Entertainment :: Books

Leaving The Rest: Gay Men On Alcoholism, Addiction And Recovery

by Daniel Scheffler
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Thursday Oct 10, 2013
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A heartfelt, and tangible account of real life is exactly what "Leaving The Rest: Gay Men On Alcoholism, Addiction And Recovery" offers up. Difficult to read for its truth and its straightforward approach to exposing this truth, the book is the ultimate "Thanks For Sharing" moment.

Made up of essays collected over 20 years, the book is groundbreaking in its ability to not cushion or soften the real situations people actually go through. It’s filled with gay men breaking themselves open to give to others their personal experiences of not only being gay, but also being a gay alcoholic or addict.

We don’t know too much about the founder of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Bill W, as Smith points out. But we don’t need to know too much -- we just need to look at the recovery rates coming from the rooms across the world. People who have ruined their lives, be it once, twice, or ten times, bounce back from the dead and from the dirt to achieve great things -- physically, emotionally, spiritually, in every way you can imagine. That’s the greatness of the program, as the book points out with gusto.

It’s filled with gay men breaking themselves open to give to others their personal experiences of being not only gay but also a gay alcoholic or addict.

The statistics are staggering, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Some research (unsure of the sources) shows that 45% of all American families have at least one alcoholic family member. AA supports this in their estimates. (How could they not, with over 2 million active members worldwide?) AA refuses, rightly so, to disclose micro stats of any kind, so it is difficult to establish how alcoholism, recovery, the 12 step and meetings are related directly to homosexuals. But your intuition is right, and just by picking up this book you’re giving in to the fact that there’s a serious problem out there -- and you’re aware of it.

The book is not just for recovering alcoholics to reminisce about their own paths. It really is for all of society, including people who know addicts, who are addicts themselves and cannot admit to it, and even people who have an inkling. The stories -- and yes, they are harrowing -- are incorruptible and have universal lessons applicable to you, me, and all the other addicts. Addiction is, after all, a disease, and this book demonstrates that with care and generosity.

"Leaving The Rest: Gay Men On Alcoholism, Addiction And Recovery"
Leslie Smith
$17.95
Magnum Books

by Leslie Smith

Based between New York and Cape Town, Daniel Scheffler writes about socio political and travel matters and is working on a memoir. Follow him on Twitter @danielscheffler.

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