Fix Contributor Amber Tozer Opens Up About Addiction Struggles, New Memoir

By May Wilkerson 07/12/16

Tozer spoke to People about the journey that inspired her candid memoir Sober Stick Figure.

Fix Contributor Amber Tozer Opens Up About Addiction Struggles, New Memoir
Excerpt from Sober Stick Figure

Luckily, standup comedian, TV writer and The Fix contributor Amber Tozer lived to tell the tale of her alcoholism, and with humor—and stick figures!

This week, Tozer talked to People about the inspiration for her new book, Sober Stick Figure, in which she details her struggles with addiction, her family history of alcoholism, her “crazy” mind, and her recovery. "I love to write funny stories about dark and scary truths that lead to transformation," she says. "Lucky for me, I'm an alcoholic and have a dark and funny story to tell." 

The book has been praised by critics and fellow comedians, like Andy Richter, who said: “A hilarious, unique voice [Amber's] struggle with addiction is a story of triumph, told in a wonderfully relatable way.” And Paste magazine said it "might be the funniest book about alcoholism.”

This may be in part because Tozer, 39, doesn’t shy away from the gritty, scary truths about her addiction, even as she adds levity with her comedic tone and stick figure drawings. In the book, she recounts stories of blacking out, passing out in public, and putting herself in dangerous situations.

In one story, she recalls getting chased by a cab driver after she realized she didn’t have money to pay the fare. She then got in a car with two strange men, and they drove around the city looking to score weed.

Though her life was falling apart, her career was going well. Tozer was working her way up the comedy circuit in the mid 2000s, performing in clubs in LA and New York, and in 2008, she appeared on Last Comic Standing. Her “rock bottom” happened around 2008, when she woke up on an air mattress after using cocaine. With the help of friends, including a respected Hollywood producer, she got help. She is now seven years sober. 

Sober Stick Figure, which was released this past May, is her first book. In it, she also discusses her family history with addiction, including her father’s alcoholism. "My main concern about writing the book was hurting and embarrassing my family because I exposed some of our harsh and dysfunctional history," Tozer told People. "Thankfully, they have been incredibly kind and supportive."

She also says she’s drawn inspiration and hope from other alcoholics and addicts in recovery who have shared their own stories. "Listening to and reading about other alcoholics and their journey planted sober and hopeful thoughts in my mind," she said. "I hope my journey does the same for other people."

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May Wilkerson is a writer, comic and Managing Editor @someecards. Co-host of the podcast Crazy; In Bed w/alyssalimp. She is also the top Google result for "insufferable lunatic." Follow this insufferable lunatic on Twitter.