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Unwasted: My Lush Sobriety

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  1,200 ratings  ·  76 reviews
The single glass of wine with dinner. . .the cold beer on a hot day. . .the champagne flute raised in a toast. . . what I'd drink if Hunter S. Thompson wanted to get wasted with me. . .these are my fantasies lately. Too bad I've gone sober.

When Sacha Z. Scoblic was drinking, she was a rock star; the days were rough and the nights filled with laughter and blackouts. Then s
Paperback, 272 pages
Published August 1st 2011 by Citadel (first published January 28th 2011)
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Average rating 3.80  · 
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 ·  1,200 ratings  ·  76 reviews

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Jan 06, 2012 rated it liked it
Recommended to Jenn(ifer) by: NPR
Alcohol and I broke up in December of last year. Don’t get me wrong, we’re still friends. We even hook up every now and again, but we are no longer in a Serious Relationship. She was a kind of a flighty bitch. Sure, we had a lot of fun when we went out, but she always lured me into doing and saying really stupid things. And she was never nice to me in the morning.

We didn’t speak at all during the month of January. In February we hung out a few times, but she kept me up all night and, damn it gi
Lynne Spreen
Nov 14, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am always curious about what it's like being inside another person's head, and Sacha does a first-class job of showing you what it feels like to be inside the head of a bona fide young adult alcoholic. Although she sometimes goes off on thinking-tangents (Sacha is a very smart girl) that require you to really pay attention, her riffs are the stuff of which rich discussions over dinner are made. For example, as she fights to learn sobriety, she muses at length as to whether there really is an H ...more
Rachel Kramer Bussel
Aug 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing
It would be almost impossible to tell her story of the first year without alcohol without sharing what alcohol meant in her life, and Scoblic manages to weave the two together beautifully in this moving, sometimes funny, sometimes sobering (pun intended) memoir. She writes about how she relied on alcohol in multiple ways, and that when she took that crutch away, she was left with a lot of assumptions, about 12-step programs, about faith, about relapsing, that she had to reexamine. One of the mos ...more
Mark Matthews
Mar 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Unwasted is an incredible, entertaining, and illuminating book that simply made me 'happy' to have read it. It reads like a witty conversation, with amazing perceptions, and hidden truths revealed about the freshly sober thoughts of a great and fun writer.

As a recovering individual, I was constantly thinking "I did that!" or "Oh my gosh, someone else thinks that too?" So many experiences mirrored my own as well as others I know in recovery, and the way they are presented is fresh, clever, and wi
Dec 06, 2014 rated it liked it
I would have given this book 5 stars for the author's sharp, smart, honest, interesting, funny at times, well-written, from-the-heart-and-gut account of her alcoholism and recovery. But the star rating and more importantly the book itself is dragged down by silly "relapse fantasies" after each chapter, several pages long, in italics, in which the author imagines wild and fanciful instances where she might hoist a drink again. Like for instance if she buys a magic lamp and a genie grants her supe ...more
April Forker
Feb 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
I have read a lot of books on addiction/alcoholism as I am a recovering alcoholic myself. Some of them I like more than others and this one is close to the top of my list. I could relate to SO much of this book - in how she felt while still drinking, her behaviors related to her alcoholism, as well as her feelings in recovery. Although alcoholism is a serious disease, she had a way of making me laugh out loud throughout the book. Probably because it seems that sometimes only other alcoholics can ...more
Aug 15, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2011
There are two themes I find hard to resist in books, people disappearing and people quitting drinking. I know; Hello Freud! This was an enjoyable short read about a young, hard partier, who decides to quit before she loses everything. Scoblic is a funny, honest writer and her story is thought provoking.
Merrill Frazier
Mar 08, 2016 rated it liked it
What started as an interesting relatively linear story of sobriety devolved into a fair amount of vaguely coherent rambling. It tried to come back together at the end but by then I didn't really care.
Feb 18, 2012 rated it liked it
I truly appreciated the author's decision to stop drinking, and her portrayal of the difficulties associated with that. So, why not a higher rating? I deducted a star for the sometimes whiny self-pity - at some points she seems to feel that there's a specific conspiracy against non-drinkers, using a dinner with her at a friend's place, where coq au vin is served for dinner and "No Bake" amaretto cheesecake for dessert, as an example. Later, she attends parties where they don't circulate non-alco ...more
Jun 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
Shelves: books-by-sacha
A very funny but revelatory exercise.
Nov 19, 2013 rated it liked it
This was solid. I am making my way through this sort of memoir right now, and some of this resonated with me. She is funny and relatable and makes the process of recovery seem arduous but worth it, although the story is not especially ... deep? The prose does not reach out and grab you. It reads like a magazine columnist's thoughts turned into a book, which is what it is.

