With 2014 coming to a close soon, many of us are revisiting the resolutions we made last January and thinking up new goals for 2015, so I decided to pick an inspirational, self-help book for our December book club read. When I read the buzz about ‘HIGH: A Party Girl’s Guide to Peace’ by Tara Bliss, it seemed like the perfect choice.
In the book, Bliss “reveals the memories of her pained cycle of binging and detoxing, and the practices that lifted her up and out; into a life of passion, purpose and peace.” This is an essential guide for anyone looking to detox after the New Year (or anytime) and move on from a party girl lifestyle.
HIGH is part memoir and part self-help guide and I really liked that balance. If you’re a hardcore party girl, going out every weekend and getting blitzed, then I think it would be quite overwhelming to start on a journey to a more healthy relationship with partying and substances without a story like Tara’s to inspire you. Each and every chapter had her journey woven through it and it was nice to see practical applications of the mountains of advice she was providing.
Tara was amazing at stressing that ANY progress is progress and beating yourself up is not a good way to help yourself and break any destructive habits – “Our brains, our bodies – they respond to progress, not perfection.” She takes the time to assure you that your past is not you and encourages forgiveness for others and yourself, something I found to be extremely useful and important in using this guide to it’s full potential. Tara’s very honest that sobriety wasn’t the solution for her and I found that refreshing since so many self-help and yoga-centric guides stress that as a necessity.
I’ve told a lot of people about this book and keep saying that I think it would have been more helpful 5 years ago. When I first started going out and partying, I was a bar star and closing down my favourite haunt at 3am every single Saturday. Now, I’m far too busy for that, but I do overindulge in wine every once in a while and have been trying to figure out why that is. I’ll spare you the gory details, but I did find HIGH excellent for uncovering my motivation.
Standout chapters for me were ‘The Candle Burning At Both Ends?’ and ‘From Ballistic to Holistic.’ In Chapter 3, Tara challenges us to figure out our current reward system, something that I’m sure most people have never even thought about. Why is the mentality of, “I worked hard – I deserve to let loose” so pervasive in party girl’s lives? I found the exercises in this chapter super interesting and applicable to everything in my life from school to exercise to food. Chapter 5 was also health-focused, this time on treating your body right. I’ve never thought about exercise as an act of self-care or self-love, but since reading HIGH, I’ve been able to shift my perspective. I have a much healthier relationship with exercise now and understand it’s place in my life.
What did you think of HIGH: A Party Girl’s Guide to Inner Peace? If you weren’t able to read along with us this month, I encourage you to pick up a copy! I think anyone who is uncomfortable with their relationship with substances from hardcore party girls looking to those who are sick of hangovers will find HIGH: A Party Girl’s Guide to Peace useful.
And now for our first book club pick of 2015: The Magicians by Lev Grossman, which has been touted as a grown-up Harry Potter! Sounds fun! See you back here next year.