I’ve never done drugs. I don’t know how it feels, although I can imagine the appeal, the longing and the holes in fills in your life. Reading Erin Khar’s stunning memoir, Strung Out: One Last Hit and Other Lies That Nearly Killed Me, takes me into the heart of an addict and shows me the highs and lows of turning your life around.
In this deeply personal and illuminating memoir about her fifteen-year struggle with heroin, Khar sheds profound light on the opioid crisis and gives a voice to the over two million people in America currently battling with this addiction.
Were you an avid reader as a child? What kinds of things did you read?
YES. I started reading early, at three years old. And I read voraciously. I struggled with insomnia from a very young age and reading really saved me. I loved Beverly Cleary and Judy Blume. By the time I was seven years old, I was snagging books from my parents’ bookshelves. I discovered John Irving. His books, particularly The World According to Garp and The Hotel New Hampshire, became so important to me and really influenced me in so many ways.
What’s the strangest job you’ve ever had?
I don’t know if any of them would qualify as strange, but I have had a variety of jobs in my life from riding other people’s horses to working retail to a whole list of positions in TV/film production to working as a case manger with homeless youth to running a clothing line to my current writing life today, with some other unmemorable stops in between.
Which talent do you wish you had?
I really wish I could draw. I mean, I can draw, but not well. I am always so impressed by people who can draw well.
Have you ever traveled to do research for your writing? Where did you go?
Yes and no. I have not taken any trips specifically for research. But, as my memoir was coming together, I did revisit places I hadn’t been for some time, to jog my memory, to see if there was anything else underneath the surface there. My memoir writing is driven by sense memories, so physically being in spaces is quite helpful.
Tell us about your next big project.
With my book coming out February 25th, I am focusing on the launch and book tour and related speaking engagements. I have a few ideas for my next project but I have yet to decide which one will emerge as the winner.
About the book:
Growing up in LA, Erin Khar hid behind a picture-perfect childhood filled with excellent grades, a popular group of friends and horseback riding. After first experimenting with her grandmother’s expired painkillers, Khar started using heroin when she was thirteen. The drug allowed her to escape from pressures to be perfect and suppress all the heavy feelings she couldn’t understand.
This fiercely honest memoir explores how heroin shaped every aspect of her life for the next fifteen years and details the various lies she told herself, and others, about her drug use. With enormous heart and wisdom, she shows how the shame and stigma surrounding addiction, which fuels denial and deceit, is so often what keeps addicts from getting help. There is no one path to recovery, and for Khar, it was in motherhood that she found the inner strength and self-forgiveness to quit heroin and fight for her life.
STRUNG OUT is a life-affirming story of resilience while also a gripping investigation into the psychology of addiction and why people turn to opioids in the first place.