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VandenAkker provides solid evidence of how women's alcoholism differs from men's in devastating ways: why women are less likely to seek rehabilitation; the link between drinking and depression in women; and the greater stigma attached to alcoholic women. Throughout, she skillfully interposes folk art drawings by Parker Lanier, a recovering alcoholic whose pictures movingly illustrate the loneliness inherent in hopeless alcoholism and the spirituality and hope provided by Alcholics Anonymous's 12-step program. Bette never recovered, and VandenAkker does not shrink from the isolation and squalor of her mother's final years. Still, the determination and joy of her two daughters--both of whom speak with sorrow and love about their mother--and their belief that their mother's life had beauty and purpose despite its pain, will bring solace to those living with alcoholism and enlighten others about this family disease.
Highly recommended for academic and personal use.
For me personally this film hit me head first. My own mother is a sever alcoholic and as I watched this film it was if I was watching the decline of my own mother.
Thank you for sharing the story of your mother and the life she lived. Thank you for allowing yourself to feel that pain all over again and THANK YOU for allowing us, the viewers, be witness to your healing through the process. You are strong and so many can learn from you and this film.
The story charts the inevitable decline in a deliberate and honest way, as VandenAkker and her sister add parallel commentary on the impact to them as small children through adulthood. Often these films can play on the heart strings, but this film is genuine, raw, as well as confident in the power of this story to weave itself into the hearts and minds of the viewers without a hint of well-intentioned nudging.
As a student of recovery films, and the latest medical and scientific discoveries with regard to alcoholism, and I found the descriptions of the affects of alcoholism on the body to be accurate, concise and presented in layman's terms. I would not hesitate to say it was the most comprehensive and most easily understood presentation I have seen in a film. The film also breaks down many of the roadblocks to recovery presented by religion and societal prejudices that make recovery even harder for women.
This film would be of great benefit for a Seminary pastoral care course focused on alcoholism and addiction, clergy training as well as for people in recovery.
After my mom died, I was very angry at her, at the mess she left me to clean up, for loving alcohol more than me. I was so angry I went home, got drunk, woke up with the worst hangover and then it hit me! She gave me gift. She showed me how I would live and die if I didn't stop drinking. So I did. I also gave pictures of her house to a friend in AA who shares them with alcoholics he visits in prison to show them how this story ends for too many of us.
Thank you to Bette's daughters for sharing your very personal story. It gave me great comfort and hopefully it will do the same for others too. Bette is at peace now. No more demons to battle. Hopefully, you will find peace as well.
Unfortunately, the vicious cycle between depression and alcoholism, like the egg and hen, over a lifetime can snowball into a complete disaster of what was once the life of somebody who, like Bette, a skillful nurse had it "all": A beautiful gifted mother of two adorable daughters, who was full of life and intelligence.
This one hour documentary is a must see for everybody who like "booze" or has a friend(s) or family member(s) who are "enjoy" it too much. Therefore, a documentary for each one of us.
Written and directed by Sherri Vandenakker, the youngest of Bette's two daughters, "MY NAME WAS BETTE" is one of the best and most poignant documentaries ever made on alcoholism. Furthermore it specifically addresses the taboo topic of female alcoholism. The film confronts the audience to the indescribable shock that Sherri, a professor of literature at the School of Human Services at Spingfield College in Boston, faced the day of her tenth marriage anniversary in 2007.
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.