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Fully Alive: Using Your Individuality To Conquer Addiction

Fully Alive: Using Your Individuality To Conquer Addiction by [Michael Surdyka]

When it comes to self-help books, nothing quite compares to Fully Alive: Using Your Individuality to Conquer Addiction. Written by Michael J. Surdyka, it is as helpful as it is interesting. As a person who has experienced the ravages of addiction first hand, the author has a lot of valuable information to share. And he does so in the clearest and most coherent of ways, leaving you with insights you  wouldn’t have found elsewhere.

While he isn’t a licensed doctor or addiction specialist, the author has clearly done a lot of research, as evidenced by the large number of references cited. However, he still manages to use simple language and break down complex concepts into easily digestible bits. The flow of the book is impeccable as well; the first chapters covering what you need to know at the beginning of your wellness journey while the last ones talk about how to deal with slips and relapses.

The author even goes as far as including an appendix with the top things you need to know. Ultimately, if you’re looking for a body of text that will guide you throughout your addiction recovery, this is it. It is extremely easy to read and dives deep into the subject matter. But if I was forced to choose one thing I love most about this book, it has to be its unique approach to addiction recovery; a focus on personalized strategies and happiness. There is also a noticeable emphasis on modern treatment methods such as the use of Suboxone.

In this regard, it is ingenious and fresh, giving you more than what you would expect from a book in this niche. The various personal stories incorporated into the narrative are a good touch as well, making it personal and relatable. And as if that wasn’t enough, this book also contains templates to help you come up with your very own customized sobriety blueprint.

Fully Alive: Using Your Individuality to Conquer Addiction is a very useful and practical guide to helping you, as it states in the title, conquer your addiction.

Pages: 174 | ASIN: B08LTGQ641

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The Addicted Child

The Addicted Child: A Parent's Guide to Adolescent Substance Abuse by [Richard Capriola]

During these difficult times of rampant substance abuse, all parents must be vigilant. Behavioral changes can be a big indicator of substance abuse. How do you differentiate between simply using drugs and being addicted to said drugs? How do such drugs change the physiological and neurological structures of a child? How many types of addiction are there? How do you, as a parent, get out in front of it? The Addicted Child by Richard Capriola is an excellent educational book that will be immensely beneficial to anyone seeking answers to these questions. It’s a succinct information resource on different types of drugs, the effects those drugs have on the brain and substance abuse in adolescence.

It is so much easier now for children to access drugs. With parents getting busier trying to make ends meet, it is also harder to keep track of the kids. This guide is therefore not only relevant but also written by an expert with vast experience and a world of knowledge on the subject. Richard Capriola’s knowledge on the subject is evident and I felt comfortable with the knowledge presented. It’s broken down into easily digestible bits of information, with easy to understand headings for each topic followed by a concise summarizeation of the topic. This makes the book handy as a reference guide as well as a primer on the subject.

This book hooks you right from the acknowledgment. The author tells a poignant story describing why he decided to write this book and goes on to share stories of parents who were surprised by underlying mental illnesses. This personal touch gives the book a human quality that puts the rest of the information into perspective.

The Addicted Child by Richard Capriola is a book that goes as far as touching on the common and most popular drugs available to the adolescent and teen population. This book bravely tackles such a sensitive and often swept under the rug issue. I really appreciated the impeccable presentation of the message as well as its simplicity. Any parent would benefit from this book. Curbing this scourge is a collective responsibility and being well informed is key, and The Addicted Child gives you that key.

Pages: 125 | ASIN: B08KJHJYBY

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It Can Be You

Nikki Haase Author Interview
Nikki Haase Author Interview

Broken Melody follows Sunshine as she struggles with addiction while avoiding a dealer she owes a lot of money to. This is a change from your normal SciFi books, what inspired the change in genre?

I actually wrote this book originally when I was struggling with addiction myself. It was the first full-length novel I really took seriously, but I just didn’t publish it. I wasn’t ready yet. It was one of the few stories that my best friend Casey was actually intrigued by. The smiley face you see in the dedication page was one that she drew on the original many years ago after she ‘stole’ it from me. I re-wrote it when I got sober as a sort of therapy and after some heart wrenching events, to honor her. I only wish that I would’ve done it sooner.

I might revisit topics like this, but in different ways. The rawness of this took a lot out of me.

How much of this book was informed by real life and how much was fiction?

