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Mommy Doesn't Drink Here Anymore: Getting Through the First Year of Sobriety Paperback – August 1, 2009

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Editorial Reviews


Brownell is a frequent contributor to various online parenting spaces, including The Imperfect Parent (,, and Yahoo's Shine site ( In this frank memoir, she journals her slide into alcoholism and her first year of recovery. She details in a conversational voice how her postpartumdepression and the stresses of mothering three children, all under five years old, triggered her gradual dependence on multiple glasses of white wine. Her participation in social "cocktail playdate" groups for mommies with young children deepened the problem. Brownell doesn't pull any punches about the ugly side of her addiction, and her first year of sobriety is fraught with times where she felt lost, as if she were hanging on only by her fingernails, and overwhelmed by life without alcohol to help buffer it. Verdict Brownell has an easy, readable style and a simple message. There is no glowing happy ending, just the reality that life must be faced one day at a time. This work will appeal to readers who like memoirs about ordinary people overcoming difficult life problems; individuals who find 12-step and recovery literature helpful will also be interested in this personal journey. --Library Journal June 15, 2009, Crystal Renfro, Georgia Inst. of Technology, Atlanta

"Mommy Doesn't Drink Here Anymore is an excellent read. I was absolutely entranced by Brownell's journey, her wit, her honesty, her special connection to Ted (her recovery soul mate), and the many women who helped her stay sober. And I was so relieved that she got the message. Her story touched me deeply, not just because I am a woman in recovery, but because a story of hope resonates. This book deserves a wide audience." -Karen Casey, Ph.D. author of Each Day a New Beginning and Change Your Mind and Your Life Will Follow

"...The real story is the subtitle of the book, "Getting Through The First Year of Sobriety" Kids or no kids, you will relate to this. We all have had to get through the first year, or maybe you are trying to get through the first year (maybe for the first time maybe for the umpteenth time)...You don't need someone to tell you the story because I think Mommy Doesn't Drink Here Anymore is a book you will want for yourself. Buy it, read it, and when you are through, pass it on. If you don't like sharing your books (I don't) tell your friends about it and then pass on the strength and hope I am sure you will have received from Rachel's message." --Kathy L., BellaOnline's 12 Step Recovery Editor

"Mommy Doesn't Drink Here Anymore gives the reader insight not only into the effects of addiction on the entire family, but solutions for those in the grips of family trauma. Rachael's journey, well written with wit, humor, and brutal honesty, is a must read." ―Barb Rogers, author of Twenty-Five Words and Keep It Simple and Sane

"Brownell's evocative and poignant Mommy Doesn't Drink Here Anymore is the story of every woman, a redemptive coming of age memoir as challenging as it is healing; a support group in prose. Whether you are struggling to reconcile your addiction or looking for guidance as a mother, woman, human being, Brownell's journey of self-awareness and self-discovery is sure to motivate and inspire. A triumph of a memoir for all women enduring." -Rebecca Woolf, author of "Rockabye: From Wild to Child"

"Rachael Brownell's true story of her journey into those first 12 months of recovery is a candid mirror. Written straight from her heart, Brownell understands the denial, fear, guilt and shame. She also conveys the pride she gained as she continued in her recovery. Comfort, encouragement and support are interwoven with her words. A gift for anyone who is seeking their own Truth regarding addiction and recovery." -Barbara Joy, author of Easy Does It, Mom

About the Author

Rachael Brownell is the mother of three and a recovering alcoholic and perfectionist. She writes a monthly column, "Rugrat Reprieve," for the Imperfect Parent, wrote a daily column for Babble's "Strollerderby Parenting" blog, and was recently managing editor for She lives and breathes books and language.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Conari Press; 1 edition (August 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1573244090
  • ISBN-13: 978-1573244091
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.4 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #781,427 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Rachael Brownell grew up outside of Seattle the middle girl between two wonderful loving brothers in an off-kilter family where people were allowed to change their names when the spirit struck. A former writer for, Rachael's work can now be seen on Imperfect Parent (Rugrat Reprieve)and She lives in the beautiful Pacific NW with her 3 daughters.

This is her first book.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By G. F. de Leeuw on July 18, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Ms. Brownell has written a lively, raw and sympathetic memoir about being an alcoholic mom. The introduction begins with her life before being sober, having cocktail parties with other moms in the neighborhood.

"I used to believe "Never trust a woman who doesn't drink"
It's cute and clever.
It's killing me."

