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Dana Bowman On Writing Bottled: A Mom’s Guide to Early Recovery

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bottledAuthor’s Note by Dana Bowman


 – It took a wedding, two babies, and a funeral to help me understand that I needed to get sober. How I survive parenting while in recovery is another story (xi).


BOTTLED: A MOM’S GUIDE TO EARLY RECOVERY is my sincere and often hilarious memoir that travels with me through the pain of addiction to alcohol, and my recovery, all with small children in tow.

Some would say getting sober while parenting two boys under two years of age is impossible. I would not only argue that, but offer the hope that, yes, you can be sober and laugh again. And I mean really laugh. Perhaps even the snort-laugh. It can happen.

Excerpt from Chapter 1: Birth with a beer chaser

My darling husband is leaning over me as I rest in the hospital bed with Charlie snoozing in my arms. Brian is smiling widely, but I am distracted because his pants seem to be…clinking?

“My darling,” he kisses me. “Here is your beer.”

I don’t like beer. And yes, I know. An alcoholic saying she doesn’t like beer is kind of like hearing a doctor say, “I’m just not that much into stethoscopes. They’re cumbersome.” But beer’s hops make my face itch and whenever I drink it my nose starts twitching like a rabbit, and I sneeze a lot. Yes, I am also willing to accept the irony that I actually really have an allergy to alcohol, as the Big Book says. But, in my hospital bed, I clearly remember looking over at that brown bottle that Brian had proudly delivered to me from his cargo pants pockets (finally! a reason for all those pockets!) and thinking, “YES, PLEASE.” I then looked down at the adorable squinched up face of Charlie, just hours old, and thought, “NO, THANK YOU. I’m scared. How did this happen?”(1).

The CDC states that binge drinking and alcoholism have reached epidemic levels amongst women. The population that is hit the hardest with this affliction is mothers of young children. It seems our culture has embraced “mommy’s wine time” as a norm, and while it makes a funny meme on Facebook, it was a nightmare for me. Dealing with the anxiety and hormones after the birth of my two boys seemed easier when doused with some wine, but my addiction was all too eager to transform this nightly ritual into a prison sentence.

My glass at the end of the day now solved ALL feelings, not just the bad ones. I was finding that I didn’t much like feelings. They were a nuisance and life was much more doable as a numbed out Zombie mom, shuffling along with an ominous soundtrack and a kind of lurching fixation on 5 o’clock. The good news here, I guess, is I hadn’t gone full throttle, 28 Days Later, snarling zombie. No, I was more of a humming, listless June Cleaver zombie. I gripped my wine glass or scotch and swore nobody would get hurt as long as I could drink. Every day. Just a bit (52).

Writing BOTTLED was another form of recovery for me. I remember receiving the publisher’s contract and thinking, “This will be great! I can help others!” and then starting in on the prologue about my brother and promptly collapsing into tears. But all the writing does not lean towards doom and gloom, and I found myself loving the process of it, of remembering, laughing, crying a bit, and healing. It is my dearest wish that the book offers hope and encouragement, and even practical advice, on how to get sober and stay that way. Yes, even when your children and spouse are driving you batshit crazy.

Bottled: A Mom’s Guide To Early Recovery
by Dana Bowman
Central Recovery Press
September 2015 $16.95
Trade Paper 248 pages
ISBN: 978-1-937612-97-9 E-book: 978-1-937612-98-6


Dana Bowman is a wife, a mother, a teacher, a writer, and a runner, all simultaneously. This is only possible because her family donates loads of material. She has been published in Huffington Press,, The After Party Magazine, and more. She is the proud author at where she writes about her children and how one day she hopes to make all dessert apportionment completely equal.


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