Today, we are thrilled to bring you the first part of our two-part interview with Vessel author Sarah Beth Durst. VESSEL is such a breathtaking novel — I was completely swept up in the world, the romance, the characters, the setting … how did the novel come together for you? Each week, we post short interviews with interesting people about their thoughts and feelings on women and drinking.
So, sure enough, the day she gets out of the nursing home—half her foot amputated, remember—she gets to our house, hobbles up the steps, and goes straight to the kitchen. Drinking DiariesWe drink for different reasons: to quench thirst, to loosen up, because it tastes good, to enhance a meal, because we're addicted, as part of a ceremony, to celebrate, to mourn.
This is a place where women can spill their drinking stories--from lamp-swinging hilarity to bottle-under-the-bed despair.
As Seen on ABC News NowCaren Osten Gerszberg, Drinking Diaries co-founder, is interviewed as part of a discussion on women and drinking. There is such a wide array of perspectives about this topic, and we are excited to gain insight into as many as possible and to share them with you.

Little known is the fact that Maslow’s hierarchy of needs actually had another tier of basic needs specifically for lower-middle-class Scotch-Irish Americans. I don’t want to demonize alcohol, but I also want him to understand the history of alcoholism in our families and its destructive, soul-crushing legacy. Conversely, years after my accident (the one I write about in Not By Accident: Reconstructing a Careless Life), I developed an addiction to my painkillers.
I don’t believe we are fated to repeat our histories, but I do know that I only found a peaceful relationship to alcohol once I confronted the history and culture I was born into. At DRINKING DIARIES, you will read, and be able to share the details, the deep questions, the wide and wild range of experiences that pertain to women and alcohol.
We do drink wine in the evenings sometimes, and he has been at my husband’s family functions where people were drinking beer, but he has never seen anyone in his family drunk—not the falling down, dangerous, belligerent variety I grew up with. My husband’s theory is that I’m trying to over-compensate for having lived in a trailer park, but I maintain that I actually like the taste of the finer things. The old silver bullet–a vodka martini (up, three olives) is my standard in the cocktails department.

After she had two surgeries, one to open her arteries and the other to amputate part of her foot that had become gangrenous from lack of circulation, I had a choice between putting her in a skilled nursing facility (fancy way to say nursing home) for six weeks, or driving her into the hospital every day. And then there are the non-drinkers, for whom abstaining may be as much of an issue as drinking. I said I chose the nursing home because she would receive more consistent care, be able to rest, and not be bothered by her toddler grandson.
The real reason I did it was because I knew it would be the only way to guarantee she wouldn’t down a fifth of Scotch or a liter of White Zinfandel every day or so. Six weeks, I think, was the longest amount of time she had gone without a drink in her entire life. She’d had her first drink, a “Pink Lady,” when she was 14, with my grandmother on a trip to Manhattan.

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