From the moment she uttered the brave and honest words, "I am an alcoholic," to interviewer George Stephanopoulos, Elizabeth Vargas began writing her story, as her experiences were still raw. Now, in Between Breaths, Vargas discusses her accounts of growing up with anxiety - which began suddenly at the age of six when her father served in Vietnam - and how she dealt with this anxiety as she came of age, to her eventually turning to alcohol for relief. She tells of how she found herself living in denial, about the extent of her addiction and keeping her dependency a secret for so long. She addresses her time in rehab, her first year of sobriety, and the guilt she felt as a working mother who had never found the right balance.
Honest and hopeful, Between Breaths is an inspiring listen.
©2016 Elizabeth Vargas (P)2016 Hachette Audio
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"Brave Soul Embraces Life"
This is an honest self-reflection on a brutally painful topic. Vargas tells it like it is. She apologizes without positioning herself as a victim. She exposes her raw nerves without overdramatizing her perspective. She is authentic and fair. She involves the reader in her brave "next step" in her recovery. Yet, the reader does not feel like a "viewer" of a 20/20 piece. Rather, it feels more like Vargas subtly invites us to help her remain accountable to her commitment to stay sober.
This could have easily been written as a vanity piece. No vanity here. She bravely takes a giant step forward, warts and all. I think Vargas has more story to tell. I found her account of being a journalist interesting. I enjoyed the few references to internal politics, public expectations of seemingly public figures, and the yo-yo nature of working in a network news organization. Her journey to Iraq left me wanting more stories. These anecdotes are presented as examples of her anxiety. She doesn't dwell in this space, but, I wish she would in her next book.
I am rooting for her. And, I am glad that I know mote about her. She is relateable, likeable, and brave. A victory for Vargas.
Best addiction memor I've read. She told my story. You must read this boo.k. Was not expecting much from a woman just two years sober and she far exceed my expectations. If you or someone you love is an alcoholic , read this book.
"Okay, but not too much insight"
I listened to this book pretty fast because the subject matter interests me. It is overall a good read/listen. Vargas's reflections on her crippling anxiety issues and how they have led her into drinking to excess will help many people who suffer from anxiety and panic attacks, I am sure.
Her story does get a bit repetitive after a while, which is NOT because she keeps relapsing but because she seems to not have too much insight into why she keeps drinking and starting over. If she does have the insight, she doesn't share it with the reader. "I drank again" "I went back to rehab after four days" leaves the reader wondering WHY she drank again? What went on in your head and in your body that made you drink? This is the really hard stuff every alcoholic goes through. Reading about it helps other people, problem-drinkers or regular drinkers, to understand what a struggle it is to stay sober.
Vargas is also incredibly privileged, and even though she acknowledges it, it seems more like she writes it because she knows she is supposed to. Her gripes about having picked the "wrong" center to treat her the second time - in rural Tennessee, without any fancy exercise opportunities and a private room - come off as first-world problems that miss the point of being in treatment. But then again, this is her story, and it sheds light on the fact that the experience of detoxing and being in treatment is really also very, very class-based in the U.S. - even if Vargas herself is unable to reflect on it.
The same can be said for all the underlying things she mentions but does not get into - her insecurities, her perfectionism, the strain of the modern professional woman to have it all and do it all. This is something many, many people, especially women, know all too well. It would have been nice if she had linked all this to her alcoholism.
"Brave and Beautiful"
As a fellow 50ish, anxious female alcoholic taking another run at sobriety, this book was a salve. I'm sure I'll listen to it again. I'm so grateful to Elizabeth and Dan Harris and Scott Stossel, to name a few, for sharing their most private anguish with the world. I don't know why we assume we're alone, but when we find out the excellent company we're keeping, it provides strength and hope and lessens the loneliness of this powerful affliction. Thank you Elizabeth.
"Loved this book!"
Her story is honest and powerful! She lays it all on the line and tells it like it is. Such a positive person.
"Provides great insight!"
Elizabeth Vargas shares the darkness (and the light) of living with a disease that many suffer from, that many families must survive the consequences of, and through her courage helps us to understand. It is likely that every person knows someone who lives with addiction. This book provides insight to how addiction can creep up, become integrated into our daily lives, and take over our lives. With that in mind, the next question is: how can it be stopped before the individual gets so far along that their feet are pulled out from under them?
Hearing her voice, telling her own story of evolving into the disease of alcoholism, had a profound effect on processing her words. Much more effective than simply reading the book.
Elizabeth Vargas shows us that being an alcoholic may not be the same visual we had about what alcoholics look like, sound like, live like. A person close to you may be suffering from addiction and you do not even know it. This book will help open many hearts to compassion for those who live with the challenge of addictions.
"Absolutely , beautifully written 😙"
I LOVED THE SINCERETY
It was heartfelt, and so I found it intriguing.
She is humble and so truthful.
"Thank you Elizabeth!"
I am certain I am not the only one who thought, "She's telling my story!" Thank Elizabeth for your courage. A wonderful book that everyone should read so they can become more aware that this disease effects all walks of life. I listened to her audio and loved it.
Touching heartfelt story read by the author. I have watched her on television for so many years and to hear her journey was inspiring.
"Thank you for your bravery!"
This book sheds a light on a dark subject that plagues millions. While I, thankfully, don't suffer personally from alcoholism I know and love many who do. Thank you for your bravery, Elizabeth. My hope is others listen and take note.
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