Park Slope's "Hidden Addicted Mom Problem"

By McCarton Ackerman 08/15/12

Moms in the idyllic Brooklyn neighborhood habitually conceal their addictions to maintain perfect family images, claims a new book.

One of Park Slope's many baby-friendly bars.
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Is Brooklyn's Stepford-esque suburban enclave hiding a secret substance-abuse problem behind the walls of its idyllic brownstones? Motherland, a new book by Park Slope mother Amy Sohn, claims moms in the neighborhood routinely abuse anti-depressants and afternoon cocktails in order to cope with their secretly unhappy lives. "The woman who starts drinking at three or four, people aren't necessarily going to know about that," says Sohn, who wrote the book as fiction based on research from her own life. "And a lot of them are also on antidepressants—I think women turn to antidepressants in larger numbers than men do. They're steered to Zoloft after they have children." Sohn claims these women keep their unhealthy lifestyles closeted from other moms—Stepford Wives-stylefor the sake of not ruining the "perfect family" image that's so assiduously cultivated in Park Slope. Motherland is a follow-up to Sohn's 2009 bestseller Prospect Park West, another fiction-based-on-truth novel that offered an inside look into families in the area. "One of the things that's weird about this neighborhood is there's very little interpersonal confession between mothers," she says. "I don't hear people admitting to their problems very often. They'll make comments like, 'Oh my God, I'm going to kill my husband' and they'll say it lightly, but you can tell by the tone of their voice, the look, that they're pissed." 

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.