Drinking Diaries – From Celebration to Revelation is a forum where women can come together to share experiences involving alcohol in an open, inviting and fun atmosphere. Run by Caren Osten Gerszberg and Leah Odze Epstein, both writers who are currently working on a book together, the site is not geared towards struggling alcoholics, thought they are welcome there too. Rather, it is a place where women can discuss drinking in any and all situations, from college parties to celebrations, to that glass of wine at the end of the day. We interviewed Caren and Leah about their site, and here’s what they had to say:
AllTreatment: This is a very interesting concept in that you don’t seem to necessarily condemn or condone drinking, rather your attitude seems to be ‘it is what it is, so let’s talk about it’. Would you say this is accurate? What inspired this concept?
Drinking Diaries: We don’t believe that all drinking is bad. There is a spectrum of experiences, ranging from joy to anguish, and for some, it can be both. We created Drinking Diaries as a forum for women to tell their stories—we’re not here to judge but to listen and share.
AT: One thing your site does very well is create that warm and open atmosphere where women can share their thoughts, their stories, without being judged. You not only encourage stories related to alcohol, but also the struggle against it, or the stigma associated with those who simply choose not to drink. What would you say this atmosphere achieves?
DD: The open, nonjudgmental atmosphere has allowed contributors and readers—from alcoholics and abstainers to mothers and college kids—to co-exist and express themselves freely. Often times, when someone hears that we have a blog about women and alcohol, they immediately assume it’s for problem drinkers. While we want everyone to feel comfortable on our blog, we feature stories of celebration and culture as much as those of struggle and regret.
AT: You connect with many people affected in some way by drinking. How often do people come to you looking for help or solace from their own drinking or the addictive or destructive behavior of a loved one? How do you help these people (through community, resources, advice, etc.)?
DD: We have a tab on the blog’s menu called “Resources & Related Reads” where we offer websites, blogs, and a variety of books related to drinking. We don’t consider ourselves counselors or experts on addiction, but rather an open forum for the subject.
AT: On your site, you say, “Drinking is one of those hot-button topics. Ask anyone you know to scratch the surface and she will find a drinking story.” What’s your drinking story?
DD: You probably don’t have enough space for the full stories, but in a nutshell…
Caren: When I was growing up, my French-born mother sipped wine freely and daily. Drinking was part of her culture, and a seemingly harmless one. But later in her life, my mother started using wine as a way to numb herself from emotional scars from her childhood. Like my mother once did, I enjoy drinking wine with meals, surrounded by family and friends. I don’t think I have a drinking problem. But it’s my personality to grapple with the question, praying that I don’t ever abuse it.
Leah: I grew up in an alcoholic home. My mother stopped drinking when I was 9, and attended AA meetings for years. As a result, I was a teetotaler until my senior year of high school, when I allowed myself one beer, on graduation night. Since then, my drinking has run the gamut: in college and in my twenties, I was a binge drinker. Now, I love a good glass of wine—no hard alcohol for me. No matter how much or little I drink, I will always approach alcohol with caution. There’s always that little bit of fear. It’s a pleasure I savor in moderation, but that relationship has been hard-won.
Final Thoughts: Our blog has been a labor of love, which we hope is providing both service and enjoyment to our readers. We are currently working on a book, which we hope will do more of the same.