Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Sex, Drugs and Meditation” as Want to Read:
Sex, Drugs and Meditation
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Sex, Drugs and Meditation

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  112 ratings  ·  26 reviews
Darkly funny and beautifully told, Sex, Drugs and Meditation is a tale for those of us who confuse being busy with being happy; the story of a woman who dared herself to stop talking and start living – and loving.

Mary-Lou Stephens was lucky to make it into her forties. Therapy and AA helped her recover from her upbringing in an evangelical household; her habit of shoplift
Paperback, 275 pages
Published April 1st 2013 by Pan Macmillan
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Sex, Drugs and Meditation, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Sex, Drugs and Meditation

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.04  · 
Rating details
 ·  112 ratings  ·  26 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Sex, Drugs and Meditation
Louise Cusack
Apr 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir
This book changed me.

I'd love to leave my review at that, but I want to say more. Mary-Lou's honesty about her life humbled me,and her struggle to find peace in an unbearable situation helped me feel better about myself. I'm not quite sure why. But it did. I felt uplifted, appalled, and teary at times.

Sex, Drugs and Meditation is great raw read that speaks to the inner child in all of us who got dealt a crappy hand. It's a map to lead you away from pain and into peace. And it's funny! So funny i
Lisa Walker
Aug 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
‘Sex, Drugs and Meditation’ is ABC radio journalist Mary-Lou Stephens’ first book. This memoir about personal transformation has an unusual structure. A ten-day silent meditation retreat provides the frame and the backdrop to her story.
Mary-Lou’s decision to take the retreat is driven by a re-structure at the radio station where she works. Enter Elliott Purvis, her sociopathic boss. While radio has given Mary-Lou a haven and a purpose, she realises she may have to abandon it. Can she find a way
Apr 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
I began this book thinking I would learn that meditation can solve everything. I feel like my assumption was justified since the technique Stephens learned appears to have helped her gain control of her 'monkey mind' and to behave in a way that she is proud of instead of avoiding nasty situations through fear. This book was full of personal learning for me and the messages I got from this book were:
-practice self-reflection to avoid being merely reactive;
-your happiness cannot be determined by e
Jennifer Burge
Oct 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed reading this memoir and I appreciated the degree of honesty with which Mary-Lou recounted her "sins". It's a wonderful read that reminded me how we tend to believe that OUR transgressions are the worst and everyone else must be living a life of blissful ease in comparison. Sex, Drugs, & Meditation is a poignant illustration of how we are very often our own worst enemy. I look forward to reading more from Mary-Lou Stephens. ...more
Nene Davies
Apr 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
I loved this book and ended up feeling as though the author was a close friend. The descriptions of her time at the meditation centre were beautiful and painful and honest. Her story was wildly colourful (compared with my own life!) and I was hoping all the way through that this clever, bright, funny lady would eventually find peace. A fab read.
May 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: home-library
I inhaled this book, purchased yesterday, finished this morning. It's already dog eared & marked, paragraphs underlined, which I've never done before. Life changing. ...more
Nov 12, 2022 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir
This memoir from Australian author, radio announcer and singer/songwriter, Mary-Lou Stephens is brutally and refreshingly honest. In an endeavour to cope with her toxic work environment, Mary-Lou goes to a meditation retreat that requires no speaking for 10 days - an incredible deprivation for someone who talks for a living! It does, however, give her time to think and reflect on past decisions and how to cope with life, and her horrible new boss, from now on. I enjoyed this book and I’m looking ...more
Petra Kelly
May 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
It’s a story of redemption but there is nothing sentimental about Mary-Lou Stephen’s memoir Sex Drugs and Meditation. Using the ten days of a Vipassana meditation retreat, one of the more serious forms of Buddhist practice, as a framework, her story traces her tough journey from a shadowed childhood through a wild young adulthood to the decade of her forties where she finally manages to wrestle her professional and personal demons to the ground.
But it’s not the handsome prince who saves her; Ma
Mary-Lou Stephens
Apr 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
The Get Reading review

This is the true story of a woman with a talent for self-sabotage who learns to sit still, shut up and start living and loving. With the aid of therapy and NA/AA she has overcome a tricky childhood; drama school; drug and alcohol addiction; the lure of performing in late night gigs; and her spectacularly poor taste in men. She has landed a dream job as a broadcaster for the ABC. Life is looking good. Except that Mary-Lou has a new boss, a psychopath in a suit. Determined t
Susanna Freymark
Mar 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
What an open, forthright story. I was worried at first about the story setting.
A ten- day silent meditation retreat didn't sound engaging. How wrong I was.
With flashbacks to her colourful past, her previous relationships explored and her childhood laid bare, the author managed to weave her narrative among the trials of daily life at the retreat. She lays her story bare, without judgement and explores the motives for her actions.
This was such an easy book to read. I had to read fast in my lunc
Jun 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
Mary-Lou Stephens memoir is raw and honest. I really enjoyed reading about the inner-workings of the mind during meditation. I think this book can help a wide spectrum of people as so many of the things Mary-Lou writes about are things everyone struggles with whether they practice meditation or not. I really appreciate the authors honesty, she reminded me of my best friend, and I feel I have a better understanding of how other people think after reading it.
Jul 27, 2013 rated it liked it
I felt a bit disturbed most of the way through - the writer's monkey mind was affecting me too! I guess I expected, by about day three or four of the retreat, it to become much calmer. That didn't come til right at the end.

