After listening to the Kavanaugh-Ford hearings, I was curious to learn more about excessive alcohol drinking and memory and found this article from Psychology Today, “Why You Cannot Remember What You Did While You Were Drunk.” Published back in August of 2015, it explains:

Most people think that [“alcoholic blackout”] means drinking until you pass out. It doesn’t. When in alcoholic blackout, a person can walk, talk, and interact with other people. But they don’t form memories of what they are doing or experiencing. They can’t.

When the body’s alcohol level rises too high too fast, memory functions are impaired. The hippocampus, a brain structure that is crucial for transferring information from short-term to long-term memory, is impaired at a cellular level. The resulting amnesia can be en bloc (can’t remember anything) or fragmentary (bits and pieces something can be retrieved with proper cuing).

After reading this article, I wondered: How can someone remember if he or she had a blackout when, by definition, a blackout involves not being able to remember having one?


Reflecting further on the Kavanaugh-Ford hearings, I realized that it gives us a glimpse of the hearings awaiting all of us after we leave this world. Last week, shameful behavior from someone’s high school years was broadcast to people around the world. The people involved would have never in their wildest dreams have imagined that their behavior would become so widely known. And yet it did.

In heaven, everything we do, whether we remember it or not, will some day be played back to us. And our deeds will be scrutinized to an infinitely greater degree than those of Judge Kavanaugh.

What we do each day really has a significant impact, even if our actions occur behind closed doors – and even if we ourselves don’t remember what we have done years later.


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Bracha Goetz is the author of 37 children’s books and a new memoir, “Searching for God in the Garbage.”