One-Woman Show 'Drunk With Hope' Chronicles Recovery From Alcoholism

By Britni de la Cretaz 06/13/17

The play takes a look inside the lives of a variety women and their battles with alcoholism and subsequent recovery.

Tara Handron
Tara Handron performing a scene from the play. Photo YouTube

A one-woman show is chronicling what it’s like for women who struggle with alcoholism. Tara Handron’s play “Drunk With Hope” is a series of monologues which tells the story of “many women,” she says, to give a look at what their lives were like, why they drank, and what they’re like now. The play has been performed at venues all over the country, ranging from jails to theaters in Los Angeles.

Handron, who has been sober for 17 years, told NBC 4 that she wanted to use her experience to help other people in a unique way. “In the beginning, there are monologues of different women, different ages, different ethnicities sharing different stories but all giving sort of different little nuggets that tell you there’s something wrong there or she has a problem with drugs and alcohol,” Handron said.

“I think women are judged harsher,” Handron told NBC 4. “Sometimes when the woman is the mother, the head of the household, there is more pressure to keep it together for everybody.” This phenomenon is one that Ann Dowsett Johnston explored in her book Drink: The Intimate Relationship Between Women and Alcohol.

Johnston calls alcohol “the working women’s steroid,” allowing women to feel like maybe they can do it all in a world where the labor is still not evenly split, where they may be juggling work and parenting and surviving. In the general population, 5.1% of women are reported to struggle with alcoholism—and approximately one-third of people who identify as alcoholics. Not only that, but they pay a higher price for their drinking, both physically and socially.

Earlier this year another woman debuted a play about a woman and alcohol—this one about Sister Mary Ignatia Gavin, the forgotten woman who helped shape the program of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Playwright Catherine M. O’Neill, author of the play "Sister Anonymous," told Paste Magazine, “I didn’t set out to write a feminist play, but I have. It’s a play about a woman, by a woman, directed by a woman, starring women. It has a couple of men in it, but it’s really a tribute to women.”

For Handron, she wanted to reach an audience that she might not have otherwise. “I think people walk away and think, Oh my gosh,” she told NBC 4. “They start thinking, ‘I would have never thought that type of person might have had an issue or that recovery could be fun or interesting.’” 

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Britni de la Cretaz is a freelance writer, baseball enthusiast, and recovered alcoholic living in Boston. Follow her on Twitter at @britnidlc.