Today, the opioid crisis makes nightly news, an epidemic claiming more than 130 lives in the United States each day. The question on everyone’s mind is: why? Why do so many people turn to drugs? When Erin Khar’s twelve-year-old son, Atticus, asked her this question, it started her on the journey to write this book, a meditation on her fifteen-year opioid addiction and the road to recovery.
STRUNG OUT is a vivid, no-holds-barred account of Erin Khar’s personal struggle with opioid addiction. Growing up in LA as the only child of divorced parents, Khar, often consumed with loneliness, looked for an escape from the pervasive belief that she wasn’t enough—not enough to keep her parents together or her mother from depression—and yet, she never shared with anyone this private sadness. Instead, she hid behind the façade of a perfect childhood filled with good grades, a popular group of friends, and horseback riding. By the time she was thirteen, the act becoming too difficult to keep up, and she started experimenting with her grandmother’s expired painkillers, quickly followed by heroin. The drug allowed her to feel the calm she was missing from her life and suppress all the heavy feelings she couldn’t understand. Heroin, while keeping her from other forms of self-harm, became the addiction that destroyed her.
Drawn from Khar’s own experiences, STRUNG OUT is as much about recovery as it is addiction. With enormous heart and wisdom, Khar shows how recovery is a process, one that involves a cycle of relapses and renewed dedication to getting sober. She explores how the shame and stigma surrounding addiction is so often what keeps addicts from getting help. For Khar, it was in motherhood that she found the inner strength and self-forgiveness to quit heroin for good. An urgent and empathetic personal take on the opioid crisis, STRUNG OUT is a necessary memoir of addiction, recovery, and the lifesaving power of love.