BOSTON, JULY 29 -- In her soon-to-be-released book, Kitty Dukakis says that the night she drank rubbing alcohol she did not realize what she was drinking was poisonous, according to reports published today.
Dukakis, the wife of Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis, the 1988 Democratic presidential nominee, chronicles her bouts with alcohol and diet pill addiction in her autobiography, "Now You Know," to be released in August by Simon & Schuster. She also tells of the shock she felt when she learned at age 18 that her mother had been born out of wedlock.
The Boston Sunday Herald reported that it had gathered details about the closely guarded book from relatives and friends of the Dukakis family. The Boston Sunday Globe also reported about some items in the book.
In the book, Mrs. Dukakis, 53, says that on the night of Nov. 7, 1989, when she drank the rubbing alcohol -- an incident splashed across headlines -- she was not attempting suicide, the Herald reported.
The rubbing-alcohol episode was another in a string of crises and disappointments for Dukakis that started long before her husband's defeat in the 1988 presidential election.
In the book, she recalls starting to take diet pills a year after she learned that her mother, Jane Goldberg Dickson, had been adopted and illegitimate.
Dukakis's mother, who died in 1977, was the daughter of Margaret Buxbaum, who had her daughter out of wedlock and offered her to Henry and Mabel Goldberg, a wealthy New York couple. Buxbaum gave the child up for adoption on the condition that she become the nanny for the girl, the Herald said, citing unidentified sources.
After Dukakis was reportedly told the truth about her mother's background, her mother would not discuss the matter with her. The shock stayed with Dukakis for years.
The future First Lady of Massachusetts also suffered disappointment in her first marriage at 19 to John Chaffetz. In the book, Mrs. Dukakis blames both her diet pill addiction and the failure of the marriage, after four years, to her mother's secretiveness.
She later met Michael Dukakis, and the two married in 1963.
Over the next two decades, Dukakis remained addicted to diet pills. In 1980 she went to Hazelden Foundation in Minnesota for treatment.
In the years thereafter, however, her addiction turned to alcohol, and it caused problems behind the scenes during her husband's presidential campaign. The Herald reported that Kitty Dukakis twice passed out from drinking on the stressful campaign trail.
In March 1989, Dukakis admitted publicly that she was an alcoholic, after treatment at the Edgehill Newport facility in Rhode Island.
After drinking rubbing alcohol later that year, she again sought treatment. She returned to Massachusetts in February to finish the book, which was written with Jane Scovell.
Dukakis currently is being treated for a manic-depressive disorder, seeing a psychiatrist once a week, the Herald said.