Self-Help Addiction Books and Memoirs, à la 2014
We review several writings on addiction and living with addicts
I’ve blogged about a number of books. A slew of new books on addiction have appeared recently, or I’ve only lately learned about them. Here are four. (I have others, too, but I’ll save them for a future post.)
Beyond Addiction: How Science and Kindness Help People Change Scribner, February 2014
By Jeffrey Foote, Carrie Wilkens and Nicole Kosanke with Stephanie Higggs
The cover of this book says “A guide for families,” and an endorsement on the inside front cover holds that instead of the old bromides—detaching and boundary setting—that are based on assumptions of family helplessness, Beyond Addiction offers evidence-based methods for families to motivate and reinforce change for an addicted love one. Perhaps the dedication page and the page following it say it all—For everyone who is hoping and working for a change, and In a gentle way, you can shake the world (Mahatma Gandhi).
I wish this book had been around when I was writing mine, because I would have recommended it. The tone is so friendly, and it has exercises, which may be helpful for many people. However, I’d probably only be able to read this book in spurts because it’s so intense. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that—someone said they had to keep putting my book down and picking it up again. It’s the nature of the topic.) If you think you might be interested in reading it, you really should peruse it or use the Amazon Look Inside feature to understand how useful it can be.
Sweat: A Practical Plan for Keeping Your Heart Intact While Loving an Addict
by Denise Krotcha 2010, Available as eBook or Paperback
One Amazon reviewer says this is a great self-help book for anyone who has chaos in their lives and wants to make the transition to a life with more peace of mind. (See below, under Surviving in Spirit for more information on the author.) Krotcha is the mother of a teenage son who was addicted to prescription pills, alcohol, and street drugs, and she wrote this book to share the way in which she coped.
Here’s the entry for this book on Goodreads.
Surviving in Spirit: A Memoir about Sisterhood and Addiction
by Melanie Berliet. Kindle edition, January 2014
[Full disclosure: I learned about this book when radio producer Denise Krotcha contacted me about appearing on her show on addiction Addicted to Addicts: Survival 101, “a weekly radio show that supports loved ones of addicts across the globe.” The book she published in 2010 is listed above]
One reviewer says it’s a great self-help book for anyone who has chaos in their lives and wants to make the transition to a life that has more peace of mind.
Berliet is a young journalist living in NYC. I can’t wait to read this book to see how it compares to my experience in writing about a brother.
She is Heavy, She’s My Mother
by Jan Carroll XLibris 2012
Jan Carroll wrote to me about her book and I asked for a review copy. She complied, sending it all the way from Australia, where she grew up and still lives. The granddaughter of E.J. Carroll, producer of early Australian silent films, she’s had an interesting life. The book is a detailed, fully drawn picture of what it’s like to live entangled with an alcoholic mother—the chaos and craziness. I had one question for the author after I read it—why didn’t you distance yourself more? (For example, her mother could be quite cruel. Or, as another example, she would agree to have her mother babysit, or allow her to do her other favors, only to have her mother leave her in the lurch time and time again.)
In answer to my question, Jan responded that she would get letters from lawyers, which she didn’t explain. But she also said, “There was so much I didn’t put in because I thought, “Oh come on, you didn’t put up with all that did you, you idiot! In real life there were, of course, lulls before every storm. But it was only after putting the book together that even I realised how dreadful it had been – I was busy surviving and bringing up my two children by myself anyway.
Someone did ask – hope I haven’t told you this already: “Why didn’t you tell your mother to get stuffed?” I replied “Oh, I didn’t want to be rude to her. I just wanted to kill her!” I mean, you didn’t go to a Catholic boarding school to learn how to be rude to your parents. It was all the Ten Commandments, one of which was: Honour they father and thy mother.”
That explains it. Someone else may have said that they felt responsible for their parent (in other words, they were codependent.)