An essay(with outline)on the novel by Caroline Knapp
Social situations V. Public vs.. Riveter drinking A. No holds barred drinking B. Maintaining the facade 1 org A. The rules B. Young, professional, female C. The double life 1. Alcoholic drama 2. Two men a. Julian “the big improvement” b. Michael VI’. The Pregnancy A. Michael vs.. Julian VIII. Hitting bottom A. The death of her parents ‘X. Realization A. Her father’s alcoholism B. Playing with children X. Rehab and after Drinking: A Love Story Drinking: A Love Story is the description of the author’s ordeal with alcoholism and her decision to quit drinking.
She reflects on the familial pattern of this disease and the deadening, uncontrollable situations alcoholism puts her in. Her book offers a thorough look into the alcoholic disease process. After reading this book, you may look She began the book asking herself how she became an alcoholic. Was it a result of upbringing? She looked back on her early years, “Hometown: Cambridge, Massachusetts, backyard of Harvard University. Education: Brown University, class of ’81, magna scum lauded. Parents: esteemed psychoanalyst (dad) and artist (mom), both devoted and insightful and keenly intelligent. (Knapp, 7-8) The author may not have been able to tell us why she was an alcoholic, but she could ell the reader how the drinking made her feel: socially adept and able to shift her self-awareness onto something else. Alcohol had a enough of a hold over her, that physical symptoms were also ignored: the broken capillaries on her face, the dry heaves and the shakes that lasted all day long. She said with alcohol, as a lover, “You are often willing to overlook the flaws. ” (Knapp 10) What is an alcoholic? Ms.
Knapp described the stereotypical image of the skid row bum, dirty and begging for money. However, in the author’s case, she described herself as the “high functioning” alcoholic. She was the one who could drink alcoholically, but still have a successful career. She listed the people she knows who do not fit the “skid row bum” image including a friend of hers who completed her PhD in biology. She also spoke of another who rose in the ranks of a competitive law firm and another who was a Is alcoholism determined by heredity? It appeared to the author that this was her case.
Caroline described how her father, every day after work, would sit in the living room with his family and not communicate with anyone, until he had finished his first martini. She notices, “He’d begin to loosen up, and within a few minutes it would feel as though all the molecules in the room had risen up and then rearranged themselves, settling down into a more comfortable pattern. “(Knapp 38-39) It is mentioned several times in the novel that many of the alcoholics she encounters have a long family history of the disease. The author did not remember her first taste of alcohol, but she did remember how it made her feel.
Drinking was the solution to her shyness–discomfort + drink = no discomfort. Gradually, she couldn’t be at a social situation, unless she was drinking to et drunk. It was too painful for her to face a person without the shield of alcohol. She felt stupid and inept without the “buzz”. With alcohol, the words began to flow and she felt witty and the life of the party. Although an alcoholic usually drinks in public, the real drinking is done when he/she is alone. When an alcoholic is alone, the drinking can be done the way he/she wants to do it, with no holds barred and no one watching or Judging.
Public drinking and the simple matter of the purchase of alcohol are laborious issues for the alcoholic. Caroline Enid the counter might begin to suspect she had a drinking problem. If the alcoholic goes to a restaurant Just for a drink, she must order food as well, so no one will guess that 2 all she really wanted was the drink. It is a full time Job–keeping the secret. Alcoholics obsess about when they will drink, how much they will drink and what they will drink, while projecting the image of “everything fine… No problem here. ” Denial is what keeps the alcoholic drinking.
The author says all alcoholics have “rules”. An alcoholic considers him or herself Just a normal person who Just likes to rink, until they break a rule. For example, one rule may be that unless he/she drives car with a drink in their hand, they do not have a problem. Once a person breaks that rule, he/she can change it to something else, I. E. Killing someone while driving home drunk. Caroline Knapp says that even when she started to think she had a problem with drinking, there was always an excuse: young, professional female… Of course she needed that drink. Think of all the pressure she was under!
