A documentary about women's alcoholism chronicles the progression of the disease in Bette VandenAkker-a nurse, wife, and mother-who died in the fall of 2007. Filmmakers Sherri VandenAkker-Bette's daughter-and Josh WE Hays employ interviews, family photographs, medical records, and court documents to provide a personal and detailed look at the physical, emotional, and mental toll of alcoholism. The film examines women's risk factors for developing alcoholism and relapsing from sobriety; depicts the physiological damage women suffer from drinking, due in part to their hormones; and explores the stigma, guilt and shame the prevent women from seeking timely treatment. The film also offers hope to those affected by the disease who seek to heal their pain and strained relationships. Written by
With honesty and courage, Sherri VandenAkker offers us a gripping portrait of her mother's struggle with alcoholism and its effect on her family. This film is raw in its portrayal of the disease and the squalor and sacrificing which accompanied Bette's battle. It is packed with the physiological and psychological effects of alcoholism on women, and is presented in a frank and easy-to-comprehend manner.
I am grateful I made the decision to watch this with my 12-year-old, as we have recently started a dialogue about alcohol and drugs. It was eye-opening for him - albeit a bit tough - and it certainly opened up a stream of questions. The tenderness in which Ms. VandenAkker circles back to forgiveness and family made this feel more of a story than a documentary. I have already recommended this to colleagues and friends and I can imagine it becoming part of the curriculum at both the high school and college level.
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