Book review: Blackout

I bought this book almost two years ago when I splurged and bought a bunch of sober memoirs from Amazon. I went a bit overboard and ordered so many books I could have easily populated the Sobriety section of any library. I read these books voraciously, stories that could have been my own. But, as with anything done in abundance, I soon got full, my appetite for poignant tales satiated. The stacks of books on my nightstand stayed on my nightstand, like old artifacts in a museum collecting dust.

I’ve been feeling a bit lost lately. The pink cloud has dissipated and I’ve been left wondering, “What now? Where do I go from here?” I’ve been feeling meh for months and can’t seem to shake it.

And so I reached for my stack of books, the same stack of books I turned to when I felt lost in my drinking, and read “Blackout” by Sarah Hepola. I wish I could find the right words to describe how this book made me feel.

I felt punched in the gut by truth. I felt connected. I felt a kinship—not just because we were both once drinkers, but because I, too, lost my beloved cat, my best friend, in my sobriety. I felt her pain. I felt her solitude. I felt her need to pick up new hobbies to fill the time. I felt the humbleness that comes with sobriety, the learning how to feel comfortable in one’s own skin and not caring what other people think. I felt so many things, good and bad.

I want to share a few snippets of her writing that made me stop and read them again. And again:

“Addiction was the inverse of honest work. It was everything, right now. I drank away nervousness, and I drank away boredom, and I needed to build a new tolerance. Yes to discomfort, yes to frustration, yes to failure, because it meant I was getting stronger. I refused to be the person who only played games she could win.”

Sarah Hepola

“When I cut out alcohol, my life got better. When I cut out alcohol, my spirit came back. An evolved life requires balance. Sometimes you have to cut out one thing to find balance everywhere else.”

Sarah Hepola

This is just one book of many that I’ve read in—and leading up to—my sobriety. These are some others that I recommend:

  • A Happier Hour by Rebecca Weller
  • The Sober Diaries: How One Woman Stopped Drinking and Started Living by Clare Pooley
  • Summer Secrets by Jane Green

Happy reading.

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