I picked up this book after one of my favorite bloggers mentioned that it was so good that she read it in two days. My experience was the same. In this book Sarah talks about her addiction to alcohol. How she frequently woke up and realized parts of her evening were completely erased.
For Sarah Hepola, alcohol was “the gasoline of all adventure.” She spent her evenings at cocktail parties and dark bars where she proudly stayed till last call. Drinking felt like freedom, part of her birthright as a strong, enlightened twenty-first-century woman.
But there was a price. She often blacked out, waking up with a blank space where four hours should be. Mornings became detective work on her own life. What did I say last night? How did I meet that guy? She apologized for things she couldn’t remember doing, as though she were cleaning up after an evil twin. Publicly, she covered her shame with self-deprecating jokes, and her career flourished, but as the blackouts accumulated, she could no longer avoid a sinking truth. The fuel she thought she needed was draining her spirit instead.
Sarah wrote this memoir with a crushing honesty. Even though alcoholism isn’t something I identify with, I found myself in other ways with her words. I’ve smoked cigarettes for the past four years and even though it’s a habit I want to break more than anything, I haven’t found my way.
I never saw myself as a smoker. I started smoking when I lived in Jerusalem. Over there everyone smoked, even 6 year old kids. I was new to the country and wanted so badly to make friends that I thought smoking would be my “in”. Don’t ask me how that makes sense…I obviously wasn’t the brightest bulb at the time.
Now, four years later, I still haven’t managed to kick this habit to the curb. I have a million excuses…my job is stressful, my relationships are stressful, once my anxiety goes away THEN I’ll be able to quit. Some times I wonder what it would take to get me to quit. Quitting anything sounds a lot like this…
“I was also beginning to realize that getting sober wasn’t some giant leap into sunlight. It was a series of small steps in the same direction. You say ‘I’ll do this today,’ and then you say the same thing the next day, and you keep going, one foot in front of the other, until you make it out of the woods.”
Having to make a decision every day, multiple times a day is the hardest part to me. It’s emotionally exhausting.
“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.”