Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Everything I Never Wanted To Be

Everything I Never Wanted to Be: a memoir of alcoholism and addiction, faith and family, hope and humor
To be up front, this is a book review. If you didn't read my post from yesterday, you won't understand why this book is a big deal.

Everything I Never Wanted To Be- Dina Kucera
"..true story of a family's battle with alcoholism and drug addiction. Dina Kucera's household also includes her husband and his unemployed identical twin, a mother who has Parkinson's Disease, and a grandson who has cerebral palsy. On top of all that, Dina is trying to make it as a stand-up comic and author so she can quit her job as a grocery store clerk."

She has three daughters. Her oldest two battle alcoholism and a drug addiction. The youngest, Carly, started using heroin at 14. This is their struggle.

The letter written by her daughter in the beginnings pages made me ill. As I read the book I identified characteristics that were true to me. True to my family. And it scared the absolute hell out of me.

Dina writes about her own struggle with alcohol and pill addiction but she writes with a self deprecating humor that makes you not feel sorry for her, but you can relate. You understand. It makes sense. She writes about watching all three of her children struggle with addiction and you see that it isn't something someone can just give it up. You see the devastation of addiction first hand. It's a startling and unbelievable reality SO MANY families are struggling with. It also makes you feel more sympathetic to the families dealing with it because she talks about the inadequacies of the health care system in this country. You can't get into rehab but by god you can detox at home! It's spoken as if it's a cute little kit you can buy at Walmart. But the reality of it is that it ruins lives. And you can't always prevent it. You think you can...but it sneaks up. And denial is hard to look beyond.

Some of the things you read about in this book are sad and scary. For me, I tried to imagine if it were my child. How would I feel? What would I do? And in the end, I felt helpless because I realized how little I know about it. And you can look at your local schools and see drug use rampant in there. I know, from even ten years ago, I saw things that I'm sure my parents never imagined I would. And we won't even talk about college.

What I thought really made the book was her humor. I've always been the person to say if you don't laugh about it you're going to cry. And crying will ruin your makeup. I could relate to these people because growing up, we really had no money. Things were tight and my mom and step dad worked really hard to get us the basics. So when she touches on that with humor, it reminds me of when I was growing up:

"I needed to get my hair done, but I didn't have any money. My husband suggested that I go to the place where he gets his hair cut for $12. He said "How can you go wrong for $12?" Well, a woman can go VERY wrong for $12. A $12 haircut could ruin your life and change your gender..."

And some of you have commented or sent me private messages about how you only drink to have a good time but you're not an alcoholic. And I really hope you aren't and that you never go that route.

"People have asked me what the difference is between just 'having a good time' and actually being an alcoholic. Most people at happy hour are having a good time. But some of those people go home and pee on their floor. That's an indication there may be a problem."

Ultimately- the book is about hope. And faith. And that things can get better. That family is everything. Of survival. Or love. Of being strong enough to know when you're in over your head and you need help.

I recommend this book to everyone. If you have children, you need this book. If you know someone who is battling addiction, you need this book. If you've ever wondered if you are addicted, you need this book. If you have ever criticized someone who may or may not be battling addiction, you need this book. If you never read another book again, please make this one your last. I promise you that you will look at yourself, your life, your family, your friends and strangers around you in a different light.

I read somewhere that someone was quoted as saying that this book can change lives. And it can. It made me take a look at my own life and it made me address what I had going on. I get it. I understand it. And for the specific few of you (you know who you are) that reached out to send me a private message in regards to last night's blog post... you need to get this book. Maybe it's not for you but you owe it to the people around you.

The good news... because you all need the book... is that you can get a 30% discount if you go HERE and enter the code "Dina" in at checkout.

I wish you all the best. I hope that those of you who are struggling reach the point where you choose to accept help. I hope that those of you who know someone who needs help don't give up on that person. I hope you are sympathetic to those who struggle with addiction- the person they once were may be diminished or gone... but they deserve better. We need to advocate for them because they aren't capable of doing it themselves.



Shirley said...

Is it weird to say that a book review is beautifully written? Whatever, its true.

Krysten @ Why Girls Are Weird said...

Definitely sounds like a book I want to read. Thanks for the review Sara.

Anonymous said...

Sara,,, thank you, thank you, thank you:) And I agree that your writing is amazing. One thing I really wanted to do in this book was to explain what it is like for addicts and alcoholics, to people who really don't get it. And it's not that they're bad people. It's just something you have to experience to understand. If those people can take away a piece, even a small piece of understanding, it would be a beautiful day! I was touched by your honest post and the thing that will keep you above the water is writing, and publishing things that are painful for you. From this you will get the support you need, just as you have given me support with your beautiful review:) Thank you! Dina Kucera:)

Danielle said...

Great review, Sara. It was written perfectly, and I think I'm going to purchase this book for my mom. Her father is an alcoholic and has been her entire life, hell, for most of his own life. I think she'll enjoy reading it. I will definitely check it out as well. Thanks, girlfriend!!!

Heather J. @ TLC Books said...

I'm so glad that this book was one of those that really had an impact. Thank you for being so honest in both this post and your previous one.

And I'm definitely glad that you were a part of this book tour.

Keri Shadai said...

This is something I must read!
Thank you!

Just Plain Tired said...

What an excellent post. Both of my parents, and my ex-wife's parents, were alcoholics. Neither she, nor I, were big drinkers, probably due to this. Now as parents we're struggling a bit with a daughter who has a few issues, one of them being alcohol. It's tough beyond words.

Missy Salsa said...

Once again, another book you have made me want to read. I just picked up "Up from the blue" at the library. Guess I know what the next title will be added to my hold list. I'm never going to have a life now, thanks :)

Kevin Michael said...

I probably won't read it because I have a rule about books that aren't funny, but glad there is a book that represents such an important aspect of you. =)

Lisa said...

I loved that Kucera was able to pull at my heartstrings without seeming to be hollering for me to feel sorry for her. This book is so powerful and so scary for parents.

Suko said...

Wonderful review! I have just read and reviewed this book on my blog as well.