The writing is wry and vibrant. It quickly captures the reader's attention. It doesn't linger too much in any place, moving along at such a pace that I consumed it like a delicious candy bar.

The memoir includes some personal background. She reveals how she tried to hold her life together as her parents divorced and her mother entered recovery. We discover how drinking has helps her avoid the challenges of parenting and relationships. Alcohol has taken her from her reality; it becomes a way for her to pretend her life is fine, when it is truly broken. It has put her family at risk. Can she give up the hooch?

The remaining chapters are divided according to the 12-step system of offering rewards for periods of sobriety: 30 days, 60 days, 90 days, and a year. We witness the small rewards along the way, while admitting that sobriety isn't a picnic. Without alcohol, she need not be brave, self-sufficient, snarky or mean. She can be a human being, struggling with other people who want to live their lives without the haze and fog of booze. Her life isn't easy, but it is richer, fuller, with love and laughter.

A prophet once said, "the truth will set you free" and that is what Brownell has chosen.

Brownell keeps the story close to home, avoiding pat answers, offering a compelling, everywoman narrative. It fills out the current literature about being a new parent, refraining from too much evaluation or psychobabble.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Maureen Maynor on July 27, 2009
Format: Paperback
I run a Recovery and Inspirational Bookstore located on the campus of a Drug and Alcohol Treatment facility in West Palm Beach Florida. The treatment facility is home to as many as 70 people of all ages at any given time who pop over to the Bookstore for "anything" that will help them understand exactly how they arrived here...Everyone here has their own story or their "version" of....Seeing how some 8 years ago I began my career with Hanley as a patient first, I can relate to exactly how they're feeling. A huge part of the disease of Alcoholism is the denial component and within that, the sense of terminal uniqueness which keeps us sick -you couldnt possibly understand the "hows and whys" of my drinking.In the early stages of Recovery what needs to happen for an Alcoholic is a "connection"to another who can relate to how your feeling- the back bone of our 12 step program- One Alcoholic helping another and by doing that ultimatley helping themselves.What Rachel Brownell has so masterfully done is to take her raw,unnerving, skin crawling feelings of living inside the body and mind of an Alcoholic and shared those with us in such a way that we immediately relate to her and a connection is formed almost automatically! I ordered this book from the publisher by title only- really no knowledge of any of the content. It arrived and I loved the cover!I opened it up and at first glance thought "hmmm, I think she may have drank a few too many chardonnays with the girls and decided alcohol was icky- I'll write a book and share my story" I decided to bring the book home and give it a fair shake. Ok, by chapter 2 I knew I wasnt going to be able to put the book down- all I could think of was "how in the world does she know me so well... she's me... she's me.... she's me..Read more ›
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Cynthia Jill Levenson on July 29, 2009
Format: Paperback
This book is a must read for any mother who suspects she may have a problem with alcohol or any person who has a relationship with a mother who may have a problem with alcohol. Brownell uses humor and brutal honesty to tell of her experiences and triumph through recovery in this sassy poignant memior.
Brownell's story will resonate with "high bottom" alcoholics and help those around them to lend support and understanding.
I especially appreciate her abilility to honestly tell her story without depicting herself as a victim. Her bouyant upbeat personality shines through as she avoids the maudlin depictions so often seen in memoirs about addiction.
Her writing takes on the not so nice issue of alcoholism in a funny straightforward manner that had me nodding my head, smiling and laughing out loud. Her metaphors are fresh and funny, for instance, "I felt like a finger puppet without the finger."
This is a hard book to put down.
I suspect we are going to hear a lot more from this talented creative author.
And I'm looking forward to it!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Stefanie Taylor on August 18, 2009
Format: Paperback
Okay, as my title for the review says, a lot of us could have written this. But we probably wouldn't have done it with the witty, brassy, brave style that Rachael Brownell owns. I came upon this book in the very early days of sobriety and it was so life changing to hear someone tell "my story" in so many ways it took my breath away. But even if I hadn't quit drinking, I'm a lover of an "over-share." I want gory details and this book provides them in spades. But along with her brutal honesty comes great insight and humor to keep it from entering the Lifetime Movie Zone. (Not that there's anything wrong with Lifetime Movies. I'm a fan.)

Mommy Doesn't Drink Here Anymore is a fast read, with a sometimes airy tone that appeals to the every-reader. I highly recommend it. And I don't take a highly recommend lightly, people.
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