From Christoph Fisher Books, Oct. 27...
Today I have the pleasure of introducing one book particularly close to my heart. We all know people suffering from Alcoholism and/ or dependency issues. I thought I had read and heard it all, but along comes Scott Stevens with his personal experience and sharp journalistic mind to add a valuable contribution to the discussion. Here is my review, an interview and an excerpt from the book.
“Every Silver Lining Has a Cloud : Relapse and the Symptoms of Sobriety” by Scott Stevens is a remarkable book about alcoholism that has busted a few myths for me, taught me a few truths and filled in other gaps in what I thought was comprehensive knowledge on the subject of addiction and alcoholism.
With journalistic precision and competence, Stevens informs his readers in excellent fashion about the correlation between alcoholism and cortisol, a chemical in the body related to stress and stressors. Stevens also brings in psychological aspects and data, statistics and the impact of spirituality and communication on recovery.
I found Stevens’ approach refreshing because unlike other self-help books there is no agenda or one simplifying message about the subject. This is an informed and personalised account of facts that can clarify patterns, help understanding them and shed new light on the subject without trying to force them into a one-trick-pony of a book.
The book includes many great quotes on the matter and should be helpful for alcoholics and those around them just for the inspirational impact of those alone but I also personally related particularly well to the rational journalistic approach interspersed with the personal.
I commend Stevens for his honesty when it comes to his own private experiences and for his talent to chose wisely where to bring the personal into the book in the first place. Here is not a sinner asking for forgiveness, or someone revealing to shock or to accuse. The ‘sobriety’ of his account is most rewarding and probably helps to increase the impact of what is being shared.
I have already passed the book details on to my friends in recovery.
What made you decide to be a writer? Have you always written?
Thanks for the opportunity, Christoph. I’ve always been a writer. I had strong influences at an early age. I was encouraged to read classics and work on composition. I went into journalism. That was a trip. Working in TV, you learn to be precise but brief. When I left TV for marketing, I continued as a writer. That was where my passion was. I continued my journalism as well, working in “emerging” platforms — not so emerging any longer. A few years ago, when I left my executive career, I continued writing and consulting until my life took one big left turn. I turned that into an opportunity to help others with my message, my research and my story about alcoholism and recovery.
Could you briefly describe what your reason to write Every Silver Lining Has a Cloud was and what message you are trying to bring across with this book?
I am alcoholic. In recovery now, of course, but ran my life against the rocks pretty hard at two-liters-a-day-every-day. As I began recovery I recognized that the people around me struggling were not the same as the experts writing the books about struggling. The messages we got in recovery were coming from people who lived lives unchallenged by alcohol.
Is it intended as inspiration, self-help or factual information?
ALL of the above. Sort of. I didn’t set out to write something inspirational, only something practical and useful in the same voice as those most familiar with the drama of the disease. It is flattering that those same people tell me it IS inspirational. The journalist in me wanted to write an air-tight, well-researched book. But I lived it, too.
How did you come up with the title of your book?
My first book was What the Early Worm Gets. I’d always been the early bird. Still am. But I found out what it was like to be on the other end of the food chain. Flipping around the old adage ‘The early bird gets the worm’ is a feeling many people upended by alcohol find familiar.
Every Silver Lining Has a Cloud is about relapse. Sobriety was supposed to be the silver lining to the cloud of alcoholism. When you relapse, you discover that silver lining has a cloud all its own.
How do you come up with your ideas about the structure?
I read a ton of research studies in the course of my reporting. I know that is NOT how I want my work to read. I want the facts, but it has to read page to page, not chart to chart. It’s not a self-help manual for insomniacs… it’s a story for alcoholics and their families...
Read the rest of the interview at Christoph Fisher Books. Mr. Fisher is an acclaimed international historical fiction novelist from the UK. Also, please check out the author interview with Scott Stevens on Lucy Pireel's "All That's Written" 10/11/13