I think it's a good balance of talking about the way things were while she was drinking and how they are now. Her explanation
Aug 16, 2011 rated it it was ok

This book is heavy with so much moralistic, middlebrow prose, it's no wonder the author was once a writer at "Reader's Digest."

Scoblic's most thoughtful passages (a late reconsideration of Hunter S. Thompson and her wrestling with what and who she would be willing to lose for an alcoholic relapse leap to mind) are outweighed by shallow (Scoblic's sober friends are her "wolfpack." Despite the success of a certain movie franchise, I'm still not sure why anyone would compare his or her close f
Megan Richardson
Nov 10, 2011 rated it liked it
I wish we could give things half stars. I actually wanted to rate this as 3.5 stars. It was good and interesting, but I wanted it to get a little deeper. It focused more about her transition from partier to sober girl than I was expecting. I was hoping that it would give a little insight into what makes her life now so great, rather than.... well, I remember things now.
Nov 06, 2011 rated it it was ok
Easy read. Just okay.
May 13, 2019 rated it liked it
A quick read, straightforwardly a sobriety memoir -- this one is roughly equal parts "drunkalogue" and post-sobriety (I appreciated her description of being an unbeliever in AA) though her timeline jumps around enough that I occasionally felt ungrounded in the narrative. Relatively few unearned "you" generalizations, and she's unflinchingly honest about, among other things, her reflexive tendency to lie. (She didn't have any hobbies, so she lied on a grad school questionnaire and pretended she w ...more
Jul 29, 2014 rated it did not like it
0.5 stars. I found this book incredibly dull (not the author's own struggles – I feel for anyone who has an addiction). Of the myriad stories that could be told about giving up drink and the mass of advice and reflections that could have been conveyed through a book, this book managed to be devoid of anything moving, in any direction. It was one dimensional. She should have gone with the alcohol-free drink recipe book she suggested to her publisher. She can write — the book isn't badly written g ...more
Aug 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
An insightful and interesting read.

It is a memoir on alcoholism, however, along the way, the author also talks about other aspects of life and ponders deep into the spiritual existence. I loved it. I like how honest she was in expressing herself and the feelings she's having. It was an easy read as well, enjoyable for the reader. She also talks about the relationships she'd established along the way and many of her adventures when she was facing her addictions. In addition to that, she mentioned
Jul 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This memoir is, all at once, beautiful, painful, funny, and inspirational. Sacha speaks with a natural voice that makes you feel as if you know her and she is pouring her own heart out to you and only you. You feel her pain, you struggle through her trials, and you make it through day by day. There were ah-ha moments of "Wow, that's me" that I think MANY will experience, regardless of their alcohol consumption and life choices. This book really made me take a good hard look into my own past, my ...more
Tammy Annichiarico
Jun 01, 2012 rated it liked it
My review is mixed - I didn't care for the 'relapse fantasies' that filled this book- quite distracted so I need up skipping those few pages. Also, lots of times I find the other close minded and putting alot of pl down- 'finding God' didn't work for her but that doesn't mean it doesn't help alot of drug addicts stay sober.. Same with 12 step programs- not for everyone but yet it does help alot of pl. On the other hand, I did 'enjoy' (not the right word here) the authors discription of what goin ...more
Apr 16, 2014 rated it liked it
I enjoyed hearing the author's perspective about her post-drinking life. It was pretty inspiring to hear her story and how she totally turned her life around. Some parts were a bit slow,and she did come off as a big arrogant to me (but then again, I think that about the author of every memoir I read...I mean, you must think you're something special if you're writing a book about events in your life), but all in all I thought it was well written (the author is a big fan of the word "eschew" which ...more
Nov 01, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
After reading the book "Smashed" by Koren Zailckas a few years back I've been on the hunt for something to measure up to it but alas this book was not it. It was more of a self help book for someone who has recently given up alcohol or is searching for a way to live life sans the substance. For someone who enjoys a drink or two possibly even more depending on the occasion so reading accounts of days turning into nights merely makes me reflect upon my youth for lack of a better description - when ...more
Jan 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I can't recommend this book enough. Funny, poignant and hopeful, it truly captured for me the feelings and trials of figuring out who you are and learning to shed self-delusionary and dishonest behavior and thinking long after you've shed alcohol from your life. Getting rid of alcohol is only the beginning of the journey in dealing with alcoholism. I was happy to read this entertaining and inspired story.

