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by Karen Franklin and Lauren King
Seal Press, 2009
Review by Tijuana L. Canders on Feb 15th 2011

Addicted Like Me

Addicted Like Me is a memoir written by mother and daughter team Karen Franklin and Lauren King, who write about their personal entanglements in the battle of substance addictions. The compelling stories interrelate a message that recovery is possible, and can become a stable unchangeable choice for the betterment of life, when it comes to such struggles.  They tell the reader of trials, hope, and redemption, proving that a new family legacy can be painted through a will of strong determination hedged with solid commitment.

Karen's story opens to the loss of a mother at an early age, left to be reared solely by her father who abuses alcohol.  Isolated by her mother's side of the family, due to the sudden loss, their way of grieving, Karen now has to deal with an alcoholic stepmother who competes with Karen for her father's love. Dealing with the rhetoric feelings of not being loved, Karen begins to withdraw, pulling back her feelings, turning to wrong influences of alcohol, and illegal drugs to fill a void developed in her youth.  Finding herself on a self explosive path of destructive behaviors, after the loss of her first born son Karen faces the reality, "that unless she revealed her addictions, then her only consequence at hand could mean her own life or death."  Eager for change Karen seeks support, making the decision to stop using illegal drugs, setting the tone for absorbing knowledge of the "beast" that plagued her family through four generations, concluding, "it is a disease that if faced does not discriminate." Her path of change leads to letting old friends go, new environments, and acknowledging the emotional numbness used as a coping mechanism along with substance abuse, needed to be replaced with allowing herself to absorb, experience, and feel her emotions, working through them in order for the former not to become a permanent place in her life anymore.  This newness of sobriety becomes a norm in her life until encountering her children struggling in areas they were normally productive in, finding substance abuse played a great part in their actions, lead Karen on another journey of helping her own children in reaching sobriety. Administering tough love, at times letting them reach rock bottom, Karen chose to believe "they would find the strength within themselves to develop change." Embracing a regimen of eliminating self-denial, tied with determination and hope, Karen embarks upon the reality, "early sobriety will lead to recovery."

Lauren's story begins in part two, detailing her experiences in the battle of addiction through the eyes of a teenager. After she and her brother Ryan are abused by her alcoholic father and stepmother, a similar parallel to her mother's history, drug and alcohol use along with wrong influences become the emotional crutch in her life. The difference is she has a loving mother who has walked down similar tracks who decided to fight for her children, "even if that meant relocating for the betterment of her children."    Through commitment to a dynamic treatment program called "Tough Love", although Lauren encountered bumps along the road she learned to take steps towards sobriety, self-discovery, accountability, and began to trust.   She absorbed the fact, "to work through the pain in order to deal with the bottom line of her feelings, not run from them but to face them." Once returning to the outside world without the support of her sobriety group due to Lauren not wanting to be disciplined for entering an emotional dependent relationship that was abusive, Lauren hits rock bottom on a different note, enduring the loss of her first child as well to a miscarriage from such a decision. Subsequently humbling herself to return back to her sobriety group, Lauren through it all "had reached out before using, she had kept her sobriety." This would continue an eleven year victory of sobriety for Lauren.

Addicted Like Me is a 279 page book, containing three parts of a mother-daughter memoir.  Part one and two are their story, while part three is the focus of a mother-daughter guide to recovery, involving strategies, and resources with online websites for the reader. Discussion questions are provided at the end.  What pleased me about this book most was that it brought with it what I would call a "Pass It Forward" movement, one of unconditional retribution.  A mother who endured, passed her knowledge of strength on to both her son and daughter, a son who led his sister to sobriety by example, and a daughter although not close to her own father, reached back once reaching her sobriety to bring him into his before his death. Addicted Like Me is sure to have a place most definitely in the publishing realm for helping those who struggle with addiction to recovery.

 

© 2011 Tijuana Canders

     

 

 Tijuana Canders, Canal Winchester, Ohio