Drunks by Ken Fry is a tale that’s deeply personal and dramatic and is an ultimately inspirational story that is told with an infusion of romance. This story is narrated by Alan Markham, the main character, and his journey and experiences with alcoholism, marriage, and learning to conquer and control addiction. Alan and his wife, Chrissy, appear to have the life everyone wants – Alan has a successful career, and Chrissy lives a free, luxurious, and enjoyable life. Still, just below the surface, there’s trouble in their marriage.
As both Alan and Chrissy struggle with their marriage and lives together, they share a common addiction, alcohol. While the couple attempts to keep an illusion of normalcy in their lives, they quickly descend into severe alcoholism, which impacts every level of their lives, from Alan’s career, their marriage, and financial stability. The author does an exceptional job of highlighting the compound impact of an alcoholic couple and how dangerous their health and lives become within a short time.
I enjoyed Ken Fry’s narration as Alan Markham and the gritty and realistic story that unfolds. It’s both sobering and inspirational. It does a fantastic job of stripping away the glamourous façade of sipping martinis and cocktails in upscale lounges and reveals the dark and tragic lives of alcoholics and their various struggles.
The author gives his characters interesting layers and shows how they appear successful and prestigious in their upper-class lifestyle while suffering from their addiction and dysfunction. Maintaining the appearance of perfection and success takes a toll on the couple, who eventually must face their inner struggles, and this dueling lifestyle makes for a compelling drama but a tragic life.
Ken Fry’s Drunks is a poignant yet inspirational story that focuses on the reality of what many couples face and how financial success can mask alcoholism. It’s an entertaining read that gives the reader an in-depth look at how codependency impacts people, even when they appear to be self-sufficient and content.
Pages: 336 | ASIN: B09HP26Q76
Tags: addiction, alcoholism, author, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, Drunks, ebook, family saga, fiction, goodreads, Ken Fry, kindle, kobo, literature, marriage, memoir, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, romance, story, true story, writer, writing
Dying For a Drink can be described as a recovery memoir, in which author, Amelia Baker, writes the authentic and very raw account of her fall into alcoholism and prescription drug addiction and her incredibly turbulent recovery journey. Due to the subject matter, this book touches on some challenging topics, including abuse, family turmoil, rehab, suicide, and many more.
Baker unravels her story part by part and exposes the true extent of how life-destroying her addictions were. It becomes evident that her choice of title was not simply a cute usage of a prevalent saying- it was intended literally. It was heartbreaking to read about what Baker went through, and by the end, it felt incredibly uplifting to see what the human spirit can overcome after hitting rock bottom so many times. In the book, Baker goes into depth about all the various support systems she used to overcome her disease, highlighting the importance of her attending AA meetings, as well as the constant support of her friends and family, as well as her faith.
I picked up Baker’s book and was hit immediately by how heavy it was. Of course, this is not an easy topic to write about, nor easy to read, but I think Baker handles the subject beautifully. Through the memoir, she uses a simplistic, matter-of-fact narration style. In parts, it can be incredibly jarring to read about events so traumatic and heartbreaking through a narrative voice void of any emotion. In the book’s foreword, Baker explains that she uses this style simply to cut out the nonsense and anything that would cloud what the book actually is- an admission of truth. While I did struggle with the style at times, I think it made it easier for me to understand Baker’s struggles more. While I don’t think I could ever fully understand the true horror of what she went through, it allowed me to become connected to her fight more. Due to this, I became engrossed in her story incredibly fast.
While I congratulate Baker wholeheartedly for sharing her experience so powerfully, I felt so much frustration reading this book as her recovery was such a rollercoaster. Of course, this is not a criticism of Baker or her writing style whatsoever and is a natural reality of recovery. Just at points in the novel, I found it really hard to continue reading it as it just felt like it would never get better, and the thought of a novel as awful as this one not having a happy ending was really distressing. But perhaps those feelings are probably what Baker wished to illustrate with the novel, that feeling of helplessness that one can never fully recover. If that was her intention, it was done masterfully as I felt that so profoundly while reading it.