Memoirs are tricky because where some thoughts resonate with readers so completely, others
Feb 26, 2016 rated it liked it
I am not an alcoholic (reading this book very clearly put that family history fear to rest). As such, I am not the target audience for this book and you should take that into consideration for my review.
It is well-written and engaging. My desire was for a book that talked about, having given up a central part of your self-identification, how do you redefine yourself? Unfortunately for me, there was more about the time before sobriety (a.k.a. "Why did I stop?") and the struggle against the lurki
Rachel Daily
Aug 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
Read this more to explore work life balance and coping mechanisms of those under a lot of pressure than for the alcoholic plot line, but the two obviously are one in the same here. In this case, hers was the political landscape of DC that ran her ragged during the day leading her to numb herself for hours in the evening - only to repeat the cycle the next day. It definitely helps give clarity to the suspicions of sleepwalking through ones stress and waking up one day to discover that by numbing ...more
Jul 23, 2012 rated it liked it
2.5 stars. There were some good insights into the mind of an alcoholic, but not as many as I'd hoped. I thought the ending where she used her marathon as a metaphor for her recovery was probably the best part of the book. The parts that were rather trying to read were her "fantasy relapse pass" sections at the end of each chapter. This would have been a better book without them.
A person recovering from an addiction may get more out of this book than I did.
Nicholas Primm
Jan 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I really, really enjoyed this book. It's a very humorous book (she can't believe there are people in the world who actually depart from their restaurant table and leave an unfinished glass of wine, and after she's sober, nothing pisses her off more). I'm not nearly as big a drunk as this chick, but there's a lot of wisdom in here that has nothing to do with alcohol. I already look forward to reading it again.
Edmund Davis-Quinn
May 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle
This took me a while to read as I was distracted by library books. I really enjoy the author's voice and honesty. I enjoy alcohol myself but rarely to get drunk.

Sobriety isn't easy. I liked how she talked about how she had to get away from people. How drunks would seem like lizard people to her. And how sobriety allowed for deeper connections and a better life.

Also, how having friends and people help you get your through it all is so important.
Nicole Garey
Jun 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
As far as memoirs go (I normally hate them), I really enjoyed this one and it's not just because I'm clumsily stumbling through early recovery myself. This book fields questions and crises from both non-alcoholics and those in recovery without being preachy or condescending. Her humor was also very refreshing.
Jul 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Regardless of your relationship with alcohol, this book is a must read for anyone seeking to make a change in their life. Scoblic tells her story is full color - the good, bad and ugly. And doesn't apologize for it. What I loved about this book is that she is so genuine and honest about her struggles, as well as her desires for change. She also doesn't give any bs on how hard it is to change.
Jul 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is an excellent introduction to the thought patterns that accompanies addiction and Scoblic's stories make it clear how hard those patterns are to change in sobriety (and she makes you laugh, too!).
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Sacha Z. Scoblic is a senior editor at THE ATLANTIC. Her work has appeared in The New Republic, The Guardian, The New York Times, Reader's Digest, and The Atlantic. Formerly a senior editor at Reader’s Digest, she has written about everything from space camp to pulp fiction, and she was a regular contributor to the New York Times blog “Proof: Alcohol and American Life.”

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