On the newest episode of Zero Proof Book Club podcast, Shelley and I discuss “I’m Black and I’m Sober” by Chaney Allen, the first autobiography written by a recovering African American woman. Jackie and Shelley talk about the low number of sobriety memoirs by people of color, how women who drink heavily are judged more harshly than men, and the unique challenges faced by black men and women during recovery.
What to expect: An important work, this is the first autobiography written by a recovering African American woman
From the book jacket:
“I’m Black and I’m Sober traces author Chaney Allen’s life from growing up poor and hungry in Alabama through her gradual addiction to alcohol as a young mother in Cincinnati, Ohio. This powerful story documents Allen’s journey into the soup kitchens of Selma, Alabama, to the tenements and late night joints in Cincinnati, and finally to sobriety in San Diego, California. Allen, a minister’s daughter, discusses her relationships with her mother, brothers, and children; the impact of discrimination; and the obstacles African Americans face as they become sober.”
— I’m Black and I’m Sober: The Timeless Story of A Woman’s Journey Back to Sanity
In the new episode of Zero Proof Book Club, Shelley and I talk about “The Boatbuilder” by Daniel Gumbiner. 🛶It’s a novel about, in part, recovery from opioids. We discuss developing an appreciation for nature and being off the grid in recovery, the many benefits of working with your hands, and our own varying experiences with drugs vs. alcohol. 🛶
We thought a shrub would be fun to drink with this week’s book pick, as “The Boatbuilder” stars California’s rugged trees and forests. To make this Cardamom Peach Shrub, chop up four ripe peaches and bring them to a simmer with one cup water, 3/4 cup sugar, five cardamom pods and a cinnamon stick. This part smells SO GOOD. Simmer over low for at least 15 minutes, then strain out the liquid and mix with one cup apple cider vinegar. Chill. When you’re ready to serve, pour over ice and top with sparkling water. 🍑🍑🍑
About “The Boatbuilder”
What to expect: A fictional, meditative journey of a young man struggling to overcome an opioid addiction
From the book jacket:
“At 28 years old, Eli ‘Berg’ Koenigsberg has never encountered a challenge he couldn’t push through, until a head injury leaves him with lingering headaches and a weakness for opiates. Berg moves to a remote Northern California town, seeking space and time to recover, but soon finds himself breaking into homes in search of pills.
Addled by addiction and chronic pain, Berg meets Alejandro, a reclusive, master boatbuilder, and begins to see a path forward. Alejandro offers Berg honest labor, but more than this, he offers him a new approach to his suffering, a template for survival amid intense pain. Nurtured by his friendship with Alejandro and aided, too, by the comradeship of many in Talinas, Berg begins to return to himself. Written in gleaming prose, this is a story about resilience, community, and what it takes to win back your soul.”
In the new episode of Zero Proof Book Club, Shelley and I talk about “Nothing Good Can Come From This” by Kristi Coulter. We discuss the drinking triggers that are everywhere in the summer and how you can signal you’re still cool after you stop drinking.
Carrot Ginger Turmeric + lemon sparkling water + fresh orange juice
Paired with our new episode, a carrot-ginger juice (we love Knudsen’s Carrot Ginger Turmeric) mixed with lemon sparkling water and some fresh squeezed orange juice.
About Nothing Good Can Come From This
What to expect: A frank, funny, and feminist essay collection (dare we say, beach read?) by a keen-eyed observer no longer numbed into complacency
From the book jacket:
“When Kristi stopped drinking, she started noticing things. Like when you give up a debilitating habit, it leaves a space, one that can’t easily be filled by mocktails or ice cream or sex or crafting. And when you cancel Rosé Season for yourself, you’re left with just Summer, and that’s when you notice that the women around you are tanked―that alcohol is the oil in the motors that keeps them purring when they could be making other kinds of noise.
In her sharp, incisive debut essay collection, Coulter reveals a portrait of a life in transition. By turns hilarious and heartrending, Nothing Good Can Come from This introduces a fierce new voice to fans of Sloane Crosley, David Sedaris, and Cheryl Strayed―perfect for anyone who has ever stood in the middle of a so-called perfect life and looked for an escape hatch.”
In the new episode of Zero Proof Book Club, Shelley and I weigh in on the hottest sobriety book of the moment: Sober Curious by Ruby Warrington. We talk about Warrington’s sometimes confusing terminology and also applaud her for starting to change the conversation surrounding sobriety.
This week we’re sipping on UNICORN SHOTS! In the book, Ruby writes, “I served these at a Club SODA NYC booze-free brunch, and you couldn’t get people off the dance floor.
