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
This film was not only informative, but brought feelings to the surface for me regarding my family's relationship with alcohol. The combination of statistics, medical facts, and diagrams along with pictures and stories of Bette through the different phases of her addiction were a great balance of fact and feeling. I still get emotional thinking about this movie weeks after viewing it. My thanks to Bette's family for their strength, honesty, and openness. I heard somewhere that the disease of alcoholism includes secrecy and shame. There is no secrecy and no shame in this documentary. Every subject is handled with tact and and person is allowed to be as they are, both in their strengths and weakness. If our society allowed for more support and less shame for addictions and mental illness, such as depression and anxiety, I believe that all of us could shed embarrassment and become stronger even though our weakness. This documentary is a step in that direction.
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