Due to the sheer power and depth of the novel’s topics and the narration style that paired perfectly with it, I feel it would be wrong to say I enjoyed a book on such an awful subject matter. Still, I enjoyed seeing Baker manage to overcome her struggles. It was really touching overall.
Dying For a Drink is a powerful memoir about addiction and recovery. A no-nonsense self-help book that is written in direct and plain terminology to bring to light the ups and downs of recovery from addiction, and how it is a lifelong battle.
Pages: 158 | ASIN : B07DYKPQ52
Tags: addiction, alcoholism, alcoholism recovery, Amelia Baker, author, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, Dying for a Drink, ebook, goodreads, kindle, kobo, literature, memoir, nonfiction, nook, read, reader, reading, self help, story, true story, writer, writing
Based on a True (Traumatic) Brain History tells your story of addiction and path to sobriety and how you dealt with life after receiving a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). Why was this an important book for you to write?
It was important mainly because of how the TBI I experienced in 2015, and the recovery from it…was all too similar to my recovery from addiction and alcoholism. The two had so many obvious differences, yet the recovery and perspective I had when trying to heal were so similar. It just seemed like a book that had to be written. It morphed into the autobiography it is.
I appreciated the candid nature with which you told your story. What was the hardest thing for you to write about?
The hardest part of the book? Reliving drunken nights, high out of my mind, and remembering how I felt about the pending next day. The dread and fear of trying to play a composed, well-put together 20-something year old, while everything was falling apart on the inside.
What is one piece of advice someone gave you that changed your life?
When I told a friend that if I was on the edge of a cliff, and if he would push me off, he said to me, “Nope. But I’ll walk you back.” That comment and phrase saved my life that day. It’s a good way to calm someoneone down, if they’re feeling like they can’t handle stuff.
What do you hope is one thing readers take away from your story?
The obstacle is the way. Challenges in the journey of life…are simply just that. They amount to the journey itself.
Posted in Interviews
Tags: addiction, author, author interview, Based on a True (Traumatic) Brain History, biography, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, ebook, goodreads, health, kindle, kobo, literature, Mark S Allen, memoir, nonfiction, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, story, writer, writing
When to Run, Born Scared by Stephanie King is a book about a young Canadian girl who suffers through an abusive childhood. She struggles to find a way to survive her horrific home life and tries to escape several times. But she ends up back in the same terrible place again and again. In a bid to finally be free from her father’s control, she finds herself in a situation that is just as bad as the one she was so desperate to leave behind. Will she ever be able to put the past behind her and make a good life for herself at last?
The theme of this story was finding a way to survive somehow. Reading about the things Stephanie had to endure in her life, like childhood abuse, rape, drug and alcohol addiction, eating disorders, anxiety, depression, domestic assault, and medical issues that required multiple surgeries and a long recovery, it was amazing that she was able to survive. In addition, she had the strength to persevere after going through so many terrible things. I was surprised that she continued to put her trust in people after her own family had shown her the true evil that could be found in the hearts of people. Sometimes she had to trust other people because she had no other choice. However, Stephanie proved that she was a survivor. No matter how many times she stumbled along the way, she never gave up and kept fighting to survive. Stephanie’s story continues in Book Two, Among the Guilty, Under Attack.
The first chapter of the story jumps around, talking about Stephanie’s father’s childhood and mentioning him fighting in the war, then relaying experiences that happened during Stephanie’s own childhood, then going back to before her father left to fight in the war. This is how memories work sometimes. They don’t always follow a logical path but are connected in one way or another.
I felt that it wasn’t always clear how old Stephanie was during certain incidents that happened throughout the book, and I would have liked a clearer picture of the timeline. The inclusion of the graphic descriptions of sexual abuse of a child was hard to read through, but it also allowed me to connect with Stephanie and understand the depth of suffering she endured.
When to Run, Born Scared is a deeply personal memoir of what one woman had to do to survive the life she was dealt. Readers looking for a personal account of hope and survival will appreciate Stephanie’s story.
