ALEXANDRIA, VA – On the October 8 edition of Reading, Writing and Ralph with Zebra Literary Critic Ralph Peluso, the guest was Martha Carucci, author of Sobrietease, who has released her second collection of essays centering around her journey to sobriety.
Sobrietease 2: Make it a Double developed from an anonymous blog that Martha kept as a journaling exercise. Peluso, never shy to critique his guests on air, said that the new stories were sharper, that he found them easy to read.
While Carucci has led an interesting life and has a robust family, it was alcohol that quietly took control over her life and what she felt she most needed to explore. “For so many years, alcohol was my best friend, it was my confidant, it was my go to,” she said.
Alcoholism Swept Under the Rug
“When I was growing up, everyone had that uncle or two that was an alcoholic,” said Ralph, whose great uncle Joe matched that description. “You never knew which Uncle Joe you were going to get.”
Carucci said that even though alcohol is legal, it still has a great stigma. Because alcoholics usually stay private, a lot of people think they don’t know alcoholics personally. Her mission is to be open about her struggle and to encourage others to do the same.
“I really want it to be an open discussion,” said Martha. “When people think of an alcoholic, they picture the bum under the bridge with the brown paper bag, not the mom sitting next to them in a PTA meeting.”
The legality of alcohol might also by why it’s hard for alcoholics to know they have a problem, Carucci suggests. She worked in the world of telecommunications lobbying, which involved a lot of social functions where drinking was normalized.
In response to Peluso’s question of how it felt to be “that girl,” she said, “Because of my career and because of my society, I felt very normal. When I was lobbying, it was constant cocktails and receptions.”
The difference, says Carucci, was that she didn’t have an off-switch.
Learning Past the ProblemMartha Carucci’s social re-programming involved getting a non-alcoholic drink in her cup ASAP when she was at a social function and remembering that people don’t generally care what she drinks. When she came out as an alcoholic, many already knew and the general community welcomed her with open arms. She keeps in mind the support circle she’d be letting down if she were to regress.
Martha notes that holidays can be tough and it’s important to reach out. “It’s been a blessing to watch other people walk the walk with a lot of grace,” she said, about the social circle she’s formed as a result of her sobriety.
The hash tag #WeGetUp is a common mantra for alcoholics to remember that falling off the wagon is common.
Martha Carucci got inspiration for her book in quotes by others, including song lyrics. Her chapter, “I’m Still Standing,” comes from an Elton John song. But the quote that resonated with her the most was anonymous:
“Sometimes you have to get knocked down lower than you have ever been, to stand back up taller than you ever were!”From Lobbyist to Author
Martha Carucci was not an author and did not plan to become one before getting sober. Like many others, she found journaling therapeutic. Unique to Carucci, however, was that she blogged anonymously for a year about her experiences and was encouraged to take it further by her pastor.
Sobrietease 2: Make it a Double is along the same lines as her first book, Sobrietease: God Grant Me the Serenity to Laugh at Life. Amid some responses that alcoholism and humor don’t mix, Carucci said that while alcoholism isn’t funny, she always tries to find the silver linings. “I can go forward with more tears or more laughter.”
About her writing process, she said, “Now that I’m not hungover and have more clarity in my head, I can find the silver linings a lot easier.” And now that she’s a published author, Martha Carucci is writing a novel based on the D.C. lobbying world from the perspective of a female alcoholic.
Free Trivia Giveaways
Z TV Live Producer Susan Mulligan Fleischman also offered free signed copies of the book for those watching who could answer various alcoholic-related trivia questions. And being a good sport, Martha also gave away a couple free signed copies to the runners up.
Sobrietease and Sobrietease 2 are available at Amazon and other fine bookstores.