Read Starfish: A Mother's Recovery from Addiction by Donna M. George Online


When heroin and opiates became more essential to Donna George than life itself, everything else fell away, even her children. Only when she was busted and forced to choose between jail or a radical rehab called Sunflower House, did one last chance appear. She feared the hardcore program, but the easier, kinder ones hadn't worked. Maybe tough counselors and an assortment ofWhen heroin and opiates became more essential to Donna George than life itself, everything else fell away, even her children. Only when she was busted and forced to choose between jail or a radical rehab called Sunflower House, did one last chance appear. She feared the hardcore program, but the easier, kinder ones hadn't worked. Maybe tough counselors and an assortment of colorful characters could help her find the way through the madness, back to her daughters and her better self. A gritty, inspirational memoir about addiction and recovery....

Title : Starfish: A Mother's Recovery from Addiction
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781490448695
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 260 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Starfish: A Mother's Recovery from Addiction Reviews

  • Jamie
    2019-05-01 13:28

    Starfish: A Mothers Recovery from Addiction is an inspiring, raw, unflinchingly honest account of one mothers journey through addiction and recovery. I was in the process of reading another really good book that I was enjoying but for some reason my mind was just going ninety miles per hour and I couldn't concentrate on it so I downloaded a few free books, this being one of them and after reading a few chapters from the other ones I tried this one and I could not put it down. I've been reading a lot of books about damaged and broken people, stories about hope and redemption and I guess they just got my memory churning and I couldn't really concentrate on any one book until I started this one and I have to say it was EXACTLY what I needed at that time.Donna gives us a very detailed look at her world, of being a single mom and growing up in the sixties. Donna is a free spirit and as much a product of that generation as any other free spirit. We are given glimpses of her childhood, of her many problems starting with the sexual abuse by her father and the neglect and anger from her mom. No matter how hard she tried her mom just didn't seem to love her or any of her other children. She went to church, tried extra hard but in the end it never made a difference so somewhere along the way she quit trying and left just as quick as she could once she turned eighteen. She had hopes and dreams of going to college but like many other young women she became pregnant with one and then two children. She ended up a single mom and eventually spiraled into addiction. The journey of an addict is always a subtle journey. It doesn't just happen overnight. There are many reasons why people turn to drugs and at first it's just fun, you're still in control. You're not really hurting anybody...are you? But one day you wake up, years have gone by and you're a hopeless addict who cannot figure out how you got to where you are. This is Donna's journey that starts when she is arrested for trying to pass fake prescriptions to feed her ever growing opiate dependency. She is addicted to heroin and much like many other heroin addicts will use any type of opiates when money is tight or heroin can't be found.And so Donna goes into treatment. She's been to many before and it has never worked for her. This is her last chance. Her kids are in Hawaii where she left them with some lady she barely knew, the courts are involved and she may lose them for good and if this doesn't work she will face jail time. So with a heavy heart and wanting to be sober but not really at the same time Donna goes to the Sunlflower house which is a long term treatment. Keep in mind this is back in the early 80's. And what unfolds is nothing short of miraculous, intense, crazy, beautiful, weird and the most challenging thing I can imagine anyone ever doing. Donna's courage and strength is a true testament to the human spirit. Reading about her journey as she starts treatment while going through severe withdrawal while having to stay somewhat active just makes you feel for her. The intense part of treatment hasn't started for her yet, they go easy on you as you're kicking the heroin but she had to remain up during the day and always had another member of the facility as a shadow who basically shadowed her. This might sound like no big deal but let me tell you all that opiate addiction of any kind is a very special form of hell. Just getting out of bed is a near impossible chore. Think about the worst flu you've ever had, now multiply it by 100 and add in the worst depression you can imagine but that doesn't quite do it justice. Opiate addiction withdrawal is the absence of light, the absence of God, there is no joy, no sound, no color, nothing but this horrible hole. Nothing is good, all joy and hope has fled the universe, you ache, your hands feel like big balloons, they're hot and cold at the same time like the rest of your body. You can't eat or drink at least not very well, your nose will not stop running, you have the runs for days and weeks, and for me there was always this special place behind my face and neck where every bit of the sickness gathered and stemmed from. If there is a soul then I believe it must reside in that spot and that addiction is not only physical but also spiritual. It is the worst feeling you cannot ever even imagine yet she did it day after day without leaving, without complaining too horribly much and that sickness lasts for weeks, months sometimes. There's a very real reason why heroin addicts/opiate addicts can't stop. That sickness is a nightmare! And to know it only takes one little thing to get rid of it is very hard. Words alone really can't do this sickness justice and it's just something that truly cannot be explained. I wish nobody ever had to feel that way.Finally Donna starts to notice after a month or so that she's no longer feeling quite so bad and treatment kicks into full gear. Some of the things that happen at this facility would be highly criticized today and are probably unethical at best and abusive at worst but you know what? You can't argue with success and it worked for her when nothing else would. This was very old school treatment. I've known people who have been in facilities like this during that time and it saved their lives just like Donna when nothing else would. While reading I couldn't decide if it was madness or pure genius and I have to say that I'm leaning towards genius. You set your own pace. Recovery is up to you, they cannot do it for you. They are only there to provide structure, the rest is on you which makes Donna's journey even more miraculous. The whole treatment is based around peer support and confrontation is a huge part of it. Just read, it's extremely intense!I'm not going to tell you too much about what all happened. Tears are shed, bad things happen, people are lost but people are also saved. Donna is probably one of the strongest people I've ever read about. The way she was able to really start grasping treatment and applying it was just nothing short of amazing. The way she carried what she learned into the real world. The strength in her to be there for her children, not to beat herself up over the past but to be a better person and mom in the future is a reminder to us all. We cannot change the past but we can change the future and learn from our mistakes. The only shame is in giving up, as long as we keep fighting to be better today and tomorrow is all that matters. Donna's journey was very inspiring to me. It reminds me of how far I've come but it is also a poignant reminder of how much is at stake. My life like Donna's depends on staying clean and sober. I was once very sick like Donna, but eventually sought help and have been sober for a very long time now. I can't help but think that If I think Donna was so strong then maybe I am too. I hope other addicts will read this story too and gain the same feeling of strength from it. If you are a recovering addict then her story can help to remind of where you came from, how far you've come and how much is still at stake and to never get complacent. If you are still doing drugs then her story can bring you hope and show you what is possible. With so much stacked against Donna you won't help but feel that if she can do it in an intense treatment like that then maybe you can too. Even if you've never done drugs her story can still help by showing the dangers of addiction and by giving you a look inside an addicts mind as they journey towards recovery. I'd recommend this book to anyone who's interested in the subject. One of the most inspiring stories I've ever read!!!