Pages: 245 | ASIN : B08TH74KR9
Tags: addiction, author, biography, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, child abuse, childhood trauma, ebook, goodreads, kindle, kobo, literature, memoir, mental health, nonfiction, nook, read, reader, reading, recovery, self-discovery, Stephanie King, substance abuse, survival, true story, When to Run - Born Scared, writer, writing
Behind Blue Eyes by Seamus Paul Corcoran is a psychological fiction novel that takes readers through an authentic life journey filled with stories of healing and recovery. Joe Marley has a successful and prominent career, but the death of a son and the end of a marriage leave him feeling numb and empty. As many in his position do, he eventually falls into the arms of addiction, abusing alcohol and drugs. Due to the wrongs committed under the influence of addiction and rage, Joe ends up in court, accepting to go into rehabilitation to avoid jail. Hopeless, he arrives at the Janus Clinic where he struggle to turn his life around against all odds.
The description of the Janus Clinic is simply splendid: a health center with the true mission of helping and curing people, giving them love and tenderness. Through Joe’s eyes, we get to see the power and importance of meaningful human connections, which Joe gets to fully live, experience and appreciate after a few days at the clinic. Dr. Janus has a big heart and uses all his ability to provide a safe haven for those unfortunate souls that have forgotten how to live and have given up on life. This is a story of a man’s path through recovery, where the soul awakens and the heart starts to feel alive again. The story is centered around the Janus Clinic. The outsiders don’t seem to understand how it is possible that only one place seems to have the ability to cure the minds and hearts of so many people. The mystery though, is no secret, there are no magic words nor strange drugs involved. The Janus Clinic’s success is due to its wholehearted dedication to its patients, where love, attention, understanding and companionship are given priority, portraying a natural and healthy mindset for the medical approach to mental health.
The story is beautiful and meaningful, with characters that excellently present the intense emotions that come with life, making the reader feel a variety of sensations throughout the book. The intrigue also increases when unknown forces try to sabotage the fame and success of the clinic, introducing a mystery into the plot and letting the excitement grow. The story is highly entertaining and the reader almost gets to heal alongside Joe. The reading experience is a absorbing one that awakens the human spirit, and reminds us to reconcile with ourselves and with life itself. It’s very calming to read about Joe’s recovery path and readers will be able to relate to him.
A plus is Corcoran’s writing which is very beautiful and poetic, making the story even more enthralling and captivating. There’s pain and hurt in the story, but there’s also love, hope and healing, mixing all the human emotions into a wonderful experience. Behind Blue Eyes is an impassioned novel that brilliantly portrays the real path to recovery and the path to life, with a beautiful narration style that’s soothing and reminds us of what truly matters.
Pages: 295 | ASIN: B098KBHVXS
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The Addiction Manifesto, by Jerry Weaver, provides readers with an impassioned retelling of his experience battling addiction. Weaver is a former addict who shares his personal story and the story of other individuals throughout this book to reveal and examine the real struggle with addiction.
The book depicts Weaver’s battle with addiction and his personal experiences, what led to the addiction and how he overcame this battle. The addiction is referred to as its own entity, something that only cares about its next fix, something that controls the individual until they no longer recognize themselves. The novel includes multiple individuals account of their own battle with addiction and where they are now in recovery. This provides a wholistic view of addiction through multiple perspectives.
The writing style in this book is very personal and stirring, but it is also edifying and provides readers with coaching and mentoring to help them. Weaver writes about his own experiences and then gives his opinion and advice on how others struggling can recover. Weaver shows that no matter your background, what type of addiction, or where you hit rock bottom, there is always a path to recovery and always a lesson to be learned. This was a profound moment for me, to see someone so low, and pull themselves from the depths like a phoenix, and the way that is portrayed in the book is enthralling.
I admire the strength of the individuals who told their stories and are on a path to recovery. I believe anyone who reads this book will gain insight into the battle of addiction and the path to recovery.
The Addiction Manifesto is an inspiring book that provides a fascinating look at addiction and provides practical advice on how to overcome it. I would recommend this book to anyone who is struggling or has struggled with addiction or to anyone who knows some struggling with addiction. This book can give insight into what individual’s go through to get their next fix, how they struggle daily, and what you could possibly do to help.