Who could blame her? With denial, comes the double life. There are the stories that have to be made up, the sees that need to be told which brings the beginning of what the author calls, “the alcoholic drama”. She says that when a person, “Drinks alcoholically for long enough they start to get the feeling that things in life Just happen to them,” (Knapp 195) as if drinking. For example, she blamed the high crime rate in the city for the fact that her car was broken into, even though she had left it unlocked after driving home drunk. Just prior to the end of her drinking days she is torn between two men.
She had been with one boyfriend, Julian, for years. She called him the “big improvement” in her life. She describes him as witty and urbane: a person who knows about all the things that will make her life better. In the beginning of the relationship the author though that this is Just 3 the kind of person she needed in her life: the foundation that would make her feel secure and worthy of love. However, as the author described him later in the relationship, he sounded like a person who needed her to complete the perfect picture of what he would liked his life to be.
As the relationship progressed they moved in together and soon after things began to fall apart. The author describes the arguments that they had on almost a daily basis: how Julian said that Caroline was not doing for him. Some examples she cited were that she should have changed the kind of clothes she wore and highlighted her hair to please him. Julian decided that should not live together anymore and kicked Caroline out of his apartment. Caroline was crushed and begged him to take her back. Julian literally had to drag her out of his apartment.
Even faced with this kind of relationship with him. Then she met a much different man named Michael. He didn’t ask for anything except her love and this attitude threw her off. Carolina’s friend called him the, “Anti- Julian. ” The author said of the relationship with Michael, “I was like a sponge around him, soaking up that affection as though I’d been starved. But one of the sick things about being drunk and confused all the time is that a good thing can be staring you straight in the face and you can’t see it.
So many other things cloud the picture. ” (Knapp 197) At this point, Caroline was seeing both Michael and Julian and wound up pregnant. She did not know who the father was. She blamed the pregnancy on diaphragm failure, though she couldn’t remember if she had actually used birth control: she was too run 4 to remember. Michael went with her one the day she got the pregnancy test, telling Julian that she wanted to go by herself. On the day of the abortion, Julian went with her and she told Michael that her girlfriend was going with her.
After this, her with Julian cooled but she still remained available to him. Carolina’s alcoholism was a major factor in her inability to end the relationship with Julian. An alcoholic is usually unable to take steps to progress in life, such as the one of physical relationship with Julian ended with her pregnancy, she still, “Coveted Sultan’s approval, ND I still believed that the deterioration of the relationship was my fault. ” (Knapp 199) The author says that all alcoholics hit bottom for some reason or another. Carolina’s reason was the death of her parents.
After her parents passed away, something in shifted, some attitude that Just said “screw it” and nothing mattered anymore. Her drinking went off the scale but she still maintained her life as a “high functioning alcoholic. ” There were two incidences that caused her to take stock of her life and take the step to rehabilitation. The first incident occurred shortly after her father died. Caroline spoke to one of his friends and he confirmed the fact that her father knew he was an alcoholic, but felt powerless to do anything about it.
The second incident happened one autumn afternoon while playing with her friend’s child. She almost dropped the child his head while playing with him–she was drunk at the time. Caroline entered rehab shortly after and completed it successfully. She said she still feels the desire to drink occasionally, but she has learned the skills to deal with the 5 cravings. The author pointed out that the hardest part of staying sober is facing the linings head on, with out the anesthetic of alcohol.
At the completion of the book, a year after completing rehabilitation, she was still sober. Alcohol. I believe her story, as with the great majority of alcoholics, points out that it is alcoholism is not a choice: it is determined largely by the factors of heredity and environment. Her keen insight and willingness to share her ordeal with others through the writing of Drinking: A Love Story brings to light the “alcoholic drama” that daily living is for a person addicted to alcohol. 6 Works Cited Knapp, Caroline. Drinking: A Love Story. New York: Dell, 1997. 7