Walking Out the Other Side –
An Addict’s Journey From Loneliness to Life
Author: Alan S. Charles
“Walking Out the Other Side” tells a very coherent story of drug and alcohol addiction, and how it affects not only the addict, but those around them. Alan Charles speaks with a strong voice – he is a talented, intelligent, successful individual that came from talented, intelligent, successful parents. Another quality that he shared with his parents was that of having a fatal flaw that kept any of them from sustaining their success.
Charles’ father died when he was nine – a death that he was not to fully understand until he was an adult, after his mother died. Once a successful model, Charles’ mother lost herself after her husband’s death, and was unable to handle his brother, who was moving deeper and deeper into mental illness. The home atmosphere was dysfunctional to an unbelievable extent – Charles chose to stay away from home as much as possible. With the help of male figures from within his community, he became involved in sports, and began working multiple jobs.
He attended college, working his way through, playing baseball and becoming involved with the coeds. There was no home to go back to, as his mentally disturbed brother refused to allow his mother to let him in the house.
Charles played professional baseball in the Dominican Republic, and then came back to the states, where he trained to become a harness racing trainer and driver. At this time. His cocaine addiction began to take over his life. From racing he moved on to sales positions, where he was a rock star! However, all this did was fuel his addiction. He went in and out of rehab several times, trying to save his relationships (he never actually thought that he was at risk or needed help). His wife left him, with their two daughters, because of his addiction. This was a turning point for him – that, and the fact that he literally hit rock bottom physically and mentally.
I have known addicts in my life – co-workers, but people that I knew fairly well. What I saw in their lives is what Charles talks about in this book. These were educated people that could not sustain everyday life. Multiple stays in rehab, people around them being affected, lots of “come backs”. One suicide, one individual being the cause of having another individual fired (and they were in denial about this), and one individual trying very hard to do the right thing in their life (their addiction had already cost them a marriage and multiple good jobs).
Charles has been sober for several years now, focusing on his daughters, and taking things one day at a time. I definitely admire him for being willing to book speaking engagements to talk about addiction and the road to recovery. He has seen huge success in sports, harness racing, and the business world, and he lost it all, only to come back multiple times.
Addiction affects not only the addict, but those around them. Denial is a big part of their lives. What they are addicted to is not the problem – the problem is whatever in their lives is too dark for them to handle. Charles makes this very evident – and that makes this a very important book.
© February 2016 Bonnie Cehovet