There’s a bit that’s embellished, but a lot of it is real. I pulled a lot, if not all, of Alana’s cocaine addiction and undiagnosed mental illness struggles from my own, first-hand experiences. However, a lot of the more ‘hardcore’ stuff, like owing the biggest drug dealer in town a bunch of money, is fiction.

What is a common misconception you feel people have about addiction?

That only ‘bad’ people can become addicted to drugs. That it’s only a certain group of people that can fall victim to it. It can be anyone. It can be you. You probably love someone who is suffering from addiction and don’t even know it. So, reach out to your friends, let them know you’ll support them, and tell them you love them.

What is the next novel that you are working on and when will it be available?

I’m actually going back to my roots. 🙂 I’m working on the Experiment X Prequel, which is told from Jack’s POV. I don’t have a date yet though…sorry.
Broken Melody was a way to heal old wounds and hopefully help people understand addiction and mental illness without any fluff.

Author Links: Twitter | Facebook | GoodReads | Instagram | Website

I think a demon lives in me. Her name is Sunshine and she wants the numbing chemicals of cocaine. She craves the sweet, disgusting taste of heroin and the sharp flavors of crystal meth. We’re often told that drug addicts are lowly humans that drop out of school, can’t hold down a job, and they always come from a life of abuse and pain. I have friends who love me, parents who care about me, and a beautiful girlfriend who I adore. I was a straight-A student in high school. I was at the top of my class. I’ve been getting high since I was a kid to self-medicate mood swings that feel like whiplash on a good day. And I’ve messed up. Big time. Now, I owe the biggest dealer in town thousands of dollars! If he finds me, I’m dead. I can’t get the money and I can only hide out for so long. I have to get sober so I can get my head straight and figure this out. All I need is one more hit.

Now It’s Inescapable

Bill Mccausland’s Now It’s Inescapable depicts the psyche of a drug-addicted physician. Through his main character, Glen, he tells a relatable tale of how easy it is to slip into addiction, especially if you’ve lived a life full of adversity.

From the outside, Glen seems to have an incredible life. With his own practice and a beautiful wife, he appears to be the epitome of health and success, a stark contradiction to his real circumstances. As we read from chapter to chapter, his life unravels right before our eyes.

The author doesn’t depict Glen in the best of light. In many ways, he seems to be the villain of the story; reckless and unaffected by the way his addiction impacts those closest to him. On the other hand, his wife Julie is painted as the ever-supportive but highly enabling spouse. However, ultimately it is revealed that the two of them have a dangerous codependency that only births destruction. Interestingly, neither is purely evil nor purely good; each one has their own demons to fight.

This story mirrors real life by attempting to explain the complex multilayered nature of the human soul. By telling the story through the main character’s perspective, the author seems to bring us so intimately into his life. We not only see what Glen does but also why he does it and the mental process that leads to his decisions. Great details are given about all drivers of Glen’s addiction, giving us a fuller understanding of him.

However, the book contains some grammatical errors and inconsistencies that make it hard to get through this otherwise interesting story. There is also a lot of use of grandiose terms and long winded dialogues that don’t feel natural.

That aside, I do acknowledge that the author does a great job of expressing important themes through the book. The outstanding ones are the role that family dynamics play in adult dysfunction and the cyclic nature of life. Ultimately, I do believe that with a little bit of polishing, this story has the potential to be a fan favorite.

Pages: 245 | ASIN: B07GC72TTL

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Broken Melody

Broken Melody by [Nikki Haase]

Broken Melody is a contemporary fiction novel that follows the life of Alana, alias Sunshine, and her assorted friends. Nikki Haase drew motivation for writing this book from Casey Clayton, her friend’s journey of addiction, recovery and death. The book is a voice for those struggling with drug addiction, depression and other mental illnesses. Alana was the perfect daughter and student, acing her grades and making her parents proud. But deep down she was fighting monsters that only she knew of.

Nikki Haase has an enthralling way of introducing fascinating characters to readers. This book is an invitation into the mind and life of a young person struggling with addiction. It is heart-wrenching to see the potential in a person slowly chipped away at.

