BY JENNY VALENTISH
Scroll down for good times
BY JENNY VALENTISH
Scroll down for good times
Jun 17 2017
"A startling and thorough investigation into the relationship between gender, trauma and addiction, and the women who fall through the gaps." The Guardian
"Woman of Substances will resonate with women readers who have never really questioned the role that patriarchy has played in their drinking habits." Vice
“No holds barred ... a witty and gripping first-person narrative." Daily Review
“Employing expert interviews and research, each rich personal episode is contextualised within the under-examined issue of women’s substance abuse. Detailed, insightful and told with a feature writer’s narrative flair.” Bookseller and Publisher
"Engages readers with storytelling while presenting scientific findings and theories in a way that is accessible to a broad audience." Broadsheet
“Part monograph, part memoir, part Ginsbergian howl of outrage at a culture in which gender bias is a tenet. It is a work of compellingly articulate anger.” The Australian
"In straightforward, lively prose she relates even her darkest moments without self-pity or aggrandisement, and often with a streak of gallows humour, leading to more laugh-out-loud lines than you might expect." The Saturday Paper
"We need books like this, and writers like Valentish, to give voice to our frustrations and concerns, to help legitimise and mobilise." Kill Your Darlings
"Valentish’s passion lies in exploring the underlying causes and their effects and, in the most female of ways, offering companionship and reassurance for her readers.” The Monthly
“Doesn’t mince her words.”
May 29 2017
Woman of Substances is on shelves TODAY, and I’d like to take a moment to address some frequently asked questions.
WHO IS THE BOOK FOR?
People who enjoy substances (such as alcohol, illicit drugs, nicotine). People who enjoyed substances once. People who enjoy reading the DSM. People who enjoy reading neuro-porn such as The Brain That Changes Itself.
IS THAT YOU ON THE COVER?
WHAT’S THE ELEVATOR PITCH?
A girl falls down a rabbit hole. She obeys every ‘drink me’, ‘eat me’ prompt and meets all sorts of freaky characters. Chaos ensues. Then she wakes up and exploits her position as a journalist to ask experts what that was all about.
IS THIS A MEMOIR?
No – there are entire chunks of years missing and many dear people, not to mention good times. It’s research illustrated by vignettes of my own story. There are no other case studies, but the 35 clinicians, counsellors, doctors and academics interviewed about their fields of expertise (such as the additional challenges faced by those experiencing bigotry and racism) better ensure that Woman of Substances is an inclusive resource.
WHAT’S IN IT?
Chapters cover: The roles of temperament and impulsivity in addiction. Hitching adolescent identity to substances. Internalised misogyny as a contributing factor. The relationship between substance use, eating disorders and self-harm. Sexual assault and spiking. The impact of childhood trauma on the brain and behaviour. Related foibles, such as gambling, theft, compulsive buying and compulsive sexual behaviour. Self-medicating mental illness and PTSD. AA and other forms of treatment. The ways in which research and treatment is geared towards the male experience.
WHAT WILL I GET OUT OF IT?
A deeper understanding of your own substance use; some ideas for shaping your own use, from ‘a bit less chaotic’ to ‘nil’.
HOW DO YOU HAVE ‘FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS’ WHEN THE BOOK ONLY CAME OUT TODAY?
I am also a fiction writer. My 2014 novel, Cherry Bomb, is still available from certain electronic commerce sites.
Woman of Substances is published by Black Inc in Australia; by Wavesound as an audio book; and by Head of Zeus imprint Amina in the UK and UK (to come - May/Sep 2018). It's available from all good Australian bookshops and the usual online vendors: Readings, Booktopia, Amazon, iTunes, etc.
Illustration: Phoebe Paradise
"Like a tour guide in a foreign land, Valentish waves a flag and provides a path back from the abyss. This is an enormously compelling, confronting and informative piece on addiction and recovery from a female perspective. I know a lot of people I want to give this book to."
"Raw, revealing, at times heartbreaking, but searingly honest and aimed to support anyone who is wondering if they will ever recover from addiction. Beautifully written, it prompts a broader discussion around the role women's hormones can play in one's addiction and recovery story, and how little this has been considered when it comes to models of recovery. Jenny avoids cliches like the plague and instead tells a truly hopeful story about one women who has come to terms with who she is. She looks the beast in the eyes."
"A compelling blend of the sociology, psychology, and physiology that drives female addiction, seasoned by the author's self-serrating humour and remarkable skill."
"This book taught me things I wasn’t expecting about the landscape of substance use. You don’t have to be a spectacular comet of crazy like the young Valentish to find something of yourself in these pages. I can’t imagine there isn’t a young person, friend or parent of a young person or even a slightly weathered not-so-young person who won’t get something important from reading this book."
Sydney Morning Herald
June 02, 2017
"To have that sense of one's intrinsic worth which, for better or for worse, constitutes self-respect is potentially to have everything: the ability to discriminate, to love and to remain indifferent," wrote Joan Didion in Self-respect: Its source, its Power, a 1961 essay for Vogue. These three Australian memoirs ask how self-respect can be coaxed forth, in Didion's words, when, as a child, your capacity for healthy self-determination is almost shattered.
Read the full review here...
There are many types of meetings, from those with a spiritual focus,
to women's groups and Big Book study. Find a meeting near you.
Not limited to alcohol and drugs (they might include over-spending and over-eating, for instance), these are peer groups guided by professionals and trained peers. Find a meeting near you in Australia
At this point there are no Australian meet-ups, but there are online meetings
Listed on Lives of Substance