Sarah Hepola
The Atlantic Magazine on the science of blackouts

The NIAAA’s definition of binge drinking starts at a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.08. Blackouts seem to start at a BAC of around .20. “We think about 50 percent of people will die at a .35,” White says. “So you’re getting up there.”


On the similarities between “Trainwreck” and “Blackout”

Trainwreck made me, I will admit, both laugh very hard and cry just a little: the perfect combination. But reading Blackout before seeing Trainwreck ruined the movie for me—or, more accurately, ruined me for the movie. Hardened with a new understanding of the bitter cycle of pain, reward, and punishment that caused Hepola’s own trainwreck, it became difficult for me to accept the movie’s premise (Haha look at that trainwreck!) as either innately funny or poignant.


“Are You an Alcoholic?” on Buzzfeed

I quit drinking at the age of 35. How did I know it was time? I arrived at a preponderance of the evidence. Some people do have a lightning flash of recognition, but for me it was more of a slow dawning. I had to sift through data, gather bits of knowledge. I took health surveys online. I talked to my therapist. I read the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous (the bible of AA) and many alcoholism memoirs: Drinking: A Love Story, and Lit, and Smashed, and A Drinking Life, and The Tender Bar, all of which offer compelling and varied tales of people who put the cap back on the bottle for good. Listening to other people’s stories may have helped me more than anything else. The more I heard other people’s struggles, the more I found words for my own.


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