Here’s how you whip them up (makes 18 shots): 4 cups almond milk, 1 ripe banana, 3 tablespoons raw cacao powder, 2 tablespoons kava powder, 2 tablespoons honey, handful ice, rainbow cupcake sprinkles. Blitz all the ingredients except the sprinkles in a high-speed blender and divide among shot glasses. Top with sprinkles and serve immediately.” Fun! Tastes like a yummy chocolate milkshake.
About Sober Curious
What to expect: A contemporary treatise for more mindful drinking and all the benefits to be reaped as a result
From the book jacket:
“It’s the nagging question more and more of us are finding harder to ignore, whether we have a ‘problem’ with alcohol or not. After all, we yoga. We green juice. We meditate. We self-care. And yet, come the end of a long work day, the start of a weekend, an awkward social situation, we drink. One glass of wine turns into two turns into a bottle. In the face of how we care for ourselves otherwise, it’s hard to avoid how alcohol really makes us feel… terrible.
How different would our lives be if we stopped drinking on autopilot? If we stopped drinking altogether? Really different, it turns out. Really better. Sober Curious is a bold guide to choosing to live hangover-free, from Ruby Warrington, one of the leading voices of the new sobriety movement.
Drawing on research, expert interviews, and personal narrative, Sober Curious is a radical take down of the myths that keep so many of us drinking. Inspiring, timely, and blame-free, Sober Curious is both conversation starter and handbook—essential reading that empowers readers to transform their relationship with alcohol, so we can lead our most fulfilling lives.”
We tried following the six steps of the Judgment Detox process in an effort to become better, less judgmental people. Our results vary. 😝 We talk about why we judge other people who continue to binge drink, learning to forgive ourselves for being judgmental, judging our past selves, and more.
Since our new podcast dropped on Fourth of July week, we’re pairing this book with a watermelon spritzer, made with fresh watermelon juice, seltzer water, and fresh berries.
To make the watermelon juice, throw watermelon chunks into the blender and pulse until smooth. Pour watermelon purée through a fine mesh strainer over a bowl, using a rubber spatula to squeeze out all the juice. Fill a glass with ice, strawberries, and blueberries, then fill halfway with watermelon juice and top off with your choice of sparkling water. Squeeze in a little lime juice if you have it! 🍉🍓🍉🍓
About Judgment Detox
What to expect: A six-step guide to letting go of petty judgements (for self and others) and tapping (sometimes literally) into a self that can release painful feelings without having to turn to booze for relief
From the book jacket:
“From #1 New York Times bestselling author Gabrielle Bernstein comes a clear, proactive, step-by-step process to release the beliefs that hold you back from living a better life.
This six-step practice offers many promises. Petty resentments will disappear, compassion will replace attack, the energy of resistance will transform into freedom, and you’ll feel more peace and happiness than you’ve ever known. I can testify to these results because I’ve lived them. I’ve never felt more freedom and joy than I have when writing and practicing these steps.
My commitment to healing my own relationship to judgment has changed my life in profound ways. My awareness of my judgment has helped me become a more mindful and conscious person. My willingness to heal these perceptions has set me free. I have been able to let go of resentments and jealousies, I can face pain with curiosity and love, and I forgive others and myself much more easily. Best of all, I have a healthy relationship to judgment so that I can witness when it shows up and I can use these steps to quickly return to love.
The Judgment Detox is an interactive six-step process that calls on spiritual principles from the text A Course in Miracles, Kundalini yoga, the Emotional Freedom Technique (aka Tapping), meditation, prayer and metaphysical teachings. I’ve demystified these principles to make them easy to commit to and apply in your daily life. Each lesson builds upon the next to support true healing. When you commit to following the process and become willing to let go, judgment, pain, and suffering will begin to dissolve.
And the miracles will keep coming. Once you begin to feel better you start to release your resistance to love. The more you practice these steps, the more love enters into your consciousness and into your energetic vibration. When you’re in harmony with love, you receive more of what you want. Your energy attracts its likeness. So when you shift your energy from defensive judgment to free-flowing love your life gets awesome. You’ll attract exactly what you need, your relationships will heal, your health will improve and you’ll feel safer and more secure. One loving thought at a time creates a miracle. Follow these steps to clear all blocks, spread more love and live a miraculous life.”
— Judgment Detox: Release the Beliefs that Hold You Back
For fellow fans of the immensely popular Instagram account @historycoolkids, don’t miss the newest cool in old stuff: @misfithistory. This account serves up stories and photographs you definitely missed in history class, because they definitely weren’t in the syllabus.
The Tennessee Kid
A killer with cadence, stand-up comedian Nate Bargatze’s recent special on Netflix, “The Tennessee Kid,” is a 10 ya gotta see.
