- Associated Press - Saturday, November 7, 2015

LINDSBORG, Kan. (AP) - During her drinking days, Dana Bowman would hide bottles of cheap vodka in her laundry room.

It’s the one place she knew her shameful little secret wouldn’t be discovered.

“I could hide it from my husband because he never goes into the laundry room,” Bowman said.

The Lindsborg woman was what she called a “high-functioning” alcoholic. That is, she could carry on her duties as a wife and mother of two small boys without drawing attention to her alcoholism.

“I never drank and drove with the kids, I didn’t black out or throw up,” she said. “I wasn’t a sloppy drunk. I could be sophisticated and drink martinis and never spill it. I thought I controlled it, but of course I didn’t.”

In 2011, Bowman decided to take control of her life by admitting she was an alcoholic. She began a 12-step recovery program and has been sober ever since.

Not long after she sobered up, Bowman, a longtime English teacher and part-time English professor at Bethany College, started a blog she called momsieblog.com. She began writing about being a mom and the challenges of parenting, much of it expressed with a “snarky” sense of humor.

The blog grew in popularity and now receives up to 12,000 visitors a month.

Although Bowman didn’t intend to talk about her recovery in her blog, she wanted to share her journey from being a mom who drank to “the challenges of getting sober when you have little kids.”

“I came out as far as my recovery was concerned in my blog,” Bowman said. “I felt like it needed to come out. This is truth, my truth, and I’m putting it out there. I’ve had enough shame in my life, and I wasn’t going to have that anymore.”

The Salina Journal reports (https://bit.ly/1iHyFjh ) that writing humorously about the challenges of raising kids while dealing with the shame of being an alcoholic mom led to an unexpected call in April 2014.

A representative from Central Recovery Press, a small publishing company specializing in recovery literature of all types, called Bowman and asked if she’d be interested in writing a book about her recovery.

“I asked the editor, did you read my blog?” Bowman said. “They said they had, and that was why they were calling me.”

Nine months later, a period during which Bowman jokes she gave birth to her “other baby,” she finished her memoir, “Bottled.”

Forty-five-year-old Bowman said she decided to write the book for mothers of young children who are beginning to wonder if they drink too much or who are early into their own recoveries. The book also is intended to help family members and friends understand what their loved ones are going through.

Unlike many books about addiction and recovery, Bowman said, it’s funny, too.

“I had read numerous books about moms in the throes of addiction, and they were very helpful,” she said. “But they were also grim. Very grim. In contrast, ‘Bottled’ is punctuated by moments of hilarity and some really potent sarcasm.”

“Bottled” sells for $16.95 and is available through amazon.com and at centralrecoverypress.com.

The former Dana DeMoss grew up in the Overland Park area of Kansas City, Kan. Unlike many recovering alcoholics, she didn’t live in a wholly dysfunctional family.

Although her father was an alcoholic who entered recovery when she was 3, Bowman said her parents were loving and supportive and are still are married and devoted to each other and their family.

Bowman said she avoided alcohol growing up and only began drinking in college. After meeting her future husband, Brian, whom she married in 2006, and giving birth to boys Charlie in 2008 and Henry in 2010, her serious drinking began.

Bowman doesn’t blame her husband or children for her alcoholism.

“I suppose being a child of an alcoholic plays into it,” she said. “But once I got into my own life and had my own house and the pretty little world I made myself, I thought I’d hit the bars and have fun.”

Other factors contributed to her alcoholism, Bowman said. One was not getting married until age 36, which stoked her anxiety and insecurity about sharing her life with another person. Then there was the postpartum depression she had after the birth of her sons.

“There’s the shame of being an alcoholic when you have small kids and drinking to self-medicate the shame,” she said. “You have mom guilt that can kill you. I was shocked at how quickly it caught up to me.”

Bowman said she had arguments with her husband about her alcoholism, but he never forced her into recovery.

“He said he knew I wouldn’t stop until I was ready,” she said. “I’m not sure if intervention would have worked for me anyway. I’m too stubborn.”

Now sober four years and residing in Lindsborg since 2007, Bowman said she’s become a better wife and mother. Since its release in September, “Bottled” has been selling well and receiving positive press, and Bowman is busy writing articles and speaking both on writing and addiction.

If Bowman still has one major regret: it’s that her older brother, Chris, isn’t around to share in her success. He died in January 2014 at age 52 of liver failure as a result of alcoholism, just three months before Central Recovery Press called.

“We’re so similar, we might have ended up in the same place,” she said. “What happened to him cured me forever.”

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