I can totally relate to the displaced feeling the day Mary-Lou left the retreat centre...

The tone was much slower and calmer then and I'd have liked to read more of what happened next - the book seemed to end abruptly to me. Maybe it's in the next one? :-)
Meg Vann
Stephens explores her very interesting life, filled with rock'n'roll, risky choices and their consequences. A reflective memoir, yet the author's unfolding realisations kept the story careening along with the pace of a car chase. Told in flashbacks and snippets that anyone who meditates will recognise as the hectic mind at work, this is an inspiring story, with plenty of acerbic humour to leaven the sometimes painful depths. ...more
Apr 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
I had no idea what to expect when I won a copy of this book from Goodreads. I didn't know the author, and I'd never heard of the style of meditation she learns in the book. It was fascinating and really well written, and I totally got sucked into it. I do wonder how this book played with the evil boss... ...more
Aug 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
I was lucky enough to hear Mary Lou speak about this book. Fascinating talk followed by an unexpected meditation session and half an hour of questions. It is hard to reconcile the intelligent, confident woman I listen to on the radio with the insecurities she describes in the book. She's a wonderful advertisement for meditation. Looking forward to her next book - it's about marriage.
Deborah Maree
Jun 28, 2013 rated it liked it
Although this book created intrigue into the mechanism of Vipassana meditation, the authors personal story was not interesting. I found it to be a badly written Australian version of Eat Pray Love (I mean I don't even want to compare it to this amazing book) with too much dirty language and emphasis on the negative ..... Until the last 15 pages. Too late for my liking! ...more
Lyn Ryan
I felt that the author was brutally honest in her account, honest with herself and with the reader. This brave account is full of insights for anyone who has had an addiction or done any 'interior' work. ...more
Karyn Sarbach
Feb 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant book..........once you pick it up you just don't want to put it down! If you've ever wanted to know about meditation, this book is a must read. Mary-Lou is a fantastic writer - you cry love love it!! ...more
May 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I loved this but do think the title is all wrong for this engaging and beautifully written memoir. It has greater sensitivity than the title would suggest.
Mar 31, 2013 rated it really liked it
Simply written and yet so raw. The concept of survival presents as an intriguing concept. Glad there is a happy ending.
May 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
I thought this book was very good. I enjoyed reading Mary-Lou's journey to find enlightenment. ...more
Apr 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Not sure if I have the guts to do the 10 day meditation retreat, but it's fun to think about and imagine.

Maybe one day…

Great book.
Jodie Miller
Aug 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I've probably read it three times now, and each time I find a new takeaway. Disclaimer: Mary-Lou is a personal friend. Watching her journey with this book gave me so much joy and learning and her generosity and humility continues today. Right now, she's volunteering at Vipassana again. She walks her talk, is open about her life and experiences, has a wicked and wacky sense of humour. Why did I not write this review years ago when I first read your book, Mary-Lou? ...more
Gay Liddington
Oct 28, 2022 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Stephens engages in a 10-day silent meditation and weaves the experience with the challenges that life has dealt her. She flavours the story with raw honesty and good humour that kept me laughing and reading. Highly recommended.
Mar 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Sex Drugs and Meditation reminded me that even though I have weird thoughts or crappy childhood memories or a checkered angst ridden relationship history, I’m okay, I’m still here and its alright and so is Mary-Lou Stephens. You don’t have to be a meditator to appreciate the turbulent mind of one. Negativity, self-doubt, insecurities and fear plague us all as do the regrets we walk around with or the self-denigrating decisions we make about who we are based on the careless actions of others. Bul ...more
Jun 26, 2013 rated it it was ok
Another self angst book. Bit of a yawn.
Nour Elgrah
rated it it was amazing
Mar 29, 2020
rated it it was amazing
May 31, 2017
rated it really liked it
Oct 29, 2016
Michelle Lightworker
rated it it was amazing
Jun 10, 2015
« previous 1 3 4 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
The global community 1 3 May 31, 2013 12:35AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Sick to Death: A Manipulative Surgeon and a Healthy System in Crisis--a Disaster Waiting to Happen
  • Mission: Her Safety (Team 52 #5)
  • Mission: Her Freedom (Team 52, #6)
  • Mission: Her Shield (Team 52 #7)
  • Mission: Her Justice (Team 52, #8)
  • Wildland
  • The Dreams of Broken Kings (Fae Guardians #3)
  • Gulliver's Wife
  • Almost French: Love and a New Life in Paris
  • Get Well Soon! My (un)Brilliant Career As A Nurse
  • Team 52 Box Set (Team 52 #1-3)
  • The Weekend
  • The Unwinding of the Miracle: A Memoir of Life, Death, and Everything That Comes After
  • The Wright Brothers
  • Mission: Her Defense (Team 52, #4)
  • Starting from Scratch
  • The Good Wife of Bath
  • Rosemary: The Hidden Kennedy Daughter
See similar books…
Mary-Lou Stephens was born in Tasmania, studied acting at The Victorian College of the Arts and played in bands in Melbourne, Hobart and Sydney. Eventually she got a proper job - in radio, where she was a presenter and music director, first with commercial radio and then with the ABC.

She received rave reviews for her memoir Sex, Drugs and Meditation (2013), the true story of how meditation changed

Related Articles

Dishy memoirs are not, alas, a formal publishing designation. But they really should be. Dishiness may be an inexact term, but we know it when...
36 likes · 6 comments