One of the best perks about writing the 12 Step Recovery articles is that I am offered books to read and share with my readers. It is important to me when I accept a book to be honest. Being honest means reading the book in its entirety no matter what negative thoughts may come along the way.
Well, when I was asked to review “I WILL NOT BE BROKEN” by Jerry White I accepted and when I received the book, looked at the cover “5 Steps to Overcoming a Life Crisis” and wondered how on earth I would fit this into the 12 Step Recovery process. I can tell you it was a wonderful surprise. Most of us in recovery read spiritual books, daily meditation books, and for the most part, topics we never would have read in our addiction. I liked this book because it wasn’t written for addicts. It was written for every man and woman out there because all of us will at some point in our lives face a crisis.
The crisis, as Mr. White writes, is that everyone has a date with disaster. Disaster doesn’t necessarily mean an earthquake, a hurricane, a life-threatening illness or an injury that changes our lives (as happened to Mr. White). A disaster could be a life-altering event and one that we look back on as a very specific day. 9/11 is a perfect example. The death of a loved one is another example. I had to look at this from a recovery point of view and realize that our sobriety date is exactly what Mr. White was speaking of. Your sobriety date; my sobriety date is THE day we made a decision that we would not be broken!
There are five steps the author suggests are crucial to moving on after a crisis/disaster in our lives. These five steps so inter-relate to the twelve steps that you will immediately just get it! I am not going to go into detail because I encourage you to read the entire book on your own but here are Mr. White’s five steps and a brief word or two of my own about each. STEP ONE: Face Facts (admit and acknowledge the problem); STEP TWO: Choose Life (realize you do have a choice and are free to make it); STEP THREE: Reach Out (you can do little by ourselves; you need someone’s help); STEP FOUR: Get Moving (action; take control of your life); STEP FIVE: Give Back (remember that faith without works is dead).
“I WILL NOT BE BROKEN” reminds me of several things you will recognize as “victimhood”: self-pity, resentment, blaming, taking, fear. But as I had stated earlier, this book is for everyone. This is for your friend or relative who just can’t seem to move on after their personal date with disaster. I totally enjoyed it because it didn’t make me, as an addict, any different that the rest of the “normal” population. As a matter of fact, it made me realize just how much I have in my recovery toolbox that others don’t have and now I can add Mr. White’s five steps to what I already carry with me. Just in case!
The book is sprinkled with great quotes from famous people and not-so-famous people. One of my favorites really isn’t a quote but actually a Buddhist belief that “suffering in this life is universal and inevitable, but it is not an injustice. It is simply a lesson to help us reconfigure balance, overcome our weaknesses, and proceed to change and growth.” Those words really describe the central theme of this book.
Now I will tell you the only thing I didn’t like about the book (and it is a very small thing, indeed). Mr. White not only recounts his own crises but many others write short paragraphs about theirs. With each new person and story, Mr. White would identify them as his friend, his child’s godparent, or in-law and by the time I got to the end of the book, I was almost feeling sorry that he was surrounded by so many who had suffered so much. Honestly, some of the stories were terribly emotional to me. Ironically, I realized how many of the people I know today are recovering from drugs or alcohol and if I were to tell you any one of their stories, I would call them a “friend”.
Read this book. Find someone you know who has met his/her disaster date. Better yet, why wait? Every one of us on this earth will face something that we cannot control yet we don’t have to react and continue reacting in an unhealthy way. For those of us in recovery, our sobriety is everything. “I WILL NOT BE BROKEN” will make you feel part of the “in-crowd” because much of what Mr. White writes is familiar to us but it also reinforces and strengthens the resolve to continue to face life and live life on life’s terms.
Namaste’. May you walk your journey in peace and harmony.
“I WILL NOT BE BROKEN” by Jerry White is published by St. Martin’s Press. Mr. White is a “recognized leader of the historic International Campaign to Ban Landmines, co-recipient of the Nobel Prize for Peace, as well as cofounder of Survivor Corps.