In conversation with Alia Volz
In this deeply personal and illuminating memoir about her fifteen-year struggle with heroin, Erin 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.
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.
Erin Khar is known for her writing on addiction, recovery, mental health, relationships, parenting, infertility, and self-care. Her weekly advice column, Ask Erin, is published on Ravishly and brings in over 500K unique readers per month. Her personal essays have appeared in SELF, Marie Claire, Esquire, Cosmopolitan, Good Housekeeping, Redbook, and others. She's the recipient of the Eric Hoffer Editor's Choice Prize and her prize-winning essay was featured in Best New Writing 2012 anthology. Her essays have also been published in the Stigma Fighters Anthology (vol 3) and BURN IT DOWN, an anthology edited by Lilly Dancyger. She lives in New York City with her husband and two kids.
Alia Volz is a homegrown San Franciscan. Her writing appears in The Best American Essays 2017, the New York Times, Tin House, Threepenny Review, River Teeth, Nowhere magazine, Utne Reader, New England Review, and the recent anthologies Dig If You Will the Picture: Writers Reflect on Prince and Golden State 2017: Best New Writing from California. A 2018 MacDowell Colony fellow, Volz has also been an Artist in Residence with Writing Between the Vines and the Soaring Gardens Artists Retreat. The Squaw Valley Community of Writers awarded her the Oakley Hall Memorial Scholarship twice. She was runner-up of The Moth’s GrandSLAM Championship in 2014 and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She is the author of Homebaked: My Mom, Marijuana, and the Stoning of San Francisco, forthcoming from HMH Books, 4/20/20.