The main theme of the book is drug addiction. Nikki Haase has captured the struggles and raw emotions that most addicts grapple with, and I appreciated the unfiltered view we’re given. Alana’s journey is a sad one, although not a completely lonely one as she has her friends like Skylar and Xavier and her girlfriend Casey. The prose captures the voice of new adult angst and gives the characters an authenticity that makes them endearing and their stories all the more tragic. I think that by the second or third chapter I was interested in Alana’s character, by the mid point I wanted to know more, and by the end I was desperate to know more. Will she survive her addiction? Will her friends stick with her throughout the process? Will Casey love her beside all her inner demons?

The author shows the importance of friendships and speaking out when going through hard times in life. The story seemed too real to be cliché and the author has done a good job of incorporating supporting themes like mental illness, love and friendship. Nikki Haase has a unique way of bringing out serious issues through humor. The other unique thing about Broken Melody is that the author shows the other side of addiction, one that most people do not know about. For instance at the end of the book, readers are introduced to the other side of Rabbit. Throughout the book, Rabbit is known to be a hardcore drug dealer but he does something at the end that surprised me. I would recommend the book to fiction lovers, people struggling with substance abuse and those living with addicts.

Pages: 302 | ASIN: B08B2Q5YDP

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Emotionally Invested

Steve Murphy Author Interview

Steve Murphy Author Interview

I follows the story of Mark as he struggles with depression, addiction, and homelessness. Events inspired by true events, but what inspired you to write this story?

I have worked in the downtown core of my hometown for nearly twenty years. As these streets have become crowded with people in desperate situations over the last few years, I tried to make a positive impact by donating any change I had to whoever asked, every time I was asked and, participating in and facilitating a donation campaigns at work. The compassion and empathy I felt towards these people who struggle, whom are seemingly ignored by the general public, began to enter all facets of my mind. Inspired, my new poems and songs were significantly more politically themed than previous compositions (as an example). It was at this time when I read the article of an unidentified man who had died on the street across from where I work. The article stated he was mid 30-40s, just like me. I immediately wondered what other similarities we might have had, what differences could there have been for me to be alive on this street, with a job, a house and a wife; while he was alone, unknown and dead. Possible parallels were too numerous to overlook.

How much of Marks character is based on reality and how much is fictionalized?

That’s very difficult to quantify. I can say, it is a modestly fictionalized version of reality.

This novel gets to the heart of the issues people face with drug abuse and depression. What do you hope readers take away from your story?

I want… not just for readers to be aware of the astounding number of people in these situations but to CARE. To be emotionally invested. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by how little effect I alone have on the whole of society but, hopefully this story touches its readers and inspires them to help wherever possible. Someone recently told me the book brought them to tears and how certain moments felt like a punch in the belly. Another told me he has begun giving change when he can and not only that but, treating people on the streets with more dignity and respect than before, keeping eye contact when speaking with them. That is what I want.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

As yet untitled, I’ve begun work on the story of a middle to lower class neighborhood, on the day of a possible suicide. The story is told through a series of vignettes in the Rashomon style. Otherwise, i’m always working on poetry and writing music reviews.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Website | Youtube | Bandcamp

Inspired by true events, Foul Play Is Not Suspected is the tragic tale of Mark Fuller. He’s homeless, depressed and addicted to drugs as he has been for a number of years. Author Steve Murphy sympathetically details the journey Mark has endured from birth through to today. An important story that speaks to several major overlapping social and political issues. Foul Play Is Not Suspected packs a careful, emotional wallop. 20 years of lived experience downtown where he lives and works, has provided Murphy with in depth knowledge of the streets. A lifetime of storytelling through song has sharpened his use of language into a penetrating tool.

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Their Parents Choices

Amy Voltaire Author Interview

Amy Voltaire Author Interview

My Name is Erin, and My Mom’s an Addict is a fictional story of a young girls struggle to accept her mother back into her life after drugs destroyed their bond. What was the inspiration for the setup to this emotional novel?

I am very close to someone who is helping raise her grandchildren because of their parents’ addictions. When I decided to start writing a book, I couldn’t decide what I wanted to write about. One day, after spending some time with the kids I mentioned, I thought about how tough this must be for them, and I realized that a lot of people are raising children who aren’t theirs because the kids’ parents are addicts. I looked online to see if there were any books out there for kids who are going through similar situations, but I couldn’t find any; so I decided I’d write a book for them. I wanted the book to: entertain them, hold their interest, and let them know that they’re not alone. I wanted them to understand that their parents’ choices do not define them.

Erin is an interesting character and I enjoyed watching her develop throughout the book. What were some driving ideals behind her character development?

