sober alcoholic

Forging A Path From ‘Blackout’ Drunkenness To Self-Acceptance And Sobriety

Before Sarah Hepola got sober five years ago, she considered alcohol to be “the fuel of all adventure.” These adventures included taking off her clothes in public, pouring beer on people’s heads and waking up in strangers’ beds. Frequently, Hepola didn’t remember these incidents afterwards because she had been in an alcohol-induced blackout.

“A blackout is very different from passing out,” Hepola explains to Fresh Air’s Terry Gross. “You’re still walking and talking and interacting with people, but the recorder in your brain isn’t going.“

Hepola once performed in front of 300 people while in a blackout state. "I don’t think they knew that I was in a blackout, and I didn’t know I was in a blackout, but later I had no memory of that event,” she says.

In her memoir Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget, Hepola wrestles with her reasons for drinking and examines how alcohol fit in with — and distorted — her idea of being an empowered woman.