Claudia Black, Ph.D.
Author, It Will Never Happen To Me
Addiction? It’s even worse than you can imagine—especially for one “hooked” in her early teens. Jennifer Storm is that girl and Leave the Light On: A Memoir of Recovery and Self-Discovery is her story. (Central Recovery Press / Paperback $14.95/ April 2010). Ms. Storm’s first book, Blackout Girl (published by Hazelden), is the story of her fractured childhood as she descended into the dark solace that alcohol and other drugs provided. Leave the Light On continues her saga through recovery and the self-discovery that followed.
Jennifer reminds us that few books deal with life after recovery. “Where are the books on how one actually lives in recovery?” she asks. “…the rough rollercoaster of addiction is much more appealing to our society’s thirst for drama than the years of recovery that must come …[if] one is to truly survive. This book is my survival story….”
In the tradition of Beautiful Boy and other no-holds-barred confessionals, Leave the Light On reads more like a novel than a memoir and grips the reader from the first sentence. On the surface it’s a gritty story. A young girl, innocent of the joys and terrors life offers, numbs herself daily to block out her harrowing experiences. After Jennifer endures a brutal rape when she’s semiconscious from a drinking binge, the trauma and humiliation of that rape begin to drive her further into her addictions.
Rehab is her only way out—a solution paved with pain, suffering, and often, relapses. But the author has made it through and is “floating on the pink cloud” of successful recovery as this book opens.
Storm shows how former addicts must leave behind much of their lives if recovery is to succeed—and old and valued friendships are the most difficult to lose. But when these friendships are based on “partying” and getting high, they can’t be continued. Because Storm’s addictions began so early, it was especially hard for her to float down from her “pink cloud” of recovery and start over with a clean slate, leaving many friends and a whole lifestyle behind.
Through the use of flashbacks and old memories, Storm literally reconstructs her life throughout the book, and the reader is privy to her failures and successes. The stories include the loss of her best friend, the end of a long relationship with a man she just didn’t love, the uneasy relationship with and the death of her mother, the acceptance of her sexuality, and the beginning of a college career. Readers will applaud Storm as she experiences several relationships, learning along the way how to love and be loved. The book ends on a high note as Storm graduates from college and steps into a challenging government job in Harrisburg, PA.
A tribute to the author’s underlying character, iron will, and strength, the book is also a paean to the twelve-step program that sustained and sustains her, to the professionals who worked with her, and to the fellow addicts and non-addicts who loved, comforted, and did the right thing when she needed them most.
“I am one of the lucky ones,” says Storm in the Epilogue. “I got sober at a very young age, and to this day, have managed not to pick up a drink or a drug. I treasure and protect my recovery with the fierce knowledge that without it—I have nothing.”
More great reviews~!
“By generously sharing her story in Leave the Light On, Jennifer Storm adds to the literature of recovery and hope so helpful for those who think they are alone in their journey. This memoir is a welcome addition to anyone’s recovery bookshelf.” Kate Clinton, comedian and author
“For someone who found recovery fairly late in life (I was 42), I find Miss Storms struggles over her addictions at such an early age especially courageous. Peer pressure to “keep the party going” is so strong at her age, she is a shining example of the power of recovery programs for youth. I applaud her and hope this book brings the treasures of a sober life to many many young people.” Emmy award winning actor and author of My Trip Down the Pink Carpet Leslie Jordan.
“The odds of substance use for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth are on average 190 percent higher than for heterosexual youth, according to a study by University of Pittsburgh. Jennifer’s touching memoir of addiction and recovery is something that resonated with my life, and I’m sure many others as well.” Charles Robbins, CEO, The Trevor Project