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Memoir recounts Seattle author's journey through alcohol addiction, relapse, and recovery

Erica C. Barnett wants readers to know relapsing doesn't make you a failure and recovery is possible. #newdaynw

With the pandemic came isolation and with isolation came, for some, a greater desire to consume alcohol.

Author and journalist Erica C. Barnett joins New Day NW to talk about her book "Quitter" and the pandemic's impact on those who struggle with addiction or are in recovery.

RELATED: Erica Barnett tells the messy, ugly, unvarnished truth about addiction and recovery


A startlingly frank memoir of one woman's struggles with alcoholism and recovery, with essential new insights into addiction and treatment.

Erica C. Barnett had her first sip of alcohol when she was thirteen, and she quickly developed a taste for drinking to oblivion with her friends. In her late twenties, her addiction became inescapable. Volatile relationships, blackouts, and unsuccessful stints in detox defined her life, with the bottles she hid throughout her apartment and offices acting as both her tormentors and closest friends. By the time she was in her late thirties, Barnett had quit and relapsed again and again but found herself far from rehabilitated.

"Rock bottom," Erica Barnett writes, "is a lie."

It is always possible, she learned, to go lower than your lowest point. She found that the terms other alcoholics used to describe the trajectory of their addiction — "rock bottom" and "moment of clarity" — and the mottos touted by Alcoholics Anonymous, such as "let go and let God" — didn't correspond to her experience and could actually be detrimental.

With remarkably brave and vulnerable writing, Barnett expands on her personal story to confront the dire state of addiction in America, the rise of alcoholism in American women in the last century, and the lack of rehabilitation options available to addicts. At a time when opioid addiction is a national epidemic and one in twelve Americans suffers from alcohol abuse disorder, "Quitter" is indispensable reading for our age and an ultimately hopeful story of Barnett's own hard-fought path to sobriety.

RELATED: Substance use and abuse is on the rise. Here's how to seek help

Segment Producer Derek Haas. Watch New Day Northwest 11 AM weekdays on KING 5 and streaming live on KING5.com. Contact New Day.

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