Out of the Wreck I Rise
A Literary Companion to Recovery
Addiction is easy to fall into and hard to escape. It destroys the lives of individuals, and has a devastating cost to society. The National Institute of Health estimates seventeen million adults in the United States are alcoholics or have a serious problem with alcohol. This scourge affects not only those who drink or use drugs but also their families and friends, who witness the horror of addiction. Both the afflicted and those who love them are often baffled by what is happening, never mind what to do about it. With Out of the Wreck I Rise, Neil Steinberg and Sara Bader have created a resource like no other—one that harnesses the power of literature, poetry, and creativity to illuminate what alcoholism and addiction are all about, while forging change, deepening understanding, and even saving lives.
Structured to follow the arduous steps to sobriety, the book marshals the wisdom of centuries and explores essential topics, including the importance of time, navigating family and friends, Alcoholics Anonymous, relapse, and what Raymond Carver calls “gravy,” the reward that is recovery. Each chapter begins with advice and commentary followed by a wealth of quotes to inspire and heal. The result is a mosaic of observations and encouragement that draws on writers and artists spanning thousands of years—from Seneca to David Foster Wallace, William Shakespeare to Patti Smith. The ruminations of notorious drinkers like John Cheever, Charles Bukowski, and Ernest Hemingway shed light on the difficult process of becoming sober and remind the reader that while the literary alcoholic is often romanticized, recovery is the true path of the hero.
Along with traditional routes to recovery—Alcoholics Anonymous, out-patient therapy, and intensive rehabilitation programs—this literary companion offers valuable support and inspiration to anyone seeking to fight their addiction or to a struggling loved one.
1 The Best of Life: The Good Times Sour
2 I Don’t Want to Do That: The End of the Party
3 The Direction You Least Trust: Making the Leap
4 Nothing to Lose: Early Recovery
5 Wait, for Now: The Importance of Time
6 Somewhere to Go: Alcoholics Anonymous
7 Shakespeare’s Child: Family and Friends
8 Upon Breach of My Late Vows: Relapse
9 Gravy: On Life Anew
Index of Authors
“Chicago journalist Neil Steinberg and quote-collecting collaborator Sara Bader had a rich lode to mine in compiling their sampler of thoughts—rueful and revelatory—on (wo)mankind’s complex and enduring relationship with alcohol. Out of the Wreck I Rise: A Literary Companion to Recovery is like a pub crawl around the globe and across the ages, in company with an artistic who’s who of brilliant if besotted company.”
"A vivid and accessible panoply of literary and philosophical wisdom that is singular in the field of contemporary self-help. Their impeccable research and exploration of a new paradigm provides the reader both an intellectual and emotional approach to the enduring struggle with addiction that has existed for centuries. But this is not a book solely for the intellectual. The well-chosen quotations that are the core of the book express the deep longings and suffering of people from all walks of life. Thus it would be a welcome addition for anyone with an addiction and/or their families."