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Giving up the Ghost with Sarah Hepola

I used to think that walking in high heels was difficult. Then I became a heavy drinker who wore high heels.  Then I became a sober person.  Not particularly in that order.

I “celebrated” 18 months as a sober person a week or so ago. As a mile-marker, I had the honor of interviewing Sarah Hepola, author of the New York Times Bestseller, Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget.

I interviewed Sarah for the podcast, but it felt like spending time with an old friend—a true human connection that was paradoxically amplified by our joint sobriety–not amplified by alcohol.

In this hour and a half long episode, we cut straight to the heart of her story of alcohol—a story which is hauntingly similar, yet different.

For me, giving up the ghost of alcohol wasn’t hard once I decided that it was destroying me.

But it was a helluva a fight and battle to get to that point.

And it’s a fight in one way or another every single day.

This episode is one of the most important hour and a half time periods of my life. Not only to share Sarah’s story and to tell some of mine—but more importantly to put this information out there and let others know that they are not alone.

Love to you all,

More about this Episode:

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.

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.

Buy Blackout:

Sarah on Social
Instagram: @thesarahhepolaexperience
Twitter: @sarahhepola

Meredith Atwood’s Sobriety Story

In December of 2015, I decided that I would never drink again. Go here to read the post about it: Sobering Thought, and the one year update and update: Teetotaler.

The story of alcohol struggles is one that is not told often, and if it is told, I am not sure it’s told very honestly (or well). I think the shame and the barriers to discussing struggles with addiction should be destroyed, and obliterated, so that anyone (ANYONE!) who needs help will have it – and have it with LOVE and SUPPORT. Through my work, I am seeking to break down the shame, the barriers, and the negative associations with taking a stand, grabbing our power, and deciding to be sober people.

In April 2017, I created the online support community called Grateful Sobriety. Who is welcome? YOU are if you:

  • want to stop drinking;
  • think you need to stop drinking;
  • have years of sobriety under your belt and love the support;
  • are stubborn and scared about your drinking;
  • know someone who you want to support in their quitting drinking; or
  • just want to give back to your community with your gifts of counseling expertise or sobriety.

Go to to learn more.



  • Lorraine

    June 17, 2017 at 11:58 am

    Can’t wait to listen to the episode. You said once that if your story helped one person, sharing was worth it. As you know, your honesty inspired to crawl, bite and scratch myself out of the hellhole of addiction. For that, I am eternally grateful to you.

  • Missie

    October 28, 2017 at 10:32 am

    I am in tears reading this. I just recently started following you on FB. I admire you in so many ways, but how you defeated alcoholism tops it. This post has given me hope. Till now I’ve not been able to find the help that I need and want. Thank you!


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