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Dear Sugars


The universe has good news for the lost, lonely and heartsick. The Sugars are here, speaking straight into your ears. Hosted by the original Sugars, Cheryl Strayed and Steve Almond, the podcast fields all your questions — no matter how deep or dark — and offers radical empathy in return. Send your letters to

The universe has good news for the lost, lonely and heartsick. The Sugars are here, speaking straight into your ears. Hosted by the original Sugars, Cheryl Strayed and Steve Almond, the podcast fields all your questions — no matter how deep or dark — and offers radical empathy in return. Send your letters to
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The universe has good news for the lost, lonely and heartsick. The Sugars are here, speaking straight into your ears. Hosted by the original Sugars, Cheryl Strayed and Steve Almond, the podcast fields all your questions — no matter how deep or dark — and offers radical empathy in return. Send your letters to




Episodes We Love: The Price Of Our Dreams

The Sugars, along with fiction writer George Saunders, field letters from people who are chasing their creative dreams but frightened by the practical and financial risks that come with that pursuit. This episode was originally released August 5th, 2017.


Episodes We Love: Rapid Fire Letters

In a heated moment, a mother reveals a dark chapter from her childhood to her daughter, then immediately regrets it. What now? In this week’s episode, the Sugars tackle this and several other questions, including how to handle a brother-in-law who treats your vacation as his own free childcare; what to do when your best friend’s husband asks you to lie; and why we sometimes recoil at very public displays of grief. This episode was originally released July 29th, 2017.


Episodes We Love: The Power Of No, Part 2

"What do I want?" This is the question Oprah Winfrey finally asked herself, after years of struggling to say "no" to people in her life. In the second of this two-part series, the Sugars continue their conversation with Oprah Winfrey on when, why and how to say "no." This episode was originally released July 22nd, 2017.


Episodes We Love: The Power Of No, Part 1

There’s incredible power in saying “yes.” It opens up avenues and allows us to be brave. In Cheryl's case, it’s what led to her becoming Sugar. But saying yes to life's opportunities can also have its risks. The Sugars are joined by Oprah Winfrey to discuss when to say no, how to say no, and what happens in the wake of that. This episode was originally released July 15th, 2017.


Episodes We Love: Friendship, Part 1

Everyone has had a friendship quandary of some sort in the past, right? This week, the Sugars take on frequently asked questions in "rapid fire" fashion – from hating your best friend's significant other, to hating her politics. This episode was originally released October 28th, 2016.


Episodes We Love: May-December Romances

Age is just a number in many contexts, but when it comes to finding long-lasting love, an age gap between partners can greatly impact the course of the relationship — both in positive and challenging ways. The Sugars discuss those so-called "May-December" romances with the help of Lucinda Franks, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author of the memoir Timeless: Love, Morgenthau, and Me, which tells the story of her marriage to New York District Attorney Robert Morgenthau, who's 27 years...


Episodes We Love: I Divorced My Spouse, And My Child Divorced Me

Divorce is always a painful process, but it's especially so when there are children in the middle. This week, the Sugars discuss situations of parental alienation caused by divorce. They answer letters from a mother and a father whose daughters have cut off all communication with them after taking the other parent's side. This episode was originally released October 14th, 2016.


Episodes We Love: Make The Call

The Sugars bring you another "rapid fire" episode, where they give brief answers to a handful of letters. This time, they challenge each other to make the call — one way or the other — on the questions they're discussing, rather than offer open-ended guidance. This episode was originally released September 30th, 2016.


Episodes We Love: How Do I Find The Courage To Be My Own Guide?

The Sugars often discuss letters dealing with very specific problems or struggles. This week, they take on a broader, more existential question -- how to follow your heart. The Sugars discuss with the GRAMMY-winning singer/songwriter India Arie, who shares how she learned to be her own guide. This episode was originally released September 23rd, 2016.


Episodes We Love: I'm A Transgender Man, Seeking Acceptance

The Sugars read the letters of two transgender men who are struggling to find love and acceptance. They discuss with Cooper Lee Bombardier, a visual artist, writer and transgender man. This episode was originally released September 2nd, 2016.


