After reading you book, I set new goals

Readers Question Readers Question: (Name changed for privacy)
Stanton Peele Response by: Dr. Stanton Peele
Posted on April 24th, 2011 - Last updated: September 18th, 2019
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Mr. Peele,

If I may bend your ear, if for nothing else, to hear myself think, I would like to share my story. I quit using Meth December of last year. I was using daily for 7 years prior to that. In August of 1998 I entered recovery. There I was told I was powerless and would never be normal. I was instructed to get a higher power, told I was bipolar, prescribed antidepressants, and told I would be a life-long member of this cult. Thanks to my own independent thinking and a lot of support from my wife, I escaped their wrath.

After storming out of my Kaiser based recovery program in September of 1998, I stumbled over a book called Rational Recovery, which spoke highly of and lead me to reading your works. I realized after reading your Diseasing of America I realized before I can go forward, I must first go back. So I did, to my small midwestern town in Wisconsin.

Lost for twenty years, I was. Away the home where I was born and raised. We, my 4 brothers and I lost a sister (when I was 3 to lukemia), then our father when I was 7, and mother when I was 13. I lived with different relatives until I was 17, then joined the Navy never to look back. Until last year.

Two of my brothers, who thought perhaps I was dead by now, were very happy to hear from me. Another, Kent, the oldest, who had abandoned our family for his own selfish reasons showed no interest in a reunion. My favorite brother, Mark, who cared for me and my youngest brother after my mothers death, had also used chemicals for most of his life to drive a wedge between the pain and was uncertain if he could bear to see me.

I met my brother’s Dan and Jay in Madison. We traveled together to Evansville. We went first to the cemetary to pay our respects. Upon seeing my mother, father and sister’s grave I fell to the earth, and cried for the first time like I never cried before. And so did my brothers.

I am sorry, but it pains too much me to go any further with this story. The reason I write is because I was having difficulty today. Voices from my past haunted me, lured me and tried to seduce me. I hope by reliving this tale with you today I can overcome these spirits and keep true the promise to myself and family.

After reading you book, I set new goals, became active in my family both in my new home and old. I also began to hold myself to a standard which my father who I greatly admired would be proud of. While home, friends and relatives told me great stories of my fathers courage, kindness, wit, cleverness and generosity. It was shortly after this journey I was able to quit using for good.

Thanks for everything…..




Dear Pat:

Thank you for sharing your story. It is very moving. I admire your courage, first for refusing to take the 12-step route, and second for facing up to your demons and for surfacing your values. You know that everyone has some similar story to yours — we could all cry for our lost pasts, for better or worse. I don’t mean to minimize your experience or feelings, but only to indicate that you share with much of humanity the strength to confront your past and to continue with your future.

With very best regards,

Stanton Peele

Dr. Stanton Peele, recognized as one of the world's leading addiction experts, developed the Life Process Program after decades of research, writing, and treatment about and for people with addictions. Dr. Peele is the author of 14 books. His work has been published in leading professional journals and popular publications around the globe.

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