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
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.”
In the latest episode of Zero Proof Book Club, Shelley and I discuss Ann Dowsett Johnston’s “Drink: The Intimate Relationship Between Women and Alcohol.” Spoiler alert: Not our favorite book. Johnston gives us plenty to talk about, though, and we chat about how drinking is a feminist issue, how alcohol is marketed to women, and the extra burdens carried by moms who drink.
Give these babies a whirl in your blender: One frozen banana, a handful of blackberries, a bunch of strawberries, some almond butter, and a drizzle of honey. 🍓🍌
What to expect: A compilation of narrative journalism articles about how and why alcohol negatively affects women today
From the book jacket:
“In Drink: The Intimate Relationship Between Women and Alcohol, award-winning journalist Ann Dowsett Johnston combines in-depth research with her own personal story of recovery and delivers a groundbreaking examination of a shocking yet little recognized epidemic threatening society today: the precipitous rise in risky drinking among women and girls.
With the feminist revolution, women have closed the gender gap in their professional and educational lives. They have also achieved equality with men in more troubling areas as well. In the U.S. alone, the rates of alcohol abuse among women have skyrocketed in the past decade. DUIs, ‘drunkorexia’ (choosing to limit eating to consume greater quantities of alcohol), and health problems connected to drinking are all rising—a problem exacerbated by the alcohol industry itself.
Battling for women’s dollars and leisure time, corporations have developed marketing strategies and products targeted exclusively to women. Equally alarming is a recent CDC report showing a sharp rise in binge drinking, putting women and girls at further risk.
As she brilliantly weaves in-depth research, interviews with leading researchers, and the moving story of her own struggle with alcohol abuse, Johnston illuminates this startling epidemic, dissecting the psychological, social, and industry factors that have contributed to its rise, and exploring its long-lasting impact on our society and individual lives.”
— Drink: The Intimate Relationship Between Women and Alcohol
In the latest episode of Zero Proof Book Club, Shelley and I discuss Brené Brown’s book “The Gifts of Imperfection.” We share our own struggles with perfectionism, I talk authenticity, and Shelley shares how her perfectionism manifests itself in the form of birthday cakes and many unfinished essays.
The inspiration for these Pina Colada-ish cocktails came from a trip Shelley took to Puerto Rico, where her Airbnb rentals came stocked with tiny cans of pineapple juice and cream of coconut. Stir equal parts pineapple juice with cream of coconut and pour over ice. Can you tell we’re ~so~ ready for this cold rain to stop?
About The Gifts of Imperfection
What to expect:Rather than your average self-help book, a motivational and inspiring guide to wholehearted living, as explored by today’s chief expert in the power of vulnerability
From the book jacket:
“When our embarrassments and fears lie, we often listen to them anyway. They thwart our gratitude, acceptance, and compassion—our goodness. They insist, ‘I am not worthy.’ But we are worthy—of self-discovery, personal growth, and boundless love. With Brené Brown’s game-changing New York Times bestseller The Gifts of Imperfection—which has sold more than two million copies in more than 30 different languages, and Forbes recently named one of the ‘Five Books That Will Actually Change Your Outlook On Life’—we find courage to overcome paralyzing fear and self-consciousness, strengthening our connection to the world.
With this groundbreaking work, Brené Brown, Ph.D., bolsters the self-esteem and personal development process through her characteristic heartfelt, honest storytelling. With original research and plenty of encouragement, she explores the psychology of releasing our definitions of an ‘imperfect’ life and embracing living authentically. Brown’s ‘ten guideposts’ are benchmarks for authenticity that can help anyone establish a practice for a life of honest beauty—a perfectly imperfect life.
Now, more than ever, we all need to cultivate feelings of self-worth, as well as acceptance and love for ourselves. In a world where insults, criticisms, and fears are spread too generously alongside messages of unrealistic beauty, attainment, and expectation, we look for ways to ‘dig deep’ and find truth and gratitude in our lives. A new way forward means we can’t hold on too tightly to our own self-defeating thoughts or the displaced pain in our world. Instead, we can embrace the imperfection.”
— The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are
In the latest episode of Zero Proof Book Club, Shelley and I discuss Caroline Knapp’s memoir “Drinking: A Love Story.” We gush about Knapp and her writing and talk about our sometimes complicated relationships with our own families, friends, and more.
To pair with this week’s podcast episode, we’re drinking strawberry lemonade (we love Simply Lemonade with Strawberry) mixed with ginger ale. Super simple. Simply refreshing. Just in time for spring! 🍓❤️
About Drinking: A Love Story
What to expect: An extraordinarily candid memoir published in 1997 that changed the quit lit genre for good.
From the book jacket:
“Fifteen million Americans a year are plagued with alcoholism. Five million of them are women. Many of them, like Caroline Knapp, started in their early teens and began to use alcohol as ‘liquid armor,’ a way to protect themselves against the difficult realities of life. In this extraordinarily candid and revealing memoir, Knapp offers important insights not only about alcoholism, but about life itself and how we learn to cope with it.
It was love at first sight. The beads of moisture on a chilled bottle. The way the glasses clinked and the conversation flowed. Then it became obsession. The way she hid her bottles behind her lover’s refrigerator. The way she slipped from the dinner table to the bathroom, from work to the bar. And then, like so many love stories, it fell apart. Drinking is Caroline Kapp’s harrowing chronicle of her twenty-year love affair with alcohol.
Caroline had her first drink at 14. She drank through her years at an Ivy League college, and through an award-winning career as an editor and columnist. Publicly she was a dutiful daughter, a sophisticated professional. Privately she was drinking herself into oblivion. This startlingly honest memoir lays bare the secrecy, family myths, and destructive relationships that go hand in hand with drinking. And it is, above all, a love story for our times—full of passion and heartbreak, betrayal and desire—a triumph over the pain and deception that mark an alcoholic life.”
In the latest episode of Zero Proof Book Club, Shelley and I discuss Sarah Hepola’s memoir “Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget.” Listen now to hear us talk about how much we relate to Hepola’s story and dive deep into the scary reality of alcohol-induced blackouts. Topics include binging, sex, blacked-out alter egos, and how to reconcile the person you are when you’re blacked out with the real you.
Some ultra chic Topo Chico Grapefruit + lime + salt rim
Sarah Hepola mentions margaritas a few times in her memoir, so we wanted to share this super simple zero-proof margarita idea with you this week! Start by salting the rim of your cocktail glass, then pour a bottle of Topo Chico Twist of Grapefruit over ice. Squeeze in the juice from half a lime (fresh grapefruit or orange juice would be great in here, too!) and garnish with lime wedges. Just DO NOT SKIP THE SALT RIM and we promise you’ll love this refreshing and booze-free margarita-ish drink.
About “Blackout: Remembering the Thinks
I Drank to Forget”
What to expect: A New York Times-bestselling memoir about the journey from blackout drinker (hello, modern binge culture) to badass sober sister
From the book jacket:“For Sarah Hepola, alcohol was ‘the gasoline of all adventure.’ 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? Who was that guy? Where am I? Blackout is a memoir of unblinking honesty and poignant laugh-out-loud humor. It’s the story of a woman stumbling into a new adventure—the sober life she never wanted.”
Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget