Thanking my readers and “my addicts”

Those of you who remember record players probably recall the infamous “broken record” — which kept repeating the same sounds over and over. Maybe that’s me, but I thought I’d share a few more words of thanks. I finally finished editing the copy-edited manuscript of my book, a horrific chore that took three weeks, nearly full time. Now the book is really, really, really finished — entirely in the hands of the publishers And my last task was to compose the dedication, which goes at the front, and the Acknowledgements, which go at the end. Here they are…



For the members of my blog community, who have generously shared their experiences and insights, and for the five who trusted me to tell their stories here.



After writing a book about my own passage through addiction, I needed to learn what my experiences had in common with those of others. So I began a regular blog that attracted a bright, boisterous, and empathic community populated by former and recovering addicts. The many comments following my posts and the guest posts contributed by members provided a wealth of insights and information that I could not have hoped to find elsewhere. I want to thank each and every one of the people who’ve engaged in this conversation with me. You inspired me to write the present book, and you helped me understand addiction well enough to feel I could make a worthwhile contribution.

The five former addicts whose stories I tell deserve the gratitude of everyone attempting to comprehend addiction by combining private experience with other forms of knowledge. The people who volunteered for this project donated many hours to respond to my questions, and they did so with unstinting energy and honesty, dredging up details from experiences they might have preferred to forget. When wearing my interviewer’s hat, I often felt like a dentist drilling deeply, painfully, until I unearthed every chunk of my respondent’s past. They bore up bravely, shining the beam of self-examination wherever I asked them to look. I am deeply grateful.

Lisa Kaufman, my editor at PublicAffairs, helped me upgrade my understanding of the rehab world, past and present, until I’d acquired the perspective I needed to portray it sensitively and accurately. But I’m most grateful to Lisa for encouraging me to follow the implications of my own model from theoretical abstractions to concrete directions for practice. She convinced me that, for many readers, that’s where the book had to land. And she was right.

Tim Rostron, my editor at Doubleday Canada, has now been my writing guru through two books, and I continue to celebrate my good fortune. Tim’s mastery of the deep and subtle currents of English and his dedication to transparency and flow have nursed my growth from scientist to writer.

I benefited hugely from the seasoned perspective of two unpaid editors, Matt Robert and Cathy O’Connor. As a pioneer in the rehab community and a sparkling commentator on current trends, Matt took me behind the scenes of the rehab/recovery world. He read most if not all of these chapters, showed me what I was missing in both form and substance, and helped me smooth out terms and concepts that might otherwise get caught in the reader’s throat. Cathy generously dipped into her editorial talents to guide me through the no-man’s-land between what I thought I was explaining clearly and what readers were likely to grasp. There were jagged craters everywhere, most in places I would not have checked. Cathy pointed them out with patience and precision and helped me figure out how to fill them. I am so very grateful to both of you.

Other treatment experts came to my aid. I am particularly indebted to Shaun Shelly, who kept pace with every conceptual step I took, in the book and in the blog, and harvested examples to help support our shared understanding of addiction. And my thanks to Peter Sheath, who spearheaded the Birmingham Model described in the last chapter and infected me with the courage, creativity, and optimism he has brought to the treatment world. [Both of these men have been frequent contributors to this blog.]

My most generous and dependable editor remains Isabela Granic, my partner for eighteen years. Your steady supply of gist was the mortar by which my details could cohere and settle. You continued pointing me toward what I’m good at and reminding me of its worth. And you stoked the fires whenever I got discouraged or just tired. This book could not have existed without you.

Finally, Ruben and Julian, thank you for letting me work all those hours when I should have been playing with you. Ruben, thanks for adjusting my chair. Julian, thanks for the cuddles. I’ll try to make it up to you both now that the book is finished.


To Matt, Shaun, Peter, my five interviewees, and all the rest of you — Thank You!

Marc in tree

18 thoughts on “Thanking my readers and “my addicts”

  1. Shaun Shelly March 6, 2015 at 5:46 am #

    I must admit that brought a tear to my eye. Of course, we thank you for creating this forum where so much intelligent debate takes place and we are made to feel welcome and safe enough to share.

    I look forward to the book.

  2. Carolyn March 6, 2015 at 6:54 am #

    Hi Marc

    It is wonderful to see you thriving in this community that you have created. Humble looks good on you. I can’t wait to read your book to see how you have put all of this together.

    Enjoy your time with your boys and Isabel,

    • Marc March 6, 2015 at 5:43 pm #

      Big long days now, and some sunshine to light them up. We don’t have to wake up in the dark anymore. Hey, that could be a great metaphor….for something.

