Welcome to the virtual home of America Anonymous: Eight Addicts in Search of a Life, my book about addiction in this country. Click here to read reviews.
America Anonymous is the story of eight men and women from around the country—including a grandmother, a college student, a bodybuilder, a housewife, and a drug and gambling addiction counselor—struggling to recover from addictions. For nearly three years, I immersed myself in their lives as they battled drug and alcohol abuse, overeating, and compulsive gambling and sexuality. Alternating with their stories is my story of recovery from sexual addiction and my examination of our culture of addiction, where we obsessively search for new and innovative ways to escape the reality of the present moment and make ourselves feel “better.”
Addiction (to nicotine, alcohol, illegal drugs, and prescription drugs) is this country’s biggest public-health problem, costing us $524 billion each year and triggering or exacerbating many of our most pressing social problems—crime, poverty, skyrocketing health-care costs, and childhood abuse and neglect. But while cancer and AIDS survivors have taken to the streets and to the halls of Congress demanding to be counted, millions of addicts with successful longterm recovery only talk to each other in the confines of anonymous Twelve Step meetings. (A notable exception is the addicted celebrity, who often enters and exits rehab with great fanfare.)
Through the stories of Americans in various stages of recovery and relapse, I try to shine a spotlight on our most misunderstood health problem (is addiction a brain disease? A spiritual malady? A moral failing?) and break through the shame and denial that still shape our cultural understanding of it—and hamper our ability to treat it.
Are Americans more addicted than people in other countries, or does it just seem that way? Can food or sex be as addictive as alcohol and drugs? And will we ever be able to treat addiction with a pill? These are just a few of the questions I explore during my journey inside the lives of men and women struggling to get, or stay, sober. As the addicts in this book stumble, fall, and try again to make a different and better life, I do my best to record their struggles—and my own—with honesty and empathy.
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