“There are many books written on addiction, but this one will grab you and hold you tight. It will show you that beauty and love are always there for the finding.” —Debra Jay, author of It Takes A Family



Katherine Ketcham devoted three decades to writing and teaching about addiction — but none of that prepared her for what she would face in her relationship with her own son. From the coauthor of the bestselling classics Under the Influence (with James R Milam; Bantam, 1981) and The Spirituality of Imperfection (with Ernest Kurtz; Bantam, 1992), The Only Life I Could Save brings readers a memoir of heartbreak, healing, and the continual journey of recovery from addiction.

“This book is about the big know-it-all who realizes she doesn’t know a damn thing,” begins Ketcham. The Only Life I Could Save offers readers her hard-earned expertise on the impact of addiction on families, the relationship between spirituality and recovery, and “the most important lessons of faith, hope, acceptance, and forgiveness."


"From a mother’s harrowing journey into the dark abyss of fear to the bright light of hope, help and healing , this story unfolds the vivid gamut of emotions any parent knows when a child becomes entangled in alcohol or other drug use.  A must-read for anyone who wants to know what to do (and not to do) to help a loved one recover from addiction."
—William Cope Moyers, New York Times bestselling author

"What is it like for a mother (and an addictions expert) to experience her teenage son’s drift into addiction and struggle through treatments before finding his own road to recovery? That question is answered in Katherine Ketcham’s riveting story, THE ONLY LIFE I COULD SAVE. This both heartbreaking and uplifting story will offer readers an insider’s view of the family experience of addiction, treatment, and recovery. Highly recommended."
—William White, author of Slaying the Dragon