From Whiskey to Water by Sam Cowen – Review


If you are based in South Africa you most probably would have seen the SA Bestseller book ‘From Whiskey to Water’, by 702 radio host Sam Cowen, on shelves these past few weeks.

I recently got gifted this book for Christmas (thanks mom!) and thought I would give a quick review for those who might be keen to give it a read.

The tell-all book, sees Cowen publicly open up about being an alcoholic and her decision to put down the bottle 14 years ago. The journey that ultimately follows is one that is rife with ups and downs in terms of struggles with her identity, with other people’s thoughts and opinions, with a food addiction and then subsequently a a newfound ‘addiction’ to grueling long distance swimming.

The book is punctuated with the dry wit and sense of humour that South African’s have come to know and love from Cowen and does not hold back from discussing the ongoing hardships that sober living has brought over the years, even 14 years into her sobriety.

I believe this book is not only suitable for those going through a similar journey with alcohol addiction, but for those who have a passion and drive for any type of sport. And while Cowen’s choice of sport comes in the form of a grueling and icy 7.5km swim from Robben Island to Blouberg in the Western Cape, the passion and drive that emulates from the book is one that all sportsmen and women can draw inspiration from. Personally, the book has even sparked thoughts of picking up my own swimming career I left well behind me 13 years ago!


“So this is a book on how I stopped drinking? No, it’s not. It’s how I stopped drinking, started eating, became clinically severely obese, stopped eating (everything that wasn’t nailed down) and swam my way to freedom. No, it’s not. It’s actually about addiction and learning and sadness and anxiety and love and drive. It’s about channelling the unchangeable into the miraculous. It’s about dragons and learning how to put them to sleep when you can’t slay them. It’s about being my own Daenarys.”

If you would like to pick up a copy you can do so here.

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