Episode

Gretchen Rubin

Gretchen Rubin

My experiments in the pursuit of happiness and good habits

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A Memoir and a List of Loopholes Used to Justify Drinking.

July 13th, 2015

Episode 91 of 399 episodes

Because of my interest in habits, I read a lot of memoirs of addiction. I don’t tackle addiction in Better Than Before, but still, I find that I get a lot of insights from these accounts. I recently finished an excellent new memoir, Sarah Hepola’s Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget. I was particularly interested to see how she used loopholes to justify her drinking. When we try to form and keep habits, we often search for loopholes, for justifications that will excuse us from keeping this particular habit in this particular situation. However, if we catch ourselves in the act of loophole-seeking, we can perhaps reject them. We’re so good at thinking of loopholes! I’ve identified ten categories, in fact, and Hepola uses several of them as she justifies her drinking to herself. I don’t want to sound unduly critical of Hepola, by identifying her loopholes. We all use them — we’re very ingenious when it comes to finding loopholes. Hepola’s memoir is thought-provoking and insightful, precisely because she’s so honest about her thoughts and actions. Here are some examples of the loopholes she invokes: — “Drinking on a plane is a line-item veto in the ‘never drink ...

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