THE HARDER THEY FALL: Celebrities Tell Their Real-Life Stories of Addiction and Recovery

Rebecca Kai Dotlich, Author, Jan Spivey Gilchrist, Illustrator
Rebecca Kai Dotlich, Author, Jan Spivey Gilchrist, Illustrator , foreword by Lewis Lapham, intro. by Stephen Davis. Hazelden $21.95 (334p) ISBN 1-59285-156-8
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The celebrities interviewed here—from Ann Lamott to Alice Cooper—are all in recovery from addictions to alcohol or drugs that originated in the 1960s and '70s. Among them are athletes, musicians, actors and even a member of Congress, Jim Ramstad. With the assistance of veteran writer Merrill, Stromberg, who ran a P.R. firm for musicians and produced films (Car Wash ), provides a brief introduction to each subject before eliciting his or her first-person story. Stromberg, a former abuser of heroin, cocaine and alcohol, also shares his spectacular success in the 1970s and his equally dramatic drug-addled fall in 1980, when he lost his home, lover and career. Like many of those he interviewed, he became sober through traditional rehab and recovery programs. But Pete Hamill found his path to sobriety alone by deciding "to live my life without anesthesia, and that meant accepting the pain along with the laughs." Top jockey Pat Day describes how he was saved from drug and alcohol dependence through a commitment to born-again Christianity. The strength of these always honest and affecting anecdotes is, in fact, their variety of paths to recovery; the diversity should help this excellent volume appeal to a wide audience. (Apr.)

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