Former Amazon Employee Quit Job To Chronicle Journey To Sobriety

By David Konow 08/22/18

Kristi Coulter decided to focus on her sobriety more than her life as a person with alcoholism as she wrote Nothing Good Can Come From This.

woman writing on pad

For 12 years, Kristi Coulter, who graduated with an MFA from the University of Michigan, worked at Amazon in a variety of executive roles. She also had a big drinking problem and would drink at least one bottle of wine a night.

Now she’s written an acclaimed series of essays about her drinking and recovery called Nothing Good Can Come From This.

In an interview with Seattle Magazine, Coulter helped shed light on addiction in “tech culture,” which she says has been overlooked for some time. “Tech culture is drinking culture.” 

People in the tech sector not only drink from the high levels of stress, but also to deal with the rampant sexism that has infected that world for years.

Coulter discovered she had a gift for writing when she penned an essay for Medium called Enjoli, which received wide acclaim and led to her book deal.

Coulter told The Woolfer that her book is “a raw, frank, feminist look at what happens when a high-achieving, deeply unhappy forty-something woman give us the ‘one’ thing she really thinks she can’t live without—wine—and has to remake her entire sense of self from the ground up.”

In writing Nothing Good, Coulter focused on her sobriety more than her life as a person with alcoholism. “My drinking life was so monotonous,” she explains. “I really wanted to spend some time on ‘here’s what it’s actually like to live in a world like that.’”

Coulter says she’s now five years sober, and she found writing about it to be a great catharsis. “I never expected to make it to this side of the pool. I never thought I’d get to be here.”

Coulter also runs her own blog called Off Dry, and each blog entry marks her sober days. (The latest entry, where you can win a copy of Nothing Good, is marked "Day 1,879.") On the front page of her blog, Coulter writes, “I got sober. Life got big.”

When asked what advice she would give her younger self, Coulter jokes, “I thought, given where I ended up, was ‘Don’t start drinking!’ But that’s an oversimplification. Instead, I’d say, ‘Be aware that you can’t drink away your pain. You can’t drink away the things you don’t want to face.

"Reality is reality whether you like it or not, and it will still be waiting for you when the alcohol wears off, along with whatever you did to make things even worse while you were drunk—and by the way, people don’t generally make their problems ‘better’ while they’re drunk. Okay! Glad we had this chat, kiddo. Proceed.’” 

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In addition to contributing for The Fix, David Konow has also written for Esquire, Deadline, LA Weekly, Village Voice, The Wrap, and many other publications and websites. He is also the author of the three decade history of heavy metal, Bang Your Head (Three Rivers Press), and the horror film history Reel Terror (St Martins Press). Find David on LinkedIn and Facebook.