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Leah Odze Epstein
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Leah Odze Epstein writes fiction and poetry. She is currently working on a young adult novel. Her poems can be found on the website Literary Mama. She has reviewed books for BookPage and Publisher’s Weekly, among other publications. An excerpt from her adult novel-in-progress, "Glen Echo," was a finalist in Glimmer Train’s Family Matters competition. Leah is the co-founder and editor of the Drinking Diaries.

Friend the Drinking Diaries Facebook (at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Drinking-Diaries or continue the conversation on Twitter (@drinkingdiares)

Entries by Leah Odze Epstein

Why It's Time to Have the Drinking Talk With Your Tweens and Teens

(4) Comments | Posted February 14, 2013 | 2:06 PM

Recently, I've heard stories about teens in the storybook suburban town where I live drinking so much alcohol in the safety of their friends' homes that they nearly died of alcohol poisoning. In both cases, the kid who overindulged was the last one you'd expect: the perfect student, the "good"...

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The Book That Let Me Know I Was Not Alone

(5) Comments | Posted December 13, 2012 | 10:32 AM

As the daughter of an alcoholic mother, I often wondered if there was anyone else out there in the world like me. None of my friends had alcoholic parents and I felt like a freak. I was the only girl not invited to a neighborhood friend's birthday party because her...

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My First Drink

(22) Comments | Posted November 1, 2012 | 11:13 AM

I waited a long time for my first drink. I'd had a few sips, swigs and nips of Manischewitz at Passover; a wine cooler on a camping trip with friends; and whiskey at an eighth grade sleepover. Still, I never had a proper drink until graduation night of senior year.

...
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Female Writers Spill What They Don't Love About Drinking

(3) Comments | Posted October 4, 2012 | 12:29 PM

Nothing was more fun than compiling a list of the reasons women writers love to drink. Who doesn't want to revel in the bright side, the bubbly side, the happier side of a common practice that's so often loaded with guilt and shame? But as soon as I wrote that...

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Female Writers Reveal Why They Drink

(60) Comments | Posted September 17, 2012 | 2:55 PM

Each week, since we started the Drinking Diaries blog in 2009, my co-editor Caren and I have been asking women the same question: Why do, or don't you, like to drink?

These women -- writers and other creative types -- beautifully articulate their thoughts about drinking, its pleasures...

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Lena Dunham, Caitlin Moran, Sheila Heti and Hope Solo: Why We As a Culture Are in Love With Women Who Drink

(55) Comments | Posted August 2, 2012 | 6:13 PM

These are the next four items on my cultural to-do list:

*Watch Lena Dunham's Girls (yes, I admit I'm way behind on this one, but I'm dying to see it and I've read a lot about it.)

*Read Caitlin Moran's hit memoir, How To Be A Woman, exported from the...

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Drinking As a Way To Fill Time

(0) Comments | Posted July 18, 2012 | 12:33 PM

Alas, the long, lazy days of summer are here. Most people love the summer, but it makes me kind of anxious. I've always been more of a fall girl than a summer girl. I'm not good at creating structure, and somehow, the structure of the school year (even though I'm...

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What I've Learned About Drinking

(0) Comments | Posted June 21, 2012 | 6:25 PM

I've been co-editing the Drinking Diaries blog for almost three years now, since 2009, with Caren Osten Gerszberg. Our mission: To get women to share their drinking stories -- without judgment. Hearing so many women's stories has helped me put my own drinking in perspective and develop a healthier relationship...

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Addiction: The Questions That Haunt Me

(3) Comments | Posted June 7, 2012 | 11:10 AM

Is there a way to detect the early signs of addiction and stop the train wreck from happening, or is addiction inevitable in people who are wired that way?

This issue recently came to the forefront in a heartbreaking series of posts on Babble.com by blogger Katie Granju,...

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What Do You Think of the Beer-Swilling Bride?

(2) Comments | Posted May 23, 2012 | 5:37 PM

A photo of a beer-drinking bride has sparked controversy in New Zealand. The 34-year-old woman initially found herself in the spotlight because she was a was a contestant in a Bride of the Year competition. When the photograph of her drinking from a bottle of beer while wearing her wedding...

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Are The Pleasures of Drinking All In Your Head?

(3) Comments | Posted May 10, 2012 | 11:24 AM

In my universe, Thursday night is date night, which usually means having a glass of wine or two with my husband at a restaurant or bar. Often, the mere anticipation of the buzz has me sighing with pleasure throughout the day. So is it the wine that's making me feel...

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How to Turn Drinking from One of Life's Pleasures to a Habit in Three Easy Steps

(23) Comments | Posted April 26, 2012 | 11:34 AM

Habit (from Merriam-Webster.com): "A behavior pattern acquired by frequent repetition or physiologic exposure that shows itself in regularity or increased facility of performance."

"An acquired mode of behavior that has become nearly or completely involuntary."

"Addiction."

I remember a time in my mid-twenties when I was newly married with no...

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8 Reasons to Love Bars (And Why I Think I Would Still Go to Bars if I Didn't Drink)

(14) Comments | Posted April 12, 2012 | 11:15 AM

Last week, I spent two nights in a row sitting in bars -- one night at a new wine bar in my town and the next night at the intimate bar of a local restaurant -- and I was reminded why I love them. These were upscale, suburban bars, but...

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Our Blasé Attitude Toward Pills

(5) Comments | Posted March 29, 2012 | 10:49 AM

Are pills the new alcohol?

Here's a quote from the March 26, 2012 New York Magazine cover story, "Listening to Xanax: How America Learned to Stop Worrying About Worrying and Pop its Pills Instead," by Lisa Miller:

So reliably relaxing are the effects of benzodiazepines that...
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Addiction Envy

(65) Comments | Posted March 12, 2012 | 10:06 AM

The other night I went to an addiction book panel at the NYU Bookstore moderated and hosted by Susan Shapiro, the co-author of "Unhooked: How to Quit Anything." She gathered some amazing panelists, like Maer Roshan, founder of the website The Fix, about all things addiction-related...

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Pot vs. Alcohol -- Are We Asking the Right Questions?

(40) Comments | Posted March 2, 2012 | 8:37 AM

Which is safer, pot or alcohol? Which is "better"? If you had to pick, which would you prefer your teenagers to do -- smoke pot or drink alcohol? The debate has been heating up lately, now that the legalization of marijuana (in small amounts) is on the table in Colorado....

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Drink Smarter: A Realistic and Inspiring Approach to Alcohol Awareness

(0) Comments | Posted February 16, 2012 | 2:00 PM

How many times have you said to yourself, "I'm never going to (fill in the blanks with your vice)," only to beat yourself up when you ended up (drinking, smoking, eating ice cream) twice as much as you did before? When it comes to lifestyle changes, an all-or-nothing mentality can...

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What the "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" Taught Me About Women and Drinking

(23) Comments | Posted February 2, 2012 | 5:57 PM

Okay, I'll admit it: I watch the "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills," and I love it. I know it's de rigueur to call reality TV a "guilty pleasure" and feel ashamed for not reading back issues of the New Yorker instead, but it's actually gotten me...

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Drinking Alcohol: In With The Guidance, Out With The One-Size-Fits-All Rules

(14) Comments | Posted January 17, 2012 | 1:40 PM

Last week, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released a report stating that binge drinking is a bigger problem than they thought. According to their statistics, "More than 38 million US adults binge drink, about 4 times a month."

So what are we going to do about it?...

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