  3. William Abbott March 6, 2015 at 9:18 am #

    YEAH– and tiime to get back and do some ” real” work ! LOL

    Do you have a publication date yet?


    • Marc March 6, 2015 at 5:40 pm #

      July 14. But bound copies available in June…only for those who are most deserving.

  4. Liz March 6, 2015 at 10:34 am #

    Thank you for providing a place where we don’t feel so alone. Communal understanding brings a sense of connectivity to our being, and at least for me, makes me feel like an integral and valuable part of this universe.

    • Marc March 6, 2015 at 5:41 pm #

      Me too. Which is a big part of why this blog is so important to me.

  5. Richard H March 7, 2015 at 7:37 am #

    Hi Marc,

    While I do appreciate your writing skills and your vast understanding of addiction, it occurred to me while reading this week’s post, that those are secondary to what your dedication and acknowledgments capture about who you are as a human being. In fact, it seems reasonable to say that your writing skill/style and your knowledge about addiction is a consequence of something greater, your essence. More than anything else, that is personally why I feel so drawn to your blog and your books.

    So while I congratulate you on your book completion – the final-final-final one – I more enthusiastically admire the man who sets the book aside and plays with his kids and revitalizes the down-to-earth elements that all of your endeavors, including your book, are so inspiration-ally premised on.


    • matt March 7, 2015 at 1:27 pm #

      Hear, hear
      A consummate, compassionate curiositist …
      Oops! The neologistic alliteration buffer went off the rails again!,,
      But it’s necessary in this case; there are no words—
      just gratitude

    • Marc March 8, 2015 at 4:38 pm #

      Well thanks, Richard. I think I’ve just been very very lucky. Not that I didn’t deserve it, but everyone deserves it, and I was lucky enough to get it. When you get all that warmth from just being with your kids, it’s almost impossible to remember how bleak things can be. Almost, not quite.

  6. jasmine March 8, 2015 at 3:36 am #


    Reading your post/acknowledgements almost brought tears to my eyes. It is purely one of the most moving and beautiful pieces I’ve ever read. I’m sure my gratitude for your courage to begin – and deeply explore – this kind of dialogue will be echoed by so many others.

    I send you my heart-felt congratulations, and look so forward to turning the pages.

    Jasmine 😉

    • Marc March 8, 2015 at 4:34 pm #

      Thank you for sharing this, Jasmine. I wondered if I was being way too cheesy. So it’s good to know that you got where it was coming from.

  7. China Darrington March 8, 2015 at 9:24 pm #

    Beautiful. Can’t wait to read it!

  8. Basim Elhabashy March 9, 2015 at 1:52 am #

    That’s great. I would like to read it.

  9. Robert March 9, 2015 at 7:33 pm #

    Hi Marc,

    I thoroughly enjoyed your first offering. It contributed greatly to my understanding of by own addiction and the topic of addiction in general. Although I have benefited from the traditional 12-step recovery model, attention needs to be given to other novel approaches. Thanks to you and other investigators willing to engage a new path hopefully many suffering souls will be able to find salvation and freedom from non-12 step programs. Once again thanks for providing an open forum where new ideas can be discussed without shame. I can’t wait to buy a copy. Take care.

  10. Janet March 10, 2015 at 9:22 am #

    Marc, From the moment I read your first book I knew you were a true healer. Not here on a path to instruct, but here to learn, and to share. In your quest for understanding, you have been so inclusive, so kind, so generous. I love this “bright, boisterous” group as well. It is full of life. And you have all helped me immeasurably in my struggle as the parent of an addict. Sending each and every one of you bright and boisterous bloggers and big beautiful smile. Shine on.

  11. Mark March 23, 2015 at 4:05 pm #

    The Irrationality of Alcoholics Anonymous …

    • Lisa Kaufman April 8, 2015 at 12:15 am #

      Wonder what you thought of this piece. I myself as you know am kind of tired of these many attacks on AA a) in general and b) that conflate AA as it understands itself, with what AA actually ‘t as adapted and institutionalized in rehab treatment. This article also conflates the actions of particular AA members, with AA as an entity. For example Marty Mann was an AA member, and a PR expert, and she was a huge advocate for the disease model of addiction. Marty Mann was NOT AA itself. She wasn’t an ‘official’ of AA (which has no officials); she was not speaking on its behalf, ETc. etc.
      Anyways, when I read about AA in articles like this, it just bears no resemblance to my experience of the fellowship or of its literature, and seems to imply that all the people who it helps are either brainwashed cultists or fatuous idiots. I beg to disagree.

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