Dear Sugars Presents: Last Seen

From our partners at WBUR, a new podcast that looks into the greatest unsolved art heist in history: the theft of half a billion dollars worth of art from the Isabella Stewart Gardner museum in Boston. Listen to the first episode and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.


Episodes We Love: Can A Sexual Assault Survivor Love A Rapist?

The Sugars discuss a letter from a survivor of sexual assault who has just been told by her long-time partner that he raped someone when he was in high school. The writer wonders how she, as a survivor and self-proclaimed feminist, can justify loving a rapist. This episode was originally released July 28th, 2016


The Long Goodbye

After four years of ministering to the lost, lonely, and heartsick, the Sugars say farewell on this final episode of the podcast. We take a look back at some of our most powerful advice, hear from former guests, and talk to listeners about how the show has impacted their lives. Cheryl and Steve share what saying goodbye means to them, speaking with radical empathy straight into our ears, one last time. For more information on today’s episode visit


Moving On, Part 2 — With Dr. Harriet Lerner

“Dear Sugars, I’m a serial codependent. I’ve married and had children with two addicts,” begins a letter signed by “Mommy Messed Up.” Over the years, her second husband began to withdraw and stash money inside of old bottles. Now Mommy Messed Up is ready to end their toxic relationship. The only problem is she’ll have to disrupt her children’s lives for a second time. “I’m fine with breaking my own heart,” she writes. “But how do I break my boys’ hearts?” A second letter comes from a woman...


Moving On, Part 1 — With Claire Bidwell Smith

As our final season draws to a close, the Sugars have been thinking about what it means to say goodbye and let go. In this first episode of our two-part series on moving on, the Sugars and Claire Bidwell Smith answer two letters from people struggling to move past their grief after the death of their loved ones. The first letter comes from a woman who recently discovered that her best childhood friend died by suicide. Now she’s haunted by the fact that she failed to intervene years ago. The...


Talking About Privilege — With Catrice M. Jackson

Privilege comes in many forms: socio-economic privilege, gender privilege, heterosexual privilege, to name a few. But behind every case is an imbalance of power, invisible to those who possess it, and ever-present for those who don’t. In today’s episode, the Sugars reply to two letter writers whose loved ones are unable see their own privilege. One letter comes from a woman whose fiancé wants her and their future children to take his last name. The Sugars call on Catrice M. Jackson, a...


Emotional Abuse — With Reema Zaman

He removed her makeup when he thought she was wearing too much. He refused to put her name on the leases for their car and their house. He told her that she had a green card only because he chose to marry her. Reema Zaman was in an emotionally abusive marriage. Although her husband’s abuses never left any physical mark, it took her years to repair the damage he inflicted upon her. In today's episode, Ms. Zaman describes some of the telltale signs of an emotionally abusive relationship and...


Dear Sugars Live: The Great Reckoning

Dear Sugars returns to Portland, Ore., for another epic live show. Special guests Mitchell S. Jackson and Rebecca Skloot share the stage with the Sugars to tell stories of personal reckoning and answer letters from the audience. To some extent, every letter the Sugars receive is a kind of reckoning, as it’s often the letter writer’s first attempt at taking account of their mistakes and delusions. In this episode, the Sugars take a long hard look at transgressions of love, friendship, the...


Rapid Fire: Love & Money

When it comes to love, money is supposed to be no object. But there’s no disentangling love from anything in our lives, and income is no exception. So how do you assess the role money should play in a relationship, and what happens when your desires and means change over time? In today’s rapid-fire episode, the Sugars answer five letters from people who want to know how to discuss money with their romantic and familial partners. For more information on today’s episode, including a list of...


Young & Isolated — With Shirley Manson

Feeling like an outsider is one of the hallmarks of adolescence, but in today’s episode we hear from two 16-year-olds who have cause to feel especially isolated. One girl is home-schooled and rarely leaves the house. A second girl feels disconnected from her best friend, who has suddenly become popular at school. Both letter writers wonder if they’ll ever feel comfortable in their own skin. Shirley Manson, the lead singer of the alternative rock band Garbage, joins the Sugars to discuss her...