This is a brilliant book - buy it if you have a family member / partner who's alcoholic. I read it while travelling in Australia - a few months after my step dad died from alcoholism. I was feeling terribly guilty about the death of this man who I'd never understood, who I'd never been able to reach - he seemed to live in a world of his own. He seemed oblivious to the chaose he created around him. Finally I understood this was a classic pattern of behaviour of people with this type of mental illness. The book gives typical symptoms of alcoholism - and what's more illuminating is it tells you the common ways that family members react when confronted with the disease - basically you start acting insane yourself! The author gets you to think about yourself - and your needs - and how skewed you've become, in your attempts to normalise someone else's madness, to cover up for them or try to change them. It explains the physical effects of alcohol - and how 19 in 20 alcoholics die alcoholics - it is a very difficult nut to crack, so you need not feel guilty if you can't seem to help the person. I stopped blaming myself for not being able to control the uncontrollable - I forgave myself for the difficult feelings I had, and some of my own slightly unpalatable behaviour. This book gave me permission to worry about myself and my own life, and my own bright future. It could help you do the same.
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