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America Anonymous: Eight Addicts in Search of a Life Paperback – January 5, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, an estimated 23 million Americans are hooked on drugs or alcohol, representing an annual economic loss of $524 billion. Millions more have become enslaved to other compulsive behaviors: overeating, sex, gambling and shoplifting. In his first book, Denizet-Louis follows eight average Americans—including an athlete and a grandparent— who are struggling with addiction. The author covers three years in the lives of his subjects, portraying them with candor and compassion, giving these compulsions a more human face by telling the story of his own sex and pornography dependence, for which he twice sought inpatient treatment. This book provides an intriguing glimpse into the brain of an addict and the new hit or miss treatments—dopamine blockers and antieuphoria medications. While the excerpted e-mails and taped monologues might test the reader's patience, Denizet-Lewis is a compelling storyteller, and his wide-range of stories of addiction, relapse and recovery far exceeds other books in the genre. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"I couldn't put this book down. I was blown away by the remarkable cast of characters, who come fully alive in Benoit's gentle hands. He exposes and explodes a million myths about addiction, never succumbing to the temptation to make addiction -- or recovery -- less complex than it is. This unforgettable book is far more than a compilation of irresistible, artfully told stories about addicts. It's about truth, healing, survival, and hope." -- David Sheff, author of Beautiful Boy: A Father's Journey Through His Son's Addiction
"Benoit Denizet-Lewis writes with an impressive mix of transparency and compassion about the addict's eternal battle between will and action. He sees deep into the sadness of desperate people, and equally deep into the systems that redeem such sadness. This is an intimate, compelling volume." -- Andrew Solomon, author of The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression
"This book reaches into the dark depths of the heart and soul of addiction by telling the stories of people who have struggled to find their way into the light of healing. I t is a collage of potent experiences from ordinary people -- women and men caught in the web of addiction whose fight for recovery will inspire anyone who reads Benoit's book." -- William Cope Moyers, author of Broken: My Story of Addiction and Redemption
"One of the best books I've read in the last year, and one of the most powerful I've encountered about addiction." -- Rachel Kramer Bussel, The Huffington Post
"A dazzling portrait of eight addicts and their intimate, sometimes heartbreaking struggle... Addicts will read this book; those who want to understand addiction should read it!" -- Susan Cheever, The Daily Beast
"An arresting, personal glimpse into the merciless world of drug and behavioral addiction. All eight of the people (Denizet-Lewis) followed are gripping subjects, and he describes their plights in seasoned, dexterous prose." -- Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"A graceful, compelling book focusing directly on people, not on concepts or proscriptive ideas. Denizet-Lewis relates their successes, relapses, and struggles to stay clean with warmth, clarity, and a deeply refreshing, unpuritanical frankness." -- Kate Christensen, ELLE
"I was skeptical about another book about addiction, but Denizet-Lewis finds a fresh, provocative approach to the subject... I often felt like I was right there listening to the conversations. And, boy, was I paying attention." -- Rochelle Olson, Minneapolis Star Tribune
"Engrossing... Denizet-Lewis gives readers a sense of the ravaging power of addiction." -- Vikas Turakhia, Cleveland Plain Dealer
"America Anonymous makes for addictive reading." -- Johnny Diaz, Boston Globe
Top customer reviews
"America Anonymous" follows the lives of eight people in and out of recovery from various addictions over a three year period. Previously, I had no problem believing that alcohol and drug addiction is a disease. I mean, who am I to argue with the AMA, the American Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Society of Addiction Medicine, and the World Health Organization? But shoplifting? I do believe that alcohol and drug use is only a symptom of the disease. But if it can manifest itself in that fashion, then why not in other destructive behaviors such as gambling, sex, and overeating?
Denizet-Lewis also points out, as I have experienced, how abstaining from one addictive behavior, without treatment, can cause an addict to switch addictions. It's like a rug with a wrinkle in it. If you push the wrinkle down, it just pops up somewhere else. I've witnessed this in prison numerous times. The addicts become addicted to religion, exercise, or anything that allows them to escape and avoid the painful and uncomfortable feelings that are only amplified in prison.
"America Anonymous" examines addiction from many perspectives and dispels many myths along the way. It's a call to arms for recovering addicts to step out of the shadows and demand better and more readily available treatment for the still sick and suffering. If you need some inspiration to come out of the church basements and break the shackles of shame and stigma, then read "America Anonymous" now.
David Allan Reeves
Author of "Running Away From Me"
I also have experienced the loss of a loved one as the result of her gambling addiction. Addictions kill! First our spirit and our soul, and then, left untreated, they can take our lives! My sister died as a result of an overdose related to her gambling addiction.
Jody's expression of frustration that 'we still have the idiotic notion that addicts somehow brought their addiction upon themselves'....and addicts "just need to grow some willpower and pull themselves together by the bootstraps" really resonated with me. He went on to say that "as long as addiction is only the PERSON'S problem, and not our collective problem, then they (insurance companies and politicians) don't have to do anything about it."
Most poignant...Jody's sentiment that "We can build a better system, or we can continue to bury our children" hits home.
A must read for anyone struggling with addiction, in recovery and their family members and treatment therapists. A powerful read.
It takes a certain kind of courage to swim your way out of the soup, but none of these characters learned to delight in their own individuality. They see themselves primarily as addicts, through and through.
I was sad when I finished reading the book. Sad that the author offered little celebration for the people he wrote about.
it is a sad book, in my opinion.
This book offers something for everyone--addict and non-addict alike. In addition to the in-depth stories, Mr. Denizet-Lewis gives historical perspectives on addiction and treatment as well as more contemporary and future trends. His writing style is engaging and evocative. The book reads in equal parts as novel and treatise. I can't recommend highly enough this offering.