Friday, November 26, 2010

My take on: Everything I Never Wanted to be


Family, you love them no matter what, in good times and in bad. But what happens when they push you to the breaking point? Do you let it eat at you? Or would you find a way to cope? At one point for Dina Kucera, author of Everything I Never Wanted to be, it was a return to bad habits. The stress of coming from a family of addicts, including her children, led Kucera to start popping pills after years of sobriety from alcohol. But Kucera found a way out of the abyss with a career as a writer and ... as a comedian. Yes, even laughter has a way of healing.

For most families it's about living the dream. A mom, a dad, 2.2 kids, a house in the suburbs and nice dinners at the table. For Kucera that scenario is not the norm. Her normal was a thankless job as a cashier at a grocery store, a husband who lost his job, a brother-in-law who watches far too much TV, alcoholic parents and three daughters who struggle with alcohol and drug addiction. Oldest daughter Jennifer is a gay, alcoholic, hypochondriac -- every week she has some new disease. Middle child April is an alcoholic with relationship issues.

But all of that is tame when it comes to Kucera's youngest daughter Carly. There is no time to take a breath, as Kucera's life becomes consumed with Carly's addiction to meth and heroin.

"Food is not something I feel passionate about, so I don't prepare food in my house for my family to enjoy. I am merely trying to keep them alive."

Carly goes in and out of rehabs. Detoxing at home works for a little while, but then the cycle begins again, including judgments from others. To hear Kucera tell it, the state of Arizona isn't equipped to handle teenage addicts., all they know is how to treat adults. A funny exchange with Kucera and a caseworker cemented this for me. Said caseworker Lenny thinks "mirroring" (A.K.A repeating everything that is said) will work instead of actual therapy. After all a teenager shouldn't be capable of such adult behavior, so why bother to really treat them? I thought Kucera was going to throttle the young man, but she resisted.

Dina Kucera is very blunt with her past. There is no sugarcoating in this story. It will make you appreciate what you have. Despite hitting bottom, Kucera found a way to get back up. How many times can your children disappoint you? She never gave up on her children, although there were several moments when I thought she would. Her strength and resolve really come through. No matter how bad it gets, we all have the power to make our situations better.

Rating: Superb

Notes: I received the book as part of a blog tour with Pump up Your Book (http://www.pumpupyourbook.com/). For more information on author Dina Kucera visit: http://everythinginever.com/

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