When you’re ready to stop

I will be writing more on this topic for Crave by Random House in April.

“You just stopped? Why now?” I’m paraphrasing the question posed by the copy editor who was working on Drunk Mom. He had just arrived at the part in the book where I stopped drinking.

My first thought was, “Well duh, now, because—“

[insert dialtone]

I don’t know. It’s a long story. Actually, it’s a short story. I always wanted to stop drinking once things got ugly. I wanted to stop drinking so, so badly. And, hell, there are people who die because they can’t stop even though they want to, so badly.

But that was a different kind of stop. It was the kind of a stop that I felt with every cell of my being and, somehow, my mind aligned with that and my circumstances helped (I was possibly going to be homeless soon) and I just couldn’t lie anymore. Mostly lie to myself, I mean. I lied to everyone else, no problem.

So I wanted to, truly.

But I’m just describing that moment to you, nothing else. And for the record — there’s absolutely no guarantee, in my opinion, that once you stop you won’t start again.

Anyway, I don’t know how you stop. I don’t know how exactly you arrive at that moment, what the magical combo is (circumstances, state of mind, etc.). But I can tell you that once I had that moment I had a place to go to that helped me hold onto that stop. I’ve been to that particular place hundreds of times before but when I truly, viscerally wanted to stop, that place became a shelter, a safe haven to reinforce my want.

So I’m a firm believer in knowing where to go once the stop happens. I don’t know where you live but there are a few places that are good to know about just in case. I do not endorse any of them. I know that what works for some might not work for others, etc. These are just the places that I know of.


Helplines and contact numbers for treatment in your province or territory

Centre for Addiction and Mental Health

Drug and Alcohol Helpline


ConnexOntario (provides health services information for people experiencing problems with drugs or alcohol, mental illness, or gambling)

There’s also that place that used to be known as “the first name in the phonebook” and if you Google that plus “meetings” plus the name of your city, you should be able to come up with something.



HOPE LINE: 800.NCA.CALL (800.622.2255) 24 Hour Affiliate Referral

Parents Toll-Free Helpline 1-855-DRUGFREE (1-855-378-4373)

There’s also that place that used to be known as “the first name in the phonebook” and if you Google that plus “meetings” plus the name of your city, you should be able to come up with something.

10 thoughts on “When you’re ready to stop

  1. First off I feel deeply sorry for Hugo and your “husband” Russell. It’s unclear why you two are still together after all the shit you two put each other through. Oh right it’s all about negative attention you guys get and how destructive your relationship is. It’s rather obvious he isn’t that into you these days, as he is often seen flirting with any one who even looks in his direction when he is out, without you, as usual. Do you actually think he’s ever been faithful? So, why do you feel the need to put your story out there besides for the cash grab? It’s pathetic and sad to see another Polish girl fit the stereotype of alcoholic anorexic (A.A) and your lack of respect for your self and the harm it will do to your son. It’s not an apology to him but a plea to forgive you for being his mother. Poor little disabled kid…

    And wtf, YOU need to get over yourself, for thinking that you deserve sympathy for your relapse into idiocy. Your loneliness and the laughable status updates on twitter are clear indicators of your current state of mind. You are vindictive, self loathing and have low self esteem. No one really thinks the book is a “good read” except your friends and the select few bring drinking writers who have issues themselves and can only but relate to your “boredom.” The truth is you don’t really have much else going on for you when it comes to a career. What is your greatest accomplishment? A book about your most shameful time in your life? Or is when you kinda “worked” at an employment site, with the only source material you have is yourself, and all you can do is write about your self and how lame your existence truly is. Good luck getting a real job when you run out of embelished stories to write and no one cares that you’re a washed up alcoholic slut. Take my advice: Get your tubes tide and check yourself in to rehab. If this doesn’t work, do yourself and the world a favor and kill yourself already. Thanks!

    • I feel sorry for “IW”. Obviously, he/she hates himself/herself so much and is so jealous of the writer that he/she feels the need to write that absolutely ridiculous review of the author rather than the book. I haven’t read the book yet, but I felt the need to reply when I read this comment. When I read comments such as his/hers, they immediately discredit the commenter in my eyes. There really is no need for anything except wise criticism if you really feel that strongly about the subject matter. What is written above is just childish immature crap.

    • You are a disgusting pig. You clearly have no idea what addiction, eating disorders, etc., are all about, and profess to know it all. Jackass – keep your negative comments to yourself, the world would be much better off without people like you.

  2. I just finished your book (in two days). I read all the reviews in another section of this website and didn’t feel compelled to need to add my feedback until I read this comment above. The fact that you haven’t deleted, which you would have every right to do, speaks volumes about your character and your (current) sense of self. I don’t know what possesses people to be so hateful and vicious. Telling someone to “go kill themselves” is the most irresponsible, pathetic and dangerous think a person can do. I know that judging people says more about them than it does about the person they are judging but this commenter above really crossed a line.

    Everyone is entitled to have an opinion and everyone who buys and reads a book is entitled to critique, but if you can’t do that without stooping to name calling and hurtful innuendos than I think you should refrain. This person’s only purpose was clearly to be as mean as possible to you and perhaps even to shake the core of your sobriety which, literally, should be a crime. If it’s not cyber-bullying I don’t know what is.

    However, to end on a positive note I want to say I was extremely touched and moved by your book. I found it poignent, honest and heartbreaking……and I am neither your friend nor a binge-drinking writer. I wish you continued success on your journey and look forward to the next piece of writing your produce.

  3. I concur Cindy, speaks volumes that the vitriol in that horrible first comment only serves to highlight who the truly pathetic one really is.

  4. It’s judgemental, narrow-minded people like IW that make the problem of addiction in our society so much worse – adding to the feelings of shame and hate that the addict already feels for themselves. If Jowita had written a book about how badly she behaved because she was suffering with, say, tuberculosis, IW would probably say “Oh the poor thing, she’s sick”. Educate yourself, IW, for the sake of whatever poor soul in your family or circle of friends that will almost certainly suffer with an addiction. Personally, I hope it turns out to be you.

  5. I can’t wait to read your book. I have read an excerpt on somebody else’s blog and I fell in love with your writing style. I intend to eat it alive, review it, and post it on my blog for others to learn about it. I am then going to track you down and pester you for an interview until you cave in and say yes!

    This is one of the hardest parts of the puzzle to get through to my clients. I too just knew when the time was right. It wasn’t negotiable. Nothing was going to stand in my way. I had made a choice and that was all there was too it. I have a lot of clients who come to me because they are being pestered to stop, or they think something is wrong, but they haven’t made that choice. The penny hasn’t dropped.

    You can also see it in their work ethic. People who choose to quit go at it. They attack it with every weapon they have. People who want to quit just hope that it will happen. Two very different things.

    Speak soon.


  6. I read the book…I was riveted. I have a recovering 24 year old daughter. Heroin. I have lived a nightmare for the past 7 years. She says its over..after I don’t know how many relapses and rehabs.
    We are now 2 years sober and I know this is for life a struggle for life. I am so impressed by this authors ability to express herself. How very brave to put it out there. You leave this book with an understanding that this is not all there is, it does not just end, its a lifelong problem. Thank you for your honesty. Your writing is truly a gift.

  7. Hi Jowita, I just moved to Toronto with my young son & husband. I also just finished your book. As you can see through my wordpress I have not written a word since I became pregnant. My life kind of stopped and I have been struggling with many issues. I am very inspired by your story and ability to get it down and out there. I admire your courage. Thank You.

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