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Drinking: A Love Story: Case Study in Alcoholism

This paper is an examination of Caroline Knapp's Drinking: A Love Story, an account of her passionate love affair with alcohol and the events, thoughts, and realizations that eventually led her to renounce her "lover." The book is a brutally honest glimpse inside the mind of an alcoholic, as she battles the denials and rationalizations that lead her to seek solace in a bottle. Occasionally, she also has brief realizations that her drinking has become a problem, and she seeks out others whose alcoholism seems worse as a way of comforting herself. She examines her family background, especially the psychiatrist father whose own problems with drink and peculiar relationship with his daughter may have helped her use alcohol as a crutch. She also chronicles some of the effort and self-realization required for recovery from this addiction, but her primary focus is on the charm, seductiveness, and destructiveness that she was able to find in two decades as an alcoholic, hopelessly in love with liquor.

Knapp begins her story writing, "It happened this way: I fell in love and then, because the love was ruining everything I cared about, I had to fall out" (1). Throughout the book, she returns to the analogy of a misguided passion again and again. The parallels are interesting: alcohol began by making her feel good about life and herself. Eventually, however, it became an obsession, something that so preoccupied her that she was unable to focus on or care about anyone or anything else. In the end, the good feelings themselves were gone. Alcohol simply made her sloppy, reckless, miserable, and withdrawn. It became an abusive lover, destroying her sense of herself and her ability to care about anything.

Because she is a woman, her analogy is especially compelling. Her compulsion to drink, her obsession with consuming as much liquor as possible, also leads her to abusive and destructive romantic relationships. Only as she star...

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Drinking: A Love Story: Case Study in Alcoholism. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 09:11, April 22, 2019, from