SELF-HELP

Long Walk Out of the Woods: A Physician’s Story of Addiction, Depression, Hope, and Recovery/We Are the Luckiest: The Surprising Magic of a Sober Life

Central Recovery/New World Library. Dec. 2019/ Jan. 2020. 224p. ISBN 9781949481228. pap. $16.95/ISBN 9781608686544. $25.95..
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Oncologist Hill (pediatric palliative care, Indiana Univ. Riley Hospital for Children) shares a deeply personal story of addiction, depression, hope, and recovery in an effort to improve access, treatment options, and resources for all affected by similar conditions. Writing from firsthand experience, he relates feelings of extreme turmoil as well as the disappointments he faced in seeking treatment, emphasizing throughout the important role empathy plays in the process of healing and understanding the suffering of others with addiction issues. 
Former public relations executive ­McKowen also touches on the problem of stigma but focuses more on her journey while drinking, not shying away from her ongoing struggles with sobriety. Geared primarily toward those currently in the throes of alcohol addiction or who are new to recovery, McKowen’s account limns the uncertainty, pain, and loneliness she encountered on her path to a healthier, happier life.
VERDICT Hill’s engaging memoir comes with lessons for students and those working primarily in the medical field, while ­McKowen’s narrative serves to inspire and uplift the layperson battling addiction.

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