Substance abuse continues to be a disastrous consequence of stress and pain, especially those experienced in the early years of one’s life. In her recent book Alive (Infinity Publishing, 2008), Eileen P. DeClemente has revealed intriguing connections between childhood traumas, familial stress, and addiction to alcohol and drugs. Starting with her collapse in her mid 30s, Eileen tells an aching tale of her journey through several years of alcohol and drug abuse. After surviving a number of near-death situations, she decided to put an end to her sufferings by seeking professional treatment. Her narrative keeps the reader glued to the pages of her book, till the very end.
Eileen’s depiction of the alcoholic’s angst carries the reader away not only by its openness and poignant honesty, but more so by her analysis of familial relationships and their interplay with substance abuse. An alcoholic/druggie not only loses control of his/her freedom of choice but is also robbed of his/her social life. For Eileen, it was not less than a miracle to come out of the extremes of substance abuse (over 90 pills a day) and live a normal life again.
Alive is an exemplary work of personal encounter with alcoholism and drug abuse. Eileen’s life story is alarming, mesmerizing, and didactic; at the same time inspirational, motivating, and full of hope for all people who are suffering from some form of debilitating stress in their lives. There are some typos in the book – the only thing that may be regarded as the book’s weakness (and one can point to the publisher only). However, the author’s magic hardly allows one’s attention to be distracted. Alive is just what the doctor ordered; a book for everyone, including the teenage population.