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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 21st-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.
A memoir of unblinking honesty and poignant, laugh-out-loud humor, Blackout is the story of a woman stumbling into a new kind of adventure - the sober life she never wanted. Shining a light into her blackouts, she discovers the person she buried, as well as the confidence, intimacy, and creativity she once believed came only from a bottle. Her tale will resonate with anyone who has been forced to reinvent or struggled in the face of necessary change. It's about giving up the thing you cherish most - but getting yourself back in return.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By W Perry Hall on 07-17-15
Blackout: A Knockout
"What really knocks me out is a book that, when you're all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call [her] up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn't happen much, though." J.D. Salinger
I ran across this quote accidentally yesterday and thought of this book, which I've been holding off reviewing because it moved me so much that I felt like I couldn't do it justice. I think, though, that Salinger's quote is the highest compliment one can give an author of a memoir.
Through raw honesty and her wonderful way with words, Sarah Hepola has perfectly, poignantly and humorously captured the true essence of the hole in the soul I've seen in so many addicts/alcoholics. I was prepared to quote numerous passages from her book about "Martini math," and switching bodegas so no one of the guys would catch on to purchasing patterns, and her experiences with strangers when she was drunk (and could remember), but I think one best paints the picture for anyone considering buying this book, of her moment of finally "quitting":
" [t]he need to hold onto booze was primal. Drinking had saved me. When I was a child trapped in loneliness, it gave me escape. When I was a teenager trapped by self-consciousness, it gave me power. When I was a young woman unsure of her work, it gave me courage. When I was lost, it gave me the path -- that way, towards the next drink and everywhere it leads you. When I triumphed, it celebrated with me. When I cried, it comforted me. And, even in the end, when I was tortured by all it had done to me, it gave me oblivion."
Ms. Hepola finds sobriety at first, day by day and tough for maintaining optimism. Yet, she now sees that sobriety in her life's story is "not the boring part, it's the plot twist."
The audio version was particularly compelling because of Ms. Hepola's soft, though at times lively, voice and her gut-wrenching archival tape recording of herself at 13 discussing drinking and her experience with an 18-year-old boy, a statutory rape.
I hated to finish this book because it felt like a friend telling me her whole life story, sharing and stirring in me such raw emotions, and then ... I couldn't talk back.
23 of 24 people found this review helpful
By Jonna Stout on 07-13-15
I was sober for 13 months and went back out. I started an IOP today and picked up my desire chip at lunch. I started the book yesterday and could not stop listening. I went in to group today with a clear purpose and full of hope. Thank you Sarah for your honesty. It reminded me yet again that we are not alone.
21 of 22 people found this review helpful