Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget by Sarah Hepola

blackout cover

Getting motivated for exercise has always been a struggle for me. One of the “techniques” that has helped me at least get out more is loading book-related podcasts onto my iPod, then restricting my listening for when I’m doing something more active. I am distracted by the upbeat conversations about books, and by the time I’m finished, I’ve been outside for 1-2 hours. Even if it’s just walking, I feel refreshed and energized, with more books for my to-read list.

I got the idea to read Sarah Hepola’s book from an episode of NPR’s Fresh Air (podcast link below).The interview was so captivating, I knew I had to read her book stuff.

If you’ve ever studied Motivational Interviewing, the evidence-based therapeutic technique often used to treat substance abuse, you know that it is just as important to talk about how your life is “bettered” by your addictive tendencies as it is to talk about its hindrances. In Hepola’s case, alcohol soothed her inner critic, and unleashed the fiery, sexual being inside of her (or at least, what media was telling her was inside of her). Why would she quit, with all of these wonderful doors being opened?

We need more memoirs written like this, as women’s motivation to drink seems to have a different look with each generation. How does online dating contribute to disclosure of addiction? Do you email people to tell them you’ve stopped drinking? Alcohol memoirs are not new, but the background is ever-changing.

I will say this. I finished the book without having a firm understanding of Hepola’s opinion about Alcoholic Anonymous (AA) and other supports to stop drinking. The role of AA and a therapist was peppered throughout the story, but nothing that led me to know concretely what her opinion was of the two. Obviously, something worked because she has stayed sober….but how did these supports work for her? What does she feel she have done differently? A woman like myself might be struggling, and not know where to start.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book, and I’m glad it joined the overall conversation about addiction- the more information the better!

Rating: 4/5 stars

Further Reading:

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