No B.S. Skincare
As a world-famous celebrity, I’m very interested in keeping my face flake-free and have invested mightily in creams, lotions, and potions since flipping over to the other side of 30 (I like it much better over here, but I also know gravity’s coming for me). I first heard of No B.S. Skincare at a sobriety conference I attended in Chicago a few months ago; they were a supporting sponsor and giving away free handouts.
The benefits: responsibly made in the U.S., no animal testing, “no shady shit” (ie. parabens, phthalates, sulfates, and synthetic fragrances), and a whole page dedicated to how to recycle your No B.S. bottles. Bonus: The products that I’ve tried (below) actually do work, no bs. I’m particularly a big fan of the Vitamin C+E Serum, which I use each morning. It keeps this face o’ mine as bright as a paparazzi flash. 😉
This vegan shepherd’s pie recipe
Its official title: Vegan Shepherd’s Pie with Whipped Sweet Potatoes from the Simply Quinoa blog. The photo I took of my finished product is startlingly bad, but I’ll share it because we’re all friends here. This dish was so delish. I’m convinced cooking the lentils and quinoa base in veggie broth, fresh thyme, and bay leaf and then adding a balsamic vinegar and veggie broth to the mixture before throwing it in the oven were the key taste-elevating moves.
The triumph of Andy Ruiz
While we’re on the subject of packing a surprisingly yummy punch, did you see the recent boxing bout between heavyweight champ Anthony Joshua and the 11-1 underdog Andy Ruiz Jr.? It was an upset for the ages!
American Experience: Stonewall
Happy Pride month! Here’s a brand new must watch by my best boo, PBS American Experience (I just got Amazon Prime and I CAN WATCH ALL THE SEASONS WITH MY MEMBERSHIP). Love is love, but sometimes you must fight for it. Stonewall changed everything. Thank god. Thank these brave humans.
“Once Stonewall happened, the whole house of cards that was the system of oppression of gay people started to crumble.”
“When police raided the Stonewall Inn, a popular gay bar in the Greenwich Village section of New York City on June 28, 1969, the street erupted into violent protests that lasted for the next six days. The Stonewall riots, as they came to be known, marked a major turning point in the modern gay civil rights movement in the United States and around the world.”
In the latest episode of Zero Proof Book Club, Shelley and I discuss the famous #quitlit memoir Dry by Augusten Burroughs (who you might recognize from “Running With Scissors” fame/ hilarity/ tragedy).
Our book club convo covers rehab, 12 step programs, relapse, and, most importantly, the notion of being a “dry drunk,” a term that Shelley balks at but that I found particularly helpful when trying to understand why I was struggling with similarly impulsive behavior patterns after the pink cloud of early sobriety lifted. See also: using humor in addiction writing, how men talk about addiction compared to how women talk about it, and how hard it must have been to seek recovery before the internet (yikes, hello, embarrassing hotlines).
In “Dry,” Burroughs has a bit about ordering a seltzer and lime soon after leaving rehab. As he waits for it to arrive, he reflects, “Suddenly I can feel how depressing alcoholism really is. Basements and prayers. It lacks the swank factor.” We happen to disagree, and we happen to love drinking seltzer and lime. To pair with our podcast discussion of “Dry,” we’re drinking seltzer water, lime, and a splash of Seedlip Herbal nonalcoholic spirit to up the swank factor.
What to expect: A hilarious, heartbreaking tale of recovery after rehab by one of the best in the memoir biz
From the book jacket:
“You may not know it, but you’ve met Augusten Burroughs. You’ve seen him on the street, in bars, on the subway, at restaurants: a twenty-something guy, nice suit, works in advertising. Regular. Ordinary.
But when the ordinary person had two drinks, Augusten was circling the drain by having twelve; when the ordinary person went home at midnight, Augusten never went home at all. Loud, distracting ties, automated wake-up calls and cologne on the tongue could only hide so much for so long. At the request (well, it wasn’t really a request) of his employers, Augusten lands in rehab, where his dreams of group therapy with Robert Downey Jr. are immediately dashed by grim reality of fluorescent lighting and paper hospital slippers.
But when Augusten is forced to examine himself, something actually starts to click and that’s when he finds himself in the worst trouble of all. Because when his thirty days are up, he has to return to his same drunken Manhattan life―and live it sober.What follows is a memoir that’s as moving as it is funny, as heartbreaking as it is true.Dry is the story of love, loss, and Starbucks as a Higher Power.”
For David Abrams’ Sunday Sentence project, readers share the best sentence they’ve read during the past week, “out of context and without commentary.”
“Even if sea level rise is more limited than what is anticipated, it will inundate coastal cities and coastal plains, as in Bangladesh, where tens of millions may be forced to flee in the fairly near future, many more later. Today’s refugee issue will be a tea party in comparison.“