try to see what they feel like without having some stigma around it.” On the other hand, she added, “The only downside that I see is that it does discount the seriousness of sobriety for a lot of people.”
McKowen, who lives in Marblehead, added that quitting drinking “was not something I did for a challenge or a health trend. I was going to die.”
Alcohol is ubiquitous in American culture, nowhere more so lately than among the hordes of so-called “wine moms.” It made quitting that much more difficult for McKowen, who says her own drinking ticked up after having her daughter. “It’s so normalized and encouraged,” she said. “The reason we see so much wine specifically targeted to women is because it’s a market. It’s no accident. The message is that we deserve this.”
In the debut memoir, McKowen recounts a year she calls her purgatory, teetering between sobriety and drinking, clarity and lies. “I wrote this book for the me of 2012, who was recently separated and really in a lot of trouble, and thinking I was the worst person ever, as a mom,” she said. “We all think we are the worst, especially people who get caught up in addiction, and especially mothers. I want people to know we’re never the worst thing we’ve ever done. We never are. That’s what I want people to get from the book.”
Laura McKowen will read at Brookline Booksmith on Wednesday at 7 p.m.