Forty years ago I started writing about addiction and recovery and in 1981 I published my first book, Under the Influence. With nearly 2 million copies sold, Under the Influence continues to offer help and hope to individuals and families struggling with addiction. “Under the Influence is my bible,” a reader wrote to me in March 2019. “I have studied it, loved it and finally understand my disease with it. I will spread the word. Thank you, you helped save my life!’
I do not take credit for the impact my books have on readers for of the 17 books I have written, 16 have been coauthored with experts. It is to them — Ernie Kurtz, Elizabeth Loftus, Jason Elias, Arthur Ciaramicoli, William Moyers and others — that the praise belongs, for they are the brilliant minds and lived experience behind the words. I am the writer, the translator, the privileged person who takes the ideas and experiences of others and puts them into words on the page, hoping to offer help and hope to readers who find their way to our books. My most recent book, The Only Life I Could Save: A Memoir, is a testament to the fact that “Life imitates Art far more than Art imitates Life,” as Oscar Wilde observed. The blank canvas of our lives over which we imagine that we have sole control is perhaps not so untouched by other forces after all.
Apart from my writing, I count these blessings . . . My family, my friends, my doggies. Books. Photography. Gardening (roses are my favorites but dahlias come close). Games (hearts, euchre, charades, corn hole, bingo—any game that makes me laugh). Walking, biking, swimming, star-gazing and all of the outdoors. Golf, which continually reminds me of the 3 Spiritual "H's:" Humility, Honesty, and Humor. Travel (here, there, everywhere). I love and adore my kind, ever-patient husband of 40 years, our three children with their big hearts and outrageous senses of humor, our dogs (all 7 of them), and my sisters, brothers, nieces, nephews, in-laws and out-laws. For all of them, for all of this, I am beyond grateful.