  • Brittany
    2019-05-02 20:32

    I won Starfish from a Goodreads Giveaway.This book was inspirational and was the perfect first book for me to finish reading in 2014. It's a story about a mother who becomes addicted to drugs and ends up neglecting her daughters. Through a rehabilitation program, she makes life changes and reflects on the woman she was and the woman she wants to be.I appreciated this memoir because it shows me a side of humanity I am unfamiliar with. I am currently in school for social work and I always shirk away from addiction programs because I could never understand the addiction mentality. This book gave me wonderful insight to the mind of an addict. And, most of all, it gave me hope that it is possible for heavy drug addicts to become sober.I highly recommend this book.

  • Jane Owel
    2019-05-20 12:17

    Starfish is a gritty story of Donna, a mother who lost sight of reality in the grip of her serious drug addiction. She lost the things that were most dear to her, her kids and her freedom, in the depths of her disease. Starfish is the story of how a hard-core drug treatment program broke through the walls she'd surrounded herself with and helped her come to terms with her pain. It is a candid look at the lowest point in Donna's life and her slow and difficult climb back up.Along the way, we see Donna's life in flashback- her own abusive childhood, her descent into drugs, leaving everything behind in pursuit of "getting well" - the junkie term for getting high. We also meet her friends in the cast of characters going on this 12-18 month journey with her: Renee, a free spirit; David, a flamboyant gay man; Reuben, a hardcore drug dealer; Martin, the charismatic counselor - all of them must make the choice whether to live or die.Starfish draws you in; it is extremely well-written and its dramatic story pulls you along for the ride. In facing her addiction, Donna is shown for the flawed human being that she is and you feel for her. The challenges she faces are great, but ultimately, this is a story of triumph and redemption. The courage she showed in overcoming addiction and getting her kids back is amazing. I couldn't put it down!

  • Angela
    2019-05-07 12:23

    I won this book through Goodreads Giveaway. This interesting, true story of Donna George's experience in a drug treatment program at Sunflower House was very touching and well-written. Her descriptions of the other residents made me care about them, and I was pulled in to her honest personal story: her abused childhood, drug use, losing her children, and her struggle and success through what I thought was a very harsh, dramatic and somewhat disturbing, 'cultish' drug program - though it worked for her when nothing else had. Very sad at many times when some residents fail and leave the program - you're haunted (because you were so drawn in to care about them) by 'whatever happened to them?' - but Donna's story of success was uplifting.

  • Janet
    2019-05-09 20:36

    This was a compelling book and I found that I had trouble putting it down. Its not a "how to" book or filled with recovery slogans - its one woman's personal experiences with addiction, motherhood, and trying to cope with living in a therapeutic community. It is well written and easy to follow and makes you feel as if you are right there beside Donna.I have worked in the recovery field for many years and this was the best descriptor of a TC that I have read. But, even if you are not in the field of addiction, I think it will offer insight to others.

  • Jillian
    2019-05-27 17:25

    I received this book for free from Goodreads in exchange for my honest review. I cannot say enough about this book. As someone who does work in addictions, and a newcomer to the field, this book was an amazing realistic glimpse into the life of someone who has finally surrendered to the process. I read the introductory poem to people I know and they cried because the reality of Donna's situation reminded them in many ways of their lives. I will be recommending this to all those who have an addiction of ANY kind. Thank you, Donna, for sharing your truth. Be blessed.

  • Sharon
    2019-05-07 14:24

    I won this book through the Good Reads giveaway. It was a very moving story of a woman's recovery from addiction so that she could reunite with her daughters. Even if you haven't struggled with addiction there are some very good lessons to be learned.

  • Jill
    2019-04-30 12:21

    Very interesting in depth look at a confrontational treatment center. True story in my hometown. Informative and at times sad. A personal look at this kind of recovery.

  • Amor
    2019-05-07 12:43

    A wonderful book. Touched me deep, this woman and her descend into drug addiction and how her priorities and her child no longer are as important as the drugs. How a few seconds of clarity you get while on drugs makes you realize that life is so wrong and the choice to continue to do wrong or the choice to accept, deal, heal and continue on. Wonderfully told, highly recommend

  • Cindy
    2019-05-19 16:36

    A memoir about a mother and the demons of addiction that she overcomes through an intense inhouse rehabilitation program

  • Linda Shanklin
    2019-05-02 15:34

    Another amazing story if addiction and recovery. Love happy endings!