A Book about Recovery

I’m looking to write/edit/compile a book about recovery.  My wish is that the book celebrates recovery in all its varieties, joy, gladness, poignancy, regret, relief.  However this A book about hopeis a book that needs to be written by the recovery community themselves rather than just one person, as everybody’s experience is different.

It needs to be a book that brings hope to people who are still suffering, whether that be in the throws of addiction or struggling with recovery.  But it needs to be a book that is read by a wider audience than recovering addicts/alcoholics and their family.

There is a new confidence now within the recovery community with events like the national Recovery Walk and films like Anonymous People.  The recovery community are coming out of the basements and telling the world that “We are here, and here to stay”.  People who are caught in the web of addiction should be able to see that there is a way out and that life after addiction can be good!  And for the wider community, we would hope to show that people in recovery can contribute to society in a meaningful way.

A Change of approach

You may have seen a previous call for contributions and felt that it did not concern you or you may even have felt excluded.  Initially when I talked about writing this book, I thought that it should contain the stories of some (around 12) people who were more than 10 years in recovery.  The reasoning was that having been in recovery that long they would have had time to make a significant contribution to their community.  However two things happened that made me change my thinking.

First, the response was poor, few people volunteered to write their story.  But that was not the end of the world, rather than wait for volunteers I could just contact people and ask them directly to contribute.  That was one option, but there was another.

As I thought about what the content might look like, I became concerned the book would Recovery bookbecome too ‘samey’.  Having 12 long pieces, the book could be a bit boring.  So I thought that I would like to open the book up to contributions from many people to get as many flavours of recovery as possible, new, long term, drugs, alcohol and family member.  I believe that this is a more exciting prospect, and a more inclusive one, in fact it is a book that I would want to read, what about you?

Will you help?

Are you in recovery or have a close relative who is in recovery.  If so, we would love you to contribute a short story, description of an event, a poem or something that represents recovery to you.  We want you to paint a picture in words, something that sums up your recovery.  It can be anything at all, the birth of your child, your wedding day, graduation, the feeling you had when you heard a piece of music or saw a fabulous sunset or realised that you were actually free.  What is your recovery story.  Will you share it with us and the world?

Ok so you are not a writer.  That doesn’t matter, we are looking for feelings here not perfect prose.  If your contribution is full of grammatical and spelling mistakes, don’t worry someone will put it right, provided it does not lose the meaning.

Not a writer but you are you an artist?  We need a cover illustration and a limited number of inside illustrations so if you have some visual art that represents recovery for you, send us a photograph of it.

Who am I?

I am a recovering alcoholic/addict, abstinent since August 1984 when I was given 6 months to live.  After drying out I went back to education and got a degree, then a doctorate and became an academic and taught and carried out research at the Centre for Alcohol and Drug Studies at Paisley University, Scotland. In recent years I have created websites to help people who suffer from alcohol problems whether from their own drinking www.247helpyourself.com or from someone else’s www.bottled-up.com .

The Book

The book will be a collection of stories, testimonies, impressions, poems etc that portray something of recovery and what it means to the contributors.  The contributors will be people in recovery, family and friends.  The book will be launched at the UK National Recovery Walk in Manchester 2014.  Proceeds from the book will be split between Bottled Up and the Recovery Walk.

Want to contribute?

Contact me John McMahon by email at john@247helpyourself.com

You can submit as many contributions as you like.

No contribution should be longer than 500 words, preferably less.

Contributions should be about Recovery and an abstinent life, not about drinking or drug use.

Contributions should include your name (however you want to be identified), where you live, city will be enough, time in recovery and a Statement saying:-Recovery book

I authorise John McMahon to use this contribution in the book about recovery.  I give this freely without any expectation of reward or payment.  I give all rights to John McMahon.

The statement is important and no contribution will be used without this waiver.

We reserve the right to choose which contributions are included in the book.    Sending a contribution will not guarantee inclusion. Contributions will be included if they are deemed to enhance the book’s balance and bring something fresh and original.

Please ensure that any contributions are your own original work and have not been copied from other publications.

I look forward to hearing from you.



John McMahon



4 thoughts on “A Book about Recovery

  1. My name is karen I am willing to contribute ive been in recovery 2 years 7 months my life has transformed I drank alcoholichly from the age of 13 had the dt’s at 20 then 38 took cocaine at the end of my alcoholism as the drink stopped working had the dt’s when I was 38 came off alcohol and coke then and picked up valium speed and hash although speed and hash were apparent throughout my life I started taking them alcoholichly.lost the house the husband the good job…..today im at college doing an introduction to councelling if you want any more info feel free to contact me thanks karen

  2. Hello Dr. John,
    I too am working on a piece for your project, and will email it to you tomorrow. Not much is being said due to *Stigma* around Addicted Compulsive Gambling, which I just celebrated 7 yrs in recovery. I drank way to much as well, but it seemed when I gambled. I was able to recover from the alcohol, it was the gambling that was my true “Demon”……

    Warm Regards,
    Catherine Lyon

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