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‘Diary of an Alcoholic Housewife’ author to have Web chat Monday

The decision to get sober is often a difficult one that comes at the end of an arduous struggle with dependency. Join a live Web chat with Brenda Wilhelmson, author of “Diary of an Alcoholic Housewife” on Monday, July 25, at 11 a.m. PDT (1 p.m. CT, 2 p.m. EST). Wilhelmson, who has written for the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Reader, kept diaries and blogged about her battle with alcohol addiction, eventually turning those entries into a book.

We asked her why she decided to go public with her alcoholism.

“I don’t know that I thought it was the best thing for me,” she said. “I thought it would be good for the millions of people who are struggling like I did, and are looking for something to connect and identify with, and speaks to where they are. ... I didn’t want to put myself out there at first. I sat on my journals for a year and a half before I started working on them.”

Although hesitant to blog, she found a community of people who related to what she wrote. “I had intimate, revealing conversations with people about alcoholism in their life, in their friends’ and families’ lives,” she said. “It opened a door.”

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She’s never regretted the decision. “People are so relieved to know they’re not alone.”

Wilhelmson understands, however, that not everyone is comfortable talking about their addictions. “I think the more we talk about it the better,” she said, “but for obvious reasons there are some people who, because of their job or position, feel very reluctant to come forward. It’s a very individual decision.”

That said, being open about addiction and recovery helps lift the stigmas associated with them. “More people might feel comfortable getting help,” she added. “Talking about it is a huge piece of helping ourselves.”

Do you have a question for Brenda Wilhelmson? Email jeannine.stein@latimes.com and join the chat to see the answer.


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