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.
"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.
"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.
Touching heartfelt story read by the author. I have watched her on television for so many years and to hear her journey was inspiring.
"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.
I was inspired by Elizabeth's candor. I felt like a friend sat down and told me their story over coffee on a deck over looking the ocean. It made me evaluate my own drinking. It gave me the right words to use in letters to a family member now in rehab. I want to meet her and thank her for how she left my soul after reading her book. It was the same feeling I get after seeing a movie that I know will stay with me forever.
"I am an alcoholic"
This is so real. I am also an alcoholic. Points out who you hurt.
"Excellent story and narration!"
I loved Elizabeth's raw memoir of her struggle with alcohol. She is honest about her battle and the tools that helped her overcome the addiction. I learned a lot from her inspiring story.
a gripping story, fabulous read. a generous look inside the world that is addiction. will pass it on
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