For years, Erin has lived with hurt, which eventually turns to hurt and anger. She yearns for her mother’s love, but at the same time, she’s angry at her mom for leaving her and is terrified that if she opens her heart to her mother, her heart will end up broken again. As she becomes close to both Grace and George she learns that Gram & Pap aren’t the only people she can trust. Erin also begins to understand that her mother’s addiction has absolutely nothing to do with her. Often, loved ones of addicts feel like they can fix an addict, but the reality is that nobody but the addict has any control over his or her choices. Erin learns in her dealings with Jimmy that she is not the only person who may have something going on at home… something that is embarrassing and that a kid wouldn’t want their peers to know about. She begins to see her own flaws, not only because they’re pointed out to her, but also because she sees a bit of herself in Jimmy. She doesn’t want to continue the angry outbursts and drive away the people who genuinely care about her.

This story deals with drug addiction and how it affects families. What is a common misconception you find people have about addiction?

A lot of people assume that addicts are bad people and that they are worthless. Yes, addicts do bad things, but so do people who have never even tried drugs or alcohol. I’ve known several recovering addicts and all of them are kind, intelligent, funny and talented.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I plan on starting the next book in late June of 2019. In all of the feedback I’ve received, readers have told me that they want me to continue on with Erin’s story—I like Erin, so I’m happy to comply. Hopefully, it will be done and ready to go by this time next year.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

My Name is Erin, and My Mom's an Addict by [Voltaire, Amy]

Raised by her grandparents when her mother chooses drugs over her daughter, Erin knows she isn’t like other kids. Then her world is shaken a second time by her mother’s reappearance.

Being a teenager is never easy, but just when Erin thinks she has her life on track, her mother shows up and warms her way back into Erin’s life. Can an addict really ever kick the addiction? How many lives will be affected?

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Love, Loss, Long Beach

Love, Loss, Long Beach by [Pasquale, Christiaan A.]

4 Stars

Love, Loss, Long Beach by Christiaan Pasquale tells the journey of Christiaan, and his endeavour to find true love. Set in the USA – predominantly Los Angeles; the story follows Christiaan, from his early twenties surviving as a musician and truck driver into his forties, overweight, on disability and living in Long Beach. The question is – will he be successful in his hunt for true love?

The story opens with a Trucker’s Mantra, “Aces never fall, they may slip, but they never fall. And I’m an Ace, and that’s that!” Christiaan is driving a Peterbilt, the sounds and sights of the trucker’s view realistically described.

He then describes his journey from The Slanderin band member to truck driver. Lured by the promise of money and the chance to improve his life he accepts a position with a local LA truck company. There he learns to drive a truck and gains his licence. Christiaan soon learns why his father tried to discourage him from a truck driving career. The hours are long and erratic and soon take their toll. I felt like this part of the story was realistically and authentically described. Descriptions were easy and vivid and always depth to the story.

The American Hotel becomes his home for a while. The squalid conditions are described in detail, again the nuance and detail is something that much enjoyed in this book. Dark, dingy and smelling of piss. Drug deals were common, as were a trail of women. The people and setting are described in depressing, realistic detail. From junkies to prostitutes to long legged nurses. The descriptions of both add to the authenticity of the story. The dialogue is raw, distinctive and realistic making it difficult not to empathize with Christiaan and his circumstances.

Christiaan is saved from this existence by his sister – who rings him and asks him to move in with her and his niece. However, after a while his old acquaintances catch up with him. They bring old habits with them, and I thought the idea of a man trying to escape his past is uniquely captured in this moment and in Christiaan’s character overall. Christiaan escapes most of this as he is spending more and more time in the inside of a truck cab. I always empathized with the hopeless situation, the long and unsociable hours and the vivid descriptions of the depressing neighbourhoods. However, the large number of characters can be difficult to follow, particularly friends coming into his life from his early years. But these characters also give the story a realistic feel, as people often come in and out of our lives when we least expect it.

By chance he reconnects with Lourdes and is thrilled to form a friendship with her. Eventually she encourages him to move to Long Beach and he leaps at the chance. Will he finally find the love he has been yearning for or does the ace finally fall?

This story leaves me with only one word to describe it all; authentic. I enjoyed the characters and appreciated the journey that Chistiaan has been on.

Pages: 214 | ASIN: B07QCYDBQJ

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