“There’s still time to change things.”—Siri Hustvedt, The Blazing World
Addiction is easy to fall into and hard to escape. It destroys the lives of individuals, and has a devastating cost to society. The National Institute of Health estimates seventeen million adults in the United States are alcoholics or have a serious problem with alcohol. This scourge affects not only those who drink or use drugs but also their families and friends, who witness the horror of addiction. Both the afflicted and those who love them are often baffled by what is happening, never mind what to do about it. With Out of the Wreck I Rise, Neil Steinberg and Sara Bader have created a resource like no other—one that harnesses the power of literature, poetry, and creativity to illuminate what alcoholism and addiction are all about, while forging change, deepening understanding, and even saving lives.
Structured to follow the arduous steps to sobriety, the book marshals the wisdom of centuries and explores essential topics, including the importance of time, navigating family and friends, Alcoholics Anonymous, relapse, and what Raymond Carver calls “gravy,” the reward that is recovery. Each chapter begins with advice and commentary followed by a wealth of quotes to inspire and heal. The result is a mosaic of observations and encouragement that draws on writers and artists spanning thousands of years—from Seneca to David Foster Wallace, William Shakespeare to Patti Smith. The ruminations of notorious drinkers like John Cheever, Charles Bukowski, and Ernest Hemingway shed light on the difficult process of becoming sober and remind the reader that while the literary alcoholic is often romanticized, recovery is the true path of the hero.
Along with traditional routes to recovery—Alcoholics Anonymous, out-patient therapy, and intensive rehabilitation programs—this literary companion offers valuable support and inspiration to anyone seeking to fight their addiction or to a struggling loved one.