Blackout by Sarah Hepola
Reading memoirs is cathartic. They offer tiny glimpses into someone else’s life. Sometimes they make a reader breathe a sign of relief.
Hepola, who was a writer before and after becoming sober, also found stories cathartic. She would often read about addicts with relief that she “wasn’t that bad.”
Eventually, however, it did become “that bad.” One particularly bad episode in Paris, when Hepola was starting out as a journalist, left her mortified for years. She woke up in a stranger’s room with no idea how she had gotten there.
Hepola, who had her first blackout at twelve, continued to drink in high school. Attending University of Texas at Austin, Hepola was caught in a downward spiral.
She describes the unnerving feeling of whole chunks of her life disappearing as if they were “scooped…by a melon baller.”
Hepola drank to ease her anxieties about her weight and her social status in school:
I needed alcohol to drink away the things that plagued me. Not just my doubts about sex – my self-consciousness, my loneliness, my insecurities, my fears.
Later, she drank because she thought it helped her writing. After college she wrote for the entertainment section of an Austin, Texas newspaper.
After re-evaluating her life, Sarah embarks upon a painful journey of sobriety.
We’ve heard this story told many times, in many different forms, but never told so well.
Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget was a New York Times bestseller.
Similar stories about addiction:
Jacobsen, Lea. Bar Flower.
Laing, Olivia. The Trip to Echo Spring.
Vargas, Elizabeth. Between Breaths: a Memoir of Panic and Addiction.
Parravani, Christa. Her: A Memoir.
Cahalan, Susan. My Brain on Fire.
Mcbride, Regina. Ghost Songs: A Memoir.