Three years ago, the Long Beach, California, sober-living residence Serene Center published Point of Return, 15 stories focusing on the one factor most responsible for helping individuals maintain their recovery. The organization’s founder and chief executive considers the book’s main benefit that of offering a lifeline to the struggling addict losing hope, and now believes it’s time to gather more stories of inspiration.
“Many of these people in the first book shouldn’t even be alive,” says Serene Center’s Andrew Martin. “They had a low bottom, and then it got even worse than that. They were dealing with chronic relapsing, and now they have 15 years in recovery under their belt and a fulfilling life.”
Unlike with the first book, where Martin himself went out to identify the subjects who would be featured, this time Serene Center is sending out a broad invitation for individuals to submit their stories. Information is available at www.serenecenter.com/self-help.php; authors of stories selected for the book will receive $100 and will be eligible to be chosen as the honorary donor for a scholarship for transitional living services at Serene Center.
Martin says the first book offered a confirmation of the many paths individuals take in sustaining recovery. For example, one writer talked about the Native American rituals that kept him in balance. Another talked about staying sober for the sake of children—not his own that he lost because of addiction, but those he chose to work with post-treatment.
Martin says he is similarly open to all stories for the second book, covering both substance and process addictions. He says he will not automatically exclude accounts that deviate from the philosophy of his organization. “Three of the stories in the first book were not 12-Step based. That’s fine with me,” he says.
Serene Center is seeking stories of 4,000 to 6,000 words, with half of the text covering one’s addiction and half discussing the point at which long-term recovery was entered and what has sustained it. Martin says the short-story format works for the book’s targeted readers.
“Their attention span is not great,” he says of those struggling with an addiction. “The stories can be read in 10 to 15 minutes.”