Pages: 178 | ASIN: B08KY52VJK
Tags: addiction, author, autobiographical, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, ebook, goodreads, JR Weaver, kindle, kobo, literature, memoir, nonfiction, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, self help, story, The Addiction Manifesto, writer, writing
Don’t Mind Me, I’m Just Having a Bad Life is an emotional and engrossing memoir of your life. Why was this an important book for you to write?
My entire life I’ve been depressed and often referred to as a “sad sack.” I wanted to tell my story of two powerful addictions and recovering from them, but I wanted to follow the trail back to when the problems began. I didn’t expect to go back to age 4 as the first time I felt depressed and worthless. From there, the problems just snowballed through psychological abuse, self-esteem issues, broken relationships, and finally to sex and Crystal meth addiction.
I appreciated the candid nature with which you told your story. What was the hardest thing for you to share in this memoir?
I was nervous about sharing the drug addiction as very few people knew I was going through that. As I state in the book, my employer, Disney, had no suspicions whatsoever. It was quite a feat to be a hardcore user and keep my job. I’m ashamed of myself for becoming an addict, but like the childhood abuse, I feel it was thrust upon me. And in the case with meth, it’s perhaps the most addictive drug and it truly only takes one hit to be hooked.
What do you hope is one thing that readers take away from your book?
I hope that readers will find hope in my story that recovery is possible. Yes, faith played a major role in my recovery, but as I tried to make clear, I was on a hit-or-miss basis with God my entire life. Some readers felt that my quitting meth cold turkey with God’s help made the book too “Jesus-y.” And that has been a turnoff for some LGBTQ readers. Conversely, Christian readers have been offended by the gay content. Apart from these two opposing camps, I just wanted to share hope.
What is a piece of advice you wish someone had given you when you were younger?
I was given plenty of advice throughout my life like, “stop being depressed,” “just believe in yourself,” “have confidence,” “stop being so negative,” and so forth. What I wish I had been told was that none of the bad stuff in my childhood was my fault. Perhaps my story would not have included self-hatred, suicidal thoughts, and addiction.
Posted in Interviews
Tags: addiction, author, author interview, biography, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, Don't Mind Me I'm Just Having a Bad Life, ebook, goodreads, inspirational, kindle, kobo, Lewis Kempfer, lgbtq, literature, memoir, nonfiction, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, story, writer, writing
Trauma comes in many forms and affects more of us on a daily basis than most will ever realize. Without ever knowing it, we encounter people every day who have had more than their fair share of abuse, drug addiction, and depression. Some of those people have been dealing with that trauma from an early age–Lewis is one of them. As a very young boy, Lewis quickly learned who he could and could not trust, and he saw those around them for who they truly were. His young adult life showed exactly how much damage that abuse caused.
Don’t Mind Me, I’m Just Having a Bad Life is a poignantly written memoir by Lewis Kempfer. Nowhere else will readers find a more raw telling of one man’s life. Kempfer has revealed every wound he has ever suffered and each one of the horror-filled moments he has survived from his early days in Colorado to his nightmarish life in Nashville. He minces no words and gives readers every opportunity to learn from the mistakes he has made along the way.
I can appreciate Kempfer’s story in many ways. He lays down the ugly truth of drug addiction so there is no mistaking the impact it has on the lives of those around the addict. Never does he try to sugarcoat his experience, and he is painfully honest about the ease with which he fell further under the spell. Readers need this–all of us. There is no reader who has not been touched in some way by addiction.
Kempfer’s very real battle with finding his faith is moving to say the least. He allows readers to walk along with him as he sees all sides of religion and hold his hand as he finds his own way. To say his story is stunning is an understatement. To say that it is moving is simply not sufficient. Kempfer’s life is absolutely a miracle and one of which the author is well aware.
I highly recommend Kempfer’s memoir to anyone struggling with addiction or any parent of a child who feels like they are losing the battle to find themselves. Kempfer’s road has been long, filled with the worst kind of potholes, and has nearly killed him, but his story will save someone.
Pages: 475 | ASIN: B07V2PS82D
Tags: addiction, author, autobiography, biography, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, Don't Mind Me, ebook, goodreads, I'm Just Having a Bad Life, inspirational, kindle, kobo, Lewis Kempfer, lgbt, lgbtq, literature, memoir, nonfiction, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, story, writer, writing